Is Distance Learning for Me?
You must have access to a computer with e-mail and Internet capabilities. The courses are offered using a learning management system such as Blackboard or Canvas, however if you are unfamiliar with these learning management systems, tutorials are available. As a potential student, you should analyze your learning style to see if this format will work for you. You will need to consider your need for face-to-face discussion and interaction. In the distance delivery format, discussion and interaction most often takes place via e-mail or discussion groups on-line therefore there may be a lapse of time between when you send your communication and when you receive a reply. Discussion will take place on electronic discussion and chat rooms where students and/or faculty will post a question or comment that can be viewed and reacted to by everyone in the class, but everyone will not necessarily be on-line at the same time. This makes the interaction asynchronous.
This format is convenient for students who work, have families, or are unable to relocate, but don’t make the assumption that it is easier than taking courses on campus. The off-campus program is the same program delivered to on-campus students. Students working off-campus do not have to be in class at a particular time; however, time required to complete the class assignments is comparable to that of the on-campus students.
The student who elects to study at a distance must be an independent learner. As a student, you will be expected to take more responsibility for your learning than you would in the traditional classroom. As with any class, deadlines must be kept to achieve a successful grade in class.
The rule of thumb is that students are expected to spend 3 hours per week outside of class for each hour of lecture. That translates to a total of 12 hours per week for a 3 semester hour class.
You will get to know your classmates through on-line threaded discussions, chat groups, e-mails, and/or group projects. There is also a Blackboard site for currently enrolled students where announcements are posted and you can communicate with other DDP students.
Tips for Successful Distance Learning
- Familiarize yourself with the course design
- Read the entire course syllabus
- Identify tools necessary to complete assignments
- Be realistic
- Set interim goals and deadlines for yourself, and stick to them
- Organize your goals in a study schedule
- Avoid interruptions
- Stay in touch with your instructor
- Prepare for assignments and tests
- Use good communication skills
- Evaluate your own progress regularly
- Time your tests wisely
- Discuss your progress with your instructor