The day is coming when the work done by correspondence will be greater in amount than that work done in the classrooms of out academics and colleges; when the students who shall recite by correspondence will far out number those who make oral recitations.
Although my choice is to be on the side of distance learning, my mind has waivered on whether learning could be achieved through distance learning in subjects that require a hands on approach to learning such as: computer science, information technology, or even the arts. I have found that the technological aspect of these areas and the lack of experience from potential candidates can interfere with whether or not an individual could succeed with distance learning being their primary source.
As a student who has sat in front on a computer questioning if I was doing exactly what the professor had asked shortly before the assignment was due, I wonder would it had been easier if I had had that time with that professor inside the classroom. On the other hand, there have been many times where I have felt that the time spent inside the classroom was a waste, and the time could have been better spent reading the material, rather that listening to another boring lesson, or viewing the PowerPoint presentation at my own pace rather than, listening to the one that the professor read verbatim that put me to sleep, or even the lecture that had nothing to due with what came to be known as the final exam but that I took notes on as if that was my rite a passage to scoring an A.
Increasingly, the popular press and the educational literature talk about distance education- teaching and learning at a distance as virtual education that happens in a virtual school. For me, the doors of distance learning have expanded. The doors have opened to the Internet researcher who wants to find out which diets work best, the YouTube.com watchers who want to know how to perform a pistol squat, and even Wikipedia enthusiasts or just want a brief history on the Loggerhead Sea Turtle. It is the people who sit at home and want knowledge and dont have to leave the privacy of their homes to get what they need.
This field that has surprisingly been around at least 160 years has forced me to come to the understanding that with every paper I write, every discussion question I respond to, and book I read, I am learning as I would in a classroom, only this time I have learned at a pace that can keep up with the demands of my life.
If you had asked me a few years ago, I would have been one of those who had said that distance learning is the least effective tool for learning. Students need to be in the classroom, and distance learning is second best. As lifes responsibilities increased, my opinion changed and distance learning became an option for me to have the convenience of getting a degree while still having the time to take of lifes time consuming curve balls. Now I find that I am a distance learning cheerleader, who stands on the side of success by any means necessary.