Schools Training

The Unlimited Possibilities of Distance Education

17 JUL 2012
Career Path : Continuing Education

Distance education may seem like something new, but in fact it has been going on since the 18th century, where lessons were sent in the post on a weekly or monthly basis. The first university degrees to be granted through distance education were as early as the mid-19th century in England. Further developments in off-campus learning occurred in the ‘60s in the United States and Great Britain. Since the widespread use of personal computers and the internet, the idea of the ‘virtual university’ has become so common that by 2005 over 3 million students in the US were taking at least one course online. Today, almost every single university and trade school offers courses online, while there are also increasingly more schools popping up that do not even have a physical campus.


You might at first think that while distance learning is a great idea with many advantages, the type of education that can be achieved in this way is somewhat limiting. The question is, how many programs can be accomplished solely online without any loss to the quality of the education? The answer is larger than you might think.


In business, there are few programs whose online equivalents are not as equally sought out, if not more. Considering how today so much business relies on e-commerce, viral marketing and web-based customer relations, the budding business entrepreneur can benefit greatly from the independence fostered in distance learning. Many online programs include advertising and sales promotion, market research, entrepreneurship fundamentals, web marketing and courses in start-up innovation.


On the other side of the spectrum are the creative and visual arts departments. Many aspiring artists require their own unique work-space and methods to complete the masterpieces that forced group sessions might only hinder. Drawing and painting courses specifically can be shared and critiqued through online communities with instructors and fellow students, thus still encouraging a peer-review environment.


Computer courses obviously thrive in distance education because of their fundamental reliance on the medium of learning for the content of this kind of education. Programs can vary widely from business applications, computer graphics courses, technical support courses and webmaster programs.


You no longer need to travel to foreign lands to master a new language. Audio and video live-stream chatting is a great way to hone your communication skills, while reading and writing assignments can be easily reviewed and graded by professional instructors from all over the world.


Online learning is also very popular today with engineering technology courses. Beginning with the basics in mathematics and science, the distance learner can earn diplomas and certificates in architecture, geographic information, home inspection, and even occupational health and safety.


Aside from all of these specific business, technical and other trade-related kinds of programs, one can still engage in a traditional general education program online in the social sciences. The list of subjects is endless and as diverse as such subjects like art history, literature, history, sociology, psychology and political science.


These are just a few of the kinds of programs that are offered in an online setting. As the development of distance learning continues to grow from the postal service to your web provider, so can your education and career if you take advantage of today’s technology.


Visit Mohawk College for more information on continuing education.