Technology has been advancing rapidly for many years now; especially computer technology and the education field. Like all technological advancements, people are always skeptical about it, and often times develop misconceptions and get false information regarding them. Distance-learning is no exception to this exact situation. For many years now, colleges and universities have been holding programs that give students the opportunity to achieve their aspirations through a different means of education. However, many people feel that online education is only around as a means to further the laziness of people. Furthermore, it seems that many people who oppose online education believe that the degrees that are earned are inferior to traditional two or four year degrees and hold less purchase in an actual interview. Many people also feel that by eliminating the teacher to student and student to student interaction it impedes the sociability of a growing mind, and reduces the potential for educational growth. In reality, distance learning offers programs equal to or superior to some traditional colleges and universities while at the same time offering students who do not/could not normally attend a traditional school, the opportunity to improve their quality of life.
Distance learning has been around for many years now and it seems as though many people still have misconceptions based on false information. A perfect example of this theory is exhibited in Anthony Simonetta’s study that was developed as a means to find out what the common consensus was about distance learning. Through interviewing a total of eleven individuals of different age, race, and sex many conclusions were drawn. In this study, Anthony asked interviewees to complete a basic questionnaire that pertained to distance-learning. All of the first five interviewees had heard of distance-learning and four of the five assumed that distance learning was just another way for lazy people to go to school as means of squeezing by life. These interviewees also thought that the degrees given by these institutions did not hold any true value. The other interviewee thought it was a school for the disabled.
According to those results, it seems as though the general conclusion that can be made is that many people are misinformed about what distance-learning actually entails. A lot of the interviewees even admit getting their information from parents and family. Distance-learning is simply, a form of education that, in most cases, offers an education that is equal to or better than a traditional college or university. “The discipline that it takes to attend online courses makes classes more difficult than a traditional school. There is little leeway in distance-learning because there is always attendance to be met, or assignments to turn in, or class discussions,” says Mike H. a student who graduated two years ago with a BA in Business Administration. This is one reason why there is a higher turnover rate in distance-learning courses than a traditional two or four year program.
Many to-be students go into the program assuming that it will be easier, when in most cases it is harder. The demands and expectations are higher because there are more guidelines to follow. Many of Anthony’s interviewees admitted that they attended their three day courses maybe once a week and sometimes twice if a test was coming up, that they never turned in homework assignments because they were not graded, and that the only times they really did any work was before a test, midterm, or final exam. “I went into the distance learning program assuming that I could just turn in assignments when I wanted to, attend class once per week, and get at least a “C” in the course. This was a rude awakening for me because it was nothing like that picture,” says Lindsey R. who took distance-learning courses for two months before dropping out with an average of thirty-six and fifty-two in her two classes. Lindsey also said, “I have attended both a traditional school setting and distance-learning classes, and I personally found that distance-learning is more demanding. Without organization and discipline the student will surely fail.”
John C. also agrees with Lindsey that, “Online courses are only for those proficient in writing and reading. When I attended SUNY Geneseo, the amount of writing and reading did not even compare to the amount and level of writing and reading that is required and expected in a distance-learning environment. John took online courses for seven months before dropping them.
Many people who oppose the distance-learning programs also felt that distance-learning is a service that is currently available to encourage and enable an already lazy society. What many people fail to consider are the amazing potentials that distance-learning can help many students achieve. For most people and critics, if they can not figure out a way that a service or product can help them, they automatically assume that it is a worthless product. What a lot of people do not realize is that distance-learning offers a higher education that also carries many other benefits along with it as well. For instance, distance-learning offers a convenient, flexible, and low cost educational option. With these types of benefits, distance-learning could appeal to almost anybody. For example, imagine working a full time job and having a family; that is two full time jobs in itself. It would be nearly impossible to go to a traditional school and still have enough time for the other two necessities in one’s life. This doesn’t even include housework and other responsibilities to one’s home and family.
When convenience is stated as a benefit, it essentially means that the student doesn’t need to travel anywhere to attend class, and that they can do it right form their own laptop or desktop computer at home. Flexibility is in reference to the fact that it can work around even the busiest schedule. It can even be squeezed in around a full time job, family, or both; not to mention the many other activities that some of us take part in. Finally, the last benefit is cost; how many students wish they had some extra money during college, or how many students would love to have minimal student loans to pay off following graduation? Every student would like that. For a lot of people, the cost factor of a higher education is the biggest thing that stands in the way of a student obtaining a degree. Without distance-learning courses, and all of the above benefits, many of the students enrolled in distance-learning programs, would never get the opportunity to earn their degree. It is a proven fact that men and women who obtain college degrees earn more money in a lifetime than those who do not. Furthermore, students who obtain bachelors degrees are likely to make three times more than a student who does not. Distance-learning gives many students, of all ages, backgrounds, and lifestyles the opportunity to improve their quality of life and their families lives by offering a convenient and cost efficient education.
According to some sources, it is said that degrees earned by distance-learning programs are inferior to the traditional degrees given by two and four year colleges and tend to have less purchase in an interview. This statement is simply untrue, unless the degree that is earned by the student is from a non-accredited college or institution. In reality, online degrees are currently preferred more than traditional degrees by some companies. In 2008, Anthony Simonetta interviewed three Human Resources employees for large companies including. According to all three Human Resources Managers, applicants who have earned their degrees online are usually hired more readily because they seem to be more qualified for the positions. “A lot of times we like to hire applicants who obtain degrees via the internet because it shows us, as a company, the level of discipline and organization that the applicant must have. We actually have taken several training courses on how to evaluate degrees that come from distance-learning programs. We like to hire them because these applicants have heightened levels of intangible attributes found in most management positions,” says a Human Resources Manager.
Anthony interviewed three graduates of distance-learning programs and they had phenomenal results. Two of the three graduates prior to having a degree were making under $25,000 per year and are currently salaried managers making over $58,000 per year. The third interviewee was making under $20,000 per year before graduating and is now a District Manager and making over $70,000 per year. These results are nothing to shake a stick at, but the most outrageous part is this: all of the three interviewees admitted they would have never had the time or money to get their degrees at a traditional school. Each of them had a prior obligation that prevented them from being able to attend. All of them admitted that they never would have gotten their degrees had it not been for distance learning courses.
The third, and often the loudest, argument in opposition to distance learning is that there is no teacher to student or student to student interactions, thus impeding the social benefits all traditional schools have. Other arguments that have been also documented as saying that without this kind of interaction, the student is missing out on socially beneficial learning, as well as an in-class stimulation of generalized education that can not be achieved through the internet. This is true, students whom attend distance learning programs rarely/never have a person-to-person interaction and the only other means of communication is through the telephone. It is proven that “some” students do learn better in a traditional classroom setting, but that is only some. For the “others” not mentioned, the distance learning method is superior. Also, when a student is faced with college or no college, regardless of what kind of learning environment it is, it is always better to attend than miss out on a life improving experience.
Distance-learning’s revolutionary ability to provide superior education at an affordable price that easily gives the student flexibility and convenience should appeal to almost everyone. By interviewing several people, it was easy to obtain and analyze many of the different reasons as to why most people are against distance-learning. Through interactive chat room discussions, homework assignments, and several papers throughout any given “semester”, the level of education provided to students is often equal to or superior to that of a traditional two or four year school. It seems as if the only reason these fallacies are developed is due to a lack of any real information pertaining to an evolving part of education. Many professionals Anthony interviewed said that they would not be surprised to see distance learning emerge as a superior form of education in the near future.
It is fairly evident that through much analysis and research that there essentially is no good, solid, reason to oppose a form of education whose very purpose is to benefit many students who would not normally have the opportunity to go to school and obtain a degree. Whether the student is just getting out of high school or ten years before retirement, the potential to better one’s life through education is always the right option. In contrary to many o the oppositions feelings toward distance learning, it is not a type of education that is designed for the sole purpose of increasing the laziness of the world of education; nor is it a way for students to squeeze through life by obtaining an inferior degree. It is blatantly obvious that distance learning is not a way for a “dot com” company to take money from consumers. Distance-learning is available as a benefit to students so that they may achieve their aspirations and dreams.