Current debates often center on whether distance or online education is equal to traditional campus instruction, and argue that the way education is delivered should not “change”. But have you ever wondered about the history of distance and online education? Is this debate really new? For how long have students earned degrees without attending classes physically or “on site?” With a little online research, I found that the history of distance education (a precursor to online education) is as interesting as it is complex.
Often, students who have studied for a while report that after they graduate they dream that they need to take a test at mid-term or turn in a final paper during finals week! I’ve had that happen and woken up dreading the fact that I slept through an imaginary final exam! Has something like that ever happened to you?
Like all good stories, every semester has a beginning, a middle and an end! In October, the middle of Fall semester arrives, and all students from 18 to 58 and beyond find themselves facing midterm. You might have tests, exams or projects due but even if you don’t, now is the time to take stock of where you are in each course and plan a successful semester ending. It always seems that the second half of the semester rushes to an end even faster than it takes to get from the beginning to the middle!
Do you know what skills you need to develop for a particular job and wonder about the projected market for employment possibilities? Would you like to identify industries where your existing skills will be valued? Do you wonder about which skill sets are in demand in specific employment sectors or likely to be necessary in the future? In other words, do you think about how your skills and studies relate to actual employment? Do you wish that you had access to the employment information that the media or “they” keep talking about?
So you’ve signed up for continuing ed classes! Now it’s time to get organized. You are not a student destined to sit in classes in specific rooms at specific times, but the very flexibility you have learning at a distance creates study space issues that you have to address. You may have chosen online classes so that you can work from home or build your coursework into your travel schedule. You may even be planning to study from your favorite coffee shop or take tests in your pajamas!