A lot of people find it hard to understand how a distance education course can be anything more than reading and answering questions. Some are, and if that’s you’re your experience with distance education in the past; this is unfortunate. In reality, distance education has a great deal of flexibility and today can be more practical and relevant to real life than classroom education.
There are a few things to consider:
- New technologies (internet, video, digital photography, cheaper & mobile telecommunications etc) make it possible to overcome many of the isolation and communication problems that used to exist with distance education.
- Funding pressures that have often resulted in a decrease in quantity and quality of practical components in traditional classroom education.
- People today are better networked than ever; and more exposed to visual images than ever (eg. In the past, if someone was studying an animal they had never before seen, the options to see an image of that animal would be virtually nil, unless supplied by their teacher in the classroom. Today people are bombarded by images of virtually everything they could imagine through cable TV, U Tube, web sites, magazines …etc
- Be aware that no course will ever teach you everything! Wherever you study, your course should lay a foundation and framework for you to build on. It should open up opportunities for further learning –to further develop your practical skills, problem solving skills, knowledge, networking, communication abilities etc, within your field of study. Some courses focus heavily on the information; some on assessment more than learning, others focus heavier on the problem solving, and others perhaps on the practical, etc.
- No course can have it’s emphasis on everything; because to emphasise one thing is to de emphasise something else.
- Our courses are “experiential” learning (ie. A concept in education that focuses on learning through experience). Over more than 2 decades, these courses have been developed using feedback and suggestions from both staff and students to create a variety of different ways of building all sorts of learning experiences into the courses. Some are integral and compulsory experiences within a course; others are optional facilities (such as student interaction through the student room directory), which some students use, while others do not use.
- We get our students to do all sorts of hands on and observational tasks throughout courses.