Various universities and institutions offer distance learning or distance education courses nowadays. These courses are affiliated to standardized universities and offer legitimate degrees in the subjects of choice. The scope of such courses has increased over the past few years. They offer a lot of flexibility, and opportunities to gain a competent degree at lower costs and with diverse schedules. They are quite different from regular courses in terms of study patterns. However the end goal is same, that is, to make the best out of your learning experience. One can enroll in a distance education course according to their personal strengths and requirements; it is important though, to be sure of a few indispensables that accompany these courses.
If you are seeking a long distance course, you must ask yourself the following questions to know if it is right for you:
Am I technology- savvy?
It is not impossible to gain a long distance degree without being adept at technology, but it does become quite cumbersome if you are not fluent with the basics. You must make sure that you have a basic knowledge of computer usage, how to send mails, and how to use the internet. It suits the need if you have Wi-Fi at home or a facility near your residence in case something urgent needs to be taken care of in the context of the course and assessment.
Am I good at time- management?
Since there is no regular routine or timetable of classes in a long distance course, one needs to make a timetable for the self. Staying at home would mean a lot of interruptions and skewed schedules, so one must be good at time management. You will need to use as much time as you can get, and study with complete concentration. There will be deadlines and submissions in such courses, so it will not be possible to procrastinate or waste any time.
Can I priorities without direct supervision?
Since there is no proper classroom or a teacher/professor to answer to every morning, the responsibility of working efficiently lies with you alone. You will have to be disciplined with your routines and know how to manage your work load effectively. Prioritization is the key here, since you will have to juggle studies and domestic duties simultaneously.
Do I have effective communication skills?
Most online courses or distance courses require communication regarding course material, course structure, assessment and evaluation etc., over the internet. Submissions would be done online, there may be vivas or interactions with the professors online/on call, or queries would be sent over mail. This implies that most of the interaction is confined to the virtual space instead of face- to-face interaction as in regular classes. It becomes necessary then that the student must have good communication skills, verbal as well as written. For success in any long distance course, this becomes an indispensable trait.
Am I dedicated enough?
Since the environment of this course feels more relaxed and the pace is more convenient, most students become lax in their efforts. Some of them even leave mid- way for they lose interest soon enough. Moreover, many universities offer a flexible period of time to finish the course. A course that takes 3 years in a regular college for example, may be granted 5 years in a long distance set up. It is imperative then, that you stay focused and motivated throughout the duration of the course. You must possess the zeal to keep going, and keep doing well.
Am I doing it for the right reasons?
It is important for you to assess the significance of the course you wish to pursue. Think about the pros and cons. Plan how it will help you in future or how it suits your purpose. Do not pursue any course just for the sake of it. Be very sure that you are working on it for the right reasons, for it will require you to spend some precious time and energy in the process.