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Distance education courses might have learning downfalls

Distance education could be a perfect fit for some students, but may be a frustration for others.

Some students may be visual, auditory or even tactile learners in the classroom, but what if there is not that one-on-one contact with the instructor or their classmates?

According to The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), in the 12-month 2000-2001 academic year, there were an estimated 3.077 million enrollments in all distance education courses offered by two- and four-year institutions.

“Most students with full-time jobs or who live in rural areas may not be able to afford a higher education, so taking online courses is another alternative for them, and it’s cheaper,” said Dr. Kevin Lemoine, director of academic affairs at THECB (Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board).

Students who are self-disciplined and social may have an advantage over a student who does not know how to cope physically and mentally with learning by themselves.

TJC has an assessment test called the READI that is offered on the WEB CT to evaluate students’ aptitude and level readiness for the online courses.

It is a walkthrough of guidelines and questionnaires to help the student determine typing accuracy, learning styles and reading comprehension.

Even though students do not meet in class, that does not mean they don’t exchange ideas.

“Most students gain a lot of social skills,” Ken Craver, director of Distance Education said.

Interaction would be through e-mail or even live online chatting with other students enrolled in the course.

It is up to the student to become familiar with the school and online program that she is going to take.

Even though students may not set foot in a classroom, there are still ways to interact with the instructor and classmates.

Another challenge in the online environment is “people tend to create emails using the language in which they speak and it eventually interferes with their online classes and documents,” Craver said.

“Some people have that habit in writing how they talk and are not able to adjust that if they don’t have the proper guidance and discipline from an instructor to coach them the appropriate way,” Craver said.

Some of the classes available are History: 1301 and 1302, College Algebra, Government: 2306 and 2305 and many more.

For more information, please call Ken Craver at 903-510-2519.

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