Distance education is a program offered at Tyler Junior College that is flexible, affordable, and convenient.
“It’s more flexible for students who rely on the Internet as their backbone, and with gas prices at the rate they are, the student can stay at home or work, without even steppinga foot out the door,” said Dr. Ken Craver, director of distance education.
Distance education courses contain a mixture of distance learning as well as face-to-face, hands on interaction.
Distance education began in 1989 at TJC as only TV classes or telecourses and in 1996 it upgraded to Internet courses for those who had much easier access to the Internet.
The courses offered range from various studies such as Computer Science to College Algebra. The instructors who teach these online classes have to go through extensivetraining to hone their skills in conductingan online course.
There are two required courses for the instructors to take in order to be certified to teach these classes: one 32- hour online class called “Putting your course online” and a 16-hour class called “A training software.”
They also attend professional activitiesor development programs to help them get better acquainted with the course itself and how to teach the student from such a distance.
“Getting to see the student’s perspectiveof the online courses helps them better their ability as a teacher and a tutor,” said E. Telfair Fullerton, training coordinator of distance education.
TJC also offers hybrid classes that only meet once a week in the classroom and on the other day, if it’s a MW or TR class, pertains strictly to online assignments given for that day.
The Department also offers a learning management system online, which gives the student access to his or her assignments for the semester or whenever the instructor postsdates them.
The pros and cons to the program are that the student does not have to attend class or complete the work when it’s assigned and repeatedly putting it could cause them to fail or even eventually drop the course.
The drop rate is high for these courses due to lack of knowledge and self-pace, and to those incoming freshman that were assigned to the online classes because there were notany other classes available.
“The student needs to be an independent learner when taking online courses and take the initiative to ask for help when they are confused,” Joan Bruckwicki, online instructorsaid.
On Apache Access, there is a website for not only distance education learning students but for the general population that offers a test for the student’s learning abilities.
This may enhance the student’s ability to where they know if they are visual or even auditory learners.
Overall, the distance education program is not only flexible, affordable, and convenient, many students have used it to get their AA degrees here at TJC.