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Education at a distance

Online education is a convenient, affordable and high tech way of pursuing a degree without even leaving home.

First established at Tyler Junior College in 1985, this program has become a building block for the many Apaches who attend abroad, as well as on campus.

“We’ve seen a tremendous increase over the past few years of the demand for distance education,” said Tellfair E. Fullerton, instructional designer/learning management systems administrator.

Along with the changes in the economy and technology, the number of courses offered online has expanded. The Health Nutrition and Minerals course and the freshmen First Year Experience course were added this fall. Now there are more than 100 online courses available at TJC.

There are approximately 6,000 to 7,000 TJC students currently enrolled in an online class this semester. Many of these students are freshmen, people who live hours away in surrounding towns and full-time working students. Also, many adults are seeking an online education in hopes of improving their skills and training.

To successfully take part in TJC’s online education program, students are required to have Internet access and JavaScript. Students are not required to be a computer whiz, but should at least know some computer and Internet basics.

Another distance education option are the hybrid classes, where students meet once a week in classes on campus and do the rest online. Students are responsible for having assignments submitted on time and reading book chapters on their own.

“I recommend for first-year online educators to enroll in a hybrid online class. That way the student could get a taste of what online classes are really like,” said Mrs. Sheree C. Webb, instructional designer of Distance Education.

Along with the advantages of taking an online class, like saving gas and working at a students own pace on his or her own time, there are also disadvantages.

Often students tend to put off their assignments, and others have a hard time comprehending without traditional lectures.

Another obstacle for students is that they aren’t actually in the classroom face to face with the teachers, so it’s easier for them not to complete an assignment. Therefore, the dropout rates tend to be high.

Students should speak with an Academic Advisor to see if taking an online class would be right for them as more courses are added.

Courses like Drafting and Welding are some of the courses that are expected to become available online in TJC’s future.

“Taking an online class isn’t really bad. You just got to know how to manage your time and you can’t be lazy,” said Brandon Withers, a student who is currently enrolled in an online class at TJC.

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