Distance Learning has been around in one form or another since the creation of the postal system in the United States. It provides an opportunity for all students to receive an education similar to those one might find in a heavily populated city. Currently distance learning has grown since the invention and improvements on the internet and computers. From the well know University of Phoenix to Ivy League schools institutions are adopting the distance learning option. As well as reputable programs there are also phoney schools set up to take advantage of people seeking a better education and these are known as diploma mills such as Hamilton University which was run out of a Motel 6 and a P.O Box.

Types of Distance Learning:
Synchronous which requires participants to be together at the same time for a lesson to take place.
Examples include:
  • Telephone
  • Video Conferencing
  • Web Conferencing
  • Live Streaming
  • Internet Radio
  • Web Based VoIP

Asynchronous which does not require participants to ever be at the same place or setting at the same time.
Examples include:
  • Audiocassette
  • E-mail
  • VHS or DVD
  • Print materials/Mail
  • Blogs
  • Message Boards

There is also a blended form of these types known as a hybrid class were a majority of the class is held in a fashion similar to distance learning but certain classes students are required to show up for a class to take tests, see a guest speaker, or participate in a group project.

With this approach to education there are a lot of advantages and disadvantages depending on how the class is held and what approaches the teacher incorporates into the lessons.

Advantages include:
  • Can reach a larger population
  • Easy access to specialty courses
  • Can be flexible to fit your schedule
  • Greatly increases opportunities for adult learners
  • Forces students to become independent learners and manage their timejust like they would in a real job
  • Beneficial for colleges and universities because they do not need an actual classroom or space for a class to take place
  • Increases revenue for schools without increasing the physical size of the school, an easy way to expand enrollment
  • Allows schedule flexibility for professors

Disadvantages include:
  • Can be unaccredited or a diploma mill
  • Easier to cheat
  • Does not give students the traditional college socialization experience
  • High drop out and failure rate
  • More difficult to get additional financial help
  • Can be more difficult to stay motivated outside of an actual classroom environment

Links to distance learning courses both positive and negative:
**Phoenix University**
**University of Illinois Springfield and their online course section**
**60 Minute article on Univeristy of Hamilton diploma mill**

Distance Learning PowerPoint: