Can Distance Learning be a Substitute for College

Why do we go to college? Are we there to get a degree? Are we there to extend our education? Or do we attend college to evaluate and decide on our future options? People have many different reasons for attending college, and dependent upon their personal goals and requirements, distance learning may be a much better option than attending classes on campus.

For students recently graduated from high school, attending on campus courses is probably the best option. The semi-controlled environment of a college campus, combined with the new liberty of being “on your own,” can combine to form a positive life experience, allowing the student to learn how to live their own life in a much more forgiving environment than the ‘sink or swim’ attitude of the working population.

For those looking to further their own knowledge, or those looking for the shortest path to a degree, a combination of on campus and distance learning may be appropriate. On campus classes are appropriate if your schedule permits and when the course you are seeking is near to where you live. Whereas, distance learning and online courses would be more appropriate if you need a flexible class schedule or the course of study you desire is not within a reasonable commute of your work/home.

One of the best reasons to take a distance learning course rather than a similar campus course, is the quality of the course. A good example of this would be if you were to take a specialized course on the “History of Japan”. Would this course be more appropriate from your local college? Or would it be better obtained from the University of Tokyo? If available to me, I personally would opt for the class from the University of Tokyo. Does this mean that distance learning courses are better? That would be a decision based upon the course and the providing institution.

In summary, each individual must investigate and evaluate their own requirements prior to making a commitment to a traditional college or signing up for a distance learning course of study. The knowledge is available, but how best to earn it?