Distance Learning: The Learning Alternative

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    Mar 25, 2013
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Distance Learning: The Learning Alternative Photo by Jason White

Thanks to the extreme convenience of Distance Learning, there is truly no excuse for not obtaining a post-secondary education. This learning alternative is available at many reputable colleges and universities, and allows students to learn on an individual basis at their own speed and convenience. Although it has been around, according to Wikipedia, from "as early as 1728, when an advertisement in the Boston Gazette... [said] Caleb Phillips, teacher of the new method of short hand, was seeking students for lessons to be sent weekly," it has come a long way. Today, Distance Learning is still available in print, but is most popular through an online option.

Centennial College, Ontario's first community college founded in 1966, offers Distance Learning through its continuing education school. Graduates from its Distance Learning programs obtain credentials such as: post-secondary advanced diplomas, diplomas, certificates of completion and post-graduate certificates.

As previously mentioned, Distance Learning is still available in the print form, with material being mailed to students. In this Distance Learning option at Centennial College, students register and then receive a registration confirmation letter, proctor information form, student guide and all of the educational materials required to complete the course. Such Distance Learning print-based courses are typically completed in a six-month frame and are made up of lessons, written assignments, exams and the various tools for success. This print-based distance learning experience allows students the flexibility to communicate with their instructor by email, phone, or regular mail. Among Distance Learning print-based correspondences are: Business Management – International, Business Management – Marketing, Cosmetics by Correspondence, Ophthalmic Medical Personnel - Phases 1 and 2 and SmartServe.

With the Internet revolutionizing how society looks at everything from shopping to travel, education is no exception. The Distance Learning option that sees students learning online puts them in a virtual classroom to which they have 24-hour access. As such, students can study from anywhere that has a Wi-Fi connection. Qualified instructors lead the courses and use online communication tools such as discussion boards and forums, and digital assignments. There is also a sense of classroom thanks to exchanging emails with their classmates. Among the 40 online Distance Learning programs at Centennial College are Professional Writing, Logistics Management, Event Planning/Meeting Management, Automotive Service Advisor, Business Writing, Effective Project Management, Food Service Worker, Legal Office Assistant, Medical Office Assistant, Fundraising and more.

Both online and print Distance Learning students are required to complete an in-person final exam to gain their credentials. Students are responsible for writing their exam on the first Saturday following the course end date. It is their responsibility to book the correct exam date within the time constraints of their course. Students who fail to write their exam by the due date will receive a zero on their exam.

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In this article about Distance Learning Jason writes about Centennial College and how it executes both of its online and print based courses. He notes that students of either option must complete an in-person final exam.

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