Opening Doors of Opportunity Through Distance Education Strategies


Distance learning has made a post-secondary education more accessible than ever. Whereas long-distance education once involved studying books at home and mailing assignments and tests to the institution overseeing the course, today’s distance options are most often managed with online interfaces that make the courses more interesting in nature and more compatible with multiple learning styles. Today’s distance education student has the opportunity to explore new topics or to earn degrees without having to actually go to the overseeing institution.

Many students are pressed by busy lives that limit the time they can devote to post-secondary education. College costs can be intimidating and overwhelming, making it difficult for aspiring students to actually attend a university. Many community colleges offer lower costs to state residents while providing a greater selection of online courses for students with stretched schedules. This makes a college level education attainable for those with financial obstacles. Federal financial aid is usually applicable to online learning programs, making it even easier for students with limited means to find a way to study further.

Community college programs are often geared toward associate degrees. These two year programs provide students with credentials in the fields they specialize in without requiring a four year commitment. At the same time, many two year degrees prepare students for the possibility of further study, allowing them to obtain basic credits in general studies that will transfer at a later time for use in a bachelor’s degree program. The lower costs of credits earned in a distance learning environment significantly reduces the expense of a four year degree.

The interactive nature of modern distance learning allows students to participate in interactive environments that are often not as easy to create in a classroom setting. Interactive class chat boards, for example, allow for an ongoing discussion that isn’t limited by the constraints of a class meeting period. Live classes online allow students to interact verbally, and there is a much easier platform for students sharing information and evaluating each other’s work. Learning software allows for subjects such as college algebra to be taught in an interactive platform that allows for more targeted remediation when a concept isn’t thoroughly understood. Distance education provides exciting opportunities to develop resources that better equip students with skills and understanding in many different disciplines.

While hands on learning has its place, online education provides a better option for those limited by location or schedule in their access to higher learning. Further, the frustration of being overworked for college educators can be addressed through online instruction and distance learning opportunities. The continuing developments in this area are creating new and unique post-secondary opportunities for students.