Distance Learning

Pursuing college education is a daunting task especially if one is has a job, home responsibilities, distance or time limitations, this makes attending classes physically challenging. The same thing happened to me, I could not comprehend how to attend classes considering the limiting factors that faced me. Though I had heard numerous myths about distance learning, its curriculum and student experiences, which were negative I thought it was worth trying.

The distance-learning program I would say is much better than I anticipated. I will focus on my experiences on curriculum regarding my distance learning encounters. Firstly, I expected it to be monotonous since I thought that it would only involve emailing only to know find out that it is more that. The online class discussions have revolutionized the way I thought of the curriculum. I now understand the course content better since I get to read and participate in discussions including responses to other students’ postings. Placing a question on the discussion board and finding so many responses makes it very interesting and effective more than physical class discussions that are limited by members’ attendances and absenteeism (Puri, 2006). Additionally, I never expected to freely interact with my instructor and ask questions where I encounter difficulties. I imagined that it would simply involve receiving course notes, studying them and completing assessment tests. However, having a chance to enquire on unclear issues with my instructor has been very helpful in achieving my curriculum objectives. Distance learning has opened up a completely new world of studying for me, such as in making new friends and developing sturdy relationships within my class without seeing my fellow learners.

Learning new computer skills has added many insights to me regarding learning. Previously I was not as good as I am currently with my computer. Distance learning has enabled me grow in numerous ways. I have learnt how to use various programs, download, upload and attach assignments on the website. Thus, I have learnt how to adapt to the instructor’s requirements online same as a face-to-face learner.  Time management is a virtue that I have learnt; I am now able to manage my time properly through studying and performing my other duties (Berg, 2002). Studying at home after attending to my daily duties or even in the vehicle headed home has been satisfying and enjoyable. 

I think that in a traditional classroom perhaps I could have been extremely quiet with little or no participation in the class discussions. However, the pressure of being called on coupled with the worry and fear is inexistent, on the online platform, participation is different and time limits are flexible. I have to admit that the curriculum has changed my discipline through enhancing my alertness since am required to deliver my assignments on time. Therefore, I have to sacrifice many things along with managing my time appropriately in order to beat the time the instructor has allocated for the assignment posting. Tracing and finding reading materials online has been absolutely enjoyable and similar as compared to tracing some information on a textbook physically. My study materials are usually safe on my computer and are not liable to damage even if my computer breaks down they are safe (Berg, 2002).  Additionally, I am able to ask for help from the technical support anytime, and who are available and able to offer help around the clock. This is very easy as compared to finding my instructor in a physical setting and whom I may not find due to their busy schedules. 

Nevertheless, distance learning has also come with its limitations to me. The fact that I previously never studied anywhere devoid of actually setting foot in the institution and following up everything, actually happening is overwhelming. It is difficult to create a realistic picture of what the instructor is like face-to-face as an individual. Never meeting the individuals who evaluate my work and who make decisions whether I have failed or passed is overwhelming. I would be helpful if at some point one would take a trip and interact with their instructors so that they can physically guide one about their studies. Physical interaction is known to impact more on learner’s performance (Puri, 2006. At times is difficult to access and navigate the library catalogue along with carrying out database searches, accessing e-journals and, borrowing. When taking an online timed test if my computer breaks down and maybe I am on my last try would mean that, I have failed though it has not happened I always think about all the time.

Despite the underlying challenges, I have to confess that the gains outdo any demerits since I have been able to attend to my studies in a much better through the help of the instructor along other players in the course. The interaction with my fellow learners has been great and through the participatory discussions, I have found it easy to go through the course than I expected.

References

Berg, G. A. (2002). Why distance learning?: Higher education administrative practices. Westport, CT: Oryx Press.

Puri, U. (2006). Distance education. New Delhi: Pragun Publications.

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