Other Free Encyclopedias » Online Encyclopedia » Encyclopedia - Featured Articles » Featured Articles: Cherry Office Furniture - How to Find Cherry Office Furniture to Email A Fax - How to Email a Fax

College Correspondence Courses - College Correspondence Courses and Distance Learning

traditional mail time ability

Strictly defined, a college correspondence course is a form of higher education distance learning where course materials are exchanged through mail between an instructor and his or her students. Technological advances have made purely snail mail correspondence courses increasingly rare; more and more distance learning solutions now involve e-mail, PDF textbooks, and virtual classrooms. Today’s correspondence courses rarely fit the strict, low-tech definition of correspondence. To that end, this article will survey existing consumer options rather than providing a comprehensive history of an outdated form of distance learning.

College correspondence courses carry many advantages and disadvantages for the modern student. Advantages include cost, convenience, and the ability to work at any pace; disadvantages include learning environment, bias, and the ability to work at any pace.

College correspondence courses are, compared to traditional schools, inexpensive. This discrepancy results largely from difference in overhead: while a brick-and-mortar school requires electricity, property insurance, desks, sanitation, maintenance, and myriad other costs, an online environment requires a comparatively small number of system administrators to keep the courses running. Certain institutions charge the same rates in tuition, but even these cost less overall when considering secondary costs like transportation and lodging.

The ability to work from home carries a certain degree of convenience, as well. While attending traditional schools often involves major moves, special lodging, and years-long periods of unemployment or highly competitive part-time positions on-campus, distance learning has a much lighter impact on a person’s life. This makes it particularly appealing to non-traditional students, particularly adults aged 26 or higher who are more established in their careers, families, and communities.

The ability to learn at one’s own pace is a complex issue in college correspondence courses. When coursework is turned in as-completed, it means that it can be put down until time is available. This is great news for collegiate parents who want to tend to their children while completing their coursework—students can effectively pause their classroom, tend to their child, and then return where they left off.

For some, this freedom is a disadvantage. Attrition (that is, drop-out) rates for online learning are much larger than traditional schools, in part due to lack of self-discipline among e-learners. When non-traditional students turn to e-learning to go to school despite rather full lives, they sometimes find that the time commitment of an online course is unsustainable next to other demands on their time. Studying from home rather than at an institution, the classroom can potentially feel more like unanswered mail than a significant failure.

The technological learning environment of today’s college correspondence courses is another source of frustration and attrition in distance learners. Reliance on e-mail and increasingly complex virtual classrooms serves as a barrier for less tech-savvy students, while dependence on an internet connection can interfere with virtual “attendance” when the time to study arrives.

Despite growing enthusiasm for distance learning among researchers and institutions, college correspondence courses still carry with them a certain stigma. Some feel that the traditional higher learning institution cannot be replaced. This bias can make degrees acquired by these programs less valuable to certain audiences. Whether the bias is deserved or not remains open to interpretation, but the large number of accredited distance learning institutions suggests that they live up to the standards established by the United States Department of Education.

College Credit Card Debt - How to Avoid College Credit Card Debt [next] [back] Wizard Of Oz Toys - Collecting Wizard of Oz Toys

User Comments

Your email address will be altered so spam harvesting bots can't read it easily.
Hide my email completely instead?

Cancel or