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Distance Learning and Success: How Does Distance Learning Affect Minority Students?

written by: Kathy Foust•edited by: Sylvia Cochran•updated: 4/26/2010

Why would distance learning be any different from traditional learning for minorities? Read this article to find out the answer to the question of how minority students, distance learning and success are connecting.

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    Minority Concerns

    Minority students face a wealth of concerns when going to college. Rowdy college students can make life very difficult for those who have decided to pursue an education while holding a minority status. Though society is improving, there are some students who were bred with seeds of hatred planted into them. Being a minority is not limited to race; there are religious and gender issues to consider as well. Consider the female student, who is specializing in diesel mechanics, or the male scholar specializing in interior decoration. Below is a general listing of what some minority students may face at traditional schools:

    • Hazing, such as the volatile type discussed by the Women's Sports Foundation in various forms, based on differences in sexual preference, race, religion and gender.
    • Ostracizing from classmates based on minority differences in various subjects.
    • Difficulty in understanding terminology due to a language barrier.
    • Prejudice from instructors and staff members of the school that is reflected in grading or general treatment.

    These are just some of the issues faced by minorities in traditional schools. This type of atmosphere can seriously impede one's ability to learn and complete course requirements and may even lead to emotional issues later in life. This underscores the connection between distance learning and success.

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    Minority Students, Distance Learning and Success

    Distance learning provides a completely different atmosphere in which students can concentrate only on their learning and nothing else. What they do with their time outside their studies is up to them, but everyone should be afforded the opportunity to learn without being subjected to an abusive and destructive atmosphere. Let's review some of the benefits for minority students engaged in online learning:

    • It is nearly impossible to be wrongfully judged, when others may not be aware of your gender, race, or religious affiliation.
    • Discussion boards offer students a chance to interact with others while maintaining a very limited awareness of issues that could cause prejudice. In other words, everyone is as anonymous as they want to be. If the student decides to discuss personal issues with others, then they do have that opportunity; yet topics like gender, race and religion are not the things that make a first impression to online students.
    • If the student does have problems with language barriers, s/he is able to contact the instructor in a private manner so that s/he retains privacy while still being able to express concern over communication issues.
    • It is fairly easy to avoid prejudice from staff members you never see. Though the instructor has access to some personal information, even that is limited and not very extensive, therefore limiting the chances of prejudice in general.

    Overall, minority students and distance learning make a wonderful combination, completely eliminating some of the concerns that minorities may otherwise have to deal with in college. This leaves the minority students in a position to concentrate on their education without fear of being judged based on anything other than academic merit.