What Is Distance Learning by Mail?
Distance learning is the term used for the self-paced courses that are available through some web-based universities or in lesser known colleges, which facilitates virtual learning by way of e-mail exchanges. This system has since replaced the traditional "slow mail". It now makes use of electronic mail technology and its other features, which include file attachments, file downloading, and uploading. Nonetheless, e-mail service providers like G-mail, now includes web-cam and file-sharing among its many applications.
This type of online education is usually the route taken by individuals who want to complete higher education but cannot afford to log on to live online sessions or what we know of as virtual classrooms. Study guides for course materials are downloadable or sent as videos, CDs, or audio tapes with annotated texts. Direct support from mentors may not always be available while lectures and lessons can be accessed via recorded videos online. Questions and messages are posted on forums or sent via e-mails while replies will be received at a later time.
Most students enrolling in distance learning universities choose this type of online learning for the following reasons:
- Time constraints due to the demands of work or family responsibilities; there is difficulty in setting a specific time to attend to the course material.
- The online learner is from another country and has a different time zone.
- Some others are equipped with only the basic computer features and none of the new technologies used for virtual classrooms used by web-based universities.
In a distance-learning set-up, the most that will be required from the student is a personal computer with at least 256MB RAM or better. The PC should have Internet connection with DSL or Broadband Cable with at least 56 kbps modem and any of the known Java-capable browsers, like the Internet Explorer, Mozilla, Safari, or Google Chrome. Universities have different computer requirements; hence it would be best to check with the academic department of the distance learning program.
Perhaps, by basing on these distinctions, individuals interested in e-learning will no longer be confused in determining the type of off-campus education that would suit one's educational needs.