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Distance Education Program

Distance Education Program

What is a Distance Education Program?

A distance education program is perfect for people who want to continue their education but need a flexible schedule. Perhaps parents, occupied at home with a new baby, want to brush up on their IT skills. Maybe an individual, committed to a full-time job, wants to indulge a personal interest in his or her spare time. Rural high schools have found success when using satellite-based programs in the classroom. For example, a land-locked Iowa school can now explore the ocean world of marine biology through the use of a distance learning course.

Distance education programs are usually open to anyone who wants to participate; universities do not limit their programs to graduated high school students. On the other hand, there is rarely financial assistance for the program, unless you are in the process of obtaining a degree and only then might you qualify for federal student financial aid.


A distance education program is not necessarily an online degree; a number of established universities offer programs for those who want to learn from afar. Cornell University communicates with distance students through DVDs, CD-Rom and access to the Internet. Students interact with their professors via phone or e-mail and the course is structured much like any on-campus learning experience, with a set schedule for exams and assignments.

Some schools rely on print-based learning material and supply their students with assigned readings, lesson plans and workbooks. Some teach via DVD and/or audio tapes. Others use technology to their fullest advantage. Indiana University , for example, relies on two-way video and audio conferences to foster interaction. Broadcast over the Internet; this type of communication makes it possible for classmates to participate although they are physically in different locations. Harvard's Distance Education Program supplies its students with lectures via streaming Internet audio and video broadcasts shown in real-time.

Contact your local university or college, or try a school you've always wanted to attend but never had the chance.