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Distance Learning

by Ben Nabert

Before the availability of distance learning, a formal college education in the United States was primarily relegated to privileged males in the upper echelons of society. But in the late 1800’s, the University of Chicago decided to open the first major American correspondence school, showering a wealth of opportunities over people of every income level, gender, and race.

Those who were previously denied the means to improve their social and economic status could now take advantage of this inclusive educational system. And though the elite initially looked down upon the fast-growing distance learning movement, they were eventually forced to acknowledge and accept this powerful vehicle of societal change. By acquiring a college education online, women, minorities, and the economically disadvantaged were able to secure a better future; and the resulting ripple effect improved the quality of life for many who came after them.

Distance learning is defined as an education process that takes place with a geographic separation between teacher and student. And although correspondence courses were once the primary format, today’s distance learner is more likely to use a computer with internet access. Online education, which is the evolution of correspondence courses, is experiencing explosive growth. Several million students throughout the world currently tap into online universities; and most traditional institutions of higher learning also offer courses via the computer.

But who takes advantage of distance learning via online degrees?

Interestingly, people from all walks of life choose this form of education – including career employees, college students, homemakers, military personnel, management personnel, the physically disabled, single mothers, older adults, homeschool students, and many others. The flexibility offered by online education is incomparable; and interaction with teachers and classmates is built into online classes - using chat rooms, e-mail, message boards and other technological options.

Thousands of online schools and courses of study are available; and mega-providers of educational data, like, offer all of the information needed to pursue an online degree or certificate. So once again, distance learning continues its mission of offering opportunity and hope to everyone. If you can dream big dreams; distance learning is available to help turn those dreams into reality.

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