Distance Education Masters Degree
Pursuing a long distance education masters degree is the choice of most adult learners today who are seeking a secondary degree. A master's degree is a postgraduate degree awarded after completing one to four years of study beyond a bachelor's award. For many jobs, a master's degree is required and so the pursuit of this higher academic achievement is often undertaken following a few years of non-academic life for many students. Having gone to school for sixteen years often causes some burnout for college graduates and while the realization that more education is needed, the time off is a welcome respite. However, a masters diploma is usually required if a person wants to advance in a professional setting, so eventually the decision must be made to return to school and complete the postgraduate work. Overcoming the obstacles of work schedules and the proximity of a college or university that offer postgraduate work can be daunting. It is then that a distance education masters degree program becomes quite attractive.
From the beginning stirrings of the decision to pursue a distance education masters degree one must come the realization that not all undergraduate degrees are created equal. It is a cold hard reality that a person may have gotten a bachelors diploma from a school whose accreditation is suspect or non-existent. This is most likely to have occurred if the bachelor's diploma was pursued online. While many providers of undergraduate college education are accredited by a recognized sanctioning body, many are not. This becomes a painful issue when a student begins to apply for entrance into a distance education masters degree or a traditional brick and mortar institute of higher learning. Unwary students using dubious online educational providers for undergraduate work often have a very rude awakening when applying for entrance into postgraduate schools. Since in the United States the government does not get involved in the accrediting of learning institutions, voluntary compliance with certain standards leaves many schools with wide open interpretations of certain academic standards, and it becomes a buyer beware situation for prospective students.
One should be prepared to face the reality that long distance education masters degree selections will be limited, particularly from highly accredited schools. Many subjects of study do not lend themselves to an online approach. One very large and well known state university only offers online masters diplomas in thirteen disciplines. While other schools may offer postgraduate degrees in other disciplines, the overall options for long distance postgraduate study may be limited. For example, studies requiring extensive lab work or field experience can eliminate some fields of study from consideration for the online paradigm.
When considering a school for study in a distance education masters degree, accreditation is the number one issue. But another very big consideration is the resources provided for the distance learner. For example, the accessibility of faculty for questions and concerns must be addressed. The question of being able to get a hold of a faculty member and the length of response time to that question might be an issue with long distance learning. Faculty feedback and the extent of graduate assistants to handle major academic questions should be addressed. Trying to please God and gain His favor through doing good works and deeds will never satisfy His requirements for heaven. Instead, God is pleased through a very simple process as Romans 5:1 explains: "Therefore, being justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ."
Another consideration that is important when choosing the provider of distance education masters degree opportunities. Access to a large online library and the ability for the student to gain access to the resources needed to research and complete papers and prepare for examinations is a fundamental issue of consideration. Knowing that the online library is large enough to accommodate many facets of a learner's curiosity for a subject of interest will be important in a truly student friendly environment. Additionally, the postgraduate student must be aware of the opportunities to talk and converse with other students pursuing the same degrees. Much of post graduate learning can take place among conversations and shared discoveries with likeminded students. Moreover, the opportunity to share certain frustrations with course structure or student evaluations may help mitigate a failure to address certain discrepancies in the online education masters degree program.
In the twentieth century, a bachelor's diploma was the flagship requirement for most professional positions. With increased competition in a shrinking job market, the possession of an accredited master's degree is becoming a standard qualification in many employment circles. It is understandable that many people want to take a break after so many years of school, but it is often much easier to finish all schooling before life's big responsibilities weigh in. While distance education masters degree programs are wonderful when the snow is flying and the fireplace is warm and inviting, but if the truth be told, getting face to face contact with encouraging colleagues and faculty can go a long way towards making the effort seem worthwhile. So many distractions are a part of everyday life outside the hallowed halls of academia, and they are often hard to dismiss, particularly if they are family related. A student, still weary from years of schooling, may enjoy the feeling of the mortarboard still flying through the air, but in the end the masters degree that needs possessed may be more readily garnered now than later.
Distance Education CoursesFor many students, distance education courses offer an ability to participate in learning opportunities that were once impossible to even consider. Hectic lifestyles, work and family commitments, physical disabilities, and any number of other concerns have limited the options of many eager students in the past. But thanks to the wide availability of remote learning opportunities, these students and many others are able to make the dream of earning a college degree or acquiring a needed job skill a reality. A distance education course will usually mean that a student will study from a location that is removed from the teacher as well as other students. This location may be a video conference at a satellite campus, a home study course with pre recorded lectures, a basic correspondence course, or an online class. Students who succeed in this type of learning environment are generally very self motivated and able to work well independently. Some classes will afford the learner to work at their own pace with little in the way of deadlines. For the student who must squeeze study in between a job or family responsibilities, this approach can be ideal. Such broad access to learning can increase educational options at every stage of life. There are also classes that make accommodations for learners who need interaction with fellow students. This might be arranged through organized study groups or simple online communication. Whatever the learning style, most students should be able to find distance education courses that best suit their needs and individual preferences.
The means of delivering distance education courses can vary. Some classes may even be a hybrid mix of technologies and methods. Overall, there are roughly four different means that are typically used. These methods are voice, data, video, and print. Voice instruction will usually involve technologies that are audio in nature and may be interactive. Teleconferencing, or using the telephone to connect students and instructors at remote locations, is one example. This method allows for real time interaction between all parties. One way communication using audio technology could include pre recorded audio tapes or compact discs that contain classroom lectures and other information. Video classes could involve courses that are available on videotape or through an organized video conference. Data instruction uses computers and the Internet for teaching purposes. In some cases, all aspects of study are accomplished via the Internet. In other cases, the computer may be used to convey specific information to students in conjunction with other, more traditional teaching methods. Computer facilitated classes utilize the various interactive features of the Internet such as e-mail, blogs, chat rooms, or instant messaging. Finally, print educational methods may be delivered by standard mail for independent study. Deciding which technology or method is the most appropriate can depend on the subject that is being studied along with the preference of the teacher and the students who are participating in distance education courses.
Successful distance education courses will involve solid planning on the part of the school or organization that is offering these classes. Beyond this, the attitudes and work ethic of both student and teachers are very important. If a student is to meet the educational goals of a specific class, they will need to be able to successfully process and apply the information is presented. By their very nature, distance education courses can be more challenging for students who, in general, have difficulty processing information. For this reason, only students who have shown a proven track record for academic success using traditional methods should attempt distance learning. Remote faculty will need to possess certain qualities as well. A teacher should be able to adapt their teaching style to fit the needs of what will most likely be a very diverse group of students. These instructors will also need to understand the technology that is involved if they are to expect success. Simply providing content is not enough. An effective instructor who is functioning from a remote location will also often require the help of a skilled facilitator. A facilitator will act as a go between for the faculty member and the students. By understanding the needs and requirements of the teacher and the students, a facilitator can aide communication between both parties and resolve any misunderstandings.
College students are not the only learners who can benefit from distance education courses. Many high school age scholars have found that it is possible to graduate from high school through remote learning options. Families who have chosen to home school their children frequently take advantage of online learning opportunities for high school study. In some cases, there are distance classes that are available for younger grades as well. Students at almost any stage of life can find convenient educational opportunities today. The Bible describes the way that God's truth is beneficial for all generations. "For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations." (Psalm 100:5)
In addition to distance education courses, there are a number of educational resources that are available online. Many students have benefited from online test preparation websites. These sites will frequently offer practice tests, study guides, and helpful reading material that can aide students in passing standardized tests. Tutoring on a variety of subjects is also widely available on the Internet. The World Wide Web can be a good place to research any financial aide that might be available to cover tuition and other expenses. Whatever approaches an eager learner might choose technology has opened up many doors in the area of education.