Ever since the beginning of the Internet we have been able to access streams of information. Recently there has been a rise in people using the Internet for all their learning needs. Most people studying online courses fit their learning in between other commitments, such as a full-time Jobs, meaning that there is simply not enough time to fit in regular trips down to their local university campus to attend lectures and seminars. Some people may find, however, that studying on your own sat at a computer screen may affect your chances of succeeding in your chosen subject.
Richard Reece, (associate vice-president for teaching, learning and students at the University of Manchester) says that being part of an online community during studying is important to make connections with others, just as they would on a university based course. “Academically, support from other learners is as important on campus as it is off campus. We encourage students who are on campus to form peer-assisted study schemes. We do the same for distance learning students as well.”
Steve Mills (student president for education welfare at Robert Gorden University, Aberdeen) also says that the main challenge for stuudying at a distance is the lack of the engagement and interactivity with peers. He says: “A big part of the student experience is meeting new people, making friends, joining societies and having social events, but distance learning students don’t get to experience that, so it is very academic for them.”
Even though these distance learning courses allow people who may not otherwise have the time to undertake university courses, but wish to further their knowledge in a subject of their choice, it may affect their whole student experience and ultimately the results they leave with.
– Page, L., 2013. Can virtual classrooms beat face-to-face interaction?. The Guardian [online]. 13th of November 2013. Available from: http://www.theguardian.com/education/2013/nov/13/human-interaction-distance-learning [Assessed: 20th of November 2013].