The Advantages of Distant Education Compared to Traditional Education sample essay

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Today countless students are able to obtain an excellent education from a distance as opposed to residing on or near a traditional institution’s physical campus. There is no longer the need for the traditional, expensive and potentially difficult “boarding student” or “commuter student” education. Because of the Internet students now enjoy a “virtual campus” with many advantages not available to students at a physical campus. Additionally, the virtual campus does not have many of the drawbacks of a traditional college or university.

By attending school through the Internet the student has advantages of selection, greater flexibility, better value and much broader horizons. These are just a handful of the reasons why earning a degree through distant education is more rewarding than through a traditional institution. In the past many students had a very narrow choice of schools to attend; today the Internet makes possible a huge selection of institutions and courses otherwise unavailable. Not only is there a vast selection of institutions and courses but there is also a wealth of information regarding the specific school or course.

Traditionally a student would have to spend a great deal of time researching potential selections. Advisors would be consulted, catalogs would be reviewed, and often a decision on attendance would be made “sight unseen”. The Internet allows a student to consult with a wide variety of people with knowledge of the school. Powerful “search engines” allow a student to select a variety of institutions according to their interests and then consult up-to-date catalogs of their specific choices.

There are no expensive trips to a campus, or having the anxiety of having to go to a distant institution without any knowledge of the physical campus, lodging, or amenities. If there is any drawback to the selection process, it will be the pleasant one of having available such varieties it seems at first like a giant marketplace. However, the Internet allows the student to pick the best quality after comparison or to easily find the proverbial “needle in a haystack”. The virtual campus gives the student flexibility unheard of at a traditional school.

No longer is the student tethered to a time-clock or rushing about to avoid being late to class. A student will be on a personalized schedule for coursework and assignments, and be able to fit studies into a pre-existing schedule. It is the difference between waiting for a potentially late bus and having a reliable car at your disposal. Flexibility in scheduling allows students can take the courses they wish without worry of “course conflict” of two desired courses scheduled at the same time. The student does not have to wait for a course only offered only in certain semesters.

Essentially, the student is in many cases freed of the traditional academic calendar. The student earning a degree at a distant university can take the class with him, to work or anywhere there is Internet access. This flexibility is a vital part of the student really being in control of his education, while many colleges and universities try to control their students. Now the student has the ability and flexibility to learn in an environment of his choosing, free of the distractions that are present in traditional schools and which he has no control over.

Students are consumers of education and like smart consumers everywhere they can find the best educational value available. The Internet makes possible the comparison of the cost of different institutions taking into account a great number of institutions and a great number of variables. Students may discover a lower price from a “virtual” campus because there is no upkeep of huge expensive-to-maintain traditional campuses. Students learning through a distant institution have the added value of receiving their education at a much lower cost than students attending traditional schools.

There are no transportation and travel costs. The cost of room and board is not something additional that the traditional student may be required to pay on a “bricks and mortar” campus. They are not at the mercy of a foreign and potentially higher cost of living. If the school or course of study turns out to be unwanted a student can change schools without the difficulties of physically leaving one campus for another. If students are working they can continue their education without risk of loss of income.

Perhaps most importantly is the value of receiving an education at home. The student earning a degree at a distant university has the benefit of bringing the school into the home, as opposed to the cost of bringing the student to the campus. There is great value in learning within a familiar environment as opposed to the potential cost of learning hard lessons away from home. Additionally, there is as great or greater value in having developed the self-discipline required when a student undertakes a distant education.

The broader horizons available through earning a degree from a traditional college are as vast as the Internet itself. Courses of instruction are available that would otherwise be difficult to physically obtain. The physical lines and boundaries of a map are erased and replaced with a very real “world wide web” of connections unavailable just a few short years ago. It is a virtual universe of knowledge as limitless as the stars. A person from a distant land and culture who a student would never physically meet are now friends sharing a virtual classroom.

Typically “unreachable” or “unavailable” instructors and professors stay in frequent contact with students via email, chat-rooms and electronic conferencing. The opportunity for those professors to bring in “guest” lecturers is limitless. Students will learn as well from other students from around the globe as well as the opportunity to meet face-to-face with students in the same area attending the same distant courses. What would be a local, regional, or national network of friends and acquaintances is now global in scope.

The opportunity to learn about different cultures will come from first-hand communication and not second-hand books or films. Collaborations between so many from so many backgrounds will produce compositions unlike anything previously possible. When and if a student has the opportunity to travel to a distant area, he is more than likely able to find a classmate with first-hand knowledge of the area, and he himself can transform from a virtual “tour-guide” to the real thing if classmates visit his native home.

As working from home for a distant employer becomes more and more common, students who had the good fortune to complete a course of study from a distant institution will be obviously more attractive than traditional students as they have demonstrated the ability and self-discipline to achieve their goal. Earning a degree through distant education has more attractions, resources, and ultimately greater benefits than earning a degree the traditional way. It is at once something completely novel and yet simply the current reflection of man’s age-old quest for knowledge.

Basic education has seen one room school houses evolved into grade schools and high schools. Professional education has witnessed limited colleges and institutes evolved into massive universities. Now, and for the future, based on such a fertile foundation global education continues to evolve like a vibrant plant somehow continuing to thrive despite the elements and environmental changes. A student fortunate to receive an education from a distant institution has the satisfaction of knowing his education, like the thriving plant, is the strongest it could possibly be.