Throughout my college career, I took the bulk of my courses at the university, but I did take about three or four distance education classes, as well.
What I found out was, while they can be very convenient in that you can work from home or wherever you want, they can also be difficult, because the instructor has to make up for the lack of lecture time, which usually comes in the form of reading and extra assignments.
I received a bachelor’s degree in psychology about 10 years ago, and my last few semesters in college I opted for some distance education classes. I was interning and working and generally a very busy person who had to be a lot of places at a lot of different times.
I had two of my basics that I had not yet taken, including an economics class and a business class, and I opted to do the courses online. I figured that it would make it easier for me to be able to work from home or on my lunch break at my internship.
The distance education classes that I took were more convenient in certain regards. I could wake up later in the morning. I could work on my coursework whenever I wanted to, which was often late at night, and I only had to make a trip to the university three or four times a semester to take the exams for each class.
The problem was, with a lack of lectures from a live professor, there was about twice as much reading as I would have with a traditional college class, and there were two or three books and other supplemental reading for which I also had to pay.
There was also special software that I needed for both distance education classes that I not only had to pay for, but also had to install on my own computer. I am not the most technologically-savvy person, so that presented quite a challenge for me.
Another difficulty with the distance education classes that I took was that it seemed like there was always a quiz or other assignment that I had to work on, and those had to be completed on a certain time scale. While it is often assumed that distance education classes are largely self-paced, I did not find them to be that way.
Now, my sister has taken practically nothing but distance education classes since she started college two years ago and loves them. I am not saying that they are bad or should not be utilized when necessary, but I would be prepared for some difficulties that usually are not addressed when such classes are offered.