Distance Education

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Distance Education

Traditionally, in the field of education, courses have been designed and student/teacher interactions have taken place through the teaching/learning process where the student and teacher are in the same location at the same time discussing the same topic. Students and teachers usually meet in this predetermined location at a predetermined time to interact in a classroom setting. The absence of either party usually has a negative result. Distance education has captured the interest of educators because it removes the restrictions of time and location for the involved learner and the teacher. Distance learning is "taking instruction to the student through technology rather than the student to the instruction" (Cohen, 1999, p. 218).

Distance education seems new to many when in actuality it has been around for some time. It began as correspondence learning in the last century and continued into this century, transforming into mass communications through the use of radio and television (Cohen, 1999, p. 218). Distance education further developed in the forms of extended education, open education, and distance learning (McIssac & Blocher, 1998, p. 43). Now, distance education takes on many forms: teleconferencing, electronic mail, web-based instruction, chat rooms, satellite television, computer networks, and virtual classrooms just to name a few. Distance education has evolved from the use of primarily print-based materials into a worldwide movement using various technologies (McIsaac & Blocher, 1998, p. 43).

Distance learning can be interactive or non-interactive learning. Interactive learning can be synchronic or asynchronic or a combination of the two. Synchronic learning is where "the teacher and stud...

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