Another wonderful thing about new information and communication technologies is their versatility. Even though there have been and still are distance learning programs, online learning becomes en vogue – in this case I mean only study programs. One example is the University were I did my Masters. The University of Hull, International Politics Department, offers 3 out of 11 MA programs via their own online platform.
Distance learning such as the specialized University of Hagen offers, will not be substituted by online learning at all. There are several programs which could not be done without offering their students a place in a laboratory. Distance learning means that you get your stuff via mail and online, take the exams at the university and for some it means to go to the lab or somewhere else.
Online learning on the other hand can only be offered for programs where no laboratories are necessary. Furthermore, papers and ‘oral’ exams are the only way for online students to get marks because written exams via online platforms may lead to cheating. No one can check what is on your desk while you are sitting at home, taking your exam.
What you need for both, distance learning and online learning is a good skill of self-organization and motivation. The good thing about it is that you can study part-time while working and living in a different city. Studying online has also the advantage that you can study from all-over the world as long as there is Internet access. The bad thing is: you are not a student at all. There is some life experience, plus the student la vida loca which you will miss out ;).
Even though, I preferred studying in a traditional way, distance or online learning is not a bad thing. Especially for people who like to do it part-time or travel much it is the only solution. If you have to choice between distance and traditional studying I would stronlgy recommend the traditional way. Not only because of the vida loca…