Distance Education courses may not be right for all students. They give students greater freedom of scheduling but they also can require more self-discipline than on-campus courses. How well DE courses fit into your educational and career goals depends on many factors. Students must be able to create the right environment, have specific study habits and understand the technical and academic requirements for CSM classes. For students who meet the requirements below, Distance Education courses are as effective as on-campus courses in terms of student learning.
With no physical campus around them to screen out distractions, and no regular class meetings to remind them about next week's homework or allow time for questions, distance education students must create their own learning environment. Successful distance learning requires:
- a reliable, private place to work (your office cubicle, home study, library or CSM computer lab)
- reliable access to a computer with Internet access and an individual email account
- Enough time to complete course assignments (a calendar of assignments to organize your time).
Students must have adequate computer skills to meet the technological expectations of a DE course including:
- comfort with navigating the Web
- attaching and/or uploading documents and files
- word processing
- conferencing tools
DE courses are recommended for students who can work well independently, without face-to-face instruction. Successful DE students:
- develop a study plan
- create the proper learning environment (see above)
- keep in touch with their instructors
- ask for help if they need it
Distance Education classes require as much time and effort as on-campus classes. Expect to devote at least as much time to an online course as on its on-campus counterpart, including homework and lecture hours - typically 10-15 hours per week per course. Plan accordingly.