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TechOne: Online and Distance Education in SFU
jjz7 | March 11, 2009 at 06:50 pmby
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According from the information provided by the Online and Distance Education Centre of Simon Fraser University, there are 135 credit courses currently available by distance, and another 27 courses currently under development or redevelopment. The distance education improves the flexibility of learning in terms of space time, choice of content and teaching resources. Working in more flexible and friendly environments can improve the balance between student schoolwork and their lives, and reduce stress and absenteeism. Not having to commute adds extra time to the day, as much as several hours a week for some students. This can also reduce stress, allowing them extra time to study. Distance education can also accommodate disabled students who often find difficult to access educational opportunities.
But there are some downsides. Some of the biggest ones seem to be the potential for isolation, distraction and hindered social development. Some students say they would be bored without this interaction, and furthermore, they would find it’s harder to concentrate. However, as distance education grows, this is a problem that more and more courses will be offered only on-line. Geographically distributed students could be taught from a centrally-based teacher and would hardly ever get to meet face-to-face.
As the education revolution moves towards an anytime-anywhere situation, students should think over the advantage and disadvantage of distance courses before they take them.
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