A growing number of colleges and universities throughout the United States are offering courses through “distance learning,” that is, on the web. These courses are designed primarily for students who want to take classes at other colleges or universities and are also available to anyone who wants to use the web to complete certificate, associate, or bachelor’s degrees. Distance learning is growing in popularity and over four million people take these courses each year.
Here are a few questions you should ask when choosing online classes or programs:
- Is the program accredited through a regional accrediting association (for example, Western Association of Schools and Colleges or North Central Association of Colleges and Schools)?
- How long has the institution been offering distance learning?
- What kind of computer equipment and internet connectivity will you need?
- What type of technical support will you receive by telephone or online and when is the support available (for example, 24 hours/day, seven days/week)?
- What tuition and fees are required in order to take the classes?
- Are tuition and fees refundable if you drop the class?
You can start researching distance education at the California Virtual Campus website.