is considered to be a vehicle for delivering education to persons whose location, circumstances or work make remote links necessary or convenient, and is defined, for the purposes of accreditation review, as a formal educational process in which the majority of the instruction occurs when student and instructor are not in the same place. Instruction may be synchronous or asynchronous. It is not considered to be a separate type of education altogether.
Distance education is an increasingly popular way to study for everything from a short professional course to a graduate degree in the United States, and there are numerous institutions offering undergraduate degree programs using distance education teaching methods involving. “the process of extending learning, or delivering instructional resource-sharing opportunities, to locations away from a classroom, building or site, to another classroom, building or site by using video, audio, computer, multimedia communications, or some combination of these with other traditional delivery methods.”
Because distance education is less expensive to support and is not constrained by geographic considerations, it offers opportunities in situations where traditional education has difficulty operating. Students with scheduling or distance problems can benefit, as can workers, because distance education can be more flexible in terms of time and can be delivered virtually anywhere. Studies indicate that distance learning can be as effective as the traditional format when the methods are appropriate to the teaching tasks, there is student-teacher interaction, and the teachers provide students with appropriate and timely feedback.
For international students this means that they can study for a U.S. degree without leaving their home country, though they will almost certainly have to go to the United States for short periods of face-to-face contact and study on the campus. Studying for a degree using distance education requires students to have special qualities such as self-discipline and the ability to work on their own. If you are considering distance education, you should thoroughly research the quality of the program, the accreditation of the institution in the United States, and its recognition in your home country to make sure this option is the appropriate one for your future goals.