As distance education and online learning institutions continue to grow, and experience increases in enrollment rates, these schools are quickly gaining popularity. With such flexible schedules for those who have time constraints, conflicting schedules, and important commitments, distance learning seems to appeal to a diverse population, regardless of age. With distance learning, it doesn’t matter what your job is, how many people you need to provide for, and how hectic your schedule gets. After all, the beauty of online learning is just that – it’s mostly done online and you can tend to your reading, studying, quizzes, and exams on your own time and at your own pace.
Just as with traditional schools, different courses and professors are likely to assign different requirements for their individual courses. Online schools and universities are no different, and while specific requirements may vary slightly between schools and different degree programs, all students really need to excel in a distance learning setting is their computer. Granted, some courses may require students to purchase textbooks, most schools and educational programs that are online only require that students have access to a computer and that they have internet access. This is because many of those schools post lectures, videos, and material online so that students may retrieve all their information from the Internet.
The computer requirements you will need to earn a degree online are pretty simple and straightforward for the most part. If you plan on taking several online classes and earning your degree online, it’s probably best to actually own a computer and have Internet access. Relying on a library or someone else to borrow a computer may mean that you miss scheduled quizzes, exams, or online class discussions and forums, so it’s best to have access to a computer whenever you need it. Online professors may require students to video blog or watch video lectures so you may need to make sure you have plug-ins such as speakers, a webcam, and a microphone, according to Online College, which lists its computer requirements for online courses.
Other requirements may include certain programs such as PowerPoint, Microsoft Word and Excel, Internet Explorer, Acrobat Reader and other basic programs that most people already have on their computers. It is likely that you will need specific versions of these programs so that they are compatible with those that your professor and the school use such as Microsoft 97 or higher and Acrobat Reader 5.0, which is pretty standard. Many online schools also use a specific vendor such as Blackboard, to view assignments and reading, and others to promote online discussions and forums, so again, Internet access is required.
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