What Is Distance Learning?

AP Photo/Lisa Poole
Laurel Ranticelli looks at her UMASS online class information, July 1, 2008, in Springfield, Mass.

Online College Courses and Degrees: Go to College Without Leaving Home

If a busy schedule, physical handicap or other obstacle has prevented you from attending college at a local campus, then distance learning may be ideal for you. Most major colleges offer at least a few online college courses and degrees with more and more colleges operating exclusively online.

What Is Distance Learning?

Distance learning can be a great opportunity for some but it isn't suited for everyone. The following Web sites reveal the types of students who do best with distance learning.

Insights for Understanding Distance Learning

  • Sites with tips and tricks to help you determine if distance learning is right for you are included below. Review the advice and see if you can imagine yourself following it.
  • When looking for general information or opinions about online coursework, go for objective sources rather than an online college's Web site.

Top Sites for Understanding Distance Learning

For an introduction to distance learning coursework ...
To assess whether distance learning is right for you ...
For tips to help you succeed ...
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Finding an Online College

One of the most important details to consider when finding an online college is whether the school is accredited by a respected national agency. Also consider cost, degree programs, student support services and anything else that is important to your educational experience.

Insights for Finding an Online College

  • The following sites each list dozens of colleges that offer distance courses. Make a checklist of what you are looking for in an online school so that you can easily narrow down these exhaustive lists.
  • If you prefer to search for available degree programs rather than just finding an online college, appropriate sites are listed for that, too. In fact, this may be the best way to narrow down your choices for an online college.

Top Sites for Finding an Online College

For detailed lists of online colleges ...
For lists of online college degrees ...
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Financial Aid for Online Courses

Don't assume that you can't qualify for financial aid for online courses. Even if your GPA is low, your credit is bad or you earn a large income, there are still resources available.

Insights for Financial Aid for Online Courses

  • The following sites are the safest and most legitimate places on the Web to research financial aid for online courses. Never share personal financial information with a site unless you're sure of its legitimacy.

Top Sites for Financial Aid for Online Courses

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Distance Learning Tools

There are many distance learning tools and Web sites that can increase your productivity as a student and assist you with your online school correspondence.

Insights for Distance Learning Tools

  • Try the findingDulcinea College Living Web Guide to get more distance learning tools and tips. Although that guide is aimed at students on a college campus, many of the resources listed are perfect for distance learners.

Top Sites for Distance Learning Tools

For a free virtual classroom ...
Distance learning tools for online research ...
Distance learning tools for composing homework ...
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Community Links in Online College Courses

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