Tips for Success
Advantages of Distance Education
- Distance education provides students with more scheduling options when learning activities are asynchronous
- Students save time and money by not commuting to and from campus classes
- By eliminating the time and place constraints of typical face-to-face courses, course materials can be more customized and expansive
- Student-centered learning typically translates into greater student interactivity and engagement
In addition, distance education provides:
Distance students do not typically commute to physical classrooms. Instead, they work inside a course management system (and/or other delivery methods) to complete assignments and interact with instructors and classmates. There are due dates for course work, but students can generally log in and submit assignments at their convenience.
All Texas A&M courses are taught by highly accomplished instructors, known for their scholarship and practice in their respective disciplines. DE allows Texas A&M to expand its instructor pool, thereby offering students the opportunity to work with excellent instructors from throughout the country and the world.
Distance students communicate with their instructors and classmates through discussion boards, group assignments, and occasional live online events. Students often say the online environment allows them to learn as much from their classmates as they do from their instructors and assignments.
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Basic Expectations for Students
- Have access to a computer with fast, reliable Internet connectivity and up-to-date software (Microsoft Word, Adobe Acrobat and Flash, Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome browser, QuickTime, etc.)
- Know how to perform common computer functions (saving and attaching files, creating folders) and navigate the Internet (using search engines, entering passwords)
- Communicate effectively and clearly using email and online discussion boards to work on assignments with students who may be in different time zones
- Be disciplined in setting and maintaining a schedule to complete work and provide timely responses to other students and instructors, even when there are distractions online (checking personal email and social media) or at home (television, family, social activities)
- Remain comfortable and consistent in being online several times a week to participate in courses
- Ask proactive and appropriate questions when assignments, concepts, expectations, or homework solutions are unclear
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Time Management & Study Skills
When considering taking distance education courses, it is important to possess strong time management and study skills. DE courses often require more of a time investment and preparation than traditional face-to-face courses—independence, discipline, and self-motivation are essential.
Here are some tips:
- Identify and become familiar with the technology used in each course
- Gather contact information for each course, as well as for technical assistance, before classes start
- Follow course syllabi to determine assignment due dates
- Avoid procrastination—don't wait until the last minute to identify or submit assignments
- Set specific times and locate a comfortable, distraction-free space for studying
- Postpone other activities until coursework is done
- Use free time wisely
- Be an independent and self-motivated learner
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