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Discuss the implications of distance education.

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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I think that distance education is a very compelling topic with profound implications.  The idea of continuing one's education or engaging in education in a distance format simply means that education is "delivered" to students who are not "on site" or in a physically traditional educational setting.  Its implications reflect a great deal about the modern world in which we live.  Initially, the growth and onslaught of technology using the web and computing or mobile devices makes distance learning more real and viable than ever.  The lack of physical limitations is what makes the web such a compelling tool and it makes sense that this would be applied to learning.  Taking online courses or participating in educational settings via the web are realities that are no longer the exception to the rule.  The statistics speak to this:

...96 percent of the largest colleges and universities in the  United States offered online courses and that almost 3.2 million U.S. students were taking at least one online course during the fall 2005 term.

These numbers indicate to the prevalence of distance education and how technology and the internet is an intrinsic part to this.  Additionally, I think that the implications of distance learning strikes at the idea that the modern student is fundamentally different than the one seen in previous times.  For different reasons, students have to engage in distance forums to continue or sustain their education.  Familial obligations, work obligations, or the need to balance different realities all dictate why there is a demand for distance education.  In the spirit of differentiating instruction to the needs and realities of the student, distance learning is present and in it, a reflection about the modern student is evident.  There is a hunger and desire to learn, but a sobering reality about the different demands placed upon them.  The implications of distance learning help to reflect this reality.

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