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With the globalization of technology and online tools, online degrees are becoming an increasingly popular and easily accessible study choice for those wanting to gain a degree or qualification without having to travel or sacrifice work or personal commitments. Due to various circumstances, distance learning is the only way to earn a degree for a lot of people; students may be physically unable to attend an education course, or may choose not to as a matter of convenience. The flexibility of an online degree allows students to study from work, home, or anywhere else they may be.

Types of Online Degrees & Distance Learning

There are two types of online degrees and distance learning options:

  • Synchronous – This option requires all students to be present or online at the same time in order to participate in a virtual classroom-type program. These are also called 'live webinars'. Technologies used through this mode include web conferencing, live streaming, web-based VoIP, and direct-broadcast satellite.
  • Asynchronous - This option consists of message board forums, recorded videos, print materials and communication through emails. Students are able to access the course material in their own time, regardless of what other classmates are doing.

Students can also participate in an online degree through online tutoring, broadcast, or (less commonly now) CD-ROMs. Due to the lack of hands-on supervision, many institutions who offer online degrees and distance learning go by the honor system in regards to cheating, but students may be required to complete their exams in a controlled setting.

The Benefits of Online Degrees & Distance Learning

An advantage of studying an online degree is that it provides a cheaper alternative to traditional schooling, as infrastructure costs do not exist. Students wanting to undertake an online degree require both discipline and responsibility as it's up to them to make sure they keep up with the curriculum, stay on top of studies and hand in assignments on time.

Applications for online degrees and distance learning vary depending on the country and institute offering the program. You will need to contact them directly through the information request button to learn about specific entry requirements for their programs. There is such a diverse range of online degrees available to students who are interested pursuing distance learning.

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