Distance Education – Is It Right For You?

No matter how many times the adage ‘It’s a small world’ is repeated, as it stands now, 10,000 miles are 10,000 miles. No denying that fact. The point of saying this is – if the program of your choice at the university of your choice is very far from where you presently are (keep in mind the fact that due to professional or other commitments you will not be able to shift as well), the term distance education comes into the picture.

It is a relatively novel concept in the field of imparting education where-in the student doesn’t necessarily have to be physically present in the classroom. The concept, novel as it may be, is catching steam very fast indeed, considering the fact that there is a flashpoint which is being reached with regard to peoples’ desire to advance by gaining better degrees in their chosen field(s) and their prior commitments which are preventing them from being physically present at the place where they could work towards their degree.

In such a situation, it is distance education that is coming to the rescue of more and more professionals. However, that brings us to the point of this article – is distance education the way to go for everyone? Like any other thing, it has its merits and demerits. In this article, we look at distance education from both points of view – merits as well as demerits. Read on for more information.

  • Distance education – the savior. ¬†As already mentioned, probably the biggest advantage distance education can provide is the fact that the student doesn’t necessarily have to be within the four walls of the classroom. This comes in real handy especially for professionals with their busy work schedules, where they can’t really accommodate daily classes at a particular venue. This brings us to the next advantage.

Distance education also helps the students to choose the timings of the classes according to their own convenience. So, if you absolutely have to prepare the presentation for the meeting tomorrow and yet have a class to attend, through distance education, you can simply postpone the class till tomorrow. Here is some more good news – most universities in the world have begun to offer some sort of distance education or the other.

So you basically have a really wide field of choice. Another important thing to keep in mind is that the cost of an average distance education program is significantly lower than the cost of a regular program. But don’t jump with joy just yet; while distance education does have significant advantages, it has disadvantages too. We elaborate the disadvantages next.

  • The disadvantages of distance education. One disadvantage may be in perception. It just may be perceived that a distance education program is inferior in quality to a regular program. This mainly stems out of the fact that it’s not really difficult to get into a distance education program, while the corresponding regular program may have a lot of competition for entry. While you are enrolled in a distance education course, you will generally not be evaluated regularly.

So, it becomes imperative that as a student, you set your study hours in a balanced fashion and stick to them as much as possible. This may be another disadvantage of distance education, where-in the student has the responsibility of completing the course and program satisfactorily.

Like any coin, distance education too has two sides to it. It is for you, as a prospective student, to gauge whether distance education will be suitable for you.


I am Deepanjan Datta doing electrical engineering from the National Institute of Technology (NIT) Durgapur, India. I love to write, and develop software programs.