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Distance Education – What to know
May 11, 2018

When researching distance learning programs, there are key questions that you will want to ask of a program.  Dr Amy Kirle Lezberg, accreditation expert, gives some tips in her article below,  What To Know Before Enrolling in Distance Education ©.

What Program are you thinking of Enrolling in?

  • Are there any residency requirements?
  • What other institutions offer similar programs and do they grant the same credential for similar work?
  • How does the variety of courses offered compare with similar on-site programs?
  • How are course materials made available to students?
  • What arrangements have been made for me to complete any required laboratory requirements?

Who Designs, Delivers and Monitors the Program?

  • Who designs and delivers the program (and if they are different, how is the delivery controlled)?
  • Where can the qualifications and current professional activity of the faculty be found in writing?
  • What arrangements are made to ensure faculty-student and student-student interaction?

Other Expectations of the Institution and Available Student Services

  • What academic, linguistic, and technical skills does the institution require for students enrolling in this program?
  • What equipment must I have access to and how will the institution help me in any problems that arise concerning the interface between my equipment and their offerings?
  • What counseling, career, financial aid, or other non-classroom services are provided for distance education students?
  • Is there a student handbook for distance education students? If not, where are these issues addressed?
  • What is the process for filing complaints?
  • What is the institution’s refund policy if I should have to withdraw from this program?

Final Check on the Integrity of the Degree

  • How can I assure outsiders that the degree represents an assessment of my work rather than that of someone else?
  • Where is there official representation of faculty qualifications, the program’s course sequence and requirements, the nature of student/faculty interaction and assumptions about technical skills?