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Small University Goal for a Liberal Arts Program in a distance learning format

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Write to a board of a small university with the goal of convincing them to put their Liberal Arts Program into a distance learning format. You want to show them that the profits will grow as more and more students ease into the new format. You also want to show that potential student enrollments will far outweigh the fears of damaging the traditional Liberal Arts Program.

Use the internet to research the benefits of offering a traditional Liberal Arts Program in a distance learning format. In addition, use various other online research tools to gain the information and statistics on the advantages and increasing prevalence of distance education to back up your argument.

Make sure to select appropriate artwork or charts to illustrate and accompany your message and to document your sources using parenthetical citations in your slideshow.

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Solution Summary

The 3430 word solution breaks down the subject into ten categories of ideas and plans needed to accomplish the objective of distance learning.

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Distance education is a system and process that connects learners and instructors with educational resources from a variety of geographically separate sites using a variety of different media. Students and instructors are separated from each other by either distance of time. Two way communications exists between the learner, instructor, and other learners either through print or some form of electronic media. Though modern technologies have drawn more attention to the potential available through distance learning more, it is not a new idea. Correspondence courses date back to the 1800's with students receiving materials from their instructors, completing prescribed assignments, and returning then to the instructor for written feedback. Since that time, however, telephone lines, satellites, video and other electronic advances have made it possible to communicate with any number of individuals or groups instantaneously in remote areas at relatively little expense. Now with the aid of computers, students can complete formal education requirements in the comfort of their homes at any time drawing information from traditional sources as well as through the innumerable resources available through the World Wide Web. In today's fast-paced world, conventional wisdom tells us that we have to keep learning in order to advance professionally, financially and personally. Now the question becomes, how is this possible when work and family obligations prevent us from attending a former school setting? Since most traditional education systems are not accommodating to mature adults with busy lifestyles many professionals are actively seeking an alternative form of education. For such individuals distance learning may prove to be the ideal solution.

Within a context of rapid technological changes and shifting market conditions, the American education system is challenged to meet this growing demand without further increasing tuition fees. For this reason some educational institutions are starting to develop distance learning programs. These types of programs can offer opportunities not only to further one's education but also open the door to new career options.

Some educators question whether distant students learn as much as those receiving traditional face-to-face instruction. But recent research, comparing distance education to traditional instruction, indicates that distance learning can be as effective as traditional instruction.

Research further suggests that distant students bring basic characteristics to their learning experience which influences their success in coursework. Distance education students are voluntarily seeking further education and have post-secondary education goals with expectations for higher grades. They are also highly motivated and self-disciplined.


The idea that teaching and learning can successfully take place through electronic communication between teachers and students who are widely separated by space and time is a concept that has inspired both hope and dismay, as well as excitement and fear. In advanced industrial countries with high rates of literacy and school attendance and with abundant post-secondary educational opportunities, we find a burgeoning literature, most of which touts the "unlimited" possibilities of this "revolution" in education.

Some of the potential benefits for distance learners in both developed and developing countries include the greater access to education that distance learning offers (above all to what is increasingly referred to as the "non-traditional student"), flexibility of scheduling, the possibility of proceeding at one's own pace, and the opportunity to study without having to travel, indeed without leaving home.

In addition, for institutions that manage to persuade or oblige instructors to "bring their course online", the opportunity to reach distance students holds out the hope of great savings in the construction of classroom buildings, student housing, parking lots and other physical infrastructure, as well as substantial potential savings in teachers' salaries.


The advantages of distance education for the developing world are framed in terms of less expensive computer technology and the increasing speed and capacity of computers in relationship to their cost. In the face of the pressure on developing countries to join the global information economy, distance education appears to provide the opportunity to train more people better and at lower cost. At the same time, it has some serious drawbacks, even in its application in advanced industrial countries. These include cost and capital intensively, time constraints and other pressures on faculty, isolation of students from instructors and peers, instructors' enormous difficulty in adequately evaluating students they never meet face to face, and drop-out rates that are far higher than in classroom-based courses.

Many of these fundamental problems are reproduced when distance programs are exported to developing countries. As is known, the social impact of technological change is difficult to predict or foresee and, oftentimes, far from improving the quality of life or expectations of the powerless and the poor, the application of technology functions in strange and unexpected ways to reinforce the worst problems of inequality. The "digital divide" that polarizes the technological "haves" and "have-nots" separate the "wired world" from those without access to this technology, and within the developing world separate those who have the requisite levels of ...

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