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North American University

Education Department
M.Ed. in EDLE & CUIN
Name: Muhsine Aykac

Date: 11/1/15

Topic Selected:
What does the research say about advantages and disadvantages of distance
What does the literature/research say about this issue/topic? By using NAU
Library or Online Search engines, conduct a literature review.

You need to include 5 different sources (book, journal article, web article
etc.) in your review. Try to use current sources as much as possible.

You need to summarize and synthesize your sources by discussing a

common theme or issue.

You don't need to critique your sources

You don't need to evaluate your sources (if the sources are trustworthy,
weather the author has a bias or not)

You need to provide background information such as history and


Brief Literature Review:

The History of Distance Education
While distance learning may seem like a relatively new phenomenon, given its
increased popularity in the online format, in reality people have been taking courses
offered by non-local instructors for hundreds of years.
Some of the earliest distance learning on record dates back to 1728 and offered to
teach students how to write in short hand through lessons sent to their home weekly.
These simple, practical lessons were commonly taught through the mail throughout
the 1700s and 1800s and allowed anyone to gain valuable job skills even if they
lived well-away from major centers of education and commerce.
The refinement and expansion of postal systems in the U.S. and abroad brought
about the true beginnings of distance learning as we think about it today. Students
and instructors could now communicate with one another fairly rapidly and send
materials back and forth with little difficulty. One of the first universities to offer a
distance learning degree was the University of London which established an External
Programme in 1858. It was soon to be followed in 1873 by the programs at the
Society to Encourage Studies at Home in Boston and the University of Australias
Department of Correspondence Studies in 1911. By the 1960s, distance learning

had grown tremendously and were later emulated by schools around the world and
provided much more rapid and modern way to share information and education with
students who could not attend traditional courses.(1)

Definition of distance education

Computer-based training, Web-based training, Internet based training, online
training, e-learning (electronic learning), m-learning (mobile learning), computeraided distance education - online education goes by many names and comes in a
variety of styles, but at its core:
Online education is electronically supported learning that relies on the Internet for
teacher/student interaction and the distribution of class materials.
According to another research, it is called distance learning, e-learning or online
learning. Unlike conventional classroom learning, it is not bounded by space and
time. In fact, teachers and students are commonly separated by space and time,
although they may choose to interact synchronously or meet periodically over the
length of the course. Distance learning also needs to use technology. In the early
days of distance education, radio and television were the media used to conduct
educational activities. Currently, the methods have extended to the internet, email,
software, video, tapes, cameras, etc. In comparison, instructors and students may
choose to use technology in a conventional classroom teaching but is optional.
Because of the alternative approaches of distance education, it has grown rapidly in
the past five years.(2)
According to research there are many cons and pros and they will be listed blows;

Advantages of distance education

1- ) Distance learning does not require commuting. This saves you money and time
that you would otherwise spend on travel back and forth to school. You can schedule
learning around other aspects of your personal and professional life.
2- ) You can complete most of the classes at your convenience. Most of the classes
are asynchronous, which means you don't have to attend a class at a particular time
and place. You can review the assignments and do your homework during off-hours
or from home.
3- ) Live anywhere, study from anywhere while pursuing the education of your
choice. You don't have to live in the same city or the same country to attend the
learning institution of your choice. You can study wherever you have access to a
computer and Internet connection.
4- ) Gain extra knowledge. You can transfer the computer and Internet skills that
you'll gain in the process of your distance learning experience to other facets of your
5- ) Self-paced learning. For slow and quick learners. This reduces stress and
increases satisfaction.
6- ) Accessibility. Online classes address physical accessibility issues that some
people with limited mobility encounter when taking traditional classes. You don't have
to worry about gaining access to a classroom or sitting on uncomfortable desks.
Instead, you can use your comfortable furniture in your home while enjoying free
movement and a chance to further your education.(3)

Disadvantages of distance education

1- ) Distance learning requires self-motivation. Because distance learning is flexible,

you need good organization, planning and work to make it happen. Academic
leaders cited in Growing by Degrees, Online Education in the United States, 2006 ,
stated, "Students need more discipline to succeed in online courses." Though the
instructor is not seated in front of you, you still need to complete your assignments
on time. Like all other forms of learning, there are deadlines to be met, "fixed-time"
exams to be taken and assignments to be completed before the "Drop Box" closes.
There are no compromises and you can easily get a zero! Distance learning is best
suited for mature motivated learners who cannot afford the time to participate in a
traditional classroom
2- ) Distance learning does not give you direct access to your instructor. Some
students fear the loss of the personal touch with an instructor, such as asking
questions after class. However, distance learning often gives you an opportunity to
email your instructor any time or chat online. It is normal to fear the loss of human
contact offered in a traditional classroom until you commit yourself to this mode of
learning and communication.
3- ) Distance learning is isolated. Although you are in a virtual classroom full of
students, the dynamics of interaction change with online education. You may feel
detached or lonely when you pursue a distance learning program but there are
opportunities to send emails, post to message boards and engage in online group
discussions. At first you might miss face-to-face contact with your instructor and
other learners, but web collaboration can fill this emptiness for many students.
4- ) Distance learning requires you to have constant, reliable access to technology.
Students need total access to the equipment necessary to fulfill course
requirements. For example, online courses require a computer with Internet access.
For a course with material on CD or DVD, you need to have a multimedia player.
Technical requirement may be difficult to meet for some students who may feel
overwhelmed and challenged if they are not completely computer literate. Technical
glitches and dealing with an unfamiliar learning environment can cause stress and
frustration, but there are many ways to overcome these barriers.
5- ) Distance learning does not offer immediate feedback. In a traditional classroom
setting, a student's performance can be immediately assessed through questions
and informal testing. With distance learning, a student has to wait for feedback until
the instructor has reviewed their work and responded to it.
6- ) Distance learning does not always offer all the necessary courses online.
Students pursuing a specific certificate or degree program may not have all the
necessary courses available through distance learning so it is not suited for all
subjects. For example, you can study a history lesson completely online but you
cannot perform nursing clinicals online. For some courses, physical classroom
attendance will be mandatory to complete the course.
7- ) Distance learning may not be acknowledged by a specific employer. Although
most employers do acknowledge distance learning, certain employers do not.
Students who want to work for a specific employer upon graduation should be sure
of that employer's perspective about online education.
8- ) Hidden costs. If you work for the military and you are on the ship, learning
material may need to be mailed in advance thus incurring extra shipping and

handling costs
9- ) Distance learning must be accredited. You take a serious risk when you pursue
distance learning programs that are not accredited because they may be issuing
fraudulent, invalid degrees. Not all distance learning is legitimate - there are many
"degree mills" colleges that are not accredited. This is probably the most important
factor to check before you enroll in a distance learning institution.
10- ) Distance learning does not give students the opportunity to work on oral
communication skills. Students in distance learning courses do not get the practice
of verbal interaction with professors and other students.(4)
When I search distance education in terms of educators I found that instructors for
on-line courses need to extend their availability and improve their communication
with students. Academic departments can focus their instructors training on the use
of activities and tools that increase the level of one-on-one and group communication
between instructors and students. Examples of these tools include hosting on-line
office hour sessions, using recorded videos for asynchronous communication,
interactive discussion boards and improving the instructors responsiveness to
students posts and submissions.(5)


What is your personal opinion on this issue? Do you agree with the
research? If you agree or disagree, please explain why?
Provide examples/experiences regarding this issue from school
perspective or If you are not working in a school, from your profession. Be
specific with your examples. You can mention software/hardware names,
specific methods that you plan to use, etc.
How would you implement this research in your career? (At least 1

I searched distance learning visiting many websites and reading couple of journals to
learn what are cons and pros. I support distance education and I think this is very
powerful and useful way to improve our acquaintance and knowledge. I am a student
who studying online education and the one who works full time job. If there would not be
an online education, I would not have completed my master degree. It is impossible for
me to be a student, teacher and mom of three kids at the same time unless online
education option is available.
As a teacher I really want to expand my skills and knowledge to be an effective teacher
and acquire a good career. I learn several of educational tools, teaching methods and
techniques about education by taking different online courses. I am also able to improve
my ability how to use of technological tools by using my computer and Mac for my online
courses. These courses help me to bring fresh inspiration to my classroom and stay
current in my profession. It also facilitates engaging learning experience and the
opportunity to exchange ideas with my colleagues.


Cite at least 5 References in APA.

You may use for citing
your sources in APA style.

1- ) "The International Association for Distance Learning." The International
Association for Distance Learning. Accessed November 1, 2015.
2- ) "Student Interaction Experiences in Distance Learning Courses A
Phenomenological Study." Student Interaction Experiences in Distance Learning
Courses: A Phenomenological Study. Accessed November 1, 2015.
3- ) "Advantages and Disadvantages of Distance Learning." Advantages and
Disadvantages of Distance Learning. Accessed November 1, 2015.
4- )"Top 10 Distance Learning Disadvantages." Top 10 Distance Learning
Disadvantages. Accessed November 1, 2015.
5- ) Said, H., Kirgis, L., Verkamp, B., & Johnson, L. (2015). On-line vs. face-to-face
delivery of information technology courses: Students assessment. Journal of
Information Technology Education: Research, 14, 297-312.