What to Know
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?