Online Graduate Students
Distance Education at East Carolina University
The term distance education defines any course that takes place away from the traditional campus setting. East Carolina University (ECU) is certainly the distance education leader in the University of North Carolina System and recognized for its national preeminence in this area. This reputation was earned by providing a wide variety of high-quality, on-line distance education degree programs designed to meet the needs of a diverse population seeking alternatives to traditional campus-based education. Our success is rooted in the fact that unlike many institutions which offer the equivalent of correspondence courses on-line, at ECU, distance education courses are taught by the same faculty as our campus classes and the readings, assignments and exams mirror the on campus experience.
On-line programs allow students to access their coursework 24 hours a day, seven days a week via the internet. The syllabus, calendar, assignments, textbook information and schedule of readings that a student would normally get the first day of class on campus are located in an on-line webpage devoted to the class. A student can contact the professor via e-mail from the webpage as well. Assignments and homework are submitted online as e-mail attachments or placed in a digital “drop-box” via the class website. Tests are administered on-line, although occasionally a student may have to locate a proctor to supervise the taking of a test.
Distance education is also an educational process and system which includes structured well-designed courses, special instructional techniques and methods of communication by electronic and other technology.
On-line courses do offer a large degree of convenience and flexibility, but it’s important to note that distance education courses are not easier or less rigorous than traditional face-to-face campus classes. Courses require a good deal of both reading and writing. Good writing is especially important in an on-line environment, because most of what a student submits, whether it is in an e-mail, a paper, or a discussion forum, is in written form. Writing help is available on the internet or through the University Writing Center. On the internet, check resources by doing a search for "Writing skills for distance learners".
Succeeding as a Distance Education Student
It is important to understand not only what the definition of distance education is, but also what qualities make for a successful distance education learning experience. A successful distance education student is:
- Flexible and open-minded about the on-line experience
- Willing to actively participate, share ideas, and ask questions in on-line discussions
- Motivated and disciplined about class work and assignments
- Manages time well
- Willing to invest 6-9 hours each week on each course
- Has access to and is comfortable using a computer
- Comfortable with both reading course material and communicating in writing
- A visual learner – one that learns best by reading and writing
Distance Education – “It’s a great way to learn!
Below are typical comments taken from the hundreds of anonymous student evaluations from distance education courses completed in the Spring 2007.
“This was my first distance education course and I have thoroughly enjoyed it. I appreciate the opportunity to be able to complete the courses in this manner. I live two hours away from the campus, so this type of instruction has really helped me.”
“Very convenient. Without it I don’t know if I would have had the courage or resources to continue my education. I only dreamed of being a graduate student. Thanks to DE, my dream is my reality.”
“[Name] did a great job of teaching this course. I learned a lot this semester.”
“The delivery modes were a wonderful and interesting idea. I was introduced to new technology (Audacity). I enjoyed that assignment and getting to use the technology.”
“Enjoyed the class and my team!”
"I believe [Name] is a wonderful instructor and I learned a lot this semester that I will use in my own classroom.”
“The professor was very understanding with scheduling and assignment due dates.”
“I really enjoyed this class and learned a lot of great information.”
“Overall, I really enjoyed the course.”
“This course has been wonderful and it has been a pleasure to work with this instructor.”
“This was my first semester of graduate school and my first ever internet course. I have enjoyed it.”
“I think I learned a lot more with DE than I would have had this been a face-to-face campus class.”
“Thank you for providing this and other teacher ed classes online.”
"I really enjoyed the distance learning class because I was able to still work as well as take this class.”
“It is a great way to learn!”
“Really enjoyed this course and I felt the instructor did an excellent job of designing it. Perfect for a working professional.”
“I think this course definitely lends itself to distance learning. I really feel I’ve learned something, and the instructor was very accessible, helpful, and encouraged us along the way.”
“His use of BlackBoard was superb, and again, his feedback very timely.”
Graduate Distance Education Programs