Both academic institutions of higher learning and professional organizations agree that online degree and distance learning education environments can offer visible, measurable benefits. According to educators from Cornell University, "the web provides significant new functionality in transmitting information to the student and providing forums for exchange. The web is revolutionizing some areas of study through increased opportunities for learning and alternative formats for information." (Dwyer, Barbieri, and Doerr, 1995).
Some of these benefits and opportunities offered by online learning may include:
- Enhancing student-to-student and faculty-to-student communication - The integration of online, web-based learning with proven education methodologies can provide added value to traditional education. Students and faculty can both benefit from using the communication and assessment tools that are made available via online learning.
- Enabling student-centered teaching approaches - Students are able to have a customized approach to education that suits their personal learning styles and busy schedules.
- Providing 24/7 accessibility to course materials - Continual access to resources through online delivery and automated management tools minimizes the faculty's cost and time associated with the experience.
- Providing just-in-time methods to assess and evaluate student progress
- Reducing "administrivia" around course management
The advantages of online learning via an online degree or distance learning program could make an impact in higher education today and, as technology evolves, strive to deliver greater benefits in the future.