Website Helps Learners Trade Graduation Gowns for Bathrobes

MEDIA ADVISORY, June 13, 2006 -- This graduation season more students than ever will be attending graduation from home. Others will be stepping on campus for the first time just to accept their diplomas. Why? Because they're earned their degrees online. Online distance learning is a growing phenomenon with almost three million students currently taking courses online and the numbers are growing at approximately ten times the rate of the traditional student population. From homeschool curricula and virtual high schools to full undergraduate and graduate-level degree programs, schools are multiplying online versions of popular academic programs.

For those who want to experience graduation in their bathrobes, finding quality online learning programs can be challenging. That's where Baker's Guide to Christian Distance Education comes in. This recently expanded site presents numerous Christian distance learning opportunities available from K-12 through undergraduate and graduate college, university, and seminary degrees. The site combines advice from an experienced distance learner and educator and directory information of available Christian distance and online program to help students take the plunge into Christian distance learning.

According to Jason D. Baker, Ph.D., author of the Baker's Guide to Christian Distance Education website, accessibility and flexibility are two of the major benefits for online learners. "I hear from pastors, missionaries, and professionals regularly. They're interested in continuing their education, they?re willing to invest the necessary time and money, but they cannot uproot and move to a campus. For them, online learning is a real blessing." It used to be that for-credit classes were limited to students within driving distance and whose schedules matched those of the registrar. "For those with significant job or family commitments, finding a local campus-based program offered at just the right time was nearly impossible," notes Baker. "But thanks to distance education, students can take classes from literally anywhere in the world." Since most online courses lack fixed class meeting times, students can more easily fit education into their schedules.

This doesn't mean that online learning is easy. "In fact, most of my students report that earning a degree online is more difficult than taking classes on-campus," warns Baker. "Since most people are used to the traditional classroom model -- complete with a professor constantly reminding the class of upcoming deadlines -- some people may have a tough time handling the increased level of discipline and personal responsibility required to succeed online."

However, some students may actually work better in the online environment. Baker observes that introverted learners, for example, may find online class discussions easier to participate in than face-to-face discussions since they have more time to formulate a response. So while online learning won't be less work, for some the learning experience may actually be more enjoyable and enriching.

About Baker's Guide

Baker's Guide to Christian Distance Education (www.bakersguide.com) began in 1997 as an online listing of accredited Christian universities offering distance learning programs and has grown into the leading free online resource in the field. The website is authored by Jason D. Baker, Ph.D., an associate professor at Regent University who specializes in online and distance education and has both taught and taken classes online.

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