1. Reading is a very important component in distance learning courses, since the live instructor-to-student or student-to-student interactions are missing. Online coursework may appear in a textbook as well as online. Television-enhanced courses (also known as telecourses) all have one or more accompanying textbooks and a study guide.
2. Whereas, some people learn best by interacting vocally with the instructor and classmates, distance courses rarely give students that opportunity. The primary form of communication in online courses is through writing, so a solid understanding of English is required. Not all writing is formal. Students in live chat groups often write informally, as if they were speaking.
3. Most of the information in distance learning courses is gained by reading. In television-enhanced courses (telecourses), much of the information is audio-visual, but the student must still read the text. Many online instructors put their lectures, or main points of their lectures online. In rare cases, an audio component accompanies the text, but in most cases, it doesn't.
4. Most instruction will be printed, either online, a text or supplemental book, or in an instructor's syllabus. The syllabus should include times that an instructor is available to explain content to students, and preferred modes of communication (telephone, email, etc.)
5. Distance learning courses generally require more time per week than traditional on-campus courses. Many 3-unit courses will require eight hours of coursework per week, which includes reading assignments, doing research, completing class projects, etc.
6. Students in online courses sometimes wait until the last minute to post completed assignments, because they do not want to be the first one to do so. Many want to see what others have done so that they can judge if they, themselves, have done enough work on their own. It is best to post one's material before the deadline, so that there is time for others to respond to it. This is how much of the learning takes place in online courses. CTV (telecourse)students should be sure to watch at least one hour of programming per week, while reading the accompanying chapter/s of the text.
7. Distance learning courses give the student a greater freedom of scheduling. Students need to have much more self-discipline while taking these courses. Distance learning, by its nature, is amicable to a student's hectic schedule, but ample time must still be set aside for the class.
8. It is very easy for students to neglect distance learning courses because they are not subjected to constant guidance from their instructors. Students should have a set time and place for directed study for their online or television-enhanced courses (telecourses).
9. Online education is an excellent forum for those who like to think before they speak. Asynchronous discussions allow for students to read content, think about the subject, and formulate their answer without making snap decisions. Students can participate in a lively exchange of ideas even asynchronously online.
10. The less a student relies on face-to-face contact with instructors and other students, the more successful they will be in the area of distance learning. One must be quite self-sufficient and self-motivated to succeed in these courses, without feeling isolated and alone.