As a distance education student, one has to study at his/her own pace, own time, and by him/herself. Despite the freedom given to students to control their study time, one has to comply with the deadlines imposed by their respective faculty-in-charge to avoid incomplete grades and or deductions. One of the traits that a distance education learner/student should have is DISCIPLINE.
Since you handle your own study time, it is very very very easy to procrastinate by not doing your assignments on time and/or not reading the modules, resources, and books given by the faculty-in-charge. It is easy such as, “Oh I’ll just read this later or tomorrow or next week or next month.” Only to find out that there’s something you need to submit tomorrow. I cannot emphasize that more. Some subjects are quite demanding when it comes to the requirements to be submitted. You need a lot of time to sit down, read your books and do your lengthy assignments. But I am lucky because the teachers at UP Open University are considerate enough to extend the deadlines or sometimes they would make adjustments to the assignments.
Discipline is the key to excelling in this mode of learning. Others won’t think that learning this way is easy. Yes, we don’t attend regular classes. Yes, we don’t have daily quizzes. But we are given a lot of required readings, online forums and exercises to answer, chat and study sessions to attend to, lengthy assignments, and many others. Disciplining yourself is hard especially when you’re on your own. There is no teacher to scold when you’re sleeping instead of reading your books. No teacher to force you to do your assignments and submit them on time. I am not saying that there are no teachers that will guide you to fully understand the course. What I am trying to say is that open and distance learning is very much different from the traditional mode of learning. Your teachers together with the school administrators are a call, SMS, or e-mail away.
Whenever I tell my friends that I only attend class once every month, they would be amazed and would say, “Ay, gusto ko rin n’yan! (Oh, I want that too!) ” Without actually knowing what open and distance learning is and how this mode of learning works.
Honestly, there are times when I would struggle just to finish a single assignment because of the Internet — chatting, blogging, etc. Well, I cannot fully abstain from the Internet because I communicate with my classmates and professors through it. Whenever I would access the Internet to check on our course site, it is very unavoidable for me to visit other websites such as Twitter, Plurk, Multiply, Friendster and others. Whenever I face the computer, I tend to multi-task — blogging, listening to music, plucking, and doing my assignment. I am not encouraging you to do the same because I know that it’s not good. I’m just trying to say that I’m not a perfect student and I sometimes procrastinate and cram. I believe those two are normal in everyone’s academic life.
I believe that if you can discipline yourself well, then you’ll probably survive in open and distance learning. Even though the lessons are the same as the traditional mode of learning, open and distance learning is very much different from the traditional mode of learning. If you’re planning to study through distance education you must be ready to be on your own. Well, earning a degree online is not an easy task.