Before distance learning and elearning, students in rural
school districts were often at a great disadvantage when it
came to subjects being offered. A small school district
sometimes didn't have the resources to attract teachers
that were in high demand.
Math, science and foreign language classes were often
limited because of this shortage. Today, distance learning
and elearning have changed the way school districts
determine class schedules, making many more opportunities
available to students.
Public schools have changed dramatically over the past
century and a great number of those changes can be put down
to two factors - state and federal mandates governing the
classes that must be offered and requirements for
graduation, and (of course) the ever-increasing world of
Computers have made the world a global neighborhood in
which anyone can instantly communicate with those from
another country, even if that country is half way around
the world. Language and time differences are virtually the
only barriers. This means that distance learning and
elearning are a part of the curriculum of many schools.
As schools began to connect to the Internet, the immediate
concern in most cases was how to regulate the use. The next
was how to best use the technology to benefit school
districts and students. Distance learning and elearning
became the way to provide options, especially in those
rural districts that couldn't meet state mandates.
Consider the situation of many smaller, rural schools. If
the school is required to offer a foreign language but
can't recruit a teacher, what should happen to that school?
Forced consolidations have been common in some states.
Students lost the benefits of schools in their own towns
and faced long bus rides to new districts.
With distance learning and elearning, more schools can meet
the state and federal mandates to offer specific classes.
Consider yet another situation. A smaller district has four
students who show great promise in their math studies and
it's quickly apparent that they could go well beyond the
normal math classes offered in high school.
There's no one on the teaching staff capable of teaching
those advanced concepts and it's financially impossible to
hire someone for that task alone. Distance learning or e-
earning could provide those classes.
Special needs children are another group to greatly benefit
from distance learning and elearning. While many issues can
only be dealt with between teacher and student, face-to-
face, there are many things that can be taught and learned
Whether the subject of distance learning or elearning is a
foreign language or sign language, and whether the class or
courses are being offered to one student or the entire
student body, distance learning and elearning have become
an important tool for many public schools.