The Technology of Online Learning


To earn a Master’s degree online, you will be required to have access to and know how to use different aspects of modern technology. Some programs may have all of the information available online, while others may also require a combination of sources to complete your course work. Here is a summary of the technology used in distance learning.

For a Master’s degree online, the most obvious technology is the Internet. Many Master’s degree online programs have courses and information that are web-based. Course management systems such as WebCt, Blackboard, and D2L are often the main technology used to systemize communication, assessment, content, and other activities between the student and the instructor. Keep in mind that some courses may require particular hard ware in order to complete, so if you have an older computer you may have to invest in some upgrades to meet the current technology.

For some courses, the technology of the Internet may not be adequate to get all of the information to the student. It may be too bulky to transmit well, or require too much memory to view. Some schools also rely on DVDs, CDs, audio and video cassettes as ways to send information to the student.

Another technology that you may encounter when earning your Master’s degree online is different types of conferencing. You may participate in video conferencing via the Internet to communicate with your instructor and other students in real time. You will be able to see each other and ask questions, much as you would in a traditional classroom. Or you might participate in an audio conference, either over the phone or using the internet. With these you can hear but not see the person on the other end, and they may or may not be interactive.

Another technology for distance learning is the telecourse. Telecourses are programs that are scheduled on television and that the student watches from home. You may need to purchase a special channel or have certain equipment in order to view the program.

Yet another technology is the web cast. A web cast captures and records videos, audios, and other forms of graphical and digital presentation that has been put into a single stream media program. They may be live or prerecorded.

Regardless of the forms of getting the information to you for your Master’s degree online, it is important to be familiar with them and understand their use before enrolling in the class. Be sure to check into course requirements, including technology requirements, to make sure that you have the equipment necessary before enrolling.


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