Students not confined to classroom

By Mary Chellis Austin

UK offers new online courses each semester so students can use distance learning, an out-of-the-classroom education concept, to earn credits from home.

While most people think of this home schooling as being strictly online, it can also involve students traveling to remote sites and learning from videos.

“Distance learning has taken multiple forms over the years,” said Jeffrey Huber, director of the School of Library and Information Science.

Now, UK uses Blackboard to execute online courses.

“Students can complete a master’s program online,” Huber said.

UK distance learning lets students customize their schedules, as it differs from traditional course design.

For some non-traditional students, like a parent working full time or someone juggling a commute and a job, a typical classroom lecture is inconvenient. But those who take the traditional route also can still incorporate distance learning into their degrees.

Alex Thomas, a psychology and philosophy senior, is now enrolled in an online medical terminology class.

“Generally when you think online, you think less effort, but it’s all about convenience. I was behind and wanted to take more hours,” she said.

Distance learning allows some students to literally get credits from a distance.

Janine Parkinson, an art education junior, took an online summer class at Montgomery Community College in Blue Bell, Pa., near her hometown.

“I was in Lexington for part of the summer and then went home for a while and could take the exam there,” she said.

Yet, Parkinson’s experience reveals that online ease is not guaranteed with every course.

“It was so hard to do stats online,” she said.

In addition to the flexibility and distance factors, technology plays a huge role.

“These classes take advantage of technology whereas others may not be able to,” Huber said.