The Northeast Texas Consortium (NETnet) is a group of 15 colleges and universities who are committed to bringing higher education opportunities to East Texans. Our members offer well over 200 ITV courses, and close to 300 online courses. Visit our Courses & Programs page for the most recent listing of course offerings and for contact information for each one of our member institutions.
Whether you're already enrolled in a distance education course, thinking about taking a dual credit course from a local college, or are thinking about returning to school as an adult, this site is full of valuable information to help you make the most of your experience with distance education. Be sure to check out the links in the left menu under Available Topics for more specific information.
NETnet is the coordinating office for our member institutions -- the NETnet Center for Educational Technologies does not offer courses. To learn more about the courses our members offer, contact each member institution directly.
Distance Education / Distance Learning Overview
A distance learning class is one in which the students are geographically separated from the instructor. Distance education courses use a variety of teaching methods, strategies, and technologies. There are Interactive Videoconferencing (ITV) courses, Online courses (taught using the Internet), Telecourses (videotaped lessons) and ‘Hybrid’ courses that combine several different technologies with a traditional face-to-face component. For example, you may find that some distance education courses require students to visit the college campus for a face-to-face orientation before the class begins, and that many ITV courses have a large online component.
What’s so different about a distance learning course?
The biggest difference is that you must take a much more active role in your own education. In the distance education environment, you will not be able to sit back passively and expect to pass the course. To get the most out of the course, you must be able to communicate effectively with fellow students and the instructor. Whatever communication technology is being used— ITV, Internet, or Telecourses—you must be prepared to participate; you will not be allowed to "lurk" on the edges of the class activity. Distance learning is not the same as face-to-face instruction, so the instructor and the students must work harder to create a good interactive environment.
|What Distance Education Students Are Saying About Their Classes...||"I have 6 children - the youngest are twins (22). I'm just now able to start college & I've really never been exposed to art or been anywhere. Our vacations were always tent camping in the woods. This class will enable me to visit far away places and expose me to other cultures & ways of life. I really enjoy it. Also, the experience of taking a class over distance learning is great. I feel as if I'm in the room with your class." - Tyler Junior College Art student|
"Attending" an online class may mean participating in online discussion groups, checking your email, or any number of other online activities. Whether you're taking an online or ITV course, you should be prepared to "attend" class regularly so you can participate in the class activities; in addition to perhaps violating attendance polices of particular schools, absences mean you will lose the benefit of interacting with your peers and instructor.
Technical difficulties do arise in distance learning courses, but don’t use the technology as an excuse for a lack of progress. You must work with the technology and use it to your advantage. Remember, the skills developed in the distance education environment—becoming a more self-directed learner and being able to use new technologies—will give you a significant advantage in the workplace.
Visit Distance Ed Technologies for more information about online courses, interactive videoconferencing ITV courses, and telecourses.
Watch this presentation about Dual Credit Classes!
Many students find distance learning a challenging and rewarding educational experience. However, distance learning courses are not for everyone. Depending on their emotional and intellectual maturity level, learning styles, and work habits, some students may need the face-to-face contact and instructor proximity found in the traditional classroom.
Take one of these free, interactive quizzes to see if distance learning is right for you!
Regardless of the delivery method (ITV, Internet, Telecourse) a successful distance education student must:
Download this Student Study Schedule - Time Management Guide (print out in landscape) in PDF format.
To be successful in your distance education course you need to have a very good understanding of your strengths and weaknesses as a learner. You need to ask yourself how you learn most effectively. You may have to: learn how you learn & learn how to learn
For example, it would be very useful for you to know if you are a visual learner, an auditory learner or a kinesthetic learner:
Visual learners are those who prefer to learn from print material such as text and graphics; things they can see.
Auditory learners are those who prefer to learn from listening to speech or other sounds; things they can hear.
Kinesthetic learners are those who prefer to learn from handling objects or performing a task; something they can touch.
Knowing your preferred learning style means you can determine how best to study for exams and quizzes. It will also help you to understand why sometimes you don’t grasp some things as easily as your classmates do.
Take one of these free, interactive quizzes to help determine your learning style.
1. Taking courses via distance education is a quick and easy way to learn.
Nope – in many cases it’s harder – in MOST cases it’s harder. You are in control – which means you have to be disciplined, self-motivated, and honest with yourself about whether you’re disciplined and self-motivated!
2. Online courses are self-paced. I can do all the work the last week of the semester and still pass.
Nope – first, not all online courses are self-paced; many follow the same semester guidelines as traditional classes. Second, there is a whole lot more work involved in an online class – no way you could get it all done - or done well! Be realistic.
3. I need to have highly advanced computer skills.
Nope – this is usually not the case. You need to be able to use email, save files to disk, open files, surf the web; basic computer skills are usually all you'll need, but check with each instructor to make sure.
Before you sign up for distance education classes at any school, here are a few things you should check out first:
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Book Citation Generator
Instantly generate footnote, endnote and bibliography citations in Turabian format.
Create MLA and APA citations instantly by simply filling in a form - GREAT tool!! *Based on MLA 6th Edition and APA 5th Edition, and updated January 2004. Be sure to check the guides to ensure the citation generated is in the proper format!
Cool Tools from Back2college
Some are free, some are fee-based, but all are definitely worth a look!
Wonderful resource that provides time-saving online tools for school projects and assignments
Use the fill-in-the-blank Thesis Builder to generate a thesis statement and outline - it's a snap!
Bone up on your college vocabulary, grammar, sentence parts and more with these free interactive quizzes.
Google Scholar Search
Google Scholar is not a substitute for library resources, but it does enable you to search specifically for scholarly literature, including peer-reviewed papers, theses, books, preprints, abstracts and technical reports from all broad areas of research. This application is still is Beta mode, so be sure to check the credibility of your sources before using them in a paper!
Plug in the grades you've received so far, and this handy calculator will determine your current grade and what you'll need to make on remaining assignments to get the final grade you need.
How fast do you read?
Take this quick, interactive test and learn how many words-per-minute you can read.
MathServ Calculus Toolkit
Factor polynomials, graph functions and equations, compute derivatives of a given function, and lots more!
QuickTopic Document Review
Collaborate on a paper using this FREE and easy document review forum
This is a good source for all kinds of reference material.
Browse 100's of free online tools and custom searches. Find biographies of your favorite philosopher, listen to famous historical speeches (or the Watergate Tapes), or download free books. Reftools also allows you to create your own page of tools for quick reference.
Don't you hate it when you know what a word means, but you just can't think of the word? This dictionary lets you input the meaning- for example: fear of heights- then gives you a range of options for the word you're looking for.
Search Educational Sites
Great for researching legitimate sources of information
Test Prep Review
Test Prep Review is a free service of a nonprofit group of educators. The site provides free practice test questions for students in a variety of career situations. TASP, Accuplacer, ACT, SAT, GRE, GMAT, LSAT, Nursing Exam Practice - and many more!
The University of Texas at Austin's Texas Information Literacy Tutorial helps you learn how to explore and do research online.
In an online class, you may have to do a lot of typing. Take this quick test and see how many words-per-minute you can type.
Find over 3500 online tutorials on a broad range of subjects.
World of Math
Tools, calculators, converters
Be sure to visit the Financial Aid page for links to other useful resources!
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To learn more about how The Virtual College of Texas (VCT) works, visit them online at http://www.vct.org/
NETnet Member Contact Information