University of Phoenix is well known for its innovative education system. By challenging the existing paradigms of traditional classroom techniques, semesters and class schedules the University of Phoenix has allowed working adults to obtain college and advanced degrees. Many people do not know, though, that one of the first accredited universities in the country to offer complete degree programs over the Internet is the University of Phoenix Online. It was founded in 1989 and offers degrees in Business, Management, Technology, Education and Nursing.
In Tucson, the University of Arizona offers offers single courses, specialist certifications, and degree programs in engineering, system engineering, optical sciences, and library science. The University of Arizona South headquartered in Sierra Vista has been an official branch of the U. of A. since 1995. It serves the southern Arizona communities of Benson, Bisbee, Douglas, Ft. Huachuca, Huachuca City, Sierra Vista, Tombstone and Willcox. Included in its offerings is a distance learning language program for Basic Military Languages. The languages taught are Arabic, Croatian, French, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, Serbian, Spanish and Thai.
Northern Arizona University offers a variety of degrees and certifications through Northern Arizona University Distance Learning. NAU has been providing higher education opportunities through Distance Learning to Arizona citizens for 25 years. NAU employs a variety of mediums to deliver programs to students worldwide, and has increased emphasis on online degree and certification programs at both the bachelor and master degree levels. Hundreds of classes in many areas of study are offered online.
Arizona State University offers various forms of distance learning including web-based courses, bale and public television courses, and independent learning. These courses are offered in various programs: the College of Business, College of Education, College of Fine Arts, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the College of Public Arts and Programs.
The distance learning programs at the three state universities have been combined into one online university called The Arizona Universities Network and is sponsored by the Arizona Board of Regents. It provides an up-to-date searchable catalog of courses available by distance learning technology from the three Arizona state universities mentioned above.
Central Arizona College serves Apache Junction, Coolidge, Winkelman and the Arizona State Prison Center at Florence. They offer a wide variety of online classes, many of which have credits transferable to state universities.
Rio Salado College Online is part of the Maricopa County Community College District and offers degree and non-degree programs utilizing distance learning. It describes itself as a "college without boundaries" and uses existing facilities such as high schools, libraries, community centers, and computer labs located throughout the Phoenix metropolitan area. Locations include Mesa, Luke AFB, Paradise Valley, Tempe, and Surprise. They utilize the Internet, software, conference calling, audio and videocassettes, print materials and laboratory kits to deliver the courses.
Each of these institutions has different procedures, deadlines and requirements for registration. You can also expect that if you are entering a degree program, you will be expected to apply for entrance to the college or university as would any other student attending traditional classes. Costs vary significantly depending on your status at the school, whether you are seeking credits or not and the type of distance learning you are taking since there may be additional costs for videos, DVDs or software. You may be able to avail yourself of financial aid opportunities, as traditional students do, in the form of scholarships or loans.
Don't be deceived into believing that distance learning is not as time consuming or demanding as traditional classroom education. It is. If you are considering obtaining your degree in this way, make sure you are the type of person who can discipline yourself to devote the time and energy required to be successful. Distance learning does not do the learning for you. What distance learning does is provide another mechanism by which people can continue to learn, train and grow even if there is no college in their area or for any reason they cannot get to one on a regular basis.