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Relationships in distance learning tend to be less hierarchical than in the traditional academy. The concept of learning at a distance is rooted historically in attempts to break down barriers to education and make it available in spite of age, circumstance, and location. Currently most distance learners are adults with a high degree of motivation. Furthermore, the increasingly available technologies through which distance learning occurs demand and encourage a degree of negotiation between students and teachers.

Distance Technologies

The nature of the medium matters. Distance learning commonly incorporates intermittent face-to-face meetings and telephone conversations. Video conferencing is a less common but potentially significant mode of communication. E-mail has transformed communication across distances, particularly between individuals. Currently, however, the dominant forum is the virtual classroom. Computer technology has ...

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