In early versions of distance learning (DL), experts worried about students' commitment to active participation, impersonal computer interfaces, and lack of face-to-face contact. Today, however, a larger portion of DL students are adults voluntarily returning to education for career development or the intrinsic satisfactions of learning, bringing with them more disciplined study habits and more life experience for grounding the subject matter. Younger learners, too, are now fully at ease with computers, using them for socializing as well as academics. Also, the cumbersome log-in protocols of earlier decades have given way to connections that are ‘always on.’ Leading-edge instruction formats have also changed dramatically, moving away from the 1960s ‘correspondence courses’ for students working in isolation toward more collaborative forms of learning in groups. Computers ...

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