The correspondence course is the ancestor of all forms of distributed learning. It is also one of today's most frequently used distance teaching formats. Essentially, correspondence courses (the terms independent study, home study, and correspondence study are generally used interchangeably) provide a form of asynchronous (not in “real time”) instruction, in which teachers and students do not encounter each other in person. In most cases, the student can enroll at any time, and he or she sets the pace and timing of the course, within a stipulated number of months. Interaction between student and teacher takes place primarily in writing, communicated through the mail or the Internet.

Educational institutions of all sorts have employed correspondence courses to teach students around the world. Primary and secondary schools ...

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