Distance education technology is making it possible for rural citizens to earn their college degrees without ever stepping foot on a campus. The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences at the University of Florida is one institution that offers distance education that is web-based. On the IFAS/UF web site, it is mentioned that an advantage of distance education is being able to stay in a hometown, hold a job, or raise a family while working towards a degree or professional certification. However, being off-campus limits students to resources and social interaction. Self-motivation seems to be essential to studying at a distance.
The Department of Agricultural Education and Communication at the University of Florida is making distance education a research priority. Faculty members have proposed to make UF the lead institution in a clearinghouse of sorts for distance education student data. Student performance will be tracked to confirm what is being speculated in current academic literature.
Most distance education students are non-traditional, and more frequently female. Often, they are not equipped to succeed and feel there is a lack of student and professor interaction. Finding adequate childcare is also a problem.