Distance Education... University... eLearning
The range of online eLearning possibilities is breathtaking, learning anywhere... anytime... and at your own pace.
In this post I address only one aspect of eLearning, that of university distance education. In my view a number of the key elements that must be present in order for one to undertake distance education with any university are as follows:
 Accreditation: This issue is exceptionally important to a student... Per Funk & Wagnalls Canadian College Dictionary... the granting of approved status to an academic institution by an accrediting body after examination of its courses, standards, etc. University accreditation in Canada and the United Kingdom tends to be more straight-forward because of government standards, oversight and funding. Things in the USA are more complicated in that valid accreditation can only be granted by six regional accrediting organizations. In this regard you may find of benefit this USA reference by Dr. Ronald B. Sandler.
 Experience: The university ought to have significant experience in providing distance education. For example [a] The London University External Programme is the grand-daddy as it has been providing university education to students since 1858. Interestingly, the UK has a number of universities providing excellent accredited distance education. In Canada, Athabasca University is a leader in distance education and they are accredited both in Canada and in the USA (Middle States Regional Accreditation). In addition, the University of Waterloo distance education program is worth checking out.  Over time I will check out and post regarding a select number of the accredited USA university distance education possibilities.
 Degree Programs and Courses: No matter how excellent the university, it must offer high-quality degree programs AND the specific courses that serve your needs as a student. Keep looking until you find what you need.
 Tuition Fees and Costs: As a prospective distance learning university student, whether undergraduate or post-graduate, you are the consumer... As such it is useful to remember that you may be spending about $26,000+ dollars for a four-year university undergraduate education, it's a lot of money and... YOU have the decision-making power. This is important because you will discover that tuition fees and the related study costs for distance learning programs and courses will vary from one university to another.
 Technology and Course Delivery: The technology used by the university ought to work. Sounds like common sense but sometimes even good universities use technology and approaches that make things unreasonably difficult for the student. The same thing goes for course delivery and student participation, it's got to be easy for the student. The good news is that today most of the high-quality and experienced universities providing distance eduction to students use platforms like WEBCT where students can access courses via their web browser (e.g., Firefox, Safari, IE et al).
 University Continuing Commitment to Distance Education: This last point is important and NOT to be lightly considered. One real-life experience... A person I know well enrolled in a four-years honors program in a fairly specialized field. After three-years of study, she was advised by the university [a] they were discontuing all distance learning programs, [b] the university was also discontinuing that degree program, and [c] therefore, she would be unable to complete her degree at that university. Thank goodness (by a pure stroke of good fortune) she had completed a sufficient number of courses such that she was accepted for MA studies at a UK university in the same highly specialized field. Save yourself some angst and thoroughly evaluate continuing commitment to distance education by a university before enrolling.