18 January 2017
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Distance learning degree courses

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This page is intended to be a guide and resource to any student who is considering enrolling on a distance learning degree course. It will provide impartial advice and information about the benefits and disadvantages on enrolling on such programmes.


These courses are an alternative to traditional campus based programmes and are a solution for those individuals who want to learn but are restricted due to family, personal, childcare or work commitments. By allowing students to study from the comfort of their home, place of work or any other location of their choice, higher education has been opened up to thousands of people who may otherwise have not been able to gain a degree. Just as much commitment, dedication and self motivation is required from students to pass a distance learning degree course as is required for a ‘normal’ campus based degree. They should not be viewed as an easy option. The hours of study and credits required are similar to those needed for full time courses.

The reputation and demand for distance learning courses is growing. This partly because quality has not been sacrificed and this in turn is due to the fact that the degree courses are often developed by the same academics, teams and specialists who work on traditional ones.

The value of any degrees gained
Any degrees earned have exactly the same weight and value as traditional campus based qualifications.

Where and how are examinations held?
These are taken under strictly controlled and specific pre-arranged locations. The examination rooms will be quiet secure environments with staff present to monitor the exam.
There are many advantages to distance learning the key ones being able to work as you learn and studying in your own time.

How is coursework marked
Your coursework will be assessed on a continuous basis throughout the term. Tutors who mark your work will provide detailed feedback to students via electronically.

The benefits of distance learning degree courses

  • You can study at your own pace and plan coursework around your commitments.
  • These days there are literally 100’s of subjects to choose from.
  • You have greater control of your time.
  • You can be in full time employment and study at the same time.
  • You can gain internationally recognised degree level qualifications without having to physically attend a university or study centre.
  • If you get stuck or need guidance support is only a phone call or email away. You will always have someone to turn to.
  • They cost of enrolment can be cheaper than university based courses.
  • They are ideal for disabled people, those with limited mobility or anyone living in remote communities.
  • You save time and travel expenses by not having to attend classes.
  • By learning how to discipline yourself to study and research you can positively improve your personal development.
  • The educational technologies and teaching strategies on these courses are the same as campus based ones.
  • They provide a practical and alternative easy learning experience.

How do distance learning degree courses work?

  • Modules (also known as units), assignment material and activities are emailed to students.
  • Supporting materials and teaching resources will be provided to you in the following  formats; text books, online videos, podcasts, e-presentations, DVDs and other interactive media formats.
  • You return coursework / submit test papers either through the post or electronically by email.
  • Most course providers support students by providing feedback and encouragement through: email, over the phone, interactive web based presentations, online forums and communities.

The disadvantages

  • You are in a sense ‘cut off’ from the normal surroundings and support of a university. Meaning it can be a bit lonely studying on your own.
  • You will have to be highly self motivated and disciplined to make sure that you stick to a strict study routine.


Relevant academic links
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