Have you ever thought about distance learning to get your degree? Watch

Poll: - Have you considered distance learning for any of your qualifications?
Yes! I'm on a distance learning course right now (12)
7.79%
Yes, I've thought about it but haven't signed up yet (17)
11.04%
No, but maybe I will look into it (45)
29.22%
No and I wouldn't consider it (80)
51.95%
Puddles the Monkey
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I'm wondering how many people have thought about studying by distance learning as opposed to going to a physical university...

What do you think about distance learning? :beard: Is it something that appeals to you..? If you wouldn't consider it why not?
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Leviathan1741
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I started on a blended learning course last year (which was mainly distance learning with just 2 weeks of onsite teaching during the whole course). It was nice being able to have lectures etc from home, but ultimately the subject wasn't right and I had to withdraw

It was also the first year that that particular course had run so the methods of teaching were a bit experimental, perhaps that didn't help
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Puddles the Monkey
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(Original post by Leviathan1741)
I started on a blended learning course last year (which was mainly distance learning with just 2 weeks of onsite teaching during the whole course). It was nice being able to have lectures etc from home, but ultimately the subject wasn't right and I had to withdraw

It was also the first year that that particular course had run so the methods of teaching were a bit experimental, perhaps that didn't help
That's interesting - what was the subject? How was your experience of learning from home? How did it all work? :yay:

What kinds of teaching methods did they use?
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XKangaotiCX
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Personally I think I’d want to go to a physical university, since you just don’t get the same social experience with distance learning.... you can meet new people in lectures and absorb yourself in the city’s culture. It’s a much more appealing prospect to me. That being said, I don’t really know much about distance learning, I’m going on the assumption it’s a self explanatory name for where you’re studying at home and get lectures there I guess?
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Leviathan1741
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(Original post by Puddles the Monkey)
That's interesting - what was the subject? How was your experience of learning from home? How did it all work? :yay:

What kinds of teaching methods did they use?
It was MSc Flood Risk Assessment, Modelling and Engineering - a bit of a mouthful! We were given online lectures through meetings on Microsoft Teams, where the lecturers would talk to us and we could talk back via microphone (we could also use video if we wanted, but typically only the lecturers were brave enough ).

For one part of the module we had a different lecturer who gave us a 100ish page paper booklet with readings and exercises for us to work through, and the idea was that we'd work through one section per week by ourselves (in place of a lecture), and the online sessions were spent checking we'd understood the content. The result was that because I'd done a different undergrad degree compared to my coursemates (geology rather than geography or engineering), I got completely lost with what was going on :lol: Also, because it didn't require physical lectures or meetings, I found it really hard to motivate myself to do the work. I thought I'd find it easier to study at home after having a bad experience in halls for undergrad, but apprently not!
Last edited by Leviathan1741; 1 month ago
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PhoenixFortune
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I'm doing my PhD by distance, unofficially. I'm lucky that my project doesn't require access to specialist equipment/facilities, and PhDs are typically very independent anyway, so it enables me to live at home and save money. I've always been a pretty strong self-starter, so I don't need to be on campus to feel motivated.

I don't think I would have chosen to do my undergrad or MA through distance-learning though (unless my circumstances prevented me from attending in person), as I would have missed out on a lot of friendships, events, and learning opportunities.
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shadowdweller
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Yeah, I'm actually starting a distance learning MSc in a couple of weeks. Not (m)any of the local unis offer part-time courses and I'm working full-time alongside studying, so the flexibility appeals a lot.

Also, uni life didn't really appeal to me the first time around, so a repeat of that isn't something I'd want right now :lol:
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rimelius
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(Original post by Puddles the Monkey)
I'm wondering how many people have thought about studying by distance learning as opposed to going to a physical university...

What do you think about distance learning? :beard: Is it something that appeals to you..? If you wouldn't consider it why not?
Distance learning can be an absolutely great thing if you know where to pick up your course. A major problem is the cost of distance-learning packages, which makes a career change difficult. Things got worse after the astronomical university fees increase that was decided in the early 2010's under the Tory-LibDem coalition government. Another problem is that, unfortunately, many distance-learning qualifications are actually downgraded values of the actual ones, although this vastly depends on the institution where you study.

I wanted to study for an additional distance-learning degree (in addition of the one I had), and I found out that France has a very sophisticated distance-learning system where a significant number of degrees are available.

Plus sides:
1/ it's fully equivalent to full-time degrees
2/ it's extremely cheap (about 400 euros for a full academic year, that is, £350)
3/ You don't need to be a French citizen, not even EU citizen.
4/ Some Universities, such as University of Paris , are introducing exams through video conferencing: the student sits his/her exam in his country but through a video whose settings are standardized by the University. They call this "examens telesurveilles" However this is not mainstream yet and for many other Universities, you are still required to travel at least once a year to sit exams on-site.
5/ sometimes, the degrees are available only in certain "flavours". For example, the biology degree, available in only one accredited university, is titled "Biology with Physiology and Functional Genomics specialism": it will make you a hardcore expert in genetics engineering, but the time taken to develop those skills might be at the expense of other areas of biology

Down side:
1/ it's all in French language so your command of French must be acceptable. Do not expect them ever to even try to understand your english.
2/ The examinations have to be taken on-site, min once a year, max 3 times (for degrees that have labs sessions, such as chemistry or biology)
3/ A significant down side is the quality of the French administration. I found it very frustrating to deal with.

To give you an example: I have started a BSc degree 5 years ago, it's 6 years of "half-academic year", although those who want can opt for a scheme in 3 years. It's flexible enough to allow you to change how your spread your years along the way. Basically, if you do a full degree, the minimum it takes is 3 years, the maximum is 6. I am now in my final year. Honestly, I was totally worth.


all the best
Last edited by rimelius; 4 weeks ago
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bones-mccoy
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I did a Postgraduate Certificate via distance learning and it was quite good, it was only equivalent to A Level/first year of undergrad difficulty-wise so I never felt the need to travel in to uni for any extra help. I wouldn't have done my PgDip, BSc or MSc via distance learning, though, the benefits from seeing your supervisor face-to-face and making friends are too important to miss out on personally.
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melinae
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#10
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I haven't been on a DL course but I am an admin for one such course at a university and I have to say I think it's a lot more responsibility. You have to make sure you check every single email, organise yourself as you won't have teachers or classmates there to constantly remind you of hand ins and registration timelines. On the other hand a lot of people who do the course have other important commitments so it really helps you to get your degree when you already have a busy life. You just have to maintain the balance and ensure that you don't bite off more than you can chew! I've even considered doing one myself so it's really good to see other people's experiences here!
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