The Student Room Group

Distance Learning Centre (DLC) Access course: info and review

Summary: Do recommend but it's really bloody challenging. A lot of independence. And they are legit. Tutors don't really teach but are there to help. Hard to go through all the study material. Still friendly and willing to help even when I finished my course.

Since I’m ready to move to the next chapter of my life by attending university, I thought it would be nice to leave a review about DLC to help others as I was clueless about what the experience would be like. Context: I did an Access to HE in science to do Biomedical Science.

When I first signed up, I had an intro call with my tutor and it was really pleasant and he was really funny. The intro consisted of how to navigate the website and how the course works.

The first few assignments were ungraded as served to be introductory. Each assignment has an SAQ, TAQ, study materials- they require a passcode to access (tutors email the passcodes). SAQs are self assessed work that need to be submitted to the website to get the passcode for the answer sheet. The answers are from the study materials but sometimes aren't. Once marked by the student, it has to be uploaded onto the website and email the tutor to get the TAQ passcode. TAQs, on the other hand, are submitted to be marked by the tutor and are given a grade, it tends to be final unless it gets changed during the moderation period (this refers to when your work is given to external bodies to mark it to ensure accuracy- all assignments must be submitted before the moderation month).

In terms of study material, I honestly did find it difficult to get used to learning just from those and I actually ended up using other resources instead. Idk I think it's probably because I struggled with the independence thing as the tutor doesn't exactly ‘teach.’ They do have tutorials weekly but I got on fine without them. Tbh I miss having an actual teacher that teaches. There were some spelling mistakes in physics and some of the links do not work. I found it impossible to study everything on the materials to be honest due to the deadlines so I ended up just looking for only what I needed. Yes I did well but I don't think I've retained much information in my head- it might've been the tight deadlines and the study material sometimes being confusing (keep in mind that this might've happened because I'm a slow learner).

Each question had a word limit. Additionally, there are some Access to HE courses that have tests that require a camera- science used to have such tests years ago but not anymore. I think maths requires such tests. Once TAQ is finished, the student submits it to Turnitin to get a plagiarism report which is submitted to the DLC website alongside the TAQ, ready to be marked. This was annoying sometimes because it would falsely flag my work for plagiarism so I had to reword a lot. If major mistakes are spotted stemming from not understanding the question, the tutor tends to email for alterations rather than fully mark the work which honestly saved my grade lol.

Although tutors did not function like how typical teachers do, I can't lie- I was lucky with the ones I had as I’ve read of others having bad experiences. The science tutors were super responsive and very patient- I struggled a lot at the start and at the research tasks and they were nothing but wonderful and kind. I mainly only emailed to understand questions. Keep in mind that they also get to enjoy the weekend so they won't respond until Monday.

In terms of UCAS, it was a smooth process and tutors write references and check and suggest amendments to personal statements. I had to take a gap year after finishing the course and my tutor was cool with being my referee even when I was no longer a student. I’m contacting them tomorrow so wish me luck lmao.

If you struggle to meet the deadlines, you are able to ask for an extension. I've only done that once. Not meeting the extension date might lead to completely failing the assignment i think.

I got 45D. My overall experience was mixed but I don't regret going through such a journey and I strangely miss it now that I’m looking for universities but it's time to turn the page. I do recommend DLC if you can handle a lot of independence and soooooooooo much research that goes into your work.

EDIT (extra detail): each TAQ assignment requires a bibliography and a reference at the end, it took me a bit to understand to to structure it but got there at the end (i recommend using websites that write them for you). They aren't part of the wordcount. So keep track of your sources and make sure that they're relevant.

My UCAS application has been sent off with my DLC tutor's reference! fingers crossed i enjoy the course and my chosen uni :smile:
(edited 2 months ago)

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