Distance Learning - What students like about it:

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Numerous choices

Studying with the best school in the world without any physical limitations – that’s distance learning for me!

Jun-suh
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Save Money

What strikes me the most: Distance education programmes are often cheaper than their traditional counter parts

Sabine
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Easy Access

Starting an online programmes is literally just clicks away; no need to be physically present at all!

Edward
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Open Educational Resources and open media

An increasing number of universities are publishing courses as open courseware, available for free and open to everybody on the internet. They are accessible in their entirety or extracted from existing courses. Open courseware can include all kinds of learning material that goes with a course like digital content, textbooks, pictures, power point-presentations, videos, software, exercises, assessment tests, etc. ). Sometimes, you also can access a discussion forum around the topic of the course or you even can take assessments about your progress in studying the material.

The history of Open Courseware

In 2002, MIT started with publishing open courseware an it still is a core member in the Open Courseware Consortium (OCW, www.ocwconsortium.org). Since then, universities worldwide have developed open educational resources. In Europe, the open universities have developed new concepts and practices, which are in the forefront of new developments.

Open educational resources are published at all levels, from introductory to advanced. They originate from degree programmes, but also sometimes from professional development or continuing education courses.

Millions of learners every month

Millions of students and teachers access open educational resources every month. As a student, you can read and download all this material for your own interest in subject areas like the history of art, the French Revolution, earthquakes, cognitive psychology, European law, bio-fuels or water resources management. Parts of the video recorded material, you will find as well on iTunesU or YouTube (open media).

It will take you one to one hundred hours to have a view on a course. Some universities publish the entire courses in open courseware, others provide a shorter introduction or summary.

Informal versus formal education

You can learn open courseware on your own, which nowadays is called informal learning. Open educational resources as a rule don’t provide personal study support or examinations. Hence, no certificates are provided. But, after having read such an open course, many people will formally register for the course or the complete distance taught programme to which it belongs. This will include tutorials, assessments and the award of a certificate or diploma. Therefore, for many students informal learning is a first step to aformal course or curriculum, for which they register and pay.

Hence, open courseware can serve as a broad introduction into a subject area. Then, you get a “look and feel” about it as an orientation in a study domain. Or you can find a more advanced state of the art which is useful for your job or for your specific interest in a subject. In that case it supports you for your professional development or just for updating or broadening your knowledge.

Quality Assurance and distance education

As most of the material is belonging to accredited programmes, the quality of the content is assured in most cases. As this is very visible in the public space, universities and staff take care of the quality. Furthermore, specific quality assurance criteria are now developed for OER, which will support providers of OER to upgrade open courseware. Finally, open courseware can be completed or revised by peers in other universities: open courseware is also meant for re-use in other universities.

Examples of good OER portals are: OpenLearn (UKOU), http://openlearn.open.ac.uk/ (in English), or www.opener.ou.nl (in Dutch), http://ocw.tudelft.nl/ (in English)

Open Access the story continues...

Many European universities support as well Open Access. Open Access portals publish scientific articles which are freely accessible for everyone.

The European Commission is also supporting open educational resources as an instrument for knowledge sharing. Therefore, it can be expected that more OER’s will become available in the near future.

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Universities in the spotlight

Simon Fraser University

Burnaby, Canada

In the place where innovative education, cutting-edge research and community outreach intersect, you'll find Simon Fraser University. Our vision? To be Canada's leading engaged university. Born in 1965, SFU has become Canada's leading comprehensive university with vibrant campuses in British Columbia's largest municipalities — Vancouver, Burnaby and Surrey — and deep roots in partner communities throughout the province and around the world.

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Joint venture with University of St Andrews and TheFishSite.com

University of St Andrews

Saint Andrews, United Kingdom

The University of St Andrews in association with TheFishSite and Fish Vet Group offer sustainable aquaculture courses to ensure you can achieve your career advancement goals. Accelerate your career development in aquaculture and get practical work experience in the aquaculture industry.

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University of Canberra

Canberra, Australia

At the University of Canberra, Australia’s Capital University, our focus is on preparing you for a successful and rewarding career. We call it professional preparation for professional careers. And it works. Our graduates are consistently ranked among the most employable in Australia.

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OBS Online Business School

Barcelona, Spain

Online Business School (OBS) nace en 2007 como la primera escuela de negocios 100% online en lengua española. Se funda en el entorno del Grupo Planeta, líder mundial en la publicación de contenidos para el mercado de habla hispana y con un importante know how en e – learning, con la colaboración de dos partners estratégicos: La Universitat de Barcelona, EAE Business School.

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Facultat de Dret

Universitat de Barcelona

Barcelona, Spain

La Facultad de Derecho UB es una Facultad con una larguísima tradición; sus orígenes se remontan a 1450 coincidiendo con la creación de la Universidad de Barcelona. Más de quinientos años nos avalan. Su oferta de postgrado es extensa y consolidada y cuenta con más de mil estudiantes matriculados en los distintos Másters universitarios y Propios que gestiona la Escuela de Postgrado de la Facultad

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General

Study orientation

Application and enrolment

Cost and funding

Everyday life as a DL student

Supervision, assessment, exams and grading

After graduation


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