Distance Learning - What students like about it:

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Flexibility

I don’t depend on the visiting hours of my tutors any longer. Convenient online tools provide direct feedback on my progress

Joanna
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Individual support

For me studying online is perfect: No overcrowded lecture halls but individual feedback to keep me focused in my studies

Jake
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Raise in status

Suddenly, my boss looks at me in a different way. Even my salary increased!

Maria
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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.

Universities in the spotlight

Warwick Business School

University of Warwick

Coventry, United Kingdom

Warwick Business School is the largest department of the University of Warwick. It has an excellent global reputation as a leader in business research and teaching. We were the first UK business school to gain the key accreditations from EQUIS, AACSB and AMBA. Full re-accreditation in 2005, maintains our membership of a small and elite group of international business schools with this triple accolade.

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WU Executive Academy

WU (Vienna University of Economics and Business)

Vienna, Austria

The executive education portfolio of the WU Executive Academy includes MBA and Master of Laws programs, university certificate programs, custom programs and seminars. In recent years, it has become one of the leading providers in Central and Eastern Europe.

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The Cyprus Institute of Marketing, BVI (Distance-Learning Studies)

Nicosia, Cyprus

The Cyprus Institute of Marketing Ltd. (Reg. BVI) was established in 1997 and is a pioneer in offering Distance - Learning degrees. Today, CIM (BVI) is considered as one of the Leading Global Business Schools in the world, offering Undergraduate, Masters and PhD (Doctoral) Programs in fields including Tourism, Shipping, Insurance, Banking, Human Resource Management, Psychology, Business Law, Health Units Management, Financial and Computer Studies and many others.

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Instituto Europeo Campus Stellae

Santiago de Compostela, Spain

El Instituto Europeo Campus Stellae es un centro de estudios superiores de reconocido prestigio especializado en la formación de Postgrado y de alto nivel, cuyo objetivo principal y fundador es dar respuesta a las necesidades formativas surgidas en una sociedad en continuo cambio, siempre bajo el compromiso con la calidad y una arraigada vocación social. El Instituto Europeo Campus Stellae tiene tembén tres sus objetivos la promoción de actividades culturales, artísticas, sociales y empresariales.

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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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