University Of Aberdeen Distance Learning
Introduction to Distance-Learning
We recognise that for many students, returning to or even entering Higher Education may seem daunting. In order to help you acclimatise to your new studies and get the most out of it, we have prepared a practical guide and the text below so you know what to expect.
Studying for an MSc or even just one module is not like studying for an undergraduate degree (i.e. Bachelor), and certainly not like any kind of school qualification. These are postgraduate level qualifications that requires you to become a self-learner and self-reflective practitioner. That does not mean that these are self-study courses where you are cut adrift and left to get on with it without any interaction. What this does mean is that learning is your responsibility – we expect you to keep up with the reading, to engage regularly with other students and the tutor by taking part in the online discussions, and of course to complete the assessment activities (usually written assignment, sometimes online quizzes) on time. If you do not keep up with the work, we will not chase after you and this may result in you being deemed not qualified to sit the final exam.
Time commitment: generally each 15-credit module requires 10-12 hours of study per week. Most students will begin by undertaking 2 modules alongside each other, therefore demanding 20-25 hours of study per week. There are no set times to be online and no live lectures, so you can fit your studying around your lifestyle and other commitments.
We do recognise that studying for a postgraduate level qualification is no easy feat, especially with family and work pressures. So, if you find yourself in difficult circumstances and require an extension, we are usually happy to grant one but please inform us well before the deadline. Indeed if you are having any difficulties at all, please do get in touch as soon as possible with the relevant Programme Secretary as we may be able to help.
Making the most of it
Your chosen programme may also be a new experience for you because not only are you completing it at a distance, but also through an online medium. While distance education offers many advantages, one of the main disadvantages is the lack of physical social interaction. The very nature of distance education makes this interaction impossible to replicate. However, by using an online medium like MyAberdeen, virtual social interaction can easily be achieved. Therefore, we strongly urge you to make use of the online means (Discussion Forums and Chat Rooms) by which you can interact with other students on this course. Feel free to share your questions, thoughts, concerns, likes, and dislikes online. If a student has posted a question and you know the answer, please send a reply. If you do not understand the material, you can of course send the tutor an e-mail but we expect you to first post your question in the appropriate Discussion Forum.
Part of becoming a self-learner and self-reflective practitioner involves finding out for yourself by using multiple sources. As mentioned before, this is not like an undergraduate degree or school qualification where students have a learned dependence on the teacher to give them the right answer! You will get more out of your studies the more you put into it, so we urge you to log-in regularly, even if just to chat to other students and talk about how you are finding things.
We want to stress that so long as you keep up with the reading and engage with the learning activities, you should be successful.
Having laid these ground rules, we are confident that this gives us the necessary foundation to achieve success. We wish you every success in your studies and hope that you find it an enjoyable and rewarding experience.
Fraser Noble Building