Friday, 13 December 2013

Common myths about Online Distance Learning*

Studying a degree by distance learning isn’t a new concept- it’s been going on for decades. Our perceptions about distance learning can be a little dated though. So here’s some of the common misconceptions dispelled…

Common myth #1 “An online degree is not a ‘proper’ degree”

Not true. Distance learning degrees go through the same rigorous academic quality standards as campus based degrees. And if there is a campus-based equivalent to the online degree, the entry requirements are the same. You also join all the other University graduates at a lovely cathedral in St Albans when you graduate (or at the University if it's a postgraduate degree).

Common myth #2 “Online degree- can’t I just buy one of those off the internet?”

We suspect these are not real. The same goes for the ‘free’ ones. Remember, if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.

Common myth #3 “I will just be reading textbooks and writing essays”

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Some of our eLearning Technologists at UH Online
Online distance learning or ‘eLearning’ presents materials in an engaging way, and is accompanied with interactive activities to test your understanding.

Enter a team of eLearning Technologists. These specialists have the technical expertise as well as a firm understanding of online pedagogy (the science behind teaching) to develop the distance learning materials.

eLearning Technologists work with University teaching staff to develop engaging online study materials and activities. (We actually run an online eLearning Technology Master’s degree that teaches all about this).

We’ve got a little example on our website you can register to try, to see the sort of activities students can undertake.

Common myth #4 “It’s so isolating- I’ll be studying on my own”

There is, like on campus degrees, independent study involved with your distance learning qualification, but students also benefit from collaborative study so we encourage and actively make provisions for it. Discussion forums form a great way to share ideas with colleagues from all sorts of professional backgrounds - giving a richer experience to you.

Common myth #5 “It’s not really 100% online- I need to turn up for workshops and exams”

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Unless otherwise specified, the degree is studied 100% online. Teaching is online, the materials are online (of course we may post you a physical textbook as well as your electronic materials), assessment is also completed online.

Common myth #6 “It’s easier to cheat on an online degree”

Plagiarism, collusion and cheating can happen anywhere - online or when studying on campus.  The methods of assessment and verification for online distance learning moves away from the traditional ‘one exam at the end of the year’ to ongoing assessment throughout the course instead.  Tutors online get to know their distance learning students at a deeper level than they tend to on campus, which makes any ‘out of character’ behaviour prominent.

To find out more about studying by distance learning visit: go.herts.ac.uk/online

 *Well, they’re myths at UH Online, we can’t speak for other guys...

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