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Is distance learning for me?

If you have commitments that don't allow you to study the traditional on-campus mode, or if you prefer online learning, then distance learning may be suitable for you.

Benefits of distance learning

  • Convenient and flexible - you can fit studying a degree around your personal or work life, a great way to enhance your career whilst remaining in work. You have the flexibility to manage your learning time when and where it suits you.

  • Cost-effective - with no travel or accommodation required, studying an online degree can be easier on your finances. All your course materials and access to support facilities are available online.

  • Fully supported - you won’t miss out on support with regular interactions with course tutors and a personal tutor will be available when you need them. Distance learners can access other student support services such as health and wellbeing, careers, library and digital services.

  • Global network - You’ll be able to participate in online conversations with tutors and students from across the world, learning from different perspectives and experiences.

  • Career and personal development - Completing your distance learning degree will gain you a recognised qualification and your certificate will not be different to campus-based students.

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Is distance learning for me?

Discover whether distance learning is the right study mode for you. We've provided some key areas to consider. If the majority sound like you then this flexible option may be suitable for you:

  • I thrive on studying independently and can figure out written instructions on my own.
  • I'm comfortable communicating and collaborating with others in an online environment, primiarily over writing, but also over online meetings and calls. I feel comfortable asking for help from tutors online.
  • I like having control over my study schedule.
  • I'm not seeking the on-campus student experience and prefer learning content to be on-demand and delivered 100% online.
  • I don't want additional costs such as student accommodation or travel.
  • I have competent computing skills and able to carry out learning tasks online. I'll have access to adequate technology throughout the duration of my studies, e.g. modern PC/laptop, reliable internet, webcam, microphone (and printer if required).

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Advice for distance learning

We've provided some top tips to help you excel as a distance learner.
Reach out for support

You don't need to struggle in silence. Our distance learning students are fully supported throughout the learning journey where you can reach out to friendly tutors if you need any extra help with your module content. It is always better to ask for help early on than leave it until just before a deadline. Your tutor can clarify any study elements that might be challenging you and slowing you down, and can provide guidance in what to study if you need to prioritise essential learning content. We also have additional support in place if you're looking to improve your study skills or brush up on your report writing.

If you're going through difficult personal circumstances, then we have wider support services on hand where you can make a confidential online appointment with a caring student health and wellbeing practitioner. If you're seeking career advice then we also have a knowledgeable careers team to guide you on your development journey.

Engage with the student community

Online learning doesn’t mean studying alone. You may find it helpful to keep in touch with your peers throughout your studies so you feel part of the University student community. There will be opportunities for you to introduce yourself on the learning platform and engage in rich discussion topics. As a class, you may find it useful to use social media and online groups to collaborate, share resources and support each other. You might find it beneficial to have a virtual session with a study peer on your course.

Students on distance learning courses are often based across the world, so make the most of learning from diverse individuals! Completing a degree is a tremendous achievement and you may even want to celebrate in person with your peers on graduation day.

Make a study space and practice good study habits

Create a study space that enables you to learn most effectively. This might be a dedicated area or an office room with a tidy desk that's away from your tv and bed. During study sessions, try and keep a distance from common distractions which can interfere with your focus, such as social media or video streaming. There are apps which can help you manage your time and focus such as Forest or Pomofocus. Some students find that background audio helps with concentration and mood, you may find a particular genre of music, white noise playlist, or podcast can aid with your studying.

Make the most of the flexibility of distance learning and optimise your time by studying outside of the house, such as in a coffee shop, local library, at a friend's, or while travelling. Discover which times you study best. Everyone is different, some people are more productive in the mornings or after a workout or walk in daylight, others can focus better in the evenings when there's less distractions.

Set yourself achieveable and manageable goals to keep up the momentum. This could involve assigning yourself bitesized tasks such as: "I have 3 hours this afternoon to study, I will watch one lecture video, read a chapter of the core text and make notes for part 1 of the assignment." On the contrary, it would be unmanageable to set yourself a goal of completing four weeks worth of learning content in one evening which could spiral into demotivation and frustration.

Stay on top of the weekly learning content and follow the recommended completion dates set by your tutor. It's easy to fall behind when there are no lectures or seminars to attend. Modules are designed to be completed systematically, meaning you learn topics following a weekly structure and build up knowledge over time.

Maintain a healthy work-life balance

Maintaining a good work-life balance is important for a healthy mind and body. You may want to plan out other activities such as socialising, self-care, hobbies or fitness to take your mind off studying as to not become overwhelmed or isolated.

As with any form of studying or work, taking regular breaks is helpful for learning and can help to refresh your focus and productivity. Taking a break may involve getting a change of scenery away from the computer, going for a walk and getting fresh air, spending time with a pet, or cooking a nutritious to meal.

Other study options

Explore alternative ways of studying a degree at Staffordshire University, including on-campus full-time or part-time study, some of our courses are also delivered through blended learning.

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