Online learning has revolutionised higher education because of the many advantages it offers. As an online student, you are able to learn at your own pace and time, at a much lower cost.
But studying for your degree online may also raise some questions and concerns. It’s a new and unknown experience, so it is natural to be uncertain about what to expect and how the process will unfold.
While your Student Adviser will walk you through the entire process upfront and will be there to support you every step of the way from first contact to graduation, we also offer the following brief highlights as an introduction to the Online Learning Experience.
Highlights of Online Learning
Your classes will take place in an online environment. You can log in at any time at your convenience. Once online, you’ll communicate with your instructors and fellow students, read assigned texts, access digital materials, post assignments and comment on other students’ assignments. While you’re required to log in at least two separate days each week, you will, of course, benefit greatly from regular and more frequent attendance.
Your online course experience will take place on an advanced learning management system designed to facilitate the optimal learning experience for students. In addition to the educational platform you’ll utilise to communicate with faculty and fellow students, you’ll also have access to e-textbooks offering you the capability to highlight, annotate, create bookmarks, search, download and self-assess.
Each module is carefully planned to align with an expectation of the depth and breadth of study required to achieve an award at a given level. In accordance with international agreements, each award is expressed as a number of credits to make the achievement transportable and transparent to future employers and other institutions of higher education. In planning the learning activities within each programme, there is an expectation that the average student will dedicate approximately ten hours of total study time to achieve 1 ‘credit’ (this approximation includes all preparatory work, reading, writing, assessment tasks, time spent communicating in discussion forums or attending virtual seminars and workshops). As an example, a candidate participating in a 20 credit module which lasts eight weeks could be expected to devote an average of 25 hours of study time each week (200 hours total) in order to achieve the learning outcomes of the module and complete the assessments. Whilst there is no hard and fast rule on this (for example, each candidate will have a unique profile in terms of the time it will take them to read and understand learning materials, or complete written work), the following list of tasks may help you to understand the time commitment necessary to successfully complete your programme:
Within a typical module, candidates will be required each week to:
- Plan their study time according to the weekly plan of activities set out in the module and guided by the instructor
- Read case-study and background materials from e-books and other sources
- Participate in discussion fora, reading contributions, making contributions and responding to particular questions
- Prepare formative tasks that have been set up (for example, submit a draft response to a question for feedback)
- Prepare written assignments and submit them by a deadline for formal marking and feedback (typically this is not a weekly task but may be required, normally at the end of a module)
- Reflect on your learning and feedback your experience of the module to your instructors and peer group
Similar to a campus classroom, the online learning experience will include extensive participation and interaction with faculty and fellow students. You’ll also use the online forum to communicate with advisers, teaching assistants and instructional specialists.
Once you have successfully completed your degree, you will be eligible to participate at one of two annual graduation ceremonies at the University of South Wales.
Module sequences begin multiple times per year based on demand, so you have the opportunity to enroll and begin your degree programme on more than one occasion throughout the year thus affording you the flexibility not often found in most face to face programmes.
You’ll take one module at a time. This advanced learning method designed for adults allows you to concentrate your entire focus on one subject area before moving onto the next, while also allowing you to earn your degree in an accelerated time frame.
The degree you earn will hold the same value, acceptance and credibility as any equivalent degree earned in a traditional campus environment.