Studying at a distance doesn't mean that you will be left to study alone. Our experience in this kind of learning means that you can expect a strong network of support - from tutors, our student support services, the Library and even other students. In order to make distance learning work for you, you'll need to think about where and when you are going to study, and how regular study time will fit into your life. You will also need to prepare a place or places that will provide you with a comfortable and convenient environment to study. This could be at home, at your place of work or in a study centre provided by one of our distance learning agents.
Materials for distance learning courses at the University vary from course to course, but can include textbooks which can either be sent in the post to you or can be found online.
Good internet access is vital for the majority of distance learning courses at Leicester and will allow you to make use of the online learning resources at the University. Your learning at the University is supported by use of an online virtual learning environment called Blackboard, which can be accessed by registered users from anywhere in the world. Blackboard forms an integral part of the learning experience for most distance learning students. It provides a learning environment which enables:
- access to most course materials
- online discussion between students and tutors using discussion boards
- access to presentations and tutorials
- assignment submission and feedback facilities
The University Library has an extensive service for DL students. There is an online catalogue and internet and database services, allowing you to access a multitude of journals, articles and e-books. You can request books to be sent to you in the post or you may wish to make use of the photocopying service. You can also make use of your local university library if you live in the UK.
Some books are available as e-books and can be accessed on the University's Library website, as can e-journals.
Depending on your course, you may be required to submit essays and/or coursework. In most cases, these will be submitted online. Some courses include exams which, if you are overseas, can be arranged to be taken at a centre that is local to you. The final stage of most Masters courses is a written dissertation on a topic agreed between you and your tutor.
Detailed feedback on all assessments will be provided from a tutor.
Interaction with lecturers and students
A dedicated team of academic tutors and administrative staff will be your main point of contact throughout your studies, able to provide a wide range of support. They can answer queries ranging from your progress on the course to the content of an individual module. We encourage you to keep in regular contact with your team.
In addition you will benefit from studying alongside a diverse network of fellow students and will be able to enter regular debate and discussion about course topics through forums via Blackboard. We also encourage you to make use of social networking sites; students often set up LinkedIn and Facebook groups.
Other support services
There is a network of advice and support available for all our distance learning students. The Student Support Service provides a fully integrated service for all University of Leicester students.
Find out more about how distance learning works from our student bloggers.