Distance Learning Grows as Universities Plan to Offer Full Degrees Online

Posted on 07 Jul 2016 by Anna Scott
For those seeking a new way to study with an old institution, attending a traditional university in the future could all be done from the comfort of your own home. This week BBC news reported that the technology is there for many highly respected universities to start offering full undergraduate degrees online, yet some of these institutions are still dragging their feet due to perceived potential damage to their ‘brand’ and reputation if a move to remote study was to take place.


Online Degrees and Exams

Professor Daphne Koller from leading university network provider Coursera this week claimed that within five years we could be seeing leading universities offer full degrees online along with invigilated exams possibly using webcams, a method that has already proven successful.


Satisfying Demand

Find your perfect study spaceWith many universities already offering short courses online, a move towards full degree courses feels inevitable, with not only the technology there but also the demand. Many students now combine their studies with work and family life and are looking for more flexible study options, and the success of The Open University since its inception, along with its continued growth, has shown there is an appetite for other universities to finally follow suit.


Too Impersonal?

One of the arguments against such a move by more traditional universities is that it would mean a more ‘impersonal’ study experience for participants. However, Prof Koller disputes this stating

“It’s a false comparison to think it’s either anonymous online or else a cosy armchair and individual tutors…when you have a lecture hall with 300 people, you’re not getting personal interaction.”

She dismisses any comparison with ‘some utopian ideal of 10 people sitting around in a seminar room engaging deeply with an instructor.”


Short Course Success

microsoft office course imageIt’s not just universities that have found success offering short courses online. Organisations such as Futurelearn, which was set up by the Open University, has brought short university-run courses from all over the world to prospective students, and Prof Koller’s own Coursera has recently announced a partnership with the US state department to offer refugees online courses that can improve their employment prospects with not only English language courses but also other subjects such as computer coding. In the UK online providers like TEFL England now offer additional discounts for the unemployed and students, as well as an online port for students to search for job vacancies once they’ve completed their studies.


Better Value Online Providers

The growth in online short courses has seen an explosion in the number of providers not only offering more traditional academic courses, but also an increasing number of vocational subjects. Prospective distance learning students have more choice than ever when it comes to not only method of study and subject area but also price, an important concern for many looking for flexible short course options. Distance learning providers that have experienced growth in recent times include Of Course and Stonebridge College with their variety of subject areas and more economical pricing.


A move to full online undergraduate degrees from traditional universities might have been a long time coming but there’s no denying the demand is there. With the cost of university study now a major concern for many students, any way to potentially cut down these costs should be given serious consideration by all educational institutions, be they online or not.







Discount Promo Codes Blog