Am I ready for distance learning?

Distance learning can make university study possible for students who do not have the time or ability to get to a local campus. Increasingly, studying by distance is becoming the “new normal” as more learners study part-time whilst they continue to work, meet family responsibilities and pursue other interests.

But distance and online courses are not for everyone. It is important to understand fully what distance learning is like, and how it fits with your own learning preferences.

Before you decide to enrol, take the time to work through the following resources. They are aimed at helping you understand your own learning preferences, the requirements of distance learning and how this form of study can be incorporated into your existing commitments. 

Distance Learning Readiness Quiz

The Distance Learning Readiness quiz will help you to think about the different aspects of distance learning. It will also help you to consider how they match with your own expectations. Once you have completed the exercise you will receive feedback and suggestions for how you might study at a distance. The quiz will take approximately 10 minutes to complete. Any responses you give will be completely anonymous.

Distance Learning Readiness Quiz
Start Distance Learning Readiness Quiz

Finding time for study

Study at university requires a significant time investment. Students often comment that balancing their everyday commitments with study requirements can be quite challenging. So it is important to carefully consider how many courses you should take, especially when beginning your study. 

  • You should be realistic about the number of courses you can take in a semester and consider all your existing commitments. You will need to spend approximately 10 to 12.5 hours each week for a 15 credit single semester course, or about 5 to 6.25 hours per week for a 15 credit double semester course.
  • If you are new to university study or returning after a long gap, try one or two courses to start with. Once you are confident and have good study routines in place, you might find you can take on a heavier workload.
  • If you are working full time (or have a young family that you look after full time), we recommend that you take no more than 30 credits (two courses) in a semester.

To help you identify how you could fit study into your regular routine, we have provided the following tools: 

  • Workload planning tool - an interactive tool which displays a list of every day activities and asks you to estimate how much time you spend on each activity each week. It also asks you how many courses you want to take and will provide you with some helpful feedback on your results.
  • Weekly Planner (380 KB)  - a daily appointment view that allows you to fill in your activities based on your current schedule. An example is provided to show you how you might consider moving some activities around to fit the recommended study time in. File format is Word 2003.

Literacy skills

Writing in an academic context is different from writing in other situations. Academic writing follows specific conventions of structure, style, and content, and your marker will expect to see these conventions in your assignments. We encourage you to review the Academic writing section of the Online Writing and Learning Link (OWLL) web pages to familiarise yourself with the requirements and to get a feel for what is involved. The Academic writing e-book also has useful information on how academic writing is different to other types of writing that you may be familiar with. If you are new to academic writing you may want to consider only enrolling in one or two courses until you build up your skills.

Numeracy skills

Business courses such as economics, accounting, statistics have a significant mathematical component. The skills and requirements increase dramatically if you have chosen to study the sciences or mathematics.

It is very important that your skills are up to date before you start the courses so that you can concentrate on the content, rather than trying to catch up on learning maths.

Online quizzes

A series of online quizzes are available to test your ability in maths and provide links to resources in the areas where you need assistance.

General maths skills quizzes

To test your general maths skills there are quizzes available on the Maths First web pages.

Enrolled in a first year maths COURSE?

If you are enrolled in either 160.111 Mathematics 1A, 160.103 Methods of Mathematics, or 160.131 Mathematics for Business there some preparatory quizzes available on the Maths First web pages to  help you see whether you have the base knowledge required for these courses.

Additional maths resources

The Maths First web pages have been designed to promote individual learning in mathematics and are committed to helping you achieve success in your studies.

The pages have been designed to help you to identify any areas of mathematics in which you might need to improve. It also contains a wide range of study resources and exercises to help you gain those skills.

Preparing for postgraduate study

We have provided two tools to help you prepare for postgraduate study.

The Postgraduate Study Readiness Quiz will help you to think about the different aspects of postgraduate study and how it differs from undergraduate study. It will also help you to consider how they match with your own expectations. The quiz includes helpful advice and links to further information and resources. 

The Postgraduate Research Skills Quiz will help you think about the research skills required for postgraduate study. The quiz includes helpful advice and links to further information and resources.

Additional information is also included on the Postgraduate study web pages.

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