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Studying at university online

In recent years students have gained an entirely new option to consider when deciding to study at university, and that is studying online, also referred to as distance learning.

What is online study

When studying for a regular university degree course, you will attend your university campus for lectures, seminars and exams. In distance learning/online learning, all of your study is delivered online, such as lectures and supporting study materials, along with your exams.

What are the main advantages of online learning


The primary advantage of online learning is flexibility to fit your circumstances. Online courses tend to be delivered in such a way that you can work through them at your own pace, completing smaller units for which you are awarded credits as you complete them.

This flexibility makes online learning particularly attractive for anyone who is unable to commit to studying Full-time on campus. This may be due to work commitments or lifestyle choice, or you may be an international student who is unable to relocate to the country in which the university is based.

Save money

Not having to relocate for your studies means large cost savings can be made over attending university for a regular degree. You will save money on relocating and accommodation, traveling to university, and all other costs normally associated with studying on campus.

Tuition fees may also be lower for some courses delivered online, but this may not always be the case and depends on the university of your choice.

Set your own schedule

Online learning allows you to set your own schedule, you may study at times that suit you and your lifestyle. Not only that, but you can also study wherever is convenient for you. All you need is access to your laptop or similar device.

Greater choice

Being able to study for an online course from any provider in the world opens up the opportunity to study subject areas that may not be available at universities physically local to you.

This opens up a world of choice for you and means that you can pick to study from a range of subjects wider than at any one university.

Networking opportunities

Even though you don’t attend a physical campus, there is still the opportunity to collaborate with your peers and build a network of contacts when studying at university online.

This will be through online groups projects, virtually hosted group discussions and other online forums at university. Building a network of connections will help you professionally in the future.

Transferable skills that you will gain

Studying online will help you to build a unique toolset that will set you up for your future career.

You will develop your self-discipline and motivation in order to keep up with your studies, which will be a strong indicator to employers in the future that you are the kind of person who can go the extra mile to achieve their goals.

You will also develop strong digital skills that will help you in computer based roles in the future.

Your organization skills will improve through online learning, through balancing reading and coursework and preparing your work in time for submission dates and online seminars.

Challenges you might face when studying online

Studying online, compared with attending campus, will bring its own challenges. Firstly, time management is entirely down to you. Rather than attending regularly scheduled classes and lectures, it is down to you to work through the syllabus. Whilst this suits some students, others may find this more of a challenge. To make sure you keep on top of your workload, set regular calendar reminders to schedule in your work slots and make sure that you don’t miss them!

You will also need to maintain your motivation when studying online, to power through your work without your peers next to you in the same boat. Always keep in mind during your studies your motivation for enrolling and the end goal that you have set for yourself upon graduation.

Is online learning for you?

If you want to continue your education and study for a full university qualification that is the same as one you would receive studying on campus, but are unable to attend a university for studies, then you should consider online learning.