Meeting the Needs of Part Time and Distance Learning Students

The most recent statistics from HESA show that around 45% of Postgraduate students study on a part-time basis yet The Higher Education Funding Council for England has identified a significant decline” in part-time postgraduate study, by 27% since 2010, and while the specifics of why this is the case are not yet clear, it could indicate that it has become more and more difficult to find both funding and time. 

Meeting the Needs of Part Time and Distance Learning Students

The Guardian reported yesterday on the pros and cons of studying a part time masters, and that while many institutions now offering online options for Part Time Masters to make it easier to study while working, juggling work, family and other responsibilities is one of the biggest challenges facing part time postgraduate students.

In the article, assistant Professor Julian McDougall from Bournemouth University stressed the importance of all prospective students being aware that their tutors are familiar with such pressures and responsibilities and courses are designed with a variety of scenarios on mind. He said,

If students are honest, open and realistic with tutors, they will find us understanding and flexible. The key distinction is to recognise the difference between just being busy – we all are, and this is not going to be easy – and unforeseen circumstances, family issues or serious changes in the workplace.”

The UKCGE Workshop Meeting the Needs of Part Time and Distance Learning Students” on Friday 30th January aims to investigate the experience of these cohorts of students to identify their specific needs and how these vary from their full-time campus based peers. There will be significant discussion to allow colleagues to enhance their knowledge of the specific requirements of these students, the ways and extent to which their postgraduate experience differs from that of full-time campus based students, and what constitutes good practice in meeting their needs.