For some courses a later entry may be possible. At the Fernuniversität Hagen, it is also possible to study the entry-level modules and finish the exam after the application deadline. Under what conditions, you should inform yourself in advance. A numerus clausus as access condition is rather rare in distance learning. Since there is no shortage of places to study, candidates with a lower secondary school leaving certificate may well be looking for a place to study.
The distance learning itself
If the application for distance learning has been successful, it will be serious. At the beginning of the semester you can count yourself among the students – including all duties. Then the real work begins and it consists mainly in learning. The correspondence course follows its own rules regarding the conveyance of the contents.
Syllabus and learning material
The syllabus is largely put together by the students themselves. In addition to compulsory courses and compulsory modules for the Master’s and Bachelor’s degree programs, there are a number of options with which the studies can at least partly be adapted to personal interests. Which courses or modules are available depends on the degree program and the university. It is crucial to achieve the required workload per semester, depending on whether the study takes place part-time or full-time.
The necessary learning materials are provided by the university and sent regularly, or they can be accessed online. The rhythm of the material depends on the distance university. In Hagen, the documents are delivered every 14 days. In addition to the written learning material, which must be edited, there are completely different teaching methods depending on the learning objective and course or module. Anything is possible, from the online course, which can be accessed via the study portal, to CDs, DVDs and computer learning programs, to online seminars, videoconferencing and Internet discussion groups.
Submission and inspection tasks
In addition to the data and facts relevant to the course of study, the material also includes exercises and control tasks that can be used to test learning progress and the understanding of the subject matter. This serves primarily self-regulation. There are also submission tasks for performance control. They have to be done and are tied to fixed dates. This ensures that you regularly deal with the material. At the same time you get a direct feedback from the lecturer, tutor or mentor. These tasks can be done at home and sent by post. Whether one is admitted to the final exam depends, among other things, on whether these tasks have been successfully passed.
So that the study is not exclusively virtual and takes place only by mail, there are so-called attendance phases in most providers. They are designed in such a way that they can be perceived largely problem-free, even when they work part-time distance learning. These phases last for two to three days and often take place over the weekend. Where, depends on the university. The larger providers have nationwide study centers, so that not too long journey is necessary. The face-to-face events allow personal contact with other students and the teachers. This intensive exchange is a useful addition. The same applies to internships, which are prescribed in some subjects, but can usually be realized for working people only with the help of educational leave.
Contact to lecturers
As the attendance dates are only a fraction of the actual distance learning, the rest of the study time will be spent on the Internet and, if necessary, the telephone to contact the lecturer or supervisor in case of questions or problems. The easiest and most common way is by e-mail. The advantage: You are not tied to fixed office hours and receives the answer comparatively quickly. Other ways are videoconferencing, online consultation or contact via the study portals, for example in forums, chats or on the own message system. The questions then take on expert mentors or tutors. It proves to be very helpful in doing personal conversations, which are realized by webcam and microphone. One should, however, make key points beforehand. Otherwise you may forget to ask one or two questions.
Exams and exams in distance learning
No studies without exams and exams – this also applies to distance learning. For performance control, submission tasks are provided, which must be resolved regularly and on time. At many universities, they decide whether students are allowed to take the final exam for the respective course or module. These exams take place on-site and are written under supervision. Depending on the university or university, there are different numbers of exam locations. When choosing the place you are relatively free. It is ideal, of course, if the exams can be completed close to home. A thorough preparation is also essential here, as the requirements are the same as for a classroom study. If the exam passes, there is the desired certificate or the credit points required for the degree.
Final thesis for distance learning
Another challenge is the final thesis. Scope and specifications depend on the desired degree and subject area. The topic of the work must be registered and agreed with a lecturer. Ideally, you are looking for a suitable topic that suits your own interests. This includes the literature search and a logical structure of the work. The bachelor’s degree course is the bachelor’s thesis, which has to be completed in less than two months and comprises around 15 to 25 pages. Masterthesis requires considerably more time for the master’s program. Here it is almost six months. The scope is 80 to 100 pages. This corresponds approximately to what is expected in a thesis (60 to 100 pages). The work is to a large extent included in the final grade for the course.
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