Distance learning involves self-directed study using course material and completing assessments. Some papers involve attendance at on campus residential schools. Interaction with other students and lecturers might be by audio conference, web conference or online discussion forums. Course material may be provided in hardcopy, online or via CD-Rom or DVD.
Do I need access to the internet?
Most courses provide course material and interact with students online via a web-based learning environment such as Blackboard. Internet access is required for those courses, preferably Broadband or similar. Email is required to receive important University communications.
Will any part of the course require on campus attendance?
Some papers require attendance at on campus residential schools. These may run for a period of 2 – 5 days. Contact the programme administrator for details. Papers which can be studied by students residing overseas AND which do not require attendance at any course component in New Zealand are marked in the prospectus with an icon.
How much study time should I allow?
An 18 point paper taught over one semester will require approximately 15 hours per week study time, including reading, research, audio conferences and assignments. For a 30 point single semester paper, allow 25 hours a week. For Full Year papers, halve the number of hours per week.
What is the teaching period per paper?
The University year is split into two semesters each of 13 weeks, followed by an exam period. The start date for distance papers may vary, however Semester One and Full Year courses generally commence around the start of March and Semester Two starts in July.
Summer School is a full time intensive programme with teaching covering a six week period from early January to mid February.
How is my work assessed?
Assessment will vary from programme to programme and from paper to paper. In many papers, however, there are generally two assignments and an exam. You can request an exam venue close to your home. Exams take place in June for Semester One papers. Full year and Second Semester exams are around October/November. Other assessable activities could include:
- online quizzes
- compulsory attendance at contact courses
- participation in online discussion forums
- audio conference attendance and participation
When are exams held and where?
Exam periods: The University of Otago has three main examination periods:
- The Summer School examinations run from around mid February
- Semester One examinations are in June
- Semester Two and Full Year examinations run from mid October to mid November
The dates for these periods are set two years in advance.
Location of Exams: Where practicable, students will sit their examinations at a local centre based on their semester address in PIMS. Some students, however, might be required to travel distances of up to an hour’s drive.