New UoL Online Degrees in History/Classics

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by fawcettbj, Mar 3, 2003.

  1. fawcettbj

    fawcettbj New Member

    I would like to draw the forum's attention to two new Bachelor of Arts degrees from the University of London External Programme.

    Both are taught online degrees. The highly rated departments at Royal Holloway provide academic direction for these courses.

    Total costs are £7,560 (approx. $12,000 US)

    Full details can be found at:

    BA Classics

    BA History

    Best Wishes,

    Brendan Fawcett
    Promotions Manager
    University of London External Programme
  2. James Stirling

    James Stirling New Member

    These costs are quite a bit higher than UofL’s other undergraduate offerings. Is this a new policy of the university?

    Also, in the Classics program(me), why no Latin or Greek?
  3. fawcettbj

    fawcettbj New Member

    Hi Jim,

    The total costs for new online undergraduate degrees are £7,560 (based on 2003 fees, fees usually increase in line with inflation every year). This can be paid in full in advance or as you register for each unit/half unit.

    These fees apply to the BA Classical Studies, BA History and BSc Business Administration as well as new online undergraduate degrees in development at Royal Holloway. Whilst this is considerably higher than the costs for many of our other undergraduate degrees this is not a reflection of a change in policy.

    The simple truth is that more university resources are directed at student support in the new online degrees than is the case for other undergraduate degrees. Consequently for the increased support the student pays a higher cost.

    I too was surprised when I found out that no Greek or Latin was expected for the BA Classical Studies. However, as I found out when I met the course director this is now standard in most undergraduate Classical Studies degrees in the UK.

    I hope this answers your questions.

    Best Wishes,

  4. James Stirling

    James Stirling New Member

    Sorry Brendan but I did not catch the “online” in my first read of your original post. So my policy question should have been, why has the UofL gone to the online model rather than the tried and true ‘publish syllabus and test’ model (especially for Classics and history)?
    Best wishes----Jim
  5. fawcettbj

    fawcettbj New Member

    change in policy or evolution

    Hi Jim,

    Before I start apologies if this is overlong but I think to answer your question I may need to give a little history that you may or may not know. In general I'd say a move to online degrees is not really a change in policy but more evolution.

    The University of London External Programme has operated since 1858. Then we offered a ‘publish syllabus and test’ model. The University allowed students to sit for qualifications even though they could not physically attend the university in London. The qualifications were also used to help build capacity in several universities in the UK and throughout the commonwealth. See the last fact on the University of Leicester's key facts or the University of Wales for two examples in the UK and the University of Ghana for an example overseas.

    However since then the world, technology and the University of London External Programme has moved on. Today we have over 32,000 students in 190 countries on nearly 100 different degree programmes at both postgraduate and undergraduate levels. These students study in a variety of different ways according to the qualification they are studying for and the resources available locally. Many of our students especially in the Far East, Asia, and the Caribbean (and to a lesser extent in Europe, Africa and the Middle East) study at a traditional brick and mortar institution for a University of London degree. Others study independently at a distance.

    We recognise that independent study at a distance is more difficult than studying in a traditional manner. We also recognise that in general the better the support given the more successful the student is. Therefore the university has been looking at increasing student support in various ways across all of its qualifications for many years. Even on the degrees that are without tutor interaction there have been many efforts made to increase the resources available.

    Our qualifications are all very different from each other in terms of the nature and level of support available. Compare our M.Clin.Dent Prosthodontics degree for practising dentists to the LLB or the MSc Human Resource Management to the BSc Geography and you'll see the sorts of differences I mean.

    Academic staff who teach for similar qualifications within the University of London develop the degrees launched by the External Programme. These people more than any other shape how the degree is delivered. In the case of the new BA Classical Studies and BA History degree - the academics have come from Royal Holloway (one of the 18 colleges of the University of London). Most academic staff (and probably most non-academic staff) are not usually that interested in creating a pure examinations system, or as you call it a ‘publish syllabus and test’ model. They are interested in teaching, learning, researching and the scholarly activities that go on at any university.

    New technology has enabled a type of teaching and learning that was impossible five-ten years ago. It is therefore only natural to expect some staff to embrace this technology if they feel that it will improve the ability of students to learn that particular subject at a distance.

    In the case of the BA Classical Studies, BA History and BA Business Administration staff at Royal Holloway have embraced a virtual learning environment. Another of our new degrees this year the MA in United States Studies (led by the Institute of United States Studies, part of the School of Advanced Study here in Senate House) is lead by staff that prefer to use a more traditional paper based student support mechanism.

    In short it's really a question of horses for courses. Distance learning degrees with online components won't be right for everyone, but people around the world are becoming more technologically literate. Likewise technology is constantly improving allowing more things to be able to be done with it. Therefore I expect that both the supply and demand for online courses will continue to grow.

    I hope this helps try and answer your original question.

    All the best,

  6. Tom Head

    Tom Head New Member

    Brendan --

    Thanks for the update on these exciting programs. I do have one question: While the online approach probably does work best for most students, is it probably safe to say that the syllabus-and-test option will still be available in the future for test junkies like me? (I see a London B.D. lined up somewhere on my future resume, once I'm finished with my Ph.D. work.)

  7. fawcettbj

    fawcettbj New Member

    Hi Tom,

    I'd guess the B.D. should be around for some time, in more or less its present format.

    We always try to give notice of the withdrawal of degrees in any case.

    Best Wishes,

  8. EricBaber

    EricBaber New Member

    Hi Tom,

    With regards to "test junkies" - the online courses are examined exactly in the same way the paper-based ones are, namely by exam at a local examinations centre. While students are encouraged to submit assignments during the course of their online studies and these are returned to them with an indicative grade and tutor feedback, these do not contribute in any way towards a final grade. The grade the student achieves at the end of the course is derived completely from the end-of-year exams.

    Eric Baber
    Online Course Designer, Royal Holloway

Share This Page