Published: 25 January 2006 at 15:55
Anglia Ruskin University is offering potential higher education students a degree with a difference - it is not based on a specific subject but the work that people do and it is delivered 100 percent online.
The Ultraversity degree course, now recruiting students for its February intake, is a 'virtual' degree in that students do not have to attend University as a conventional student but rather research their way to a degree qualification by studying their own job as they work at their own pace, from the comfort of their own home. All that is required is a computer and Internet access so that people can study from wherever they live in the UK.
This new BA (Hons) Learning Technology Research degree is attracting much new interest in the UK. Now in existence for over four years, the degree course at Ultraversity will this year see over 250 people, who have chosen this alternative route to higher education, graduate.
Much of the degree is based around action inquiry and reflective thinking, which means the students, or 'researchers', will look at specific areas of their work in order to find ways to improve. Researchers on the programme share ideas and work collaboratively in online communities. There are no set examinations to sit as work, which is submitted electronically, is assessed regularly throughout the three year degree period. Learning facilitators, who are university lecturers, work with students throughout their time on the programme.
Explains, Richard Millwood, Director of Ultralab
Researcher Susan Melvin, Business Adviser with Thurrock Local Enterprise Agency, said:
says Marion Cope, Community Nurse
Carole Tonner, Advisory Teaching Assistant added:
This innovative approach to undergraduate education pioneered by Ultralab, at Anglia Ruskin University, is an example of a successful e-learning initiative that has pulled together many of the best ideas in higher education and developed them into an experience that meets the needs of many 21st century learners. This degree programme, targeted at people in full time employment, in jobs they enjoy, gives them the opportunity to re-evaluate their career direction and take positive steps towards career enhancement.
Over two years, the degree has demonstrate high standards can be achieved by nurturing students' natural motivation to learn and interest in their own context, and has proved that widening participation in higher education is not watering down.
Course fees are substantially lower than conventional degree courses at just £850 a year.