Version 1.0 - Last Updated: 16 Feb 2021

Eligibility

Determining mode of study


More and more providers are choosing to deliver courses with different methods of study. With changes like this, you may not always find it easy to determine the mode of study for your courses.

A course can have 4 modes of study:

  • full-time in attendance
  • full-time distance learning
  • part-time in attendance
  • part-time distance learning

The information here should help you determine the study mode of your courses.


Distance learning courses

The student support regulations define a distance learning course as:

'a course on which a student undertaking the course is not required to be in attendance by the institution providing the course, where required to be in attendance is not satisfied by a requirement imposed by the institution to attend any institution

(a) for the purposes of registration or enrolment or any examination;

(b) on a weekend or during any vacation; or

(c) on an occasional basis during the week'

You should use a process of elimination to determine if the course is distance learning.

Does your course meet this definition?

Yes: It is a distance learning course

No: It is an in attendance course


Full-time and part-time courses

The student support regulations do not give definitions of full-time or part-time courses. However, we use the following guidelines to decide whether a course is full-time.

Students on a full-time course will normally attend the university, college or other teaching location for at least 24 weeks within the year. During that time, they are expected to undertake:

  • periods of study
  • tuition
  • learning in the workplace
  • a sandwich work placement that does not meet the sandwich year out criteria

These should amount to an average of at least 21 hours per week.

You should use a process of elimination to determine if the course is full-time or part-time.

Does your course meet this definition?

Yes: Your course is full-time

No: Your course is part-time


Example

Thomas is a student who is studying a BA Hons in sports coaching. His course hours are as follows: 

  • 30 weeks online study including lectures and tutorials
  • 2 days per week physical attendance at sports academy
  • 6 days per year attendance at college or university

Step 1 : Determine if the course is distance learning or in attendance.

Thomas needs to attend the sports academy on a regular basis, rather than an occasional basis, therefore this is an in-attendance course.

Step 2: Determine whether the course is full-time or part-time.

Look at the study hours and determine if they are full-time or part-time.

Thomas needs to attend the sports academy 2 days per week and the course is of a structured nature. Therefore, it is a full-time in-attendance course.

The points that help you determine this are:

  • the requirement to attend a location or sports club for study purposes
  • the requirement to meet a minimum number of hours of attendance per week
  • the structured nature of the course and the days of attendance required at the university or college

When determining the mode of study, you should consider the format of study. Is it all online or will the student need to attend seminars, workshops, or lectures?

Also look at the frequency of the study. For example, is there a structured timetable that requires regular online attendance at scheduled lectures, seminars, tutorials or discussion forums?

If the student is expected to attend any of the above frequently, rather than occasionally, then the course is not distance learning.

If regular attendance is required, meaning the student must be at a specific place to study, the course is not distance learning.


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