A school and college
guide to online and
Higher education looks very different this year
than it has done before due to the COVID-19
pandemic. Universities have adopted new
approaches for their courses; including delivering
courses fully online and also through a ‘blended’
learning method. However, these types of
courses did already exist pre-COVID, and there are
universities that specialise in this type of delivery.
So what do they look like?
Online and blended learning courses offer
something a bit different to what university can
look like by enabling increased study flexibility –
vital for many who need to fit university around
Here, I will introduce what we mean by online and
What are online university courses?
Fully online courses prevent the need for a
student to physically travel to and attend lectures
at a university campus – all they need is a device
and an internet connection to study.
This means that students can study anywhere,
at any time, providing unmatched flexibility for
their studies. All lecture content, books and
journals, discussion forums, student support,
careers services and more, can be found via online
learning portals which students access as and
when they can and need to.
It is key that a student is able to self-motivate and
be self-disciplined as an online learner; they must
take more responsibility for their learning when
studying this way.
What are blended learning university courses?
Blended learning may offer a best of both worlds
– students don’t have to be at university all the
time but can still get that experience of physically
Reduced contact hours mean that blended
students can juggle other responsibilities
alongside university study, but they can still do
things such as ask a question to their lecturer in
person, or grab a coffee with a classmate after
their lecture finishes. This learning mode offers
more structure which some students prefer.
Who may online and blended learning suit?
Students benefitting from this learning style may
include, but are not limited to those who:
- Have caring responsibilities
- Have work commitments
- Travel extensively
- Live in a remote location with no physical
- Don’t want to move away from home for
- Have other commitments, such as volunteering
- Have medical needs that prevent them attending
a physical university regularly
- Simply prefer working independently.
As higher education continues to adapt in this
post-pandemic era, it is important that these
courses are promoted to young people so that
they are aware of the variety of options available
to them, and can choose the pathway that suits
them best and enables them to achieve their