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How Education distance learning works

16 October 2023

Our Faculty of Education delivers quality courses online via Learn. Studying by distance is a rewarding experience that will challenge and inspire you as you gain new knowledge and skills. Find out how distance learning for education works at UC.


As a distance learning student it’s important to understand fully what distance learning is like, and how it fits with students' own learning preferences. Studying via distance at University is a rewarding experience, and will challenge and inspire students, whilst gaining new skills and knowledge, and will be worth all the commitment made.

Your commitment

Full-time distance learning students

  • About 40 hours a week of independent study
  • Attendance at On-site Intensives if applicable
  • If a course has an official exam or supervised test, you will need to attend at the allocated centre. Look below to Distance courses with exams or tests

Part-time distance learning students

  • About 20 hours a week of independent study
  • Attendance at On-site Intensives if applicable
  • If a course has an official exam or supervised test, you will need to attend at the allocated centre.

A 15-point enrolment equates to about 10 hours of study a week.

Students working in schools or Early Childhood centres during Professional Practice would normally be at school from 8am until after 4pm. 

  • Distance learning courses are delivered online through UC's learning management system, Learn (Moodle).
  • Learn is an online teaching and learning space that provides access to your course materials, discussion forums and links to other web information.
  • Learn is designed to be simple to use. Inside there is plenty of supporting information on each screen.
  • Lecturers and tutors communicate with students by email and the Learn sites.

  • Primary or Early Childhood BTchLn or Graduate Diploma and Postgraduate Diploma in Teaching and Learning students are required to attend a two week On-site Intensive at the beginning of the programme. Bachelor of Teaching and Learning students normally also attend a second one-week On-Site Intensive in July. These will be held on campus in Christchurch.
  • Other programmes may also have courses that require you to attend a compulsory On-site Intensive in Christchurch. Confirmed details will be made available via the Learn sites.
  • If you need accommodation in Christchurch, there are local motels, or casual bookings can be made in our halls of residence if rooms are available. Contact
  • Accommodation and travel costs are met by the student.

  • For some programmes students are required to spend time in schools or centres. These Professional Practice blocks will be between two and eight weeks, and may occur twice a year.
  • The Professional Practice blocks allow students to learn through practical application and first-hand experience. These experiences enable the student, their lecturers and associate teachers to evaluate their developing knowledge and skill. The college endeavours to place students in local schools or centres but students may be expected to travel. Travel and accommodation costs are all met by the student.

Sometimes access to a school or classroom is desired in order to complete an observation or task for a course. Distance students in primary programmes are strongly encouraged to foster a good relationship with a school in their area so they gain access for their studies. This is a strictly informal relationship between the student and the school and falls outside of any formal liaison organised by the college.

  • Course materials are accessed online through UC's learning management system, Learn, which is powered by Moodle. Materials can be read or printed as required.
  • Supplementary materials may be sent with the course. If there are supplementary materials they will be sent before the course starts.
  • Any compulsory textbooks can be found in the course outline. Course outlines are available online. The University Bookshop (UBS) is a bookseller located at the University and orders can be placed by phone or email.
  • Most courses also have recommended readings. You will find information about recommended readings in your course outline. These readings can generally be borrowed through the UC Library. Often the recommended readings for your course can be purchased from UBS, but you are advised to try the library first.

  • Normally distance assignments are submitted electronically via the course Learn site. Any assignments that cannot be submitted electronically must be sent by mail to the college.
  • If assignments are submitted electronically via Learn it is likely that they will be marked and returned via Learn. Interim grades will also be available via the Learn Gradebook. Final grades are available on myUC.
  • Any assignments submitted via mail will be marked and returned via mail. Grades will be available via the Learn Gradebook.
Distance learning requirements


Support for distance students

Your lecturers are available via email and Learn sites. The Academic Skills Centre can assist with study and/or assignment writing enquiries. 

When things just aren’t quite right there is always someone to go to for help and advice. Check out our Support for distance learners page for more information.

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