FAQ's | The Open College of the Arts | Distance Learning Degrees and Courses
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Frequently Asked Questions

What is distance learning?

Distance learning is a way of studying remotely. OCA provides a blended learning approach, which means that we offer a combination of both online/physical copies of educational materials, as well as opportunities for face to face interaction on study visit days.

Is distance learning for me?

Distance learning is great for anyone who wants to be creative, expand their skills and/or gain a qualification, on your own terms.

A lot of our students study alongside other commitments such as work, childcare and health issues; adding distance learning to their existing lifestyle.

Ideally you would be able to set aside a number of study hours per week and be comfortable working independently. Self-motivation is key to a successful distance learning student. We have useful tips on our website on how to manage distance learning, and how to continually add to your personal development.

Do I have the right skills?

All you need to start off with as a distance learner is access to the internet, a computer or laptop and have a good understanding of spoken/written English. We support you in becoming a confident distant learning student and you don’t need to be a computer genius. You’ll be asked to write your thoughts online, read and take notes on learning material and upload and submit your work.

How quickly can I get qualified?

You can gain a BA (Hons) degree in a minimum of 4 years. This is studying between 25-32 hours per week. In addition assessment timeframes take a few weeks. An MA takes a minimum of 3 years, however currently a new 2-year model is being developed for release in January 2021.

What’s the maximum length of time I can take to complete a Open Foundations / Undergraduate degree?

You can take up to 2 years for a Open Foundations course, 9 years to complete your undergraduate / MA degree. If you have extenuating circumstances you may be granted addition time to complete a course.

Is distance learning lonely?

Distance learning can feel a little isolating at times, so it is important that you engage with the student community and discussion forums online and try your best to attend study visit days if you are able to do so. We encourage our students to continue conversations through our social media pages too.

Do we hold a graduation ceremony?

Yes! All OCA graduates celebrate together alongside UCA graduates in a shared ceremony, usually in London. If you cannot attend, we can send your certificate in the post.

How can I make the most out of my course?
Utilising what’s on offer will play a key part in the enjoyment and success of your distance learning course. Start off by structuring your studies:

  • Ensure you have access to all the portals and virtual learning environments, bookmarking important platforms.
  • Ensure you have all the required technology and software, such as MS Word, quicktime or google hang outs, to easily access online resources.
  • Familiarise yourself with how your course will be delivered, taking notes on resource contacts, such as IT/ Student Services staff and tutors, who can help if you have a problem.
  • Find out when study day visits, online workshops and OCA events are being held so that you can plan this into your schedule.
  • Find ways to connect with other students on your course. Using student discussion forums, our social media platforms, hash tag your work #WeAreOCA or even setting up a Facebook group can help you share resources and ideas.
  • Learn, learn, learn – after all, that’s what we’re here for!
  • Keep up to date with news on our weekly bulletin, online library and blog.
  • Keep a folder of course materials and a journal of your creative ideas, and maintaining a steady learning schedule.

What happens if I would like to exit from my degree?

You may be eligible for a Certificate in Higher Education or Diploma in Higher Education depending on which units/ levels you have completed. You are able to change course if your interests or aspirations change.

When can I enrol?

You can enrol at any time, any day of the year for a Foundations or Degree course. MA Applications for our MA courses are usually open from January.

When do I submit my artwork?

We have 3 dates spread throughout the year for assessments, usually in March, July and November.

What equipment do I need?

All students should have regular access to a computer and the internet in order to access the student site and their OCA email.

OCA courses are designed to be completed without needing to purchase highly expensive equipment. As you progress through your course units you may wish to source more specialist equipment to supplement your learning; your fellow students and OCA tutors can be great sources of advice.

What happens if I change my mind?

If you decide you prefer a different course once enrolled at a later date you will need to contact our student services team at studentadvice@oca.ac.uk who provide further information on how to do this and what the requirements are.

What is UCA to OCA?

The University for the Creative Arts (UCA) is one of the top UK creative universities. They are our partner, which means that we can offer our distance learning students unique opportunities.

What does a student journey look like at OCA?

Take a look at our infographic to get a better understanding of what a student journey looks like at OCA!
View it under the Visual Communications course within our Showcase gallery: https://www.oca.ac.uk/showcase

View our degree programmes