Support and Resources - The Open College of the Arts | Distance Learning Degrees and Courses

Support and Resources

Support for students - even at a distance

Learn more about the wide-ranging support and resources available for OCA students below.

Mental Health at OCA

OCA provides a learning environment that promotes health and wellbeing.

Our flexible study options encourage students to have a healthy work/life balance, allowing them to complete degree level studies over a much longer period than the average Higher Education Institution.

Our Learner Support Team is a great resource for students who may need adjustments to tasks due to mental health conditions or extra support on their learning journey. Much of our support falls into the realm of mental health, signposting students to appropriate sources of help. Our team are trained in Mental Health First Aid.

OCA’s Learner Support Team

OCA has a Learner Support Team who work with students with disabilities including mental health issues and other long-term health conditions during their studies.

The team can:

  • Offer you advice before you start on a course;
  • Provide information and support on applying for Disabled Students Allowance;
  • Discuss support for students with short-term disabilities;
  • Provide information, resources and advice about disabilities and specific learning difficulties to academic staff;
  • Coordinate with relevant departments to make reasonable adjustments for students.

For the wider student body, the team’s focus is on wellbeing and accessibility. We work closely with the academic teams to ensure this is considered from course design through to assessment.

Online library access

Students undertaking Undergraduate or Postgraduate degree study with OCA can access UCA’s online library. This includes all e-magazines, e-books and journals.

At the earlier levels of study this may mean subscriptions you made before your studies to subject relevant e-magazines are available to you online. As you progress through your studies you will find the journals invaluable as you increase your contextual research and knowledge.

Even though study with the OCA is at a distance, you are still well-supported with this. Our librarian can help with:-

  • finding and evaluating research sources
  • accessing online resources
  • using the Library catalogue
  • suggesting books/resources for the Library to buy
  • how to search the web effectively
  • how to reference and compile bibliographies.

Tutors

We have around a hundred tutors based throughout the UK who, just like you, work from their home, studio and workplace. All of our tutors are artists, photographers, designers, writers or composers, as well as being experienced teachers at higher education level.

Your tutor is there to help you develop your skills, give you constructive feedback and guide your practice – think of them as a critical friend. You will work with a number of different tutors during your studies, ensuring you can benefit from the wide ranging experience our tutors can offer.

Throughout your course unit, a combination of audio-visual and written feedback can be negotiated with your tutor, depending on what works best for you. If you’re submitting a piece of creative writing for example, written feedback with annotations may be more appropriate. For students submitting visual arts work, audio-visual feedback may work best.

Assignment feedback from your tutor is formative, at set intervals throughout each unit – usually five or six points for our Undergraduate and Foundation students. For Undergraduate students this means you can make changes and improvements based on your tutor guidance before your work is formally assessed.

Meet our tutors