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Topic Title: Distance Learning "Rant"!!
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Created On: 26 September 2013 07:06 AM
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 26 September 2013 07:06 AM
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sjwallace

Posts: 6
Joined: 01 July 2008

I have posted about this subject before, a few years ago, but I thought I would have another rant about it!!

Why, oh why is there such a lack of distance learning within UK college and universities? The reason I ask is that I have been working abroad in the Middle East as an avionics aircraft engineer on military aircraft, for the last 16 years and I have struggled to find a reasonable choice of distance learning higher education!!

I finished a HNC in Aeronautical Eng. in 2007 through Perth College in Scotland, as at that time that was the only relevant HNC I could find! I wanted to continue to a HND, but again, at that time I couldn't find a suitable course that wasn't either full time of part time (which included mandatory days at the college!)

Fast forward to 2010...After spending an age looking for another course to do (preferably a HND top up), I found a distance learning HNC/D in Aerospace Eng. through Yeovil College (which I can totally recommend! The course was good and the college staff in the engineering department are great!!) It was aimed at current or ex-military personnel (or appropriately qualified civilians) and was classed as a MOD outreach course, which was perfect for me as I am ex RAF. The downside to this was, as my previous HNC was a Scottish qualification and apparently the framework was different, if I wanted to do the course, I had to start from scratch!

I completed the HNC/D this year and was chuffed to bits at having both my second HNC and HND (top up) with a really good marks. Ok, on a roll here, let's find a relevant top up degree and crack on with that!.....Yep, another brick wall!!

I don't really understand, in this day and age, why it is so difficult to provide a good selection of adult higher engineering qualifications to guys who work abroad? I have seen this same topic raised on other engineering forums, so there is a market for this type of studying. I have been a registered Eng. Tech since I left the RAF in 1992 (it was the IEEIE back then!!) and have always thought that one day, with the right qualification behind me, I could achieve IEng status. Perhaps anyone reading this "rant" that has an insight the UK adult higher education system could shed some light on this subject? Ok dokey..."rant" over!!
 26 September 2013 03:01 PM
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westonpa

Posts: 1771
Joined: 10 October 2007

There are quite a few education establishments who offer decent distance learning courses in engineering, and other subjects as well. There are also some good free ones available as well. It's a growing area.

I am sure if you spend less time ranting and learn to use Google you will find them.

Education establishments are businesses and will cater primarily for the areas where they can avoid running at a loss. You could if you wanted start your own educational establishment and then offer the courses you suggest should be offered, I am sure you would then try to run that business at a profit in order to stay in business. Let me know when you do, I will sign up for a course.

Regards.
 27 September 2013 09:00 AM
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sjwallace

Posts: 6
Joined: 01 July 2008

Appreciate the comments 'westonpa' and I do agree with you that there are more opportunities out there for distance learning now than there was say 10 years ago and from good establishments, which is great to see. Obviously I do appreciate that these types of courses are run as businesses. Like I said, there is a market for distance learning!

Unfortunately, I'm all 'googled' out trying to find an engineering top up degree that fits my area! However, I will persevere and hopefully find something!

If I do manage to set my own course delivery company, I'll let you know.
 27 September 2013 10:21 AM
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OMS

Posts: 19668
Joined: 23 March 2004

Perhaps what you want to think about is the problem of being too specific in your course selection.

I appreciate the field you work in and of course there are going to be limits on exactly how tailored the course is - but have you thought about a more general first degree in engineering - after all it's really going to be maths and first principles slog for a few years - as a degree qualified engineer, you can then deploy those first principles learning into your specific subject area - that's the whole point of it.

I've workd in several different fields of engineering and in several sectors. I started out as an apprentice electrician and through ONC, OND and a HNC/HND ended up on a power engineering degree course - a BSc. From there I studied part time in a general mechanical engineering degree course for a BEng and ended up doing a distance learning MSc in Environmental architecture. Each of those study episodes has taught me something that I use in my day job

Something to think about anyway

Regards

OMS

-------------------------
Failure is always an option
 27 September 2013 12:00 PM
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westonpa

Posts: 1771
Joined: 10 October 2007

Well obviously Yeovil College did not see the value in offering a distance learning degree, maybe they can explain the reasons for that! I think as OMS says you are looking in a very specific area. It's not so much of a degree you want but rather it is a degree in your specific area. As you work in the Middle East maybe you could also consider distance learning in say the USA.

By the way the OU have been offering distance learning degrees in engineering and other subjects for about 45 years now. Years ago they trimmed back on their engineering degrees because there was so little take up on them, I know because I knew one of their tutors.

You can even do an accredited MEng with the OU and which is the requirement for CEng, let alone EngTech. http://www3.open.ac.uk/study/p...qualification/m03.htm

You would need to complete the BEng first http://www3.open.ac.uk/study/u...qualification/q65.htm

By the way that meets the academic requirements for IEng.

You can gain credit for previous study, it's further down the page.

If you wanted to do a distance learning engineering degree or masters degree, which was more 'general' then you would have no issues to find one and could most likely use your existing study to represent the first two years of the degree or else use it + your experience to gain entry to the masters.

I did find in about 2 minutes on Google this course http://www.cavc.ac.uk/en/coursepage?uio_id=75537 which "BSc (Hons) Aircraft Maintenance Engineering" and is "a distance learning course and is flexible, with no set start date".

I did a BSc(Hons) Engineering with my local university and a guy completed the 3rd year and who was working for the Renault F1 team. I seem to recall seeing him 4 times during the year, and with two of those being for end of year exams. I think what he did was to contact some universities and explain his situation and what he was trying to achieve and then ask the tutors if they could work with him on it.....seems my local university were able to help out.

Regards.
 28 September 2013 01:30 PM
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sjwallace

Posts: 6
Joined: 01 July 2008

Again guys, thanks for the comments! Actually, Yeovil college are offering a distance learning degree in composite materials, but that is an area where I don't see myself working. Westonpa, the Cardiff and vale College aircraft maintenance degree is tied in with the Part 66 aircraft licence exams, however, I e-mailed them about a week ago to see if it was possible to do just the university part of the course as a top up. Still waiting to hear from them.

To be honest, I think you both have a valid point about me being a bit selective on the subject area of a top up degree and I do think I need to look at something that's a bit more general. As I said before, I have done lots of research online and found some top up degrees that are "do-able" so will have to re-visit the sites and take another look!

Thanks again, the advice is appreciated.

Regards Steve.
 28 September 2013 04:04 PM
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westonpa

Posts: 1771
Joined: 10 October 2007

You are welcome.

The degree you emailed on involves what is now the University of South Wales. I know them very well because I and friends of mine have studied with them relatively recently.......they are not however the fastest on replying to things or else making decisions but I have found them to be quite helpful and flexible when they get around to it, so good luck.

Regards.
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