Distance and Flexible Learning
Studying as a distance learner enables you to decide when, where and at a time of your choice.View content
At the University of Winchester, we are committed to offering high-quality learning and teaching and working with students to ensure a safe, respectful, and supportive environment. Our distance learning programmes are no exception. They allow students to study engaging topics on programmes that are accessible and use innovative approaches to learning and teaching.
What courses are available for distance learning?
What is it like to study by Distance?
Your course will involve a range of different “modes” of online participation, all of which combine to support your learning. The precise combination will vary from course to course, but you should expect to be involved in structured, self-paced learning activities and live online sessions. These live sessions may resemble tutorials, seminars and lectures. Some will be wholly tutor led, others will involve inquiry and discussion and are opportunities for you to interact with tutors and other students.
You can expect the structured, self-paced study and the live online sessions to be supported by engaging learning materials and all these activities take place within our secure and accessible virtual learning environment. This comprises the Canvas online learning platform and other communication and collaboration tools (e.g. Microsoft Teams and Padlet).
This places you within a vibrant community of students who share your interests and passions. You may be interacting with other professionals in similar fields, but you will also benefit from a wealth of experience from students with a broad range of backgrounds. You will find peer to peer support and networking opportunities within your programme.
You may be encouraged to make use of local educational resources and have the flexibility to choose a suitable environment for private study. It is recommended that live online sessions are attended in a private study space with a stable internet connection and a headset with microphone. Find out more details on the minimum technical requirements for online distance learning courses page.
Please check with your programme leader about any additional specific requirements that may apply to your programme.
Some programmes will require you to be online for specific activities that are scheduled to take place at UK time. Please check requirements with the programme leader.
Accessing Course materials
Course Materials are accessed via the Canvas online learning platform, which will hold all the important information and study materials that you need to successfully complete the course. This is also where you will submit assignments online. You will receive log in details from the university when you are accepted on to the course and, once the course has started, you will be able to log in and find “courses” for each module of study. You may even be invited to log in to canvas and access other resources before that date!
Microsoft Teams enables groups to meet in a live online classroom. Your student IT account includes a full Microsoft Office 365 license which you can use to access Teams and other Microsoft Office applications. For the best experience you should instal the MS Teams Desktop app and log in using your university of Winchester email and password. These sessions are facilitated by the tutor for the course and include presentations, group discussions and activities.
Online discussions are conducted using Canvas tools and work in the same way as instant messenger or an email thread. The good thing is that you can reply and read the messages at a time that is convenient to you. They are an important way in which you can communicate with your tutors and others on the course. Discussions may focus on a study topic, assignment or an interesting piece of reading.
Your student handbook and Canvas courses will also include all the contact information you need alongside all the important dates of the course.
Adobe Connect online classroom
Adobe Connect for distance and flexible study enables groups to meet in an online classroom. This is similar to skype, in which students all log in at a particular time and can see and speak to each other in a group. These sessions are facilitated by the tutor for the course and include presentations, group discussions and activities.
Email is a key way in which distance learners communicate with their tutor, to ask questions, get information about the course and get advice. All University of Winchester students are issued with a student email address. This mode of communication suits those with busy lives and helps individuals balance study with other time commitments. Information for entire classes is most commonly distributed via Canvas announcements, but you can enable notification settings in Canvas so that these are sent to you by email as well. In any case it is important to check your email regularly, to ensure that you are up to date with all information relating to your course.
121 and group tutorials
Most courses offer 121 and group tutorials at regular intervals so you never feel out of touch. These can be organised at mutually convenient times and enable key points of communication to occur. These sessions will be facilitated using Microsoft Teams and in certain circumstances may be conducted by phone.
Whether you're looking to improve your academic skills, need advice on student life. or require materials for your research, we have a variety of resources available to support you through your studies:
Distance learning resources
Student Support and Success
Our welcoming, friendly and supportive Student Services teams are available to discuss individual needs. We work hard to anticipate needs and fully support your learning experience.
You can phone or email to book an appointment with a student adviser who will be able to offer information and guidance on a range of student life and support matters. Our student advisers are a great first port of call for advice on any university or personal matter. Phone and online appointments (Microsoft Teams) can be arranged, as well as on-campus face to face appointments.
Student Services cover a range of things from Disabled Student Allowance to the Access to Learning Fund. Disability advisers are available to talk to and the university also runs a mental wellbeing service covering mental health and counselling.
For those who are returning to education and need to brush up on academic skills such as academic writing, reading or referencing, we have a dedicated academic skills support team here to help. The team offer a wide range of online resources to help you if you are studying at a distance and they also provide one to one support.
Our Student Services Teams can be contacted here:
Telephone: 01962 827341
If we can’t help you directly we will either follow up the query or signpost you to other relevant areas. If you need help please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Students who are new or returning to higher education may wish to refresh their study skills like academic writing and reading techniques. We have a dedicated study skills support team and you will gain access to helpful 'How To' guides and one to one tutorials via Microsoft Teams or phone.
Visit our Academic Skills page.
The Library has a range of online resources to support Distance and Flexible Learners. It provides a wide range of resources to support Distance and Flexible Learners. Once you have registered for your course you will be able to view information and direct links to our full list of online resources. Further information on the services we offer can be found on the Library page.
The interlibrary loans scheme allows a student to request a book or journal article that is not part of the University of Winchester library collection. Distance learners can make requests by emailing email@example.com and you can find out more about the scheme on the Interlibrary Loans intranet page. Books must be collected and returned in person, so this may not be possible for all distance learners. However, if you request an article we will be able to post it to you; just send us an email at the above address, with the details of your request and your postal address. In certain cases, we may be able to email them to you instead. Please note there will be a fee for this service.
Accessing other university libraries
The Library participates in the SCONUL Access scheme, which entitles UK residents to borrow items from other participating Libraries. If you are resident in the UK you can apply online, to participate in this scheme. However, please note, due to the Covid pandemic this scheme is currently suspended.
Winchester Student Union
The Winchester Student Union is run for students, by students. We are an independent organisation from the University itself, and we are dedicated to representing and supporting you as students, as well as providing a wide range of opportunities, activities and events for all students across our Education, Welfare, Activities and Services Zones.
Supporting the welfare of our members by providing representation, educational development and should you wish, social and extra-curricular opportunities.
Particularly handy for a distance or part-time student - they can provide an onsite presence - to physically represent you when an email or phone call just won't do. By all means, make use of them. Send them to committee meetings with your views… Get their help to form your own online communities within your course and beyond… Find out where you stand with difficulties such as finance or registry procedures… Have a good moan…Or just need to chat with someone who understands your circumstances. Your SU representatives are here for you!
Find out more on the SU website.