About Distance Education
So you're thinking about taking an Open Learning. A post-secondary course or program is a big investment in time, energy and money. Before you register, read the following to determine if distance learning is right for you.
How Distance Education Works
Open Learning (OL) offers over 55 programs and 550 courses in various formats, including print-based, online and in-person. Courses and programs delivered by OL are fully accredited and recognized by other post-secondary institutions, so you can take a single course with us and transfer the credits elsewhere or complete an entire program with us.
Open Education Explained
Distance education means that you can study wherever you live and wherever you are: in a public library, at home, at work or overseas. But open education also means that you may begin your course or program whenever you like; there is no need to wait for a particular semester to begin.
It also means that people who would find it difficult to complete a course or program on a physical campus can still access post-secondary education. This includes people living in a small town without access to on-campus education, people with disabilities, working students and those with family commitments. OL also has few barriers to entry, so your ability to enrol won't be affected by your past academic records and you won’t be required to submit transcripts from secondary school to register in courses.
In addition, we offer students the opportunity to receive credits towards a program through PLAR, or Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition. This program is in place to recognize the experience and skills you have gathered from previous education, or life and work experience.
How to Register
While you do have to register with us if you wish to complete an entire program, you don't have to be a registered OL student to take a distance course. Some of our students are registered at other post-secondary institutions but find they can’t fit another on-campus course into their schedule. They are able to take an Open Learning course and transfer the credits to their own institution.
This flexibility is thanks to the University Consortium agreement, which was established by the provincial government in 1984. It allows Open Learning students to take distance courses delivered by Simon Fraser University, the University of Victoria and the University of British Columbia without having to be admitted to a program at the institution delivering the course. This means you have access to hundreds of additional courses. If you intend to transfer courses you have completed to a BC institution, be sure to check out BCTransferGuide.ca. Also, be aware that each educational institution has specific policies on admission and enrolment.
Just because you are studying at a distance doesn’t mean you are studying alone. You will have the full support of your course Open Learning Faculty Member. In online courses, you may also collaborate with other students in your course.
We recommend that students taking full-time distance education courses for the first time take no more than three courses at a time. Students who are working full time are encouraged to start with only one or two courses at a time. We also recommend beginning with introductory (generally 100 level) and prerequisite courses.