| DFL@USP: An Overview | DFL History | Modes of DFL |
Distance education is the delivery of learning or training to those who are separated mostly by time and space from those who are teaching or training. Flexible learning is the provision of learning opportunities that can be accessed at any place and time. Flexible learning relates more to the scheduling of activities than to any particular delivery mode.
Distance and flexible learning at USP offers you a way to gain a higher education through a variety of modes and technologies.
The "distance" aspect allows you to take courses and pursue USP programs of study from locations far away from USP's regional campuses and centres. The "flexible" aspect lets you fit tertiary study into your own schedule and in a learning mode that best suits you.
When you study by distance and flexible learning at USP, what you learn is exactly the same as what students learn on campus at USP. The difference is the way in which you learn it.
Approximately half of the University's 15,000 students choose to study by Distance and Flexible Learning (DFL) within their own home countries. The vast geographical distances that USP serves makes it difficult for all students to come to study at one of the three major Campuses. For this reason, USP has been a pioneer in DFL since the 1970s.
Today, the University utilises a state-of-the-art satellite communications network, USPNet, to deliver tertiary education to people in the Pacific who would otherwise not be able to study face-to-face. Distance learning is administered by the DFL Support Centre, which manages the administrative and academic operation of 14 USP Centres. The Centres are like small Campuses and are located in each of the University's 12 Member Countries. Due to its larger size, three USP Centres are located within Fiji.
Over 200 credit courses are now offered through DFL representing all USP's discipline areas and all 100-level courses. Priority is being given to offering entire academic programmes through DFL mode. In the near future it will be possible to complete your full programme through DFL, but at present it offers a critical pathway to graduation.
DFL students are provided with a mix of printed materials, audio and video cassettes, the Internet and live access to lectures and tutorials taking place at the main Laucala Campus through video conferencing and broadcasting. These multiple modes of delivery are aimed at supporting students with their studies. The USPNet technology is greatly enhancing the learning experience for DFL students and the University is rapidly expanding the number of courses available to students through distance.
Typically, DFL students come from a variety of background, but they all share a desire to study in a way that is convenient to them, does not require them to move away from their homes and families or to give up full-time work.
Benefits of DFL
Studying by distance and flexible learning (DFL) is ideal for people who:
- live in remote areas of the South Pacific Region;
- have heavy family, financial or professional responsibilities which prevent them from studying on-campus;
- do not want to move away from their family and friends; or
- simply prefer to study independently.
As a USP student, you benefit from the flexibility of the choices that DFL offers in the delivery of its courses. Your study schedule can be accommodated to fit in with your other commitments and you can progress through your studies at your own pace. Students who choose to pursue tertiary-level education via DFL achieve the same USP qualifications as a student studying full-time on a USP Campus. In this way, University-level qualifications are available to anyone, provided they are committed and disciplined with their time.