Doctoral Degrees - A Guide to Studying Online

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1 Doctoral Degrees - A Guide to Studying Online Why Study With the University of Liverpool? doctoral degree is an academic qualification that A will elevate your career to a new level. It is a major investment of time and commitment, and anyone considering such a programme of study needs to be sure that they choose an academic institution that offers doctoral degrees that are respected worldwide. The University of Liverpool has existed for over 120 years. A member of the Russell Group which consists of twenty of the United Kingdom s top research universities, we are recognised as one of the best universities in the UK. This and the reputation we have gained as a world-class university from our ground-breaking research and expert academic staff (including Nobel Prize winners) makes a doctoral graduate from the University of Liverpool standout from the crowd. Not only do we offer you a doctorate delivered by one of the best universities in the UK, we offer you a doctoral programme that fits into your work and personal commitments. Flexible Learning to Fit Your Life Your life as a working professional is already busy enough. Watching the clock so you leave the office in time for an evening class on campus, missing a class because of work or personal commitments, limited interaction time with your instructors and other students, or sacrificing your valuable vacation time for residential courses is going to make studying far more difficult and stressful than it needs to be. Although any qualification worth having is going to require hard work, our flexible online learning format puts you in control of your studies. Study any time of the day the online classroom is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week No geographical restrictions with a 100% online programme you can study whenever you want, wherever you are in the world.

2 2 High Levels of Support With over ten years of experience in providing postgraduate education online, we have developed programme structures and support systems that help you achieve academic success from your time and commitment during your studies. Online study often gives the impressions of studying alone. However in our online classrooms, students have greater interaction with their doctoral tutor and fellow classmates than in a typical face-to-face classroom environment. As an online student with the University of Liverpool, you should expect: To participate in classes with an average of 18 students therefore you can expect to receive detailed, weekly feedback on your work from your doctoral tutor and can easily contact them when you need their guidance High levels of interaction with other students in online discussions several times a week Support from a team of specialists who are onhand to give you the advice and assistance you need. A Global Classroom for Experienced Professionals Our online programmes offer unique opportunities that campus programmes find hard to replicate. Our students come from over 180 different countries, lending the classroom a unique global perspective and exposing you to a wide range of international experiences. This brochure will give more information about why the University of Liverpool offers you a smarter way to study, how you can apply, and how we help you succeed. Applying to Study During this phase of your contact with the University, we will assign you an Enrolment Advisor. Your Enrolment Advisor will discuss what you want to achieve with your studies and will give you advice about which of our programmes will best help you to reach your goals. They will assess your suitability for the programme and help you to prepare an application. When applying you will have to submit documents (for example, copies of your identification documents (ID) and educational certificates) as requested by your Enrolment Advisor, complete an online application form, and make an initial payment. After you submit your application, the Board of Admissions will examine it. If you meet the requirements of the programme, they will recommend that the Faculty accept your application. The Faculty will normally confirm your acceptance within five working days. Once your acceptance is confirmed and you complete any remaining requirements for admission, you will be admitted as a student to the University of Liverpool. The flexibility of our programmes makes them more suitable for professionals who are mid-career and unable to take time off to study. The average age and level of experience of our students is higher than many equivalent campus programmes, leading to an enriched classroom experience

3 3 Before You Start Studying Starting Your Studies Before you start studying we make sure you can access the University s e-learning platform, have the required textbooks, and know how to use the online classroom and any other important information you will need as a student. Your Enrolment Advisor remains available to offer you any advice or assistance, but you are also given access to a website that will guide you through this process. Five weeks before the start of your programme you take the Student Readiness Orientation module. Students admitted to the University less than five weeks before the start of their studies will take the Student Readiness Orientation within a few days of admission. The Student Readiness Orientation is an online, self-study preparatory module that helps you orientate the online classroom so you know how it works and where to find information before your classes begin. This module takes about ten hours to complete including a short final assessment. You would normally spread this time over two or three days. This module must be completed before you start your programme, however it is non-credit bearing and does not count towards your degree grade. The first two weeks of your studies are designed to incorporate foundation elements alongside the academic content of your chosen programme. Although students on the doctoral programmes typically have extensive previous experience of higher education, the expectations of the University in areas such as citation and referencing may differ in detail from where you studied previously. During the first three weeks of your programme, our team of Student Advisors will monitor your progress in submitting assignments and participating in class discussions, and reach out to you if it looks like you are experiencing difficulties. Although support will never be more than a phone call or an away, this enhanced level of support in the first few weeks means you get assistance or guidance as soon as possible, so you do not fall behind with your studies. Due to the extra foundation elements incorporated into the first module, it is eleven weeks long, one week longer than the rest of the modules that make up your programme.

4 4 Summary of Application Process Application Your Enrolment Advisor will advise you about the programme that best meets your requirements, assess your suitability and help you prepare your application. What you need to do: Provide documents Complete Application Form Acceptance The Faculty will consider your application; this normally takes around five working days. If successful, you will be accepted on to the programme by the University. You will receive an from the Registrar with a letter confirming your acceptance. Discuss your potential start date Make initial payment Recommendation Your Enrolment Advisor will present your completed application to the Board of Admissions. If you meet the admission requirements, you will be recommended to the relevant University Faculty for admission. Admission After being accepted on to your programme you must complete any final requirements before being admitted to the University as a student. To be admitted you must: Be accepted by the University Sign and return a Student Agreement Select a payment plan for the costs of tuition Make all initial payments Confirm your start date

5 5 Enrolment After being admitted you take the Student Readiness Orientation module. This does not count carry credit towards your degree. However, it must be completed before you can be enrolled and your start date confirmed. The Student Readiness Orientation teaches you how to use the online classroom. Starting your Studies The first few weeks of your studies feature foundation elements to help you get off to a good start. We will also monitor your progress in this period and reach out to you, if it looks like you are experiencing difficulties, to offer support and guidance.

6 6 The E-Learning Platform Weekly Assignments The e-learning platform consists of four main parts: my.ohecampus.com is where you log-in to the University s online classroom. From this page you can access your grades, other administrative information, the other parts of the online University and your Student Support Manager* ecampus is where you access your study and meet students from other classes and programmes in discussion boards - these are known as Student Lounges Blackboard is the name of the online classroom. This is where you receive and submit assignments, and interact with your doctoral tutor and the other students in your class The Online Library gives you access to thousands of books, magazines and journal articles to use in your studies. All parts of the e-learning platform are easy to use. If you can surf the internet and send an you will have no problems getting to grips with our e-learning platform. Most computers (PC or Mac with compatible Microsoft software) manufactured within the last five years will have a high enough specification to use the e-learning platform, but we can provide detailed technical requirements if you need them. You will of course need a reliable internet connection and although broadband (cable/asdl) will enhance the speed at which you can access the e-learning platform, it is still possible to study if you only have a dial-up connection. * see below for details of the Student Support Manager and the other members of the University staff. A study week starts on a Thursday and ends on a Wednesday Every Thursday your doctoral tutor will make the lecture notes, reading list and assignments for the week available in the online classroom Most weeks you will normally need to participate in an online class discussion and work with a learning team. In addition to this, some weeks you will need to hand-in other assignments, such as progress reports and critical literature reviews, with a final report due in the last week of the module. Each assignment must be completed by a deadline. Interaction with Other Students A high level of interaction with other students is a key differentiator of our online doctoral programme. Each week (normally between Thursday and Sunday) students will their answers to Discussion Questions (or DQs) set by the doctoral tutor and read the answers made to the DQs by their fellow students. Then, normally between Monday and Wednesday, students are active in their learning sets, asking each other short questions and making at least three to four meaningful responses to the questions asked by other members of their learning set. Our doctoral students come from all over the world. The weekly online interaction gives you the opportunity to gain insights from a variety of countries, cultures, industries, viewpoints and experiences. They can form the beginning of an invaluable global network and wonderful relationships, which you will benefit from long after you have finished studying

7 7 Flexible Study Hand-in other written assignments (in week six or seven of the module) You must complete each assignment by the deadline set, and be active and dynamic in your participation with your learning set. Other than this, you are free to study whenever is most convenient for you. The online classroom is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Your interaction with other students is asynchronous; you do not have to be online at the same time as them. You can read and respond to what other students have written at any time - it is just like checking your . How Many Hours per Week? Our online programmes are part-time programmes, structured so that busy professionals with full-time jobs and family commitments can successfully complete them. You may find that you have to sacrifice your free time in the evenings and at weekends, but the workload is realistic for full-time professionals. The exact amount of time you will spend studying each week is hard to predict. People absorb written information and complete assignments at different speeds. Although the assignments set vary between programmes and the week of the module you are in, the below list gives a good example of a typical week: Plan when you will do your assignments and do any preparatory work Read sections of your textbook/s and other assigned reading from the online library and other sources Answer the Discussion Questions set by your doctoral tutor Participate with your learning set, asking questions and responding meaningfully to those asked by fellow students Reflect on what you have learned. This list should enable you to make a good estimate of your required study time in a typical week. Academic Integrity You submit all your work through the online classroom. When you submit an assignment it is compared with a vast database of printed publications, websites and assignments that have already been submitted to other universities around the world. Instructors can see the amount of material in a student s work that has already appeared elsewhere. This allows them to check you are correctly citing and referencing any material you have quoted in your assignments. It also ensures the University of Liverpool s standards of academic integrity are maintained and that students only receive credit for work that they have done themselves. Weekly Assessment All work undertaken is graded on a weekly basis. Each week you will receive grades and feedback from your doctoral tutor for the work you did the previous week. You will receive feedback, positive and/or negative from your doctoral tutor about your work, and be given advice about how to improve poor grades. At the end of a module we use these weekly grades to give you an overall grade for the module. Twothirds of your final grade for a doctoral degree comes from the work you do in the modules and from your Doctoral Development Plan (DDP), with the final third coming from your thesis. Continuous assessment tests your knowledge and your understanding of what you are studying in a more

8 8 meaningful way than exams, which can just often be a test of memory. On the DBA programme, students have the option of replacing either the seventh or eighth module by attending two face-to-face residencies in which you will be able to meet your fellow student peers and the senior academic faculty in person. Attendance at the residencies is subject to an additional fee (to cover accommodation, catering and facilities) in addition to the normal tuition fee for the programme. The residencies are designed to expose you to a variety of paradigmatic positions beyond that of action research, which is utilised in the DBA programme. These will help to challenge your thinking regarding the epistemological and ontological starting point for your own research. In the first residency you work on a small research project. You then prepare a conference paper that you will present during the second residency. Modular Structure Thesis Your studies are broken into modules; each module focuses on a particular area of the subject you are studying. A doctoral degree consists of nine modules followed by a thesis. Each of your credit-bearing modules lasts ten weeks, with the thesis taking an additional one to two years to complete. After successfully completing nine modules and the Doctoral Development Plan, you will be ready to start your thesis. We prepare you for your thesis just as we prepare you for the start of your studies. Support Duration of studies The programme takes on average 4½ years to complete with a few weeks break in between modules. Should students need to alter their study path due to work or family commitments they can do so in consultation with a Student Support Manager. Optional Face-to-Face Residency Throughout your studies you will have dedicated support specialists you can turn to for advice and assistance. A personal Enrolment Advisor will help you with your initial enquiry and the application process. After you are admitted to the University they will make sure you are ready to start your studies on the date you have selected. During your studies you will be assigned a Student Support Manager. They will normally stay with you throughout your studies, and will provide you with any non-academic guidance or support you need. In addition to the advice you can get from your Student Support Managers we have a team of Student Advisors who contact students who are falling behind with their studies to see what we can do to help. You will also benefit from access to an Online Librarian to assist you in finding research material, and technical support for the e-learning platform 24 hours a day. If students find their study skills are holding them back from doing their best in their studies, we offer a number of academic skills modules. These modules allow students to improve their study skills in specific areas (Citing and Referencing, English, Academic Writing, and Research).

9 9 Graduation All of our online degrees follow the same high academic standards as our on-campus equivalent degrees, and meet the academic and quality standards you would expect from one of the leading research universities in the UK. Therefore upon successful completion of your degree, you are welcome to attend your graduation ceremony in Liverpool alongside other students of our online programmes and students who have studied on campus. If you are unable to travel to the UK, we will arrange for the secure delivery of your degree.

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