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Has anyone done a distance/online course?

S: 33st0lb C: 21st13.5lb G: 15st0lb BMI: 46.8 Loss: 11st0.5lb(33.44%)
Hi, I thought I'd ask here on the off chance anyone has done it, we're all so varied it's possible....

I'd like to do a distance A level this year because once I'm healthy I'd like to go to uni and become a midwife. I think I have enough A level marks anyway but it's been nearly 12 years since I did my A levels and can't actually remember what I got:giggle: I think it's important to get my brain working again even if I don't need the extra UCAS points! I've spent all afternoon looking around at different companies but wondered if anyone has experience of it.

I'm mainly wondering about cost/how easy organising exams is etc. Do you think it was worth it?

Thanks for any input.:)
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C: 10st11lb G: 9st4lb
Hey Laura

I haven't done one personally, but our Assistant Principal at work has just finished an Open University degree (something scarily clever that I can't remember, and obviously A Levels would be different). He said that doing it from home allowed him to complete it in half the time and he still got help/guidance when he needed it. Obviously it was hard, but he did two at the same time and managed it!!

Why are you thinking about distance/online learning? Do you not fancy maybe a part time college course?

It may be hard work with distance/online but...It'll be worth it if it's something you really want to do :) x
S: 33st0lb C: 21st13.5lb G: 15st0lb BMI: 46.8 Loss: 11st0.5lb(33.44%)
Thanks for the reply.:) What a clever man he must be!

I've thought of a local college but at the moment I'm not sure I can manage the course fee to be perfectly honest, they seem to be about twice as expensive. Plus with the children still fairly young I need to be able to do school runs/collect them if ill etc. I'd also like to do it in 1 year rather than 2 which doesn't seem so available part time. I haven't ruled it out completely but distance seems to fit better.

I'm pretty determined once I set my mind to something so I'm sure I can do. I need something else to focus on while I lose weight so it seems like a good way to get back into the real world a bit. So many years at home looking after children, getting fat and being ill means the world is a scary place to me.:8855:


Gold Member
I have studied Open University and this was mainly distance learning and I found it easier as I had a small child at the time (had him in my 2nd of the 6 years).

I have looked at some of the details for A level courses and the prices are quite expensive just as much as going to a local college.

Irene xx


Silver Member
S: 19st3lb C: 16st11.5lb G: 12st0lb BMI: 35.8 Loss: 2st5.5lb(12.45%)
I did try distance learning but I found it pretty tough going & I wasn't dedicated enough. In the end I enrolled at our local college. Yes it was expensive, but it was cheaper in the long run (the amount I threw away doing the distance learning .....) and you can often pay monthly/termly.

Another option, rather than an A level, might be an Access course. It's equivalent to two A levels and is a year long course. Although there is a fee, at my local college it's much lower than the cost of A levels. Also, quite often at the last minute they get government funding for Access courses so there's nothing to pay - I got mine free several years ago, as did my sister when she took hers a few years later.

I did my Access course in Social Sciences, but my sister did hers in Biology, so there are medical subjects. There are a range of subjects, but not a huge choice like you get in A levels.


synful soul
S: 107kg C: 85kg G: 79kg BMI: 33.2 Loss: 22kg(20.56%)
I am really interested in this thread as I too have wondered about on line courses and in particular TEFL.

The fees have made it prohibitive for me at present, but it is still something I would like to do and I am an old fart of 67 years old.

S: 33st0lb C: 21st13.5lb G: 15st0lb BMI: 46.8 Loss: 11st0.5lb(33.44%)
Thanks everyone.

I had another look like you Irene and yes you're right they're about the same price, not sure what I was looking at before. :giggle:

Mummoth, thank you I don't know much about access courses but will definitely look into it. If it's cheaper then that's wonderful plus being worth 2 A levels is fabulous! Thanks so much.:D

Fillymum, I imagine a TEFL would be great for you living over there. Go for it when you can afford it.:)

See this is what's so great about minimins, there's always people who know something about everything!
S: 15st6lb C: 12st13lb G: 10st0lb BMI: 30.1 Loss: 2st7lb(16.2%)
I'm doing my degree with the Open University at the moment :D I know you don't want to do a degree, but they do some first year equivalent courses as well as short courses. There are quite a few health care related courses, if that's the sort of thing you're interested in. I just completed my level 1 courses with a health science course :)
The OU offer a LOT of financial support too. There is an eligibility checker online too, so you can have a look to see if you qualify. It does take into account the household income, but also any benefits that you may be receiving.
I cannot recommend the OU enough, I really can't. It could take you a little longer than normal to finish a course or get a qualification, but the course materials and tutor support is fantastic! Definitely worth checking out :D
S: 33st0lb C: 21st13.5lb G: 15st0lb BMI: 46.8 Loss: 11st0.5lb(33.44%)
Well I had a look at access courses. £950 it says.:eek:

Thanks Cheekychinchilla I'm glad you're enjoying it. I assumed they were just degree's from the OU. All the info is fantastic, I will go and have a look now.:)


I will be a Princess!
S: 18st2.5lb C: 18st2.5lb G: 11st0lb BMI: 41.1 Loss: 0st0lb(0%)
I'm working towards my Masters degree with the OU at the moment hun. It's hard work, because you have to be super disciplined to do a distance learning course whilst working full time, but it will be worth it in the end. With the OU you can pay in monthly installments via OUSBA (Open University Student Bank Account), which for my courses works out as about £100 a month :)

As far as I'm concerned, qualifications are always worth it hun. Nobody can take them away from you, even if you ended up changing your mind about being a midwife :)

Sian xxx


Silver Member
S: 19st3lb C: 16st11.5lb G: 12st0lb BMI: 35.8 Loss: 2st5.5lb(12.45%)
Well I had a look at access courses. £950 it says.:eek:

Thanks Cheekychinchilla I'm glad you're enjoying it. I assumed they were just degree's from the OU. All the info is fantastic, I will go and have a look now.:)
Do check with your college though, to see if they ever receive funding to cover the cost, like we did at our college.

Another thing I did this past year (and this may well be a local thing but might be worth looking into) was through my volunteer work at my daughter's school - I do one day a week unpaid on top of my paid work - I had a letter from the volunteer bureau offering to pay for any course to further my career. Even though I had a degree, they funded a double Science GCSE as it was one I'd flunked in school & I needed it to get on to the PGCE course I wanted to do. Saved me a fortune as the course was £400 + exam fees! I had to get 50 hours of unpaid work signed off for them to pay for the course.

Might be worth looking into if you do any volunteer work.
S: 1st10.5lb C: 1st9.1lb G: 1st1.5lb BMI: 3.4 Loss: 0st1.4lb(5.67%)
how about doing a course on vision to learn as they have free courses which are accredited and that way you could sort of try before you buy as to how well you got on with distant learning i did an equality and diversity course with them and they were very supportive ok its at level two not a level but it may be worth trying this way before spending a lot of money
S: 33st0lb C: 21st13.5lb G: 15st0lb BMI: 46.8 Loss: 11st0.5lb(33.44%)
Thanks for the replies girls. *Mwah*

After much talk with my husband about the best way forward we think the access course will be better for me. I'm pretty sure I'll need the extra UCAS points it will provide and I'm not sure if the OU courses count towards that but will have a look. Im hoping when I ring up the college tomorrow there will magically be money available to help. It seems very strange that the OU says I can do a free course but not a local college. If not then hopefully I can find a way to save money each month for installments. Having said all that I've left it quite late for applying and may not get a spot anyway! Now I just need to figure out the whole being out in public thing which I find so daunting but I know it won't last, it's just a state I've got myself into over the years.:eek:

Thank you all for your help. I think I would have had the discipline to work on my own but by actually going I can get used to being sociable again and back into the learning mindset. Straight into Uni next year would have been a huge jump.... I hope they don't just laugh at me when I go for an interview because I'm so fat, I was half planning the distance course so I could lose more weight before facing people in the real world. I suppose I just need to get on with it but it's scary.:eek:


Gold Member
I am sure when you tell the local college what you would like to do eventually they will advise on the right kind of course that will be better for you.

I don't think you have left it to late for September.

Good luck

Irene xx


Yummy Mummy! xx
S: 248lb C: 248lb BMI: 40 Loss: 0lb(0%)
I studied for 3 years through the Open University when my first son was born. It was brilliant, I really enjoyed it but sometimes it was hard to get 'motivated' becuase there was nobody pushing you to do it as much as being in college.

The courses and materials were brilliant and the tutors were fantatsic.

I was also entitiled to a grant which was a brilliant help. Best thing to do would be have a look on their website or give them a ring and have a chat to someone.

Good luck with whatever you decide, it really helped me get back into work after a 3 year break with my son.

S: 21st7lb C: 21st7lb G: 17st12lb BMI: 42 Loss: 0st0lb(0%)
The previous government has drastically cut the funding for adult education (20% at our college and we're expecting more cuts in the near future)...

...but if you want to do an Access Course and you don't already have level three qualifications (A levels, National Diploma) then the course should be free but you could be expected to pay if you do have a level 3 qualifications - a lot depends on whether you get any benefits, the total household income etc.

Universities also often have different requirements for UCAS points with mature applicants as they take into account life experience. One advantage of doing an Access Course is that it brings your study skills up to scratch and gives you confidence. Another might be links to local uni's - if you achieve the Access award at the college I work at then you have a guaranteed place on a huge range of courses at uni - which can really take the pressure off.

The only thing I would say to be aware of is that I wouldn't do an Access course intending to go to uni in the next 4 or 5 years - really most people go the year they finish (eg they finish the Access course in June and start uni in Sep) or the following year at the latest.

Also, our Access to Nursing and Midwifery course has been filled since March, so apply soon if you want to go this year!

Whatever you decide to do, good luck!


Minimin Addict
Hey hun,
I've just signed up to do 2 A levels in English Lang and Lit with ICS. I'm spreading the payments over 10 months so its not so bad. I'm mainly doing them because i'm interested in it, i only have GCSE's at the moment so it would be nice to have something a little higher.
A few years ago i started an english degree with the open university but because i only had gcse's i had to do a humanities degree that covered everything under the arts umbrella and failed miserable at everything other then english. I personally learn better on my own, at my own pace and i'm less motivated to leave the house and go somewhere to learn, so works perfect for me. Good luck with what you decide though

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