Distance learning and modes of study

Distance learning means studying at a location that you can choose for yourself. You can study at home, in a library, or even on a train – whatever suits you best. All of our students are adults with lives outside the traditional campus – studying at the Open University is always considered a part-time activity. Therefore, you can easily integrate Open University studies into your life, other studies, work and other commitments.

Distance learning or e-learning also calls for discipline. Since you are responsible for your own studying, you are expected to plan your studies independently. The distance learning method is something the Open University has developed for many years. If you have questions concerning the planning of your studies, we can help you.

Modes of Study


The most common ways of studying through distance learning at the Open University are written assignments, study journals, concept maps and examinations. In the following each mode of study is introduced briefly. You will get more detailed instructions from you lecturer after registration. Follow also the instructions for academic writing.

Written assignments

Written assignments or essays are the most common mode of study in the courses with instruction in English.

Written assignments focus on sets of questions and problems that require in-depth examination, combination and evaluation of knowledge. The assignments and their specific instructions are presented in the course requirements.

The instructions provide guidance in applying the theories, concepts, models and research results to certain topics and phenomena. Working on an assignment thus involves collecting information, processing it and presenting it in purposeful form. In addition to studying the required literature, written assignments can include more concrete tasks, such as interviews, observation, collecting articles, case studies, etc.

Study Journals

A study journal is written on the basis of the course-specific chapters of the exam literature. The aim is to write a reflective text that covers the central theories, concepts and research of the given area. Study journals are not written according to strictly delineated questions or problems. In other words, they do not contain specific tasks that require certain answers. Instead, they focus on learning and understanding the central concepts of the studied material and are meant to reflect the personal process of becoming familiar with the area in question.

Concept maps

Before you begin writing an assessment or a study journal, reflect on how you understand the concept(s) in question, how you would define it, what questions it evokes, and in which everyday situations you might encounter it. You can compare theories by using a concept map or a table.

The concept map is a tool that illustrates how one has understood the studied topics and their internal relationships; what the hierarchy of the concepts is, which concepts are related historically or chronologically, which are similar in content, which are contradictory, etc.

A concept map is not a mind map, which is used, for example, in brainstorming. A mind map emphasises spontaneous thinking and ideas and employs visual aids, such as colours, pictures, etc. A concept map is more concerned with exact definition of concepts and their relationships.



How to log in to Moodle?

You can login to the JYU Moodle from the address https://moodle.jyu.fi/

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