Each module of the MSc Sustainability in Energy Provision and Demand Management programme can be completed in one of two ways:
Distance learning: Meaning a typical eight-week residential module completed entirely online, i.e. through the ‘virtual learning environment’ and other online learning tools.
On site residential week: Meaning lectures, practicals and seminars are delivered through a 5-6 night residential stay at CAT, which is followed by online and distance-learning support for private study and completing assignments over the remainder of the eight-week module.
All students will be able to purchase ‘CAT-in-a-Box’ (£500), which is a kit of monitoring, measurement and data handling equipment that can be used anywhere to facilitate practical work and research towards the degree.
Students may take the entire masters programme, or just individual modules, by distance learning.
Online learning tools
All lecture and seminar materials are made available to all students through the virtual learning environment, ‘Moodle’.
The Moodle platform promotes regular interaction between students, academic tutors and support staff and means that distance learning students are made to feel part of the Graduate School of the Environment community even if they never get to meet other students face to face. It also facilitates student access to a full range of teaching resources and materials, which will include written lecture notes, tutor hand-outs, handbooks, bibliographies, primary sources, additional reading, e-journal articles and extracts.
All learners will need to purchase the ‘CAT-in-a Box’ package of technical materials to assist with hands-on practical activities at distance or when not at CAT, e.g. for their dissertation research. This will comprise programmable data logging and monitoring equipment to enable students to log and analyse real renewable energy data at home, in work or out on trips as part of the masters programme. Full training will be given during the November core module and support will be available. The cost is estimated at £500, and will be payable at the same time as payment is made for the core September module week.
Distance-learning modules are typically arranged as a sequence of teaching activities over an eight-week period. We employ a range of activities including recorded and written lectures, papers, interactive participation in practicals, seminars, and discussions on Moodle, one-to-one or group tutorials online (e.g. Skype) or by phone by prior arrangement. Distance learning students complete the same assignments as those taught in on-site residential weeks.
Online discussion facilities enable students to discuss and resolve issues related to their studies. In addition, the module tutor and support staff use this facility to address any common academic issues, and to contact students where necessary. It is essential therefore to have easy and regular access to the Internet and reliable email.
Whilst much of the work is individual, enabling students to set their own schedule, for some modules students are expected to participate in group discussions or chat sessions, or to work together with other distance-learning students as a group on a project.
All students have access to the Athens electronic journal database, membership of SCONUL scheme (providing access to University libraries across the UK), and the programme website.