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Online Education - Resources

Online Education

The format and delivery of resources varies greatly between different online institutions. Many institutions currently utilize a combination of paper textbooks and physical resources; however, these are generally being phased out in favor of eBooks and online methods of delivery.

For those institutions that have made the transition to using 100% online resources, students can expect to study using a combination of cutting-edge resources with no need to travel to attend lectures, exams or in-person discussion sessions.

These online resources often include textbooks, journals, videos, recorded lectures, quizzes, discussion forums, live Q&A sessions, interviews and many more. The institution and course leader will determine the format that each course uses, and will select delivery methods that are best suited to the individual programme.

What types of online resource will I encounter?

Here’s a quick overview of the main types of resources you can expect to encounter on an online course, and how to get the most out of them!


These written materials are essential resources on almost every course, online or not. Using your module reading list, or guided by your tutor, a student needs to dedicate the appropriate time to reading and understanding the topics. The main advantage of using this medium (particularly eBooks) is the fact that they are completely portable, allowing you to study on the go.

Pro tip: When you’re researching a course, remember to check whether your textbooks are included in your tuition fees.

Recorded lectures

 An essential way of absorbing a large amount of information in a relatively short amount of time, lectures are a staple of online and campus-based learning.

Pro tip: If you can, make notes throughout your lecture; this will make it easier to review for later examinations, and to prepare for assignments.

Interactive sessions

The greatest challenge an online learning provider faces is how to replicate the face-to-face interaction and in-person discussions that on-campus institutions can easily provide. In order to overcome this, online providers often use a combination of discussion forums and question-and-answer sessions.

Pro tip: Before beginning an online discussion or session, make sure you read the rules and requirements; some institutions may require you to create posts that have a minimum word count.

How will my resources be delivered?

Online students often think that their resources will be delivered via email, or even by post. However, most institutions are moving away from this unreliable method of delivery.

The course or module’s learning resources will be delivered via the institution’s online learning environment; this will vary greatly depending on the software used, but it will usually consist of a central online platform that students can access from their personal PC, mobile or tablet.

One of the major benefits of utilizing resources that are hosted entirely online is the flexibility this allows for. Online students can choose to access their course information and complete their set assessment pieces at any time; this allows them to fit their studies around their work, family and other commitments. This also means that students who wish to continue working while studying do not have to put their career on hold.

Find an Online Program

Learn more about studying online:

The content of this Study Online guide has been written by University of Essex Online.

About University of Essex Online

University of Essex - Online

University of Essex Online is an online education institution offering online and part-time degree courses in subjects including business, management, marketing, law, criminology, psychology, public health, infection control and an MBA. Students are supported by their own dedicated Student Adviser and receive quality teaching from industry leaders and subject experts while studying within a cutting-edge virtual learning environment. To learn more about University of Essex Online, click here.

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Last update: 09 Mar 2018

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