Continuing Education | Lifelong Learning | Distance Learning
The following pages give information on Continuing Education courses. If you are looking for information on providing a Continuing Education course we have a guide to teaching in CE and adult education.
Part-time study courses and modules are available at University Continuing Education, or Lifelong Learning, centres and provide a good opportunity for people with an interest in archaeology to study part-time, and gain academic recognition if so desired. Many courses are designed to provide vocational opportunities and academic awards, such as Certificates and Diplomas. At most universities, students do not have to take awards if they do not wish to do so, and there are many courses of the traditional type, without awards. Courses for leisure interest are also offered by the Workers’ Educational Association (WEA), University of the Third Age (U3A) and by some local education authorities.
Most modules are run as weekly evening lectures over a period of 10/12 or 20/24 weeks, occasionally including field trips. There are also day schools with a panel of speakers, weekend residential and non-residential courses, week-long residential summer schools, and study tours visiting a range of sites in another part of Britain or abroad. Some universities also arrange series of individual public lectures. Distance learning courses at certificate and postgraduate level are offered by a few universities, such as Birmingham, Exeter, Leicester, and Oxford. There is a great variety of topics offered in courses. Some cover a particular period or culture, like Ancient Egypt, Prehistoric Britain or Classical Greece. Some offer courses in practical archaeology such as field walking, excavation, surveying, or nautical archaeology. Others will deal with the archaeology of a particular place, often the local area where the course is being held. Some will teach archaeological methods and skills, such as artefact study, illustration or computing. Other popular topics are industrial archaeology, the study of landscapes and buildings.
The award-bearing courses are particularly useful for people wishing to enter archaeology as students who may have been working for some years and wish for a change of direction. Most of these courses are recognised by the universities as contributing to the entry requirement for BA or BSc degrees. Some may even grant exemption from parts of the first year undergraduate syllabus for those with appropriate awards. However, awards can also be used in their own right by people who do not wish to go into higher education, but would like to study a particular topic to a recognised high standard.
There are three kinds of qualification that can be taken.
- Credits awarded for successful completion of a single course module: these vary according to the length and type of course. Typically, a 10 week course will lead to 10 credits.
- Credits from a range of modules can be built up over a period of time and a Certificate in Continuing Education will be awarded, usually when at least 60 credits have been accumulated.
- Credits can be accumulated from specific modules over a two year period of study for the award of a named Certificate of Higher Education in Archaeology worth 120 credits, or over a longer period leading to higher qualifications such as a diploma or even a degree.
The precise details of credit rating and certificate courses vary from one university to another, but the above is the most typical picture at present. Some universities offer diplomas at a higher level than the certificate, or even undergraduate (BA) and postgraduate (MA) degrees through continuing education. The type of work to be done to gain credits also varies from place to place. Most universities lay stress on course work rather than exams. Course work usually entails compiling a dossier of evidence that the student has done some reading, visited sites, undertaken practical work as part of the course or completed short written tasks. The assessment of students is designed to be flexible and take into account the fact that most students will not have written essays or taken exams for many years, if at all. If exams are used, the student may have advance notice of the questions before the day of the exam.
The programmes of courses offered by departments vary greatly from year to year. Departments should be contacted for up to date brochures. The CBA keeps a database of courses nationwide and the CBA office can be contacted for information.
Factsheet content last revised May 2008
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