The Landscape Guide

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Distance learning

Some distance learning programmes are available in garden design and garden history but online distance learning in landscape architecture is in its infancy.

UCLA Extension offers landscape architecture as one of fields of study as part of the lifelong learning program, with courses in Advanced Professional Practices (Online) [X 493.3] and AutoCAD for Landscape Architects (Online) [X 493.5]

The University of Greenwich offers a Postgraduate Certificate in Garden History by online distance learning (home study)

The English Gardening School offers a distance learning course in garden design.

The University of British Columbia offers a course in Creativity and Design Applied to Landscape Architecture

Distance learning methods: online and offline

'Distance learning' can mean either:

  • paper-based distance learning: students receive printed course materials by post
  • electronic online distance learning: students are taught using web-based or CD-based distance learning materials

Both these approaches to distance learning can be supported by:

  • visits by teaching staff to a remote distance learning centre
  • visits by students to the centre where the teaching staff are based, usually for a week or week-end short course, often a summer course

Combinations of the above approaches to distance learning can be described as 'flexible learning'.

Distance learning providers

Distance learning and online courses can be classified as follows:

  • Distance learning provided by private organizations (eg private colleges) un-affiliated with academic or professional institutions - they may be described as Certificate or Diploma courses but the qualifications are not recognized by other professional or academic institutions. Such courses can be excellent but they do not confer the benefits of recognized, validated and accredited distance courses
  • Distance learning provided by universities and contributing credit points to internationally recognized university certificates, diplomas or degrees. Such courses may also be recognized by professional societies (eg of landscape architects or garden designers) as leading to professional membership of their organizations - and therefore to wider employment opportunities.
  • Non-accredited distance learning courses can also be offered by universities and colleges under adult or lifelong learning programmes. Such courses do not contribute credit points to a recognized qualification
  • Distance learning provided by professional bodies and contributing to professional membership of those organizations

It is possible to take online courses in horticulture, for example, and then apply for the credits so gained to be transferred to another university which offers education in landscape architecture or garden design. Clearly the credits must be approved by the accepting institution.