Lectures and face to face

The first face-to-face session is undertaken at the beginning of the semester while the second one is undertaken in the middle of the semester. For each face-to-face session, Open and Distance Learning students are invited from wherever they live or work to congregate at the main campus for the period of the face-to-face session. Open and Distance Learning students live and/or work in different parts of Uganda and neighboring countries. When they come to the main campus for face-to-face sessions, Open and Distance Learning students may reside within or nearby the University campus. All the students (6,350 No.) on the four Open and Distance Learning programmes may or may not be invited for a face-to-face session at the same time. However, B.Ed and BSc. students are invited for face-to-face sessions during secondary/primary school holiday time.

In the first face-to-face session, lecturers give an overview of the courses for the semester after which take home assignments are given. Briefing sessions are also held in the first face-to-face session to communicate to students any salient administrative and/or academic issues. In the second face-to-face session, further guidance on the courses is given and students are given timed tests. In the last two (2) weeks of the semester, students write examinations in the courses on offer. Examinations are conducted from the main campus. The examinations are done at the same time as those of the internal programmes. This examination arrangement removes the flexibility required in Open and Distance Learning programmes.

In the remaining time of eleven (11) weeks when the students are not attending residential sessions (4 weeks) or undertaking examinations (2 weeks), students do independent study through self study materials and group discussions. During this period, student-student, student-lecturer and student-university interaction is encouraged. The Open and Distance Learning offers academic, administrative and social support to the students through organized tutorials at study centers. Sometimes, when resources permit, Open and Distance Learning staff pay physical visits to students in their homes or workplaces to establish impediments to their studies with a hope of providing solutions. The visits are also intended to reduce the ‘distance’ in distance learning. The visits are mainly executed when staff are delivering or checking on study materials at different collaborating up-country libraries. The two way communication channel is always open between the students and Department during face-to-face or non face-to-face times. Sometimes communication is made to and from students via electronic and non-electronic media. Electronic communication is accomplished using e-mails, mobile phones, Internet and radio. Non-electronic communication is provided through course handouts, brochures, fliers and face-to-face meetings or briefings. On the whole however, Open and Distance Learning  at Makerere University relies more heavily on face-to-face tuition than on self-study materials.