Dissertations at a distance

Dissertations at a distance - success for online distance learners at independent research stage

Team members: Jen Ross, Gill Aitken, Sian Bayne, Sarah Henderson, Erin Jackson, Clara O'Shea


As a number of new Distance Education Initiative-funded Masters programmes launch at the University of Edinburgh, and online distance learning (ODL) becomes more mainstream across the University, supporting part-time, online distance students through the latter stages of their studies becomes a matter of shared interest as well as a priority for individual programmes and supervisors.

This one-year project will investigate, through interviews, workshops, documentary and completion data analysis, what students want and need from their dissertation experience, what connections exist between programme and supervisor practices and student outcomes, and how student and supervisor understandings and experiences of ‘success’ map onto available dissertation-related data on four ODL programmes: the LLM (Masters in Law) and MSc in Digital Education in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences; and the MSc in Clinical Education and MSc in Clinical Management of Pain in the College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine.

We aim to address the question: ‘What supervisor, student and programme practices can be seen to align with successful dissertation outcomes for online distance learners?’.

Outcomes from the project will form part of a programme of dissemination and knowledge exchange involving the participating programmes, the wider ODL community, and online learners within and beyond the University of Edinburgh.

Final Project Report

You can download the final project report below:

Final Report (PDF)