SMO to offer BA Honours courses via distance learning for the first time
From September this year Sabhal Mòr Ostaig UHI, the Gaelic college on Skye, will be equipped to offer all levels of its degree programme via distance learning for the first time. Students who wish to learn Gaelic and learn through Gaelic will now be able to follow an education programme which will allow them to go from beginner to degree holder, all by distance learning.
Sabhal Mòr Ostaig began delivering its Cùrsa Inntrigidh (Access Course) for beginners in 2000 through distance learning, and over 1,500 people have now undertaken the course. Following on from its success the College made available in 2006 the Cùrsa Adhartais (Advanced Course – year 1 of the degree programme) as a distance learning course, due to demand from students who wished to achieve full fluency.
It will now be possible for students to complete the modules for years 2-4 of two BA (honours) degree programmes through distance learning – the degree in Gaelic and Development and the degree in Gaelic Language and Culture. Lecturers with support from colleagues at the University of the Highlands and Islands worked together to design the delivery and structure of the courses.
The distance degree programme will use the similar technology and teaching methods to the Access and Advanced Courses, where students use online teaching resources and phone tutorials to guide them as they undertake their coursework.
Commenting on the new distance learning programme, Sabhal Mòr Ostaig’s Principal Professor Boyd Robertson said: “This is a highly significant development which will enhance the College’s status as a national and international Centre of Excellence for Gaelic language and culture. We have had students from 24 countries attending short courses here this summer and this will enable these students and others in this country and abroad to undertake honours degree courses in Gaelic in the comfort of their own homes.”
Sabhal Mòr’s Director of Studies, John Norman MacLeod, said: “Sabhal Mòr Ostaig has gained a great deal of experience and expertise in supported distance learning delivery and in offering courses, both on-campus and at a distance, which provide students with a flexible and progressive learning experience.
“In addition to the two distance delivered degree courses, students can also progress to postgraduate study at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, available also through distance learning.
Individual modules from the distance delivered programmes are also offered as Continuing Professional Development (CPD) in areas such as language policy and planning and community development. The degree courses also form elements of a teacher education programme, leading to a qualification in Gaelic with Education, delivered in partnership with the University of Aberdeen.”