Mesa Redonda “Distance Learning Sheffield MSc Courses”


  • Prof. Nick Fieller – Probability & Statistics – SoMaS, University of Sheffield – UK
  • FCUL (DEIO) – Campo Grande – Bloco C6 Piso 4 – Sala 6.4.31 – 10:30h
  • Terça-feira, 10 de Maio de 2011

Distance Learning Sheffield MSc Courses

Introduction and Background

The MSc in Statistics in Sheffield was established in 1965, one of the earliest to be established in the UK. In 2001 after assessing the needs for statistical training and recognising the national and international shortage of statisticians and we embarked on a Distance learning version of the course, providing an opportunity for student in full time work to take the course over two or three years. From the outset we were determined not to make this an ‘easy option’ and not to devalue the high reputation of the Sheffield MSc. As well as running the Distance Learning version of the course we continued to run the traditional full time course with lectures for residential students in Sheffield. This had the advantage that we had much of the teaching material already but introduced unexpected difficulties (e.g. how to ensure that the learning experiences and opportunities were as similar as possible, how to ensure that residential students did not become ‘more distant than they should be’ by giving added value to the lectures.   We had anticipated a high setup cost (which it certainly was) but thought the maintenance cost after the first year or two would be low but this has not really proved to be the case.


In 2006 we established a purely Distance Learning one year pre-masters course to cater for an increasing demand for a conversion course to allow graduates from numerate disciplines such as economics or biomedical sciences to qualify for entry to our MSc in Statistics. Because we started this course from scratch and because it only runs as a distance learning course this provides a comparison with the DL MSc. The course itself has proved highly successful with more than 40 new students entering in 2010, many of whom will progress to the MSc.