A picture of the outside of the Open Learning building.

Thompson Rivers University is the BC Centre for Opening Learning. TRU offers flexible learning through Open Learning, which means that students can learn both on-campus and off-campus. For on-campus students, online Open Learning courses can provide distance learning for those who want to complete extra courses off-campus. These courses are fully online and self-paced. Students have up to 30 weeks to complete a course and must book the exams themselves, which will be proctored/monitored while writing. 

I am in my fourth year of my Bachelor of Business Administration, and I have taken two Open Learning courses during my time at TRU. To supplement my on-campus BBA requirements, I decided to take two distance courses during my summers. I took an Organizational Behaviour course during the summer 2020 semester and an Introduction to Marketing course during the summer 2021 semester. In doing so, I checked off two program requirements* that were necessary for my BBA. 

*Ensure you meet with an Academic Advisor to confirm program requirements.  

Taking self-paced, online courses can be challenging, as you need to remain motivated and self-disciplined to ensure the course and exam are completed before the deadline, but there are also many benefits to pursuing this type of learning. Although I wasn’t familiar with online self-paced learning, I found that taking these Open Learning courses helped me to improve my self-motivation and self-discipline skills. As there is no professor to push you – they’re only there to answer your questions and give you feedback on assignments – you truly do have to guide your own learning. I created a plan for myself at the start of the course for how much I would complete each day, each week, and each month, and what date I wanted to complete the course by. Creating this plan helped me to stay on top of the textbook readings and assignments so I wouldn’t fall behind. I became a much more organized person, and I implemented these organization skills into my on-campus learning. I also find that I’m more adaptable now, as I’m able to learn in the classroom and self-taught online. 

Many TRU students aren’t from Kamloops and like to go home for the summers – Open Learning allows these students to take courses at home and on their own time. As a student who is from Kamloops, I took these courses because I work full-time during the summers but still wanted to work towards my degree while doing so. As was the case for me personally, completing an extra course through Open Learning also allows you to check off your program requirements, which brings you another step closer to completing all your program requirements and graduating.  

Although I enjoy being on campus and in the classroom with my peers and my professors, Open Learning was a great opportunity and I’m glad that I took those two courses. Trying a new method of course delivery allowed me to learn new skills, get ahead in my program, and continue working during my summers. 

Future Student Ambassador, Taryn – Bachelor of Business Administration, “Flexible Learning Opportunities”, 8 Nov. 2022

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