University students to choose from full-time and distance-learning modules The Open University of Hong Kong is to introduce a new 'mix and match' degree programme that combines full-time study and distance-learning. Students in some full-time face-to-face degree programmes will be allowed to spend up to 25 per cent of their final two years of study on distance-learning courses, after the university's ruling senate backed the approach. Mixed-mode tuition will be introduced first on a full-time social science degree programme opened by the School of Arts and Science last year. It will also be adopted on new full-time degree programmes in language and translation, and Chinese language and literature, due to open in September, and a degree in English language planned for next year. Professor John Minford, acting dean of the School of Arts and Social Science, said: 'A really important principle has been set and new distance learning elements can now be introduced in any of our face-to-face programmes. 'The senate has agreed to a modest exploration of mixed-mode teaching by expressing its enthusiasm for developing further in this direction. We will put forward proposals in future years for more flexibility of this sort. 'This is obviously giving students a huge choice. What we are saying is that you have in effect the whole range of distance-learning teaching modules that we have developed over 15 years and you can start to pick and mix.' Professor Minford said mixed-mode study could be developed to create highly flexible courses, where students could switch between full-time study and full- or part-time employment supplemented by distance learning, as their circumstances changed. Vice-president Professor Danny Wong Shek-nam said: 'Provided that these first programmes in arts and social science go well, we will look into introducing mixed-mode teaching across all faculties.' Lam Chun-mo, leader of the Full-time Social Sciences Programme, said the move was a response to informal requests from full-time students to be allowed to take distance-learning courses as part of their degree. In the social science degree, it will make 18 new programme topics available to students in years three and four. Peggy Chiu Pui-ki, 22, a full-time social science student, said: 'Its good because it will give us more choice in what we study in years three and four. 'I think I will be able to manage learning in an independent way through distance learning. It will be more interesting to me because I particularly like studying economics and it gives me the opportunity to take more topics in economics rather than other areas like psychology or sociology.' Currently, full-time students can retake a course by distance learning if they fail an examination.