St Augustine is an accredited long distance South African university that offers its students a real-time education experience with its “blended” distance learning programme. Here we look at how distance education has grown in popularity over the last three years and what high quality education courses are available to students choosing to work remotely.
Accredited distance learning colleges have become the norm, rather than the exception, after the 2019/20 global pandemic forced people to reassess how they worked, played, and lived. According to a recent survey, 79 per cent of South Africa’s employees now work from home compared to 26 per cent before the pandemic, while 72.9% of the student population turned to home schooling during the lockdown.
This new way of living has accelerated the demand for distance learning courses from students seeking to broaden their education at their own pace from home. And South African colleges and universities have responded to this demand with innovative programmes, such as St Augustine’s blended learning classes. St Augustine has charted a different course with blended learning programme that present students with real-time classrooms presided over by live lecturers. Students join the lectures, receive their study materials, and meet fellow students. This active participation is achieved via Google Classroom which enables St Augustine students to actively take part in the blended learning programmes with fellow students from all over the globe.
· St Augustine College offers various degree courses. These include:
· Philosophy Doctorates in Theology,Philosophy and Education.
· Philosophy Masters in Theology, Culture and Education, and Philosophy
· Bachelor Honours in Theology, Philosophy, and Peace Studies
· Higher Certificate in Biblical Studies
· I found a family where I am not just a number but a valuable, deserving human being destined to grow and flourish in a challenging academic environment. Anastasia De Vries (Doctor of Philosophy in Philosophy)I certainly would encourage any person who is interested in tertiary studies, particularly in Peace Studies, to enrol with the College. The experience is more than just academic learning, it’s experiential and relevant to life. Atty Sobayeni (Bachelor of Arts Honours in Peace Studies)
· The patience of the lecturers and the collegiality encouraged among us as students enriched one’s worldview and impacted one’s everyday life. I will never forget the helpfulness and courtesy of the staff that made the college a place where one felt safe enough to be themselves. In short, I grew immensely – not just academically but also socially -during the time I spent in St Augustine. Coto Makaba (Master of Philosophy in Theology)
· I found that the modules offered were of a very high standard and were covered by well qualified lecturers from all over the world. Completing my Master’s degree at Saint Augustine was such a great experience for me that I decided to pursue my Doctoral degree with them as well. Gisele Kalil (Doctor of Philosophy in Theology)
· St Augustine has become a family to me, the care, expertise and knowledge offered are unbelievable - SARAH HORSHID – ZADA, Bachelor of Arts
· You will get the right amount of attention from the lecturers due to the small class sizes. Our lecturers are highly qualified and offer some of the best career and industry advice - MASEGO MADIBANE, Bachelor of Arts
· I appreciate that St Augustine encourages critical thinking, while the modules offered to allow for one to apply practically over and above the theory - SAMKELISIWE NKOMO, Major subjects Political Science, Philosophy and Geography
Distance universities in South Africa have quickly adapted to the new style of living, working, and studying from home that has evolved since the advent of the global viral pandemic and St Augustine College is no different. In fact, 2023 will see an array of innovations and a change of address for this online distance learning institution.
St Augustine courses are recognised and accredited by the national Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) through the Council for Higher Education (CHE).
Degrees in Theology can be obtained online and are becoming increasingly popular. Students should check that the courses on offer are from accredited institutions. In South Africa, senior level theology teachers with eight or more years of experience can earn in the region of R980,815 annually.
Open distance learning is the perfect solution for students who do not have the time to attend physical classes. St Augustine College is a reputable online educator that allow theology students to learn at their own pace. Courses cover everything from Doctor of Philosophy in Theology to MPhil in Theology.
St Augustine College in Gauteng is an online course provider accredited by the South Africa Department of Higher Education and Training. Students engage in two major sources for theologising:
Theology courses are offered at undergraduate and postgraduate levels and range from a Bachelor of Theology to a MPhil and the DPhil in Theology. Higher Certificates in Biblical Studies are also available.
Doctoral degrees at St Augustine College are based purely on research. Candidates, liaising with the Theology Department, submit pre-proposals for the project. Once accepted by the Faculty Higher Degrees Committee (FHDC), a supervisor is appointed to direct students to prepare a full proposal. This should take no longer than six months. Once the proposal has the FHDC's approval, candidates embark on the proper research and writing of their dissertations.
A minimum of two years is required for a doctoral degree. Students will undertake their project under the direction of a supervisor or, in some cases, two co-supervisors. Co-supervision is sometimes suggested by the FHDC when multi and/or interdisciplinary research projects are undertaken.
Doctoral candidates are also encouraged to consult with other lecturers at the College, the Head of Department, and the Academic Dean. If necessary, contact with scholars from other institutions, both national and overseas, can also be facilitated. Apart from the library at St Augustine's, doctoral candidates have access to several electronic resources subscribed to by the College, as well as to the libraries at other universities.
Every year, Doctoral Seminars are held at the College to enable candidates to present their work in progress, to receive feedback on their findings, as well as advice on methods of research from Faculty members.
Apart from attending four quarterly teachings during the postgraduate lecture lessons of the academic year, students must complete formative and summative assessment tasks. All students must also complete an 18,000-word research paper on an approved topic.
While there is no strictly defined word limit for a doctoral dissertation, most of the research papers submitted by candidates in Theology range from 300 to 500 pages. Once finalised, the dissertation undergoes a blind review by two external examiners, one of whom is an international scholar who write a detailed report on the research paper. Student dissertations are evaluated by the FHDC and degrees awarded by St Augustine College, dependent on any required corrections.
The final step in the process is the publication of the successful doctoral dissertation. Although this step remains the decision of the author of the dissertation, St Augustine College encourages doctoral graduates to publish their work to make it available to a wider audience.
St Augustine offers short courses, certificate courses and a range of degrees from bachelors to doctorates. All courses are recognised and accredited by the relevant branches of South Africa’s Department of Higher Education and Training.