About_BCOU

Education That Fits Your Life

The British Columbia Open University (BCOU), a division of the Open Learning Agency, was created twenty-five years ago to offer students flexible access to post-secondary distance education.

Getting the credentials you need is not always easy—from finding the right program of study and getting into the classes you want to balancing school work with other commitments.

At BCOU, we are dedicated to providing learning opportunities that are tailored to students’ personal needs. That is why more than 16,000 students each year choose to learn with us, and why thousands of students have earned their certificates, diplomas, and degrees through BCOU.

The British Columbia Open University is a public institution and a member of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC). BCOU also partners with other educational institutions, professional bodies, industry, and business, and is a founding member of the Canadian Virtual University.

BCOU Overview
Courses and Programs
Continuous Course Registration
Flexible Course Scheduling
Varied Course Delivery Formats
Tutor Support/Contact Choice

Courses and Programs
BCOU offers courses and programs at three levels: adult basic education, college, and university.

Credentials awarded include adult secondary school completion, certificates, diplomas, associate degrees, and bachelor’s degrees (master’s and doctorate degrees are not available at this time).

BCOU delivers 200 distance courses of its own. Consortium partners Simon Fraser University (SFU), the University of British Columbia (UBC), and the University of Victoria (UVic) deliver another 326. Other courses and programs are offered in co-operation with various educational institutions, professional associations, workplaces, and community organizations.

Many universities, community colleges, provincial institutes, businesses, industries, and professional associations recognize the credits earned through BCOU courses and programs.

Continuous Course Registration
As many distance courses delivered by BCOU are offered on a continuous basis, students may register throughout the year. Labs, clinicals, selected classroom offerings, and an increasing number of Web, paced courses have fixed start dates.

Flexible Course Scheduling
Most distance courses delivered by BCOU are designed for students to complete within a generous time frame at a place and pace that suit their needs.

Varied Course Delivery Formats
BCOU-delivered courses are offered in the following formats:

Print/Web-enhanced—Course is print-based. Many have optional Web content and Web interaction, though Internet access is not required to complete the course.

Web—Course is Web-based, though most have some printed materials. All have mandatory Web content, and most have Web interaction. Internet access is required.

In-person—Course is delivered face-to-face in a classroom setting or as a lab, clinical, workshop, or fieldwork.
Not all delivery formats are offered for each course.

Courses may also include audiocassettes, videos, or computer disks to provide demonstrations, dramatizations, and other components of the learning experience.

Tutor Support/Contact Choice
Students registered in most credit and non-credit courses delivered at a distance by BCOU receive instructional support from highly qualified tutors. Students may choose to communicate with their tutors by phone or email and may submit assignments by regular mail or email.