Students guide to e-learning available now

In selecting online courses, students often have a hard time seeing the forest for the trees. Nuffic, in collaboration with the European Students Union (ESU), has published a new handy guide to help students choose the right course.
Posted by Jeroen Langelaar

In recent years, there has been a worldwide surge in the number of courses offered online. First and foremost, this is an encouraging development since e-learning is opening doors for students who would otherwise not have access to specific courses – or even education at all.

Nuffic defines e-learning as ‘learning that takes place within online or virtual learning environments’. Online courses come in many variations. They can be part of a formal education, offered by an accredited higher education institution, but they can also be offered as stand-alone courses by other organisations.


Currently, the most well-known is the ‘Massive Open Online Course’ (MOOC), with millions of new users joining every year. Over 900 universities around the world have launched over 12,000 MOOCs. Because of this diversity and the rapidly growing supply, the quality of online courses varies widely. For some, students have to study for months in order to earn a certificate, while for others watching a short movie will do the job.

Students should not experience any difficulties in receiving academic recognition (official approval) for a course offered by an accredited higher education institution within the context of a formal study programme. Yet recognition can become problematic when a course is not part of a formal study programme or is being offered by unaccredited education providers.

“This guide will help students to select a course that really fits their individual needs.”


This is why Nuffic has published the ‘Students' guide to e-learning’, a handy brochure that covers subjects like e-learning, academic recognition and how to select the right online course. The brochure is the final edition of a three-piece series, following the publication of ‘Practioner’s guide for the recognition of e-learning’ and ‘Academic recognition of e-learning’.

The guide is aimed at bachelor and master students who are interested in e-learning. It encourages them to ask the right questions before they sign up.

Valuable information

“There are so many online courses available, it is sometimes difficult to know where to start,” explains Katrien Bardoel, Senior Policy Officer at Nuffic. “This latest guide will help students to select a course that really fits their individual needs and can help them to continue their academic career.”

Nina de Winter and Liv Teresa Muth of ESU agree: “The supply of online education outside of formal study programmes is increasing. This guide provides students with valuable information and thorough advise about e-learning and its recognition.”

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