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Online courses, distance learning and contact teaching

Online courses, distance learning and contact teaching

Online courses

In online courses, most or all of the course activities are conducted online. The advantage of online courses is that they are flexible and more independent of time and place than courses with contact teaching. Online courses are mostly organized without contact teaching, but some online lectures can be included. Participants in online courses are expected to be active and take responsibility for their own learning. By actively taking part in the course, participants can both contribute to and influence the course and thus increase their study motivation.

Online courses have deadlines for each assignment during the course. Courses are divided into modules, units, or weekly sessions. The scheduled modules usually include some form of readings, individual assignments, groupwork as well as text-based discussions. Late assignments and course contributions are usually not accepted. Please note that teachers are not obligated to give additional assignments to students who have not attended the course according to its schedule.

Online courses often run asynchronously, allowing students to work at any time of the day between deadlines. Students can also access the course outside of Finland.

The teacher acts as a tutor and provides feedback either individually or to the whole group.

Online courses allow interaction between teacher and students via text-based forums and live streams. To make studying run as smoothly as possible, we strive to have the study materials accessible online whenever possible. Please keep in mind that some courses also include written material in paper form (course literature, articles, etc.)
Courses are usually successfully completed through written assignments and/or exams, but they may also include online discussions, online exercises, and group interaction.

Log in
Moodle is the online learning environment at the Open University at Åbo Akademi University (ÅAU). Log in to Moodle. Please note that you might need to download an extra plug-in to take part in lecture recordings etc.

Each online course has an education planner, who is in also charge of the technical support. Before the start of the course, the education planner will email you the information on how to log in to the online course.

If you need help with or have questions about the courses, you can be in touch with the course teacher, the education planner, or the study counsellor at the Centre for Lifelong Learning. You can also discuss with your fellow students.

You can change your password and forward emails from your abo.fi address to your preferred email address via the SelfService page.
Use the SelfService page to:
– Change your password
– Access your account information (from the ICT service register)
– Forward e-mails
– Log in to change the password with bank codes (when you have lost or forgotten your password). Please note that some foreign identification methods are accepted.

If you need help, please be in touch with the Helpdesk (helpdesk@abo.fi).

Distance learning and contact teaching

Distance learning courses are online courses with scheduled teaching sessions streamed via Zoom or Teams. Distance learning courses are synchronous: dependent on time, but not location. Please note that the course schedule follows Finnish time. To participate in a distance learning course, participants are required to have a functional webcam and microphone.

In addition to lectures, both distance and contact teaching may include exercises, group interaction, discussions, etc. Between the teaching sessions on Zoom or Teams, course participants study independently by for example reading course literature, doing written assignments, or otherwise preparing. The studies are mainly completed through literature exams or through written assignments, such as an essay.


The regulations on attendance and requirements for performance at Åbo Akademi University (ÅAU) are strictly applied to each course at the Open University at ÅAU. By following these regulations, our participants may be examined and earn credits. Please see chapter 3 in the Åbo Akademi University Examination and Assessment Instructions. The required attendance for each course is determined by the contents and teaching methods of the course.

In both online courses and contact teaching, the learning and study methods used in the course can count as part of the course examination. In such cases, a sufficient attendance rate is required for examination and credits.

Updated 25.6.2024