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The Autism Spectrum (Web Autism) distance learning programme is a web-based part-time, distance learning programme completed over a year of study, earning 60 credits at Level C (equivalent to the first six months of an undergraduate degree). It will be of interest to those working with children and adults on the autism spectrum, including Asperger syndrome. Learning support assistants, support staff and parents will find the programme particularly helpful.
The University of Birmingham is the leading provider of degree-level education in autistic spectrum disorders in the UK. Our courses develop real insight and encourage reflective practice. You will be tutored by recognized experts in the field who work in the Autism Centre for Education and Research (ACER) and will have access to an extensive library and research materials as well as benefiting from other activities such as online seminars. Academic credits and qualifications can be used as a springboard to further study. Our courses contribute towards LDAF and NVQ.
Download the Autism Studies brochure (PDF, 533KB), which provides information on all our autism courses.
This distance learning Autism Spectrum (Webautism) programme is designed to provide students with a broad understanding of the autism spectrum, an introduction to the latest research and an insight into current practice. It will prepare both practitioners and parents to draw upon recognised strategies for meeting the needs of individuals with autism in a variety of settings such as in the home, classroom, college, day service or residential environments.
By studying at a distance, you will be able to tailor your studies to meet your professional and/or personal needs. There are many benefits to using electronic resources for distance learning programmes. It enables you to be in touch with a variety of students in all sorts of places, cheaply and efficiently as well as giving you access to a vast range of resources for learning.
Each student will have a personal tutor for online tutorial meetings along with others in your tutorial group. Learning is supported through web and paper-based study packs, tutorial groups, telephone, email and online contact through our dedicated virtual learning environment (VLE) which encourages students to develop through shared experience. More details may be found in the Learning and Teaching Tab along with FAQs.
Other autism programmes which you may wish to consider now or in the future are:
Regional tutor David Edwards, talks about the Autism Spectrum course
Module 1: Understanding and responding to the autism spectrum
This module explores what it means to be on the autism spectrum. It reflects on how the world may be perceived by the individual with autism. You are encouraged to examine your own practice and look at ways in which it can meet the specific needs of the person with whom you work. The module identifies and explores specific restrictions in communication, socialisation and rigidity of thought of a person on the spectrum and discusses implications for meeting those needs. It encourages you to reflect on how the person with autism best learns within the framework of using the strengths of the individual to overcome difficulties.
Module 2: Working with individuals with on the autism spectrum
This module introduces you to key approaches in the education of people with autism. It examines the importance of partnership with parents and carers and explores the meaning of multidisciplinary and collaborative practice. You will be encouraged to look at how you can create conditions that enable people with autism to predict their world with a degree of confidence. This includes ways of approaching challenging behaviour.
Module 3: Models for Practice when working with people on the autism spectrum
You will be encouraged to look at the wider world in which people with autism live. The module includes an overview of the lifelong education of people on the autism spectrum. It will examine the background to the development of services and includes understanding the context of an inclusive society.
Fees 2017 - 2018
The fees shown above are the annual fees for students starting their course in September 2017.
Please view the Fees for International Students page for more details.
Funding for part-time students
The UK Government provides non-means tested loans to cover the full cost of part-time tuition for all eligible English resident or non UK EU undergraduates. Find out more about the funding for part-time students.
We normally expect a minimum of one year’s current experience of working or supporting someone on the autism spectrum
Access to an online multimedia computer and a personal email is essential (at home, or an out-of-hours workplace)
Learn more about entry requirements
English Language requirements
In order to undertake a programme of study here at the University, you will need to demonstrate that you have a good level of written and spoken English and you may be asked to provide qualifications (less than two years old). You can demonstrate your level of English with IELTS/TOEFL/PTE or alternative qualifications.
Information about minimum scores can be found at: http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/undergraduate/requirements/international/index.aspx
Alternative English language qualifications may fulfil the University's minimum entry requirements - please contact the Admissions Office for further information (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Learn more about international entry requirements
Applicants for this course will not be required to come to the university for an interview.
Please ensure that:
- you provide details of any school/college/university qualifications that you have;
- your referees provide completed reference statements
- you provide any other supporting documentation as soon as possible.
The deadline for receipt of applications is July/August each year. However, we do tend to get full quickly, so we would recommend that you apply early to avoid disappointment.
When clicking on the Apply Now button you will be directed to an application specifically designed for the programme you wish to apply for where you will create an account with the University application system and submit your application and supporting documents online. Further information regarding how to apply online can be found on the How to apply pages
The Webautism course is unique in that it weaves the interactive power of the Internet with audio and video material. This doesn’t just make learning more engaging, it makes it more accessible too.
The programme has been carefully designed to enable you to learn in a variety of ways. These include viewing video, discussion practice with your fellow students, accessing online course materials, reading printed material to name but a few. This programme offers real flexibility that allows you to study around your work and family.
To help you through the course, you’ll also be allocated a Regional Tutor. If they live relatively close you’ll be able to benefit from face-to-face tutorials. If, on the other hand, you’re not too close, or you’re unable to travel, we can allocate an ‘online only’ tutor.
What course materials will I receive?
Each module includes its own selection of online course materials – including audiovisual clips and essential reading material. The materials combine to form what we call ‘Blended Learning’. You’ll work your way through the online course materials referring at times to essential reading and the audio visual (AV) clips. As well as the online content, you’ll have access to online discussion forums (bulletin boards). Here you can interact with your tutor and the students in your tutor group, with all the other students on the programme, or with us here at the University.
How much studying will I have to do?
We would normally recommend that you spend about nine hours a week studying. That’s three hours online, and six hours self-study (background reading, note taking, tutorial time, etc). However, because the Webautism course is so flexible, you’re free to work around your other commitments. There are also timetabled elements to the course, where we expect you to participate regularly and meet certain deadlines – but don’t worry, we’ll give you clear instructions.
I know the course is web-based, but how ‘techie’ do I have to be?
Don’t worry, you don’t have to be a computer whizz to use our web-based content and activities. Everything is written for ordinary people. And where we do have to use the odd techie word, we’ll put a clear explanation of what we mean right next to it. Here are the kinds of things that we’re looking for:
- You know how to use a computer
- You can find information on the web
- You can use your web browser (Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox, Safari,etc)
- You can send and receive emails
- You can download and install software from the web
What technical equipment do I need?
We don’t expect users to have the latest, greatest computers and blistering-fast, high-speed broadband Internet connections. However, once again, there are a few things we’d like you to have:
- You need to have Administrator access to a computer. Or, in other words, you’re able to download and install software, make changes to your web browser, etc.
- A fairly modern computer running Windows 2000 or later (or a comparable Mac or Linux operating system), and with web browsing software.
- Broadband Internet connection.
How is the programme structured?
The programme runs from September to September.
Module 1: September – January
Module 2: January – April
Module 3: May – September
Each module is divided into three units, with each unit further divided into six sections. Each section usually consists of elements such as an introduction, audio or video clip, a ‘pause for thought’, a presentation and a summary.
How will I be assessed?
You’ll complete a portfolio of work at the end of each module. Each portfolio consists of an assignment with three parts; a 1,500 word short essay based on course material, a 1,500 word individual study showing evidence of caring or work-based practice and a 500 word synopsis (summary) of web-based discussions. Work from this programme can contribute to NVQ/LDAF qualifications, and is at a level that is equivalent to NVQ Level 4 or above.
Could I take my studies in autism higher?
The University of Birmingham offers a range of programmes in autism and other related fields. Details may be found at http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/schools/education/courses/professional-development.aspx
I live in the UK but I’m a non-UK national, can I claim ‘Home’ student fees?
The University adheres to Government legislation when making fee status classifications, so all students are treated equally and according to this legislation. For further information, please see the UKCISA website (UK Council for International Student Affairs), www.ukcosa.org.uk. For guidance regarding fee status classifications, please see the UKCISA ‘Will I Pay the Home or Overseas Rate’ guidance notes: http://www.ukcisa.org.uk/International-Students/Fees--finance/Home-or-Overseas-fees/#
The programme is primarily developed for practitioners and carers who do not already have qualifications at this level but who are already working in the field or caring for someone on the autism spectrum.
Students have nevertheless taken on a variety of new roles as a result of their study of the programme. These roles have included becoming higher level teaching assistants, taking on autism specific roles in outreach teams, becoming the lead person for autism within their services or provision or taking on wider training roles in the field.
Find out what former students from the Autism Spectrum (Webautism) programme are doing now.