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ADL Blog | Real Learning Stories

Academy for Distance Learning Blog - Our Blog is a resource for people looking for courses and information about our courses, education news, real learning stories, student sucess, discussion and anything of interest we can muster up!  

We'll be keeping this page updated with news, course information and real life student sucess stories.

This has been an incredible month. A lot happened at the university where I teach, including a surprise party thrown by some of my students to celebrate the end of another teaching cycle. I start my final cycle next week. They are incredible students, keen to learn English even from a mad Botanist like me. They gave me little gifts: handmade musical instrument brooches and a very strange key ring featuring a ‘diablo doble’. The 'Diablo doble' is a mask people sometimes wear during dances and my students knew I was intrigued by them and the music. Half way through the surprise party, the biggest pizza I have ever seen arrived curtsey of...

Magazine articles are usually not considered acceptable sources for essays. This is because they are not written by experts or peer reviewed (checked by other experts). They are also often too short to develop an idea, they don’t cite sources and they are often written by people with a conflict of interest. However, there are some exceptions.


Scientific magazine articles sometimes are acceptable. For example, Current Archaeology has longer articles written by experts which are fact-checked, cite sources, and do not have a conflict of interest. Articles in magazines like this are just as good as articles in journals. One of the...

It is all too easy to worry about writing your assignment and sometimes just starting it can seem difficult. To take away some of that feeling of dread, here are some simple tips that will turn this into a positive and happy experience.


Make sure you have read the relevant course content carefully, making notes, doing any additional research needed, and also allowing some thinking time so that you understand the material. Ensure also that you are familiar with the ‘Student Guide’ that deals with the practicalities of your work.


Chose a time and place that is right for you. Every person is unique in their needs, but it is...

Overcoming social anxiety and disengagement from social activities involves breaking the vicious circles of negative thought that maintains the problem and replacing them with more positive and constructive patterns of thinking.


Social anxiety often focuses on worrying about what others are thinking. If you are troubled by such thinking, it is helpful to learn how to recognise and re-evaluate negative and unhelpful current thinking, such as:


Rejecting positive feedback from others. This means that compliments are discounted as untruthful. For example, thinking that a social invitation was made because the person was...

This month Ecuador has thrown up more surprises and gems. I fell in love! With a dog I met in Banos, and because of this, we decided to go back there. The last time I was there, I was not able to properly visit the town because it was the venue for my teachers’ conference. This time however, a hotel was booked and the town was investigated. It is such a great place with very different vegetations. It is higher than Mindo, where I saw the cloud forest, so there are fewer trees but it has wonderful waterfalls and the town itself is a haven for visitors. There are also termales – hot springs fed by volcanic water – some are hot, some are...

Aber falls (Rhaeadr Fawr) is a spectacular waterfall in Gwynedd, North Wales, near the village of Abergwyngregyn, by the coast. It lies between Bangor and Conwy. The waterfall is one of two, and part of a wider system of the Coedydd Aber National Nature Reserve (NNR). Rhaeadr Fawr drains the high Carneddau mountain plateau as the river Afon Goch and plunges dramatically about 120 ft over a tabular intrusion, or sill, of igneous rock. The river catchment is one of the steepest in England and Wales.


The river starts off as the Afon Goch (red river) in the Caneddau plateau, then becomes the waterfall Rhaeadr Fawr (big waterfall...

Between February and October 1996, I worked voluntarily with the Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign (GACC), a conservation group of house and landowners with a collective interest in preventing any expansion of Gatwick Airport by building a second runway. Although GACC were opposed to the extension of a second runway, my position was one of impartiality in seeking to scientifically ascertain the state of the woodland and ecological resource of farms surrounding Gatwick Airport. The work was intended to be of use to GACC, but also to developers and planners who were interested in the conservation status of the woods.


Apart from...

For my final year Ecology degree project, I chose the unlikely subject of using lichens as pollution monitors. Whilst the subject sounds as dry as an old ball of tumbleweed, I have to say it turned out to be a very interesting and worthwhile study.

The first thing to realise is that lichens are not a species of plant, but actually an agreement between an algae (a phycobiont) and a fungus (a mycobiont). Together, they live symbiotically. That is to say, they support each other. The fungus allows the algae to do the photosynthesis and provide the food; and the algae benefit from being housed securely in the body of the lichen (the...


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Disclaimer: Every attempt is made to ensure all information from the academy is accurate and that the student has attained the competencies taught in a course, at the point of their assessment. Beyond this point, the graduate is responsible to maintain their acquired competencies, and apply acquired knowledge and skills in a way which is appropriate to the unique characteristics of each application. This will release the academy from any liability, action and claims of whatsoever nature in connection with, or arising from any such information, instruction or advice, given by any student or ex-student, whether directions given during the course are followed or not.