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Library Services

Distance Learning Support Policy

1. Purpose

The core purpose for developing a policy to support distance learning is to ensure a clear relationship between the student and academic support offered by Library Services and the University's Education and Student Strategy.

This document is intended for academic and professional staff who are involved in the deisgn and delivery of distance learning courses and will be reviewed as required to support any subsequent City policies or directives relating to distance learning.

2. Scope

For the purpose of this document, 'distance learning' is understood to include courses which are designed to be delivered entirely online from City and courses delivered through face to face teaching at a satellite campus [1]. These courses are identified on SITS using codes 81-83 (Distance learning: based in the UK) and codes 91-93 (Distance learning: based overseas).

This document does not relate to:

  • services for students undertaking placements or work based study components of campus based courses
  • students enrolled on a campus based course who live or work remotely from campus.

3. Online resources

Distance learners are expected to use online library reources which are delivered via the internet, including e-journals, e-books and databases. Access to these resources is normally via a student's IT account.

Licence agreements are in place for subscription online resources. Not all licences provide access to distance learners so an early engagement with Library Services (see section 9 'Next steps') is essential to establish available access and identify any additional subscription costs. Where additional costs are required, these should be identified in Stage 1 course approvals and should be met by the requesting School.

Distance learners are expected to be aware of internet restrictions and laws in their home territory as this may affect their use of some online library resources.

4. Digital Course Readings

Digital course readings are extracts from material which is not available online and which can be accessed via Reading Lists Online in the form of scanned readings from books and journals.

For distance learning courses based at City campuses, these scans are made available in accordance with the terms of the Copyright Licencing Agency (CLA) Higher Education Licence. For courses based at overseas campuses, digital course readings are made under the terms of the CLA Overseas Campus Based Scheme; these readings can be stored on overseas servers (although access must be possible in the UK for auditing purposes), and scans must be made in the UK via the Library Services Digitisation Team.

Whether the course is based in London or overseas, if digital readings are required these may incur additional costs to the School for which Library Services can provide a quote. Any queries should be directed to the relevant Subject Librarian in the first instance. Details of our Subject Librarians can be found at libguides.city.ac.uk.

5. Inter-Library Loans

A limited Inter-Library Loans service will be accessible to distance learning students, supplying only eligible items which are available in online format. Standard fees will apply for all requests. Details of the Inter-Library Loans service can be found at libraryservices.city.ac.uk/resources/inter-library-loans.

6. Copyright

It is vital that the copyright law of both the UK and overseas territories is adhered to by staff and students in the delivery of any distance learning course. When planning and delivering a distance learning course academic staff should be aware of the following points:

  • UK copyright law: any resources made available should conform to UK copyright law and the terms of any licences which the University holds. Currently these are the Copyright Licencing Agency Higher Education Licence and the Newspaper Licencing Agency Licence.
  • Overseas copyright law: the copyright regime of the territory where overseas students are based prevails. Students are expected to be aware of the copyright law in their country. The Library Services Copyright and Digitisation Team is only able to provide guidance on UK copyright law. City is not responsible for any breach of overseas copyright law.

7. Physical resources

Where a distance learner is able to visit City libraries in person, they are permitted to borrow up to 10 items at a time and are bound by the terms and conditions of the Library Code of Conduct and the Information Services User Regulations. All library loans and access to libraries are dependent upon the production of a valid City student ID card.

There is no provision for postal loans. Distance learners planning to visit other UK university libraries should refer to the SCONUL Access website for further details.

8. Library support

Any support from Library Services for distance learners is dependent upon prior discussion and agreement with the appropriate contacts (see section 9 'Next steps') and may have an assiciated cost to the School delivering the course.

Assisted Learning support is not available from Library Services without prior discussion and agreement with LEaD.

9. Next steps

In order to ensure effective course planning, early engagement with Library Services is essential and should be established at the stage 1 course approval.

As distance learning is a developing area for the University, the degree to which Library Services can provide support within existing staff capacity is not yet clear. This policy will therefore be reviewed every 12 months and any amendments approved by Library Committee accordingly.


1. "The University operates a distant campus (either in the UK or abroad) with lecture practices and tools that echo the lecturing that occurs at the main site". LEaD (2016) Distance Learning at City University London, Internal Education & Student Committee Report. Unpublished.

Jacqui Gaul, Head of Business Library Services, 2016