Distance learning in a three-country network
The Centre for Distance Learning Programmes at Universities of Applied Sciences (Zentrum für Fernstudien im Hochschulverbund) is an academic institution of the state of Rhineland-Palatinate based in Koblenz and is based on a state treaty ratified in 1998 by the states of Rhineland-Palatinate, Hesse and Saarland.
Together with 21 state universities of applied sciences, the zfh forms the zfh university network. In addition to 15 universities from the federal states of Rhineland-Palatinate, Hesse and Saarland, six other universities from Bavaria, Berlin, Brandenburg, North Rhine-Westphalia and Schleswig-Holstein are currently involved in the network as cooperation partners. The experienced team at the zfh promotes and supports the universities in the development and implementation of their distance learning programmes.
With a repertoire of over 100 part-time distance learning courses, the zfh university network is the largest provider of accredited distance learning courses at universities of applied sciences in Germany. The zfh distance learning courses with the academic goal of a Bachelor's or Master's degree are certified by the accreditation agencies ACQUIN, AHPGS, ASIIN, AQAS, FIBAA or ZEvA and are thus internationally recognised. In addition to the Bachelor's and Master's degree programmes, there is also an extensive range of continuing education modules for which a university certificate can be obtained. Currently, more than 6,400 distance learning students are enrolled at the universities of the zfh university network.
While in the first years of its existence the cooperation of the zfh distance learning network concentrated on the universities of applied sciences in the three participating states and the first distance learning courses in technical and economic subjects were set up at the universities of applied sciences in Trier, Koblenz, Giessen-Friedberg and Kaiserslautern, from 2005 onwards, as the range of courses grew, cooperation with universities from other states such as North Rhine-Westphalia, Brandenburg, Bavaria and Berlin was increasingly added. The first joint project was the distance learning programme in computer science. A particularly successful model is the BASA university network, in which the universities in Fulda, Koblenz, Wiesbaden, Münster, Potsdam, Berlin and Munich have joined forces for the distance learning course BASA-online (Bachelor of Arts: Social Work), which is completed with a consecutive Master's degree - also in the university network.
In view of demographic developments, the zfh association's goal in continuously expanding its distance learning repertoire is to promote greater permeability, openness and better interlinking between the education systems and to meet the growing demand for higher qualifications.
Our partners: The universities of applied sciences
The 15 universities of applied sciences in the three states of Hesse, Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland together with the Zentrum für Fernstudien im Hochschulverbund form the zfh distance learning network. Furthermore, for some distance learning courses there are additional cooperations with a total of five other universities in the states of Bavaria, Berlin, Brandenburg and North Rhine-Westphalia. This means that 21 universities are now participating in the zfh distance learning network. International cooperations, such as the one between Koblenz university of applied sciences and a provider of day-care facilities for children at the Vienna location, open the way to distance learning for new target groups.