Method of Learning and Grading Philosophy

Please review the following material concerning  what you need to be able to do in order to successfully complete our program.

Method of Learning
Asynchronous Learning 24/7

As a virtual university, our distance learning programs are delivered online through the study of text books, video presentations and other media, and also by using the resources available on the internet, such as video lectures and video demonstrations.  Individual faculty members will determine for each course, to what extent video lectures, audio and video podcasts, text material, and internet resources will be used.

The principle difference between “distance learning” and “e-learning” is that in e-learning, all activities and learning occurs on the computer. For example, all learning materials are supplied to the student, all exams and tests are provided online. In most cases of e-learning, students are required to be online at the same time as their instructors. E-learning is best suited to high school (secondary) and undergraduate curricula which remain pretty much the same over time, and is less suited to dynamic programs such as ours which change and develop.

A “distance learning” program, such as that offered here, is delivered over the internet, but the student is required to search for and find sources of knowledge. A student may be directed to a video lecture on a different website, or be required to conduct literature research via the internet. Likewise, assignments will be completed offline, and then uploaded or forwarded to the instructor by email. A “distance learning” program is asynchronous, meaning that the student and the instructor are not online at the same time. This permits us to offer programs across many time zones and allows you to access your material 24/7.

Consequently, there are no “classes”. Our Instructors serve as guides to the material to be studied. Readings in texts are assigned, and internet resources such as video lectures and research materials are liberally relied on. In addition to assigned readings, additional assigned homework is posted on the student portal from time to time. Most homework involves essay type work or reports on a topic of special importance. Ample time is allowed for the completion of assigned work and readings to allow the student maximum flexibility to budget time appropriately.

Generally, each course contains a Mid-course Exam, as well as a Final Exam. Exams do have time limits, usually 1 week, and are necessarily open-book style exams requiring the student to prepare essay style answers and/or reports. Many times, questions posed will be outside the required readings, requiring students to practice their research skills in answering a topical question. The purpose of exams is for the student to demonstrate proficiency with respect to the subject matter involved.

Some courses contain no exams at all, but rather base assessments of learning on assigned research reports and/or essays.

Private Student Course Portal. Blue Marble University School of Medicine has installed a new course content management system which is both revolutionary and elegant. We create a blog, in other words a website, for each student. On this website, you will find all of your courses, course content, curriculum, homework assignments, additional study resources, academic records, financial records, and contact information….everything in one place. And you won’t have to study how to use your course portal, like many students using “Blackboard” and similar resources are required to do…it will just come naturally to you. CLICK HERE FOR MORE ON OUR STUDENT PORTAL


Communications between student and instructor must necessarily be via email due to time zone differences between students and faculty. Phones are not used, as being impractical.


       Credits are assigned following the U.S. Standard Credit Conversion System. The program comprises 72 trimester credits, and consequently is equivalent to the minimum 60 semester credits for a USA regionally accredited college or university. Fifteen (15) clock hours of lectures and academic study equal one (1) Semester Credit. One Trimester Credit equals 5/6 semester credit.

Grading Philosophy

Exams are handled by each instructor, and in most cases, may be in the format requiring the student to discuss important principles or to conduct literature searches relating to important principles.

The purpose of issuing course grades is to generate a record of the student’s completion of a course for inclusion in the transcript. The Faculty is motivated to assist each student in successfully completing the program, rather than eliminating some students. Grades are based on individual performance and not determined by a bell shaped curve as is often the case elsewhere. Consequently, an entire class may do well. We understand that each student is typically a working adult with many time constraints. All that is required for good grades is that the student demonstrate an honest effort to learn the material. Of course, an “honest effort” goes hand in hand with the student’s demonstrated acquisition of knowledge.

For all students, a grade of “B-” or better is required to pass every course. This equates to a minimum of 80 (scale 1-100). Students who do not pass each and every course cannot graduate, nor do they receive credit for any courses that are not passed. Students who receive credit for any individual course due to past education or publications, are awarded the full credit for that course and a Grade of A (95/100). We follow the following unified table:


Further information about learning at Blue Marble University School of Medicine can be found in the Medical Student Guidebook