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The technical communication section at the University of Limerick runs three postgraduate programmes, two dedicated to the study of technical communication: graduate diploma in technical communication (full-time, on-campus programme) and graduate certificate in technical communication (run by distance learning). Although, technical writing and communication are increasingly popular choices of study and work in Europe, these are the only technical communication programmes taught at university level in the Republic of Ireland. Distance learning courses offer students great opportunities, but also pose considerable and well-documented difficulties for both students and faculty. The paper describes: the two technical communication programmes, the technical communication introductory module taught (with slight variations) on both programmes. It is then compares: profiles of students taking both programmes, grades achieved by students on both programmes. The results suggest that distance students: are older than full time students, perform as well as, or better than, full-time students in examinations, and are less likely to complete the programme than full-time students.