Thinking of taking a Distance Learning course?

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Then make sure to read this first. In its best form, distance learning, or online learning, offers all the benefits of an institution’s course syllabus to a student from a remote location. This means learners can pursue their postgraduate study at their own time and place. However, in order to get the best benefits from it, the normal maxims of postgraduate study apply; you will need (a) discipline, (b) to make sure you choose the right course, and (c), most importantly, to know what you want to get out of it.

Manage your study/life balance

You may currently have a job or other commitments in life and you just don’t have the resources to devote yourself to either full-time or part-time study; yet postgraduate study is something that you have always wanted to do. Or perhaps you don’t live close to a course provider who delivers the programme you want. A well-delivered distance learning course places you into that academic environment from a place of your choosing. The continuing delivery of online learning has revolutionised access to third level, and postgraduate level, study as students can blend it as part of their lives. Plus institutions can focus on delivering quality course content without the rigid structures and associated costs of having students on campus for every course.

It’s not all plain sailing!

While logging in and absorbing your first few lectures and seminars online will be an engaging and stimulating experience, it can quickly turn into a tedious one if you have not selected the right course. You could find the subject matter quickly disengaging if you do not put the requisite time and effort into gaining the most from it.
Make sure you research the structure of your online course. This will help you gain a comprehension of the commitments required, especially when it comes to knowing what lies ahead in terms of lectures and assignments. It’s important to know how they will be graded and how they will contribute to your overall course result. This will equate to the amount of effort you put into them.

Manage that workload

Ensure that you stick to assignment deadlines and work to meet them. Although distance learning may mean that you avoid having to make any awkward excuses to a lecturer face to face about turning a paper in late, deadlines are still deadlines. There are often penalties imposed in terms of grades if work is consistently supplied late. There is, of course, some leeway and flexibility in terms of these courses by their very nature, but make use of it, don’t abuse it.
Be diligent and don’t procrastinate. It can be easy in terms of distance learning to say to yourself that you can skip a lecture and catch up with it a later date. Skipping that lecture can quickly become a habit though and you’ll find yourself with a mountain for work to catch up on. Schedule your lectures and, unless it’s just not possible, try and make sure you stay current in terms of the lecture series.

Give it your all

It’s important that you contribute to the course as best you can during the lectures, seminars or indeed in any forum that feedback is solicited. Obviously, distance learning means that you can miss out on the academic collegiality and supports that traditional education provides so by engaging with lecturers, course directors, and other students you are not only benefitting your own learning but contributing in a meaningful way to the content of the course. So ask sensible and relevant questions and look to collaborate with other students in any way you can, it will make your distance learning experience a lot more, relevant and real and ultimately you will gain far more from it.

When choosing your course, do your research on what institutions are best regarded in terms of providing quality distance learning? Factor in costs too; although they are much lower than full-time learning obviously, a very good course is still likely to charge a premium price, so make sure you make the most of it.


admin

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