Being a Distance Learning student on the MSc in Marketing course at the University of Leicester enables me to provide some food for thought on the whole concept of Distance Learning. Here are five considerations I would urge any prospective distance learner to ponder.
- You HAVE to be extremely self-motivated. There is literally no-one to tell you where, when or how you should work. You are given a studybook and a deadline, other than that it is up to you to manage your workload to meet that deadline. There are no lectures or seminars to attend and this can make it extremely easy to fall behind if you aren’t extremely self-motivated. When the deadline is ten weeks away, it can be difficult to motivate yourself to sit down and work, but if you don’t then you will fall behind and be unable to catch up.
- You don’t have anything on the side of your course. Typically university courses offer much more than just the degree, however this is not the case for Distance Learning courses. You simply are just getting the knowledge and degree when studying via this method. This means you miss out on all that traditional university courses can offer such as learning to live on your own, learning to cook and clean, building independency skills, developing social skills via new friendship groups, and perhaps most importantly you don’t have the opportunities that on-campus students will – like all the clubs, societies and events that take place on university campus.
- You won’t feel overly associated with the university. Although universities will try and make you feel part of their community, this is very difficult for them to achieve when you barely interact personally with the university. In my own experience, despite being a registered student since August 2015, I have only stepped foot on the the University of Leicester campus twice – and in that time have taken four exams!
- Some courses will need more than what Distance Learning can provide. Certain courses may lend themselves to the possibilities of Distance Learning more than others. For example, my course in Marketing is possible to learn from the comfort of my own home, however if I was wanting to pursue an engineering or design course I would require the hands-on experience that Distance Learning simply cannot offer.
- You don’t get the long holidays like many on-campus students will. Every institution will teach Distance Learning differently, however, in my experience I have never had a break from studying since I enrolled on 1st August 2015. My course is taught in three month blocks (and some times I have done two modules within each three month block). This meant that my first deadline was 31st October 2015, and then my next two modules began on 1st November 2015 with my exams being the last Saturday in January 2016. This has continued right up until the current day as my dissertation started on 1st February 2017 with a deadline of 31st July 2017.
Despite these considerations, Distance Learning has still been the right choice for me as I have been working full-time whilst studying. I have been able to manage my own timetable effectively and as such, despite urging prospective Distance Learners to consider my points above, I am by no means saying it isn’t a good option – it can be a great option. But there are factors of Distance Learning I was blind to before beginning my studies so hopefully this will shed some light on what Distance Learning consists of.
Thanks for reading,