Distance Learning: A Memoir

By Kevin Branigan - Last update

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This writer hopes to undertake the second and final year of a distance learning postgraduate course next September. First year was passed with flying colours back in 2018, but second year had to be postponed because I could not afford the fees – the lack of government funding for part time and distance learners is an issue for another day, and one that this blog will definitely return to!

Anyways, a recent conversation regarding the chances of snow this winter cast my mind back to a perilous drive down a steep and icy hill in a hazardous race against time to get my project posted before the post office closed. Made it in the end thankfully, but the memory is what always springs to mind when I think of the challenges of undertaking a distance learning programme.

Time management is key. Although in online contact with course staff and fellow students, a sense of isolation can set in and the impetus to get down to work can be lost amid domestic and familial responsibilities, the lure of the Champions League on TV, etc. Just as important is ensuring you have the peace and quiet to put in some quality study time. A spare bedroom in my case, but a library, parent’s home or any such peaceful sanctuary could also do the job.

Most notable of all however, is the great sense of achievement I felt on successfully completing the first year. Finishing any course is admirable but as someone who has done his fair share of education programmes, the distance learning course felt like a really significant challenge had been overcome. It helped no doubt, that the course was engaging, practical and very well run.

Advice for anyone thinking of a distance learning course: Be aware of the challenges, but also the great rewards.

Kevin Branigan

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