There are a many reasons why people choose to study a degree by distance learning, but one of the most common is the flexibility to fit their studies round other areas of their life. However, distance learning isnt for everyone. It can be a challenge as contact with tutors or other students is likely to be limited, unlike if you study on a college or university campus, and some students find it difficult to stay motivated studying alone.
Here are my top tips for successfully obtaining a degree by distance learning.
1. Test yourself
Before you embark on a degree by distance learning make sure that you list the pros and cons and ask yourself whether you have the right level of commitment, discipline and motivation to study alone. If you know of anyone else who has completed a degree this way talk to them and find out their experiences.
2. Research thoroughly
There are many colleges and universities that now offer degrees by distance learning. Make sure that you do your research very thoroughly and choose a reputable institution. You also want to know what constitutes distance learning and whether you are expected to be on campus at any time.
3. Have the right tools
Its important that you have the right equipment for your course. If youre having to do a lot of your work online, have you a suitable computer with a reasonable broadband speed? Think about a budget to replace any equipment that might need replacing in the middle of your studies.
4. Study in a suitable environment
Because you wont have the opportunity to disappear into your college library make sure that you have a suitable environment in which to study, including a comfortable chair and good lighting.
5. Familiarise yourself with the VLE
Make sure that you spend the time familiarising yourself with the ouniversity website and virtual learning environment (VLE) Time can be wasted or you miss out on specific learning opportunities by not being familiar with the online environment.
6. Keep in touch
Its really important if youre studying for a degree by distance learning that you keep in touch with your tutor and stick to scheduled appointments. If youre running into any problems talk to them.
7. Manage your time
Studying a degree by distance learning gives you far more flexibility than having to attend uni on particular days. However, its important that you dont just study at random times when you think you have a bit of spare time. Be organised and have a schedule and work plan so you have a clear idea how you’ll complete your work.
8. Be organised
Whether youre studying for a degree by distance learning or study on a campus, make sure that you keep all your work organised and keep accurate notes .
9. Use motivation strategies
Make sure that you have strategies to motivate yourself if you find yourself flagging with your studies.
10. Communicate effectively
If you study for a degree by distance learning you will not be forming the same sort of relationships that you would if you had regular taught sessions and tutorials. Be aware of the way you communicate with your tutor online or over the telephone. Misunderstandings can easily arise particularly when you may never have met.
There are clearly pros and cons to studying for a degree online, but if you’ve decided that it’s the right route for you, make sure that once you have enrolled on the right course you are organised, keep accurate notes , have the right equipment and schedule time to study. And if at any time you’re falling behind make sure that you keep in touch with your tutor.