How you manage your online programme, can be as much down to your approach to studies than it is about your academic capabilities. With the right attitude, studying for an online MSc Programme with The University of Exeter makes for an enjoyable learning experience.
Find your focus
Unlike the traditional teaching environment, when studying from home you have a far greater number of potential distractions. This means that online students often require increased levels of self-discipline and that will be partly driven by your keeping in mind your ultimate goal and motivations.
Have a dedicated study space
One way to minimise distractions is to have a dedicated study space. Ideally, it should be away from your main living room or areas frequently visited by those who you share a property with. Some students prefer a clutter-free desk, whereas others like the free-form inspiration that can come from having objects around them.
Whichever is your preferred option, your study space has to be an area where you can create a clear distinction between leisure and study time. Research suggest that those who had a study environment surrounded by plants improved their working memory and attentiveness levels when compared to those who were not exposed to such surroundings.
Create a study plan
Creating a study plan is absolutely critical for online learners. We will, of course, provide a timeline of when assignments need to be completed by, but breaking modules down into weekly chunks is always recommended.
The flexibility offered by studying remotely allows you to select the study times when you are more receptive to taking in information. Whether that is early morning or late evening is entirely up to you, but plan into your schedule when you will complete each set of tasks.
Compose to-do lists for the week and establish the opportunities during the week when you will have the time to carry out your studies. Getting into a regular routine is something that many students find helpful particularly when combined with having a dedicated study space.
Participate in online collaboration
As part of your online Masters you will be encouraged to participate in group activities and interact with peers. The digital tools that allow you to study are also the resources that provide you with online collaboration opportunities.
Connecting with your fellow students through our virtual learning community is a great way to share ideas, ask questions and get the help and support that you need. Interacting through webinars, emails or video calls can boost your understanding of a given topic.
Taking part in online discussions or simply absorbing the information posted by other community members are others ways that you can use online collaboration to assist your online learning experience.
Some of the academic benefits that come from collaborative learning include the promotion of critical thinking skills and assistance in maintaining motivation1.
Protect your data
When submitting assignment work, you should only use the methods indicated by your lecturer and if you carry out any work on a device that could be used by another person, then ensure no passwords are saved on the machine and you keep your work on a memory stick that can be removed.