Can you talk a little bit about yourself and your background?
I am Mathew Williams, originally from Llandudno in north Wales and after teaching drama, music and English in the UK for eight years, I relocated to wonderful Vietnam for four years, where I worked in an international school. I am currently the head of Creative Arts in an international school in Abu Dhabi.
What prompted you to pursue an online MA Education? Specifically, why was online appealing to you?
I have wanted to do a Masters degree in Education for some time. I hadn’t explored the option of online learning as I wasn’t sure how validated and valued the course would be. However, following reassurance and many conversations with Exeter’s excellent online Admissions team and such a positive start to the course, I am already very satisfied that it was a brilliant decision. I am very keen on educational leadership styles and the course content very much appealed to me.
What has the experience been like? Was it what you thought it would be like and has it met your expectations?
The experience of online learning has been a real eye-opener. First and foremost, the online tasks engage the whole spectrum of learners in innovative and positive ways, because there is a prolific range of activities presented on the online learning platform, all of which are accessible and well-explained, even to technology novices like myself. It has even allowed me to reevaluate how I can introduce technology into my own subjects.
Sharing ideas, philosophies and views with fellow online students from around the world and from a variety of backgrounds has been an enriching experience. We have so much to learn from each other and vastly different – sometimes similar – experiences from which to draw. Whether it is sharing and editing PowerPoint presentations, working together on a project, making a skype call to discuss experiences or even just reading someone’s views on a particular aspect of education, I have found the interaction with peers a most positive experience.
Supported by all of the above, is the enthusiasm, professionalism, knowledge and support of the fantastic tutors and course leader. The course has been superbly planned and there is so much scope to take things in different directions. The regular contributions, the advice and the challenge given by the tutors has been outstanding to date, and this feature has already exceeded my high expectations.
If you were giving someone who was considering an online course advice, what would it be?
Do it! If, like me, you suspected that you would get more value for your money by being a campus student, think again. The online course is superb and it allows you to balance the ‘day job’ with studying particularly well. In an ideal world one might work on activities on a daily basis (there is an excellent ‘recommended weekly structure’) but as a busy teacher this is not always possible. The ability and flexibility to complete some work at the end of the working day or at the weekend in work or at home or in a coffee shop is a very welcome feature.
Would you recommend the Exeter program and if so what aspects of the course do you find appealing?
I would absolutely recommend the Exeter programme to other students thinking about undertaking their Masters degree in Education. Having time to reflect on and shape one’s educational philosophy whilst discussing others’ philosophies with them has been most interesting, especially when researching educational theorists’ and philosophers’ views. Also, the recommended reading list and the opportunities to discuss views on various latest articles and journals have led to lively debate which has both reaffirmed and challenged mindsets.