Can you talk a little bit about yourself and your background?
My name is Molly Fox and traditionally I am a Secondary French teacher. I have taught internationally for a number of years in countries like China, Oman and Uganda. I have experienced a variety of different curriculums and teaching practices. I mentioned that traditionally I am a Secondary French teacher because I have also taught primary level and adults and I have taught several different subjects. I have also been Key Stage Coordinator and head of department. These experiences challenged and influenced my teaching practices and it drove me to pursue further education in order to learn and improve.
What prompted you to pursue an online programme with University of Exeter? Specifically, why was online appealing to you?
I had been interested in completing a Master’s programme for a long time but I was worried about the time constraints and balancing a full-time job and family. When the pandemic hit, I was teaching French in Kampala (Uganda) and my husband and I decided to return to New Zealand. My husband is from New Zealand, but I am English which meant I wasn’t able to work straight away. This gave me the time, and after a lot of research I applied to Exeter. My sister completed her Master’s here and is currently completing her PHD and had nothing but positive feedback for me. The programme was/is interesting and while there is guidance as to when to complete them, there is still autonomy in the process, and you can complete activities in your own time.
What has the experience been like? Was it what you thought it would be like and has it met your expectations?
The experience has been a very positive one. I have thoroughly enjoyed the course so far (I am about halfway through). The modules and activities have been engaging and the tutors have been very helpful. There are a variety of activities to complete, you regularly engage with the other people on the course and there is an abundance of reading, both required and additional. You can choose two of the modules which allows you to focus your learning.
I was a little worried about work load and the amount of support available with distance learning but I was very pleasantly surprised. The workload is manageable and you can always return to work that you have missed or haven’t had time for and the tutors are very understanding and helpful. Even though I am very far away (New Zealand) with an incredibly awkward time difference, I have received a lot of support via email, workshops and phone calls. I have never felt that my query was annoying and I have found that everyone is happy to help.
If you were giving someone who was considering an online course advice, what would it be?
With online learning you need to be motivated, as there isn’t a strict timetable that you have to follow. You have to create your own timetable and you are the only person who will make you stick to it. Make use of all the tools that are available to you, such as Student Support, Study Zone, the online workshops and your tutors. There is support and help available but it is up to you to make the most of it. Be flexible, some activities and assignments take longer than others so be flexible in the course and in your personal life.
Would you recommend the Exeter programme and if so what aspects of the course do you find appealing?
I would recommend the course even if you aren’t interested in using the qualification to further your career. I have learnt so much more about teaching and educational theories. There are so many opportunities to collaborate and share thoughts, ideas and theories. The reading, instruction and activities have sparked ideas and helped to shape my teaching practice.
Is there anything you’d like to add or anything you’d like to talk about that we did not touch on?
I have found this course not only educational but enjoyable. It has refreshed my thinking and injected fresh life into my planning and teaching.