Can you talk a little bit about yourself and your background?
My name is Rosie and I have been working in education settings since I completed my undergraduate course, in Geography and Mathematics, at the University of Leeds in 2014. Although I worked briefly in a secondary school as a SEND Learning Support Assistant I have predominantly worked in outdoor environmental education.
I currently work in South Devon with school groups across all Key Stages, helping them to access the outdoors for curriculum content as well as wellbeing.
What prompted you to pursue an online programme with University of Exeter? Specifically, why was online appealing to you?
During lockdown I was looking for a positive way to use some of the time I found myself with, but also wanted to be able to go back to work when I was able due to the lockdown restrictions. By doing an online course it gave me the flexibility to work alongside study, and I wasn’t tied to a location, which was important given the instability in employment due to the pandemic.
I chose the MA Education (online) programme with the University of Exeter for three reasons:
- The course content and the ability to specialise in Special Education
- Exeter has a good reputation and being local to me meant that theoretically I could use the physical library too as well as the online resources
- At the time many in-person courses were being delivered online and I wanted to do a course that had been designed for remote learning.
What has the experience been like? Was it what you thought it would be like and has it met your expectations?
I have generally enjoyed my time on the course, although hard work I have learnt a lot especially having not studied teaching or education in great detail before. The course gave some theory to what I had seen and delivered in practice and opened my eyes to other options and possibilities.
Having an international cohort meant that discussions were contributed to from varied perspectives, and we all accessed the course at different times. This to great variety but I struggled to start with to get used to the asynchronous learning style.
I did miss the casual coffee shop style chats that I had during my undergrad when we used to chat about the lecture content and help each other understand it better.
If you were giving someone who was considering an online course advice, what would it be?
Think about the time you have available and your time management. Although you can do the course at any time during the module it is important to be able to have time to access it each week to enable you to fully benefit from the discussions and support available.
It is a lot of time looking at screens, especially the reading or journal articles and resources, be prepared for that or if you want to print things out then it’s a lot of paper!
On the other hand, being online means you don’t have to commute anywhere which saves money and time.
Would you recommend the Exeter programme and if so what aspects of the course do you find appealing?
I would definitely recommend the Exeter Programme. The flexibility to do a specialist MA Education degree in Special Needs, Management or Literacy as well as the ability to choose from the different streams makes it appropriate for people at very different stages of their career.
The fact it was online also meant I could work at the same time, although this proved difficult as I don’t work set hours, and there are things that have time limits – if you want to get the most out of them.
Is there anything you’d like to add or anything you’d like to talk about that we did not touch on?
A lot of the modules ask you to use your own experience and consider your experiences particularly relating theory to practice, therefore I feel that those who didn’t have much experience in delivery may struggle at times. The content is very school based and so at times it was a little tricky to see the relevance of tasks in my specific alternative education setting.
It is also important to consider the autonomy you are given through the course and this style of learning, if you need to have someone checking in to keep you on task then this format may not be ideal for you.