So you’ve started your course. You’re committed, focused, perhaps even a little excited or nervous. This may be your first taste of formal education for a while, and even if it’s not, it’s probably your first taste of studying for a travel & tourism qualification.
In the current educational environment online learning and learning through a virtual learning environment are common means to support traditional classroom based teaching. Distance and online learning is a contemporary way to study for a university degree and enables you to combine full time work with part time study. No matter which mode of study you are following you will be very well supported by your university or college but you will have to use your own initiative and manage your time effectively if you’re to succeed. These tips provide some advice on how to maximise your chances of success.
Your module handbook is your core information source for your studies. Refer to it regularly and ensure that you keep up to date with reading the various books, articles and papers for your course. Much of this will be online.
You will be given key dates for the teaching period and when you’ll be expected to deliver assignments and other work. Make sure you keep a note of these dates – pin it on a wall, write it in your diary or keep it electronically; whatever works for you.
Online learning is a flexible way to study – you can do it anywhere. But it’s a good idea, if you can, to set aside a place where you are able to study quietly, without interruption. This will help you to get into good habits.
If you’re juggling work, family and social commitments, set regular time slots dedicated to studying. It doesn’t matter if this is early morning, late at night or lunchtime – dedicate some regular time to learning your course and stick to it.
Many students find that keeping a physical binder helps to keep on top of the course. It’s a good idea to divide this into the various modules you’ll study so it can be a quick reference guide to wherever you are in the course – and wherever you are physically – at home, in a library or coffee shop.
If you don’t make an effort you may begin to miss the regular social contact of other students. So when you have group discussions, online forums and other interactive teaching methods, make sure you get involved. This interaction with your fellow students and lecturers will help to keep you motivated.
7. MEET DEADLINES
While a big advantage of online learning is being able to study when and where it suits you, your course is not completely flexible. You will be given deadlines to submit work or take assessments, so make every effort to ensure that the first one is on time. This will give you a great feeling of achievement and get you into good habits for the rest of the course.
Your course leader and administrator, module leaders, library, student hub and fellow students – all can help you out with a variety of issues or queries. Tap into these networks and sources of support – if you don’t ask, you don’t get.
Keeping in contact with your tutor and fellow students helps you to keep up to date, feel involved and stay motivated. Asking questions, not making assumptions and seeking confirmation are great habits to get into on any academic course, and are particularly important for distance learning students.
Why did you do the course in the first place? If you get stuck, or are finding a particular module difficult, think about the bigger picture. You probably took the course to improve your career prospects, get a promotion or improve your performance. Write down what you’re doing it for and refer to your goal regularly – it will help keep you motivated throughout the course.