Continuing with our blog series bringing you answers to some of the questions we at Robert Kennedy College (RKC) get frequently from students who are looking to join one of our online programmes. We asked some of our past and current students to share their thoughts and opinions, to give their feedback on how they handled online learning challenges. Hopefully, this will in turn help you make an informed decision.
Let us learn from those who came before and see if what worked for them will also help you become a better student!
Andy is from the United Kingdom and has completed our 100% Online Master of Business Administration that we offer through an exclusive partnership with the University of Cumbria, U.K., and this is what he had to say about what worked for him.
Who are you, really?
Which Uni are you studying with?
University of Cumbria
Which programme did you choose and why?
Master of Business Administration (MBA)
The Study Plan
How did you plan to study each module, and what was the reality? How many hours did/do you have to put in each day/or in a week?
I planned to allocate a certain number of hours per week on fixed evenings and the occasional weekend, but it didn’t work out that way. I’m definitely a “deadlines” person, so the regular modular structure of the course helped keep things ticking along nicely, with draft essays and other assignments keeping me focused on making good progress. It became more of a challenge with the dissertation as there was a) a hiatus after finishing the last essay and then being allowed to start the dissertation, so I completely lost momentum and, b) there were no intermediate milestones/deadlines to keep me ticking along. As a result, I had to be much more disciplined and ended up taking blocks of time off work to complete the dissertation. I clearly needed to get up a head of steam and tackle sections in a block rather than do a little often with stop-start not working for me.
What part of the day did/do you find most suitable to study? (e.g. early mornings, lunch break, evenings, weekends?)
As above, longer blocks of time suited me best, rather than a particular time of day. That said, because I was also doing a full-time job and other activities, I was mostly restricted to evenings and weekends.
How much time did you devote to each assignment?
Unknown, sorry – I didn’t keep a log.
Travelling and Communication
How did travelling impact your ability to study?
Work travel tends to be occasional long-haul flights for me, which helped as I could download relevant readings and could then take notes, etc. on the flight. Most of my study time, however, was spent at home. Travelling was not applicable in my case.
How were you able to interact with peers and/or professors given the time differences?
The forums were okay, but this is the biggest issue with remote courses in my experience. You simply don’t get the same level of interaction, shared learning, and general camaraderie/shared experience as you do with face-to-face learning. This was particularly noticeable with the excellent week-long sustainability residential in Cumbria, especially when juxtaposed against the comparative isolation (even loneliness) of the dissertation. The benefits of remote learning definitely outweigh the restrictions, however.
A typical day as a master’s student
What does a typical day as an Online Masters’ student look like for you?
Lots of evening reading during the modules, getting the interim assignments complete and then a bigger burst of effort in two or three day block for the final assessment submissions. The dissertation was a whole new ball game with longer blocks of time needed to really focus on getting the job done.
Any advice you have for students to better plan their studies.
I can only suggest people find their own rhythm – if you’re very disciplined, then a little often may work for you, but I’m not like that so had to adapt to fit my own way of working within the wider context of work and MBA deadlines.
I hope this blog has answered some of your questions, and please watch this space for similar posts. You can also chat LIVE on WhatsApp with one of our Education Advisors for more information on all the programmes we offer, the application process, and for details on discounts we might be offering at this time.