Demystifying Online Degrees

by Daniela / from Portugal / MSc Neuroimaging / 3rd Year…

Hey all,

It’s been almost a month since my first post.
What has happened in the meantime? Soooooo many things!!!

The semester started on the 15th of January and even though it has only been a little bit over a month, we are already half-way through. I’m taking three courses this semester and for two of these I have assignments that I need to submit by next Monday.

Anyway, I was thinking of possible topics to blog about and I thought it would be a good idea to demystify some concepts related with online distance learning.

One of my main concerns when I first enrolled on this course was how I was going to be assessed. I was afraid that I would have to set time aside in the middle of a busy day to participate in group work or  present posters. I was very pleased when I found out that in the Neuroimaging for Research course there’s a mix of group work and individual work – you can discuss topics with your colleagues and come to a consensus as a group for some of the course work but for other you get to put to test your own capabilities and perform individual submissions . When an activity is released there’s a given set of time provided for the work to be submitted – this is very helpful as for example  when an activity that requires group work is released, every group member has time to post their comments or contributions regardless of the time zone they are in.

Another one of my concerns was regarding the final assessments. Would the final assessments be held on set days at set times? Would I have to take time off work to perform my final assessments? I quickly realized that I wouldn’t need to let my life as a student interfere with my life as a professional. The final assessments are held at the end of each semester. Usually, the final assessment period starts on a Friday evening and it runs through more or less two and half weeks, and you can take the essays and multiple choice tests at any point during this period. This give us enough time to study and perform the assessments – you can even take them in the evenings or during the weekends.

If you’re wondering about how the modules are delivered, let me also put your mind at ease. You’ll be able to see all the modules and respective content from the beginning of the semester however you don’t have to study everything in one go. For each course you’ll have a calendar that will show the modules distributed throughout the semester – each week will be reserved for a particular module. I found this to be a great system as I can use the calendar to form my own schedule and to try and keep track of everything I need to study and also the deadlines for the assignments. You’ll be able to access the library and for each module there will be compulsory and optional reading – so if you are curious about a particular topic there’s a quick an easy way to gather more information.

Well, I hope this has helped to answer a few questions… if there’s anything I didn’t cover and that you would like to know more, please leave a comment and I will be happy to reply.

– Daniela

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