Distance-learning student Rachel on her experience studying and working full-time
Rachel is currently studying MA Digital Technologies, Communication and Education (DTCE) via distance-learning while working full-time as Secondary Teacher of Business and Economics. In this blog post, she shares her experience of studying this master’s while working full-time and what support is available to her to balance both commitments.
On why I chose to study DTCE
I was engaged through my own practice in education technologies and wanted to explore this field in a more academic context in order to be able to better evaluate educational technology tools.
On the highlights and challenges of my course
I enjoyed developing a resource designed to meet the digital literacy needs of refugees arriving in my city, specifically looking at the most appropriate way to deliver education on locative technology. I have also been able to take many of the theoretics and use them to enhance my own teaching and then reflect on these.
I very much enjoyed study about Artificial Intelligence in education, but some of the philosophy and broader contextualisation in this field are complex to consider at first. Thankfully we had support and scaffolding when accessing these challenging concepts.
On being a distance-learning student and my top tips
Currently, I spend approximately 6-10 hours in classes and private study per week. As a distance-learning student, I have been very happy with the flexibility the course offers to me. I have enjoyed being able to build relationships with tutors and peers and feel part of a strong community even at a distance.
As a Distance Learner who also works full time, I would suggest spending some time at the start of the working week developing an overview of the work ahead for the week and the time required to engage with these and then plan when I am going to fit these commitments in, calendaring them.
As a mother of two children as a family we have had to carve out a consistent routine each week, where I study and the family is engaged in activities without me, and we safeguard this time.
I also value spending 30 minutes at the end of the week reviewing my learning and plotting what I think my next steps should be.
On my plans for the future
I want to work in initial teacher training or to continue researching about how schools and teachers make decisions around educational technology tools in their classrooms.