Exploring digital education for adult learners
Hwei San (Christina) Seow from Malaysia, is studying on our MA Digital Technologies, Communication and Education as a part-time distance-learning student. In this blog, she shares her advice and student experience for anyone considering the course.
On why I chose this course
I have always been interested in expanding my knowledge in the education sector but was unsure in which capacity. I was working in the Higher Education sector as a Careers Counsellor when I met a few professionals who suggested considering Digital Education as it is the direction which we are moving towards, and also because of my interest in adult education. University of Manchester was one of the few universities offering this area of focus and the course in Artificial Intelligence Perspective on Learning really captivated my interest.
On my experience as distance learner
I spend about 16 hours a week in classes and private study. Studying online at the start of the course when Covid hit was the highlight as I saw Digital Education in practice. It was a good learning experience to try different platforms and experiment what worked and what did not. Being connected to a community of learners, especially Distant Learners, to support and encourage each other has been important in keeping me going in this course.
Being able to balance studies amidst full-time work and raising a young family. I have had two babies born throughout my 3 year course, but the faculty has been amazingly supportive, discussing my options and also providing guidance throughout the courses to ensure that I am up to speed with the materials.
For ETC, we had the chance to visit a museum as part of our assignment. I would not have visited the International Olympic Museum in Lausanne in the country where I am based without this prompting. It was an eye opener as the museum was very advanced and I could see technology in action in disseminating knowledge regarding the Olympic games and the committee’s commitment to sharing the Olympic spirit.
My top tips for prospective students
The tutors have been supportive, and the university has a host of different programs and services that distance-learning students can participate, such as Careers Counselling, Library Appointments and Mental Health services, to support our journey as students.
Take advantage of the programmes offered by the University even though we may not by physically on campus. There are some activities happening online, which still gives us a glimpse of university life. Also, be active in participating in class discussions (online or asynchronously in forums) to make the most out of your studies.
As a Distant Learner, it is easy to feel isolated since we do not physically see our classmates. However, the program is well organised and structured that there are opportunities to interact with classmates and build a community of practice through coursework. The distance-learning student community is really active and we support each other through our coursework to ensure that we can gain clarification and also provide collective feedback for the growth of the program.
On my future
I am currently working in Learning and Development sector for a tech start up and for my dissertation, I am exploring the area of learning analytics which I believe will further my understanding of this area even more.