Study – Changing degrees

So I’ve spent about 3/4 of a year studying online. It’s the first year of a 4 year bachelor degree. I already have a bachelor but there were not any postgraduate options available online. Certainly if I took 2 years off work I could have attended a local university and studied full time. I even applied and was offered a place in my preferred university. 

But that would have put unimaginable strain on my family’s financial situation so wasn’t really an option.

In late February, just as I was finishing a unit for my study I discovered that starting this year there is now an online post graduate degree available in the field I am studying. Still be finalised but open for enrolment. 

By the time I found out, it was already a week past the application closing date, but with some advice from the university I submitted the application and was accepted. And then, with less than a week to go before classes started I managed to get enrolled in classes.

Now it is a bit of a risk. The degree isn’t yet accredited (it has had preliminary accreditation) and is under development. It is also significantly more expense (each unit is $2000 rather than $700) per term. And because my previous study was at Bachelor level and this is a Masters, even though the subject matter is the same, it cannot be counted for prior study.

However being able to finish around a year earlier than the other, which fits in well with my timeline is a huge positive. 

And the previous study isn’t completely lost. Even though its a long way from anything I have done before I found the first year really interesting and I’m happy with my choice. I have also gotten a lot better at managing my study and somewhat better in my essay writing. There is some initial overlap in what I have studied as well. 

The assessments are harder and the units cover twice as much material as the Bachelor ones, but it is Master level after all. 

Week 2 has started now and I’m encouraged with how it is going (and so far no assignments are essays! Or concept maps!).

No rest over Christmas

Another study period is coming to a close. I think I have done okay in this session, but we’ll see in about 2 weeks when the last results start to filter in. One unit was very different from my others – Performing Arts had me writing AND singing a song and ALSO making up and dancing a dance. Very different from anything I have done before. But actually an enjoyable unit. The other unit was alright, but the assessments were somewhat vague (though I did get 75% on the first one).

I’m not sure that I wrote about this, but I did end up failing a unit in the previous session, so I have decided to repeat that unit this next period. I’ll only do one unit as it appears that there is no break over Christmas. With each period being 13 weeks, there are only 52 weeks in a year… do the maths…. there are only about 3 days free all year.

So by my calculations, my first assessment for the next unit will be due on December 30. Ouch.

So doing one unit, and it being a repeat I hope to be able to get stuck into the assessment early and really make a solid start of it well before then.

A busy lead up to Christmas then.

Assignment Success

75%

30/40

That’s the mark on my most recent essay.

Pretty sure that it’s the best mark I have ever got in an essay. I mean ever! 

So I was pretty stoked with that. I think it might be the best I get but it was sure nice to get such a positive response.

Only the first assignment of 3 for that unit, and there’s a whole other unit right now, so onwards….

Another end of Session

Means another exam and another struggle to get my marks up.

Not sure I can make it to a pass this time in one paper. I haven’t yet got the marks for its major assessment, but I don’t think I did too well. I also stuffed the first paper this time in the same subject, so I probably have to get 120% in the exam.

Good luck eh.

I still find the two major sources of my struggle are

  1. Finding time to study properly. Again, family intrudes here, work intrudes here, exercise intrudes and I do have to sleep sometimes…..
  2. I struggle with the way that this unit, same as one of the previous session, asks me to present my assignment. I just struggle with that – I understand the topic, but getting it on paper is awkward.

The other paper I think should be ok. It won’t be pretty, but it will be ok.

Next session will be interesting. A literacy one and then one to really bust me out of my comfort zone – Performance Arts.

I just realised I’ll probably have to sing as a Primary School teacher….. ha, the poor kids will be traumatised.

I’ll probably do the exam Thursday. Then I switch off for a couple of weeks.

Study -Results

hurray.jpg

I  may have passed both units. The exam results have been published and I did well in both. I’ve added up my marks for all assessments and the combined total is more than 50% for both units. Considering how poorly I did one assignment in each unit, I’m pretty happy. I guess that official results will be in a week or two?

Study – exams done

So the 2 hour one took 1 hour, that’s ok. I desperately need a high score to drag my overall up to a pass. I totally screwed the major assignment and am likely to fail if it’s a poor exam result. It was an open book multiple choice so I was able to check the answers as I went. But no backtracking was a bit rude.

The other one, 90 minutes, only took me 15!!! I admit to be a bit worried, but again I was able to check references for each one, and because I could backtrack I could double check the answers. Not so desperate for a good mark, but it would be nice.

Fingers crossed.

Study – Year 1 Session 1

First two units and session 1 is almost finished. Exams next week.

It’s been really hard. Not so much because the content is hard but

  • finding the time to study and prepare. I really wasn’t ready for the amount of work I was going to have to do, even after the study last year. Each unit has its content structured differently and trying to read and watch everything as well as taking notes and writing (and researching) is proving a juggling act I haven’t quite got sorted out yet. Then the next paper is different. Fitting all of this around increased pressure helping out with the kids homework, doing a share of the chores around the house and working is really tough. With Mrs Mab working most of the weekend, I am not able to spend much of that time studying either.
  • Understanding the way they want the assignments done has been hard too. Having some online resources is helpful, but getting stuff done in time to actually think about discussing this online is problematic too. And I can’t make any of the live sessions.

I am sure that as I move into the second and third sessions this will get easier. The early start to work and losing up to 2 hours coming home is a bit of a pain. I had less commuting when I had to go to Canberra for the week (2*4 = 8 vs 5*2.5 =12.5). And I had 4 nights a week that I could study all evening without interruption.

But not be with my family.

I guess I am doing two full time occupations (work and full-time study) at once while still spending time with the family.

I am hoping for a pass in both, it will depend heavily on next weeks exam though. I don’t expect any higher score really. Then it’s straight into session 2…..

Why am I doing this again???

Assignments 1 & 1

Just in time, well I suppose I actually had most of the day left, but I’ve submitted the first two assignments, one for each of my subjects.

Not entirely happy with the effort I have put into them, but I am finding it tough to juggle work, family, exercise and study. Work even sent me on a course the last week as well, which got somewhat in the way.

Hmm, actually maybe I can figure a way to study on the train when I ride my bike to work…

I am sort of regretting getting the non-GSM iPad, as it does limit me as I have to link through my phone to read online. Perhaps I’ll get another one…. HA! no money for that.

But now the assignment is done, I need to get back on track with the readings….

Week 2… argh…

Week 2 of my study. And I feel like I’m behind already. I’m still finishing off some of the reading and questions from last week and it’s Tuesday morning of the second week.

Mostly it is proving more difficult than I thought to make time to study. Obviously at work I can’t just sit there all day reading textbooks and at home I do want to spend time with my family. Right now it’s 5am and I’ve been up since 4am catching up and trying to get on track for this week.

I did notice that part of the activity this week seems to be something to do with WordPress…. I think I have that covered.

Enough procrastinating….. ergh

 

Study – The coming year

Right, so the other study was a warm up for the future. And it went pretty well. I managed (just) to do two units at once. I really only studied Mon-Wed as the rest of the time I was either in Sydney where I couldn’t study or otherwise occupied.

Next year is shaping up one of two ways. I thought my only option was to attend a University. That was going to require some serious negotiation with my new supervisor to get time of during work to attend classes. Wasn’t looking forward to that discussion at all. But the application went in through UAC ten days ago.

Last week I found a distance learning option through the same Open University that I did the other units. If you’re not familiar, Open Uni isn’t a standalone mob, rather its a central hub for you to access units and degrees at some of the best universities in the country.

Anyway, so I have a couple of details to check out but that certainly looks like the best option, giving me flexibility while being in a great position in three years time to jump or stay in my current employment.

Being at home I will have all my computers and stuff so will have “more” time to study. Though of course until bed time, there will be more distractions around 🙂 Plus in my new position I will be able to take my phone and tablet into the office so if its slow, or on lunch breaks etc I can study at work, or listen to lectures etc.