D is for Derby as in University of Derby where I’m currently studying (except online, so I don’t actually need to physically be there).
I’ve actually been there, although as per usual UK rain, it was pouring when I went and I was just wet and miserable. If I were to talk about that road trip, it wouldn’t do Derby justice.
Despite the rain, Derby is actually quite a quaint place.
They even have their own Monopoly set.
So this post will lean more towards studying something completely different and learning new things as a mature student (which I talked about in this previous post).
So what is it actually like to study at University of Derby Online?
First of all, they actually refurbished their new online platform, so this is how it looked like now (it’s a bit more colorful now):
As you can see, I’m currently studying a University Certificate in Psychology and I’m taking three modules (I finished one, two more to go).
I don’t know what other courses are like, so my commentary will just be about this one, and also views are my own. I don’t represent the school or anything like that. For a more in depth and official view of what Online Learning is like, please visit University of Derby’s website.
So back to the question, what is it like to study online? I’ve actually also taken way too many online courses on Coursera and the like (which I may talk about in another post). But this one, this one that will give me a piece of paper and enough units to continue on to a Postgraduate Diploma and then Masters in Psychology, this one is a bit different.
For one, it’s not video lectures (so, not like Coursera). While, there may be videos included in the lectures, that’s not the bulk of it. The bulk of it is text, like so:
The lessons are divided per week, and it is suggested that you allot 20 hours for each. At the end of each, there are self-assessments in the form of a multiple choice quiz (not graded), and an activity, such as writing an analysis, that you can post on the Discussion Board (also not graded, but the tutor will review it and provide feedback).
You also have assessments, for my first module it came in the form of two essays that almost killed me. As a programmer, I mostly write code, I had a bit of time adjusting to the amount of readings and analysis that was required in Psychology. The feedback for my essay was very thorough and marked using a rubric. I barely passed though.
So just because it’s an online course, it doesn’t make tutors more relaxed and they still expect the same level of work from you as if you are physically there.
For the readings, you get to access the Library (which even though it’s online, it’s still awesome and pretty complete). But if you’re actually there in Derby, you can visit the physical library (which you can access with your physical ID).
As mentioned before there is a Discussion Board, where you can get feedback from your tutor and interact with your classmates. It also provides that virtual camaraderie.
There are also Live Support Sessions for you to ask questions and ask for feedback (I’ve never attended one, because time difference).
Since it’s a British Psychology Society accredited course, I also got a free student membership, and all the resources that came with it (they actually mailed their newsletter all the way to the Philippines for me). The university also has a Research Participation Scheme, where you can take part in other psychology studies within the University and gain valuable insight. When I progress to that stage of my studies, I can also recruit participants for my research through the scheme.
That’s it for now…
I need to get back to my readings.