I’ve just come back from a two-day contact course with my lecturer for one of the papers I’m taking at Uni. Why a ‘contact course’? Because I do my Uni work from home, and this was my short chance to see my lecturer and do an intensive couple of days of learning the themes of the paper, and being able to ask questions about things I’ve been having trouble with. It was a great opportunity, and I came away with some valuable knowledge.
Distance learning is a great way to make higher education more available to people who just can’t be on campus. Parents of small kids, people with jobs that they need to keep, people in remote towns who can’t just relocate to a university town. My contact course had several people working full or part time, all of us had children, and most were much older than your average Uni student.
I have been using distance learning because I’ve needed the flexibility, and because I’ve not really been well enough to go out much. Going in to classes is much easier and demands much less discipline, and I do enjoy it. Being able to work from home, though, has suited my needs much better.
I am grateful for the opportunity that distance learning gives me and people like me, who have very different needs to the average 18-year-old student. It makes getting a degree possible for people who are looking to change their career, or who want to diversify their knowledge and upskill. It’s another opportunity that should be offered by more places than the one or two in New Zealand.