As a distance student, I happily appreciate the flexibility that it offers. It allows me to attend a university outside of my hometown, as well as enabling me to combine study with my other responsibilities.
However, it is not without disadvantages, one of which is the lack of face-to-face interaction with instructors and classmates. Fortunately, this is a blended learning course, and last weekend I had the opportunity to attend a workshop in Limerick where I got to meet some of the other distance education students.
This was quite a different experience to the other workshops that I had attended previously. At this point in time, all of the students on this course are immersed in various assignments. As soon as I met a couple of my colleagues that morning, our conversation quickly and easily turned to the latest assignment that we had submitted and the trouble that we all had over it. We had a wonderful conversation almost as if we’d been seeing each other every day. Although I silently struggled to put names to faces, it was wonderful to have the sense of seeing familiar faces.
The workshop served as an introduction to Flash and Dreamweaver. And while I could probably have learned these programmes by following the lab sheets, the workshop provided an invaluable opportunity to get an initial feel for the software. It was also reassuring to know that many people in the class were having exactly the same problems that I was with them.
And so I left the workshop feeling more connected with my fellow students, and also slightly more inspired to keep on going with all the work. And this also helps with online discussions, where now I am a little bit better at connecting a face with the names.