Correspondence courses, also referred to as distance education aims to deliver quality education to those who are not able to physically be present on a campus. A correspondence course gives flexible options to students to study from work, home, or anywhere in the world at a time that is convenient for them and suits their lifestyle. While you are not present at a physical campus you will still have access to tutors, online chat facilities to discuss the material with other students or tutors, have access to study materials and research resources. Most online course providers have podcasts where you can listen to recordings of lessons or material, have access to blogs or online forums – you will therefore never be alone in your studies. Support will be easily accessible.
Many people may think that they are too old to study. We believe that lifelong studies have a great attribute to a healthy life and self-esteem. Correspondence studies enhance your self-motivation and will contribute to a feeling of independence and self-worth. A correspondence course can help you to achieve the goals you always had and assist you to reach your own potential. It has never been this easy to make a career change! Maybe you always wanted to something else with your life, but could not afford to quit your job to pursue further studies. Correspondence studies give you the option to study while working, giving you the option to only starts your new career once you graduated from your course.
Benefits of distance education
To go into more detail than already said above, we will now look at the real benefits of distance education through a correspondence course. A correspondence course will allow you the following:
You can structure your studies around your work, social life or family responsibilities. You can even study in your pyjamas!
You can enhance your career or personal development from wherever you are, be it a rural town, overseas or metropolitan. You are not bound to a course in your area; you can study any overseas course from the comfort of your living room!
You can develop a range of skills while studying a correspondence course, for instance your self-motivation and self-direction.
You can still be included in student life through the web, social student sites, notice boards, email or blogs.
You can review your notes and materials without having to rush to classes
You can save time and money, as you do not have to travel to classes or dress up!
The convenience that course materials will be made available online or be delivered to your door
To study at a cheaper rate, while still gaining recognised qualifications
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Challenges of distance education
There are certainly also some challenges to studying a correspondence course. We will look at the challenges, not to discourage you, but to make sure that you prepare yourself accordingly to make the most of your correspondence course studies.
Common problems that students of correspondence courses face:
Problems coping with huge amounts of reading work
Difficulty finding a designated study space
Lack of concentration
Lack of motivation or disinterest in a subject
We will now examine each obstacle and see how you can overcome that – making the most of your correspondence studies. We want to demonstrate that these obstacles do not need to withhold you from studying a correspondence course, but that you can prepare to be ready for the challenge and get the most from your studies.
A lot of students (not only correspondence students) fall in the trap of procrastination. By putting off the things, you need to do, will only create stress and unpleasantness for you. The best method is to stay motivated. Remind yourself constantly why you enrolled for this qualification. Remind yourself of the benefits you will reap once you have completed a certain task or the course as a whole. Set yourself some short term goals – for instance, if you complete your first module within a certain timeframe, you can have a social night or buy tickets to a show. Reward yourself for completing tasks in a shorter time than expected.
There will always be interruptions, as life will not simply stand still while you take on your studies. You need to find measures to minimise the distractions in order to get the most from your designated study times. Find a quiet study area. Turn off the phone, radio and do not read your email during your designated study times. Keep a piece of paper nearby and write down things you need to give attention after your study period to as they come to mind, but do not do these things during the time set aside for studying.
You will need to set aside time for each subject you are enrolled for. You will allocate time in accordance with the amount of material and upcoming assignments and exams. As you are not a full time student, but have many other commitments, people and things that also wants a piece of your time, you will need to draw a timetable. Plan each week in and keep to your schedule. Set achievable study goals for yourself and tick them off your list as you go along in order to keep motivated. If you did not stick to your schedule, you will have to give up some social time in order to get back on track, not allowing yourself to fall behind.
Managing huge reading volumes
The huge amount of reading work can be overwhelming to many correspondence students. There is no lecturer to tell you what is important and where you must give more focus. You will need to find your own ways to select the important information from the rest. Reading skills can be very useful and clever reading can help you to save time. The best advice is to learn how to take notes and highlight important parts as you read. Skim read and scanning in a search for the crux of a text. Identify the main idea behind the text and review it afterwards.
Find a good study space
It is very important for all correspondence course students to find a good study space. As you are not attending a College or University in person, you will not have the benefit of allocated study spaces. You will have to create your own quiet study haven or seek out a library in your area or a suitable space. Keep this space both tidy and free of distracting items. Make sure there are enough stationary and a bottle of water and maybe some healthy snacks. Put your time schedule up where you can see your goals while studying. Devote this space solely for studying. When you take a break, go to another room other than your study area.
Many students may suffer from a lack of concentration power. This can be due to a lack of motivation, interest or an unhealthy diet. Enhancing your concentration power will make you more effective in your correspondence course studies. You can do this by getting into the right frame of mind before you start. Study in short time blocks. Take regular breaks. Eat healthy brain food while studying. Refrain from drinking too much coffee, but rather drink water. Be active; go for a run to get fresh air. Exercise your brain by taking notes, drawing maps and pictures to make better associations to remember the work by.
Lack of motivation and disinterest in a subject
It is a fact that not all the modules or subject in your chosen course will interest you equally. This can lead to a lack of motivation, which can stem you negatively towards studying. It may prove to be best to tackle these subjects and tasks first. Motivate yourself by seeing the bigger picture and where this subject fits into you long term goals. Keep a positive attitude. You may find that discussing subjects with other students (this can be online) may let you see that you are not alone and that others feel the same, experiencing the same difficulties and challenges.