By Jillian Kowalchuk, MSc Public Health (Distance Learning). Jillian recently completed her blended learning option, which allows PG Diploma and MSc distance learning students the opportunity to study up to two modules at the School in place of distance learning modules.
As you may have already guessed my timeline is off the ideal live version of my Journey to the Centre of Campus blog series. Time doesn’t make sense as it flies by, yet other moments seem to last an eternity. Examinations and final papers raced by, although at times it felt like there was never an end in sight.
It seems bizarre to think that from the selection to the final assessment of courses began in early October and ended in mid February. When selecting the blended learning courses, I opted to take two modules that would challenge the status quo of independent learning that we, as distance students, become well versed in. I decided to take Family Planning Programmes (FPP), which had a final paper (with over 100 recommended readings) as the assessment, however integrated seminars and classroom discussions, debates and presentations throughout. Designing Disease Control Programmes in Developing countries was the other module I selected. This module was assessed 60% through a final group report (25 pages), 20% peer assessment and 20% written exam. Naturally, assessed group work under time-restriction presented challenges, however I felt like these modules enabled a more real world experience. Working with people from a variety of backgrounds, education and methods of dealing with conflict, added much more depth and reality to the course objectives. In addition, I believe group work can be an excellent networking opportunity, since it simulates a real work environment and if you participate and work hard, others will remember this once they enter their field. It is after all a small world in public health and good or bad words can travel fast!
Reflecting back on my time spent on campus, I urge you to also consider these points in order to maximize your time:
– Select not only course(s) that interest you, but also ones that will challenge you in other ways beyond pure intellect;
– Consider what tangible skills the course(s) would add to your career and how those skills could help in ‘selling yourself’ to a potential employer;
– Look at the lecturing professors backgrounds, and whether they have or had job(s) that interest you, as many of them would have likely taken the same or similar modules to get them where they are at today.
My last blog on early days of campus life was only a few short weeks ago, and has now reached its conclusion. However, I will continue the Journey to the Centre of Campus series for more depth comments on the lessons I’ve learned and experiences I’ve had. It is my hope that through these blogs we can create a blended learning student community to lessen the innate distance of our programmes. In sharing your experiences of the blended learning programme, connecting with others directly that have participated, or posting questions or topics you would like covered in future posts will help to add to our shared knowledge and encourage those who can to participate.
Now off to Greece to celebrate finishing two modules before heading home!
Until next time,
P.P.S Continue to follow me on Instagram #journeytoCC