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viernes, 14 de febrero de 2014

Starting out

I was determined to start my master's degree this year, 2014, but I didn't expect that it would be at the beginning of the year. It all happened rather quickly but in just a few week's time, I was registering for this MA in ELT and was ready to start with my distance studies.

The Beginning

I got access to the platform on Thursday 13th but it was until the weekend that I could dedicate the needed time to go about the many options there are in the platform and also figure out how to have access to the assigned readings.

Today has been the first official day in which I have focused on reading, added the first comment in the forum and have also completed my first activity. I am still not 100% on some of the aspects of the platform, especially finding the e-book to complete the topic readings, but, as with many things, it will all sort itself out with more practice.

Background Experience

I have taken distance courses in the past and also most of the BA in ELT was distance education for me, so I am no stranger to this modality of learning and am aware of the challenges that it all implies; this is the part where this blog section will come in very handy.

In the past I have used blog posts in tandem with my experience as a distance learner to serve two purposes. The first being that it is a great way to share my experience with others. The second is it helps me to better manage my time and complete the assigned activities. This is mainly because as a blog post is the place where I will tell my story, I want to tell a story of success so it motivates me to complete everything on a timely manner.

The First Order of Business

As I begin with this 2 and a half year experience I have to start laying the foundation of how I will be organizing my time, work and study activities so that I may keep my productivity as high as possible.

Firstly, and as mentioned above, I dedicated most part of Sunday to learning how the system works, where comments go, where activities are done and generally going through the immediately available documents. Quickly I identified that having access to the online library is very important, so doing proper searches for books and journals is key. I have to say that I am still having a difficult time finding the e-books I am assigned to read, but I hope to be more efficient with this in the coming days.

Secondly, I allotted some time to building a calendar of activities so I may have a visual perspective of how my work and study week looks like. For this activity I rely on my Google APPs account as it is my main work account and I also can easily consult the calendar through my smartphone. For now, I have decided to make a two week plan, encompassing the remaining weeks in February, so as to give me the opportunity to test my calendar plan and make adjustments where needed on the first few days of March.

In my calendar I have allocated 19 hours for the MA in ELT spanning from Sunday to Friday, dedicating generally three hours during the week and four hours on Sunday. Additionally, I am trying to keep Saturday afternoons free for relaxing, but if it is necessary I will also make use of that time for reading and other MA activities.

Finally, I am putting my initial plan into motion by starting to read and complete activities on the platform as well as participate in forums and write this first blog entry. I expect to complete all necessary activities and then make some adjustments on the weekend.

As far as these blog posts, I expect to make one entry per week although I am still undecided on a single day; perhaps on a weekend day or Monday. Time will tell.


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