Top Tips for Distance Learning

Distance Learning programmes at the University of Birmingham have allowed students globally to continue their higher education. Amsaa, MA Translation Studies, shares her top tips for studying a Distance Learning course.

Distance Learning programmes at the University of Birmingham have allowed students around the world to continue their higher education flexibly. Amsaa, MA Translation Studies student, shares her top tips for studying a Distance Learning course.

My passion for languages led me to want to achieve a higher degree in Translation Studies. Being a mother of two children, I decided to improve myself from within my comfort zone. So, I started to feed my passion by researching for distinguished universities offering distance learning programmes. I found that the University of Birmingham provides an MA programme in Translation Studies. After learning more about the programme, I decided that this was precisely what I wanted.

Distance Learning in a Cafe

Studying online allowed me to perform my parental responsibilities; I was able to attend classes holding my baby girl and managed my studies during my the children’s sleep time. Having a certificate from one of the top 100 universities in the world during this period of my life was a miracle. It was a challenging experience, but I followed some tips to make my online study journey much more manageable. I would like to share some with you:

  1. Try to balance your responsibilities whether it be family or a job with your studies.
  2. Keep in touch with your colleagues because this helps a lot; you can ask anything and plan your studies together. You usually have weekly zoom meetings to encourage each other.
  3. Attend all the support sessions as they allow you to ask all your questions and brainstorm ideas with your tutor and peers.
  4. Create a comfortable place for study. Dedicate an area for a desk area and some shelves in your room, or you can specify a room at your house for studying, as I have done. I remember I was so excited to design my study room; I chose my desk and bookshelves. I brought some plants to put in the room; the green colour was great with the sun shining in the mornings, as it helped me wake up active and optimistic.
  5. Spend some time familiarising yourself with the course you are enrolled in. It took me a while to understand the university system. I remember how difficult the first module was for me, as it had been a long time since I graduated from my BA, so I had to revise many writing issues while completing the first assignment. 
  6. Manage your time effectively; try to have a routine for your study. Plan for each week, have some hours for studying and attending sessions and zoom meetings. 
  7. Overcome procrastination by following up with your colleagues in weekly meetings. Planning can also make a difference. Be realistic with your plan and include breaks!
  8. Ask for support. You can ask your tutor or the professor who gives the support sessions for any help. You can also ask your colleagues and other services at the University.
  9. Reward yourself; distance learning can sometimes cause stress, especially when submitting assignments with tight deadlines. It will help freshen your mind and soul if you have a break. For example, take a day or two off before starting with the new module. Take a walk, go to a lovely cafe, go to the beach, or to any place you enjoy.
  10. Change your environment. Go to a peaceful cafe ora library to finish your assignment when you have a deadline.

Indeed, distance learning has opened the gates for people who are busy with a job or even a family to continue their higher education without travelling or attending in-person classes. It was a great option to have a very excellent university providing this opportunity to students internationally. I dreamt of studying at such a university because I was drawn to the responsibilities. 

The translation Studies programme is excellent because it feeds my interest in languages. I started learning a new language that I have been in love with, Turkish. It also opens the horizon to discover new cultures, as there are many language pairs students from various cultures. I became a friend of many of my international classmates. I also got to know some students from the country I live in, Saudi Arabia. We always help each other via the WhatsApp group we have and sometimes review our works and have a brainstorm together.

Blog post written by: Asmaa Alsoofi (MA Translation Studies)