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Online Study Experience - Joe Encourages You to Take the First Step

By Joe Gacheru

My name is Joe Gacheru. I am Kenyan/Canadian. I work as the Regional Home Care Coordinator for Health Canada in Manitoba Province.

I followed traditional studies in Canada and Kenya and recently decided to once more broaden my horizon. That is why I enrolled in a Master programme in integrative health sciences at Kristiansand University College, Sweden. This time by distance education. So far, I have taken six courses at the University College. These courses are inspiring and challenging. The lectures are recorded, and the instructors and professors provide us with articles and additional resources.

How does it work in practice?

I study with people from all around the world. Our class is 30 students from all continents; India, Pakistan, Zambia, Sweden, Canada, Denmark, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. We study at home and send our assignments and papers via electronic mail. But that does not mean we study on our own: There are different modes of discussions via chat and open class discussions. The professors are available to answer questions and give suggestions. If you fail one exam, do not worry: There are 3 exam trials.

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Studying from the distance but never alone

You might think because we never meet in person, the relationships are impersonal and cold. But you are wrong: our course leader is very helpful and cares a lot about us. I thought about dropping off from the course in the beginning but she encouraged me to stay. She even gave me an extension for my papers, and though I do not get to see my professors, I feel that they care by the way they address us in our discussions.

Moreover, I may never meet all of my classmates face to face, but many of us do get to know each other and regularly “bounce ideas” back and forth amongst ourselves. My professors know me by name and are willing to discuss my learning and concerns with me in depth and when it’s convenient for me.

So why studying from the distance?

For me, the freedom to study how and when I want is essential. Like many professionals working irregular hours or travel as part of their job, I am always travelling for field meetings. An online degree programme allows me to study wherever and whenever.

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Advantages of distance education

Online learning is not a strict and pre-defined course of study; but, you have the flexibility to work at your convenience. This is what is most important to me. I can attend classes at any hour of the day, any day of the week or holiday. I pay a little more in tuition for the privilege of taking online classes. But it is worth it as I am able to pursue my education on my own terms. If you wish to continue your education but it seems to be an unrealistic goal I would strongly encourage you to consider online learning. Online classes require as much work as a traditional class, but they are more flexible than a traditional class!

My famous last words

Welcome aboard, I am sure anyone thinking of taking DL will enjoy the move.

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