Online Study Experience of Leoni - Open University UK

My name is Leonie, born in the Netherlands, 1978. I studied Physical Education and Leisure Science in Tilburg and really enjoyed my student years; it included doing a lot of sports and easily meeting a lot of people. While I was working in the UK for a few years I also took a distance learning course with the Open University.

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Here, I took two post graduate courses and gained a certificate in Development Management between 2008 and 2010 - both part of the Global Development Management programme, worth 30 credits each. Both courses also comprised several face to face tutor sessions, either in London or Manchester. I went three times for each course. Then, of course, there were regular online sessions as well.

Improving language skills while learning

I moved to the UK from the Netherlands and started working in Loughborough, doing sports administration and memberships. While my level of English was ok I felt the need to improve more than required. Initially, I wanted to take an academic English language course, but either the fees would be too high or the courses I found weren’t right for me. Then I started thinking what I really wanted to learn more about. This was development management as for years I did a lot of self-study in international sports development and I had been involved in voluntary work. I figured that while officially studying a subject of my interest I would also improve my English. Plus I thought I’d increase my chances of working in the International sports development field.

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Distance Education - an intense, liberating and inspiring experience

It was intense, liberating and inspiring to do this course. Intense because I was also working full time. And even more intense because my English vocabulary in this field was lacking indeed and I had to catch up quickly. Liberating, because I was reading articles that I thought were really really good; analytical and criticizing mainstream policy/media/thinking.

Inspiring, because doing this course I met with people from all over the world either with the live tutorials in London or online. The OU used an online tutorial tool including a ‘white board’ and sometimes it was like being in class – I thought that was amazing, all different people from various continents studying the same thing. All thanks to the internet.

How I succeeded - and how you can do the same

I passed my assignments and exams, so the outcome was good. Also, the tele-support team from the OU was good, they helped me setting up the tools I needed on my laptop. The feedback the teachers gave me on my assignments was very useful and I’m grateful for some of the comments. However the face to face teaching from (substitute) teachers was not always adequate, but then again just meeting fellow students and discussing topics was motivating.

I recommended a friend in UK to study with the OU for several reasons. She didn’t have a degree yet, which meant she could apply for funding – which she got. It is just perfect if you’re already working or for whatever reason cannot dedicate all your time to studying. The OU offers quality education, yet you have to be self-motivated. In combination with work, I think it’s best if it is really related, the more you can apply what you learn in daily (working) life the more you’ll get from your studies.

Final thoughts

Studying the topic I again realized that if each person, community or country strives to be its best/improves/develops the world will be better. By helping yourself one helps others. It is one of the reasons why I’m now working for StudyPortals, the European study choice platform. Europe can ‘share’ its education with students from all over the world and I contribute to making this happen, I think it’s great.

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