Best Practices, Distance Learning and Other Lagniappes

I have been researching some tags on education practices in twenty-first century post secondary education. It prompted some thought about how this topic is approached in media and executed in practice.  Consensus is formed around technology, student needs and expectations driving ‘change’ but precious little is said about student experience or what students must ‘to bring to the table’ for academic success in distance learning degree level study.  As a student learning in a self-directed and technology based format I must give unique attention to engagement with pedagogical methods and self-assessment. For me, this is a marvelous little lagniappe; and, for me, the University of London International Programmes is uniquely student-focused.

What exactly does ‘student focused’ mean?  In a nutshell it means learning is my right, responsibility and independent creative space. I feel enormously supported and learn very effectively, productively and quickly with Goldsmith’s structure and materials; but I must establish and achieve my own outcomes.  The effort is mine to make either weakly or boldly.

Bold effort is encouraged here; it is wonderfully inspiring to know my efforts and ideas are welcomed and encouraged. I can strive for high professional and academic standards through the daily nitty-gritty and wrestling match with language and learning processes.  I like that I can think deeply about a topic across the year-long term and over the course of the degree from different perspectives. Different perspectives can be literary or linguistic but also learning perspectives and education practices. I get to think about these issues in this program and develop tools and strategies which make me more effective as a student, a professional and a person. Like a strategy for building highly effective teams this model allows me to maximize strengths, identify where I lag and build appropriate development exercises.

My learning and development exercises include things like last terms’ marathon study of narrative and writing about theory; this is the year of verse, research papers and also marks year four of my immersion in ‘Hamlet.’  Quite uniquely this program allows me to stretch myself  in these in-depth ways while recognizing focus and effort are a choice based upon my interests, needs and goals. This is what I mean by student-focused orientation.

Student focused means this marvelous program provides all the tools and support needed to reach my goals; it also means I must apply the tools and establish goals along with processes and skills to achieve them. This is true in every learning environment but at the University of London International Programmes it is a well established expectation and best practice.

This best practice encourages me to evaluate goals and processes while constantly looking for specific results; all the while my efforts are supported through resources, uncompromising academic standards and professional accomplishment. Interestingly, the University of London International Programmes ‘best practice’ is the current ‘next practice’ buzz in education news. I study confidently inside the student-focused nutshell made of my study processes and Goldsmith College’s excellent best practices and support; I count myself the fortunate queen of infinite, creative, learning space.

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