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How To Manage Distance Education

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For many people full-time attendance at a university may not be possible due to time or financial constraints. However, distance education institutions allow people of all ages to study and gain their desired qualifications whether undergraduate or postgraduate.
What you'll need: 
Internet Connection
Course material
Choosing to study on a distance or correspondence basis requires specific skills and personal motivation to study towards your chosen qualification. The lack of lectures, tutorial sessions and face-to-face communication means that you are entirely responsible for planning and managing your own studies.
Realistic decisions need to be made regarding the number of courses you can manage in a fixed period. Consider your other obligations when choosing how many courses to register for. These may include work, shopping, meal preparation, eating, commuting, exercise and social activities. Draw up a list of these commitments and allocate time to each. The remaining time is what you have left for study purposes.
Once you have established your available study time, you will be better prepared to choose your subjects and register for individual courses. Once you receive your study material, plan your study timetable using a calendar, page a day diary/spreadsheet and the assignment/examination dates detailed in your course material.
Allocate time to reading up on and learning about effective study methods and time management. Mind Tools and Mantex UK are both useful resources. Improvements in both will increase the efficiency and productivity of your study time. Contact your university to establish whether they publish guides on study skills and time management.
Modern correspondence universities use both print and online means of providing study material and support including online forums through which other students can be contacted. Use these resources as much as possible as they are there to assist you.
Contact students doing the same/similar courses to you. Discussing various issues or meeting to study together is extremely useful as it allows you to share your knowledge and opinions while exposing you to different interpretations and perspectives on course material.
Even though correspondence universities operate on a distance model, lecturers and tutors will be available for direct enquiries via email, phone or in person if you live within the vicinity of the university.
Effective time management is the correspondence student's most valuable tool. Pareto's 80:20 rule is just such a time management maxim. This principle indicates that 80% of effective results are generated by 20% of focussed effort, qualifying the statement that you should concentrate on results rather than on effort.
Procrastination is a destructive and deceptive habit which can easily rob you of valuable time. To avoid procrastination remember to (1) stop thinking and start doing (2) tackle the hardest task of the day first and (3) just take that first step, it is the hardest one of all.
Distance education can be extremely challenging, especially during pressured or stressful periods in your life. However, with careful planning and the use of the available resources, it can be both a productive and extremely satisfying way of achieving your education goals.
Plan your studies before starting any work. Planning provides purpose and structure.
Ensure that you have received all your course material and that you know what is expected of you from your lecturers.
Read all received material carefully as it is your responsibility to find out all important information.
Take the time to improve your study skills. It will pay off in the long run.


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