Why I loved studying online

What it's like studying through a screen

We asked The University of Law student Kimberley Gooderham about her experience of studying online, and found out how she balances her roles as a magistrate’s fee earner, a trainee police station representative, a figure-skater and a mum of two, with studying for her Legal Practice Course (LPC) online.

Wow, you sound busy – has studying online helped you become more or less productive? 

A lot more productive! I have had to ensure that I’m fully prepared for online studying because it can be easy to get lost as the tutor goes through the workshop tasks. During physical attendance, it’s easier to hide back a bit, but with online studies, the more prepared you are during a workshop, the more productive and flowing the session is in terms of knowledge and understanding. I spend a considerable amount of time preparing. 

And how has studying online impacted your overall experience? 

It was nice during the majority of the first year to be physically at the campus in Leeds, surrounded by other students. However, I was going in every other weekend and the commute on Saturday and Sunday could be quite tiring, especially after a full week at work and commitments with my children.  

I am still in constant contact with the friends I made, and with the joys of technology, I feel tutors are probably more accessible now when you need help or have a question, in comparison to searching campus to find them. 

What are the benefits of studying online? 

I can attend a workshop in my pyjamas and nobody would ever know - I’ve always maintained, even when at work, if I could do a day in my dressing gown I’d be the most productive person ever!  

Also, everything you need is in front of you in one place, even down to textbook chapters which are accessible on Blackboard, or as Word documents or PDFs that can be edited as you go.  

What have you found challenging during online studies?  

Working from home can be difficult, especially when there are things or people around demanding attention. I’ve learnt that recording workshops is useful as I can re-listen to any parts that I’ve missed.  

I do miss the physical interaction with other students. The weekends I would attend uni felt like a small break from professional life and motherhood. 

What advice would you have for someone worrying about online-based studies? 

Definitely do not worry about it - like anything you do, what you put into it is what you will get back out. Use the opportunity. The ability to sit through seminars and workshops in joggers, in the comfort of your own home, is amazing. Prioritise your time and as long as you are prepped beforehand, it won’t be much different to location-based studies.  

Also, we have the use of message boards, whiteboards, image viewers and interactive boards, so it feels exactly the same as doing a task in a classroom.  

What technical support do you get?  

We get frequent updates from The University of Law, and tutors are only an email away. Some establishments offer bursary help and loans of laptops for students who might not have access or struggle financially. And our IT department will always send updates regarding versions of software, as well as step by step guides to access learning rooms. 

And the last question… how have you found the experience compared to attending uni in person? 

It has actually made me more confident, especially when using a mic to answer questions instead of using the chatbox. I used to stay quiet in workshops unless I was really sure I knew the answer - now, even when in doubt, I’ll speak up as I know I’ll probably never meet some of the people in my groups. I’m probably one of the most vocal students in our groups and I know that I use my time in the workshops completely.

The University of Law has offered online teaching for over thirty years, as well as in-person courses and blended options. Most courses have options to study full-time or part-time, meaning they can fit around family and work. If you are interested in flexible learning, or simply enthused by the thought of getting a law degree in your pyjamas, visit www.law.ac.uk for more details.

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The University of Law

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