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DL Masters course: poor organisation & communication - help!

(8 Posts)
Isabella1066 Thu 23-Mar-17 11:37:15

Bit of a loss here. Registered for Modules on a DL Masters course starting Jan/Feb. Problems from the start. Neither Registry nor the Director of Programmes respond adequentely or on time to my emails requesting clarification (ie assessment deadlines - what's showing on Moodle are clearly last year's dates, not those for a Jan/Feb intake). In an email, Director referred to a Module that I wasn't registered for - ignoring my query about deadlines.

Has also ignored my queries re registration for Modules next term. Basically, it takes an age to hear from anybody and, when I do, my questions simply aren't responded to.

In the meantime, waiting for Finance to chase the money. Really not sure what to do. What are other people's experiences of DL study at this level? Far better, I hope.

BTW - phoning is hopeless. Can never get through to Director or other staff, only Registry who refer to the academic staff and so it goes on.

Would I be within my rights to bale out now? I really have given it a go and was so looking forward to pressing ahead with my studies this way.

MerdeAlor Thu 23-Mar-17 13:01:33

Doesn't sound normal at all Isabella
I'm doing a DL masters (second year) it's excellent quality, they're good at communicating and well organised.
It started in Jan/ Feb? I'd complain in writing to start off with and if it doesn't resolve, stop payment. It sounds worthwhile transferring to a different uni.

Waitingforsherlock Thu 23-Mar-17 14:48:43

Do you think it's the course in particular or the institution that's the problem? Is there a Facebook group that you could join and then ask fellow students how they are finding things?

Isabella1066 Thu 23-Mar-17 17:28:57

Thank you for your responses. Had a call just now from Registry - one of the Ass Deans has been spoken to but best he could suggest was that I drop a Module (given where we are) & focus on the one that, on Moodle, is still showing old assessment dates & a reference to the fact that new material will be updated 'soon'. And that I do the other next term. When there would be no academic support (I'd have to find out about that, Registry said) & submission dates would have to be identified just for me. Asked if anyone else started in Jan/Feb - didn't know. It does feel as though there's very little care for one DL student and that they're making it up as they go.

Expressed my concern about emails not being responded to and that, when they are, it's after I've chased & the responses bear little relation to my queries. Was brushed aside.

Cut my losses? After all, I haven't really been able to start given the paucity of information/conflicting information. I don't particularly want to wait until September - I've waited long enough to start postgrad study!

I'm glad your course is going well Merde and wish you luck on it.

Lowdoorinthewal1 Thu 23-Mar-17 17:33:10

I am doing mine through Birmingham and they are AMAZING.

I think maybe you should try another university.

Becca19962014 Thu 23-Mar-17 21:36:10

Ok, you need to drop the course and look elsewhere.

There are some major alarm bells ringing from what you've put here for me. I've worked on distance learning programmes (undergrad and postgrad) as well as teaching full time and this is totally unacceptable. I know this happens - part of my research when a lecturer many many many years ago was about how distance learners learnt, resources, availability, what they wanted etc. I researched institutions and spoke to students. Some were really awful and many of the 'red flags' for avoiding an insitution are things you've put here.

You need to look at other insitutions, and leave this one behind. Honestly it sounds like they just don't care. I totally understand not wanting to wait to begin another course, but, the one you're doing now is not going to end well - honestly, it pisses me off that institutions still treat distance learners like this angry

You deserve the same amount of support as any other student does. Being a distance learner DOES NOT mean doing everything yourself or using out of date modules. The modules should be fully prepared in advanced, agreement on response times for communication (this would be reasonable), dates for submitting assignments and how to do this. These things aren't luxuries! Your fees are paid for a reason, there are insitutions who are well regarded for distance learning who understand the issues the distance learner faces.

You don't say what course you're doing or who with, quite rightly but I suspect the course isn't a specialist only available via distance learning from one institution type (these do still exist) because there's no way they'd be able to function if they were. Please, look at other courses.

Becca19962014 Thu 23-Mar-17 21:36:42

Bugger that was meant to be a PM. Sorry for the length!

Isabella1066 Fri 24-Mar-17 15:41:30

Many thanks, all, for such helpful responses.
Becca - thanks. Much appreciate your insights based on your experience.
Feel quite adrift. Moodle is still showing old submission dates for the one module they are now suggesting that I do this term (what's left of it) & saying that new material will at some point be added. What there is looks pretty tired and jaded.
And for the second module, doing it next term does seem a non- starter as quite clearly there wouldn't be any support and any submission dates woudl be totally arbitrary (ie they have not yet been identified).
Thought I was joining a community of learners, that I'd be able to engage, periodically, with academics via skype, email etc (all this promised on the website), that I'd progress from one module to another with guidance.
I'm expecting to hear from the Ass Dean to whom Registry spoke but I don't think now that anything they come with will do - it's already so late. So, yes, I, too, think I do need to look elsewhere for September and throw myself into preparing for that.
I'll update once I've heard from the Ass Dean -
No, the course isn't a specialist one. It's actually fairly generic but I did like the pragmatic feel of it. Until now!
Thank you so much, again.

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