Studying anything at a distance is not easy, let alone a degree course, let alone a degree course in creative arts.
For many students studying at a distance represents their only viable route into Higher Education, to gain a degree, to challenge themselves, and be part of a growing community of artists.
Knowing that distance learning can be difficult we recently reached out to you, our students, to ask the people who know best what it’s like to study with OCA and what you have found has helped you to study effectively.
So many of you came back to us with great hints and tips that we’ll run a mini-series to cover all the suggestions, plus a few of our own from the staff here at OCA HQ.
The first that we’ll cover is being part of a community; studying at a distance can be isolating, as there is not the bustle and regular conversations that you might have on a campus. Studying at OCA though, we try to encourage collaborative working on courses, and through the online discussion forums. This is what you had to say:
“The support and encouragement from tutors is invaluable; make sure to check in with them for their advice and schedule Google Meet tutorials where possible.”
“Engage with other students on your courses; get involved with the facebook groups, OCASA regional groups and contribute to the threads on the discussion boards.”
“Talk to people on Facebook – let them know when you are struggling as they’ve all been through similar things.”
“Social media has been great for sharing ideas and work.”
“The best thing that helps me is to have a group of fellow students who are willing to give feedback e.g. via regular hangouts etc. This works even better if there are some people who you’ve worked with throughout the study years.”
“Learning from my fellow students. It is really motivating and helpful to read about other people’s struggles and successes in the learning logs. When I get blocked or feel that I will fail my assignment it helps a lot to see that there were others struggling with similar topics and that they succeeded. Thanks to all who open their blogs for the public!”
OCA has students from all over the UK, the EU, and the rest of the world. All of you make up a diverse student community with different perspectives and goals. And with the internet it easier than ever to stay in touch and be involved.
Don’t forget as well the fantastic study visits regularly put on by OCASA, run on a regular basis in your local region; check in with them to find out what is happening near you and join in.
Please feel free to comment below on your experiences of studying with us and how being part of a community has helped you!
N.b. Some submissions have been edited for clarity and/or length.
Featured Image: OCA student Sally Pennington
Also published on Medium.