Why Rubina chose to study online
Rubina is a student on our online course in Global Health. She lives in Australia and has worked at Australian Red Cross for over five years in a number of roles including supporting asylum seekers and managing food security and nutrition education programmes for people on low incomes.
Why did you choose to study online?
I decided to study online because I work full time and an online course offers me the flexibility I need to be able to juggle work and study. There is no way I would have time to actually attend lectures and seminars, and as I have a very busy job, set times wouldn’t work for me. Studying online means I can do my reading and assignments at times that suit me, and I can fit it around work and other commitments. I am also based in Australia, so studying online was the only way I could do this course at Manchester University!
What are the benefits (and potential pitfalls!)
The benefits are the flexibility of being able to study according to your own work/life agenda, although of course there are certain deadlines that you have to meet and you need to find a way to work to those. I do miss the face-to-face interaction with other students but the discussion boards used by HCRI give you a chance to interact, discuss topics and challenge each other. The group assignment was challenging as we were working across different time zones and to different personal and professional schedules, but this is very similar to real-life and so it teaches you a lot of skills that come in handy for professional work as that’s the way the world is these days.
Any tips/advice for students studying online/from a distance?
You certainly need to be self-motivated, so it helps to choose a course that you are truly interested in. Don’t leave things to the last minute as the internet can let you down sometimes and you don’t want that to be the reason you lose marks on your assignments! I do my readings on my train commute to and from work – it helps me stay on top of things, and Blackboard is a great tool that allows me to do this. Engage with your fellow students as much as you can – it really adds to your learning and makes up for the face-to-face time you miss out on as an online student. Lastly, don’t fret if you get a bit behind because other areas of your life have been busy, it will work out in the end!
What is your general experience of being a student with HCRI?
I am coming to the end of module one, so I’m almost 8 weeks in. So far I have enjoyed the course and have learnt a lot. The workload is fairly large, so you do need to be prepared for that, but you are walked through it step-by-step by the tutors, who are very approachable. They are also very open and responsive to feedback. My course has students from all over the world, and the experience we have between us is rich and diverse making for some very interesting discussions and peer learning. The lecture notes for each unit are thorough and the readings provided for us are interesting and up to date. The corresponding tasks allow you to reflect on what you have learnt from your reading and put the topics into context through your contributions to the discussion boards and your assignments. I would, and in fact have recommended HCRI.
What are your future career aspirations?
My long term goal is to do overseas humanitarian work, and I would love to work with mothers and children in South-East Asia.