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The Student Insider

Why virtual learning is ideal for a busy professional


Are you looking to advance your Data Science skills with a master’s programme, but don’t want to interrupt your career to study?

Student using a mobile

The University of London has launched a brand new programme, developed in partnership with member institution Goldsmiths, that offers you the ideal opportunity to study independently (web-supported) around your existing work and family commitments. But how does the online experience compare with traditional face-to-face teaching? We spoke to the University of London’s Student Experience team about how to make the most of this unique opportunity.

A wealth of digital resources

When you begin your online Data Science programme you will be given access to the University of London’s ‘Virtual Learning Environment’. From here you can access all the exciting course content – from welcome chapters telling you what to expect, to engaging videos, interactive activities and quizzes to gauge your understanding. The intuitive dashboard includes a timeline with upcoming deadlines, webinars and the latest announcements from your tutors.

You will also have access to the University’s online library, with a curated selection of books chosen by academics to support your learning. This is a key resource for all students as Tim Hall, Student Experience Manager, highlighted.

The online library is a huge part of your online studies and we have data that shows the more you engage with it the more likely you are to pass your programme.

All of this content sits on a responsive platform that is designed to be accessed from any device – so if you have to travel for work you can easily take your studies with you.

More than 150 years of distance learning expertise

The VLE, however, is just one part of the overall student experience. By enrolling with the University of London you will be benefitting from more than 150 years of excellence in distance learning.

In addition to your programme content you will have the opportunity to complete the Core Study Skills module, preparing you for web-supported learning. Developed in partnership with the Centre for Distance Learning and with feedback from the University’s Student Voice Group, the module includes advice and tips on everything from time management to how to take effective notes and how to learn from feedback. There is also a Digital Skills Awareness course to support you in making best use of the digital technologies available to you.

Tim added,

Make sure you take some time to check out our student induction. It covers some really useful topics like registration and exam deadlines, but also explains what else is on offer to our students, like the wellbeing and support programmes, social media and advice from other students who are studying with us.

Interactive careers support

One of the main reasons students choose to study with the University of London is to improve their career prospects or prepare to change careers. Did you know the University of London’s Careers Group is one of the biggest higher education careers services in Europe? You can take advantage of the wealth of careers advice and support available.

We offer a range of interactive webinars on topics like negotiating skills, LinkedIn and personal branding, improving your CV and personal resilience. If you miss a session you can find a recording within your student portal.

Web-supported study doesn’t mean you’re alone

We know that while there are many benefits to self-guided study, working alone can sometimes leave you feeling isolated. The Student Experience team is committed to providing holistic support for all students and runs a strong initiative focussed on your overall wellbeing.

Tim explained:

Our pastoral support is just as important as the academic quality we offer at the University of London. We want everyone to feel a part of our community and we pride ourselves on engaging with students to continuously improve the services we offer.

“In addition to facilitating the training of our frontline staff on how to support students through active listening and empathetic behaviour, we’ve also launched a new podcast series, interviewing different members of staff around the University. We hope it allows students based all over the world to feel connected to the people in London who are all working hard to help them succeed.”

Meet your global classmates

One of the biggest advantages of studying with the University of London is the opportunity to work with, and learn from, students from every corner of the globe. Your classmates will come from all different walks of life and will bring their own perspectives to the group discussions you engage with.

And it isn’t just the students on your programme that you can interact with. The Student Experience team has recently started a new online book club followed recently by world recipe club. So while you may complete your studies online, your overall experience of the University of London will very much echo that of a student on campus.

Find out how you can join a new online learning community with the University of London’s MSc in Data Science. If you are interested in face-to-face support, some of our recognised teaching centres in Singapore and Russia will be supporting the MSc from April 2020; and more teaching centres will become available later.