After about a month of online course in preparation for Delta module 1 (you can also read my impressions from the first intensive face-to-face week), here I am again, writing my comment on the online part of the course and how I have been coping with exam preparation while working full time.
I am now working my full 25-hour-a-week contract while following an online module 1 preparation course mainly during weekends. Since some colleagues at school are doing the same, we have been trying to meet every week or every two weeks to compare notes on the reading and tasks we have been doing.
I don’t have much time to write — and I guess I am getting used to Delta-style, there-isn’t-much-time-to-plan-your-text type of writing required for the exam — so I am going to list here all the advantages and drawbacks I have noticed so far.
The main advantages are:
- I have more time to process information;
- I can relate theory to practice on a daily basis. I can try out new ideas found in books right after I have read them, which gives me immediate feedback and more food for thought;
- the online course is a really nice guide in an ocean of theories, research, techniques an jargon which I would otherwise have soon got lost in. It is really helping me explore all the different parts of the syllabus, familiarise with the key terminology and concepts and with the exam format;
- comparing ideas with colleagues is probably the most helpful thing of the course. We have all been reading different things or approaching the tasks in different ways, so it is really nice to see the same problem from different perspectives and discuss together to find a solution. I wish we had more time to do so as I think this has been by far the most productive part of the course so far.
On the other hand, the disadvantages are:
- studying only or mainly at weekends is not very effective. From one week to another I end up forgetting most of the things I studied the weekend before so I have to spend a precious hour or two revising;
- the online course started off by giving a bit of everything in every unit. So in unit 1 we studied a bit of grammar, a bit of vocabulary, a bit of reading and so on. I have to admit if feels a bit confusing and somewhat haphazard. I am sure there is a good reason for doing this, but it mostly makes me feel frustrated and sorry I don’t have time to read all the compulsory reading specified at the beginning of each part of the unit before completing its tasks (sometimes the compulsory reading includes as many as 6-7 chapters of a book, which I find impossible to read within a week while also working full time);
- I will probably never have a free weekend/holiday from here to the exam date. 😦
All in all it is going OK for now. I just wish I had more time to study and more time to really dive into all the materials and ideas the course provider is throwing at us. I am counting on the long Christmas break to catch up on some reading and studying.