Congratulations on choosing distance learning as your preferred mode of learning! We know that it gets hard sometimes especially around managing time, coping with load shedding, and balancing the need to be independent on the one hand, but also collaborative on the other. We know that you will be able to adapt in order to become the inspired, active, and creative teachers that you are meant to be. Here are some ways to thrive and survive.
Reflect on your growth as a human being. As a little child, you depended on your family to care for you, but slowly over time, you learnt to do so much by yourself. Distance learning is similar to growing up and becoming an independent adult.
In the beginning, challenges may seem overwhelming and you will need to read and re-read the Student Orientation and Student Manual available to you online, as well as the front matter of your Curriculum and Study Guides (CLG). The On-boarding assessment helps to orientate yourself and you may find yourself phoning SANTS regularly until you feel more settled in. Slowly you will discover the best time and place to study. You will create and commit to a study schedule that accommodates your personal, family, and social life and you will find a unique rhythm for yourself. Ultimately, you take responsibility for your own learning and this independence helps you to gain confidence in your abilities, identify and work on your weaknesses, gain a better understanding of what you study, and gain a better understanding of yourself.
Once you affirm your independence in your studies, you are in a better position to share information with and receive information from others. Form study groups with your peers in order to enquire, share and compare notes (without copying or plagiarising) so that your understanding of the content grows. Discover who you can trust and how you can help each other in a way that is honest and helpful.
The reality of load shedding – studying and typing assignments in the dark, and having network challenges that interrupt your connection with MySANTS – forces distance learning students to think and act creatively. Do not find yourself saying Eishkom! Rather get to know the load-shedding schedules and plan your studies around them. Have backup plans such as torches with extra batteries so that you can continue studying and write notes even at night. Purchase and charge power banks to make your cellphone and computer last longer when there is no electricity and find out which family and friends can help you during critical times. Communication with SANTS is very important in distance learning, so check your SMSs and possible notices on MySANTS, on a daily basis.
For many students entering distance higher education, it may be difficult to get used to the high amount of independent and self-directed learning required, especially if you have entered straight after high school where teachers mediated learning to a large extent. You may feel that you won’t understand what you are doing unless someone explains it to you. If this is how you feel, take heart, because the CLGs were especially written in such a way as to serve as a ‘lecturer’ to mediate content and help you. That is why it is of utmost importance to read, study and know the content in the CLGs and to do the activities. The more time you spend studying your CLG, the more successful you will be in your studies. Remember also, when you struggle with any concept, that your lecturers are there to help you. You can contact them on the Enquiry platform anytime you need to.
Distance education requires hard work and self-discipline. You will spend a lot of time studying the CLGs on your own, and it may feel overwhelming. Whenever you feel overwhelmed think of the end goal, a higher education qualification (degree or diploma)! Think of how rewarding and fulfilling it will be to achieve a higher education qualification and how proud you will be of yourself and how proud your family and friends will be of you. If you need additional motivation for the academic year, please watch this short video with words of wisdom and inspiration from Snoop Dog, a message to all university students:
𝗔𝘂𝘁𝗵𝗼𝗿𝘀: 𝗝𝘂𝗱𝗶𝘁𝗲 𝗙𝗲𝗿𝗿𝗲𝗶𝗿𝗮-𝗣𝗿𝗲𝘃𝗼𝘀𝘁, 𝗞𝗮𝘆𝗶𝘀𝗲 𝗔𝗻𝗱𝗲𝗿𝘀𝗼𝗻, 𝗝𝗮𝗰𝗸𝘆 𝗠𝗼𝗿𝗶𝗳𝗲, 𝗝𝗮𝗰𝗸𝘆 𝗦𝗺𝗶𝘁
𝗔𝗰𝗮𝗱𝗲𝗺𝗶𝗰 𝗤𝘂𝗮𝗹𝗶𝘁𝘆 𝗘𝗻𝗵𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗲𝗺𝗲𝗻𝘁 𝗨𝗻𝗶𝘁