I would start by giving a warm welcome to all fellow new students - ODL, full time or part time. I remember being so thrilled at getting my notification of admission/scholarship that I displayed about six different dances together (while listening to Pharell’s “Happy” and Kirk Franklin’s “Could’ve been me”); which probably made me look like a really awkward dancing mosquito. Yeah, it did feel that great!
Now, as a Nigerian resident, talking of mosquitoes naturally reminds me of malaria and a host of infectious diseases, the currently notable sub-saharan epidemic being the Ebola virus. When the virus sadly made its way into my country, all I could think of (among other things) was that I couldn’t wait to get started on my Masters program in Global Health and Infectious diseases (GHID), to learn as much as I could and develop advanced skills to successfully combat similar situations that may arise. Though it’s going to be quite the journey now that I have gotten started, I strongly believe it will be worthwhile and highly beneficial to my personal and professional development.
Navigating through the online classroom platform was quite challenging and bewildering at first, most probably because of the sudden influx of information and registration processes you have to absorb and undertake all at once. But after consistent usage and special thanks to my wonderful Programme Director, it's pretty much getting better per time. To aid a smoother start for the online learning platform, I think it’s just really important for an ODL student to go through the learning and information platforms (MyEd, Learn, Blackboard, Collaborate) as often as possible, and I mean even when you don’t have any serious thing per say to do. It’s much more like going sight-seeing as a full-time fresher so as to get acquainted with your new school. With time, we all get used to a consistently navigated environment. Also, I asked as much questions as I could from technical administrators and my course director(s) which have been very helpful. Discussion boards is another awesome way to get acquainted with the online platforms. In fact, it was through this that I realized that I wasn't alone in the "ODL newbie" movement (which shouldn't be that surprising, right?).
So, I finally got to “meet” a good number of my classmates and I’m especially pleased with the diversity in culture and professional experiences present. Now that lectures have officially started, I’m truly looking forward to a mutually beneficial learning experience, making new friends, establishing lasting relationships and generally having an awesome academic year. I wish you reader a great year too.
Welcome to my world!