The Registration ProcessAfter going through the search for a suitable course and the application process, it’s time to begin. However, first you’ll have some registering to do. As you are a distance learner, this will most likely be done over the internet and, without direct guidance, it can be a bit tricky. Although all steps will have been taken to ensure it goes as smoothly as possible, errors can occur – delays due to overloading of the university system, incorrect information in the database, courses not showing up in the enrolment section… Of course, each university operates differently but my main advice is the same: Don’t panic! and Don’t be afraid to ask for help! These problems are anticipated and your university should have an IT support team and a dedicated registration support team for you to contact. I had problems registering in my first year due to the fee for the entire course rather than Year 1 showing up on the payment screen and again this year with a course that I wanted to take not showing up properly but in both cases a quick email to the relevant person led to it all being sorted out quickly.
InductionEven for distance learners, there is likely to be an induction period. This serves as a chance to get acquainted with whatever Learning Management System/Virtual Learning Environment your university uses as well as to meet your tutors and course mates and do some introductory tasks. This can all seem overwhelming at first, especially if you’ve never done a distance learning course before. My main advice is the same as above: Don’t panic! and Don’t be afraid to ask for help! :) The teaching staff will have seen it all before and are there to assist you with any problems you have orientating yourself in your new virtual surroundings. If the system works like the one at Manchester, you may have the chance to interact with continuing students as well, who will also be willing to help. A quick email or message posted on the forum will usually result in a swift reply. With a little time and exposure, you’ll soon learn to find your way around.
Beyond the technical issues, here are my top tips for getting the most out of your induction programme:
- Use the chance to make connections
- Find others who work in the same field as you
- Read the literature provided and attempt the tasks
And finally, a couple of more technical tips:
- Link your university email to another existing account/mail reader
- Find out if you have access to a VPN