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Student Spotlight: Marlon Shares His Strategies For Learning Postgrad Online

Student Spotlight: Marlon Shares His Strategies For Learning Postgrad Online

Do you want to study postgrad with UCT, but worried you don't have the necessary academic qualifications?

Marlon is one of the ambitious students on the UCT online Postgraduate Diploma in Management in Marketing programme who didn't have the qualifications, but was able to gain entrance through the RPL* Evaluation. Learn all about his experiences below.    

*What's RPL?
The Recognition of Prior Learning Evaluation is designed to assess those applicants who do not have an undergraduate degree or equivalent, but whose work experience within their given industry is substantial. Applicants in these situations must 'demonstrate' that their academic ability is equivalent to those who have attended a tertiary education. 

What are you enjoying most about the online learning experience? 
As a working professional and a dad of a 2 year old, the benefits are that I can do my studying at a time that suits me. The Virtual Learning Environment is absolutely amazing. You really get to immerse yourself in the course material, with live tutorials, group projects, group discussions, assignments, readings, class tests, practice quizzes, presentations, slide shows, videos, notes, wikis etc. The quality of training is unbelievably good, and the lecturers are highly qualified and have a passion for the subjects they teach.

Do you find the live tutorials beneficial?
Live tutorials give that contact with your lecturers, where you not only get to learn the course material but also get to address any issues/problems you might have experienced, as well as highlight what might be important to consider for the class tests, exam tips, etc.

How has the group work impacted your studies?
The group work dynamic adds an interesting flavour to the mix. You truly get exposed to cultural diversity and bond with people you’ve never met before. I love the sense of common purpose when we truly get to work together as a team.

I must admit that I didn’t get the reason for group discussions when I first started off, but during exam preparation, I found the group discussions adds a lot of value since it allows you to examine the course work from different points of view, and you also get that additional feedback relating to the course work from peers and the tutors.

What are your thoughts on the workload of this programme?
The difficulty level of the Postgraduate Diploma is exactly what you would expect it to be: Postgraduate. The amount of work you need to get through with this Postgraduate Diploma is phenomenal. Nothing can prepare you for that. The quality of the readings, the research and statistics are awesome, the case studies are applicable to the material, and it drives the theory and principles home. I also got to understand that nothing in this course is average.

What strategies do you recommend to stay on top of the workload?

Set up a roster (non-negotiable).

Find a system that works for you, then stick to it. No matter how you feel on the day, stick to your system and push on. This truly helps for those times you feel like giving up. Just sit back for a moment, take a deep breath, and just start going at it again. So FIND A SYSTEM THAT WORKS FOR YOU. I realised I’m capable of much more than I thought and learnt to trust that.

Make effective use of time a way of life.

As soon as a module is released, I convert the video lectures to mp3 in order to listen to it in my car on the way to work and back. I also make screenshots of important parts of the video lectures whilst I’m watching them, and then combine them into study notes.

Be a team player. 

This programme has been designed with a significant team work component.

Do you enjoy the support you get from your Head Tutor and Course Coach ?
The quality of tutoring is absolutely outstanding. The tutors have a passion that comes through in the preparation of their materials and also shows in their answers to group discussions and assignments. They take time to give quality individual feedback on everything.

Can you share your experience of applying for the programme through the Recognition of Prior Learning Evaluation?
As an RPL entrant to the programme I found (particularly during the first weeks of the first semester) that I needed exposure to “Higher Order Thinking”, as I frequently found with my assignments that I stopped just short of what was actually required.

So, after re-adjusting, I found that having an RPL background actually provided me with something solid I could contribute to this programme, and by adding practical experience, I started getting a lot more value from the actual programme. I can honestly say that I'm finding the course material both eye opening, practical and relevant to my working environment. In addition to this, the principles learnt in this course can easily be applied directly not only to the workplace but also to my own personal brand.

Tell us about your experience of the contact week at the University of Cape Town.
The on-campus experience is fantastic. The atmosphere was amazing. I absolutely loved the welcome we were given. I was a bit tired at the end, but there's something special about being able to study at UCT, it’s a heart thing. I tried my best to hold on to and enjoy every moment for as long as possible whilst on contact week, and next year I want to make a point of it to take my wife and daughter to walk around on campus and experience that atmosphere as well.

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