Last week I wrote about my experience following the first week of studying for the distance learning MBA. One week later and I am pleased to say that I’ve completed the first lesson for each of the three modules that I am studying this semester (which is in line with the guidance provided by Warwick Business School, much to my relief).
This week I have focused on completing lesson one for the remaining two modules, ‘Economics of the Business Environment’ and ‘Organisational Behaviour’. As previously explained, this involves reading textbooks, reviewing online lessons, answering questions individually, and discussing questions with peers. In addition, we were also introduced to a fifth approach to learning this week, live seminars, using the same wbsLive platform as the introductory sessions. The lecturer presented a number of topics, some of which had been discussed in the textbooks/lessons, and others which were completely new. One difference to the introductory session was that the chat window was much quieter for most of the lecture, except at points where questions were asked for, or during some specific discussion points. This was helpful as it allowed me to focus on the main topic being presented, rather than trying to follow side conversations at the same time.
The discussion forums have become more active as the lessons progressed, probably due to an increasing number of students reviewing the lessons and becoming familiar with the forums. They have become more conversational, with responses acknowledging and following on from previous comments or answers, which has been more engaging than everyone just providing answers. The lecturers have also been more involved, either to clarify questions on topics, encourage us to look at scenarios from a different perspective, or widen the scope of the discussion. Another useful addition to the forum posts has been an increasing number of references to relevant articles from the news, both past and present, which has been really helpful in considering the topic from a practical viewpoint, rather than just an academic one.
The engagement of my study group has gained momentum since we had our first proper meeting just over a week ago, with lots more discussion in our smaller study group forums as we all approach the questions from each of the lessons. I have found this really valuable, as it allowed me to share a variety of thoughts about some of the lesson questions, and then discuss and debate these with a small audience where we can have a much more interactive discussion. I also think that some of the other group members have benefited from this forum, as we have related some of the questions posed to challenges and opportunities that they are currently facing in their own organisations.
Finally, at the end of each of the modules, there are a number of questions to be answered, to validate our understanding of the content and consider some of the concepts in a practical scenario. We can then review answers that both the lecturer and other students have shared, and share our own answers in our study groups. Initially I found this quite challenging as (probably like most other students on this course) it has been a long time since I have had to answer an essay question. However, after reading a few sample responses it became much clearer how to effectively answer the question and compose a response; the difficulty now is trying to find an appropriate point to stop the discussion around the question topic, as they all present scenarios that can be analysed in many different ways, with an increasing amount of detail.
So that’s the end of the first lesson for each of the three modules; I will now start lesson two which will probably go into more detail on specific concepts. I hope you have enjoyed reading my blog so far – if there are any particular aspects of the course or study approach that you would like to know more about, please let me know in the comments area below and I will do my best to include these in a future blog post.