The following tips were devised by work-based distance learning students, and are designed to assist you in your studies.
1. Have a proper sit down discussion/meeting with your Line Manager
Inform them of what you are doing and ask for a dedicated day (at least) or two afternoons when you will be doing only your University work and nothing else. It is extremely important to allow yourself ‘quality time’ to concentrate. Make it clear to them, that at these times, you may not be in work. You may be in the Library, at home for peace and quiet, or out on the ground. Ask them to agree to this.
2. Before you begin, set your file structure up correctly.
This may not sound important but you will find that you obtain lots of information in quick succession and it is useful to have the ability to separate it all into the appropriate files.
3. Speak to friends and family.
At times it will be stressful and you may have mood swings or wish for peace and quiet. By speaking to your family and friends, they can then appreciate what you are doing. Ask family members not to disturb you while you study. It can be essential in allowing you to fully concentrate.
4. Claim your space.
Decide where you are going to study at home and clear that area of everything else. A dining room or a study are good examples of where you could work. Claim that space as your own and make sure everyone is aware.
5. Buy a separate University work bag/rucksack/flight case/briefcase.
By separating this work from your day to day work, you will not lose anything.
6. As soon as you receive your assignment – order your books.
Check which are available online and which are not. Order the ones that are not, straight away.
7. Join the SCONUL access scheme.
This allows you access to the University Library that is nearest to you (providing they are a member of the scheme.
8. Fill in your references correctly as and when you place them in your work.
The best way is to construct your reference list as and when you are quoting.
9. Keep your links until the very end.
Keep your links until the very end to ensure you can find them again, and to use unexpected items at a later time.
10. Work logically and methodically.
Set up your sections of texts/chapters etc first. This allows you to drop things into the relevant areas as you work on your research.
11. Get as many people as you can to check your work prior to submission
It’s free and can make a difference.
12. Check, check and check it again
You miss more than you think when you’re so close to it.
13. Have Box Files for completed work and research
Don’t throw anything out. You might be surprised at how many times you want to refer back to something.
14. Speak to others on the course
As long as your work is your own, there is nothing wrong with you discussing things with other members of the course and this can in fact be very helpful.
15. Use your Tutors, that’s what they are there for
Don’t struggle on trying to survive without help. Ask your tutors and they will assist.
16. Start communicating with local companies now.
Not all of your assignments will be based on your organisation. Start speaking with local companies now about them assisting you.
17. Save, Save and Save again.
Save your work regularly and even periodically e-mail your work to yourself.