What is it like moving to an online MSc?

26 June 2020

From enlisting military-style working routines to accessing e-books and engaging with chatbots, our MSc ambassadors share their online experience.

Michael Zelenka, MSc Finance & Economics

Like many students, I struggled with the initial transition from studying at WBS to studying at home. It was particularly challenging to find the right balance and motivation with so much uncertainty about what lay ahead.

I decided to put myself under a strict time-management routine to help beat procrastination, as well as scheduling in some time to just relax and chill out. I enlisted myself on a new military-style daily routine, dividing my day into so-called blocks. My first block began at 7am, ending around noon with a break for lunch. I use this block for the most intense studying as I felt fresh-minded and well-rested. Why so early? It’s the best time to avoid the distraction of social media as many of my friends are still asleep!

My second block, following lunch, is a couple of hours of scrolling Instagram and FaceTiming my friends and family. Finally, my third block usually starts around 2-3pm. This time is dedicated to less intense course work such as essay writing and going over lecture slides. This final block finishes around 7pm when I usually do some sport activity, typically running or inline skating. I usually then have my dinner, followed by watching Netflix and going to bed. Next morning, at 7am sharp, I start my new routine all over again!

Image of Deekshitha ReddyDeekshitha Reddy, MSc International Business

I was a little sceptical to hear that classes would be conducted online for the term, especially since we had a great deal of group work scheduled. My peers and I were curiously looking forward to experiencing this new approach to studying, wondering how it would work.

I was not surprised to find that WBS did an amazing job, from coordinating with the students to providing support and executing the online lectures. I had a unique and wonderful experience despite minor setbacks, such as internet connectivity and scuffles that every group goes through while working together. Though it was hard to emphasise certain ideas to my peers, all was resolved towards the end. With communication as the essence of group work, we made use of platforms like my.wbs and Google docs. These platforms enabled us to work well as a team so that we could successfully communicate, share our viewpoints and make decisions using polls during ambiguous situations.

Overall, I would say that working in groups online has been a valuable experience, preparing me for future workplace meetings that may be held online.  

Hadeel Mohamed Al Mazroo'ey, MSc Business & Finance

When I found out that all teaching, learning and assessments were to continue online I had mixed feelings; I was both relieved and worried as I had never experienced studying entirely online. However, all the queries I had were answered in the weekly newsletters, the University’s guidance on COVID-19, and the online portal, my.wbs. The University emphasised staying healthy and safe, and several decisions were made to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on the progression of our studies, including a two-week extension on all assessments.

Luckily much of the library’s enormous resource was already online, so this did not affect my research process in any way. In fact, our resource base has widened; the library has supplied additional scholarly e-books, journals, and articles, as well as providing access to an academic publisher, Sage Research methods.

In addition, the library staff provide regular support with referencing, citation methods and academic writing for dissertations and assignments. Of course, I miss the lively activities on campus, as well as studying with my colleagues at WBS, yet the live online classes with chatbot, video and microphone options have added fun to our learning. The online classroom tools enable convenient group discussions and easy sharing of files and ideas.

My greatest concern was taking an online exam. However, I was instantly reassured when the programme team ensured that all students had installed the required applications and had trialled a practice exam in advance.

So far, my experience of online learning at WBS has been beyond my expectations, and the skills we have developed will be useful in any future digital workplace.

Image of Jayesh SarafJayesh Saraf, MSc Business with Operations Management

As part of the WBS community, our access to all sorts of resources is plentiful. While the current pandemic has restricted in-person access to the library, online resources have compensated, with many texts available as e-books. Constant updates from the library staff have been immensely helpful; access to certain module-specific books has been granted and an open forum has been established where requests for books can be sent so that the library staff can procure those that we need. This has been advantageous in preparing for exams and completing assignments with ease.

As a platform, my.wbs is simple to navigate and is user-friendly. Module information is clearly highlighted as soon as you log in, and any updates are classified since your last visit to prevent you from missing any important information.

It’s straightforward to navigate to module resources from each module page, and the lecture recordings help with revision, as well as allowing you to catch up on any lectures missed.

Since WBS gives weight to group work, my.wbs enables students to schedule and attend group meetings. Even the online classes take place on the my.wbs site, offering a seamless experience. My previous module required the completion of several tasks after each topic, which made me feel highly involved with the subject. Notably, the comments section has been the most useful, facilitating communication with the rest of the cohort.

Overall, online resources have been well integrated and explained, helping to bridge the gap.

Find out more about our portfolio of MSc courses here.