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Victoria [00:00:00] Morning. Good evening, everyone. Wherever you may be in the world. Welcome to our online Open Day event for online prospective students. I'd like to thank you all for your time today, thank you for joining us. And my name is Victoria, Victoria Zuber. I'm a course advisor here at the University of Hull. And my job is to help and advise students who are thinking about studying with us for our online studies. And with me today, we have Hannah, a student advisor for our prospective online students, and welcome Anita, our student currently studying with us. How are you today?  

Anita [00:00:47] Hello, thank you, and thank you for inviting me. Well, I am feeling quite welcomed, to be honest. And I started studying the MA in Creative Writing in May last year. So it's almost a full year already. It didn't feel it at all. I think it's really great that the university provides online possibilities for people in the UK and abroad as well.  

Victoria [00:01:16] And Anita, how is it for you studying online? So when you first joined us, going into canvas, were you nervous to just study online with us? And how did you feel when you went into canvas? Is it an easy tool to navigate, what are your thoughts on using our online platform?  

Anita [00:01:37] Yes. Oh, okay. So I'm not the typical learner, I guess, because I work in online marketing, so that means I know how websites work and so on. But I have tested the free and paid online courses on platforms everybody has tried probably and compared to them Canvas is much more intuitive. And not to mention it is still a university grade tool so it has a lot more than other platforms that you have like Coursera or similar items. I mean, though it is a good experience to test any free courses available. Still, they are not at the university level. So yeah, the tool itself is quite intuitive for me personally, but I've been around the internet too much, so, on top of that I found that there are changes being made sometimes to the interface. Different tutors would have different setups for the boards, for example, and there is always something new to look forward to with the courses I'm currently enrolled in.  

Victoria [00:02:44] Experience have you had with the support when you've needed it? Are we there for you?  

Anita [00:02:51] Yes, definitely. I had several questions and they were quickly answered and there was enough information. They would give me links towards the teams that have the information or additional courses. For example, when I was asking about the essay stuff, like how I mentioned earlier, their are teams that they can, entirely online, help you create an essay and give you guidelines, not really edit it for you or do your job for you know, not at all, but help you and give you guidance towards what's the best way to approach the subject. Also, I've had a dyslexia test with the university. Thankfully it was negative. Yes. So they can even do that for you. And if you have haven't had the chance to get tested for stuff, like a learning difficulty [inaudible], they will probably find a way to help you out as well like they did with me.  

Victoria [00:03:52] Did you choose the University of Hull? 

Anita [00:03:56] Yes. Well, actually, it was quite funny because I ever since I finished my bachelor studies in Italian philology, I was looking for a way to expand more into my creative side and not that much academics and linguistics. Though the problem with choosing MA was do I go to a physical one or do I keep on working full time and continue with an online education? Thankfully, the right opportunity popped out when COVID started and I just asked for information originally, but there was this very pleasant, very positive, pushy lady who just pushed me to starting 

Victoria [00:04:40] I hope it was a good push 

Anita [00:04:42] I am really grateful because it's been a pleasure just this past year has been awesome and I see huge improvements in my writing already. It's just the right time, I guess. Otherwise considering the benefits of the University of Hull, I would say that we have excellent presenters and our tutors are published writers, they're people who understand the business inside out and not only the business but the whole industry, I would say. They understand what it's like to write, what is pleasant in writing, what can become a boredom in writing so they can guide us, they can help us out, they answer additional questions and we actually get a feel of the the whole package, I would say.  

Victoria [00:05:28] Thought about maybe studying on the campus or studying online and work full time? Are you working full time and doing this in your free time and how are you managing that?  


Anita [00:05:41] Yeah, well, actually, I haven't stopped working full time even during my BA, so that's [inaudible] I do work full time in Digital Marketing. I also take freelance translations and I do the MA and I saw the question regarding timeframes and how many hours I spend per week studying. Initially we asked this of our tutor during the first course we had and they said, well, it should be about 20 hours per week, but thats just for studying. I would say if you are signing up for a creative writing course, you would be reading a lot anyway. So instead of reading whatever you stumble upon, you would just read whatever is in the coursework and in the agenda. So this doesn't really rid you of any time for reading, it's just changing the reading schedule. So I would say 20 hours are pretty okay as a general rule. Around assignments of course, you would have more work. You have to be more careful with what you're writing and we have a pretty good community in the creative writing course, so we have the feedback sessions. We recently, of course started a group for discussing curriculum items and like creative works that are mentioned during the course work. And it's been a pleasure, yeah.  

Victoria [00:07:05] Good to hear and the flexibility of our programme. Do you feel that this programme is flexible enough for you? Can you fit your studies easily around your busy lifestyle?  

Anita [00:07:19] Yes, definitely. You have everything online. So the start of the week, you get a release of all the information for the week. You have a lecture, you have tasks which you can write or comment about. And you get a webinar session with your tutor, which you can participate in or you can watch a recording of it. You can have multiple different webinars that are presented by different group leaders and tutors. So you can choose one which is the least obstructive for your schedule if you cant really attend your designated one. And for me, currently, there hasn't been an issue time wise. There are some moments in which I've been delaying work on the MA, but that's mostly because I get busy at work, not that the MAs changing up stuff or anything.  

Victoria [00:08:09] So it's flexible enough that you can work full time, have other commitments and study in your free time. You never have to be online at a set time.  

Anita [00:08:20] Yeah. The only thing that that is live, and you better be there, is the webinar discussion with the tutor, but you can still not attend and view the recording. However, if you have any questions, you would have to wait for a physical reply, like an email or a [inaudible] inbox message instead of doing it face to face during the webinar.  

Victoria [00:08:43] Perfect. You chose a master in creative writing. Was it something that you wanted to do to advance your career? You already sound like a very successful person in what you do with what you've just mentioned. So what was the reason to do this particular programme? Creative writing? 

Anita [00:09:07] Yes. As I said, my previous studies were in a more academic field and my work is very technical. But I do feel that I have creative strides that need to be fed. So I'm going to be feeding them massively. And the creative writing course is helping with the [inaudible]. So we'll be starting with that and hopefully I'll be getting many published books after that.  

[00:09:33] I tried self-publishing, but it didn't work well. Which is why I got to the point where I know I need someone to teach me how to better do that stuff. I read a question regarding communications so you can join a board discussion, so you can create a WhatsApp group like we did in my course. So we share around creative writing contests, competitions, stuff like this, which can also help you become more reputable in the field. Personally, i'm not sure if everyone does it, but I download everything that's available to download for the given week or whatever is available for the course recommended reading stuff like this, and I download them on my phone, Kindle app, whatever.  

[00:10:16] So whenever I don't have the internet and I'm bored, I can just still do some work and expand upon the coursework that I have to work with. Also, the same thing I do is with my course mates works, which I have to feedback on. So I would download them on a local copy and then after that I can work through it whenever I feel like, I don't need to be online all the time, that's one tip I would say. And another one is the writers sure know that we are being pushed towards [inaudible] making, and at the start, everyone is a bit why would I do this if it seems like an unnecessary task work? And actually It's very helpful because you can see the errors you've made in the past and it opens our eyes towards like how much we've worked and what we've achieved. At the same time, you have notes which can help you with a given assignment. If the assignment is for a topic that you need quotes for and you've already encountered a useful quote, which you have in your journal. So yeah.  

Victoria [00:11:23] And how many assignments are there within that module?  

Anita [00:11:33] Well, I think there are four modules or five, i'm not really sure entirely, but it's separated in trimesters. So you get two assignments per module. And the last section of your studies is going to be a lot of solo work. And working on your thesis, which is the largest part of it, it is much larger than anything you've written for the assignments before that. You have like a [inaudible] assignment in the middle of the module and then you have a final assignment, which both of them are different [inaudible]. You have to work on different ideas and I like to start that. You just show what techniques you know, and at the end you already complete a work and you show what you've done throughout the whole module. So basically you have two assignments, one in the middle and one at the end for each one.  

Victoria [00:12:29] Great. Thank you. That's a question that's just popped in regarding that they want to know, what do you personally do with your study schedule and balancing it with your work and social obligations? Do you keep a a schedule calendar of any type where where you kind of have social calendar, study calendar, work calendar? How do you combine that?  

Anita [00:12:56] Okay. What I do is that I'm very bad at keeping any kind of schedules myself. I do work well with deadlines, but I don't schedule. So what I do is at weekend I would go through everything that's popped up on Friday just to take a general scheme to everything, see what seems difficult. And I would go through all the easier tasks during the weekend and I would leave the more difficult tasks and the workshop, the feedbacks, I would leave them for the rest of the week. So I have plenty of time to be perfectly well managed with them. Yes. So there are some items which are more about reading, creative works and learning from them. You have the transcript or the video of the lecture  which the video is a short one. It's usually around 5 to 10 minutes. I personally would go with the transcript because it's easier for me, but you can do whatever. It's great that we have the option. And yeah, generally I would divide it between all the days of the week and make sure I have enough time for everything. It is vital for the course and creative writing to give and receive feedback. So that takes the most of the time, I would say. So that's the one I keep more time for.  

Victoria [00:14:15] And with that feedback, which, which genre are you interested in and has it changed since progressing through this course?  

Anita [00:14:29] Yeah. Well, I personally read and my previous self-published book was written in the same genres that's fantasy and sci fi fiction. However, during the course of studying, I would say that I quite started enjoying the writing from life options. I never really liked reading autobiographies or anything that's life related, but I was presented with a lot of options during the course in the module, so I found several things that I fell in love with. I think that writing from life is definitely not my kind of writing, but I am much more positive about it. I have even ordered several books from that genre and it's a growing admiration on my side, definitely. But it all depends on the tutors, I guess, because if they present it in a nice way and they have that personal approach and they give enough options for the students, it's much easier to to start appreciating the works of others, which you've never considered before. But I'm still working on a sci fi cyberpunk novel.  

Victoria [00:15:43] Oh, very exciting, watch this space. We'll be looking out for that Anita. Have a wonderful morning, evening wherever you are. And hopefully we'll see you as a student studying with us.