For me, a university experience should be: rewarding, memorable and life changing. On my arrival to the UK to study for a Masters Degree in Marketing at the University of Salford, I was always thinking if I will be able to adjust and fit in to the new educational system.
I recall my experience that I had during my first MSc program that I studied at Heriot Watt University in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Although Heriot Watt is a British university, the mode of study was adopted to the UAE model of teaching and learning. I realised that the educational system in the UAE and here in the UK will be entirely different.
During my first days here in Manchester, I met with other students at Salford Business School, asking them questions and making enquires about the way things are done over here. I was given different responses from people and I was never satisfied with their replies. There were a number of fellow international students all of whom have different expectations of what study life is like in the UK and at Salford Business School in particular.
Well, I am now in my second module and I can tell you what it is like…
I remembered that I had to attend an induction session that was organised for the new intakes of students. I decided to wait until the first day I meet the staff and the directors of the Business School during this induction.
When that day came, I attended the session and to my greatest surprise I was amazed about the information that I received on that day – we are learning here using something that is called Block Teaching!
Having heard about the way that the learning experience is organised I was totally convinced that Salford Business School is the right place for my postgraduate study. It has a conducive and flexible learning environment, I have interesting modules as well as wonderful tutors who will be guiding me throughout my studies at the Salford Business School.
I was so excited and at the same time proud to be a student at the Business School and I could not wait to begin my studies and learn more about the programme.
Now, what is block teaching – you will be wondering? The challenge that international student faces is that their previous experience of study might be totally different to that offered by Salford Business School’s postgraduate modules. The school is one of the few universities that offers block teaching and learning where you have six weeks intensive programme which focuses on one subject only. These module blocks are assessed by two assignments – one after week 3 and one after week 6.
There are also exceptions for the block teaching such as the Business Innovation Project (BIP) module where you might have one assignment which could either be a single dissertation report, a group project an internship or a placement. Here is an example of MSc Marketing students from last year who did a group project as part of their Business Innovation Project:
This block teaching and learning process is different to the one I experienced in the UAE when I was studying at another British university. My previous experience was that each module was taking over 12 weeks – a whole semester and assignments were handed in at the very end of the module. I also had to study 4 modules at the same time.
Having now done two modules at Salford I realise that my learning style fits more with the block type of module teaching. Here, I have the chance to concentrate on one subject intensively for a period of six weeks. It is easier for me to plan my study activities and work on the two assignments. I also like the idea of having the chance to get half of your module mark and feedback on your work before you submit the second assignment. This gives me the opportunity to see how I am doing and get feedback on my subject knowledge which could help with the second half of the module.
Following my exciting induction session I realise that the expectations set during that day have been confirmed. I still like the block teaching method and enjoy having my coursework assessed every 3 weeks – this gives me a great sense of progress.
What about you? Are you studying on a postgraduate module at Salford Business School and do you like the block teaching model – let me know what you think!