We're all in this together
‘The Extreme East Anglia’ Group consists of members across disciplines including textiles, fine art and photography.
They are an independent student led cohort who meets every other month to visit exhibitions and engage in open discussion and debate.
I caught up with them to ask about the benefits of such a group and the affect it has on the life of a distance learner.
Veronica, a Photography student says; it cannot be underestimated how much one’s self confidence, self-motivation and self-critiquing are tested with a distance learning course. I want it to be a pleasure but to stretch me; I want it to be a challenge but not to deflate me and most of all I want to develop my creative skills.
To ask this of oneself in isolation is demanding. The tutor’s role takes on an inordinate importance but their time is limited and varied. This is why an informal sharing with others endeavouring to tread the same road can be so supporting.
As a group, we are not high users of social media and have found our own answer to learning in isolation. Although only having spent a relatively short time together the benefit of meeting-up has been immeasurable. I love to see the original work of my fellow East Anglian students – textiles, paintings, drawings and photographs. We talk through the creative processes; we feel the textures and express our aspirations. It puts all those solitary “is it really worth it?” moments into perspective. Yes it is!
Louise, a Painting student agrees; It is so beneficial to meet other OCA students regardless of which course they are studying or what stage they are at. I always pick up useful information whenever we meet and am left with lots of food for thought. Mainly though I find the ‘get togethers’ highly motivating and come away fired up with new enthusiasm for my course. I definitely recommend trying to hook into one of these groups.
Textiles student Ruth contends; the isolation issue is the main drawback of distance learning for me, and the lack of opportunity to spend time with fellow students, in a social situation as well as in an academic one. Our group is really helping. It is also useful to hear other people’s experiences working with the OCA and all the different tutor experiences…the practical issues.
It is also excellent to be sharing our experiences and our work with people studying other subjects, other the one I am. The cross over is, not surprisingly, very significant……
Check out the Geographic Groups forum on the student site to get in touch fellow peers in your locality, if there isn’t a group, set one up!