Experiences of an Online Doctoral Course in Teacher Education

Experiences of an Online Doctoral Course in Teacher Education

Despina Varnava-Marouchou (European University Cyprus, Cyprus) and Mark A. Minott (University College of the Cayman Islands, Cayman Islands)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4486-1.ch002


This chapter outlines the benefits and challenges experienced by two students who had completed an online doctoral programme at a popular United Kingdom university. Benefits include accessing courses from anywhere in the world, engaging in synchronous and asynchronous communication, and the development of creative thinking and reflective skills. The most important benefit was the fact that the online programme allowed the students to fulfill the dream of achieving a doctoral degree in teacher education while maintain family and work commitments. Some challenges of online learning include feelings of isolation, balancing family commitment with study, managing time, and coping with additional workload brought on by course requirements. The conclusion was made that the online environment is an excellent way of placing students at the centre of the learning experience, allowing them to have total control of their time and the process of learning. This, however, required an alteration in their thinking and a willingness to change certain attitudes about learning.
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Why We Choose That Particular University And Programme

There are four reasons why we choose a United Kingdom University and a doctoral degree programme in teacher education. Firstly, seeming inefficiencies displayed by some international universities to which Despina had applied. For example, not getting a prompt reply to emails, not being given clear ideas regarding the content of the courses they offered and a general sense of disorganization in the type of promotional material sent to perspective students. Also, having completed master’s degrees from United Kingdom universities we came to trust the system of higher education there, and were confident of the fact that a UK degree was recognised and accepted in most parts of the world.

Secondly, our university of choice offered overseas students what seemed to be very reasonable fee structures, when compared with other international universities offering similar programmes. The average fee for a doctoral programme in a USA University was approximately $20,000 per annum when converted was approximately £12,000 per annum, while the average fee for a UK doctoral degree was £2,000-£3,000 per annum. What was of particular interest was the ‘new deal’ for overseas students offered by our chosen university. This allowed students’ annual fee to remain the same throughout the duration of their studies. This meant that the fee was not subject to inflation. This was of particular interest to Mark, who at the time was a non-European resident and therefore paid a much higher fee. He paid £3,650 per annum while a local UK or European student paid approximately £1,200 per annum.

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