Home' Teacher : September 2010 Contents 14 TEACHER SEPTEMBER 2010
If you're offered a place or an exemption,
it's always advisable to obtain confirma-
tion of that in writing, for example, by
Research, research and coursework,
As part of your decision-making process,
you should also determine the level of the
course. For example, does a graduate cer-
tificate suit you r needs, or are they better
met by a master's level or doctoral course?
Bear in mind that for some courses, cred-
its may be granted on the basis of previous
studies and teaching experience.
You also need to consider the type
of course: pure research, research and
coursework, or coursework. If you choose
coursework, obviously you'll have to submit
assignments by their due date and, generally
speaking, universities grant extensions only
for sudden and unforeseen contingencies,
such as family illness.
The discipline this establishes can be
a blessing, though, because it makes you
complete and submit work, and there is the
danger that some of us wouldn't complete
postgraduate study if we allowed other
commitments to let us defer studies.
Face-to-face or online?
Many universities also offer online courses.
An online course may be a good option if
access is an issue, but one of the things I
was looking for in my studies was the face-
to-face contact with lecturers and other
You also need to consider the fees. For-
tunately, many postgraduate education
courses offer Commonwealth supported
places, whichmeans that thefees are afrac-
tion of the full cost. Furthermore, if you pay
your fees up front, usually due each semes-
ter, there's a further reduction.
Many schools also offer some form of fee
assistance or reimbursements for courses.
Check with your employer and see what
financial assistance is offered.
You should also carefully consider the time
commitment. If you're pursuing the research
option, ensure that you have a dedicated
time slot in which to do the research and
write the thesis -- to avoid the trap of per-
Coursework requires regular read-
ing and the completion of assignments. I
became increasingly adept at finding the
time to do the reading; for example, trips
on public transport became more than just
travelling from point A to point B. Another
difference from when I was an undergradu-
ate is that many resources are now online,
thus obviating the need for trips to librar-
As with financial assistance, some
employers are prepared to offer time release.
Even if this is not an option, it's critical that
you talk with you r employer about your
studies. There will be times when study
commitments may clash with school com-
mitments, and you'll need to negotiate a
solution to balance both commitments.
Lots of careful planning and time man-
agement paid dividends in my case. I started
assignments as soon as I could and did little
bits of work on them frequently, because
assignments tended to be due at times of
the year when schools are particularly busy
with reports, exams and the like.
Make sure that you also have the support
of family members: after all, they'll be doing
this course with you.
When you're completing postgraduate study
you'll face considerable demands, but the
experience is vastly rewarding.
I began incorporating what I learned
into my teaching from the first lecture and
some postgraduate subjects, including one
on assessment, have had a significant impact
upon my praxis.
Michael E Daniel is a teacher at
Camberwell Gramm ar School, Mel-
bour ne, and a regular reviewer for
When you're completing
you'll face considerable
demands, but the
experience is vastly
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