Katungu Mukelabai, Doctor of Communications
My Experience at AIU – Katungu Mukelabai
I have been following a doctorate programme in communications at the Atlantic International University (AIU) since January 2010.
When I commenced my studies at AIU, I had an uneasy feeling of loss of direction and control, particularly during the first two phases of study.The mode of academic support at AIU which provides basic facilitated guidance and emphasises independent study, coupled with the absence of dedicated instructors and lecturers, initially appeared unsettling. At a personal level, I had, for instance, challenges in procuring or accessing books for the essay assignments, although eventually AIU provided videoconferences which facilitated my completion of the assignments. Furthermore, challenges that tended to slow down progress with my studies emanated from the fact that I live and work in an environment where my current job is predominantly field-based, where internet services are not that reliable, and where there were no other students followinga similar programme to share ideas with. Yet, although my interaction with AIU posed unique challenges, I largely enjoyed my studies at the institution of learning.
First, I found the design of coursework at AIU quite empowering. The introductory courses not only eased my interaction with AIU but also helped set the pace for a unique experience in guided independent learning. The requirement for students to design their own curriculum based on their previous training, work experience and areas of interest proved to be liberating, as this provided a framework for one to chart one’s own study road map, an experience which I feel empowers me to use a similar framework to support students who wish to pursue this mode of study.
Secondly, AIU faculty also provided timely advice on matters related to my studies, enabling me to catch up with and stay on course regarding progress of my studies. The absence of dedicated instructors and lecturers was complemented by regular advice from faculty which fostered in me the quest to study widely, review issues and other people’s works critically, and think originally and independently.
Thirdly the mode of study at AIU, which does not rely on lecturers or instructors, calls for hard work and independent study on the part of the student. Furthermore, the mode of learning encourages action research, motivating students to reflect on previous training and work experience, allowing students to link previous training and experience with current job functions and new inquiry.
The mode of learning at AIU is attractive and motivating largely because it encourages independency in study and fosters applied research, enabling the student to contribute, according to their experience and interest, to the practice in the field of study. I would recommend AIU to any prospective student who wishes to exercise their creativity in contributing to their preferred field of inquiry.
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