My Life, Student Life

Beginning a Postgraduate Degree 2021

Earlier this week, I began to study my postgraduate degree, MA Professional Creative Writing at Coventry University. The world has been so topsy-turvy over the past year and this led to my course being postponed in September. I was aware that the course had moved to have a January start date but I didn’t let myself think that far ahead. I received word that the course would indeed start and began to prepare. I have successfully completed the enrolment and the induction process and I am officially a student in MA in Professional Creative Writing.


Beginning a Postgraduate Degree

Having the prospect of starting the postgraduate degree feels bazaar and very intimidating. A postgraduate degree is going to be up there in there with the most challenging parts of my life and I had known this from when I first applied, but now I have began, the prospect of what I have got to do is staring me in the face. I am excited for the course and hope it will give me the tools and scope to develop my writing. For the first semester, classes will be held online which I prefer to in class studying. I feel as though it will help me get to know my classmates, however I do not know the expectations of the traditional course. As for the coursework, I am scared of the high expectations of our work but I will try to be natural about everything and take it as it comes. I’ve met my course mates, a really nice writing community and I can’t wait to get to know them more as we share ideas and stimulate creativity. So, here is to the new venture.  

Enrolment

With starting an MA in a couple of weeks, I received a number of emails from Coventry University detailing the next steps, including a series of video chats provided due to Covid-19. I constantly was on the watch for these virtual experiences, but then I was surprised to get an email concerning my online enrolment. I found the website used for enrolment to be very pritmitive and difficult to use in my enrolment process. There were a lot of links to different pages, yet it was not very clear what I had to do first and navigate through it as quickly as possible. It started with the confusion of my login details and how I had to proceed with resetting these to use as a student. Once I got logged in, it seemed like the basic and tedious reality of University admin. I also found some of the questions to be a bit intrusive, although I understood why they needed this information. 


The University system had I lot of my details already on file and I confirmed these details. I was unsure where to click and the whole process seemed incoherent. With several tabs open and pacing back and forth between contact details trying to make a note of each one, I felt lost. The website could be simplified a lot more. Most of the questions were tickboxes or a scroll down menu was provided, but this sometimes made it even more confusing with a multitude of options. One of the snags I had was the Student Finance England (SFE) application section. Though there was the possiblity to select that my fees were coming from SFE, the form was not accepting this, so I could not proceed with the rest of the application. The contact numbers that were provided to me also had me on hold for a while, although I appreciate that it is a very busy time. The members of staff operating the contact numbers continually signposted me to various departments that were indifferent to my query. I was finally able to get an answer from the contact email, although the way to solve this systematic error was contrary to my student finance situation. 


Due to the waiting time of the staff replies, my enrolment page had been timed-out and I had to retrieve the login details once again. This also meant starting the whole enrolment process again. I suppose the process was a little more easy this time as I knew what to press. I have now setup my official Coventry login and IT account. I do hope that any more University requirements are more straightforward in the future. 

Re- Enrolment

Originally I applied to join the September intake but due to covid-19 my course was delayed until January. Having completed the enrollment process back in early September and having set everything up to be a student at Coventry University, I presumed that all of the enrollment was taken care of and I wouldn’t need to do anything else. However, I received an email via my Coventry University account stating that I need to to re-enrol. Feeling unenthused due to the lack of time I have left, I clicked on the link and and prepared to re-enrol only to find and half of the form already completed. Thankfully, the enrollment form had the majority of my information from September and I just had to update it accordingly. But then I hit a stumbling block when in the enrollment form said that they could not process any further information and I had to email the university to get this issue resolved. I have emailed the university as instructed but I’ve been unable to receive a correspondent email from them or have been able to complete the enrollment process in its entirety. It took a few days and stress. But I found Coventry University very helpful when I spoke to them, although I was on hold quite a lot trying to get through to speak to them on the phone. I can start the course without too much concern.


Induction Process

Once I enrolled, I had to proceed with an induction process into Coventry University. This included tedious and repetitive information to fill in and completing sections one at a time. At first the induction email I received had a link that directed me to a particular page, which looked like the induction page. I proceeded to complete the induction slowly. I had reached a certain point in the induction and then decided to finish it the next day.


The following morning, I checked my Coventry University emails that I’d set up the day before to find that we had been directed to the old induction pages. Before this occured, I already had trouble logging into the platform the induction process was on. The fact that I now I had to restart everything on a separate website was frustrating, long-winded and disappointing. My email address from Coventry email did not work upon signing into the new webpage for the induction.

I later found out that the forums had a new message which said to not use ‘uni’ in my email login, only ‘coventry.ac.uk.’ This was not speculated before I begun the induction process. Once on the website, the induction process was clearer than the last website and though tedious, it seemed like a much quicker process. There was a lot of downloading apps, bookmarking certain websites and informational videos, however, taking in all this information would be easier once on campus. 


The induction process is one I have not missed completing, as I have always found them montonous from back when I started De Montfort University, but I’m glad it is completed and I can move on to the next step.


Faculty of Arts and Humanities Forum  

Since enrolling online at Coventry University, I have used the online forum for the faculty of Art and Humanities. I found the forum easy to use and post onto. However, it was quite difficult for me to find any useful information because there are so many people and posts on the forum. My course, Professional Creative Writing, is just one subject that comes under the faculty of Art and Humanities and this forum contains every person from every course under the same faculty. 


I wanted to post onto the forum to find other people on my course and happened to find two people while scrolling down through the posts. I have since contacted these students on my course, which is a good thing, but I wish it was easier to navigate and find people. 


Aula has recently been updated and is now tailored to Professional Creative Writing. As both of these forums are accessible, there are more resources to support students. Before there were queries and information for everyone in the faculty and with the update it is more personal for my course. All the information about modules, assignments, reading lists, timetables and this semester’s modules is included in the new section.

Now everything seems more organised and real to me now. Due to the delay of starting my course and having to re-enrol on the January intake, there were a few hiccups regarding the forum updating itself to hold my new course details. I had to speak to Coventry University a lot to rectify this before I was due to start. A lot of the course material exists online due to covid-19 and I just wanted to make sure that I hadn’t missed anything. The University was very helpful and I’m looking forward to using the forum space. 


Student ID Card

Once I finished enrolment for Coventry University, there was a lot of uncertainity as I did not receive any confirmation emails that I had finished the entire process. Standard automated emails came through, but no indication that I needed to apply for a student ID. Weeks had passed and I received no word of of an ID application. 


I had heard from other students at CU that they had links come through on their email to a website for the ID. This concerned me, so I rung Coventry up to get some clarity. After some discussions, I was shortly emailed that the system had glitched and they were fixing it immediately. 


Two weeks of waiting insinuated and finally I received a link to start my ID application. The process was more straightfoward than I thought. All that was required was a suitable photo, an identification document (passport) and confirmation of a delivery address. My ID is now on the way! 

University Goes Virtual 

Due to Covid-19 and new regulations, all of the classes would be online via zoom meetings. This new way of learning would restrict us in some sense but give us freedom elsewhere. Earlier this week, I had the first zoom call and a number of us did struggle to connect. But once we did access the zoom call, it went smoothly, considering we were all self-isolating from different locations. There was eleven of us in total and it was quite easy to communicate with each other. I enjoyed the introduction session online and the group sessions that were organised afterwards. 

The classes will remain online for the foreseeable future and I will miss the campus aspect, including face-to-face lectures. For now, I am looking forward to the online classes. 

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