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Navigating online learning

Skipper and NorthTec Learner Jennifer navigates online learning as she crosses the Tasman.

When NorthTec business student Jennifer Troup’s three-week trip from Darwin to New Plymouth turned into a two-month journey, she was determined to stay on course with her studies.

Jennifer, 37, who lives in Kerikeri, enrolled in the New Zealand Diploma in Business in May 2020. As a self-employed skipper, Jennifer chose to study online using eCampus NZ so she could learn from any port.

In late October, Jennifer left New Zealand’s shores to work as part of a crew tasked with picking up a boat from Darwin and delivering it to New Plymouth. She knew that she could keep up with her study during the three weeks she would be away as she could access her courses online whenever and wherever she had an internet connection.

While in Australia, the crew encountered unexpected delays that significantly extended their trip, with the journey taking seven weeks longer than initially expected.

“We ended up going from Darwin to Cairns to Sydney to New Plymouth, with stays in each port. The longest we were at sea was for ten days. The longest stay in port was in Sydney, where we stayed for three weeks.” she said.

“We were away for two and a half months in all. We left on the 30th of October and didn’t get back until the 29th of December, followed by another ten days in quarantine on the boat. We were planning on being away for three weeks.” Jennifer said.

Determined not to miss out on the opportunity to study fees-free with NorthTec and eCampus NZ, Jennifer found ways to keep up with her learning while she was away, even when she couldn’t access the internet.

“I took screenshots of course content and downloaded the readings so I could study offline,” she said.

She even managed to complete group work with another Kiwi learner while she was in Australia.

“We managed to work out the time difference and get online at the same time. It was really good,” she said.

Aside from the opportunity to learn fees-free, there were other factors that motivated Jennifer to continue with her studies while she was away.

“I had cancer treatment about two years ago, and one of the side effects was a bit of memory loss,” she said.

“I decided to study because I thought it may help get my brain working again,” she said.

Jennifer chose the New Zealand Diploma in Business (Leadership and Management) because of her interest in pursuing a future career in logistics.

She credits her course facilitators and student advisor for helping her to continue with her studies.

“[Student Advisor] Brenda has been really good – she rings me to check in. My facilitators for each paper have been really good too. It’s hard to explain my situation, but they understood and really helped me out,” she said.

Ali Hughes, eCampus NZ Learner Experience and Success Manager, said “eCampus NZ student advisors work closely with course facilitators to provide pastoral support to all learners throughout the duration of each course. We’re committed to helping learners overcome any barriers that may get in the way of them reaching their study goals, and we’re so pleased we were able to help Jennifer continue on her learning journey with NorthTec while she was away.”

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