Hear from first year IB DP student Bethany on her experience of studying online with Pamoja so far.

Hello! My name is Bethany and I have just completed the first year of HL Psychology here with Pamoja. I was first interested in Psychology a few years ago, when I became fascinated by the mysterious nature of human behaviour. I knew that I wanted to pursue it as a career as I delved further into my research on the subject, but I was devastated that my school didn’t offer the course for the IB DP. When I heard that I could still take the course online I knew that it was the right decision for me.

Learning online would give me the independence I longed for that no classroom could offer. I was excited to start my Pamoja journey because I would be studying the subject I want to pursue in the future, and I would be able to work at my own pace without distractions or having to slow down for my peers. I am able to complete the work when I want to, which helps me become a more focused and diligent student.

Working on an IB DP course online can feel challenging and time-consuming. When I first started with Pamoja, I sometimes found it difficult to manage the copious amount of individual work assigned. An online student can start off feeling alone and discouraged, but don’t worry – we’ve all felt like that at some point. Ultimately, however, you will develop skills to do well with Pamoja and you can use these skills for the rest of your life.

With this in mind, I have compiled a few necessary qualities which an online learner must develop to get the most out of their Pamoja experience:

Be reflective

This is an important skill to master in any online course. A reflective student can look back on their previous work and decide what measures to take in order to improve for the next assignment. Because there isn’t a teacher telling you exactly what you need to do – like in a regular classroom – you need to take all your Pamoja teacher’s advice and apply this to your work so you can improve in the future.

Get organised

This is probably one of the most crucial qualities for any course. If you are well into your Pamoja journey, you will know how quickly work can pile up if you don’t complete it when it is assigned. Procrastination is not your friend when studying online: the later you leave assignments, the more difficult it will be to catch up and continue to get your desired grades on summatives. It is up to you to get your work done, so plan specific times during the week that you will be able to dedicate solely to your online subject in order to stay ahead of your work.

I would suggest taking notes on paper and organising them in a way that makes studying for cumulative tests easier. When you physically write on paper, you are more likely to remember the information than typing on a computer, so make sure your notes are neat and legible for when you have to come back and study them. Keep all your notes in the same place so you don’t lose any of your work.

Remain focused

Dedicating time for your online course is important, but it is also vital to remain focused throughout this time. While you’e working, make sure you take away all distractions such as social media and online games so that you aren’t tempted by them.

In my school, I am assigned 4.5 hours to work on my Pamoja course per week. I often find that if I am focused during my lessons, I finish before the week is over and I actually have time to either get ahead in my course or catch up on other assignments. I have discovered that other than live lessons, after school time is not necessary if you work hard during the time your school has assigned for you to work on your Pamoja course.

Work hard

This may sound redundant, but it always surprises me how many people think they can slack off because of their newfound freedom and lack of teacher physically present. In order to get the best out of your course, you need to take the time to put effort into the assignments you submit as well as discussion forums.

These forums are for you to provide your personal opinion of the topic at hand, not to contribute a random sentence so you fulfil the requirements of the week and appear to have done your work. After all, you work is only helping or hindering you – if you don’t take the time to work hard on assignments, you won’t know how to do well in the final exams.

Be proactive

Now, this skill may take some time and effort to master but it is very important to be proactive in an online environment such as Pamoja. If you have a question, send your teacher an email. Don’t feel that you are annoying them with the number of questions you ask – that’s what teachers are there for! (It took me a long time to realise that my teacher was happy to answer my questions.)

If you aren’t getting the grades you want, ask your teacher how you can do better instead of waiting for the next assessment to come around. Make your own study tools instead of waiting for someone else to do it for you. If you have finished your assignments for the week, see what you can do to get ahead of your course. You need to make sure you help yourself to get what you want out of the course you’re taking.

Hopefully, focusing on developing these skills will help you learn and thrive in the online, individualistic world of Pamoja!


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