Stuart is a part-time student on our MSc Teacher Education programme. He works as a full-time teacher alongside his studies, as well as undertaking a wide range of other professional commitments. Before coming to the department he also completed his BSc at St Andrews University and his MBA at the University of Leicester.

What degree did you apply for and why was it important to you to study this?

MSc Teacher Education.  I have spent a lot of time through my career so far supporting the teachers of physics and science and this course was an opportunity to study this area more rigorously in order to help improve my understanding and practice.

What strategies do you use to balance your studies with your other commitments?

Good time management, prioritisation of important activities and doing things as quickly and effectively as possible.

How does the programme support and engaged you as a distance learning student?

The structure of the course and support materials provided by the department have been very good and helped provide a good framework to guide my study and research.

What advantages are there to being a distance learning student and what opportunities are there for you to interact with other students on the course?

Distance learning courses give some flexibility to fit study in around other things in your life.  The interaction with other students is a bit limited but the residential weeks and the use of Skype have provided some contact.

What do you most value about the teaching at the department?

It is good to have access to the resources and expertise in the department, staff, library and online.

Why do you think it’s important to study education?

Education is a complex process and abounds with ‘folk theories’, misconceptions and myths.  To improve education at all levels it is important to take a research- and evidence-informed approach and therefore study is absolutely central to this.

What do plan to do once you’ve completed your degree? 

On completing the MSc I would like to continue study on to a PhD.  There are many meaningful ways in which I could build on the research I have conducted as part of the MSc.  This is likely to be part-time alongside many of my existing professional activities and a means to pay the bills.

What has your degree taught you most?

My answer to this question is quite subtle.  Studying for the MSc has allowed me to investigate many of the issues in which I was already interested more deeply and consolidate my knowledge and allow me to back up my position from a much more solid evidence- and research-informed position.

How do you get involved in other research activities within the department and what are they?

I am hoping to continue research and publication collaboration with a few of the staff and students I have met on the course.

What’s been your favourite thing about the course to date?

The structure, direction and motivation it provided which allowed me to research a topic that interested me.

What further opportunities have you gained so far through your degree?

Opportunities to submit for publication in relatively high status journals.