Doing the DELTA on-line: is it effective?

 Ever wanted to get going on DELTA but felt you were working in a place too inaccessible to get started? Well, you can not possibly be in a more remote part of the world than the Falkland Islands. This is where Lesley lived when she applied to do our on-line DELTA Module One. 

Nowhere is as remote as the Falkland Islands

Since Cambridge introduced the Modular DELTA more centres are offering on-line options but are these effective? This is Lesley’s story of her on-line DELTA Module One.

Penguins and DELTA Module One

The Falkland Islands are more than 8000 miles from my home in England and from  Istanbul where I had very positive memories of doing my CELTA.  One day an online update about the DELTA Module One just starting at ITI, Istanbul arrived  and  I decided to enquire further.  A pre-course task and an interview later, I was on the course.

Feeling lonely?

A major worry was accessing research material since, in the Falklands, the internet  is frustratingly slow, expensive and unreliable.  As to  reading,   the Islands are great for books if you want to know about penguins or the South Pole but there are no others – indeed there is no bookshop. My solution was to order on-line from the bibliography, aware however,  that post is often very slow and that they might arrive after the assignments for which I needed them.  As it turned out, I was right!

Signing on to the Moodle for the first time, I was awed by how many people were on the course and the different cities or countries from which they were accessing it. This was reassuring, if they could do it, I could too.

It took a bit of time to get used to the way the course worked with input sessions a solitary affair via the internet,  weekly tests to upload, and tasks accomplished by group work via the Moodle.   Every week, brought a new task and different CP’s (course participants) to work with.  Some were proactive, dividing the task so we took on different parts of it and shared afterwards, other CPs were rarely heard from after the initial “Hello”.  I enjoyed my inbox filling up with enquiries, thoughts and additions over the week ready for the Friday morning assignment-upload.  It was helpful to read the research presented by all  the other groups.  This reduced the isolation factor of the Falkland Islands enormously.

After a while I got into the rhythm of the course.  Friday was the day for uploading assignments and downloading session notes, following links and saving any helpful articles .  Sunday was ‘test day’ when I timed and uploaded my test, wondering how important the midnight deadline was and indeed whose midnight – mine was 7  hours behind!  From the start I was impressed by my tutors Sally and Liz and reassured by their quick and positive  feedback.  Though my initial test results were low, I followed their recommendations and slowly things began to improve.

The downside of an online course is lack of human contact.  Sessions are so much more than just the taught material – which is dry in print – no asides, no fillers that help illustrate a point,  indeed, no body language or expression that makes a statement funny or memorable.  In a  taught session  CPs share activities, ask questions and add thoughts. I missed this.

An unexpected problem with my isolation was physically sitting the exam.  I was half the globe away from my exam centre in Istanbul.  Thanks to everyone at ITI who stepped in at this point and organised permission for my papers to be flown to Istanbul then on to the Falkland Islands (via Britain again, of course!).   However, an error in Cambridge at the last moment meant that the papers  were forgotten.  After much to-ing and fro-ing, the exams were faxed to my invigilator  at the Falkland Islands Community School just minutes  before I was due to sit them.  Whilst this added to my anxiety-factor at the time, it shows that anything is possible.

DELTA is hard work but in the long run, the major ingredients required to pass Module One are a lot of determination, a little diligence and a good on-line course like ITI Istanbul’s and these far outweigh the need for books and face to face contact.  If you think you are too far away – then think again!

Do you have experiences of studying on-line? Is it effective? Please send you comments.

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About Tom Godfrey

I am an ELT teacher and teacher trainer. I am Director of ITI, Istanbul a training institute in Istanbul. I am also founder of Speech Bubbles theatre which performs musicals to raise money for children and education.
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3 Responses to Doing the DELTA on-line: is it effective?

  1. Mehmet Deniz Demircioğlu says:

    Dear Tom,

    It is honour for me to participate in DELTA programme. No matter how hard studying it requires, the firm intention of someone has declines the tension of gradually increasing difficulties which derives from the programme itself. Studying online might be seen ineffective or difficult by some course participants if you are not used to using it initially. However, There are a few positive sides which enable participants to work at where they have been working. Online participants can attend the live classes to smell the face to face interactive atmosphere of the course once or twice a month by getting permission from their work places if they are not too far away.
    All in all, we should remember and keep a reality in our mind. Knowledge is the most precious thing in the world. So, we must find it wherever it is in the world. The distance is not an obstacle.

    Kind regards,

    M.D.Demircioglu

  2. Hi,
    I am really interested in doing a masters in Delta. I currently live in istanbul but will be gone for the summer. I will be coming back next year. I want to start it in September but I will be working full time so classes would need to be in the evenings or online. Is that possible? I heard that one module needs to be completed face o face so I was thinking maybe I could do two modules during the school year online and one next summer. Is that feasible? Any advice would be great. My email address is arlenecrilly@gmail.com

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