My First Masters Module "Normal Childbirth"

September 2022 started my journey to my masters degree. I chose to complete this as a part time student, with the expectation of completing 6-10 hours a week, and distance learning, meaning that the majority of the course is completed online and can be done flexibly. Unlike a lot of people, I loved the teaching method delivered during the first lockdown in the Covid-19 pandemic. I enjoyed being able to work around daily life and being able to spend time outside mid-day and study at night worked perfectly for me. 

Before I started, I was very impressed by the level of organisation from Anglia Ruskin University. Whether it was that it really was on point, or simply the fact that I compared it to the dreadful experience at the University of Nottingham. Regardless, I received rapid responses to questions and emails, regular updates in advance and easy to follow instructions to complete registration and open different accounts. It was great and honestly, pretty flawless. 

The week before the module officially started, the module was released on the portal used, Canvas. It was really nice to see everything and whilst it was a little difficult to navigate initially, it had a lot of information available and I loved that it was available in advance. 

The first week was a simple introduction, not only to the module but to the course and there were multiple tours of the different systems. I was really impressed because having become accustomed to slow systems, unknowledgeable facilitators and a whole range of technological incompetence, the whole morning went without a hitch. 

Teaching methods were really varied which enables a variety of different media’s and types of learning. Each week is a different topic with reading, lots of articles and research, videos, podcasts, images and more. It’s so varied and whilst I personally tended to complete everything available and recommended, it did repeat somewhat so you could pick and choose the method of preference. On top of that, there was an alongside live study discussion and presentation. Often this was with guest speakers, but all were recorded which allows the sessions to be watched back, but also completed flexibly, at times that worked around my own schedule. I only managed to attend 3 sessions live due to work conflicts, and whilst I think it would have been nice to have been apart of the discussions, I don’t feel I missed on the content as such. 

The actual module was really interesting. I thought “Normal Childbirth” would be quite mundane and whilst it was the overall theme, unlike the biological focus of my undergraduate studies, it was more on the clinical elements and discussions regarding how to implement practice changes to improve the care received by women and their families. Topics included things like birth environment, birth partners and eating/drinking in labour. The weekly discussion boards were interesting to read about the variety of practices between trusts and the changes implemented, as well as personal opinions and how individuals have changed practice themselves. 

Overall, I’ve really enjoyed the teaching methods and the passion from the lecturers and guests. I have found it hard at times to stay motivated because of personal reasons, alongside it being very individually led, but I have found have the discussion boards has forced me to complete the work in a timely manner though, because I want to be able to interact with others too. Next week I’ll talk more about the assessment, but I am genuinely excited for the next module.