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Josie Rowe-Setz lives and works in South Africa where she is Managing Director of a consultancy company. Originally from Ireland, Josie is studying an online psychology MSc with the University of Liverpool.

“I want to learn, teach and research once I retire formally. I want to choose one area where I can reduce suffering for women and children. The programme is helping me to make that vision a reality.”

What attracted you to studying online with the University of Liverpool?

The ability to work from wherever I am on the planet, I travel extensively and could not commit to the classical model of attending lectures physically.

At what stage are you in the programme and what have been the highlights and challenges so far?

I am in my second last module and hope to begin my dissertation later this year. Highlights have been the standard of work, educators and course design. I have found it rigorous and challenging and extremely interesting and a brilliant way of studying and working. The challenges have been internet connectivity in some of the more remote areas of the world.

What are you enjoying most about studying online with the University of Liverpool?

The quality of material, it has removed the stereotype I had in my mind about the quality of online learning. This is right up there, if not even more rigorous, than any physical presence learning at a good university.

How are you finding learning in an international environment?

I thoroughly enjoy the different perspectives and world views that come through into the work. On my course we have people from China, Canada, Trinidad and Tobago, the Middle East, Ireland and Africa. I think every single one of us brings real value to the discussions, and I find the diversity of the instructors also very intriguing.

How do you fit online study into your life?

There is no such thing as a typical day for me. I could be in the bush today, and in Beijing tomorrow, so I have to plan well, especially if I am going somewhere with no/poor connectivity. I often take a day to research and download relevant papers. Then another half day to read them all and categorise them. Finally, I write the first Discussion Question (DQ) answer.

I then usually get up at five to read my colleagues postings or cut and paste them into a Word document and then read them on planes. I respond daily if I can, usually after my working day is done and I have time to think about what they have said. Finally, I begin writing the assignment the same day I hand in the DQ and download everything so I am never left with nothing to do because I can’t get connected.

What are your top tips for others?

Plan and organise. Read as much as possible when you have even 30 minutes to spare, and don’t leave anything to the last moment. Check colleagues’ references carefully as they often have brilliant sources that you may not have found yourself. Use the library extensively and learn how to do good advanced searches. And work hard at being parsimonious in writing. That's my biggest challenge!

How is the programme helping you in your life and career?

I am not doing this programme to advance my career and I am already at the head of my company. I am 57, and I want to learn, teach and research once I retire formally from my advisory work in the last third of my life. I want to choose one area where I can reduce suffering for women and children and do work that will help towards that goal. This is my vision and the programme is helping me to make that vision a reality. I could not do it without this programme.

I would recommend the University Liverpool because...

The quality of the degree is superb, the online experience is thoroughly professional and the quality of technology makes it easy to use, while the flexibility is frankly unparalleled.

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