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Sarah Na Li Sarah Na Li is Assistant English Panel Head at a university-affiliated primary and secondary school in Hong Kong, China*. She is currently studying online for a Doctor of Education – Higher Education (EdD) from the University of Liverpool.

“I enjoy the asynchronous learning environment as it allows me to work and study at the same time.“
* Sarah’s school is the Hong Kong Baptist University Affiliated School Wong Kam Fai Secondary and Primary School.

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

The reputation of the university as one of the top researching universities in the UK and its support for online study attracted me.

You could have chosen to study for a PhD. Why does a professional doctorate suit you better?

Studying for a professional doctorate fits with my professional and academic interests. As a constructivist learner, I enjoy putting what I learn into practice. I’m a lifelong learner, motivated by the desire to make a difference in my workplace.

How relevant is the EdD programme to your current work?

I have a better and more in-depth knowledge about learners and the organisational context in which learning takes place. I have a greater understanding of the ideas and policies being put forth in my organisation and a greater ability to suggest evaluations and measures to maintain or improve the status quo. The content matter is highly relevant to my current role in my workplace. I am already finding that people are starting to pay more attention to me and are taking my opinions more seriously.

What is your experience of the EdD programme so far?

I am thoroughly enjoying the collaborative learning environment in the virtual classroom. Interactions with my fellow students are thought-provoking and engaging. Our tutors are all professional facilitators who are doing an excellent job in guiding us through this doctoral journey.

I enjoy the asynchronous learning environment as it allows me to work and study at the same time. However, it has been challenging to balance my study with my full time job. What helps is the friendly and encouraging learning atmosphere in the classroom.

How do you fit online study into your life? How does it work in practice?

I stay connected. With my laptop, mobile and iPad all connected to the internet, I can study wherever and whenever I want. Usually I'll do my reading when I am commuting to and from work. I then either make mental notes or jot down notes on my iPad throughout the day. Later I just type up my Discussion Question (DQ) contribution or responses to other students’ posts. Strong family support is essential. Occasionally, I have family members looking after my son while I write the DQ essay or responses.

How have you experienced the Doctoral Development Project (DDP), promoting personal reflection?

I find the DDP very helpful in that it's personal and private. The one-on-one session is conducted in a friendly and relaxed manner. I feel that I can voice any emotions and ask for support without having to feel inferior. The support received is always encouraging and reassuring. I find myself reflecting a lot more than I used to and seeing my tutors as role models.

What are your hopes and expectations upon graduating?

I hope to move up the administrative ladder in my work organisation upon graduation. I expect that people will take my opinion more seriously – as mentioned, this is already starting to happen – and that the EdD will be a valuable qualification for future endeavours.

I would recommend the University of Liverpool...

... because of its research reputation and its thorough support for online students.

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