Case study

How Joy found a flexible way to follow her dream

Having two young children and a business to run wasn’t enough to put Joy Rickard off her dream of pursuing a career as an educational psychologist. She just needed to find a way to fit it all into her busy life.

The only option

Joy knew a university course was the way to achieve her goal but she became increasingly frustrated at the lack of scope for flexible study at universities near her home. She soon realised that online study was the only feasible option if she was to fit it in around school hours, terms times and a host of other commitments.

She says: “There was no way I would have been able to give up my current commitments and attend university full time so I had to find an option that would adapt to my current lifestyle. I realised that online study was the only option that would provide the flexibility that I needed.”

That’s when she discovered our online Psychology University Certificate. The way our course was structured appealed to her.

“I like the modular approach,” she says, “as it gives more of that all-important flexibility! It means I can adjust my study as I go to fit around other commitments.

"The best thing about studying online is the flexibility, being able to find exactly the right course for me and being able to work at my own pace. One term, I found myself with more spare time so could fit in two modules, then the following term I was very busy so just took one module.”

Joy Rickard working at her laptop
Joy Rickard

Managing time

While the flexibility of online study was key for Joy, she made sure she planned out her studies to get the most out of her time.

She explains: “I’m self-employed so time management is always a bit of a challenge. I’ve found it best to try and timetable my week – dividing it between my regular commitments, work and study. As long as I complete the course work for each week it’s never a problem and I find I can fit everything in."

High-quality resources

Students who opt to study through the University of Derby Online Learning have access to high-quality resources and learning materials, just as they would do if they were studying on campus. And students get to chat with each other – and their tutors – within an online forum.

Joy says: “I really enjoy studying online and think the resources provided are excellent. I can access learning material as and when it’s convenient for me and the forum is used effectively as an interactive space in which discussions and ideas can develop.

“I’ve also been impressed with the scope of the digital library, both for books and journals, and this is something that I think makes a big difference to the success of the course.”

Experienced tutors

Joy appreciated the support and guidance she received from our highly experienced tutors. She says: “I’ve had a mixture of tutors, some who regularly check forum threads and ask questions to extend discussions and others whose approach is to let me get on with my work with little input from them unless I ask, so I’m always challenged, which is good.

“Online study through the University of Derby Online Learning has provided me with a good route to achieving my goals and I also think that it’s good value for money – the perfect combination.”