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  • Writer's pictureJo Sutherst

Final Major Project: Research – Distance Learning Experience Questionnaire – Answers

To further my understanding of the challenges of distance learning and the impact on our online identities, I created a survey. The answers are given below.

The link was placed in the Canvas application for Falmouth University so that students from all flexible courses could access it. It was also placed in the WhatsApp and Facebook groups.

There were just 21 respondents across all Falmouth Flexible subjects. There are some comments in the responses that will inform future work.  Due to the low number of responses, I am not going to use this in my final project work at this stage.


Do you always show your true personality on the course? Please explain.

  1. I think so.

  2. I think personality when online is different to personality when face-to-face, like a telephone manor I suppose. It can be harder to express myself with the course being online as opposed to face-to-face.

  3. I am beyond the age of silliness.

  4. Yes pretty much, though I sometimes don’t get as involved in discussions as I might face-to-face because words written down have a finality that I find intimidating, and I spend too long perfecting what I would like to say that I often decide not to say it at all. I think I would be a bit more inclined to get to know people more personally face-to-face, on this course I am a bit more reserved than I am in real life.

  5. I think so

  6. Too nervous about my lack of ability to allow myself to be found out as incompetent

  7. I keep to myself to a point as I don’t want to come across as arrogant or a know all

  8. Not really as I prefer to be person to person not over a screen, I’m not used to it.

  9. No, not always – my true personality is probably deeper/darker that what you see on the surface

  10. Yes, have no other.

  11. Yes, but modified as I would in any public / strange environment

  12. No

  13. Not sure what true personality is. I show myself, as I am, and am open and honest with my views on the course webinars and at away events. I choose to share feelings about the challenges of coursework with one or two course members I have got to know a little through webinars and events via email. I do not share much information on social media about my home life not because there are issues as I have always done this to safeguard my family in relation to my profession.

  14. Yes

  15. No, but people will make their own conclusions about me anyway

  16. No

  17. Probably, I am not good at acting

  18. I can be forthright. I have a low tolerance for some things and therefore I have to reign myself in sometimes.

  19. I consider that people have many facets of their overall personality–their light side, dark side, ambitious side, professional side. I’ve only really shown the professional side.

  20. Especially through the canvas webinars I find I try and be as confident in terms of talking about my practise as possible. I don’t usually expose any insecurities which define barely exist surrounding my image making and also my own opinion of most of my work.

  21. Although perhaps a more professional version.

Which words would you use to explain how you feel as a distance learner?

  1. Proud and satisfied to have online source to professional resources and people.

  2. Encouraged while slightly isolated.

  3. Can be difficult but it suits me.

  4. Compartmentalised, I feel I don’t always express myself fully. I’m really putting across one aspect of myself as I get filtered by the learning platform. In some ways, a little more confident to put my work forwards as I can’t always see reactions.

  5. Motivated and unmotivated. Slightly isolated.

  6. Floating Uncertain Confused

  7. Valued but often remote and not part of a collective

  8. Distant

  9. Distant, sometimes divorced from the flow of ideas and a little unsure.

  10. Wandering a little too much

  11. Frustrated, undervalued, cheated

  12. Sometimes isolated.

  13. Sometimes a little isolated and wondering if I am on the right track. Emails, tutorials and webinars do serve to make me feel part of a bigger picture and can reassure me.

  14. Disconnected

  15. Detached

  16. Alone

  17. Distant! I prefer to do things in my own time and not feel the need to get involved with schedules

  18. Included.

  19. Bundling about in the dark hoping I am going the right way.

  20. Distanced, curious, intrigued, sometimes lonely

  21. Lonely at times, but I enjoy it.

How would you describe your relationship with tutors?

  1. Superb to date, approachable helpful and encouraging.

  2. I am not used getting different opinions from different tutors that is bound to happen but it makes it difficult to know what is wanted.

  3. Generally good, I like the tutors and feel they have a good handle on their subjects. Presentations can become very dense and I don’t always feel I am getting the tutors own opinions and passion for the subject.

  4. Reflective. Listening.

  5. I spend more time trying to please them than being honest that I haven’t a clue what is required.

  6. They respond well and the webinars are well structured

  7. Distant

  8. It’s a bit early to say but of those I’ve had webinars and tutorials with I’ve found them to be excellent.

  9. Reasonable to good.

  10. what relationship – distance learners are an exploited cash cow and with the exception of 2 tutors – it feels like any student weakness is a nuisance taking up more time than allocated

  11. I feel I get on well but when frequent contact is not always possible and 6week changes it’s hard to build a strong foundation

  12. I have always found they respond if I send emails and have been helpful in individual tutorials. I have had variable feelings about the worth of some webinars where their timekeeping allowing everyone to contribute has not been the best as well as some having been abandoned due to internet failures (on their part and/or mine or others). I try to keep an open mind on the advice offered as I am the learner but do not always see what they see (positive or negative) in mine and others work. Sometimes with two advising on one module they have differing opinions about what works in my photography. Then I reflect and rely on my opinion as much as theirs.

  13. Fairly good, can be frustrating at times

  14. some good others not so good

  15. So and so

  16. I like that we haven’t ‘met’ and that we can discuss things when we need and not because we have a set time to do so.

  17. Tolerated

  18. They have been awesome so far

  19. Mixed, sometimes I feel like they are very approachable and sometimes the complete opposite. I don’t feel like they are in communication with us as much as they should be outside of webinars, and I also don’t feel we get enough 121 time with tutors.

  20. Even at the face to face only a couple of tutors made me feel welcome. I don’t think this was intentional, just due to packed schedules.

How would you describe your relationship with other students?

  1. Distant, but friendly.

  2. No issues have ever been presented everybody friendly and happy to each other.

  3. I just ignore all the waffle on WhatsApp.

  4. Good but a bit distant. I haven’t made particularly many friends on the course. The forum-based set up means I feel I am interacting with about 1/3 of the people on my module, but the majority of people don’t contribute often, making it harder to get to know them.

  5. Cliques are happy cliques.

  6. Much as question one

  7. Early egos create a feeling of bias to ideas other than their own. Online personalities are often very different to their own real life ones

  8. Distant

  9. Good, as far as I can tell.

  10. Pretty good.

  11. Respectful and on a quid pro quo basis

  12. Ok, as well as you can virtually

  13. I have got to know some through webinars and others through face-to-face events. I love the wealth of experiences we all bring collectively to the course both the photographic and lived. I have really appreciated feedback and technical advice (e.g. on uploading videos etc) from my colleagues. Their support, particularly from the cohort I am, in has been invaluable to my continuing. I have missed their regular presence on webinars and in the discussion posts in the recent modules.

  14. Mostly very good.

  15. a couple friends others detached; offering what support I can but wonder if expecting too much in return.

  16. Ok

  17. I am half involved, so sometimes join in with the group tasks and WhatsApp chat but not always.

  18. Strictly professional in some cases. Close friends in other cases.

  19. Non-existent. Many of them don’t seem willing to engage at all.

  20. Some good, some bad, some I haven’t had any conversations with online or in person. I have certainly made some life long friends

  21. Good with those I know. More face-to-face events would help. Name badges and cohorts would help too!


How do you feel in the webinar? Do you feel comfortable being on webcam? Please explain your answer.

  1. Webcam is fine, I personally would like everybody to use a webcam if we could (internet dependant) as it feels more personal as if you’re talking face to face.

  2. It’s OK.

  3. I’m pretty comfortable being on camera etc. I try to sign up for webinars with people I’ve been with before as I know their work and they know mine. It’s great when people comment on both current work and previous work. Critiquing and making suggestions for other people is something I’m still working on, tricky when I’m shy and a bit nervous about my own work to discuss other people’s.

  4. At ease on camera. The webinars can be poorly facilitated. That’s annoying.

  5. No problem being on the webcam; it’s possible to manufacture your visible space to suit the expected requirements. I can hide behind the fourth wall.

  6. It’s a new concept but I’m getting used to it. It has a good feel to it once you get going.

  7. Wasn’t comfortable at first but getting used to it but still prefer human interaction in the flesh.

  8. Comfortable – not always able to attend owing to work commitments and the timings of the webinars.

  9. Have no problem. Have a long history of taking part in web-based meetings, so probably easier for me.

  10. Don’t use the webcam – I find it distracting and prefer to work with voice nuances

  11. I don’t use my webcam as it affects everything else on canvas. I sometimes feel inferior to others knowledge

  12. I am comfortable in webinars and using the webcam. What has been challenging is having fewer and fewer colleagues in the webinars, particularly those in my cohort which means I have got less out of them this module as I always need to start with explaining my work to those in successive cohorts and then get little back although I always try to make constructive comments on the work presented by others.

  13. I don’t always enjoy the web cam experience but I do partake on a very regular basis

  14. Nervous at first, now it seems natural

  15. I don’t like being recorded

  16. I hate my own photo, but don’t feel too uncomfortable although am conscious of the environment (cats jumping in etc.!)

  17. I don’t feel comfortable being on the webcam. I don’t like seeing myself and I don’t like the view I think others have of me.

  18. It’s fine.

Ignoring reasons around scheduling problems and time differences, why you do not attend webinars?

  1. It’s like I always have introduce myself and I don’t have the feeling that someone actually knows my work.

  2. N/A

  3. Availability

  4. I get value from listening/comparing/narrating my own ideas/note taking

  5. I have not missed any yet.

  6. Not always able to keep up and I don’t want to turn up with nothing to show

  7. Don’t find them that useful every week, I find them confusing at times. Every now and again is fine, plus they can be too busy at times. I prefer only 2/3 students and tutor.

  8. No other reasons

  9. The odd time under pressure, easier to duck.

  10. N/A

  11. Prior commitments and work

  12. I don’t want to be recorded

  13. I do.

  14. Confidence issues

  15. Scheduling only

  16. Insecurities about my work and online persona

  17. N/A



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