If you are a new student to the University of Otago you will no doubt have a lot of questions……..and sometimes asking questions is challenging…..so, we are going to try to explain a few things here on our blog, like how do you learn at Otago? It might seem like a silly question, but trust us, no question is ever silly, and we have received a multitude of feedback from international students that suggests our teaching and learning style is different to other parts of the world. So, how will you learn here?
This will be your main source of information and knowledge for the majority of your studies. A lecturer, or a group of lecturers are assigned to teach each of the papers you are enrolled in. Lectures are held in specially designed rooms and last for 50 minutes – and the information is presented to you (as pictured) with verbal commentary following power point slides, printed material may be handed to you in class, including selected readings. Sometimes it may be tempting to miss a lecture, or two……(it is a beautiful sunny day and you’d rather be at the beach) but we urge you to not make this a habit – you’ve paid a lot of money to get this education, so be smart and take all the opportunities you can, including turning up to lectures.
If you are studying towards a science or health science qualification, on top of lectures you will get used to spending a lot of your study time in laboratories, like the newly completed Mellor Laboratories pictured here. Here you will get the world renowned ‘hands on’ and practical learning style that we are so well known for here. This isn’t just sitting back and taking information in, this is you doing it all by yourself (with the guidance of a staff member of course!)
The tutorial is again something that we are really well known for – it’s a chance for more opportunity to really interact with staff and your fellow students. Tutorials, as opposed to lectures which can comprise of hundreds of students, are kept down to a smaller scale of approximately 10 students to one staff member. This gives you the chance to get one-on-one assistance, and the tutorial is also used as a way to help figure out the best way to go about an assignment, or to put you into teams to work on your skills working with others.
Self directed study
Another fact you may not know about studying at the University of Otago is that our academics believe you need to be self motivated in order to succeed. They can encourage, inspire and help, but ultimately you have to do the work. Making sure that you plan time to do the readings and to get onto the assignments ahead of the due date. Our tip? Buy a wall calendar/planner to outline all of your lectures/tutorials/labs and assignment deadline dates, it will really make life easier. It might sound a little dull, and something your parents might say, but we really do want these university years to be some of the best years of your life, so taking a little time to map things out will definitely help.
Nicky Richardson is an International Marketing Coordinator at the University of Otago. With degrees in music and marketing, she is a recent graduate of Otago herself – she loves Otago so much she ended up getting a job here!