I've just been to Pretoria for three days as part of my Masters Degree with UNISA (University of South Africa). For those of you who don't know I'm doing a Masters in 'Social Behaviour in HIV/AIDS' with the school of sociology. The whole year with UNISA has been a bit disastrous with very poor communication being at the heart of the problem. Given the problems I've experienced with UNISA, this visit was 'make or break' time, in which I was seeking assurances that things would change forthwith or I would walk away and look at the options with Stellenbosch University and the University of Cape Town. Not the preferred option as it would mean starting again from scratch, plus, I've never given up on anything in my life and I'm not keen to start now!
One of my biggest complaints has been in relation to feedback from submitted papers, particularly the first paper submitted in June, remarkably the paper arrived at home on Tuesday just as we were having a session discussing student complaints about the course - it was good to know that I was not alone! The problem with not receiving feedback was not knowing whether or not I was hitting the right academic level, so not knowing was hampering my efforts on the remaining papers for the year. Scarily, in the feedback I received there was a recommendation for a possible area of research for a Doctorate! A VERY scarey thought!
Thankfully, one of the first things UNISA did was to overrule the sociology department with regard to the workload, so things are much more realistic for the rest of the year. So on that basis I will press on for the rest of this year and look forward to having a more positive relationship with UNISA next year.
So it's back to the grindstone to get some serious research done for my dissertation proposal and remaining academic paper for this year.