'You get a lot more food for thought'
When Sarah Feather enrolled in a distance-learning programme earlier this year, she got more than she was expecting.
'It's actually better than some of the on-campus courses I've taken,' she said. 'In a real classroom, you often just pack up your books when the bell rings and go home. In these classes, you have to post your thoughts on a discussion board and you also have to read what other people in the course have to say. You get a lot more food for thought than you do in a conventional classroom.'
An English teacher, Ms Feather chose distance learning by default. 'There weren't any programmes available in Macau that met my needs, and going to Hong Kong or abroad to study simply didn't make sense. I really had no choice.'
She opted for an MSc in education with a concentration on teaching English to speakers of other languages at Shenandoah University in the US. 'You have to do assignments and take exams. You also have to do a thesis, which you have to defend on campus.'
But it isn't all good news. It can sometimes be lonely studying at home and then there's the issue of facilities. 'I do miss having a library,' she said. Ms Feather expects to take about three years to complete the 33-credit course.