In October last year I wrote
(which happens to be the most commented post on this blog!) where I talked about wanting to study in the area of dog training, as its something I’ve always been interested in. I also wanted to try a distance learning course, so I chose to do the ‘You and Your Dog’ course with
or the centre of applied pet ethology in the UK. I’ll give my review of the course before telling you how I got on.
This course was the most basic one that they offered, and they recommended taking it as an introduction before anything else. I thought it might be very basic, but since it was the cheapest, and half the price of the next course, I decided to go with their suggestion. The course work was emailed to me in PDF form, and I wrote and returned the assignments by email. The tutur was Peter Neville, who has a vast amount of experience working with dogs. His course notes were written in a simple, friendly, often humourous style, making them easy to absorb and remember. He was approachable and helpful by email, and left useful thoughtful comments on each assignment.
The course was made up of six units with an assignment after each one. It was based around getting and owning a new puppy, or you could write about one you already owned or have owned in the past. It was quite basic, but it made me think about how I look after my own dogs and how I could improve. I based my assignments on both dogs, depending on the question, and I might even post one or two of these sometime.
The final assignment was made up of two parts, and the first asked you to draw six pictures to show the facial and body expressions of dogs in different emotional states. Before beginning the course, the tutor decided that I could just find pictures online and present them in a slideshow since it was only a small part of the course. My friend and my nephew helped to find the pictures and put this together, and the tutur was happy with the result. He did say however that he should have given me an alternative assignment to make it more accessible, which is true but I didn’t mind.
Overall, I felt that the course was a good introduction to distance learning. It made me realise how bad I am at managing time though. The assignments could be completed in a couple of hours or less when I put my mind to it. I find that when deadlines are flexible I’ll leave everything to the last minute. I emailed my last assignment last Thursday because I was determined to get it done by the end of February. There was no need for these six assignments to take me almost four months to complete.
I thought there could have been a bit more reading material in each unit, especially for the cost of the course. I was expecting reading recommendations or extra material on the website they provided but apparently this is only availible for the more advanced courses.
My results for the six units varied from 95 to 85 per cent, giving me an average overall grade of 90.2% which I was very happy with. I’ll get a certificate from COAPE in the next few days and one from the open college network (OCN) later.
I have another course in mind which would begin in September if I go ahead with it. I still have some research to do about it first, so I’ll see what happens. In the meantime I’ll just enjoy being a geeky student 🙂