At Falmouth, we’re here to support you. As a flexible learning student, you are not on your own. In fact, you are at the centre of a network of support services and staff committed to your success.
Our course advisors, your first point of contact, will guide you through the features and benefits of our flexible learning programmes and online platform.
They are here to answer any questions you have on choosing the right course, the application process, and financial support.
You can call our friendly and knowledgeable team on +44 (0)1223 447713.
Once you’ve started your course, student advisors are available to answer practical queries, give you tips on learning online effectively, and achieving work-life balance. They can also direct you to our specialist University support services.
Your global network
As a flexible learning student, you are part of a global community. Don’t be shy – reach out, discuss and collaborate with like-minded peers and learn from a wealth of diverse cultural perspectives.
Our academics, experts in their field, are based all over the world. They are here to answer any questions you may have about the course content and guide you through the modules on your way to successfully completing your qualification.
Sarah [00:00:06] So I'm a freelance illustrator, I'm from Portugal and I'm doing the M.A. in Illustration, and I'm doing it from Portugal, from Lisbon. It's my second year now.
[00:00:18] Brilliant, thank you so much, Sarah. And next up Dante.
Dante [00:00:23] Hello, I'm Dante Gabriel. My pronouns are 'they' and 'he', so you can use either. I'm based in Houston, Texas, so that's where I'm studying from. I'm a professional illustrator, I work mainly in comics and I'm on the first year of the online MA in Illustration. Average computer competence is probably the first one like you need, like, typing because you're going to have to hand in essays. There's a lot of reading in my course, like not just your assignments are going to be obviously written, but a lot of the lectures are written and there's still a lot of reading. So either reading competency or like, maybe you're used to a screen reader or something. Illustration specific, and maybe this is like a lot of the creative courses, like all of your stuff is assessed electronically. So when we show a sketchbook, it's like it's a PDF, you know, a collection of JPEGs, so you'll need to be able to make a PDF. That sounds very specific, and you'll need to able to scan something.
Sarah [00:01:20] Just you need to have, at least a good computer or somewhere where you can put stuff together and be able to actually get online and do things. It's really important to have an internet connection as well.
[00:01:36] You actually raise a really good point with the internet connection
Sarah [00:01:40] Yeah, because the lectures, some of them, we have webinars which are in person, obviously they're recorded, but it's good to interact with the tutors and with other classmates. So if you have a good internet connection, that helps. You guys sent us the information about everything regarding Falmouth, I think, over a week before it started, so I had time to just take a day and go around and see what was available and read stuff. And so I think it was easier that way. I think if I was just dropped there in the first day it would be horrible,
Dante [00:02:20] Pretty intuitive once you get used to it. Like, I'm a student rep, so I have to take a lot of feedback from my cohort and from my year to pass on to the teachers. And there were a lot of people that were confused in the beginning, but it tended to be people that didn't go to the welcome week that you'll have. I found the welcome week really useful and then just like opening Canvas, like a week before we started classes, and clicking around and reading things, and since then I've not really had any problems. It's just like picking up a new app, you know what I mean? It's just Instagram, but more useful.
Sarah [00:02:55] But support from classmates, for sure and from student advisors. Yes, because there's ways of sending messages to everybody in the course in the inbox, so that was very, very helpful. We have group tutorials, I think, every other week with smaller groups with maybe 7 to 10 people for an hour where we show our work and have some feedback from the tutors, but they're also available for us to email them internally through Canvas, and they get back to us pretty quickly and give us feedback and tell us things we should look at and if it's working okay or not.
Dante [00:03:35] Because I'm on a different year than Sarah. So we have a tutorial every week and everyone gets assigned a tutor, and this is very illustration specific, I realise. And there are three opportunities to have a group session with your tutor every week, and they're really good at kind of organising it. So they will be kind of trying to pay attention to people that work and people that are in different time zones. I'm five or six hours behind the United Kingdom, so I really appreciate that one. I like this teacher at the moment who has a Ph.D. and she's not my tutor, so I'm aiming to try and get a Ph.D. after my master's. And you know, she's like, super fine to just message back with me. And she said that the module leader is organising like a live call with her to talk about going through a Ph.D. as an Illustrator. So like, I found everyone to be really responsive. And one of my tutors runs an open studio every week as well, on the 'Big Blue Button', so he'll just like, open a 'Big Blue Button', everyone wants to turn up and we'll just draw and [inaudible] for a couple of hours every Monday night and its lovely.
Sarah [00:04:39] It's what Dante said about Falmouth having a really recognisable name in Illustration. Also I was very stalky in knowing what the course outline was, what previous students had done, I just searched Instagram for the hashtags to see what they had done and to see if it fit what I wanted to do. And so I guess from the options, it's the one that I thought would suit me better and I don't regret it so far. I wanted to change a little bit the, of course, the roots I was going professionally. So that was already my aim and I think it's serving definitely the aim and also getting to know, not only the teachers who are really good, but also people from all over the world who we like, we've set up like other Zooms outside of Canvas and WhatsApp groups and just the interactions of people from other places that have different ways of thinking, when you're doing something creative is so helpful. Classmates in our class, who didn't come from an Illustration background, so they didn't have like a B.A. in Illustration like I do and Dante does as well, but who bring also their profession into what they're creating. And that also gives us something else that we didn't know about. And I think that's also really interesting because we're not in an echo chamber. You know, we're not just learning things from other Illustrators. There's also people who have other careers who are bringing new stuff in.
Dante [00:06:13] I think I'm more confident than I was simply having X amount of time where I share my work once a week or twice a week has really impacted, not just like my confidence in speaking about my work and my confidence in my work, but also my reflective ability. I can look back and I can say, like, I did this because of this. And I think that's a really important skill for an Illustrator. I definitely have a lot less time to work on freelance work, so I've definitely noticed that, but that's kind of what I wanted, like when I started the MA, that was the intention. Like, I knew that I was stuck in a rut, but I didn't really want to keep making work the way I was making it. And so now I'm in this kind of experimental place, and it's kind of a bit, 'I don't know what I'm doing'. I don't really want freelance clients right now because it feels like they're kind of like standing in the way of me continuing to develop, like I am on the course.
Sarah [00:07:06] Knowing the context of your work now, it's true because in the first module and I think this goes across all courses, they really ask you to question your positioning and your practise and that that raises some uncomfortable, but great questions as well. I also do a little bit less freelance than I was doing before because the courses is intense if you want to do really well in it, if you want to just like sail through it, you can do it as part time. But if you want to be, if you want to really take a lot from it, then it becomes intense. I think for me, professionally, I found out that I really like writing essays, which was a new thing for me because I've done a lot of different university courses and I've never really enjoyed them before. So there's a lot of other things that farmers offers aside from canvas, which is like the academic English lessons for for foreigners, for foreign students who don't speak English natively, like me. And they also, for people who are not English natives, they also do some proofreading and help out with the structure of an essay, and I've never had that before. And just having someone to guide you through that was just life-changing for me because I realised I really enjoyed it.
[00:08:26] And the, I think first week that we started, so Falmouth has a lot of things they offer outside of just the normal course structure, which is also some meetings with someone who will help you schedule your time, which was amazing. So I did that and learnt about the Pomodoro method, which doesn't really work for me, to be honest. But I learnt about it and I decided to do six hours every day, which were two hours in the morning which I would do for reading, because my brain is a little bit more active then so I can process it better, I'll focus more. Then two hours of either writing or doing just creative stuff, so doing sketchbook stuff. And then two hours of doing research. And I did that for the whole first module. So I did the two, two and two and it didn't seem like much because I wasn't stretching eight hours, I was doing a lot of stuff in between. You know, when you start going into flow, you just want to do more. And when you stop yourself, it's kind of like you feel a little buzzed and then do the next two hours because you were enjoying what you were doing. And then if you're not enjoying it, it's only two hours. So it's fine.
Dante [00:09:42] Because I'm enjoying my studies, more than anything. And I think Sarah said earlier, the thing with this is that like, the more you give it, the more you'll get out. And that's kind of in terms of like your development but also grades, if grades are something that you're concerned about. The requirement is meant to be, what is it, 20 hours a week? I work more than that, definitely. I guess it's kind of like the Pomodoro, I have like a thing where if I have to write an email or do like any sort of small task, [inaudible] more than emails, I'll just give myself an hour and after an hour, I have to stop. That doesn't work when you're drawing, unfortunately, but the rest of it is just like, I've got good lists and I try to make sure that I have a really strong idea of what's required of me. You know what I mean, like, reading things really carefully and having like a list with priorities. Yeah, the time requirement isn't solid, it's like a guideline, they say 20 hours a week, it's kind of like however much you need to do to get the work done, so no one's timing you, but they will be looking at your work at the end.
Sarah [00:10:51] It's one that nobody wants to hear, but it's organisation, you have to be organised. You have to know where you have your stuff, even if you're like an organised chaos, which many times I am, I'll have stuff in paper and then in a Word document and then in images and files. And as long as you know where things are and you keep track of your weeks, so keep track of the list of the things you have to do every week so that when you get to week 10, you're not overwhelmed and you haven't forgotten what you were doing in week one, that's really important. Because you can just go back. So if you missed week three, you can, in week four, just go back and do it, that's not a problem. But if you're not organised, it's going to pile up and be very, very overwhelming.
Dante [00:11:32] Probably for me, courage. I think a good student is a courageous student. It's the courage to kind of show up and especially on a creative course, to do your own work, rather than work that you've seen already happening out there. There's also the courage to kind of take feedback. It's the courage to take the things that the tutors suggest, to read the readings and try new things and the courage to keep turning up every single week to every single webinar. Like 'I did this and I hate it, it's crap' or 'I did this, and it's the best thing in the universe' or ' I didn't do anything and i just slept all week' . Talk to the student advisers, they are the MVP's. I have a like a one on one video call with a student advisor while I was still applying. They went through my personal statement, they went through my portfolio. They gave me advice, they make me feel better about myself, which is a difficult thing to do. So, student advisors, MVP's. Go to the orientation sessions once you get onto it because, you feel like you're going to be able to get by without them, and you could very easily be mistaken in thinking that.
Sarah [00:12:37] If you get hold of, which you can, the reading before your course starts, just start on that, jump on your reading list before the course, that will help you so much.
Dante [00:12:48] If you're going to a webinar, use your camera and your mic because feeling disconnected is the first thing that will happen when you're studying online. So talk to people and have your face on screen.
Get your award in person
Celebrate your academic achievements with family and friends by attending graduation on campus.
As a flexible learning student, you are invited to travel to Falmouth University, to take part in our prestigious graduation ceremony where you will formally be awarded your degree alongside your peers.
The support doesn't end when you complete your course. As alumni, expand your professional network through Falmouth Connect.
Make contact with fellow graduates and advance your career through inside connections working in top companies.
Falmouth University has a history of more than 100 years of creative thinking. Today, we recognise that anyone should be able to access our first-class education. That's why our online courses give you the flexibility to learn at the times and places that suit you.
We're focused on your future - in the way we teach, what we teach and how we connect you to each other and the relevant industries for your passions and career. So, explore your options and how you’ll learn with us - get in touch, ask questions and see how we can help you.