Studying for an MSc in Information System Management, working full-time as an IT specialist and being a dad to two small children, Isaac Bankole is an expert in time management.

But his responsibilities don’t stop there…

Isaac Bankole “In Nigeria, as a man you have different responsibilities than you might have in the West. For example, I am responsible for my own family’s welfare, and my parents. I am also putting my siblings through school, so I am not in a position right now to move to another country to study.”

Isaac currently works at the American International School in Abuja. Admittedly, he was initially sceptical about online learning and the validity of an online degree, but after hearing that an American colleague was studying online and earning an accredited qualification overseas whilst working in Nigeria, Isaac looked into the possibility of doing the same.

With its flexible course structure and convenient payment options, the University of Roehampton, London Online seemed like the best option for Isaac, who was already aware of both the quality of and recognition associated with UK degrees.

Isaac quickly got to grips with studying online as he passed one module after another. It wasn’t until classroom discussions in his sixth module (May 2015) that he noticed there were four other Nigerian students in his research group. They were not only from Nigeria but from Abuja – some living only a few kilometres away.

He decided to reach out to them and they started to communicate via email; it wasn’t long before they set a date to physically meet at a local café. And so it happened and they talked, chatted and debated, teasing apart complex theories, discussing epistemology and analogy. Isaac felt energised – and the strong grade he received for that module was the icing on the cake.

The five of them decided to form a study group that would meet every month to share thoughts and ideas over a coffee.

In months that followed, with the help of social media and Inspirenet, the group grew in number as more people joined from other programmes and disciplines.

In October 2015 they asked Roehampton graduate Segun Shokunbi to join them to talk about his experiences undertaking his final module. This was extremely helpful and inspiring for all concerned. After the October meeting, the group’s membership grew to over 100 people. Isaac continued to monitor the group’s online postings, ensuring that everyone’s opinions and beliefs were respected, and that that posts were fair and honest.

One of the great advantages of studying online as opposed to on campus is that relationships and networks are encouraged through online shared activities. However, because students share the same interests and passions, friendships often form organically, providing a lasting source of advice and inspiration for those involved. Online students have a unique opportunity not only to share best practice but also to gain privileged access into what is happening worldwide in their field.

Isaac is delighted that the Abuja study group has grown in strength and numbers. When you think globally, the possibilities are endless with this amount of local support and expertise meeting regularly to effect change.

Education is extremely important to Isaac, but it is also a joy that he is delighted to see others share.

If you are interested in studying online and would like to be part of a global network of students in your field, find out more about masters degree programmes at the Roehampton Online.

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