Interview with...

Chiek Er

from Norway

Chiek Er enrolled in a Economic Principles and Concepts for the Veterinary Sciences course in 2013

The quality and the content of this distance learning course was excellent.

Introduction

I am Chiek Er from Singapore. I became 50 years old this year (yes, I believe in continuing education through life and I never imagine myself too old to learn or to chase yesterday’s dreams even now). I have a degree in Veterinary Science from University of Queensland and a Masters in Preventive Veterinary Medicine at UC Davis. I worked as a public health officer in different countries (Singapore, Hong Kong, China and USA) and also for a short time, as a small animal practitioner, in Hong Kong and Singapore. I am now a struggling PhD student at the Norwegian Veterinary Institute and Norwegian School of Veterinary Science.

Distance learning

This is my first proper distance learning course and I am not disappointed. Distance learning saves time and you don’t have the problems of travelling. It offered time flexibility to me; I could choose how, when and where I went online to learn or to do assignments. I actually did the ‘Economic principles’ course while I was physically in three countries (Australia, Singapore and Norway) and not in the Netherlands where it was offered. I recommend distance learning to motivated people who need the flexibility I described above. But he or she must have the independence and discipline to learn and do the assignments posted on line. There are prompts and milestones to follow and self-monitoring possibilities of one’s progress as well as other people’s progress. Students who are shy in group settings may find this solitary style of distance learning non-threatening to ask questions or to make comments. Posting questions / remarks with a 30 minutes editing time before they go public minimize regrets for unintended questions and remarks made from impulse. Students must have the pre requisite of skills in running spreadsheets and drawing graphs and high school mathematics to attempt this course.

I did this course while I was physically in three countries!

Economic Principles and the concepts for the Veterinary Sciences

First and foremost, the quality and the content of this distance learning course was excellent and it was run by a reputable institution, UMC Utrecht. The teachers and moderator were experienced and competent. I liked the fact that the Netherlands is an advanced agricultural country with its fair share of epidemics e.g. FMD in 2001. So the teachers were not teaching us from ivory towers but have had real life experiences to share. I like the combination of self-reading, video lectures followed by assignments to reinforce the learning. One can return to any learning mode as often as one likes although time constraints limits due to our busy lives tend to limit that. The quizzes were very helpful to gauge one’s progress.

The quality and the content of this distance learning course was excellent.

Benefits

With minimal knowledge in economics, taking this course made me feel like a kid visiting a candy store for the first time. Now that I have taken this course, competence in economics is crucial to me to get a deeper understanding of human choices, the workings of society, world trade, governments and enterprises. Economics and knowledge of statistics allows a person to view the world in a better and less mysterious light. Economics helps me to look at the world more critically and understand why certain decisions are made whether it is in the arena of animal diseases or the world at large. Although I see the danger of humans subscribing to a pure economic model, devoid of altruism and morality. As a Veterinarian, micro economics gives me that additional appendage to help me make informed choices or recommendations. The basics of this course allows me to progress to the next level: Applied Economic Modeling. I follow this course now to learn the different types of economic analysis.

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