SOAS University of London

Centre for Development, Environment and Policy (CeDEP)

Communication and Support

One of the most challenging aspects of studying by distance learning is that students can feel isolated. Whilst studying at a distance undeniably requires considerable self-motivation, it is essential to remember that you are not alone. Support is always on hand, whether from administrators, academic tutors or your fellow students.

Support from family and friends

Many of our students fit their studies around work, family and social commitments. If this is true for you, recognise that your family and friends can play an important role in helping support you through your whole programme. We have written a letter for family and friends which briefly explains what they can expect during your studies. Family and Friends Support Letter.

Communicating with tutors and fellow students on the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE)

Module discussion boards

We find that students get more out of their studies if they discuss key aspects of the modules with their classmates and tutors. For this reason, we have created module discussion boards on the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). Sometimes you will be prompted by the module materials to visit the board or your tutor may invite you to comment on a particular topic. Most students are simply waiting for someone else to start a discussion. Be brave and start a conversation. Our students are based all over the world so the variety of case studies and differing points of view that can be brought to a discussion can be fascinating.

CeDEP discussion boards

Paul Smith acts as Study Director providing pastoral care and practical advice to students in all programmes. General and/or over-arching academic and academic-related queries and discussion should be raised with him through CeDEP’s VLE, but for personal/private communications, his email address is provided here.  

Study Director: Paul Smith

Talk to your tutor

Your module tutor is your first point of contact for academic queries relating to your studies. Whilst much teaching is carried out through the VLE, communication can also be carried out via email.

Help from your Administrator

We have a dedicated student support team available to provide you with help and advice throughout your studies. If you have a query about procedures for enrolment, assignment submission or the VLE, or if you have problems with your study workload talk to us – we’re here to help.

Student and alumni social networking

Join the student network

This network can put you in touch with people on your module or who reside in your country, who have given permission to be contacted. Even if you aren’t at the same point in your studies, you are sharing some of the same study experiences.