An 82 year old woman has taken a diploma in Local English History from Oxford University.
Margaret Broadbent told the Continuing Education department, “In May 2009 I had to give up driving because of vision problems so I decided that I needed a new focus for my life. For the previous few years I had taken the Department’s weekly courses in various subjects, including Literature and History, and had always enjoyed them. I had often wondered about doing a Certificate or Diploma course, and I thought I’d give it a try. I was aged 80 when I applied to do the Undergraduate Diploma in English Local History.”
She said the main surprise she had experienced during the course had been the enormous amount of help she received because of her visual disability. Encouraged by her tutor, she went to see the Student Advisor at the start of her second year because she was aware of increasing visual difficulty and concerned that she might not be able to finish the course.
The Advisor told her to apply for a disability grant to purchase suitable equipment. She assisted Broadbent with filling in forms. To Broadbent’s surprise, her application was accepted by Student Finance England and, after assessment, she was provided with computer equipment to help with writing assignments and accessing online resources.
Broadbent said that she enjoyed the lectures and meeting other students, and found the tutorials very valuable. She also claimed that the library staff had been extraordinarily helpful and made her feel very privileged to be able to use the Bodleian and sit in the Radcliffe Camera. Broadbent found writing the assignments the most challenging, especially in her second year as both her vision and her memory had deteriorated slightly.
She said, “The course was very interesting and I’m really glad I did it. There’s a great deal of help available from all sides: the excellent tutor, the Student Advisor and the library staff. And Rewley House is a very friendly, welcoming place to study.”