Margaret Broadbent

Student spotlight details

Margaret Broadbent wanted a new activity in life, and decided our Undergraduate Diploma in English Social and Local History was what she was looking for.

'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.

'The main surprise I’ve experienced during the course has been the enormous amount of help I’ve received because of my visual disability. Encouraged by my tutor, I went to see the Student Advisor at the start of my second year because I was aware of increasing visual difficulty and concerned that I might not be able to finish the course.

'She strongly advised me to apply for a disability grant to purchase suitable equipment and help. She assisted me with filling in the complicated forms and supported me all the way. Somewhat to my surpise, my application was accepted by Student Finance England and, after assessment, I was provided with excellent computer equipment to help with writing the assignments and accessing the online resources. If necessary, I was entitled to help in searching for books in libraries and with proof-reading.

'I’ve enjoyed the lectures, meeting the other students and the very valuable tutorials. The library staff have been extraordinarily helpful to me. I feel very privileged to be able to use the Bodleian and sit reading in the Radcliffe Camera. Writing the assignments has been the most challenging, especially in my second year as both my vision and my memory had deteriorated somewhat.

'Now that I've finished my Diploma I would like to try and do a bit of research on Wolvercote where I live and I will probably start on my family history. I will resume doing weekly classes as well.

'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.'

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