Studying uni online? These tips will help you succeed.
26 Feb 2022
So you’re studying your degree remotely and you want to get off to a great start? We get it.
Our Centre Manager Mark van Bergen, Mansfield Education Coordinator Courtney O’Brien, and Corryong Education Coordinator Sophie Greenwood have all experienced distance learning, so they know what you’re going through.
Here are their top tips for overcoming some of the common challenges.
How did you organise yourself and your time?
Courtney: At the start of each semester I would go through all the unit guides and create a calendar of dates for when assignments and exams were due. Following this I created a plan for when I needed to begin assessments or to start studying for exams. This gave me a good visual map of when I would be the busiest and when I could fit in other things like work, sport and socializing. I knew in advance what I could and couldn’t commit to, so I didn’t overcommit and add unnecessary stress and I could get tasks in on time.
Mark: A couple of uni subjects, work and family all need their dedicated time. Once you’ve worked out when you can study, I found arranging blocks of time to focus on a subject assessment item was useful in keeping that ‘overwhelmed’ feeling at bay.
Sophie: Ensure I have some time off. Plan a holiday or something to look forward to. I only work part time and use my one day a week and afternoons to study, meaning I still get to enjoy the weekends.
What can I do to feel connected to my course and other students?
C: When there were online discussion groups and forums for my units I would allocate approx. 15 minutes at the end of each study session to log into the forums and read through other students’ comments and questions and interact. This helped me stay connected with others and helped me realise everyone else was experiencing the same things and often we shared valuable information relating to the course or assignments etc.
S: Some of the assignments we have been asked to complete include working in groups with peers. This has helped me learn more about the diverse group of people in my course. I attend the tutorials and lectures live rather than watch the recordings – this allows me to be more interactive with my teachers and other students.
How do you juggle work/study/family responsibilities successfully?
M: Support from your family and friends can really make a difference. Having family, relatives or friends taking the kids out for the day or having them over while you crunch out an essay or work through a pile of readings was fantastic. You then are able to focus on family when they’re back (because you’re likely to have had enough of study for the day).
S: Use time wisely. I tell myself “If I study now, I can go camping on the weekend”. Create a supportive circle. My friends are always willing to ask questions and listen about my studies, this helps me to debrief with myself about how I am going and is a good way of coping with stress sometimes, or reminding yourself of how well you are doing.
How do you get through the ‘I can’t do this’ moments?
C: There were times when I felt overwhelmed and didn’t think I could manage everything that needed to be done. In these instances, I would prioritise my workload. I would check what I had due as well as the ranking of the assessments – for example if it was worth only 30% of my mark, I would allocate far less time to research, write & complete the task than if it was ranked 75%. This gave me more time and mental space to focus more on the higher ranked tasks.
M: Talk. Whether it is to your partner, family, friends, lecturer or course coordinator (or CUC staff member!), talking opens up opportunities to find a way forward. Confusion, frustration or doubt are feelings that will appear from time to time, but they don’t remain constant. You’ll also find clarity, optimism, confidence and a sense of direction during the semester too.
S: Think of the end game. I try to keep my motivation up by knowing the small hurdles I am jumping is leading me to my dream career
And remember – CUC Ovens Murray has your back!
There are many ways we can help – from providing you with access to the technology you need, to connecting you with a Learning Skills Advisor for wraparound study and wellbeing support. Register here for free access to your nearest CUC Ovens Murray site.
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