How to manage blended study: dos, don’ts and staying safe online
How are you settling into Trimester 1? As you adapt to a blended learning model this study period – in which the majority of your classes and seminars will be online – we want you to know that the whole University community is behind you and is here to help you succeed, no matter where you’re studying.
We’ve had the chance over the past year really think about how to make online study work for you, and we’ve heard from many students about their experiences so far. One important thing we know is that the online study space needs to be a safe, respectful and enjoyable place for everyone; the same as the environment you’d expect when learning face-to-face on campus.
To help ensure this is the case, we’ve compiled a list of dos and don’ts to guide your blended learning experience in T1. Following these simple guidelines will make it easy to maintain the appropriate level of respect as you study both online and on campus – towards your fellow students, your teachers and other staff.
- Be COVIDSafe on campus. All students coming to campus should be aware of the guidelines outlined in Deakin’s COVID-19 FAQs. Read more about how to be COVIDSafe on campus.
- Attend your live classes! Learning is basically a social activity – picking up on cues from others helps confirm and extend your understanding. So joining your live online classes will actually make it easier for you to absorb and understand the material. It’ll also give you an opportunity to give you the opportunity for Q&A sessions, particularly about assessment tasks.
- Act in the best interests of the University, whether you’re online or on campus. The respectful standards of behaviour outlined in the Student Rights and Responsibilities and Student Code of Conduct underpin your enrolment at Deakin, so familiarise yourself with them and take them seriously.
- Be respectful by watching your language and tone, especially when communicating online. This will minimise the chances of being misunderstood or inadvertently offending someone. The eSafety Commissioner has some useful tips for how to both be respected and give respect as you study or socialise online.
- Understand the privacy settings and other features of the platforms you use online. Remember that boundaries – mental, emotional or physical limits established between you and someone else so that you can both be happy and comfortable – apply equally in the physical and online world, and help to protect and nurture your health and wellbeing.
- Be vigilant about potential scams, cybercrime and cyberbullies online. Students are common targets, so be wary of any unsolicited or unexpected communications you receive, even if they appear to be from Deakin – these can be sophisticated and look legitimate. Read more about common types of scams and learn how to be safe from online bullies.
- Connect with your peers both online and on campus. Some of the easiest ways to connect online are through your unit discussion boards, Teams sites, or Deakin Life Facebook and Instagram. While it may feel intimidating at first, grow your confidence by introducing yourself early in the process and contributing in small ways, such as asking a question in your classes. There’s also plenty of opportunities for you to connect with other students face-to-face on campus as well via learning activities, social clubs, and events. Read more about how you can connect with other students online and on campus in T1.
- Behave aggressively or be abusive in any space. This constitutes student misconduct and will not be tolerated in any context. Cyberbullying includes things like sending hurtful or abusive text messages/social media posts, spreading rumours via email/SMS or on social networks, setting up fake profiles or posting from someone else’s accounts.
- Cross personal boundaries. You should never make inappropriate comments, or post unsuitable images or use private messaging functions online to comment on things like another student’s appearance or personal situation.
- Fall into the cheating trap. This includes using contract cheating services, failing to acknowledge others’ work and colluding with other students on assignments or exams. Learn more about how to uphold academic integrity.
- Give your bank details or money to people you don’t know, or for reasons you’re unclear about, when you’re online. This includes your personal, credit card or online account details. If you think your accounts have been accessed illegally, contact your financial institution immediately for advice.
- Click on any email or SMS links or attachments you’re unsure about, even if you think it’s University-related. Be extra cautious if you receive an email from someone you don’t know, the details appear incorrect or the email address looks odd. Read more about staying safe online in Deakin’s Cybersecurity blog.
There are consequences for poor behaviour
Any Deakin student who behaves inappropriately in any face-to-face or online live teaching and learning space will be cautioned. If the behaviour continues, the student will be asked to leave. Staff will report discriminatory or offensive language, bullying or harassment to the Student Conduct Team, which investigates allegations of poor student behaviour, conduct issues and policy breaches.
If you witness or experience poor behaviour by a fellow student online or on campus, or something that makes you feel unsafe, uncomfortable or threatened, you can report it through a simple online form. Student Conduct will respect your privacy, and you can report your concerns anonymously or on behalf of someone else if you wish.
Support is available if you’re struggling
If you start to find blended study challenging, or you have personal or emotional issues that are making it hard for you to study effectively, help is available at the touch of a button. You can access everything from IT and study support to health and wellbeing assistance:
- If you ever feel unsafe, contact Victoria Police by calling Triple Zero (000) for emergency help.
- If you’re being seriously harassed or threatened by someone online, contact Deakin’s Safer Community service. They’re the University’s central point of contact for reports of sexual harm and domestic family violence, and also respond to reports of concerning behaviour.
- Make a free telehealth appointment to speak with a Deakin counsellor.
- For any issues with CloudDeakin tools and other technologies, access IT Help online or over the phone (Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm; weekends, 11am to 5pm).
- Access a range of academic and study support online, including help from Language and Learning Advisers, Writing and Maths Mentors and Smarthinking.
- If you think you’ve been targeted by scammers, or you’re unsure about a request to share your personal information, seek free legal advice and advocacy at Deakin before you do anything.
- Contact Victims of Crime (1800 819 817) for free information and support to help you manage the effects of crime and to guide you through the legal process.