From on-campus to online: How Deakin students are managing the transition

Navigating life as an international student can be both a challenging and rewarding experience – meeting new people, prioritising assignments, and getting used to university studies. So when you are faced with the possibility of transitioning from face-to-face classes to online study, how do you manage?

We spoke to current Deakin students about their experience studying online so far and how they are successfully continuing their degrees via Deakin’s Cloud Campus.

               

How did you manage the transition from on-campus learning to online learning?

Kaweesha: It was much easier than anticipated. The two types of classes I have this trimester are seminars and lectures. Keeping up with online lectures was not an issue as they have always been recorded and uploaded on to the unit site. Online seminars, on the other hand, were more challenging since it was something I had not experienced before. At the start, I was worried I would somehow embarrass myself in an online class. However, much to my relief the seminars are quite casual. We usually share a good laugh whenever there are technical issues. You can tell the students are a bit more comfortable engaging in discussions in the informal setting.

Tia: I have found it quite challenging because I am the type of student who studies best in a library and prefer face-to-face engagement in class. I found that creating a routine is the best way to manage my time for both household matters and online learning. 

Jane: I make my own timetable and I do my best to stick to it.

Joel: It wasn’t a bad experience, but it did take some time to adjust.

What support have you had during the transition?

Kaweesha: Our tutor informed us of the likelihood of Deakin transitioning into online-learning beforehand. So during our last on-campus class, she made us set up Zoom accounts and we got the chance to test out an online class. This was extremely helpful as the online class ran smoothly the following week with a high attendance rate. 

Tia: The teaching staff have been very supportive during the transition.

Joel: The teaching staff in the School of Information Technologyhave been really supportive, providing all learning materials online using various technologies.

How does online study vary to having classes on campus?

Kaweesha: Online study requires a great deal of self-motivation since it’s just you and your computer at home. You are definitely more prone to getting distracted. Therefore, you have to set yourself a schedule and try to get through all the online content. Online lectures are also far less interactive. However, it helps to go on the discussion page to clarify and ask questions that I might have.

Joel: The only thing that lacks online studies is the face to face interactions with the professor. 

What are you enjoying about online study?

Kaweesha: I definitely enjoy sleeping in on an 8am lecture and maintaining a flexible schedule. I get to plan out when to watch a lecture according to my preference. It also helps to save travel time, which makes you feel like you have more hours in the day to get other things done.

Tia: The flexibility has been great. 

Jane: I can make my own timetable that suits me better. I can wake up a bit later and finish later. I can also do things at my own pace (either faster or slower) and make my own priority lists.

Joel: You can do it anywhere and anytime without any hassles. 

How are you connecting with your classmates during this period?

Kaweesha: My lecturers have been really helpful during this time. They keep us updated with any relevant information by posting messages on the unit site. They are also very interactive on the discussion forums and are prompt to reply to my emails. 

Tia: We try to connect through both Deakin’s Cloud Campus discussion area and social media. We have also formed a support group via Twitter with fellow communication students. Here we organise Zoom catch-ups so we can simply talk about what is going through our life and support each other.

Jane: We still have an online PBL class (Problem-Based Learning), so I still hear their voice and see their faces. We also use Facebook messenger to chat with each other. 

What is it like communicating with your lectures and tutors?

Kaweesha: My lecturers have been really helpful during this time. They keep us updated with any relevant information by posting messages on the unit site. They are also very interactive on the discussion forums and are prompt to reply to my emails.

Tia: They are very supportive. They understand the difficulties students are going through. I simply send emails to them if I have encountered any challenges and they provide support and help with timely responses. 

Have you faced any challenges?

Kaweesha: It was challenging to keep up with the weeks content and to make sure that I didn’t miss out on anything. To overcome this, I set up reminders on my phone for learning activities and planned out my schedule on a diary the week prior.

Tia: Mental health is surely one of the biggest challenges during this difficult time. I am lucky to live with my housemates instead of living alone, so I can still have face-to-face communication with real people. On the other hand, I started to work out at home every single day and it definitely improves my mindfulness! Even though I am not always as productive with study, I know I achieve something just by sticking to my workout plan. And this really boosts my moods.

Jane: I tend to “over-study” and with this much “free time” now sometimes I feel guilty of not using it to study and end up tiring myself physically and mentally from studying too much. I have realised my mistake and I now take small breaks in between lectures and set a time limit where I stop studying.

What are your top 3 tips for successful online study?

Kaweesha:
1. Turn on instant notifications on DeakinSync so you don’t miss out on any of your coursework or important emails.
2. Communicate with your friends. They can help you clarify your doubts and provide information that you missed out on.
3. Write down assignment due dates and exam dates and put it up somewhere you can easily see it. 

Tia:
1. Create a routine (remember to leave your routine with some time slots to relax and also leave some flexibility because things can happen).
2. Stick to your routine, but don’t blame yourself if you can’t keep up – not everyday is a productive day and you just need to acknowledge this and adjust.
3. Reward yourself because you absolutely deserve it!

Jane:
1. Stick to a timetable.
2. Have little breaks in between the tasks you set for the day.
3. Call/video call your family/partner/ friends and enjoy their “virtual” presence.

Joel: 
1. Stay connected through the internet.
2. Stay in touch with your network.
3. Stay home and stay safe. 

 

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to unfold around the world, we know that it is causing a great deal of uncertainty and disruption for students wanting to study internationally. Deakin is continuing to review and monitor the situation as it happens, and working to ensure all students can continue to receive a world-class education. Many Deakin degrees will be available for study online, with the option to transfer to on-campus study once travel restrictions are lifted. Students can also choose to defer their offer until a later intake. Visit our website to learn more.

 

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