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What’s it like to study online?

16 February 2017

Online education is a relatively new concept for many Australian students. For a long time, we have been constrained to the bricks and mortar tertiary institution; now there are options for postgraduate students to learn and further their careers—no matter their location or work commitments.

Online Master of Healthcare Leadership (MHL) student, Madeline Gilkes, shares her experience with Southern Cross so far and provides some tips for success to current and prospective students.

What initially attracted you to studying your Masters online?

I wanted to study my Masters with SCU Online because it allowed one unit at a time to be studied. My first child was nearly one-year-old when I commenced study. I needed flexible study arrangements to allow me to have quality family time, be able to work to meet our financial needs and fulfil my academic and professional goals.

How did you find balancing online study with your other commitments?

Southern Cross University’s MHL has so far been great for achieving work/family/life balance. I didn't even need to take a study break or request extensions with my course, despite having my second baby a few months ago!

Was there anything that you found particularly difficult?

There have not been any particularly difficult study moments. I have actually been trying to increase my workload to finish faster.

Was online study what you expected it to be?

Yes—the platform is easy to navigate and the online discussions have been flexible. I have been able to contribute to discussions when it suits my family and work schedule. It has been great not to have to attend live webinars or discussions, I can do this in my own time.

If there was one lesson that you learnt from the entire experience, what would that be?

The course itself has provided many great lessons. My favourite has been using humanistic management. Luckily, I am a very dedicated and organised person, which definitely helps to succeed with online study. You need to be self-motivated.

Madeline's tips for online study success

To help others be fully prepared for the online study experience, here are Madeline’s top five tips for success:

  1. Access the course guides, e-readings and assignment outlines as soon as possible (you can usually access your unit a week before the official start date). Making a head start will help you get organised, and it will give you extra time later to edit assignments further or hand them in early to give yourself a break later.
  1. Organise yourself with a calendar for each unit and study period. You may wish to include when you need to contribute to online discussions or when your assignments are due. Planning is necessary to succeed.
  1. Write on your calendar which days you will dedicate to which aspect of study. For example, the first Monday of your study period may be assigned to week one activities and discussion posts. Discipline and commitment to a schedule will help you achieve your qualification.
  1. Make time to have a life outside of your study. Write down your social time on your calendar, if need be. You need to maintain your well being, greater life purpose and relationships. And, you need to let your brain relax!
  1. Help other students in need. Be altruistic and beneficent—or even think karma. You may need help at times, too! Helping others to succeed is rewarding, as you will have contributed positively to someone's quality of life.

Learn more about our leading online postgraduate courses at Southern Cross University Online. Give our team of dedicated Student Enrolment Advisors a call on 1300 589 882 to discuss your online study options.