Online study: top 10 tips for studying your online course

Thinking about giving online study a go? Nice one.

Studying online is a really smart move, especially if you’re looking to upgrade your existing qualifications, keen for a career change or even if you want to study your first uni course.

If you’ve never tried online study before, knowing where to start can bring a bit of uncertainty to the table. That’s normal, you’re about to start something new. So remember: that feeling means you’re about to do something worthwhile.

And if you study with Charles Sturt University you can be sure you’re in good hands because we’re Australia’s most experienced online uni.

So do yourself a favour right now – grab a cuppa, settle in and spend the next few minutes taking in our top tips for effective online study.

1. Organisation is key to online study success

Ask anyone who has been an online uni students and they will tell you the same thing: being organised will make you, but being unorganised can 100 per cent break you. So make it your top priority to be organised.

Use a calendar or diary to schedule your time. Write to-do lists. Get a head start on your readings. Establish a routine. Create a study space in your home. Organise your files.

Doing everything you can to ensure you’re across your course requirements will pay big dividends in the long run for your online study. You’ll be focused and ready to learn – with zero stress!

2. Get support from your family and friends

This is a big one. When you take on study – it’s a commitment. And things can get overwhelming at times. Between work, getting the kids off to school, sorting out dinner, work… whatever you’ve got going on in your life – it’s a lot.

That’s why it’s important to lean on others for support. Your family and friends are your biggest cheerleaders and want to see you succeed – so don’t be embarrassed to reach out when you need a little support. We guarantee they want to help.

3. Visualise your new and improved future

We’re playing the long game here guys. Studying online (and often part-time) means that we’re looking at a good couple of years of work ahead of us. It can be hard to stay focused on your why at times.

Think about the end goal.. Think about why you’re signing up for online study – and where you’ll end up. Positive visualisation is key. It’s a great way to keep yourself on track.

4. Establish a study schedule

You’ll need to set aside time for online learning – just as you would for attending face-to-face classes. Our advice? Start with a weekly calendar and input all your non-negotiables – like work, childcare, uni lectures and hobbies. From there, dedicate blocks of time to your online degree.

Ask yourself: are you a morning person or a night owl? Then schedule in your study at a time when you’re performing at your peak. Make sure you give yourself plenty of time to sit down and read through your materials and take care of assessments.

5. We’re here to help with your online study

At Charles Sturt, study support isn’t an add-on; it’s part of your experience. Whenever you need support on your study journey, we’ll be there. You can reach out online, over the phone or in person on any of our campuses.

Studying online means you have a whole range of dedicated study support options at your fingertips. We have online learning advisers available every day until 7pm. You can reach them by phone, email, Skype or online chat. We also have 24/7 IT support, so you’ll never have to stress-out about tech issues.

6. When things go wrong – hit reset

We think it’s okay to acknowledge studying online isn’t always going to be rainbows and sunshine – there will be hiccups along the way. But it’s what you do after those hiccups which will make a difference in the long run.

There’s lots of actions you can take to ease your stress if things are getting on top of you. You can reduce your subject load or take a semester off. Take the time you need to hit reset and get your head back in the game. But whatever you do – don’t give up!

7. Try a free online short course

Charles Sturt Uni has a fantastic free short course program called Study Link. There’s units in essay writing, online study skills, grammar, maths, science and more.

Study Link has a range of short, self-paced courses (delivered 100 per cent online) that you can take to fill knowledge gaps, enhance skills or just build your confidence.

It’s the ultimate study prep program, where you can choose the skills and knowledge you want to brush up on, and study them at your own pace in the run-up to your degree.

Whether it’s been a while since you last studied, or you want to put yourself in the best position to make the move from the workforce to uni – Study Link is a great way for you to brush up on your skills before you start classes.

8. Apply for online study scholarships and grants

Making the decision to get yourself qualified is one of the best things you can do in life. We want to support you to succeed. That’s why we’re 100 per cent her for our online students – especially when it comes to scholarships and grants.

It’s a common misconception, but scholarships are not just for school leavers or people studying on campus. At Charles Sturt, we have scholarships for all our students – from those just starting out to those at the cutting edge of research.

Because that’s what a scholarship is – support. It can take the pressure off, so that you can concentrate more on what you want to achieve through your online study.

9. Get comfortable with communicating online

When doing an online course, you don’t get the chance to have casual conversations with other students before class or catch your lecturer after class. So it’s really important to embrace online communication – because you’ll be doing a lot of it!

From emailing your lecturer and web chatting your classmates to posting in student forums and social media groups, good communication is key. A simple way to get keep your communication clear is to review your text before you hit send. Fix up any typos or grammatical mistakes and make sure you’re making sense!

10.Explore your opportunities outside study

Just because you’re studying online, doesn’t mean you’re staying put. There’s plenty of ways you can get involved in uni life – even if you’re an online student.

Follow Charles Sturt (and connect with your fellow students) on social media. Jump online and buy some Charles Sturt merch – and wear it with pride! There’s plenty of ways for you to have IRL experiences as an online student. Reach out to our friendly team for more ideas. 

Make online study your reality

More students choose to study online with Charles Sturt University than any other university in Australia. With more than 250 online courses you’ll definitely find what you’re looking for.

Our advice to you? Go for it. And don’t look back. All that’s left to do now is choose your course.