Returning to uni for a postgraduate course online: why Ellen chose Charles Sturt for both her degrees

Ellen Robinson considers studying to be one of her hobbies. And she’s aiming to get herself what she calls “a nice portfolio of qualifications”. Ellen graduated from Charles Sturt University in 2017 with distinction in her Bachelor of Education (Birth to Five Years), having studied the degree online. She thought it would be the end of her university education – in fact, it was just the start. Ellen felt the need to continue to learn, so she decided to head back to uni to complete her master’s. And returning to uni for a postgraduate course online with Charles Sturt was an easy decision.

Why Ellen chose an online course for her postgrad

This time around, Ellen is studying our Master of Education online. She says studying in a classroom was never an option for her.

“I have loved studying with Charles Sturt. And I knew if I could choose to study online again, I would – and I did! I wouldn’t study any other way.

“Online learning suits me perfectly. I’m able to still work as a teacher, but also learn. Studying online means that I can manage my own work/life/study balance.

“Plus I find that I would get frustrated in a classroom setting as I wouldn’t be able to work at my own pace.”

“Studying at home, I can work at my own pace, in the comfort of my pyjamas with my cat by my side.”

Ellen’s top tips for studying an online course

Ellen is proof that studying online won’t hold you back – she received the Dean’s Award for Academic Excellence twice in her undergraduate teaching course. Not that it didn’t take hard work, but for Ellen, being organised was key to getting the most out of her online course. Here are Ellen’s top tips for how she did it.

“My mantra is: plan, plan, plan.

“Have all of your resources ready before session starts. I print my resources and readings so I can highlight important parts.

“Set aside time each day or at least every second day to study and work through the online modules.

“I generally don’t study past 8pm because I know how important ‘me time’ is.

“And if you can, make your study relevant to your work. Base your assessments on something that you are currently working on.”

Oh, and one last piece of advice:

“Attend your online meetings with your facilitator, they are very informative and have saved my butt many times!”

That’s a good point, because when you’re studying online, support is only a click away when you need it.

Individual academic skills support is available when you book a 30-minute appointment. It can be via Skye, phone, online video or through email. Whatever works for you. Whether it’s coming to grips with academic writing again, or building literacy or numeracy skills, we can help – and our advisers can even design an individual learning plan for you.

And if you have just a quick question about academic writing, you can ask an academic skills adviser by posting your question on our online forum. It’s checked seven days a week and you’re guaranteed to get an answer within 24 hours. (Mostly it’s much faster than that!)

Did you know? If you’ve previously graduated from Charles Sturt, you get a 10 per cent discount on your fees when you choose any full fee-paying postgraduate course.

Online learning is connected learning

Connection doesn’t stop with your teachers and advisers; it’s also part of studying with your ‘classmates’. Studying an online course means being connected to a community, as Ellen found.

“A memorable moment would be during my very first module, joining a Facebook group with a few other students and being able to share the journey with them.

“I often think of the support we gave to each other and how we celebrated each other’s achievements – I don’t think I’d be where I am today without them.” 

“I came back to Charles Sturt a second time and I feel just as supported and a part of the online community as I did last time.”

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You can do this

When you start a postgraduate online course you may well get a sense of empowerment – just like Ellen did.

“I realised that I can do this. That obtaining a postgraduate university qualification is not out of my reach. I think this pushes me to work my hardest. What’s more, it has provided me with experiences and knowledge that I didn’t know were possible.”

So where do you want to go? From postgraduate online short courses to full degrees – Charles Sturt University has 100 per cent online courses that will get you there. Let’s get started.