There are many reasons why it’s important to stay connected with other students during your studies. Especially when you may also be juggling work and family life, your study community is not only for academic collaboration, but also a critical social support network for this part of your world.
If you’re studying externally, you’ll be doing most of your interacting with classmates online, but even if you do have full or part time contact hours, much of the new world of university social and student networking still happens through social media, so knowing what’s what can help you stay connected and help you excel academically. Social Media can also help you to stay involved in CDU’s student life and activities, even when you’re not on campus.
Learnline is your student lifeline
Charles Darwin University offers all students access to their course units online through the comprehensive Learnline system. By logging in with the same student number and password you use to access your CDU computer account, you enter a world of online learning and interaction with your lecturers and fellow classmates.
In your Learnline account you access details about each unit you are enrolled in, like lecturer contact info, set texts and other resources, as well as handy tools like a calendar for assessment deadlines and class dates, unit announcements and recent activity, and access to your grades and feedback.
One of the most valuable features of Learnline is the online classroom environment, where you are fully connected to your classmates through live text chat as well as audio and video, and a shared interactive whiteboard.
Your online classroom and other class forums are a great place to ask questions, share resources and brainstorm. They’re also dedicated solely to the purpose of learning, meaning you’ll have no distractions when you need to keep your mind on the books.
Social media for social communities
Social Media in its many forms is scattered all through our lives these days, and that’s no different when it comes to student life. Getting connected through channels like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and YouTube will help you to get to classmates and others in your uni community on a more personal level, and helps to ward off feelings of isolation if you’re not on campus very often.
Discussion forums, Facebook Groups and LinkedIn networks can also be used to create communities outside of your own Learnline classes, whether they be social groups within the uni, or industry chat forums in the field you’re heading towards. Don’t be shy when joining or suggesting these groups, this is your chance to start immersing yourself in your new world, and you’re bound to have plenty in common with others doing the same.
These social connections with like-minded individuals can also last long after your coursework is finished, making important network contacts for life in your new career or simply friends for life.
Tools of the trade for your juggling act
There are so many tools and apps that make working and connecting online easier, and these can be your best friend if you’re trying to manage a busy schedule of study, work, family and social commitments. You can’t be everywhere at once of course, but clever use of online tools can make it seem that way when you need to be.
Online document sharing with tools like Google Docs and Dropbox mean you can take your office with you anywhere, and collaborate on projects seamlessly. Video chat tools like Skype, FaceTime and Google+ can help you stay connected, not only with your classmates, but sometimes with important work meetings or to kiss the kids goodnight in person if you need to be out at night sometimes. It’s these little things that can really make the difference when you’re working hard towards a new goal.
Whether you’re looking at ways to connect online, or joining in student activities on campus, remember that most of the people here are trying to connect too. You’re all diving into new worlds with your study, and you have plenty in common because of this, so don’t be afraid to ask a question, start a conversation, float an idea or suggest a catch up; who knows where your new connections could take you?