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Plenty of positives in the transition to online study

Her experience of learning online has led commerce student Akshitha Vijayan to embrace its potential.

Akshitha Vijayan, who’s in her first year of a Bachelor of Commerce at Deakin’s Burwood Campus, has made the new study model work for her. She tells us how she’s done it and why she plans to continue her new learning habits even after the return to on-campus teaching.

How have you found studying online this trimester?

While it’s definitely been a big transition for the whole Deakin community, some students have discovered new ways of learning and embraced the opportunities of flexible study arrangements.

How have things changed for you with the move to 100% online teaching?

Well, things have definitely changed a lot. I used to love being on campus, moving from one lecture theatre to another, attending seminars, making new friends in each class and hanging out with them on the beautiful Burwood Campus. The news of the transition to online teaching was quite disheartening. Initially, I was intimidated by the fact that all learning activities would be conducted online, but the plethora of resources made available to all students via Deakin Cloud made study much easier and more convenient.

Do you still feel like you’re in touch with lecturers and classmates?

100% YES! The seminar tutorials are as interactive as they would have been if they were on campus. A few of my tutors open the seminar virtual rooms 30 minutes prior to class so students can chat among ourselves and talk about how quarantine is treating all of us. We continue our group activities and discussions online, and I personally enjoy my classes with such lovely, supportive and enthusiastic tutors.

What’s the best communication tool you’ve used?

Zoom meetings – the unit teams run a number of assignment support sessions and they also allow us to book an appointment for one-to-one assistance. It’s so convenient to get my doubts cleared on a Zoom meeting with my seminar leader. I have also used Zoom meeting rooms for group assignment tasks with fellow team members. 

How are you feeling overall?

I feel tremendously confident in learning online and using different virtual communication tools. I’m thankful to Deakin for making various resources available for the students and helping them incorporate technology-based engagement into their studies.

Has this experience changed the way you think about your studies?

I would have never thought of taking up a unit to study on the Deakin Cloud Campus until this transition happened due to COVID-19. After experiencing the amount of help available to students via Deakin Cloud, I’m planning to take up a few units to study online in Trimester 3 this year. The initial hesitation that I had towards online learning has become an opportunity to create my own study environment and space. I’ve learned about the significance of initiative and self-motivation to keep up with the non-traditional study systems.

Anything else you’d like to share?

I highly recommend students browse through the numerous online resources and take advantage of them to improve their overall online study experience. I’ve found the Smartthinking 24/7 resource to be really helpful as they respond to queries and provide feedback on pieces of writing within a short span of time. The Library support service and study mentors have also helped me improve and progress through this online trimester.