Thinking about studying online but have some hesitations?
It can be hard enough to understand how it works all, without the confusing terminology thrown in the mix. And if no one in your family has been through the higher education system before – how do you determine the myths versus the reality?
In case you missed it, Uni has changed dramatically over the past two decades. It’s now more inclusive for everyone to take part in and has lost much of its ‘elitist’ culture. The online (or distance) mode of study has evolved (and even dare we say), even become embraced. It has given students (at any stage of life) the convenience of balancing work, study, family and fun on their time, from wherever they live!
According to Inside Higher Ed, “a third of all students now take at least one online course”.
Despite its success, there are still misconceptions that arise around affordability, support, validity and the extent of courses available – so we’re going to debunk some of the common myths associated with studying online… read on to find the facts.
MTYH #1: I can’t afford uni
When you think of university does your bank account shudder? Let’s change that.
This is the biggest myth about uni in general.
There’s a lot more financial help out there than you realise – because now more than ever before, the government WANTS you to enrol, succeed and dive into the workforce straight away.
You can access assistance to pay your tuition, and your mode of study doesn’t affect your ability to access the Higher Education Loan Program (HELP). Visit Study Assist to see which program you can qualify for to help remove up-front costs to tertiary education by providing income contingent loans. Some courses offer a Commonwealth Supported Places (CSPs) which means the total cost of your study is split into two parts – the Australian Government pays the subsidy, while you pay for your student contribution amount.
On top of this, the Australian Government provides financial help through the Department of Human Services via a serious of fortnightly payments. If eligible, you may also be able to access these payments (such as Youth Allowance, Austudy, ABSTUDY and even get a Low Income Health Care Card). Then of course you can claim ‘student’ status for pricing at various events, online shopping, your local cinema and more.
As an added the bonus, the Murray River Study Hub has a range of scholarships on offer through the help of our education partners – see more here.
Myth #2: I won’t get the same level of support
Trust us – you won’t be left out in the cold to handle dilemmas on your own. Our experienced and passionate MRSH student advisors Shaun Harris and Rachel Butterworth are always here to listen and lend support over the phone, email or in person at our campuses.
Although you’ll have less opportunities to interact face-to-face with peers or teachers than your internal counterparts, you can still visit our campuses to meet up with your study group and use our resources to access Skype calls or your virtual classroom. The same of time you can have with your teachers is the same, you’re just more likely to see them on a screen than in person.
You’ll also have the support from the partner universities we work with to deliver the courses (CQU and Flinders). Both have been delivering online and mixed mode courses to people all over Australia for years now, and they know the ins-and-outs of supporting remote students.
Almost everything is just one-click-away online (including study material, scholarly articles, journal databases, and other academic resources) – so you’re well supported each step of the way (and some would argue even more so in the on-site mode of uni).
Myth #3: My computer literacy isn’t good enough to study online
Hey, you’ve found your way to read this – that’s a pretty good start!
But seriously, as long as you have basic computer skills, you’re already heading in the right way to engage in online studies.
Every student is given step-by-step support, either via written manuals, click-throughs online, or via phone/video hook-ups. Our university partners are trained in supporting people with limited knowledge in technology on how they can easily complete their studies online – and it’s really only the super high-tech courses that you need those extra skills for anyway – your brain is the biggest asset for most disciplines!
As mentioned above all of our students have access to support services. A quick visit to one of our campuses or a phone call, will solve your dilemma.
Myth #4: Studying online is ‘the easy route’ AND an online degree isn’t a ‘real’ degree
In the current era, it’s becoming hard to find an employer who doesn’t have at least one qualification that was achieved digitally. Completing your degree online gives you the exact same industry qualification and significance, as someone who chose a traditional on-campus mode of study. If anything, your ability to study online proves your increased capabilities in the space of time-management, responsibility, initiative, autonomous project management, proactivity and commitment – skills desired by your future employers.
Myth #5: My dream course isn’t available online
Your study options aren’t limited because of your study mode. While it’s unrealistic for every single field to be offered online – there are still an increasing amount of practical courses that are becoming suitable for online learning, and as telecommunication and technology improvements are made each this – the way in which they’re delivered become more innovative and bring the world closer than ever before! Some of the more popular courses offered online include teaching (early childhood to secondary), accounting, nursing, law, agriculture and much more (this is the VERY short list).
Check out just a few of the courses we offer here (but don’t panic if the course you want to study isn’t listed, just drop us a line via our Expression of Interest (EOI) form and we’ll do our best to bring your preferred course to our hub so you can stay living, working and playing in the Murraylands and Riverland).
Now that you know these truths, are you ready to kick-start your online study and make a move towards climbing that corporate ladder, creating a new career, setting yourself for a pay rise or finally studying that passion you’ve always dreamed of?
The Murray River Study Hub brings with it an opportunity like never before. We no longer have to swap regional living for the city (and certainly shouldn’t feel like we need to rule out uni as an option altogether).
Our Hub gives Riverland and Murraylands communities the convenient, economical option to stay local from the beginning of your studies, all the way through to when you land your first job after graduating.