Top tips for studying an online or distance course

Educational institutions are offering more and more courses that can be studied online and via correspondence. These courses allow students the freedom to work full time while completing a course and to fit study into their own schedule.

It also means courses can be studied anywhere, without the hassle of having to travel far distances.

Dave Thackray, who lives in Hornsby, is completing a Bachelor of Arts in sociology online through the University of New England and Allana Hearne, who lives in Newtown and is completing her degree in Building and Construction Management online through the University of Newcastle. Dave and Allana revealed their top three tips for studying an online or distance course.


1. Get involved in the online discussion boards and chat groups – it makes you feel much less anonymous and gives you the opportunity to ask questions and put forth ideas the way you would in a tutorial.

2. Like all study, don’t leave everything to the last minute. Because you don’t have to physically be there it’s really easy to let the weeks slip by. Stick to the schedule as much as possible.

3. If you need help, ask for it. Remember that there is student support, you can email lecturers or tutors and they will help, and are happy to do it. Just because there’s no face-to-face contact doesn’t mean they don’t care about their students.


1. Separate your University space and study time from whatever other stuff you have going on. It’s much more effective if you are in “Uni mode” and not “home mode”.

2. Recognise that it still takes a bucket load of time to get Uni work done. Regardless of whether you're sitting around at home staring at stuff, or in a classroom, you are still doing the same degree, just in your own time.

3. If you are studying while working don't study what you do for work - when you get paid to do something it's a painful thing to come home and do more of what you did all day and have to pay for the right to do it!