Deakin University shares the do’s and don’ts of online learning

19 August 2020

In the past few months we’ve become thrown into a lot of online activities, and it looks like it’s going to be our daily routine for a while yet. Universities have quickly adapted to the challenge of delivering content online. Maybe this is finally the moment you’ve been waiting for—attending class in pajamas from the comfort of your home. Or maybe you’re a bit stressed about the thought of not having a set schedule on campus each day.

studying online
Studying online takes determination!

So, what’s the key to success?

According to Deakin University’s Dr Adam Brown, who has taught digital media and communication online for years, motivation is the answer!

He now has hundreds of students who are successfully working, communicating, and networking on social media now, and he said that they frequently mention “motivation” in their posts.

In order to stay motivated, Dr Brown says that students will have to find ways to stay inspired. While many students may be inspired by the traditional classroom environment, seeing certain instructors, or working with peers, the switch to online learning means that students will have to discover new ways to find that spark!

Do: Gamify your studies

While there’s no singular solution that works for everyone, there’s an app for almost everything these days. Dr Brown suggests apps like habitica, Microsoft to-do, and todoist to give students some motivational notifications and a bit of a sense of structure. Students can design their learning structure by entering daily tasks or deadlines into these apps.

Or maybe you’re you a procrastinator and frequently find focus broken by scrolling through Instagram or TikTok? Try an app like Forest that rewards you for not looking at your phone.

Don’t: Get lost

When you’re sitting at home alone it can be tempting to just work on projects or studying as deadlines come up, but that probably isn’t the best idea.

Instead, get a sense of what’s expected of your studies and engage early on. Make sure you understand your new educational setting, stay in touch with instructors and peers, and really engage with the materials that are being provided.

You’ll get out of your studies whatever you put in. So ask questions, dedicate the necessary time, and ensure you have all the materials you need.

Do: Reflect on the way you learn best

Like to sleep in and work late? Or maybe your early to bed, early to rise? Online studying means you have more options!

But, with great flexibility and freedom comes great responsibility! Take the opportunities that your instructors offer but search out your own as well. Maybe this means organizing an online study group so you have a chance to check-in and compare concepts with your peers. Maybe this means you start listening to educational podcasts on your daily jog.

No matter what your preference is, Dr Brown stresses that structure is crucial. Once you find something that works, keep it up in order to keep yourself motivated and in the study mindset.

Don’t: Speak or act in ways you wouldn’t face-to-face

In emails to your instructor, chats with your peers on social media, or video conferences with your class, you want to have the same level of professionalism that you normally would in face-to-face interactions.

Just because there’s now a screen between you doesn’t mean that tact and responsibility are no longer an expectation. Take this as an opportunity to develop effective online communication skills. Not only will it help you succeed in your courses, but it will also be valued for basically any job you take in the future!

Do: Appreciate the challenge

There’s no denying it’s a daunting task. There will be times when you’ll want to put your laptop away and watch your favourite show all day, and there will be days when you are trying to keep your eyes open while you get enough coffee into your system to concentrate.

It’s okay to have off days, it happens even in normal classroom settings. But the important part is how you overcome those feelings.

You’re learning real world skills by studying online. Creating structure, finding initiative, and demonstrating self-management at a time when no one can implement these for you will show future employers that you’re up for whatever task they are about to throw your way!

Deakin University

Located on the outskirts of multicultural Melbourne, Deakin University aims to be Australia’s most progressive university—relevant, innovative and responsive in all its activities. Established in 1974, Deakin is also considered one of Australia’s fastest-growing research universities, and is rated #31 in the QS Top 50 Universities Under 50!

OzTREKK students will be happy to learn that Deakin offers a cutting-edge Doctor of Medicine program!


Do you have any questions about Deakin University? Let us know! Contact us at or call toll free in Canada at 1-866-698-7355, and find out how you can study in Australia.