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How Do You Study An Online Postgraduate Program?
Most of the basics rules of successfully studying for an online masters or other online postgraduate program are similar to those you need to apply when studying an on-campus course, for starters you need to be disciplined, motivated and interested in your postgraduate study topic to maintain productivity. But there are a few differences when it comes to online postgraduate study compared to a taught course on campus. In this article we outline some key elements to achieving success when studying an online postgraduate course.
Create a timetable
Knowing when you are going to work on your online masters or other online PG program will help you get into the right frame of mind for study. Even if you do not have live video conferencing lectures of seminars to attend, putting aside the same time each week to read the material or watch recorded lectures will help you get it done. Having the same hour or two each day to do reading or researching will keep you on track and ensure that you will fit in other commitments and work.
Maintain regular contact with your supervisor
The importance of maintaining regular contact with your PG supervisor is the same regardless of whether you are studying online or on-campus, but it’s fair to say that keeping in touch with your supervisor will make a huge difference to your success with online masters studies. Getting to know your supervisor will also help if you have a problem, academic or even personal, and this is especially true if you're not having contact during your online masters like video conferencing. Send emails if you are having a problem and most supervisors will be happy to take a phone call now and again to discuss any problems you might have.
Have a designated workspace
If you have a place that you always study in, then you will find it so much easier to start studying and to keep going. It's handy to keep all of your study materials in the same spot and it will help you relax if you can store it all away or close the door to a designated study. Relaxing and getting away from the computer and the books are also important aspects of successful online studying.
Don't take on too much
This is much harder than you think as you often won't realise you've taken on too much until it's too late and you already have too much on your plate. Before you begin your online studies, make sure you’ve got the time to study effectively and then protect that time carefully. This can sometimes be easy when you consider voluntary work, but it’s fairly tough to turn down paid work, especially if you’re self-employed.
Keep on top of your studies
A little bit of studying every day will help a great deal in keeping on top of your work or knowing you’ve got a big bit of allotted free time available at the weekend will keep you calm. Getting stressed out about how much work you have to do on your online postgraduate course can easily prevent you from actually getting started, so planning your studies will help keep you a good frame of mind.
Connect with other online students
Social media and your university’s online systems will allow you to communicate and connect with your fellow students. Many social media platforms will have associated student groups with your university, department and course, which you should join early on to give you a sense of belonging. It will also help with your research and you will get to know other students through these systems.
Make the most of online resources
With a fully online course, you will find that plenty of resources will be entirely online. Most textbooks and recently published books have e-book formats and university libraries have excellent access to these. In addition to this many lecturers will put chapters of books not available online in your online resources. Depending on your field of study, you might find that you never need an actual book, which is very handy both in terms of keeping costs down and if you are living some distance from the nearest library.
What do students feel about studying alone?
How you feel about studying at home or under your own steam is an important aspect of online postgraduate study and how successful it is, and surveys illustrate that the majority of students are quite happy with studying alone. For example here are the results of a recent survey of how Australian students felt about studying alone.
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