“User-friendly, 24/7 support and effective” — that’s how Shuk Fai Law (Maggie) would describe her online learning experience with Charles Darwin University (CDU). After just one visit, Maggie, who had fallen in love with Darwin, was due to commence her studies in person at CDU’s Casuarina campus. Casuarina campus is the largest campus and the main hub for Higher Education, Vocational Education and Training (VET), and Research programmes. Located in Darwin’s Larrakia country, the campus is set in 56 hectares of parkland with access to the finest in Darwin’s tropical outdoor lifestyle.
Maggie could not wait to start her degree there. When the pandemic struck, however, she could not travel to Australia at first. Determined not to delay her studies, she started studying online in Hong Kong and quickly discovered many of CDU’s online campus advantages. Although apprehensive initially, it wasn’t long before she found it to be a set-up for success.
Systematic and supportive platforms ensured her learning stayed on course. Starting her programme online also allowed her to build connections and prepare for the Australian lifestyle.
“Learnline is a great platform that allows students to go into online classrooms with ease,” Maggie explains. “Lecturers can display the teaching materials prepared through the screen clearly. As well as typing words in the chatroom, both lecturers and students can communicate well with each other through microphones and cameras.”
Soon, she was invited to be part of the first charter flight to return international students to Australia — a historic feat considering its borders were closed to most non-citizens. “CDU is a caring university that has put great effort into arranging this charter flight,” she says. “I am very lucky to be one of the first international students to return to Australia.”
On arrival at the Howard Springs Quarantine Facility, Maggie joined the online sessions by CDU, including both interest classes and academic workshops. “I started my revision on LANTITE (The Literacy and Numeracy Test for Initial Teacher Education Students), so that I could be fully prepared before taking the literacy and numeracy tests in the near future,” she shares. She also took the opportunity to study for her driving theory test.
World-class on-campus and online
A CDU education is world-class. Ranked second in Australia for undergraduate starting salaries and full-time employment by the Good Universities Guide 2020, the university prepares students to become future-ready professionals with digital knowledge, skills and mindsets. How is this achieved? Through teaching and learning, research, engagement, Indigenous leadership and internationalisation. From programmes in Accounting; Business; Communications and Design and Culinary Arts to Engineering; Hair and Beauty Services; Health and Education, there’s something for everyone at CDU.
This same excellence is found in its online courses. As an e-learning pioneer, CDU has almost 20 years of experience in online education.
CDU knows what works and what doesn’t when it comes to online learning— it’s why CDU online students learn just as efficiently as their on-campus peers. Learnline, the online learning platform, allows students to engage with lecturers and fellow students in live online classes; share audio and video; text chat; record and download sessions; submit assessments; view grades and feedback; and stay connected on the go.
In 2020, CDU launched the “Ultra” experience — a clear, simple and responsive design that looks good and works well no matter what device students use, be it mobile, tablet or desktop computer.
“It’s easy to access the online classroom — you just need a microphone, internet and focus,” shares Master of Professional Accounting student Huijia (Vicky) Liu. “Online study eventually saves time. You don’t need to wake up early and travel to campus. My lecturers and tutors provided extra support to make our transition as smooth as they can.”
According to the two most authoritative reviews comparing in-person to online learning to date, researchers found that online students with a facilitator or mentor on hand do just as well as their on-campus peers. Sometimes, even better. CDU has recently launched a new Buddy Program for online students, pairing current online students with new commencing online students. There are many benefits of a program such as this; however, one of the main benefits is getting students ready early to study online and them having a point of contact with other students in a similar situation to help support them.
CDU’s e-learning incorporates this approach broadly. When COVID-19 made international travel almost impossible, Le (Heather) Wang had to start her Master of Professional Accounting (Professional Practice) online.
With easily accessible support services, she was comfortable and confident from the beginning. “All my lecturers and tutors provided me with extra support to make my study as smooth as possible,” she shares. “The staff at the international student office, Student Central and IT team were very approachable and supportive. They acted amazingly and extremely efficiently to amend any problems.”
If you have any questions about online studies at CDU, book a 30-minute appointment with a Regional Marketing Manager online.
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