Swinburne Online offer seven day support to its entire student community, delivered by its team of Student Liaison Officers. But on top of the administrative basics commonly offered by universities, the team is also trained to assist with technical and academic issues.
‘Many of the students are surprised to find that we are more than an administrative support system as they would expect. And many feel a sense of relief when they find out we can help them with numerous issues they may come across,’ says Camille Price, Swinburne Online Student Liaison Officer.
Student Liaison Officers, or SLOs, are on call and email from 9am-9pm on weekdays and 10am-6pm on weekends and public holidays. This level of service is an important offering for the online community given that students study on their own time—and their own time is often out of normal working hours.
‘Our students work full time or have family and other commitments that can make it difficult to access support between 9-5. This is why we offer off hour contact, so students have that extra time to get in touch,’ Camille says.
Swinburne Online’s SLO team come from a range of backgrounds including IT, teaching and academia. On top of this experience, they receive high level technical and academic training so they can provide a ‘one stop shop’ for student support.
The SLOs can provide a range of information above standard administrative support including: report writing, online collaboration tools, research skills, IT support related to online learning systems, course advice and also refer students to other support services like career counselling and student advocacy.
‘The calls we receive from students are sometimes the tip of the iceberg. We may get a student that needs help accessing their student email for the first time and then find out they don’t know how to reference in an essay and the support call evolves from there.
‘Step by step we offer a personalised experience for all our students so they can feel comfortable calling us for anything. And we regularly receive repeat calls from students building on the relationships already established.
‘Our team often goes above and beyond to make sure students feel at ease with the learning process and there’s nothing better than hearing a student say “I feel better now”,’ Camille says.
Swinburne Online students are encouraged to access every bit of support available to them so they can have a smooth learning experience. The SLOs are an intricate part of Swinburne Online’s approach to creating a learning community where students are fully supported throughout their journey.
‘Our students are amazing. Most of them are studying while working full time or have a family to look after and we just want to make their experience as enriching as possible.’