Social media plays a big part in connecting online students. Bachelor of Education (Primary) student Melanie Trinca is an active contributor to Swinburne Online’s Education Facebook Group, which has provided her with support and a strong sense of community.
“I have made several friends from the Facebook group and feel I have the support from so many more. It doesn’t matter what time of the day it is, you ask a question in the group and you get an answer and or support in no time,” Melanie said.
Melanie returned to study after an almost 20 year break since finishing high school. The 36-year-old found her dream of becoming a teacher was unachievable with on-campus study, so she took to studying online instead.
"Swinburne online was recommended to me as the online uni of choice based on the support available to students.
“I honestly don’t think I could have done as well if not for the support of the online communities. When things get a bit busy and stressful it’s such a great feeling to know there are others feeling the same.
“Even if it’s not study related, for example trouble or concerns with children, family or work, we are all there for each other.”
All of Swinburne Online subject specific Facebook groups are monitored by Student Liaison Officers (SLOs) to offer support and make sure correct information reaches students.
“With each Facebook Group, we have employed a high touch approach. We stay informed on any issues that may arise, make important announcements and reinforce that students are part of a community,” says Rebecca Nieuwenhof, SLO.
Melanie, who is from Wollongong NSW, says the Facebook groups have helped her network with other students across not only Australia, but the world.
“I have met people from all over Australia, even overseas. They include people from other parts of New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, South Australia and Northern territory. I have had conversations with classmates from New York and one based in Canada.
“I do feel more comfortable reaching out to people online, I am much more prepared to have a go and not concerned to get things wrong. I am also quite surprised that I have not been concerned about taking on the leader role when working in a group,” Melanie said.
After completing her online studies, Melanie hopes to become a teacher and further her education experience with post grad studies.
“I really do feel like Swinburne Online has given me the desire to learn as much as possible and allow me the chance to do it so that I feel like I have a purpose and some really worthwhile goals.”