Never listen to naysayers and count yourself out. Beth didn’t. Through hard work and perseverance she pursued admission into a Bachelor of Business with a Major in Accounting through Swinburne Online. She is one of the recipients of the Lew Jenkins award, having attained the highest score for her auditing subject, and is now on the cusp of graduation, looking forward to the doors her bachelor degree will open for her career.
Formalise your workplace experience and knowledge with an online qualification
Growing up on a dairy farm in Victoria, Beth completed her formal education in year 10 and commenced work at 16 – not an unusual path for farming children at the time, for whom university meant a host of additional costs such as transport, board and university fees.
Without any regrets she embarked on a varied career, eventually working as an Executive Assistant to the manager of the local shire council, and operating a successful beef farming enterprise on King Island with her husband.
Over this time Beth witnessed the workforce become increasingly focused on paper qualifications, limiting her career prospects despite the wealth of skills she had developed.
It was in 2009 that Beth began researching online qualifications.
Finding the way forward with Swinburne Online
When she first began looking into further study, Beth’s having not completed Year 12 30 years prior proved to be a considerable obstacle. This was in spite of her subsequent TAFE qualifications: a Certificate III and Certificate IV in Business Administration, and a Diploma of Business.
After a rejection from one university, Beth’s “fighting spirit took hold”, and she contacted Swinburne University of Technology.
“I chose Swinburne Online because Swinburne had a good reputation, offered an appropriate course – a course that awarded the identical qualification that students attending on-campus receive, and I could study from a remote location”
She commenced her course in November 2013, and was able to consolidate her professional experience of accounting bookwork with formal education, and to do so at her own pace.
Live, love, study – the online learning format
Beth discovered that online study suited her to a tee, allowing her to work, run her business and fulfil her family commitments while she maintained a manageable study schedule.
While she hadn’t studied online before, she found the online learning management system easy to use, the learning materials particularly helpful, and best of all were the connections she was able to make with both eLearning Advisors (eLAs) and her peers: “The eLAs have been fantastic, and corresponding through Blackboard, Canvas and dedicated Facebook groups has allowed me to feel part of a collective student group”.
The collaborative learning format of the course was a standout, particularly when it came to the quality of the learning. For Beth, participating in weekly activities and discussion boards was an ideal way of grappling with the complex subject matter – “talking issues through, bouncing ideas, and confirming concepts” – all of which contributed to a high-quality learning experience.
An opportunity to branch out, upskill, and cultivate meaningful connections
Studying online offered Beth the chance to make meaningful connections with a range of peers she may not have connected with otherwise.
“I have made some wonderful friends through online communication. I have discovered other students that have similar stories to mine, and I don’t feel so unusual or alone.”
These connections were reinforced when, in 2018, Beth participated in a ‘Uni Girls Weekend’ on the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria, organised in the spirit of camaraderie with the peers she’d spent so much time learning alongside and forming close bonds with.
Ultimately Beth acknowledges that while study can be at times difficult and time-consuming, the reward for completing a degree is well worth it – for the positive change it makes to your career prospects, and above all the meaningful connections made along the way.