Support services examples of effective practice

Online and flexi students receive personalised check-in

In Week 7, Semester Two, the Student Futures team sent a personalised email Collection of support selfie imagesout to all online and flexi students, checking in with them. The email was aimed to reduce isolation of online students by letting them know that feelings of stress at this time of semester were normal. Being online reduces the interactions students have with one another, which prevents them from understanding whether or not their levels of stress are normal or not.  The email also contains information about support services that can reduce a student’s stress or anxiety regarding both uni work and personal pressures.

Students are were invited to reply to the email if they need anything, even if was just a little bit of motivation. The Student Futures team then sent every student that replied, a Support Selfie. These personalised messages included reassurance that the student was doing well, that the University was thinking of them and that they can keep going. Each message was tailored to suit the requesting student’s needs. Every recipient of a Support Selfie is logged, and at the end of Semester the Student Futures team checks in with the student again to see how they went and to congratulate them on all that they have achieved.

Returning residential students offered more flexibility

FedUni Living is currently promoting their Live Your Way initiative for returning residential students. Evidence shows that attrition rates for students who live on campus are lower than those who do not (see research). While FedUni has, for some time, offered a first year accommodation guarantee for commencing full-time students, they are now able to offer returning students greater choices in where they live and who they live with.

The ability to share accommodation with friends you have made in your first year of uni study is sure to give returning students a deeper sense of connection. Friendships bonded at university are often lifelong, founded in mutual support and experiences. The introduction of this initiative is aimed at supporting returning students, giving them more flexibility, and contributing to a positive university experience.

For more information on this initiative, and living on res, please contact FedUni Living.

Online student support

The Student Retention and Success strategic plan aligns to Priority 1 of the BOLD Learning and Teaching Plan 2015-2017. This priority focuses on facilitating the highest quality of learning possible for each student.

As FedUni moves forward and creates an enhanced blended on-line and digital teaching platform, Student Futures has identified an opportunity to provide support services previously only available to on-campus students. These services have been redesigned and enhanced specifically to prepare and support our online student cohort, providing an example of effective practice in developing excellent customer service.

Mentor program

Previously, every commencing online student on campus was allocated a Mentor, who was available to support them through the semester. Student Futures has now advanced this program to include support to online students. Mentors are available to students for live chat and forum discussions through the online student Moodle forum, and also assist in moderating the Facebook community. Familiarise yourself with the mentor program and recommend it to your students.

FedUni Online Student Hub in Moodle

Online undergraduate students studying via ODL, FLXB, FLXG or studying TG5 at a FedUni campus are enrolled in a Moodle shell which simulates a digital campus. The Moodle shell contains an online student common room chat which hosts a digital ASK Service, as well as an Adobe Connect digital classroom where students can have online appointments with Learning Skills Advisors. Other support areas can host chats for online students to engage them with their services. Students are kept up to date with weekly themes and what is happening in the FedUni Online world. There is also a separate shell for student orientation called Getting Started at FedUni which inducts all commencing higher education (undergraduate and postgraduate) students into university life.

FedUni online students Facebook group

The FedUni Online Students Facebook Group is a place for our online students to connect with online mentors, network with other students, ask questions, get study support and make friends. The group is moderated by FedUni online mentors who can help get you settled as a FedUni online student. The aim of this Facebook group is to create and promote a sense of community for students studying online. To join this group, you must be verified as a FedUni online student.

FedUni online Facebook page

On-campus students are connected to their campus on Facebook and now online students are too. The difference between this Facebook page and the online students Facebook page is that this is more like a campus location page dedicated to students studying online.  News, opportunities, events which are more focused to online students are promoted on the FedUni Online Facebook page while campus-specific news is posted to each campus Facebook page.

FedReady online

The FedReady program is an established, successful two-week facilitated course which has now been designed to be delivered to online students. FedReady Online covers modules such as essay writing, assignment submission, referencing, online student etiquette, and introduces students to a range of skills required for successful online study. The program is run twice a year, prior to commencement of each semester and is not limited to commencing students. Enrolment from new and continuing online and face-to-face students is welcomed. Find out more about FedReady Online or register on the FedReady web page.

ASK

Academic Skills and Knowledge (ASK) is a first point of contact service available in the library (for on-campus students), staffed by experienced Student Academic Leaders. Online students are able to access this service by phone, email, web enquiry form, Twitter, or Facebook. Students can use this service for assistance with academic writing, referencing, study skills, exam prep and more. Find out more on the 'ASK a FedUni student for help' web page.

YourTutor

YourTutor is an online one-on-one tutoring service available from 3pm – 12m Sunday to Friday. While this is an external service, FedUni provides free access to all enrolled students. YourTutor can be accessed via Moodle and you can talk to a qualified tutor about topics such as maths, science, research, writing skills, essay writing help or time management. Find out more on the 'After hours online tutoring' web page.

Check Mate

Check Mate is a free online assignment review service accessible through YourTutor Moodle. Students can get feedback on all aspects of their assignment from content accuracy to structure, report writing and grammar. Professional tutors in maths, science and English will reply within 24 hours of submission and offer suggestions on how to improve the assignment. Find out more on the 'After hours online tutoring' web page.

Learning Skills Advisors

Learning Skills Advisors (LSAs) are able to provide more intensive one-on-one support for students that need help with academic writing, essay structure, referencing and more. The sessions run for 30-45 minutes and can be made by appointment. As opposed to a proof-reading service, the LSAs work with the students to help them build their skills in the areas they are not confident in. LSAs are available to be booked by phone or video conference to provide appointment for online students. View the 'Meet with a learning skills advisor' web page.

Study skills and writing guides

These online guides are designed to help students gain an understanding of university culture, and acquire the academic writing skills and critical thinking processes necessary to be successful. General guides are available for writing, referencing, and assignment layout and appearance. View the 'Study skills and writing guides' web page.

Student Connect

Studying online raises a range of issues and hurdles that on-campus students may not. Knowing that there is a dedicated team that can understand and help you is invaluable to students. The Student Connect team offers a wide range of support services which are available to online students, including counselling, careers information, and the student advisory service. Find our more about what is on offer on the 'Current students' website.

Study Skills website

To provide students with timely information on academic study and writing skills, a 'one stop shop' website has been developed. Written with the student in mind, there are examples and valuable tools to help navigate through referencing, types of assessments, writing well and using correct punctuation, time management, the concept of critical thinking, and much more. View the Study Skills website.

Library services

Just because you are not on campus, it does not mean that you do not have access to the amazing support of the FedUni library. The library has a great range of support resources for online students including live chat, course-related resource lists, assignment and research help and online book borrowing. Online students can have books and resources checked out of the library and posted to them, including books through the BONUS+ system. (Please note that return postage costs are covered by the student).