Top 10 tips for online study

It can be just as rigorous and demanding as face-to-face study and deserves to be treated with the same respect

Online study with TAFE NSW Online is a great way to learn at your own pace. And because it's online it also means you can study almost anywhere you choose. On the bus or train, sitting in a café or under a tree in the park. You can even study at the beach!

Too good to be true? Not at all. Follow these top 10 tips for online study and success will be yours.

10. Be tech-ready. Online study requires you to have all the necessary technology. For most people this is really just a reliable internet connection and a device that you're comfortable using. But some online courses have specific tech requirements such as certain software programs. Usually this will be mentioned in the course overview, but it's still worth double-checking yourself.

9. Admin matters. Okay, so it might be kinda boring, but it's also kinda important. Make sure you understand all the adminy things about your online course. This includes things like submitting coursework, accessing discussion groups, contacting teachers, accessing library facilities and changing enrolment details. You don't want to fail an exam or task because you didn't submit it correctly.

8. R.E.S.P.E.C.T. Don't underestimate your online study – it can be just as rigorous and demanding as face-to-face study, and therefore deserves to be treated with the same respect. Allow ample time for it. Get plenty of rest. And try to avoid skipping the additional material the teacher has provided like ungraded tasks and recommended videos. It's all there for a reason.

7. Focus. Noisy children, barking dogs, mid-morning television, those chocolate bickies that just aren't going to eat themselves. And that's not even mentioning the other distractions under your very nose that are just a few clicks away, like checking your Facebook status and emails. Resisting these distractions takes some discipline, but it's like working a muscle. It gets easier the more you do it.

6. Get social. When you enrol in a TAFE NSW Online course, you're not alone. TAFE NSW Online has a strong network with other students, which means you can still connect with your teacher and fellow classmates in a virtual classroom, even if you're sitting at home in your pyjamas. And it doesn't stop there. You can also participate in online chats, forums, on discussion boards and via social media and email. You'll feel more connected and involved. And your studies will benefit from this.

5. Stay organised. Remember, studying with TAFE NSW Online is the real deal (see tip number 8). Find effective ways to stay on top of your work. Mark the due dates of all assignments and tasks in your calendar, both digital and paper. TAFE NSW Online can give you automatic alerts and notifications. Keep all of your course work and materials together. This is also a headspace thing. An organized environment means a calm, uncluttered mind.

4. It is written. While traditional, face-to-face learning is mostly oral, with online study you'll be doing a lot of typing. Be comfortable expressing yourself via the written word. And remember, things like tone and facial expressions are lost here, so try to write as clearly, cleanly and unambiguously as possible.

3. Seek and ye shall find. Master the art of online research. The internet is awash with information, a lot of it good, a lot of it dodgy. And sometimes it can be hard to tell the good stuff from the dodgy stuff. Always check the source of an article or piece of information you find online before you reference it. Information from educational institutions is generally (but not always) reliable, but use your own judgement.

2. Pace yourself. The most effective way of studying online is in short, sharp bursts of concentration with regular breaks. Set study goals, make it part of your daily routine rather than something extra to be squeezed into your already hectic schedule. Assess what your workload is and organise a schedule that still allows time for other things – remember what all work and no play did to Jack. It's all about effective time management.

1. Stay motivated. Never forget why you're doing this. Your online study will be more than just worthwhile. It can change your life.