FAQs about external study

This information is designed for External Students and should only be used as a guide. You can also visit the New Students FAQs or Campus Central FAQs for additional information.

If you're a full-time student you should treat your study as a full-time job! We recommend that students devote 8-10 hours per week to each of their courses. So if you are studying one course, you should spend 8-10 hours each week on it; if you are studying four courses, you should spend 32-40 hours on them.

When you enrol in a course you have the option of studying internally or externally. You can choose to study some courses on campus, which would involve attending weekly lectures and tutorials, and some off campus. If you choose the latter, you would still need to listen to the lectures online and participate in any online equivalents to tutorials (e.g. discussion forums). However, some courses will only be available in internal mode and others only in external mode, and in some degree programs you may be required to negotiate with your program director about modes of study. Check the Program and Course information or contact your School for further information.

If you work full-time, are raising children, have care responsibilities, have health issues, prefer to study exclusively from home, or have a hectic lifestyle, external study allows you to fit study around your other commitments. You still need to devote a significant amount of time to it as indicated above, and there will be fixed deadlines to meet, but there is greater flexibility for you in deciding when to study.

Often students studying externally can experience difficulties keeping up with the workload, feelings of isolation, lack motivation, become easily distracted, or procrastinate. The key is to remain actively engaged with your studies and recognise and deal with issues as they arise. For example, to deal with feelings of isolation, make contact with other students studying externally via your courses' discussion forums. Take a look at the Stay motivated page for more advice, and explore the Student Services page which may be useful for you.

Yes. To be successful in your courses, you need to keep up to date with the content of each course by listening to lectures, doing all the weekly readings and other weekly activities (e.g. quizzes).

In addition, you also need to complete your major assignments on time. It is important to keep up with the weekly readings, as they will expand your understanding of the lecture topics and also give you good information for your assignments. You can access the readings through the eReadings link on the course site or as files organised under headings on the main page. There may also be a textbook which you need to buy. Your Course Outline will list any required textbooks, and these can be purchased via the Campus Bookshop.

10 steps to get started. In addition, early preparation workshops are held in February each year for commencing students, and cover topics like adapting to university, academic reading and writing, and university expectations. 

Absolutely! Even though you are studying externally, if you live in the Adelaide area you are welcome to attend Orientation activities. If you are based elsewhere or unable to attend, you should explore the New Students website

All full-time external students will be sent an information pack to their mailing address for creating or updating their student ID card. If you have not received this information (i.e. if you are part-time), and would like a card, please contact <ahref="mailto:idcards@unisa.edu.au>IDcards@unisa.edu.au and an ID card can be arranged and mailed out to you. Alternatively, you can visit any Campus Central office and have the card issued on the spot. More information can be found via the Campus Central FAQs.

learnonline is UniSA's online learning environment where all course information is stored. Your course sites are learnonline sites and are similar in layout and content. More information can be found on the Student Help site.

Course Outlines are created by your Course Coordinators for each course providing details including: course contacts, assessment expectations, assignment due dates, exam arrangements, and are made available electronically on your learnonline course site at the beginning of the study period.

Hard-copy course materials will only be sent to external students if the Course Coordinator requests print copies to be dispatched. Some courses are entirely online (no print copies to be dispatched). Where a course requires print products to be dispatched to students, you should receive these materials before the commencement of the study period. You can also check your course site as most of the materials you will be sent will also be available online.

You can view what materials you should be receiving and when they have been dispatched by going to your myUniSA Student Portal - class enrolment information. If you are unsure if your course is entirely online, or if you will be receiving printed course materials, please contact your Course Coordinator. If your course materials have been dispatched and you have not received them or for any other dispatch queries, you can contact the Senior Dispatch Officer on (08) 8302 1313 or the Off-Campus Liaison Officer on (08) 8302 1306.

The Course Outlines for each of your courses will contain email and telephone contact details for your Course Coordinators. Email is generally their preferred method of contact. Please note that they cannot respond to emails instantly: be patient, but also persistent. Some Course Coordinators will also have on-campus consultation hours each week, and you can arrange to meet them during these hours if you live near campus. You can also raise questions on your course discussion forums.

It should be made clear in the Course Outline or in the layout of the eReadings or course site what you need to read and when. If you are unclear, contact the Course Coordinator for clarification.

Assignment due dates are listed in the Course Outline. It is a good idea to record these due dates in a calendar for study period, which will enable you to plan ahead. Also take note of how much each assignment is worth of your overall course grade, so you can anticipate how much time and effort will be required.

Course Coordinators may provide help and suggestions about the assignments through the 'Announcements' or discussions on your course sites. There may also be 'Assignment Help' resources on those sites. If you have queries about assignment format, expectations, writing style or referencing, there are very useful resources on the Study Help website. You can also arrange an appointment (telephone or face-to-face) with a Learning Adviser. Learning Advisers can also provide feedback on assignment drafts, but please note this is not a proofreading service: they provide general feedback on style, structure, expression and whether the assignment satisfies its requirements. Different Schools might also offer peer support sessions and helpdesks: enquire at your School office.

Yes. Each UniSA campus (except Mount Gambier) has its own library, and if you live near a campus you can visit the library in person. If not, you can access ebooks, newspaper, magazine and journal articles through the library website. If all your courses are external, you are also eligible to use the Off-Campus Library Service, where you can request and will be posted books and other physical media for loan. It is a good idea to request an item early in study period, to test the process, delivery time etc.

Yes. It would be very difficult to study without a home computer. Most of your reading, listening to lectures, activity participation, assignment work and correspondence with staff will require a computer with Microsoft Office and high speed internet access. If you live near a campus you are welcome to use computer facilities on campus (and connect to the University's wireless), but we recommend a home computer setup to maximise your study success.

Yes. When using a computer on campus you have internet access. You can also connect your own devices to the University's wireless network. In addition, you have a printing allowance which you can monitor and top up on myUniSA (under myResources). 

Yes. Email is the University's preferred method of communicating with students. Email will be sent to your student account, not your home or work email, though you can arrange to redirect messages to these accounts for convenience. You will also need to keep your email up to date by regularly deleting unwanted items (including emptying your deleted items folder), to ensure you have enough free storage space. Lecturers will have problems contacting you if your email account is full.

If you have questions about specific course content, assignment deadlines and extensions, direct these questions to your Course Coordinator. For questions regarding enrolment and university services, direct them to Campus Central. If your circumstances change and you need support in rearranging your commitments or weighing your options, arrange an appointment with a Counsellor. If you have a disability or health-related concerns, contact Access and Inclusion.