External study: 10 Steps to get started

1. Login to myUniSA

myUniSA is the online student portal where you can access your student email, course information and websites, and other university services. Once you have your student username and password, visit myUniSA or access the portal from the top of the University's homepage (use the link titled 'For students'). Login and explore the portal thoroughly. Find out more about myUniSA by reading the myUniSA Quick Guides.

2. Check your email

Once you have logged into myUniSA, visit your email account and read any messages from the university. As an external student, email will be your main channel of communication with the uni, so check your inbox on a regular basis. Your account has 10GB storage space, so also ensure you tidy your account and delete irrelevant messages. You can also arrange to redirect your university email to another account.

3. Visit your course websites

Every course you are enrolled in has a learnonline website which is accessible from myUniSA. This is where course information, readings and resources are located. Spend some time exploring your course websites and getting to know their layout. In particular, for each course you should locate:

  • Course Outline: a document that provides an overview of course content, assignment due dates and instructions
  • Lecture recordings: this is where new lectures will be uploaded
  • eReadings: this is where required weekly readings will be housed
  • Contact details for the course coordinator

Please note that some course websites might not be open to students until the very beginning of the study period. Once study period begins, visit your course websites each week. Do not postpone or go long periods without visiting them, otherwise it can be difficult to catch up and you may miss out on important information about your studies.

4. Attend Orientation 

Even though you are studying externally, if you live in the Adelaide metropolitan area you are welcome to attend Orientation activities for your school/division. This is a chance to meet staff, forge contacts, start networking with other students and learn about your program and services available to you. If you are based elsewhere or unable to attend, you should still explore the New Students website.

5. Create a weekly schedule

As an external student you have greater flexibility when it comes to study, but it is still important to establish a study routine and stick to it. We suggest downloading a weekly planner. Enter your work and family commitments into the planner, and identify optimal times to study. As a general principle, we suggest devoting 8-10 hours per week to each course you study. Hence a single course might involve 8-10 hours of study per week, while a full-time workload of four courses might be 32-40 hours per week. If you find this is not manageable for you or your circumstances change, you can modify your enrolment; see census dates and deadlines for adjusting enrolment. If you need to drop any courses be aware of important dates such as census dates and withdraw without fail dates to avoid incurring fees or fail grades. If an extended break from study is required, carefully explore your options around taking leave or withdrawing to ensure you can re-enter your program later without hassle.

6. Create a calendar for study period

We also suggest downloading a study period planner. Once you have done this, look through all of your Course Outlines, make a note of the due dates for different assignments, and enter those due dates into your calendar. This will help you to plan your time effectively and remember exactly what is due and when. If you live with a partner or family members, display the calendar in a prominent place so they know when your workload is heaviest. Also record census dates, public holidays and deadlines for fees.

7. Set up computer facilities

Since you are studying online, it is important that you are proficient with computers. If you need to develop your skills in this area, we recommend enquiring at your local community library or adult education provider. It is also important that you have access to good computer facilities. We suggest using a machine in good working condition with Microsoft Office, high speed internet access and virus protection software. If you do not have a home computer and live near a UniSA campus, you are entitled to use computer facilities on campus. However, we recommend investing in a home computer for convenience of access. You can also connect to the University's wireless internet with your laptop, tablet or Smartphone when on campus. 

8. Create a study space

In addition to setting up a home computer, it is important to create a suitable study space for yourself. Your study space should be comfortable, well-lit, quiet and free of distractions. If you live near a campus you are entitled to use student spaces on campus and the library for study, but a study space at home will be beneficial as well.

9. Explore the library website

Spend some time exploring the library's website. The library is your gateway to information, and will be your main research tool for assignments. Through the library catalogue and databases, you can access millions of ebooks and electronic newspaper, magazine and journal articles. In addition, if all your courses are external and you need to access printed books or physical media, you are able to use the library's Off-Campus Library Service.

10. Explore other student services

Finally, familiarise yourself with the University's various student services, such as Campus Central - your one-stop shop for enrolment info and general enquiries - and Student Services and Support, which provides career advice, counselling and disability services, and learning support. If you wish to speak with staff in any of these areas, a telephone or face-to-face appointment time can be arranged. Information about these services is accessible from myUniSA.