Where once the traditional campus of lecture theatres, library aisles and uni bars captured the student imagination, today an online campus of digital facilities and technological services increasingly holds sway in the minds of 21st-century students.
Griffith University’s digital learning environment is delivering in this space, according to students, through the use of social networking tools they know and understand, and which also address any sense of isolation associated with online study.
Feedback from Griffith Business School students taking online courses using the enterprise social network tool, Yammer, and the web-based meeting service, WebEx, has been resoundingly positive.
“There is a myth, I don’t know how true it is, that people can feel alone when they are studying online,” Professor Nick Barter, Academic Director (Online), said.
“Griffith students are telling us that they really do feel connected because of the tools and technologies we are using.
“Through a product like Yammer, it is easy for students to talk to each other and feel engaged. A good learning experience always means being engaged, whether it is with your student cohort, with your program convenor or the university in a broader sense.
“When you study online, you should not feel alone.”
Online learning has been the only choice for Sarah Stoddart who has worked full-time since finishing high school. After initially enrolling for an Open Universities Australia program, she completed a Graduate Certificate in Business Administration and is now studying an MBA at Griffith Business School.
“I spend a lot of time on the road with my work, so my study has to fit around that and sport which takes up a further 10 to 15 hours a week of my time,” she said.
Sarah (right) is a busy business development associate with Colonial First State and a keen triathlete, but she also manages to maintain her connection with her student cohort at Griffith.
“I have a group of fellow students I keep in touch with. I can always come back to discussions and conversations through Yammer. I find it very useful. I can scroll through and see what other students are saying on a topic.
“I like the fact that I can pick up my studies any time, especially recorded lectures. Going to university at a specified time was not going to work for me. I get up early to study, I work late to study, I squeeze study into little pockets of life.”