If you’ve ever read an OUA webpage, email or brochure you’ll know we don’t mind telling students that “when you study with us, you’re online but never alone.” We say it (and repeat it) because it’s true.
Of course, it’s one thing to say something’s true, and another thing entirely to prove it. So we thought we’d introduce you to all of your OUA supporters and cheerleaders!
Here’s our list of (virtual) places where you can get in touch with other people – students, advice-givers and academic experts – even while sitting by yourself in the comfort of your own home:
Unit tutors and forums
In your first week, it’s very important that you log in to your LMS (Learning Management System) as soon as possible. That’s because your LMS is your key to everything you need to succeed as an online uni student – you’ll find your uni email account, learning materials and (perhaps most importantly) access to your tutors.
Your LMS gives you access to forums that are hosted by the university you’re studying with. This is where all the students studying the same class as you come together to talk about things like course content, learning resources and support. You will also be able to chat with your tutor, and ask questions about what you need to do and how they can help you.
In the first two weeks of your very first study term as an OUA student, you will likely get to chat with one of our Student Coaches. Our Student Coaches are some of the wonderful supporters you will encounter in your time with OUA, and will be calling to make sure you’re ready to go, and feeling comfortable and confident.
Student Coaches can help you with just about any study-related problem you can think of. These aren’t the people to call if you want to shoot the breeze, but if you’re worried about the way you manage your time, your research skills, preparing for an exam or balancing your responsibilities, we can’t recommend them highly enough.
OUA’s Facebook community now includes over 70,000 people, and the conversations we have together are often a lot of fun. You’ll also find thousands of students and well-wishers in our Twitter and LinkedIn communities.
When you join our communities, you’ll find we’re always eager (and usually quick) to answer any questions you might have, and we love to have a chat about the highs and lows of #studentlife. These are also excellent social spots to have your voice heard or get insights from the experts. So make sure you pop over and say hello to the OUA team and your fellow students who frequent these pages.
Our newest social media community is the ‘OUA Students Facebook Group’. It’s a great spot to connect with others studying the same course you are, to ask questions, and to access some fun and helpful resources. We’re excited to announce that OUA is now onboard the ‘Facebook Live’ train, which is run through the Facebook group, to help bring students closer to their support team. Facebook Live, as you may know or have guessed, is for live video streaming. Our videos go live at a specified time, which means that if you’re watching then and there, you can get your questions answered in real time. If you miss the live stream, you can always watch the video at anytime afterwards. These videos are a great opportunity to learn more about how OUA works, including the online environment, your administration tasks, and where you can get support.
Discussion groups in My Study Centre
You know of My Study Centre as your admin hub. But did you know it’s also the perfect place to e-mingle with fellow students?
When you log in to My Study Centre, you’ll find you can join or make your own discussion group. This allows you to find other students with similar interests, set up a support group s and generally keep each other motivated. It’s easy to use and available whenever you need it.
Highlight – the OUA student blog
The Highlight blog is aimed entirely at students (as well as people thinking about studying or who have already graduated). You’ll find interesting content posted by clever people who work for, teach or learn with OUA. You can use the comment function to get into a discussion, express your opinion or ask follow-up questions.
Smarthinking online tutoring
If you’re looking for something more practical and more immediate, Smarthinking might fit the bill. It’s an online tutoring service available 24/7 that allows you to ask questions about your studies in real time.
Smarthinking tutors are experts in broad disciplines, but not in specific units offered through OUA. So they’re fantastic to use in the same way as you might have used a personal tutor in high school. The Smarthinking service is free for all OUA students, and you can use it to have your essays or assignments reviewed before submitting them or to get one-on-one online tutoring when you find a concept tricky to understand. You’ll find Smarthinking in your My Study Centre account.