Learning online

Learning online has lots of benefits but there can be some challenges too. Here you will find tips and information around some of the behaviours you can apply and the tools that you can use to support you on your online learning journey.

‘Maintaining motivation and not feeling isolated are important in staying enthusiastic about your studies. Keep in touch with your lecturers and classmates and make the most of digital tools available to help stay connected’.

- Wes Howard - Language and Learning Adviser, Study Support

Some issues you may encounter when learning online, include:

  • Staying focused and motivated
  • Feeling connected with others
  • Using digital tools
  • Finding help when needed

You can also visit UniStart for further tips on avoiding digital distractions and staying motivated.

This video has practical suggestions to overcome some of these challenges. The second part of the video highlights the Deakin supported tools that you can use to collaborate and connect with others during your studies, including Microsoft Teams, One Drive and Zoom.

Learning how to use Deakin’s digital tools

  • Review the Digital Tools topic in UniStart and learn about the student portal DeakinSync and how to navigate your unit sites.  You can even practice uploading an assignment and posting to a unit discussion forum before you do the real thing. Easy!
  • Bookmark LinkedIn Learning and access the video tutorials covering the latest software, as you need it.
  • Browse  Deakin’s software library and download Microsoft OneDrive and Microsoft Teams, the preferred collaboration tools at Deakin.

Remember, if you have a question about your Deakin password, Wi-Fi or printing you can Ask IT for Help.

More free tools


  • Trimester planner and Deakin assignment planner to help you stay on top of your assessments and study schedule.
  • Microsoft ‘To Do' can help you organise your tasks. You could use ‘To Do’ as a checklist system and create a checklist for each unit, then add a deadline for each task to help keep you organised.  Note: ‘To Do’ syncs with your Deakin OneDrive account.
  • XMind A brainstorming and mind mapping app that allows users to quickly capture and organise ideas. Available from the Deakin Software Library.


Work with your study group, share ideas and complete group assignments using these collaborative tools.

  • Microsoft One Drive for Business - gives you 1TB of online storage and allows you to store, share and collaborate on files through Deakin’s Office 365 Plan. Find out more in UniStart.
  • Microsoft Office Online - work in MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote on any device.
  • Microsoft Teams –  Teams is tool that allows you to video conference, present, screen share, and to store and collaborate on documents. You might be asked to use Teams in some of units, but you can use Teams independently to create a meeting with classmates via your Deakin Outlook calendar. We recommend you download Teams to support seamless collaboration throughout your degree with both Deakin Staff and Students.
    Learn how to use Teams with MS Teams essential training tutorial from LinkedIn  Learning.
  • Zoom is another cloud video platform used at Deakin.


OneNote is another Microsoft productivity tool and is included in your MS OneDrive account. It is also integrated with MS Teams. Use OneNote to capture your class notes, record audio, create a sketch, add pictures, videos, and any other document.  You can then organize everything into notebooks, sections, and pages.

Find out how to create notebooks and learn the features of OneNote with the Learning One Note tutorial from Linked in Learning.


Understanding what is expected of you when engaging with your unit discussion forums and online classrooms is important.  Treat your online classes the way you would your face to face classes and always communicate professionally and respectfully.  Follow the 3Cs of communication at Deakin when communicating in your unit discussion forums and online classes

  • be curious to find out something new
  • be constructive in your comments
  • be compassionate to others in your unit by taking into consideration their perspective.

Find more tips and suggestions on online etiquette with the  Guide to Communicating online.

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