Social learning during a time of social distancing

Access to education is, and always has been, a priority for Deakin. In 1974, Deakin was one of the first universities in the country to specialise in distance education. It's no different today.

While a global health crisis is disrupting the education industry, Deakin was already prepared for the transition online with its already existing Cloud Campus.

Almost all of Deakin's courses are now available online, with no more face-to-face teaching occurring at its Melbourne Burwood, Geelong Waterfront, Geelong Waurn Ponds or Warrnambool campuses.

Deakin's Director of Digital Learning Dr Chie Adachi says the University's focus on its students is what helps its educators provide the best online learning experience.

'We care about students, really, and global learners,' Dr Adachi says.

'Our mission is to bring education to as many people as possible – that idea of borderless education, anytime, anywhere, for anyone.'

Deakin's approach to online learning applies to all types of courses, not just full degrees. The University offers single units that don't lead to a degree, but can be completed to bolster your professional tool kit or satisfy any personal interests.

Or, if you're looking for something shorter to keep you occupied during these times of social distancing, the University offers a range of free online courses via the FutureLearn platform.

Deakin's free, online, two-week courses are not just about ticking off a qualification for your resume. Classes are designed to encourage the sharing of knowledge and building connections.

'There are students from Europe, the US, Africa – all over the world – working in this social learning platform,' Dr Adachi explains, 'So there's opportunity to develop that global network and to learn those different perspectives.'

The COVID-19 pandemic is forcing industries to reinvent how they operate in a digital word. This is where Dr Adachi says returning to study during this time can be beneficial for many different reasons.

Online learning helps bring like-minded people together who might be feeling lonely, but may also be feeling a little lost in their field now that workforces are learning how to operate 100% online, says Dr Adachi.

'While we work from home and respect social distancing, I think that sense of isolation is penetrating through society,' Dr Adachi says, 'I think people are looking for different ways of connecting with people.'

Deakin's short, two-week courses bring together a network of professionals or individuals interested in a common theme. The University's history in providing distance education means it knows how to give students the ultimate online learning experience.

Find out more about Deakin's free open courses