Getting started with distance study
There are a number of things that you should do to get started with your distance studies.
Many courses have an online component (see here for more about online components).
Check if your course has an online component (you can find this information by searching for your course).
You can learn more about Stream, our online learning environment.
Stream is an easy way to keep in touch with your course coordinator, and is also an opportunity to interact with other students. You can ask for contact from other students in your area and set up your own online study groups. Interacting with other students helps keep you focused, allows you to clarify your thinking, and often brings support when the going gets tough.
Use the Stream browser checker to ensure your browser meets the minimum requirements for Stream.
See the section on online study techniques.
Your Stream course may include:
- An administrative section (sometimes included in the study guide) or administration guide, which may contain some or all of the following information:
- The lecturer's name and contact details.
- Information on assessment (e.g., assignment topics, instructions, and marking guides).
- Information on contact workshops
- A course outline and timetable
- Information on textbooks
- A study guide, which contains a complete set of notes for the course, as well as information on what chapter of the textbook should be read.
- Course readings: These are only supplied where the lecturer considers it necessary.
- Other resources such as past exam papers. A lecturer may include past exams to give you an indication of the type of questions asked in the exam or tests.
It is important to set up a permanent, separate study space.
- Not the kitchen table!
- Try for an attractive inviting area.
- Keep it tidy for the next study session.
- Good light is important.
Ensure that you have all your study tools organised.
- E-learning tools: computer, preferably with internet connection if your course has an online component, printer.
- Wall planner.
- If you prefer to work with paper: Post-its, highlighters, assignment preparation folders for each course, file dividers, A3 paper for planning.
You can request print copies of study resources within Stream.
Some courses provide printed resources automatically and resources for distance and block students are sent directly to you. You can find out if your distance and block course provides resources automatically.
The sooner you identify the assignment requirements and due date the sooner you can start planning:
- Take notes on how you will be marked. Where are most of the marks allocated? This will tell you what to prioritise.
- Note down the expectations for each grade.
- Look at the question and identify the command word(s), topic and focus - this helps you read for a purpose.
Your course guide will list the books that are recommended for your course.
- You will need the compulsory texts and it is advisable to have access to books that are highly recommended.
- If you are purchasing your textbook place your orders as soon as possible.
- You can also order textbooks and resources from the library.
It is important to know the contact people at Massey:
- Course coordinator and other staff involved with the course
- Details of any academic support staff
- Other support people: EXMSS, Centre for Teaching and Learning, etc.
See the section on goals and motivation.
See the sections on time management and time management for distance students.
Use the Assignment planning calculator
This tool generates a recommended timeline for planning, researching, and writing your assignment.
Distance students face particular challenges but also have particular advantages over other students. See the section on how to study at a distance for more detail. For additional information on distance study visit the distance learning page.