External and online students

We know how hard it is to balance online university studies with your other responsibilities, but you don't have to do it on your own. We've gathered the relevant information you need to stay on track and feel connected. From accessing your course materials on LearnJCU and managing your time effectively with a study planner, to using your student email to keep connected and updated with university events, we’re here to support you every step of the way.

Keep an eye out for the pack we send to all our external and online students; it contains a calendar, planner diary and more to help you organise your upcoming studies. Reach out to our student support services team and take advantage of the resources available to make your learning experience rewarding and manageable.

There are common challenges for students studying externally so we’ve included some tips to help you. You can scroll down to our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for further information on each of these tips, as well as others that we've put together to help you with your journey as an external/online JCU student.

  • Time management: We often have various obligations we need to juggle. Creating a weekly plan that includes study time, work and family commitments can assist with this.
  • Self-motivation: As there is less direct supervision, external students need a high degree of self-motivation and discipline to stay on top of their studies. Setting clear goals, routine and connections are helpful ways to increase motivation. One way is to check in with your IPAL tutor. It’s likely they’ve got very similar experiences and can share these with you to boost your motivation and confidence.
  • Technical issues: Reliable internet access and familiarity with online learning platforms are crucial. Identifying alternative ways to access the internet or study materials, such as using a library or a friend’s place gives you options when you need them.
  • Communication barriers: Limited face-to-face interactions can make it harder to seek help, clarify doubts, and engage in meaningful discussions. Your @my.jcu.edu.au student email address can be used to connect with all the services offered at JCU. You can also contact your IERC Student Support Advisor or Academic Support Advisor with any questions and we will work with you throughout the entirety of your studies.

Useful resources for students studying externally and online

The essentials you need to know

No matter where you live or what you study, we understand you need flexibility, support, and quality education. While university life can be both rewarding and challenging, you have access to all of JCU’s and the IERC’s support services and resources.

You’ll need your Tax File Number (TFN) and your Unique Student Identifier (USI) if you haven’t applied through QTAC. These documents will allow you to submit the appropriate Commonwealth Assistance Forms.

After accepting your offer, the next step is to enrol in your subjects. Setting up your Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) to confirm your student identity will allow you to use JCU platforms and resources. You can contact the IT Help Desk if you get stuck or have any questions. If you haven't applied to JCU yet, click here to begin the application process.

JCU students must pay a Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSA Fee) for use of JCU’s facilities and resources, including online services. If you need help with this or want to defer them, we can talk you through this process. Students will get a sanction and your grades withheld if you don’t pay these fees by the due date. The due date for payment is stipulated on the academic calendar, so it depends on whether you’re enrolled in a trimester or semester. All academic calendars can be located via this link.

If you have any difficulties, please don't hesitate to contact us. It's normal to feel unsure at first, and we're here to help!

Our orientation and getting ready for your first day page is for new students looking for information and advice on how to start their university journey. It has all the information you need to prepare for your first day of study.

Important information will be sent to your student email address, so please check it regularly once you have accepted your offer.

The IERC’s Indigenous Academic and Student Academic Support Advisors can help you with academic plans, accommodation, finances, and general well-being.

JCU student ID cards offer benefits both on and off campus. This card serves as proof of your status as a JCU student, granting you access to JCU services and discounts. If you want to know when it’s ready for you to collect it from campus or when it has been posted to you, contact enquiries@jcu.edu.au.

Click here to learn how to apply for your card and explore its benefits. If you're interested in seeing the facilities available to you once you have your student ID card, watch this video as Indigenous Student Ambassadors Rikisha and Michael walk you through the IERC on the Bebegu Yumba campus, Townsville.

The academic year is made up of semesters and trimesters. Semesters consist of two study periods over the course of the year, and trimesters means the study year is divided into three study periods. Students may also be enrolled in carousels (short-form) study periods. Click to find information on timetables and important dates for all study periods. For any questions regarding trimesters, please visit the Trimester FAQs page.

As of 2024, Indigenous students across Australia have guaranteed access to a Commonwealth supported place at their preferred university. You should feel comfortable to ask any questions about financial assistance and we are always happy to help you. Our fees and financial support page goes through payments, deferrals and available supports, and links you to our scholarships page so you can explore what scholarships you could be eligible for.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How to access social resources

We've set up a webpage to help our students connect and widen their social circles. To keep everyone informed about upcoming social activities, we advertise all our events on our Facebook and Instagram pages. Don't forget to chat to your IPAL tutor as they are likely to have accessed social resources you might be interested in. JCU has an events page where you can filter to online events and workshops that you might be interested in.

There is also the Indigenous Student Association, Wadja Bimbi, who meet weekly at the IERC on the Bebegu Yumba (Townsville) campus. They keep students up to date with important information and upcoming events through their Facebook page. There's also the JCU Student Association which has services available for all JCU students including various memberships, clubs, sports, events and external student advocacy support.

Your tutors can help you! They’re a great point of contact for putting you in touch with resources that they have likely used themselves. These can include academic and wellbeing services, tips and tricks. You can also link in with the JCU Indigenous Student Association. They are students just like you and will share a lot of similar experiences (exciting and challenging) that you have. You are also welcome to contact your Student Support Advisor or Academic Support Advisor and they will help to pull you through whatever challenges you might be going through. You can also contact us if you want to celebrate something (like a grade you’ve achieved or a goal you’ve reached)! We are always just one phone call or email away and we are here throughout your entire university journey!

How to access online learning materials

LearnJCU is our online learning hub, powered by the Blackboard Learning Management System. It's your go-to platform for accessing lecture materials, readings, collaboration tools, and everything you need for your subjects. From subject outlines to assessment details and staff contact information, LearnJCU has got you covered. It also includes the JCU Respect and Academic Integrity modules that all students and staff are required to complete. These are listed under the Subjects tab once you’ve logged into your LearnJCU account. Students will get a sanction and your grades withheld if you don’t complete these modules.

To get to LearnJCU, simply click on the LearnJCU button located at the top of the JCU website, or download the JCU Student App onto your mobile device. Log in using your JCU username and password. Make sure you have a stable internet connection and the necessary software to access these resources (e.g., MFA).

The JCU App offers students convenient and personalised access to essential digital services for studying, support, and student life. With single sign-on access, it provides seamless entry to all your JCU systems and applications.

JCU also has a Learn Online portal that takes you through learning and study tips, communication tools, time management and other services to assist you while you study off campus.

The JCU Library also has many online services you can use when completing subject activities and assessment items. You can find the button for the library at the top of the JCU website next to the LearnJCU tab. These services can be found under the Library’s “Guides, Workshops and Events” option and include how-to-guides for various JCU tools, as well as learning sessions introducing you to referencing, researching and writing.

You’ll notice that a Chat with a Librarian box will come up on the right-hand side of your screen when you’re using online library services (such as the Library Guides). You can use this chat to speak with a librarian in real time. This service is available after hours as well. If no librarians happen to be logged in, you can still send them a question and they will email you back. Just make sure you always type in your student email address when prompted.

You have us at the IERC to walk you through any process you may be struggling with. As a JCU student you also have access to all available online resources and services, for example the JCU Student Centre. The Student Centre can help you with any services you require and there’s a live chat you can access when working off campus.

You also have access to the online Learning Centre at JCU. It has resources and services for all students but is particularly useful for online learning. Don’t forget to check out their workshops that can assist you with academic reading and writing, chemistry and maths refreshers and a basic overview of statistics. These workshops come up a lot in your orientation  These all go towards building your skills for academic success and they’re all free for you to access and participate in.

In LearnJCU under your name/profile, make sure your Global Notification Settings are set up so you will get emailed the latest announcements and updates from your subjects.

When you click onto the Subjects tab when you first log into LearnJCU, you’ll see the subjects you’re enrolled in. You can locate all the relevant communication for these subjects in the Announcements and Discussions tabs within your individual subjects.

In each of your subjects you’ll have the option to watch the lectures as they’re happening and access the recordings later. Please note: some subjects won’t allow you to access recordings so this needs to be confirmed by the lecturer either through email or it may be noted in the Subject Outline.

The IERC offers the Indigenous Peer Assisted Learning (IPAL) tutoring program, specially designed for our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students at JCU. Through IPAL, you’ll gain confidence in your subject material and assessment tasks. We understand how stressful university life can be, so we’ll work with you to plan your schedule and balance your academic commitments, making your journey smoother and more manageable.

To navigate what is required of each subject, you’ll need to access your subject outlines. The Subject Outline is like a roadmap for your learning journey at the University. It's where you'll find all the important details about your subject, such as who your subject coordinator is, what assignments you'll have, how you'll be taught, and what you need to do to pass. Think of it as your guide to success in the subject! The Subject Outline for each subject is available in the subject's LearnJCU site.

Your subject outline will also mention the relevant reading list required to complete activities within each subject. All your subject readings and resources, including journal articles, book chapters, websites, videos, and both print and eTextbooks, can be accessed online through the Readings list on your LearnJCU subject site.

JCU has a course enrolment planner for various Bachelor and Masters degrees. You can use these as templates for planning out your study periods.

We also have tips for putting together a university study planner to help you stay organised and manage your time effectively:

  1. Get Your Supplies: Gather a calendar or planner, sticky notes, and pens.
  2. Check Your Course Requirements: Look at your subject outlines for important dates like assignments and exams.
  3. Break Down Assignments: Divide big tasks into smaller ones with specific due dates.
  4. Schedule Study Time: Set aside regular study sessions for each course.
  5. Consider Other Commitments: Make sure to include work, activities, and family time in your planner.
  6. Set Goals: Decide what you want to accomplish during each study session.
  7. Use Colours: Assign colours to tasks or courses for easy organisation.
  8. Review and Update: Check your planner regularly and make changes as needed.
  9. Be Flexible: Stay open to adjusting your plan if things change.
  10. Stay Committed: Stick to your plan and hold yourself accountable.

With these simple steps, you can create a study planner that helps you stay organized and on track with your university studies. You can also contact us if you need help planning your studies.

JCU also has FAQs to help you with questions you might have. As always though, you can reach out to us here at the IERC and we will walk you through any process you might be struggling with.

Have a question? Want to find out more?

We are here to help.

Get in contact with us