Setting yourself up for online success

We thank you for your understanding and willingness to adapt so quickly to online learning during the COVID-19 crisis. UNSW IT is here to help you as we continue to adapt to the disruption to your learning. We have put together the below tips to help you successfully manage your online experience. If you have any questions or need assistance you can find more information about other IT services on the myIT website or get in touch with the IT Service Centre.

  • Plug your laptop into the main power source and do not depend on a battery. Make sure your Wi-Fi has a reliable, strong signal.


  • Test your connections with a friend before the class. If you do not have a strong connection, try several web browsers such as Chrome, Edge, Internet Explorer and Firefox with the connection link to determine which browser performs best for your internet connection.


  • If your connection is not strong switch to audio only and turn off both outgoing and incoming video.


  • To improve your video conferencing experience, we advise you use a headset. Test all your connected devices in a test call and ask people on the other end if they can hear and see you well. Mute your microphone when you are not speaking.


  • Find a well-lit room and sit close enough to the camera that your profile fits the screen. Make sure there are no bright lights behind you and keep your background noise to a minimum. Some online meeting applications allow you to blur your background or choose an alternative background image which can help to avoid user distractions.


  • Ensure that you can access the eLearning applications that you require, such as Moodle, Teams and LinkedIn Learning. Make sure you use your student login, rather than your personal login when accessing Teams. More information on the applications can be found here.


  • Most UNSW applications will be accessed through your local internet connection.  However, should you require restricted Library resources or your Home Drive (H: Drive), you can utilise the UNSW Virtual Private Network (VPN). This enables you to establish a secure network connection over the Internet between your computer, mobile device and protected UNSW online services. Some countries restrict or regulate the use of encryption and VPN technologies.  Be aware of and respect the local laws that apply to your location, prior to using the UNSW VPN service.


  • If you require a VPN connection, download the Cisco AnyConnect VPN software for installation on your desktop or laptop computer by visiting and signing in with your zID, or download the Cisco AnyConnect App from the store on your mobile device. Step-by-step instructions are provided here and may differ slightly depending on your version of Windows.  


  • Ensure you can access all your critical documents and files remotely. UNSW IT encourages students and staff to use cloud-based file storage applications included in Office 365 i.e. OneDrive and SharePoint. These applications are less likely to be impacted by network outages, cause less strain on the UNSW network and can be accessed via any device, anytime, anywhere, if you are logged in to your UNSW Office 365 profile. For more information on these applications, visit UNSW’s Learn Office 365 site.


Staying connected

  • Sometimes your lecturer or tutor may not know if you need help. At first it might feel awkward to talk with your lecturers and tutors virtually, however there are tools to assist you in making this easier such as email, Microsoft Teams, Blackboard Collaborate and Echo360/Moodle so don’t be shy about using them to communicate.   


  • There’s more to learning than just listening to your teachers and occasionally asking them questions. On campus you'd also be discussing ideas with your fellow students and working with them on assignments in the library and cafes. This interaction is crucial to your success. It's still possible online. If your course has live lectures, webinars, tutorials, or discussion groups then attend them and get engaged. You can also organise your own discussion sessions, using Facebook, WhatsApp or whatever method suits your group.


Recognise your learning style

  • We all study and learn differently. If you prefer to listen to information rather than read it, use a text to read function in Word to listen to your written material. Similarly, when writing assignments, you may like to use the dictation function rather than physically typing. If talking about your course content helps your understanding (and research suggests it will) arrange a video call a fellow student to discuss your thinking.


Don’t be caught out by time-zones

  • If you are participating in classes based in a different time-zone, double-check the time you need to be online. You must participate in your class at the specified time (Australian Eastern Standard Time – AEST) unless your Course Authority has advised that a class is not compulsory or has been recorded.  


Be mindful of your Cybersecurity


For additional help

  • UNSW provides additional student services to help support you whilst studying at UNSW. For more information on these services, please visit the information page.

Remember that IT support is always available to you. If you have any questions or need assistance you can find more information about other IT services at the myIT website or get in touch with our IT Service Centre.