Distance learning

Distance Education offers the opportunity to study in ways which suit personal circumstances and to adopt a flexible approach to learning. However, it also requires a specific approach to learning which may require some adaptation.

Like all forms of study, it can be affected by life events and unexpected situations. If students are experiencing difficulty with managing a Distance Education workload or events and situations impact on study (e.g. illness, misadventure), it is important to speak to the Unit or Course Coordinator.

One of the roles of the Coordinator is to assist students with appropriate study management. This is best done when difficulties first arise rather than leaving it until the last minute. In some situations the Course Coordinator will work with the student to develop a plan of action to assist with progression through a course of study. For further details see the NSWIOP Progression Policy.

Specific needs

If a student has any specific needs which may affect their ability to successfully undertake a unit of study, the student needs to inform the NSWIOP as soon as possible, preferably before commencement, to discuss their learning and support needs.

Study groups

Distance education can allow for flexibility and adaptability in the approach to study, but it can also be challenging in terms of maintaining motivation and avoiding isolation. NSWIOP has a variety of ways of providing distance education, with the opportunity to meet other students (e.g. face to face workshops, teleconferences). In addition, the online Learning Management System (Moodle) offers a useful way for students to form informal support networks and study groups. Further information on the use of e- learning technologies can be found in the next section ‘Studying at NSWIOP’.

NSWIOP Library

The NSWIOP library is generally a closed reserve collection to be used when students are on- campus. In certain circumstances materials may be borrowed overnight or on short term loan by prior negotiation with the librarian or your course administrator. Students are encouraged to use the comfortable library space and to consult with the librarian when in attendance.

The NSWIOP’s librarian David Wong-See can provide help and training via telephone, via email or in person, to assist students in finding information to support their coursework. Students should not hesitate to contact the librarian on (02) 9840 3833 or email david.wong-see@nswiop.nsw.edu.au. The NSWIOP librarian is on-site 3 days per week, usually Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays.

The NSWIOP library web pages on the NSWIOP website have been designed to support your studies by listing catalogues, databases and websites relevant to studies in mental health. Students may also find the following guide prepared by the NSWIOP Librarian helpful:

Library Study Skills and Literature Searching Guide 2015 (PDF).

Mental Health Library, Cumberland Hospital

Membership of the Mental Health Library is free to staff of Western Sydney Local Health District , and the Transcultural Mental Health Centre. Staff from other Local Health Districts and health professionals who are not employed by the NSW Department of Health can apply to the Manager of the Mental Health Library for borrowing membership (cost involved - please confirm costs with the Mental Health Library when joining).

This membership allows students to borrow materials in person from the Mental Health Library, Cumberland Hospital. Students can search its online catalogue at: http://library.wsahs.nsw.gov.au.

The Mental Health Library is just a short walk from the NSWIOP and has one of the largest collections of mental health resources in Australia. The Mental Health Library participates in resource sharing with other Australian Libraries, so individuals who are not able to personally borrow should contact their own organisation or public Library to find out about interlibrary loan services.

Local hospital libraries

As many NSWIOP students are drawn from the public sector, students have found their workplace hospital library to be the preferred and most convenient means of accessing additional materials.

This is especially the case for distance students and it is anticipated that students will find the local hospital library in the first instance to be of great assistance. The local hospital library can organise to borrow books or journal articles via interlibrary loan from the Mental Health Library, Cumberland Hospital at no cost.

Teleconferences & web conferences

Some units of study utilise teleconferencing, which provides students with the opportunity to discuss issues associated with the unit and allows the Course Coordinator to evaluate student progress.

If teleconferencing is part of the unit it will be detailed in the Unit Materials handbook and the student will be provided with a ‘Dial-In

Number’ (either a local or 1300 number) and a ‘Participant Pass Code’ to enable participation.

Note: Teleconference calls should be made using a landline to avoid high mobile phone call costs. Callers are charged by their normal supplier for the call type - this means that call charges can be very high if calls are made from a mobile phone and these charges will be the responsibility of the student. Some units of study offer the opportunity for students to ’meet’ regularly via e-conferencing. This offers an informal environment where students can discuss major topics, review study tasks, share ideas about assignments and catch up with the Coordinator. This is usually conducted in the evening and is only available to students with home internet access.

The NSWIOP delivers quality distance education for students unable to attend lectures and workshops in person. A key component of our distance education delivery is web conferencing which allows students to participate in lectures, workshops, supervision or meetings even if they are not in the NSWIOP premises. . NSWIOP uses a product called Zoom to enable students with an internet connection and a computer (PC or Mac) or mobile device (Android or IOS) to use web conferencing. Zoom also facilitates dial in by phone if a computer is not available.