Distance Education research postgrad online orientation

First things first

You can follow us on Facebook to keep yourself up to date with all things postgrad. You may also like to apply for a student ID card which you can Register for swipe card access to postgraduate spaces on Monash campuses. Registering for access to one space will give access to all other postgraduate spaces at Monash with the exception of the PhD Hub on Clayton, which requires separate registration. to postgrad spaces when you visit on campus.

Personalise your student calendar by subscribing to our postgraduate calendar feeds - you can also add your timetable and other useful info. See how in our guide to GoogleApps calendars.

Now you've done that, have a read through this page to find out all you need to know about being a postgrad at Monash University! We’ll cover both the facilities and services available to you, and give you more information about the research journey. (Please note that the term 'distance education' is not used consistently throughout the university, so when searching for information, you also may find the terms 'off-campus' and 'open and distance learning' used on various websites)

Facilities and services

A good place to start is the Off-Campus Learning Centre (OCLC) which runs a liaison service for distance education students, and can be contacted by email or free call within Australia.

Software, email accounts & IT support

It’s important to make sure you’re connected to the Monash IT network, so you’ll need to get your username and passwords set up.

Once you have your Monash account, you can log in to the university-wide intranet portal, called my.monash, where you will be able to access all information and resources relating to your candidature.

Access to a range of software is provided.

While you are likely to be provided with a staff-like email account (firstname.secondname@monash.edu), it is important to check your student email account regularly, as this is the way in which the uni will communicate with you about administrative matters.

Alternatively, you can set up mail forwarding from your student account to your staff-like account.

Library

If you haven’t used a library for a while, you’ll definitely need some help familiarising yourself with the search systems, resources and library services available today. Subject librarians can help you to find and use discipline-specific information, and can be contacted by email or phone.

The library offers specialised services for distance education students including a postal loan service. Research postgraduates have unlimited borrowing rights, with some restrictions applying depending on your location, and can make use of the document delivery service which can locate and deliver material that is only available from external libraries.

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The research journey

Supervison

Aaah, supervision!  What can we say?  It’s the making or breaking of a PhD.  It can be challenging to conduct a relationship with your supervisor purely by email.  Talk to your supervisor about the possibility of him/her making phone calls to you on a regular basis in addition to your email correspondence.

At Monash there is a Code of Conduct that sets out what you can expect from your supervisor and department, and what they will expect from you. Make sure you keep your supervisor relationship  healthy and happy. 

Seminars

The new Monash Doctoral Program includes a number of compulsory training hours.  Many of these training units are available online, see the Monash Doctoral Program section of the Monash Graduate Education home page.

There are a number of postgraduate-specific seminars run on the various campuses, and the MPA is encouraging seminar providers to record as many sessions as possible so that they can be accessed online.

Statistics/ethics

Be aware that if your research involves using biohazards or human or animal participants, you will need to seek ethics approval before you start connecting electrodes to brains or even conducting surveys or interviews.

Email one of the statistical consultants, who can ensure that the statistical analysis you have in mind is a good fit with your planned research, and discuss with them how to use your free statistical help via email or make an appointment to fit in with a scheduled visit to your supervisor.

Learning skills help

Stuck for words?  The library employ learning skills staff to work with postgraduates to improve academic writing skills.  The library has some great online resources about planning and writing a thesis and you can email the library-based learning skills advisors The learning support page for distance education students is also worth a look.

Referencing

It’s important to properly reference and cite
other people’s work used in your thesis. Plagiarism, even when unintended, is taken very seriously and the consequences can be severe.

Intellectual property

Just a brief word about intellectual property. If your research requires you to sign a deed of assignment or any other document that affects or restricts the ownership or use of your work, you should seek advice from one of the MPA Advocates before signing.

Travel grants

Don’t forget to apply for a travel grant if you’re planning to present at a conference or undertake fieldwork. Every little bit helps.

Confirmation of canditature

All first year PhD candidates need to work towards the formal confirmation of candidature that will take place around the nine month/one year mark. Talk to your supervisor about what this involves so that you are properly prepared when the big day arrives.

Once over the confirmation of candidature hurdle, there will be a mid-candidature review to ensure you are staying on track, and a pre-submission seminar held a few months prior to the submission of your thesis. Both the mid-candidature review and the pre-submission seminar are now formal hurdles and must be satisfied in order to progress.

Annual re-enrolment

All doctoral candidates are required to re-enrol annually at the University. To assist candidates in meeting this requirement, the University sends information and instructions about online re-enrolment procedures, including the closing date for re-enrolment, to candidates via their Monash University student email accounts towards the end of each year.

Authorship

We know you’ve only just started but if you’re producing quality results, then your supervisor might get you working on a paper for publication. This will usually be a joint publication with your supervisor and possibly other staff and postgraduates. Have a chat with your supervisor at the beginning of the process to find out how the authorship will work. It’s good for everyone to have an agreed position on this from the outset.

GRS Office

Graduate Research Services office (GRS) is the administrative arm that sits over all research training and deals with enrolments, scholarships and candidature-related processes like intermissions, extensions and examinations. Contact the GRS office staff if you have any questions about how it all works.

Advice & advocacy

Your experience at Monash should be academically challenging and stimulating. If you have any concerns or comments you should speak with your supervisor. Whatever you do, don’t let the situation deteriorate without acting. If you do find yourself in need of some independent, confidential advice, contact one of the MPA Advocates.

You can also check out our advice & advocacy pages.

Assistance

Finally, if you need some general advice or help with managing any of the university processes from a distance, email any one of the MPA staff for assistance. If you have any suggestions for improvements to services and support for DE postgraduates, please let us know as we have conducted research in this area but are always open to new ideas and feedback from postgraduates.

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A happy postgrad at the moment of thesis handover!

Useful websites - quick links

Distance Education postgraduate page, MPA website

Frequently asked questions

If you are wondering what is involved in being a committee member, or about the annual election process, vist our Committee FAQ page and our election process FAQ page. Being a distance student does not mean you cannot be on the committee.