Learning online

Read our advice to set yourself up to succeed in an online learning and teaching environment.

Recommended devices

If purchasing a new computer or laptop, we suggest the following specification or higher:

  • i5 (or equivalent AMD) Processor (Quad Core, 6M Cache, 1.6 GHz)
  • 14.0” FHD (1920 x 1080) Non-Touch LCD with Mic/Camera, Wireless e
  • 8GB (1X8GB) DDR4
  • Intel® Integrated HD Graphics 620
  • 256GB Solid State Drive.

There are many laptops available at a lower price and specification, but they may not be suitable for your needs. Wherever possible we recommend purchasing a higher specification (as above) as this will last longer and be able to handle more applications. If in doubt of the specification you need, we recommend talking with a friend who knows about computers or taking advice from staff at electronics shops. There are also many articles on the internet providing advice on what laptop to buy for university distance learning.

Laptop loan scheme

Support with a laptop is available for students experiencing financial hardship. If you are unable to study from home because you do not have access to a computer, email the following to student-hardship@vuw.ac.nz:

  • a completed laptop loan eligibility form
  • a recent bank statement or internet banking printout showing at least 2 weeks' transactions
  • a recent bank statement or internet banking printout showing all account balances.

The student finance advisers will contact you to advise if you are eligible to loan a laptop from the University for the duration of your programme of study.

Internet connections

Broadband Compare can help you to select a suitable option for your internet provider.

Skinny Jump is a programme designed to help more New Zealanders gain access to affordable broadband at home, providing heavily subsidised connectivity to thousands of households at risk of being digitally excluded due to cost.

Support

Contact Digital Solutions on 04 463 5050, servicedesk@vuw.ac.nz, or via webchat. Our opening hours are:

Monday–Thursday: 8.00 am–9.00 pm
Friday: 8.00 am–5.30 pm
Saturday–Sunday: 1.00–5.30 pm

Digital Learning Hub

The Centre for Academic Development has put together a digital learning hub with advice and support on key digital platforms that you will use in your studies. You can also find tips on submitting assignments and advice on downloading software.

Te Taiako | Student Learning

Learning online is great for flexibility—you can study anywhere and anytime you want. However there are different challenges with online learning compared to face-to-face classes. Te Taiako—Student Learning have developed modules you can complete at your own pace to develop skills for online learning.

Studying from outside New Zealand

Students studying overseas will need access to Blackboard. All information about other course requirements will be available on the course pages of Blackboard.

Outside New Zealand, the connection works best with a VPN (virtual private network) on any device, or if you don’t have a VPN, on a Windows operating system.

Students who have technical issues with Blackboard can get in touch with the Digital Solutions service desk by phone +64 4 463 5050, email servicedesk@vuw.ac.nz, or via webchat. A Mandarin-speaking support person is available.

Inclusive learning tools

You can access additional inclusive learning tools on University computers and your personal devices.

Software programmes Read&Write and EquatIO are digital tools intended to help students and staff work and study more efficiently, accurately, and quickly by making online and numerical information more accessible.

The software is particularly useful for people with specific learning disabilities, people with English as a second language, and oral learners. The tools also offer benefits to all students in the online learning and teaching environment.

Read&Write is a software toolbar that makes documents, web pages, and office applications more accessible. This includes scanning text, having information read to you or converted to an MP3 file, proof-reading lengthy reports, and other helpful tools for writing and research tasks. Watch a quick introduction to Read&Write on Blackboard.

EquatIO is the maths and chemical formula equivalent and can create equations, formulae, and graphs using natural written or spoken language, and place them into your documents or work directly with LaTeX, a software system for document preparation.

Further information on how to use and access the software is on the Disability Services website.