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Lunar New Year 2021

Lunar New Year is one of the biggest celebrations on the Chinese and south-east Asian calendar.

2021 is the Year of the Metal Ox, which symbolises diligence, honesty, reliability, stability, perseverance, power, stubbornness and excellence.

This year the date falls on Friday, 12 February with celebrations continuing beyond that.

Celebrations will be a little different this year, due to restrictions.

Find out what is happening in your state.

Previous stories

Take Care of Yourself  (or Your Mental Health) This Holiday Season

For many of us, the Holiday Season means happiness, family, friends and celebration, but this is not always the case, sometimes we experience the Holiday Blues.  For many people it can be hard for the holidays to measure up to high expectations of perfect, happy families and friends with luxurious celebrations and gifts.  This time of year can often be more stressful and less joyous due to expectations placed on us (by ourselves or others) about the amount of socialising, energy, money spent, cooking, cleaning or organising.  We have listed 9 ways that you can enjoy your holidays, even if the circumstances are not ideal this year.

9 Tips to Enjoy Your Holidays

  • Ditch old traditions that are no longer enjoyable, and replace them with new, fun ones.
  • Plan a celebration with friends (the family you choose) that is low maintenance.
  • Say ‘no’ to events that require energy or money that you do not have to spend.
  • Give yourself a gift: this could be a meditation, a day off, or your favourite dinner.
  • Give yourself time to get things done, this includes; sleep, good diet and nutrition, downtime, connecting with loved ones (even online).
  • Distract yourself with something enjoyable: read a book, go for a hike, create some art, play an instrument.
  • Serve others: volunteering our time and energy to help others is proven to help our moods, whilst we are servicing a community in-need.  Soup kitchens, food delivery services and emergency housing offer great opportunities in the holiday season. For volunteering opportunities near you, visit
  • Make a list, not for Santa, but for you.  Make a list of all the things you are grateful for in what has been a challenging year for all.
  • Accept that plans, events, interactions with family and friends will not be perfect.

What's on in your state

New South Wales

New South Wales State Map

What’s on in NSW -

Christmas Events -

Eventbrite in NSW -

StudyNSW -

The Big Bash: for cricket fans - in NSW


Queensland State Map

What’s on in Brisbane -
Art and entertainment, comedy, festivals, sport, markets etc

Eventbrite in QLD -

StudyQLD -

The Big Bash: for cricket fans - in QLD

South Australia

South Australia State Map

What’s On in SA -
Arts and culture, tourist attractions, outdoor activities shopping, tours, families and kids

Eventbrite SA -
Decorate Christmas cake workshop, Stirling Xmas pageant, Xmas wreath workshop

Top 10 Christmas things to see and do around Adelaide -

Study Adelaide -

The Big Bash: for cricket fans - in SA


Victoria State Map

What’s on in Melbourne -

Visit Victoria -
Sport, Festivals etc

Eventbrite in VIC -

Study Melbourne -

The Big Bash: for cricket fans - in VIC

Helpful holiday information

Seven tips for securing a Christmas Casual Job
Aussie Beaches – A Guide for International Students
Celebrating Christmas in Australia
Insider Guide: Resources, advice and conversations on the student journey
International Visitor Bushwalking Information for Australia
Looking for something on Christmas Day? 

Here's a breakdown of places that are open in each capital city across Australia on the public holiday.

Don't forget New Year's Eve!  Here's what's happening in your city.

If you require mental health or wellbeing support through the holiday season, please use the following options:

Please note the Torrens University Counselling Service is closed from the 24th of December to 5th of January.

Emergencies Call 000 If you are at risk  
See a GP Make an appointment with w GP or doctor for physical or mental health support  


Lifeline is a national charity providing all Australians experiencing a personal crisis with access to 24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention services.

13 11 14 24/7 Crisis Support

Beyond Blue Provides information and support to help everyone in Australia achieve their best mental health.


1300 224 636

Ask Izzy Find help you need, like access to food, homelessness, now and nearby.

Relationships Australia

Support groups and counselling on relationships, and for abusive and abused partners. 

1300 364 277


24-hour national sexual assault, family and domestic violence counselling line for any Australian who has experienced, or is at risk of, family and domestic violence and/or sexual assault.

1800 737 732

Information about additional support services are available on the Counselling page.

Celebrate our Class of 2020

Date: 5 November 2020

This week we celebrate a once in a generation graduation class at Graduation Without Borders, live on Friday 6 November at 7.30pm AEDT. They have shown incredible strength and resilience through this year. They are our future leaders, uniquely equipped to be change-makers and world-shakers. Here are some stories of incredible focus and determination. 


Freya is a newly graduated Bachelor of Health Science student from Southern School of  Natural Therapies (SSNT) whose message to students is as inspiring as it is bold. 

“I encourage all of you to find positivity in a difficult time, and move forward with lots of grace and hope. Because there is definitely light around the corner and it’s sitting there with opportunities, just ready to go. We just have to be ready to jump on them.”

At the coalface of a year wrought with uncertainty, and the loss of her dream job, Freya chose to see this time as opportunity-rich. In fact, it was what galvanised her to boldly step out to start her own business as a solo practitioner as a Naturopath and Nutritionist. 

Freya is empowered by her education, emboldened by purpose and her love for making a positive difference in the health of others. 

For this Melbourne-based graduate, having endured months of closed borders, lockdowns and cancelled graduations, our special celebration Graduation Without Borders, means the world to her. 

Graduation Without Borders means to me, a total celebration of the last four years of blood, sweat and tears that were poured into this degree and finally being able to get to the point where I’m able to celebrate with all of my comrades,” says Freya.


Emmanuel, a recent Master of Public Health graduate, tells his story today. Emmanuel left an established career as a doctor in India with a dream of making larger scale impact in the health of the communities around him.  

As a 2nd generation doctor, helping others was in his blood. Emmanuel grew up watching his parents care for people and wanted to follow in their footsteps. 

“Being a doctor is all about empathy. My parents had very kind and genuine hearts towards their patients. It’s what inspired me the most,” says Emmanuel. 

But for Emmanuel, helping patients one-on-one wasn’t enough – he wanted more. With additional studies, he wanted to step beyond what his parents had already achieved.  

“Having the knowledge and skills in [Public Heath] would not only benefit me as an individual but also the society at large.”  

Take a glimpse into Emmanuel’s uplifting graduation speech submission for our Voices for Graduation competition, and get to know one of our incredible graduates.


Our students win big in Interchange 2020

Date: 1 September, 2020

19 of our students battled it out against 42 other teams, and came out on top – winning 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th places in their respective teams in this year’s Interchange 2020.

Big congratulations to you all! Students were challenged in an online hackathon style event to create a feasible solution to a real-world problem. This exciting challenge allowed participants to develop and build on a number of key skills including: problem solving, critical thinking, communication, and leadership skills, all important transferrable skills to set them up for success in their future careers. They were stretched and put to the test.

But, we’ll leave it to the students to tell you all about it.

Photo of Ilijia

Ilijia Pesic

2nd place, Serbia  

"It was amazing to collaborate with team members remotely. Our team had fantastic energy because of its diversity, both in academic and cultural views. In addition, I know now how to develop an entrepreneurial idea. Sessions with famous entrepreneurs helped me to be more motivated and their experience showed me that everything is possible, [the] 'sky is the limit'."

Phot of Pheobe
Phoebe Perkins

5th place, Australia 

 "My experience of the Interchange 2020 program gave me a sneak peak into the world of start-ups and entrepreneurship. It was a great opportunity to collaborate with students from other universities to tackle important current issues. 

 Our team 4Sydney was lucky enough to be one of 6 teams to be selected for the live pitch night in front of a renowned judging panel and the rest of the Interchangers' cohort. As I was the chosen team speaker, I had the honour of presenting to the judging panel first! We were lucky enough to be placed in the top 5 out of 42 teams!" 

Photo of Thanis
Thais Lobregatta dos Santos


“Being part of Interchange 2020 was an incredible experience. During the 5-week program I met other brilliant students from diverse backgrounds, in which enabled myself to expand my network and team working skills.  

In those weeks I developed my creativity and innovative problem-solving skills, as well as entrepreneurial critical thinking. I am proud of having participated of Interchange 2020 and been chosen by Torrens University to be one of the students representing the University in this program.” 


Megan Stack


"Being a part of Interchange 2020 was an amazing experience. It was both challenging and rewarding. In just four weeks I gained so many skills, improved my ability to work in a team and with people from diverse backgrounds and learnt how far I could push myself to achieve great things.  

I loved networking with students from different universities and learning from knowledgeable industry professionals. It was a great challenge and I feel much more prepared for entering the workforce after completing the course. I would definitely recommend it to all of my peers!" 

Rosemary Beggs

2nd place, Australia

"For three weeks I was part of an amazing and educational program called interchange. Within this experience I learnt every aspect of what entrepreneurship is and connected with so many awesome and impressive people.

At the end of the program my team presented a solution to be more sustainable with our water usage and in the end my team came 2nd out of more than 30 teams.

I feel extremely honoured to be nominated by my university and to be chosen by interchange to be apart of such an enriching experience."


Salima Syango


"Developing employability skills, team skills, digital technology, leadership skills were without question, the most valuable skills gained from the Interchange journey.

My perspective after this 5 weeks journey has created a focused mindset on leveraging ideas and opinions.

Thank you for this opportunity. I look forward in representing Torrens University  furthermore in the future."

Meet Business Women Australia and Torrens Scholarship winner - Kylie Clarke


Date: 1 September, 2020

Felicitations to our Business Women Australia (BWA) and Torrens University Australia (TUA) Scholarship Winner – Kylie Clarke! 

Kylie’s story is an inspiring one, pivoting from a successful 15+ year career in events, communications and membership at The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists (RANZCR), to starting her own company an event tech and management consultancy – Evise. 

Kylie brought passion, humour, and hunger to her compelling scholarship pitch revealing a deep desire to give back to the community. 

“My career aspiration is to give back to system that gave me the opportunity, by empowering, growing and mentoring other women.” says Kylie. 

Read all about Kylie’s career journey, her passions, and hopes for the future in a special Q&A below. 

Tell us about your company and why you decided to leave your job to start it

Evise is an event technology and event management consultancy start up run by my business partner and I. The best way to describe our business in one sentence is our clients have a vision and we make the magic happen!  

With COVID bringing the event industry to a standstill, in particular face to face events, we help clients transform their events into the virtual space without losing the engagement or excitement of the in-person conference experience. 

Prior to starting Evise, I had worked my way up the corporate ladder at The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists (RANZCR) spending over 15+ years in events, communications, and membership. I loved my role as Manager of Events.  

I was well-paid, well-respected. I had the “dream job” yet I wanted more. Just like an event, I wanted to run my own show, in its entirety! When the opportunity arose, I decided it was now or never and dived headfirst (eyes closed!) into running a start-up.  

What attracted you to Business Women Australia (BWA) and Torrens University Australia (TUA)? 

In July I saw an advertisement for Friday Free Fall with BWA Director Lyn Hawkins and decided to register. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, however after I jumped off the Zoom call, I knew I wanted to be part of the collective.  

BWA’s shared values were so evident. I immediately felt included and there was lots of authentic positive energy, support, and encouragement. I joined the following week.  

When I found out about the 100% scholarship opportunity through BWA and TUA, I was shocked – 100% scholarships are rare! Before applying I did some research on TUA and loved that it is Australia’s newest university in 20 years, so it has the opportunity to carve a history for itself.  

That along with its ethos to place passionate people into careers that they love really resonated with me. 

Why is it important that women support each other and to improve the visibility of business women in Australia? 

When a woman chooses to support another woman by encouraging them to pursue their dreams you are giving them the best possible gift ever – empowerment. Have you seen an empowered woman? She is unstoppable!  

Empowerment provides the space to let her voice be heard, to lean in to achieving her goals and to celebrate her successes. Women are powerful when they join forces, support, and show generosity towards each other.  

By empowering other women, you are helping them raise their profiles, finding the courage to step out of their comfort zone and continue to take a seat at the table. This can only mean good things for the visibility of businesswomen not only in Australia, but globally.  

How do you feel being selected for the BWA scholarship? 

I am incredibly humbled, grateful, and honoured for being selected as the recipient of this scholarship. I said in my pitch a once in a lifetime opportunity I was 100% serious. I am very excited (petrified, but mostly excited) to start the MBA. I cannot wait to sink my teeth into the degree and of course meet new people and make connections along the way. 

What advice would you give to anyone applying for scholarships like these in the future?  

Set yourself apart from the rest by showing the panel exactly why you should be the selected recipient. It is one thing to say that you desire the scholarship and the opportunity, however it is about what you do to showcase this desire which will make the panel sit up and take notice.  

They say actions speak louder than words, so find that thing which will give you the WOW factor. Also, a lot of time, money and resources is invested into providing the scholarship opportunity, so you need to acknowledge this be prepared to invest back to the system. Reciprocity is key. 

How do you feel studying will have an impact on your future and allow you to achieve your career goals?  

Studying and committing to an internationally recognised MBA will provide me with the cognitive, technical, and creative skills to make effective business decisions. With my experience, and the implementation of my new learnings, my business will grow to the next level, showing real-life, tangible results. 

What words of wisdom would you give to young professional women who are still figuring out their career?  

Despite any pressure you may feel to have a clear and defined career, it is quite OK to not have it all figured out! Throughout life we are constantly exposed to experiences, events and people that shape who we are, so it is only natural that our career pathways may transform or even change during this time too.  

The most important thing is to follow your heart, find your passion and push your boundaries, even if this may terrify you! As the wonderful late Carrie Fisher once said “Stay afraid but do it anyway. What is important is the action. You don’t have to wait to be confident. Just do it and eventually, the confidence will follow”. 

Who was the first person you told when you found out you had won the BWA scholarship and why? 

I rung my mum. I had not told her that I was applying for the scholarship and had only sent her my pitch video on the day of the scholarship announcement. I rung her in tears afterwards and said “Mum, I won! I won the scholarship”.  

When I was weighing up my options leaving my job to go into business, I received A LOT of conflicting advice. I was unsure what was the right choice. My mum simply asked me if in 10 years’ time would I have more regret knowing I ran my own business and it did not work out, or knowing I never actually tried? I think I resigned the following week!  

I’d love to know more about what inspires you, and what drives you 

Be it business related or personal, hearing the success stories of other people is what inspires me. I love seeing how despite the odds or what may have been deemed an unachievable goal, as humans we have ability to apply determination, unwavering passion, and a fire to succeed to achieve pretty much anything.  

I read it is not your circumstances but your mindset that drives the force of change. The fact that we control our thoughts and have the capability to apply these thoughts to get what we want out of life is inspirational and what drives me most days. 

Tell us about off-duty Kylie, what do you love doing when you’re not running your own business  
I am a self-confessed adrenaline junkie and a bit of a petrol head, so I anything fast and motorised! I recently obtained my motorcycle L’s, bought myself a motorbike I aptly named ‘Ricciardo’ (after Australia F1 driver Daniel Ricciardo) and am learning to ride.  

When I am not in a helmet and leathers, my other passions include musical theatre, hiking, and cooking. Of course, as a Millennial taking photos of what I eat is just as important! 


It's okay to ask for help, no matter where you're from

Date: 28 July, 2020

Asking for help can feel tough, but there are many reasons for doing so.

Studying away from home can be a thrilling adventure that pushes you outside your comfort zone. It can also feel scary. Relocating, getting oriented, making connections and independently living and studying can be challenging. 

So it can be part of the experience to encounter a little culture shock, stress and anxiety. You may even feel isolated.  But you don’t need to struggle in silence. It’s okay to ask for help and talk about how you feel. 

Seeking help can sometimes feel difficult because of cultural taboos, stigma, language barriers, and other invisible forces that can hold us back. You’re not alone if you feel this way.  Experts have observed that international students are less likely to reach out for help and have developed specific frameworks and resources to help address this. 

It’s important to know, there’s nothing wrong with needing a hand.   

In this article, we shed some light on knowing what to look out for - signs you may need help, and what it’s really like to speak with a counsellor. We also share some ideas and resources that can help you adjust to studying away from home. 

How do I know I need help? 

Sometimes you may not even realise you need support.  

You may think that only people with a mental health diagnosis speak to counsellors – that's not the case. It can be simply that you are having trouble focusing on your studies. 

Beyond Blue has also detailed some signs and symptoms to keep an eye out for. If you find yourself withdrawing from friends/family, not engaging in normal enjoyable activities, or experiencing loss/change in appetite, it may be time to speak to someone for support. 

Beyond Blue also offers many helpful resources like a hotline, chat function, online forums, and have even created an Anxiety and Depression checklist to help support you. 

What is it really like to speak with a counsellor? 

It’s just having a chat. 

Speaking with a counsellor is simply having a chat. It’s a friendly conversation where you can talk about whatever you’d like to with someone who is equipped with a tool kit to help you thrive in everyday life. 

One student shared how they overcame their initial fear and spoke to a counsellor. 

“I saw one anyway, and she was so kind, and welcoming, and really helped me a lot by giving me some tools and tips on how to prepare for presentations in-class, and build up a group of friends here in Australia.” They said. 

It’s free. It’s confidential. 

What’s said stays between you and your counsellor. It’s completely private and won’t be disclosed to any academics or be put against your records. 

One Melbourne student expressed how although no one knew she had spoken to a counsellor, the impact it had on them was plain to see. 

“My family at home have noticed that I am much happier, and they are very proud of me with my success in Australia and at University, but they do not know that it’s all because of seeing the Counsellor.” They said. 

It’ll help you thrive, every day. 

A counsellor isn’t here to judge or diagnose you. They are here to listen and give you a safe space to open about how you’re feeling about your day-to-day challenges. 

We all feel worried or on edge from time to time. Counsellors work through what you’re facing now so that you are better equipped to deal with future challenges. 

Things to help make studying away from home easier 

There are a few things you can do today to help reduce stress and adjust to studying away from home.  

Here are some top tips: 

  • Stay connected: Building your community locally with other students and enjoy the social aspects of university life. Also checking in with your family/friends from home will help you stay in touch with your support network. 

  • Celebrate your culture: Organise a virtual dinner, or maybe introduce your friends your favourite dish from home, it'll help you stay connected to your home. 

  • Try out something new: Whether it’s learning to draw, gardening, or taking a virtual tour of Australia, add a little fun to your day. Check out a few ideas here

  • Explore your local area: Whilst gallivanting around your city may not be possible right now, explore Australia from the comfort of your own living room. From wildlife tours, to something more artsy, there’s lots of options available.

Finding the good from the bad


by Zac Williams, Ultimo SRC Creative team member

Date: Friday 26 June

While there have been many challenges during this time of isolation/social distancing, I want focus on and share about the positives that I have been able to get from this experience.

One of the main things I have enjoyed during this time is being able to reconnect with my family.

I’ve recently been able to spend a lot more time with my family. As we all lead busy lives, it’s often easy to forget them. Whether it’s going out on the weekend, work, studies, there’s so much that we can get caught up in, so I have loved this unexpected opportunity to spend quality time together and it’s really brought us closer as a family.

Give it a try! It could be a nice cup of tea together, or going for a walk together, it’s been a real pleasure for me.

I understand that I’m very lucky in this aspect as many in this community won’t have the ability to do so as international students living away from family, or if you have challenges at home.

I’d encourage you to connect with your friends, or perhaps consider getting involved with your student community via the SRC as it’s a great way to meet new people and make lasting connections.

If you need a little extra help through this period and are unsure who to turn to, why not speak to one of our Counsellors. They’re here to listen and support you through.

I’ve also been able to enjoy more of the little things in life during this time. I’ve loved being able to spend more time in the sun reading, or playing with my puppy.

Here are some ideas from Student Services that can help shake up your routine and bring in positivity:

So take a little time today for your family or friends, appreciate the little things in life, or try something new.

I hope you are all doing well – keep safe and happy!

Develop your mental toughness for study success


by Susan Anderson, Counsellor, Kent St campus

Date: 19 June, 2020

Many of you have just started your student journey with us. You may be feeling excited, or perhaps a little overwhelmed – that is completely normal. We all have good days, and sometimes more challenging days, but it’s how we respond to those challenges that can really make the difference and set us up for success.

This is where mental toughness comes in.

Mental toughness is the ability to respond effectively to stress, challenge and change.

Experts Peter & Doug in their book on developing mental toughness describe resilience as a strong characteristic of people who come through challenges. Mentally tough people will “still possess that inner drive and belief that it’s down to them.”

Developing mental toughness will help enable you to perform better in your studies during challenging times, and empower you to succeed while keeping your mental health a priority.

Below I explore four simple ways to start developing your mental toughness.

How to develop your mental toughness



Take control of your study and ask for the help you need to succeed. 

If you do have a problem, reflect on what you can go change the situation. Don’t be tempted to fall into the trap of blaming others – you are in control.

Tip: Be pro-active and ask for help. Talk to your lecturer or supervisor, your success coach, or the campus counsellor.



Stay focused and set goals.

Remember why you enrolled in the first place! Procrastination is our biggest enemy here and we all use it as a way to avoid stress at some point. It works in the short term but makes life difficult in the longer term. Beat it by setting measurable goals for study and stick to them.

Resource: Check out these tips to avoid procrastination and set goals.


Try to see challenges as opportunities rather than threats.

Got a difficult assignment coming up? Great – it’s a chance for you to show what you can do! All success involves some sort of risk, so calm the voice that says it’s too hard or you might fail. See it as an opportunity to give it a go and get the satisfaction of a job well done.

Resource: This student shares her story of studying overseas and how she overcame some common challenges.



Believe in yourself.

Be confident that you have the right and the ability to succeed and don’t be intimidated by others. Confidence comes from a mix of self-belief and external support, so ask your lecturers, success coach or counsellor if you need help.

Tip: Make an appointment for academic skills support or talk with a campus counsellor to boost your self-confidence.

Drawing from a personal experience

I was 23 years old and at the end of my first Masters degree. It was a research degree and so everything depended on the quality of my thesis.

I submitted what I thought was the final draft, feeling confident that it was a pretty good effort. Then the stress began – my supervisor called a meeting to tell me that the content was ok, but it needed to be completely re-written in a much more academic way or it wouldn’t pass. My plain-English writing style was not ‘academic enough’ and I had 2 weeks to fix it up or I was at risk of failing.

My first instinct was to blame the supervisor. He’d seen plenty of previous drafts and didn’t tell me there was a problem. My next instinct was to panic and emotions took over. My parents had spent a fortune on this degree, I’d moved cities and left all my friends, a job I enjoyed and I felt as tough I’d given up my life to do this. I was also attending one of the most prestigious universities in the world, and I was going to fail. Not a good place to be in!

Once I had a good cry and went through a series of emotions, from anger to terror, I stopped and took stock of the situation. I called a friend who helped me see things in a new way.

I took control. I stopped blaming my supervisor and my circumstances and checked my emotions. I realised that I had 2 weeks to fix this, and only I could do that. I was going to give it my best shot.

I saw it as a challenge. I really didn’t like my supervisor much and it brought out a competitive streak in me I didn’t know I had. I wanted to show him that he was wrong – I could do this! I wanted this degree, and I would do my best to get there.

I was committed. I wasn’t going to let this set back trip me up. I had my goal – 2 weeks to re-write the thesis into a more ‘academic’ style - and so I contacted my workplace and asked them for time off. I told my flat mates I wouldn’t be able to go out for the next 2 weeks, and I sat down and I made this my priority.

I had confidence in myself. I believed that I could do it, or at the very least that I could give it a red hot go. I decided to worry about the outcome later and do the best I could in the now.

In the end, I am very happy to say that I passed with very positive feedback and renewed confidence. So much so that I went to study again and again. Luckily for me, it turned out that I had developed what I now know as mental toughness somewhere along the way. Which is the wonderful thing about it – it’s recognised as a ‘plastic’ personality trait, which means that anyone can develop it. Even when we feel down, stressed out or overwhelmed, we can choose to flex those mental muscles and face the challenges with resilience and positivity. 

Not feeling mentally tough today? Let us support you.

Contact your campus counsellor or make an appointment through the Student Hub. Book through the counselling page under Wellbeing and Diversity in the Student Support area.


Clough, P., & Strycharczyk, D. (2014). Developing mental toughness in young people : Approaches to achievement, well-being, employability, and positive behaviour. London, England: Routledge


We asked, you spoke and we listened – our response to student feedback

In early April, we ran a Pulse Survey to check in, listen to and obtain valuable feedback from you, our students. We’ve also heard from you via our recent Student Evaluation of Subject & Lecturer (SESL) survey. It was and continues to be important to us to bring your voice into the conversation, especially as we had transitioned all of our students to a fully online environment in the response to COVID-19.

We gained valuable insight into your needs and as a result, we have been able to implement strategies to ensure you still get the best learning experience possible and feel supported during this time.


You said We did
You wanted more interaction with your lecturers and fellow students. This was further re-iterated in recent SESL feedback.

Developed and implemented detailed online teaching minimum standards which have been reinforced with lecturing staff.

The Standards cover:

  • appropriate contact times for online learning
  • communications required with students so you can remain informed and supported
  • improved information for students to understand how online best works for you and how to get the best out of it
  • a series of information and support sets for staff to help them give maximum service to students.
You commented on lecturers’ use of technology e.g.: recording of sessions, knowing how to use the mic and camera, being familiar with the technology

Rolled out Blackboard digital skills workshops to lecturers with ongoing support and training.

Promoted efficient use of Collaborate Ultra to lecturers through Library and Learning Services workshops including ongoing instruction courses, online discussion groups and informative collateral

You wanted more information on changes to assessments and deadlines

Sourced and implemented specialist software for online exam invigilation and in weeks 10 and 11 communicated directly to impacted students whose assessments had changed. During the exam period a helpline was utilised and student enquiries were addressed by Learning Support staff or triaged for assistance to IT or academic staff.

Expanded opportunities for students to resubmit and/or to be re-assessed.

For the current COVID-19 effected period students who receive a trimester result of 35% or above will be given the opportunity to re-sit or re-submit (whichever is required). Academic staff will liaise with students concerned to determine the appropriate assessment item with which the student could get over the line.

You wanted more information on coping  during COVID-19 and connecting with others

Implemented online student engagement initiatives including:

  • Proactive outreach calls and twice weekly communications to students to  enhance student connection, health and wellbeing
  • SRC activities including Instagram competitions, photos of isolation outfits competitions, Anzac photo competition, Kahoot trivia, and blog posts
  • Facebook posts, student videos, profile of SRC, and suggestions on what to do from home
You commented on online course materials. This was also raised in recent SESL feedback.

As part of our continuous subject improvement process we have made enhancements to 191 subjects. This includes updating and making assessments more applicable to remote delivery, repairing broken links in online materials and adding additional updated content.

You were not fully satisfied with Learning Resources Support

We have purchased a large number of additional e-books to make it easier for you to find resources to support your studies. These are available through the Subject Guide links on the Library web page.

We have established a live CHAT service available from 9.00 am – 9.00 pm weekdays to assist you with any questions or concerns in regards to Learning Resources (CHAT accessed via the Library web page)

You wanted improved access to online Blackboard support. Blackboard support was also commented on in recent SESLs.

We have updated the support resources that can be found on the Learning with Technology Help pages on Blackboard

24/7 Blackboard support is available to all students. To log a Blackboard support call click Blackboard Support Call

You wanted information on financial support available to you

Information on financial assistance measures communicated through Vice Chancellor emails and included as FAQs on Torrens/Think COVID19 webpage

To receive advice about measures in place to support you please contact our Contact Centre at or 1300 575 803. One of our team members will assist you by talking through your individual circumstances and options.

You wanted information on general welfare support available to you

Appointed 2 new counsellors to reduce appointment waiting time and group counselling sessions.

An extensive array of services are available to you through the Student Hub


Week 1 Done! How are you tracking?



by Paul Grainger, graduate and Student Mentor

Date: 10 June, 2020


You’ve successfully completed the first week and, if you’ve done it right, you’re probably feeling pretty overwhelmed with all the information, websites and resources to access! Plus, whilst you have been busy learning new subject material, many of you are also ‘learning how to learn’ in the online environment which on its own can be challenging.

As a recent online graduate, here are a few tips to help you check in with yourself after Week 1 and to find some peace in knowing you are utilising the available resources to your advantage.


Do You Feel Comfortable Navigating Online?

Whether you are a new or returning online student, there’s a lot of different platforms to get your head around. Even after three years of online study I am still discovering new pages and resources all the time! If you’re still not quite sure where to find the important stuff, this short video explains some of my top tips for simplifying Blackboard and using it to your advantage. In addition, the academic skills team have some fantastic workshops and resources available to help you navigate these essential platforms.


How’s Your Subject Load?

Whilst we may want to get our studies ‘out of the way’ so we can get into the career we aspire to, it’s important to be honest about what is manageable and to find a healthy balance. The time will go by much quicker than you expect and the real value in the course is found in giving yourself time to absorb and apply the lessons learned. (I failed my first four subjects having taken on too much!)

Although some of you may need to satisfy a certain subject load for your visa, remain conscious of this study-work-life balance and schedule time for what’s vital for your physical and mental wellbeing. And remember, you’re not alone, your success coach team are here to help you find the right balance.


How’s Life?

Most importantly, your studies are just a small part of your life and for many of us now things can feel stressful. But that’s okay, there is a heap of support available from your success coach to the campus counsellors. These services are free, readily accessible and completely confidential. And even if you might not need the help right now, from my own experience, it’s great to establish these relationships early to help prevent any future issues arising.

Finally, there is a great checklist created by the success coach team, available to download here, that will help to consolidate your progress from Week 1 and guide you to the exact resources needed to assist you in answering any remaining questions or concerns you have at this point in the trimester.

Remember, take a moment give yourself credit for having the courage to embark on this amazing journey of learning and, above all else, be kind to yourself.

Things to do on Day 1 In One Hour That Will Save You A Trimester of Stress


by Paul Grainger, graduate and Student Mentor

Date: Monday 1 June, 2020

If you’re just starting your course, or even if you’ve been studying for a while, the beginning of a trimester can be a massive case of information overload! As a recent online Bachelor of Business graduate, and now Torrens University Student Mentor, I know this feeling very well!

Luckily for you, I have now compiled some of my top tips for Day 1 (many of which I’ve learned the hard way) that will make the rest of the trimester easier, more enjoyable and more successful – and they can all be done in less than an hour!

1. Schedule and automate - 15 minutes

The very first thing you should do when you open Blackboard for the first time (when your motivation is highest and stress levels are lowest) is to find the Assessments tab on the left-hand side of your subject dashboard.

In this you will see a table that maps out all your assessment tasks for the trimester and their respective due dates. Take a moment to input all these dates into a diary or a calendar (personally I use Google calendar that syncs to my phone) and to schedule reminders in advance.

The trick is to automate as much as possible to avoid unnecessary last-minute stress – or missing deadlines altogether!

2. Download and read your assessment briefs - 20 minutes

On the same Assessments page, click on each individual assessment item and download the assessment briefs (normally a hyperlink at the top). At this stage, it’s also helpful to set up a file management system in My Documents to keep all of these grouped by Trimester and Subject.

Repeat this process for each assessment, and each subject, before spending another few minutes skim reading each brief. For now, don’t worry about understanding them in detail, it’s just to give you an idea of what to expect and what you will be working on in each subject.

(Bonus Tip: There is a ‘study hacks’ workshop on Tuesday 2/6 that will dive into this further!)

3. Introduce yourself to your lecturer and classmates - 15 minutes

Unlike face-to-face learning, studying online can feel pretty lonely if you miss this step, so take a few minutes to write a short message introducing yourself to your lecturer and classmates by sending a group class message (I find this gets the best response versus the discussion forum).

Include what you’re excited about in the subject (refer back to what you read in the assessment briefs), what interests you have outside of uni and what your career aspirations are. And if you have LinkedIn, suggest connecting there as well: Your career networking starts now!

4. Schedule time to attend a workshop - 5 minutes

Don’t be like me and inadvertently learn all these lessons the hard way! The university’s team of success coaches now run workshops every weekday on topics ranging from how to write a resume or cover letter and find an internship to study hacks that will save you time and stress!

Take a moment to look at the workshop schedule here and schedule a time to attend anything that jumps out.

5. Book a time to meet with your Success Coach - 5 minutes

If you’ve decided to spend the next year or four studying, chances are that you have a career goal or aspiration in mind. The university’s team of success coaches are here to connect what you’re learning in the classroom with your personal and professional goals.

I’ve worked with my success coach for the past two years and as a result have identified and developed my professional strengths, established clarity around my personal brand and career goals and have left feeling inspired and motivated every time.

The sooner you can set up this relationship the better, so book a time with coach here; personally, it has been one of the best decisions I ever made!


Finally, if you’ve taken this one hour out on your first day to establish these systems and support mechanisms, you will already be leaps and bounds ahead of almost every other student! Plus, you will be set up to save yourself stress, achieve your study goals and, perhaps most importantly, make the process a whole heap more fun and rewarding.