Kathy: Tech study advice for the mature age student

USQ blogger: Kathy Ryan
Kathy completed a Bachelor of Business degree, majoring in administration management and accounting, in 2017. She is married and has four daughters. Kathy likes Pilates, reading, watching a good movie and spending as much time as possible with family and friends.

It doesn’t matter what your age is, technology has become integrated in most aspects of our lives, and is a necessity in today’s learning environment. Fortunately for me, I’ve had constant interaction with technology through work and my own children growing up—it seemed like every birthday there was a new gadget that you needed to update to—but that doesn’t mean I haven’t experienced challenges since starting my studies as a mature aged student.

I remember going back to work after my first baby and learning how to use this thing called a mouse. I thought, ‘how am I ever going to get the hang of this’? But I did, and quickly. Now I don’t use a separate mouse at all! It’s incorporated into my laptop, which, just quietly, was also a challenge to get used to when I first got it.

All of this technology scared me at first, but now it’s become essential!

Now I’m studying at university and technology is all around me. Younger students are constantly on their mobile devices doing whatever it is they do on them. It never ceases to amaze me how they can play games or be on social media during a lecture. If only I had the ability to multi-task like that! I am constantly learning about technology and what you can do with it, so thought I’d share some of my experiences and the things I’ve learned in case anyone else out there is facing the same challenges.

Here are the three things I've learned about technology that can help you as a mature age student

1. Internet connection

One tech challenge I’ve encountered has been connecting to the internet on campus. This was frustrating at the time because trying to figure out why it didn’t work was so time consuming, but once the tech guys at the Student Hub sorted this out, all was good to go. If you have any problems connecting to the internet on-campus on any of your devices, talk to the staff at the Student Hub or contact USQ’s ICT team for support. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, as a busy student you need to be able to get on with your studies ASAP.

2. Keyboard shortcuts

When I first started studying at university, I didn’t realise there were so many shortcuts you could use within Word to make life easier. The control key is wonderful and can do so many things when combined with another letter of the alphabet! This might seem basic to a much younger, technologically-savvy student, but for me as a mature age student, it was one of the best tech skills I have learned and saved me so much time and effort. The challenge was remembering them all!

  • Control U – Underscoring
  • Control B – Bold Text
  • Control F – Search within a document
  • Control A – Highlight all the document
  • Control X – Cut
  • Control C – Copy
  • Control V – Paste

3. Social media

Lastly, who would have thought that social media would be used as a tool in my educational experience? I thought it was a way to keep in touch with friends and something I had to keep my girls off late at night! At first I found it challenging to fully embrace social media in my studies, but after utilising Facebook for study groups and a number of group assignments, I could soon appreciate just how much quicker and easier it was to keep in touch with group members and get tasks completed on time. If you’re nervous about dipping your toes into social media, I would start with a basic Facebook profile first and see how you go. 

If you find the thought of using tech to study challenging, think of the words of Francis of Assisi: ‘Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible’. Don’t let technology overwhelm or frustrate you. Just resolve one challenge at a time and before you know it you’ll be completing your digital study with confidence!

If you ever need help to untangle a tech situation, contact the ICT Team or check out the Library's tips for helping navigating your online course materials.


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