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Federation University Online: your first-time user guide

When you begin a university degree you’re going to come across a lot of new words. Credit points? OLAs? Moodle? CSP? If you’re looking at these words and wondering what on earth you just read, don’t panic, we’ve got you covered.

We’ve put together a comprehensive user list that will guide you through this new and often confusing terminology. We encourage you to bookmark or print out this list so that you can always refer to it whenever you need. That way you can spend less time googling new words and more time preparing yourself for your new studies.

Levels of study with Federation University Online

Bachelor’s degree: a bachelor’s degree is an undergraduate qualification and is usually the first level of study students will pursue at university. These degrees can take between three to five years to complete and aim to provide initial preparation for professional careers and/or postgraduate study.

Master’s degree: a master’s degree is a postgraduate qualification that you can pursue after completing an undergraduate degree (such as a bachelor’s degree). These degrees are usually two years long and focus on training students in more specialised fields of study.

Graduate certificate: a graduate certificate is a postgraduate qualification that is often the first step in beginning a master’s degree. They require either a previous undergraduate qualification (such as a bachelor’s degree) or relevant industry experience. Graduate certificates cover specialist knowledge just like a master’s degree, however, have fewer courses and only take up to six months to complete.

Courses, units and credit points. What do they all mean?

Course: a course is the degree or certificate you are enrolling in. Your course will be made up of a certain number of units that will form the body of your studies. Your course may take up to six months to five years to complete, depending on your level of study and your study load.

Unit: units explore individual topics or areas within your course. Your units also make up the credit point value required for you to complete your course. All courses have a unique number of units you must complete, which is specified under your ‘course structure’.

Credit points: credit points are a measure of your unit study load. Each course has a certain number of credit points allocated to it (e.g. 360 credit points). Units are also assigned a credit point value (e.g. 30 credit points). For every unit you complete you will be awarded those credit points, which will go towards the total amount you need to complete your course.

Elective courses: your course may offer you the option to select an elective unit/s. These units still count towards the completion of your course but aren’t included as compulsory units in your course structure. They allow you to broaden your knowledge or specialise in a certain area of interest.

Online facilities and support

OLAs (Online Learning Advisors): each of your units are led by an expert tutor, known as an Online Learning Advisor. Your OLAs are here to support you through your units, helping you navigate weekly assessments and find practical applications for your study.

Student Advisors: your Student Advisors are here to help you with general course queries. These include enrolment details, fee queries, course planning, essay writing, research, time management and technical support.

Student Hub: the Student Hub is your online virtual campus. Here, you can manage your course, seek online study support, access your online classroom (Moodle), access class resources and socialise with your peers.

Moodle: Moodle is the official learning management system for Federation University Online. Think of it as your online classroom, where you can access all your units, learning materials, class activities and assessment tasks.

Collaborate: Collaborate is a video-conferencing tool that allows you to interact with your OLAs and peers in real time, just like you would in a classroom. The tool allows you to watch/give live presentations, post questions and use a virtual whiteboard.

TP (teaching period): a teaching period is the period in which your units’ classes will take place, just like a school term or semester. Federation University Online runs four teaching periods per year, each over a 10-week period.

Census date: census date is the last day you can finalise your unit enrolment for each teaching period. This includes submitting your CSP (Commonwealth Supported Place), submitting a FEE-HELP request, paying your fees up front and withdrawing from your units and/or course without financial liability.

University fees

CSP (Commonwealth Supported Place): a CSP is a place at university where the government pays part of your fees. This is a subsidy instead of a loan, which means you don’t have to pay it back. You can learn more about your eligibility here.

FEE-HELP (Higher Education Loan Program): FEE-HELP is a government loan that helps you pay part or all of your tuition fees. This does not cover other costs such as laptops or textbooks. You will repay your HELP debt through the Australian taxation system once your income is above the compulsory repayment threshold. You can learn more about your eligibility here.

SSAF (Student Services and Amenities Fee): SAFF covers the costs of student services such as employment services and health and welfare services. You can pay your fee upfront or defer the fee with a SA-HELP loan.

SA-HELP: if you wish not to pay your SSAF upfront, you may be eligible to defer your fee through the Higher Education Loan Program (HELP). You can learn more about your eligibility here.

Get tech-ready

Before you begin studying online, you’ll want to become familiar with the technology you’ll be using. To help take the confusion out of your study prep, we’ve compiled a list of everything you’ll need so you can be tech-ready for your first class.


Laptop or desktop with built-in or plug-in:

  • Speakers or headphones
  • Web camera
  • Microphone.



  • Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint). You can download a free version of Microsoft Office 365 Student Advantage while studying with Federation University Online.


  • Adobe Reader to view and edit PDF files
  • VLC media player to view audio and video files.

You may be required to have specific software for your course/unit. If so, you will be advised what you will need beforehand.


  • A strong broadband internet connection with at least 30 GB data allowance per month (mobile dongles are not recommended).

Please contact your internet service provider if you have concerns about your data allowance or internet speed as reliable internet will be essential to your studies.

Recommended operating systems:

  • Mac users: OS High Sierra
  • PC users: Windows 7.

Tip: you can learn whether your operating system is up to date using the What is my browser website.

Recommended web browsers:

  • Mozilla Firefox v.70 or later
  • Google Chrome v.80 or later.

Student email:

Important communications from Federation University Online will be sent to your student email. It’s important that you check your emails regularly to keep up to date with your course.

MFA Multi-factor authentication:

When logging into selected Federation University Online systems and applications, you will be prompted to verify your identity via your phone in addition to your ID and password.

This prompt is known as a Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) challenge. In most cases, you will be asked for an MFA challenge whenever you need to sign in to an application or system using your student email address and password.