It is hard to describe how excited I was when I finally enrolled for further study this year.

I love study and learning, but I have a busy, work focused life and this wasn’t going to help me find time for a social life; but a few years of part time study was worth it. I thought.

Having almost finished my first subject, it is hard to describe how very disappointed I am.

Totally online. Sounds great. University of Melbourne. Great reputation, even better.

All sorts of resources – a discussion board where lecturers post messages for students, a webinar every second week to discuss assessments, uploaded within 24 hours in case you can’t join.


So first assessment written and uploaded by Turnitin, a universal plagiarism detector in week four.

Feedback due week 6. Looking forward to that with apprehension. Our final and biggest assessment is a follow on from our first. If we got it wrong the first time we need to know so that we can get it right the final time.

Second assessment due. Still no word on the first. But it is the University of Melbourne. We will hear soon.

Third assessment due. A Pecha Kucha – something that takes many, many hours to master. Finally, it is the best I can do. Follow the upload instructions. Fail, Again, Fail. Again, Fail. Call a friend and together we work out that Turnitin does not allow for video upload.

An aside:

Because I knew how important it was to give this study the time it deserved, whilst also giving my clients the time they deserved. I did quite a lot of preparation. I increased the hours of a staff member, I outsourced a few smaller jobs, I re-organised my business time and university time. I was taking it seriously and respectfully.

But, when I was doing all that, I did not take into account having to spend hours trying to upload an assessment before travelling interstate for work. Or how long it would take for the university to address the problem.

So the final and biggest assessment is due soon. But, hang on, it is now weeks late and I still haven’t received feedback on the first one. I still don’t know if I was on the right track. And I cannot make the final webinar on the final assessment because I am away for work.

Now, back in Victoria. Get up at 5am on Saturday morning to review the webinar and get stuck into the final assessment over the weekend.

The webinar was on Wednesday. We are asked to allow 24 hours to upload. It is now Saturday and not available. I look in all the spots where I would expect to see a message if there was a problem. Nothing.

I begin the assessment without the benefit of the webinar and go back time and again on the weekend. Nothing. Ah well, it is the weekend. Hope for Monday morning. Nothing.

Emailed the two lecturers. One response – away for several more weeks, the other response -away from the office, will be looking at emails, if urgent, contact one of these two people. (neither from the particular school that I am enrolled in). But tried both. One automated email back – no such person. No response from the other person.

I didn’t really expect her to respond. I knew that it was not her problem and I knew by now that customer service is not a priority and when customer service is poor, people say “not my problem” and delete.

I waited though, because I could not quite believe that the University of Melbourne could not upload a video and not let students know that there was a problem. That is customer service 101. What are we paying for?

Tuesday came and went. No announcements, no webinar, now only a few days until the final assessment is due. Stop worrying about that because if I am on the wrong track, it is almost too late to change it. What is worrying me now, is how can there be no response to emails, no marked assessments, no webinar, no announcements.

Come Wednesday (one week after webinar), I emailed online student support.

Thursday nothing. No email, no announcements, no webinar, fewer days until the final assessment.

At 2pm I rang them.


It is important to note that I don’t like to rock the boat, it is not in my nature. I don’t want to be seen as a grumpy old lady, I’m not usually. I don’t want to negatively influence my marks!! I don’t want to be in this position where I am going on line every hour to see if either the video is there or a message explaining what is wrong

Anyway, back to the phone call.

Maybe, somehow it is my fault? I am asked?

What have you done about it? Who have you notified? When? Then, We will notify you when it is up. Is there anything else that we can do?

Yes, post an announcement so that other students are aware that you know about the problem and you are working on it, respond to your emails, apologise.

Yes. An announcement is a good idea. We will do that. (three hours later it has not been done).

But I do have a response to my email:

Hi Noelene, 

Thanks for your email and your phone call earlier today. We do apologise for the inconvenience you have experienced due to the recording of the webinar not being uploaded. 

This issue was flagged within our team the day after the webinar was recorded and was escalated to the online webinar support team. This issue is still being investigated and as such, we are still waiting for the staff at Blackboard to locate the recorded webinar from that night. 

I apologise for the frustration this has caused you. You will be informed as soon as the recording has been located and uploaded. As this has impacted your ability to complete your assessments, you are more than welcome to apply for an extention for your upcoming assessments. This can be done by contacting the Subject Coordinator..

Please feel free to contact me if you have any further questions or concerns. 


They have lost the recording.

They have not bothered in more than a week to let students who missed the webinar know that the recording is lost.

They can’t spell extension! (now I am just being bitchy I know).

They do not respond to students’ emails – ironically the only email that I did get was my invoice $2,876

I assume that this is a result of cuts to universities. Lecturers who do not have the capability to use the internet having to teach online. Webinar teams losing webinars.

I will probably withdraw. I am not in a position to pay for such terribly poor service. I am very sad about it.