February 2020 Newsletter

Massey@distance (M@D) welcomes you to semester one 2020 at Massey University.

We have been the heart and soul of distance study for over 50 years and represent over 10,000 students.

Our services include group advocacy, peer support and a help desk to receive feedback and connect you to the Massey University services you need.

Massey@Distance Board

M@D is 100% governed and operated by past and present distance students like you! We would like to welcome our newest directors as voted in by you

Massey@Distance help desk

We welcome contact through several channels:


COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

This web page has been created to keep our community informed with the latest information regarding the COVID-19 coronavirus. For the most up-to-date information please visit the latest Massey University coronavirus updates and the Ministry of Health website.

Massey@Distance recommends distance

We're aware of many students coming in from overseas to study at Massey, and through no fault of their own, their travel has been put on hold. Some of you may not be aware that many of Massey University's courses are also offered in a distance format, which are equivalent to the on-campus versions, and carry the same academic credit. Students who are currently affected by travel disruptions need to know that this could be a highly workable option. We encourage any foreign students affected by COVID-19 to consider a temporary switch to distance.

More Headlines

Massey@Distance group advocacy

M@D advocates on issues and challenges that affect large cohorts of students. For example, Stream being unavailable or multiple students experiencing course delivery concerns. M@D is alerted to a group advocacy situation by:

Individual advocacy

M@D's contractual relationship with the University means that Massey@Distance currently does not provide one on one support. This is a much more personal form of support, provided by a separate distance advocacy service, which offers hardship cash grants of up to $500 for students in need, plus advice and advocacy for all kinds of other issues faced by students, big or small, during their tertiary journey.

Peer support

Connection events and catch-ups run year round in all major NZ regions and are directed by the M@D event and social media coordinator in your area.

M@D connection pages

We have created several regional social media pages to help relieve the isolation we all, as distance students, can often feel during our studies. These are a great way to have fun with, and create great connections, with other students.

Emotionally rich social connections between distance students have been shown to help people in achieving long term goals, such as academic success. Tap on this link, find the area closest to you, and follow and like the page to stay up to date.

Coming Local Events

We have a few M@D Connection events happening soon. For more information, tap the event links below:

Join the Massey University distance community

The distance community has multitudes of study tips. Simply search your keyword/s in the search bar, or make a post to ask a question or just to get to know others in the group. Our friendly community always responds.

StudyLink support

Free stuff

Planning your study

Getting started with distance study

There are a number of things that you should do to get started with your distance studies.

Plan your studies with Massey University Academic Advisers

Academic Advisers provide a wide range of services for prospective and current Massey students seeking assistance in selecting and planning programmes and courses. These are just some of what they offer:

Massey Workload Planning Tool

It's essential to know the hours you are spending on each course, and the workload from all areas of your life. This very helpful tool can help you calculate how many hours you have for study.

Stream Timeline

The Stream timeline is located at the top right panel on your Stream dashboard. Use it to track the times of your tutorial, assignments, contact courses, tests and examinations. It presents a view of activities due for each course, with an option to view activities according to date date, or by course.

Other Planning Information

A wealth of further information on:

Learning and Studying

StudyUp: Knowledge to go

StudyUp: Knowledge to go is an online series designed to help enhance writing and study skills. Boost your time management, strategic reading and assignment writing skills. Learn more about critical reasoning and expand your analytical abilities.

How to study?

There are a number of points you must be aware of if you want to become an effective distance learning student.

Online study techniques

Although online study offers more choice about when and where you study, it is important to remember that self motivation is necessary to succeed. This excellent page about online study techniques will empower you to take more responsibility for your learning.

Learning services and facilities for distance students

Although you may be studying at a distance, help and advice is close at hand should you need it. Massey University has excellent support here for students.

The Online Writing and Learning Link (OWLL)

Develop your academic writing and study skills with OWLL. This excellent resource has has too many helpful tools to list in a blurb. It is essential that you check it out and use it. These are just some of what it offers:

Contact workshops

Some courses include an on-campus contact course.. With some courses, this on-campus attendance is compulsory. With other courses, it's optional. Even if attendance isn't mandatory, we strongly encourage you to go anyway. These are a great chance to receive face-to-face tuition and meet your peers and tutor. Tutors/lecturers often deliver the gist of the whole course in just one day of lecturing, and help it all make a lot more sense.

Postgraduate study

GPA needed for postgraduate and beyond

Each college has different guidelines and parameters for what grades are needed for postgraduate study. Please contact the academic advice team for information on what grades must be achieved for the various avenues of progression beyond your graduate major and minor.

About postgraduate study

At postgraduate level, you are taking first steps into a world of inquiry and investigation: the academic culture. This section describes ways to prepare for postgraduate study:


There are many different types of assignments at Massey University, and each of them has specific requirements and conventions.

The structure, style, and presentation varies depending on the needs of the assignment type, and depending on the conventions of the discipline and the course coordinator. This section describes the major assignment types.

Academic writing

Writing in an academic context has its own stylistic rules and guidelines. This section describes some of the major features of academic writing, such as tone, objectivity, and conciseness.

Proof-reading services

This is a free service for distance and first-year students where you can send your draft assignment to Centre for Teaching and Learning (CTL) Consultants for review and advice.


You need to be intimately familiar with the correct methods for crediting external sources (such as books, articles, and websites) in assignments.

Referencing external sources properly shows your marker that you can effectively locate and integrate facts and ideas into your assignment. Failure to reference your sources is plagiarism and can carry significant academic penalties.

Tests and exams

Studying for a test or exam involves much more than just reading over your notes. In order to succeed, you need to organise your revision; review past exam papers and know what types of questions will be asked; and practise, practise, practise!

This excellent resource describes the process of preparing for an exam or test, as well as some tips on what to do once you are in the exam room.

Exam survival guide

Click here to download and save an ultimate exam success and survival pack.

Grade Point Average (GPA)

Your GPA is used as a measure of how well you are going in your studies.

Please be aware there are two different types of GPA, which are based on different parameters and implications:

Overall GPA

The method used to calculate an overall GPA, using the individualised tool in the portal, where students can choose to include any courses they wish does not apply the parameters below of an Academic Standing GPA, and is therefore quite likely to be different.

The GPA used to define a student's Academic Standing is not that used to calculate entrance, progression or honours completion levels for qualifications, and may differ to that which is measured in the context of a specific programme of study.

Academic Standing GPA

This retrospective process looks at the achievement of students over the last 5 years of study, to determine their Academic Standing GPA.

Courses contribute to Academic Standing GPA at (UG) or Postgraduate (PG) level. If a student has transitioned to a higher level of study (UG to PG), the GPA only includes courses from, and including, the period in which they started studying at the higher level of study.

The Academic standing GPA is based on the grades at the time of calculation. Note that, in some cases, the grade could have changed due to re-mark, or appeal.

The below are not included in calculations:

Changes to Academic Standing Definitions

We are now in the 2020 year and the Academic Standing tool has been updated to reflect the Calendar regulations for Academic standing 2020. The regulations that have been applied to students for Academic standing, however are those that were currently in the 2019 tool.

The changes are:

Note - the GPA used to define a student's Academic Standing is not that used to calculate entrance, progression or honours completion levels for qualifications, and may differ to that which is measured in the context of a specific programme of study.

If you are concerned about GPA in relation to your programme of study, or whether you can progress to PG study, then please contact the Academic Advisers.

Essential resources

Academic Advisers

Academic Advice is a service for prospective and current Massey students seeking assistance in selecting and planning programmes and courses.

Aegrotat and impaired performance

If an unforeseen situation, illness or injury has affected your grade on an assignment, test or exam you can apply to have this taken into consideration.

In some cases, this can result in a significant improvement in your final grade, and your overall GPA and academic standing.

Withdrawal from courses

If you're considering withdrawing from your course, contact your course coordinator as soon as possible. They could help you get back on track.

Check the withdrawal dates for your course from your Confirmation of Enrolment, Portal, or from the Course Search on the Massey website.

The Withdrawal without academic penalty date means you get a benign WD grade, instead of a negative DC grade, if you withdraw before that date.

The Withdraw without financial penalty date means you can be refunded the course tuition fees if you withdraw before that date.

Thanks from Massey@Distance!

The Massey@Distance Team gives its warmest thanks to:

A Perfect Time to Start

Now is the perfect time to head over to your Stream site, review your course sites, and start getting your plan into action.

The trick to succeeding is doing regular moderate amounts. Even just half an hour a day at the start is enough to boost your prospects of success.

Work to build habits. Once you establish habits, they gain a momentum of their own, and reduce the overall stress, and make this a wonderful and unforgettable journey.

This newsletter is copyright © 2020 by Massey@Distance. All rights reserved. This material is for the exclusive use of Massey University distance students and Massey University permanent staff. Distribution to any party other than Massey University distance students or staff, without prior written permission from M@D, is an offence against New Zealand and international intellectual property law.