In most cases today, the answer is a resounding yes! Most universities in Australia will allow you to make phone calls home to office (or wherever you are taking the course) using your school’s Internet network. This works best for online courses. However, even some campus courses do not allow this at all.
Why? It’s simple. In the early days, all computers had slow connections. Even with broadband connections, it can take a long time to load up a page in a university website if it’s downloading information from something like the University of Sydney site. So if you were downloading information from a web page, it would take that long to load, and you might miss a deadline on your coursework because of it!
So, what is the solution? Use a computer at home. If you’ve ever used a laptop before, then you’ll know what I mean – there is no comparison between the speeds at which you can download stuff from a university website and at home. Even if you have a broadband connection at home, you’ll still be much slower than someone who has a university-based computer. It’s simply because a university network is much bigger than a home network.
How do you find out whether it works for you? Well, if you’re on a business trip, then obviously you can’t use your mobile to do any work (although you can check out various online course reviews to find out how others feel about a particular course, or a particular university, etc). However, if you do have access to a computer at home, then there are several ways to make sure that it works. For example, if you’re taking part in a project in Australia, then the project management software that is usually included with the university will likely work.
However, this is where you need to take a step back. Most of us are so used to using our smartphones, emails and the internet that we don’t realise that there are other options out there. If you are in an area where the internet is available for a while, perhaps even for most of the day, then you could consider getting hold of your laptop/PC at home, switch on the internet connection and see whether anything shows up on your screen. Many apps let you use data from the internet – such as maps, weather and so on. Check to see if anything comes up – if so, you might be interested in trying the said app. If no results come up, you may need to try something else.
Does my phone work in Australia if I use Google Maps to navigate around? It’s actually pretty easy if you understand how it all works. Basically, your smartphone connects to the internet through your carrier, and this information is downloaded onto its internal memory. From there, you can use Google Maps by downloading it onto your phone and opting to browse maps. Your phone will connect to the internet via a Wi-Fi or GPRS network, whichever is available in your vicinity.
Now that you know how to go about using your phone to study while you travel, you should also know that it is perfectly acceptable to do so. Some universities have even started offering courses on their smartphones. Not long ago, an Australian university even offered a course on “The Inside Story” of iPhones and Smartphones, which you can take for free (and even gain some insider knowledge as well).