Electives can be one of the more enjoyable facets of your degree. They can play the part of a palate cleanser, when you’re suffering through a particularly dry or brutal core course. You can use them to expand your skill set, or knowledge base in support of your goals, or for extra scaffolding on your resume. They’re also a great way to explore an interest or fascination that dwells outside of your chosen field.

You could, you know, even use them to just burn up a few credit points…

Electives are good. Working from home can be good too.

Working from home. The dream. Readily available coffee and snacks; the ability to have a cheeky nap; wearing pyjamas all day; not having to listen to people’s relentless sniffing in the library…the list of pros seems endless.

Naturally there are cons: the draw of Netflix can be irresistible; those naps can easily expand into mini-comas and without discipline ‘working from home’ quickly becomes ‘procrastinating at home’.

For many people the online availability of a course can be a godsend, even a necessity. Online delivery allows the kind of flexible timetable required when you have work, family or other commitments; those that travel horrendous distances to get here, or those from other campuses. An online course can also help ease the pain for those of us whose timetable resembles a busted Rubik’s cube.

It just so happens that the University offers some amazing, interesting and incredibly relevant online electives. Here are five to whet your appetite and get you thinking about pyjamas and lunch time mimosas.

ENGL2011 – Children’s Literature

 Never dismiss the power of a good children’s book. Simple stories, engaging characters and beautiful illustrations are one of the key ways children learn the machinations of the world they are just beginning to taste.

ENGL2011 will guide you through the social context of children’s literature, how text and illustration complement each other, the role of imagination and how social issues and lessons are presented to children, and, perhaps provide you with an insight of how your favourite children’s book is still part of who you are today.

FSHN1030 – Introduction to the Nutritional, Physical and Psychological Aspects of Wellness

University life can be tough on your dietary, physical and mental health. Endless months of desk work, cramming, snacking, crying, lying in the foetal position and breakfasting with paracetamol and caffeine takes its toll.

FSHN1030 will introduce you to the triad of nutrition, physical activity and mental health and how they all interact and influence each other. All three elements of the triad will be explored in detail, as will their connection and the impact of the modern lifestyle on wellness and disease.

FMCS1200 Film and Television Studies

 Movies and television are not just a distraction from studying but with their rich vein of cultural and artistic meaning, a thing to be studied.

FMCS1200 will give you a grounding in basic televisual techniques and principals, film history and theory, narrative, sound, editing, as well as an insight into genre, audiences and reception.  Moreover, this course will also hone your ability to analyse and recognise how meaning presents and reproduces itself through cultural forms, which could be incredibly useful across your current program.

PSYC1030 Psychology: A Concise Introduction

Psychology is a rather misunderstood and misrepresented discipline. Is there really a big, leather chair? Why is it always about my mother? What was with Freud’s cigar?

PSYC1030 will introduce you to what psychology is, the history of its development, and the contemporary approaches that define it. By the end of the course you will understand the concepts, science, research and reasoning that make up the discipline of psychology as well as its key content areas: Emotion and Motivation, Sensation and Perception, Learning, Memory, Social, Biological, Abnormal, Developmental, Health and Individual Differences.

Finally, you will learn to apply psychological theory to aspects of life, as well as how to critically evaluate the world around you through a psychological lens. Perfect for a deeper understanding of how the institutions, businesses and the people around you operate… also for creating havoc at the family dinner table this Christmas.

If you have a few electives up your sleeve, and you’re quite keen for that sleeve to be from a pyjama top, then I highly recommend investigating the online electives Uni of Newcastle has to offer. Not only do they have flexible learning built in, but you may find yourself with broader horizons, tightened analytical skill, a more rounded understanding or a whole new set of goals when you make it to the other side.


Jace is a second year Human Geography student trapped in a mature-aged student's body. He likes cooking, maps and sitting on his hands during tutorial so he doesn't become 'that guy'.

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