Advances in computer technology have made education available to students far removed from a traditional classroom, with universities of all sizes instructing learners digitally – never physically interacting with their teachers. For many students, the trappings of online classes – writing papers, using course shells, submitting work – is a foreign concept that can impede academic progress.
UAT-Online Associate Professor Dr. Diane Hamilton, a longtime online instructor, recently published the book The Online Student’s User Manual to help them succeed. She was compelled to write the paperback after finding a lack of works covering frequently asked questions of first-time online learners.
“The books out there, they’re good about telling you, ‘online’s good.’ They’re good about telling you, ‘you need accredited,’ or what the other choices are or how to get financing, but they don’t tell you what you’re supposed to do,” she said.
She added: “I kept answering the same questions over and over and over, and I thought, ‘Well, how about writing a book that explains it?'”
(To learn more about Dr. Hamilton and her book, The Online Student’s User Manual, check click here.)
Hamilton develops curriculum and teaches classes like Ethics in Technology and Foresight Development for UAT-Online. Possessing a Ph.D. in business administration and career experience in corporate training, entrepreneurship and realty, she melds her years of business and technology knowledge to computer-savvy students.
With content on everything from rubrics and syllabi to essay formatting, Hamilton sees her work as a good aid for online pupils and instructors of various ages, skill levels, disciplines and educational backgrounds.
“I think the book’s a good resource, not just for new students but for people who have been in it for awhile, or even professors to know how to teach people how to do these things.”
A self-professed techie, Hamilton picked up various facets of Web 2.0 technology – including blogging and Twitter – to market the book, and she offers advice for students on her blog with tutorials using screen-recording software Camtasia and Microsoft PowerPoint. She sees the breadth of electronic tools as essential to embracing distance teaching.
“I like to embrace new technology, and I think students have to realize that [online learning] is the future.”