Taking Your First Online Class? A Professor Shares How to Succeed | My Education Blog

Taking Your First Online Class? A Professor Shares How to Succeed | My Education Blog

Even if you do much of your work online and socialize online, there may be challenges when it comes to online learning. If it’s your first online class, you’re not only facing a learning curve about the subject matter, but what it takes to do your best in an online classroom.

Dr. Diane Hamilton, author of “The Online Student’s User Manual” who teaches online courses for six universities, shares some of her tips for being a successful online college student.

Q: What technology skills should students gain before starting an online course?

A: They have to know how to upload files and how to understand the classroom and how it’s laid out (online). They’re not just opening the door and walking in. Sometimes there’s four of five different areas where they have to look for information (such as homework assignments).

Q: What can older learners who may not be as tech-savvy do to prepare?

A: I have a lot of sympathy for the older learner. There are a lot of tutorials online that are free. I have links that I always put in my classrooms, such as how to set up papers, how to set up a PowerPoint. They don’t have a good idea of how to set up documents.

Q: What are the biggest mistakes online students should avoid?

A: There’s a lot of buzz terminology that they need to know about so they don’t get into class and become overwhelmed by the terminology (words like “search engine” or “rubric”). Use basic “netiquette,” with the proper way of speaking to one another and being respectful. You can’t type in all caps because that means you’re yelling. Also, texting has been the way people communicate, but this is a formal environment and you need to write in complete sentences. Students are sometimes not using capitalization and they’re doing other things like they’re texting (instead of) being in the formal classroom.

Q: What’s an online tool for communicating with professors and peers that students should use?

A: Some of the schools set up a chat room (for the course), which is a really good thing. I also set up my own if the school doesn’t set up one. It’s like standing in the hallway talking. The bachelor students want to talk in the chat rooms, but tend to be more shy in terms of talking to the professor. I will post kind of funny YouTube things to lighten the mood to get people posting and talking to each other and to make me more approachable and make them realize I’m not a scary person. I have a Facebook page for my online students. I also have a blog. I have Twitter. I tell all my students, this is how you reach me on all those different areas.

Q: How does online learning appeal to different personalities?

A: I think that a lot of introverts really find online learning appealing for the fact that an introvert tends to think internally before speaking. They can take time to process their information and backspace and retype. With an extrovert, it’s appealing in another way. Sometimes they say, “I wish I hadn’t said that.” They have a chance to delete before posting it.

-Lori Johnston

This blog article, was written by Lori Johnston, and can be found by clicking here

New Book Explains 10 Things Online Students Need To Know

Are you currently taking an online course or considering taking one? The Online Student’s User Manual provides some answers, other books about online learning have neglected. Even if you feel comfortable writing an essay or uploading documents, there is a lot more that you need to know to be a successful student. In the book, you will learn:

1. What you need to know about computer and software requirements

2. How to use the search engines

3. How to upload assignments

4. How to organize and manage your time

5. How to track and schedule your assignments

6. How to communicate to professors and fellow students

7. How to maximize your grade

8. What mistakes to avoid

9. How to create measurable goals and stay motivated

10. How to prepare for tests . . . and so much more

Online is the future of education. If you or someone you know is considering taking an online course, The Online Student’s User Manual provides the answers needed for success.  If you are interested in receiving a free newsletter with tips and suggestions from the book, click here.

Top Questions New Online Students Ask

I need your help! I am developing some videos for YouTube where I will be answering some of my student’s questions.  I would like to hear from those who have questions that you would like answered about online college courses.  Many of my students have questions about participation, time requirements, how discussion questions work, how to stay on track, how online degrees compare to traditional degrees, etc.  Please email me by clicking here and  I will send you back a response and your questions may show up on YouTube!

Distance ed students forming college clubs online – USATODAY.com

Feeling isolated as an online student? Join the club.

Or rather, join a club. At a handful of institutions, students working toward degrees online are meeting outside of class via the Web. These extracurricular organizations offer online students what many feel they are missing: the social and professional opportunities that historically have been part of the college experience.

“When you’re on campus, you have opportunities to engage your faculty and your peers,” says Debra Ann Mynar, 39, an online psychology student at Pennsylvania State University‘s World Campus. “When you do distance education, you don’t have those similar opportunities unless you make them.”

Some online college students may feel like they are all alone out there. This article by USA Today explains that there are some things that online learners can do to connect with other students. I set up chat rooms, in my individual classes that I teach, where students can interact. I see some students who feel at ease starting up a conversation . . . while others are more timid. I have noticed some of the schools are including more ways for students to become more visible to one another by allowing them to post profiles with pictures. Due to the popularity of social networking, there is no reason an online student should feel alone. I like sites I have seen from schools like the University of Colorado where students can blog about their experiences online. I hope more students who desire interaction take advantage of these sites or set up social networking connections on their own to become connected.

Top 10 Things Prospective Online College Students Should Be Doing

Top Ten Things the Prospective Online College Student Should Be Doing

#1 Research accreditation of prospective online universities – Just because a college is online, does not mean it is an accredited university. Be sure that the school has received accreditation from one of the 6 regional accrediting organizations in the US.

#2 Research financing options available – There are still employers offering to pay for employee education. There are many old and new loan programs available for students. You might want to consider military options or grants as well. It might be wise to check out trends in financing through collegeboard.com.

#3 Talk to your school counselor – Your counselor is one of the best resources you will have during your online experience. They can offer advice about possible degree and career choices. They can help you set up your schedules and answer many of the questions you may have about online learning.

#4 Brush up on your writing skills – If you have not been in school for a while, it is important to be sure you have strong spelling and grammar skills as well as a good understanding of paragraph and essay structure.

#5 Research APA – Most online universities require that students submit papers in APA format. Although they will teach you the specifics of these requirements, it would not hurt you to know the basics of APA before beginning courses.

#6 Research How to Avoid Plagiarism – The Internet offers so many resources to online students that it can be easy for many to not understand the rules of when and how to cite sources. Plagiarism is considered a very serious offense. One way to avoid it is to be knowledgeable of what it entails.

#7 Research Netiquette – If you have not had a lot of online experience, you may need to brush up on your netiquette skills. Netiquette is the combination of the words Internet and Etiquette. There are certain things that are considered rude such as TYPING IN ALL CAPS. The school will give you some guidance in this area, but it is a good idea to research what is proper.

#8 Set Goals – It is very important to have written, specific, measurable goals. Research how to set up meaningful goals that have measurable timelines in them for what you want to achieve with your education.

#9 Discover your preferences for learning – We all have different types of preferences when it comes to how we learn material. Do you learn the best when the material is verbal or visual? You might be a social learner or a solitary learner. By discovering your type, you can focus on learning by utilizing the information in the style or format that best fits your needs.

#10 Discover any roadblocks to your success so you can cover come them – Write down all of the reasons why you either think you might not succeed or have not succeeded in the past with your education. Next write down all of the solutions to these problems so that you will know how to confront them should they arise.

5 Ways to Develop Time Management Skills For Online Students

5 Ways to Develop Time Management Skills

I often have my students tell me they find it challenging to manage their time wisely. We all have the same amount of time in our day to accomplish things. Why do some people seem to be able to do so much more than others? Some of it is genetics. I know I am on the hyperactive side so I tend to do a lot. Other people might find what I do to be overly stressful. For me, I find that the more I do, the better I feel. You don’t have to be hyperactive to get things done. A lot is based on how organized you are. Here are some tips that may help you:

1. Put activities you need to do into your planner or calendar. Plan for studying just like you would any other appointment. Mark out time that you will read, write papers, etc.
2. Set goals for the things you want to accomplish. If you need to write a paper by Friday, have that set up in your calendar, but also have smaller tasks set up as well. For example, you might want to spend an hour on Monday writing the outline, spend an hour on Tuesday researching the topic, spend an hour on Wednesday writing the initial draft, spend an hour on Thursday proofreading and rewriting. By breaking down what needs to be done like this it makes it easier to accomplish your goal. Remember goals need to be measurable. By writing down the due dates for each task, your final goal becomes more easily attainable.
3. Recognize your roadblocks to success. Are you afraid of criticism? Do you thrive on last minute stress? Are you a perfectionist that may avoid doing things for fear of it not being perfect? These are some of the things that hold people back from completing tasks on time. Try to keep in mind that no one is perfect. If you try hard to write a good paper that is much more important than if the paper is perfect. No paper is perfect. That is too subjective. Worry less about getting perfect grades and spend more time focused on learning. If you thrive on last minute stress, perhaps you need to schedule your time closer to the due date. But be reasonable with time expectations that it may take to complete your assignment.
4. Are you lacking motivation? Often, people really do have enough time to do the work but they lack motivation. Find ways to reward yourself for doing a good job on your work. If you really want to see a movie or do something fun, have that be a reward for finishing an assignment.
5. Are you taking advantage of multi-tasking? This is something I do a lot! You can multi-task at work and home in order to create more time in your day. When I exercise, I watch my television shows at the same time. When I have work conversations on the phone, I can type my notes about what we are talking about at the same time to remind me for later. Often times, people do one thing at a time, when they can be doing multiple things to free up more time.

from www.drdianehamilton.com