Archive | Surviving School

How to Prepare for School Assessments

test-taking-tips-online-learningBy Nichole Ahlstrom
COLL100 Faculty at American Public University

Have you ever wondered how in the world you did so poorly on a test when you studied your heart out? Have you ever wondered if you misinterpreted the information, or maybe you didn’t study the right material? If you answer yes then you are not alone. Many students think they’re taking accurate notes, know how to properly review the material, and can ask the professor questions in preparation for tests. Putting forth every effort in studying to only find out that the efforts made were not good enough can be detrimental to a student’s psyche.

In preparing for a test certain techniques must be addressed. For example, where and when studying occurs is important. How much material and what specific information must be studied, taking proper notes, and the list goes on. The most important aspect of studying for a test is not only reviewing class lectures, notes, and textbook material, but also the process that needs to follow is imperative. Here are my thoughts as an instructor on the most important features of studying for an exam.

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Posted in Email Newsletter, Scholar's Desk, Surviving School, Tip of the Day

How to Determine the Perfect Course Load

think-before-dropping-classesCongratulations! You’ve just been accepted into an online university, and you are now ready to start working toward your degree. By now, you probably have a good idea of what program you would like to enter, and you may have even started picking out classes for your first semester. Before you proceed, though, you may want to spend some time deciding how many classes you should take for the upcoming semester. This is a very important decision, as you should strive to efficiently manage your financials and your time. Let us discuss some tips for determining a perfect course load.

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Posted in Education Options, Email Newsletter, Financial Aid Tips, Online Learning, Surviving School

Team Assignments in an Online Class

Team Assignments in an Online ClassOnline courses allow students to work on their own time and at their own pace, but what if your course requires you to complete team assignments? Instead of being fully responsible for your own grades, you now have to rely on others and at the same time, your classmates have to rely on you. Admittedly, I was nervous when I saw team assignments in my current course’s syllabus but now that we have turned in the first of three, I want to share a few tips to help you succeed.

Scope out your potential teammates. During the first week when everyone was doing their introduction posts, I read and responded to more posts than I have in previous courses. I connected with my classmates right away so that when it was time to select a team, I had already bonded with a few people. Continue Reading

Posted in Online Learning, Surviving School

Juan Williams Reminds Us to Avoid Plagiarism

plagiarism-guidancePolitical commentator Juan Williams was recently caught in a plagiarism scandal. Williams has since blamed the whole thing on his researcher, who apparently was less than clear on what was a summary and what was a near direct quote from another article. Regardless, comparisons of the text provide a prime example for students to understand that plagiarism is plagiarism even if you change a few words.

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Posted in Online Learning, Surviving School

Examine the Syllabi of Online Courses Before Starting

When trying to determine if a school or a single course is right for you, one approach is to examine the syllabi of the courses. This will tell prospective students just about anything they will need to know about the course in terms of the workload and expectations.

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Posted in Online Learning, Surviving School

Avoid Your Mental Plateau With Brain Teasers

The easy part of going to class is actually showing up, but if you’re an online student you have to will yourself to sign into the classroom at times. How can you get past this? Besides, being a self-starter and leaving encouraging notes for yourself maybe it’s time to try a different approach…external mental stimulation.

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Posted in Surviving School, Tip of the Day

How to Be Your Own Advocate in the Online Classroom

Self-Advocacy is a very important aspect of being a successful online student. Before you begin to understand how advocacy relates to the online classroom you must first understand what it means to be an advocate.

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Posted in Ask an Advisor, Surviving School

Prepare for the Online Experience With Online Tools

Give yourself an advantage with an arsenal of online tools for class. The extra assistance, and web tools will make the transition easier.

Here are some great tools and sites to add to your kit:

  1. Time Tracker
    to-do-list with a clock. This tool lets you know when you’re spending all of your time on one item, and alerts you to re-allocate time wasted to other efforts.
  2. Co-mapping
    Online mind mapping software to manage and share information. You can use it to take notes, plan and organize. It’s a way to have one set of notes, and one set of files.
  3. Notely
    For students looking to improve their grades with better organization, this is a great tool to utilize. Perfect for arranging your schedule, calendar, note-taking (if you need it), and homework planning.
  4. Dropbox
    This is a virtual file storage unit. Just like google docs, it’s free to use, but this tool is great because you can access it from anywhere; your mobile phone, smartphone, laptop, desk top, any computer away from your home. It makes your documents mobile because they’re stored in a private area on the internet.
  5. Zotero
    An add-on that helps a student keep track of all their sources while writing a research paper. It will help prepare a bibliographyfor Open Office or MS Word. It’s a Firefox extension.

Stay grounded in school, and carry an abundance of information and resources with you. If you know your options, you’ll be better equipped to handle the difficult assignments, time management issues, and term papers that come your way.

By J. Mason

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Posted in Online Learning, Surviving School


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