All posts tagged time management

All About Synchronous and Asynchronous Online Classes

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Online classes are usually either synchronous or asynchronous. Some courses may be a combination of both. There are also blended courses for students who want a limited amount of on campus attendance but prefer to do the rest of their work online at home. Blended courses and synchronous courses are good choices for students who wish to have a transition path from on campus attendance to fully online study. There are also independent study courses, taken online, for students who prefer to work at their own pace, either faster than a traditionally-scheduled course or at a slower pace as best fits their own schedule.

Students have different preferences about which type of course they prefer. Let’s talk about how each type of course works.

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Five Myths about Online Education

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People have a lot of preconceived ideas and beliefs about online education. Among those beliefs are that online education is easy and that students are isolated from their peers and instructor. The truth is that accredited online education is academically equal to traditional education. Here are five of the most prevalent myths about online education:

Myth 1 – Online classes are easier.
For most students, online classes are actually more time-consuming and, in some cases, more difficult. The reason is very simple. Sitting in on-campus classes involves most listening and speaking; very little in depth reading and writing is done in class. In online classes, in depth reading and writing are necessities since all work is done at home on the computer.

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5 Reasons to Choose Online Classes

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Students take online classes for lots of reasons, although those new to online classes may not fully understand the differences between online and on-campus classes. Do be sure to check next month’s posting to find out about the myths surrounding online classes. The differences in the two types of classes are some of the very reasons that students describe as their reasons for choosing to do part or all of their education online. Here are the top five reasons for choosing online classes.

1. Convenience: The top reason is avoiding the time needed for commuting to and from school, which can save hours throughout the week when managing school, work, and family activities on a daily basis. Some students report saving as much as 5-10 hours a week in commuting time and they can apply that time to studying.

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Where to Find Help in Your Online Class

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Online classes are different from face-to-face classes in a lot of ways, many of which we will talk about at various times on this blog. One of the most obvious differences is not being able to ask questions in class or go to the instructor’s office and get immediate answers. When you ask questions in an online class, often the wait time is the next day and sometimes more than one day. This is frustrating to students who want answers in order to move forward with their assignments. If answers and solutions are not forthcoming in a timely manner, there are several options for finding help.

Before asking questions, students need to make sure they have read all the information posted in the class. Required reading includes the syllabus, specific textbook pages each week, online or database articles, handouts, or additional resources posted by the instructor. While students may be frustrated when they don’t receive immediate answers to questions, keep in mind that instructors get frustrated when students ask questions about information that is clearly stated in the syllabus, announcements, or required reading. Instructors will sometimes respond with “Please check the syllabus (or announcements or other place in the course) for that information.”

Here’s a short list of resources and contacts for those times when you need help with your online course technology, course content, or writing.

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Get the Most from Instructor Feedback on Your Assignments

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Criticism is an integral part of academic success. No one likes to hear negative criticism about their work; however, negative feedback is an excellent way to learn new skills and to help you demonstrate your ability to learn. Implementing feedback suggestions in future work shows that you are open to new concepts and ideas and willing to work hard to reach expectations. Unfortunately, many students react to criticism as if the feedback were a personal attack. Recognizing that criticism and critique are about YOUR WORK and not about you, helps students develop a good attitude about receiving critiques.

Students need to understand and accept the purpose and goal of feedback. The purpose is to instruct students on skills and concepts that need improvement. The goal is for students to study and learn the new concepts or new skills, and then implement this new learning in future work in the class. Read the feedback with an open mind, set it aside for a few hours, then review the comments and suggestions again.

Here are some helpful strategies for getting the most value from your instructor’s critique of your work:

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Daily and Weekly Routines in Online Classes

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Classes on campus are scheduled at the same time daily or weekly. Students go to class and then work on additional class activities and assignments outside of class. Online classes are different because there is no class attendance scheduled each week. Although some classes do have an hour each week of virtual class time where everyone meets online together, this is usually optional and if schedules don’t work out, then students can review the archives for class meetings at a later time. Even though attendance at a specific time and place are not required, online students still need to have a schedule for completing the class activities and assignments. Not having a schedule can lead to procrastination and late assignments.

Routine and repetition increase successful learning. Students who put off academic work until the weekend, and then complete everything in one or two days, are not as successful as those students who work on class activities and assignments every day of the week. These class activities and assignments include participating in discussions, writing essays, taking quizzes, reading, and taking notes on weekly learning resources.

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So You’ve Signed Up for an Online Class – What Now?

photoOnce you have registered for an online class, what’s the next step? When can you access the class, read the syllabus, and order the textbook? All of this information should be available when you register for class. Most schools open online courses several days before the official start date of the term. This gives students extra time to check technical requirements and make any contacts that are necessary (academic advising, disability services, tech support, bookstore, etc.) before class begins.

Waiting until the first day, or perhaps a day or two after that, to log in to your class can potentially delay your ability to complete the first week’s work on time and that is not a good way to start out a course. Aside from being late, there is also the risk of making a poor first impression with the instructor and your classmates.

Here are five steps to a stress-free and successful class start that ensures a good first impression and timely completion of the first week’s work.

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9 Myths About Online Education

It is 2014 and there is still much resistance to the progress of distance learning. Yes, student debt is exorbitant, but that beast has been feeding on student bank accounts since before any of the recent controversy. Consider this: today we have options to listen to vinyl records and digital downloads; to read volumes of novels and gigabytes of e-lit; pen and paper, keyboard and screen. New technology has made things more convenient and more fast-paced. Daily life may feel less physical, but social media has created more interaction and connectivity between people. Distance learning is no different: It’s convenient and fast-paced, perhaps less physical, but still keeps you interactive and connected.

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Happy Holidays from Top 5 Online Colleges!

Only a few days ago basically, I posted about how it’s now autumn and the leaves are changing colors and the air is getting crisp. Well, here in Chicago, it’s already winter. I’m being dramatic, but only exaggerating slightly. We’ve had our first snow flurries already and when I woke up this morning, the news was telling me it was 29 degrees outside! While I personally love the fall – the memories of shopping for school supplies as a kid, playing soccer with long sleeve shirts under the jersey, heading to football games, and curling up under a blanket with a hot cup of tea while studying for midterms – this unseasonably cooler weather is getting me ready for one of the best two month stretches of the year!

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Managing your Time while Studying Online

There are three key tools of effective time management that you should uses to best manage your day-to-day: a schedule or calendar of events, a prioritized “to-do” list, and organized note taking. You’ll notice that these items don’t necessarily relate only to schoolwork – you can and should use them to sort out your entire day, week, year, etc. And you should also use them together for the best results.

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