Monday, 28 August 2017

Online Learning: 5 Ideas to overcome the Risk of Failure

The rate of retention for online schools is rather low. There are several reasons why so many students discontinue their online programs – school policies, cost per credit hour, inability to sustain motivation, difficulty in balancing hours for work, study and family and so on.

The inevitable consequence is failure in the exam, leading to dropping out of the program. Here are five ideas to overcome the risk of failure in online education.

1 Keeping in touch with instructors everyday




Working within a virtual setup can be intimidating for many students, particularly if they do not interact with their professors. Therefore, it is important to establish productive working relationships.
Make sure you ask for help anytime you have a question. The more you stay in touch with your professors, the more motivated you will be to work hard and complete your course successfully.

2 Creating support group of fellow online students

Another great way of staying motivated is to become part of a support group, comprising fellow online students. Create such a group to support one another to monitor individual progress. Ask and answer questions, attend to queries and keep the group very active.
If you have friends in the group that live close to your place, you can arrange for weekend meets to discuss and clear each other’s doubts. Creating support groups goes a long way in keeping your interest alive.

3 Carrying out self-assessment every week

Learn how to observe your own progress, track the knowledge and skills you keep acquiring, and discover the best way you can use them to succeed. To monitor your progress, you can give yourself a quick and continuous assessment every week.

Keep a record of your progress and accomplishments week by week. Be objectively critical about your progress so that you can have a clear idea of your strengths and weaknesses – where you stand firm academically and how much you have to work hard to improve.

4 Seeking feedback from professors and classmates

Do not be satisfied with a simple letter grade awarded. Ask your professors to give you substantial interactive feedback on your developmental needs. Request them to share with you their experience, expertise, and enlightening thoughts.

Interactive feedbacks open doors for appropriate follow-ups. Follow-through is particularly necessary if you feel you are struggling, not making enough progress, or repeating the same mistakes. You can ask your fellow students as well to help you improve. 5 Finding a mentor Any of your professors can lead the way for you and be your guide. An online school requires each instructor to keep track of the progress of students, and help them find the right resources when required. The mentor should teach them productive habits to tackle underperformance, and offer full support to boost their confidence and enhance their ability to perform. Without any hesitation, go ahead to find a mentor and seek guidance. Your instructors will be more than happy to help you!

Lastly, do not forget the major reason why you enrolled in the first place: furtherance of your career prospects and educational qualification. Remember! With the right kind of planning and prompt execution, it won’t be as hard for you to complete your online degree program, as you might imagine it to be, and that too with flying colors.

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Are Online Schools for Everyone?

Numerous colleges and universities offer now a days a wide variety of online programs. Students, who cannot join traditional institutions for various reasons, benefit greatly from these programs.

However, many people continue to look down upon online programs. They do not know that great advances in online software have made it possible for these programs to gain major advantages. They have become more suitable than the traditional ones in many ways. Listed below are four such advantages:

No overcrowding

One of the biggest problems of traditional schools has been overcrowding due to constraints on available space, or administrative/financial issues. A college may be in an expansion mode, but tied down with ground level hurdles. A situation develops in course of time, which leads inevitably to overcrowding of classrooms, and problems of teacher-learner ratio.

Students enrolled in online programs do not have to face these problems. The state-of-the-art online educational systems help teachers give thousands of students easily one-on-one instruction.

The social component

Maybe you are perturbed that you might miss in an online program the social component of a traditional school. That means you are not aware of the new virtual classroom systems these days. There is a lot of change in the virtual schools from just being basic online classes.

Online students can and do actively interact now with their classmates, and meet and chat online, very similar to what their counterparts do in a physical campus. Moreover, with the camera on, you would feel your friends are right there beside you in your own room!

Apportioning your precious time

The biggest benefit of joining online programs is the flexibility they offer you in planning your schedule. You are not burdened with the related issues of traditional colleges: signing up for classes of your convenience without loss of time; commuting physically from home to campus and between campus buildings; overcoming stresses due to traffic, elements and expenses; balancing between work and study and so on.

With online programs, you can draw your own schedule, and make sure you are fresh and available fully primed for all your classes. You will find enough time for work and study. You will have as well time for fun with your friends and family.

Cross-cultural exposure

University education is incomplete without some exposure to vital aspects of major cultures of the world. Life in the twenty first century is so complex that you cannot afford to deny yourself cross-cultural familiarity and choose to live in an island.

Virtual classes offer you the exciting possibility of interacting with fellow students of varied cultural background.  You have the opportunity to learn along with them not only your online program, but also about different aspects of cultures around the world.

Such students are located in their respective countries of diverse cultures. You are connected with them in ‘cyberspace’, and you can actually know firsthand how life in their country is like in all its dimensions.

Consider learning online with enriched resources, handy expertise, and major advantages available to you whenever and wherever you need them.  Virtual programs will surely widen your horizon and offer you more freedom than traditional programs ever can.

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Organizing Your Home Classroom: Useful Ideas

For many people, one of the discouraging things about joining online programs is the need for a home classroom. The problem is twofold when you do not have enough space for it. However, here are a few useful ideas that can help you create a structured study area, notwithstanding lack of free space.

Spread the learning area all through the house

If it’s hard for you to find a dedicated area for study in your house, consider studying in different areas of the house. You can easily set up a desk in your bedroom, while the computer can be set up in the living room. Dining area can do double duty as workstation.

Using different learning areas can be extremely helpful as it can lead to change in the scenery, making it less monotonous. It is also a great idea to buy a laptop (which can be easily moved around) instead of a desktop if you are tight on space.

Convert unused closet area into a learning area

If you do not have an extra room for use as a home classroom, try exploiting unused closet areas. There are several online tutorials on how to convert your closet into a study room. It is a great way of organizing your study stuff.

Build and organize your own desk

In case you have only a small area you can allot for a learning space, say a hallway or a corner of the living room, you can build your desk and customize it to suit your requirement. There are again many online tutorials on how to build and customize your desk to suit your needs within the space available.

You can also plan to build or buy a Murphy desk, which makes for a great and compact workspace. You can fold up or down the desk when you need it, and can make it fade into the wall when there is no use for it. Murphy desks are extremely useful and easy to fit in any space.

Give your supplies a place of their own

Whether it’s a big plastic bin, a bookcase, a closet, or a drawer, give specific places to your supplies. A great idea is to keep similar items together – pencils and crayons in one container, and so on.

This helps in keeping all the mess to a minimum. There are numerous stationery items you can use for keeping your stuff organized, including wicker baskets, mason jars, file folders, crate seats, ring binders, and more.

Online learning can be great fun and enjoyable if you are attuned to it that way. Make sure you take your program seriously and give yourself the environment that facilitates you to sit down and study. There cannot be an excuse like a small space for study.

With so many tools available in the market, you can easily build your own nook at the most reasonable prices. Moreover, if you have small children, they too can use this study area for homework.

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Busting Myths About Online Learning

Despite the growing popularity of online learning, several misconceptions and myths surround it. Here are a few facts to dismiss the related wrong beliefs.

Myth #1: You can’t get good education online

Fact: The truth is that standards and quality of study and teacher-learner interaction may vary from one regular school to another. However, all good online academic institutions implement strict processes for designing online courses to make sure that they meet specific standards.

Moreover, reputed virtual schools that satisfy all norms are duly recognized by accrediting agencies. Potential employers in turn recognize an online certificate/diploma/degree from such an accredited institution.

Myth #2: Online learning is more expensive than traditional learning

Fact: The cost of college education is a crucial factor for the vast majority of people. Many individuals have the impression that online education is outrageously expensive: it is not at all true! So many online educational portals charge very reasonable tuition and other fees.

Myth #3: Those who learn online take things lightly

Fact: A big advantage of online learning is that it provides flexibility when it comes to scheduling. This makes it very appealing to those who work part-time or have heavy domestic obligations.

However, online students cannot afford to take things lightly. They are required to be highly motivated, self-disciplined, and primed for working independently. The demands on virtual students are just as much, and the study the same as in the case of their counter parts in regular colleges.

Apart from this, many online institutions are very strict about keeping the class size small, to enable teachers engage with their students personally, often one-on-one. The odds of taking the backseat, trying to avoid the teacher are very small for an online student.

Those who participate in online classes are continuously assessed in numerous ways:

1. Timed examinations and quizzes
2. Timed assignments
3. Posts from the discussion board
4. Group assignments
5. Evaluations

All these features of online education underscore the fact that online students cannot take things lightly.

Myth #4: It is very common to cheat in online classes

Fact: According to experts, students are just as likely to cheat in online settings as in traditional classes. In fact, virtual instructors have a range of effective tools that help them detect and prevent cheating.

They have software that helps check plagiarism and student authentication, and monitor closely the whole process of examination. In certain cases, students are required to take exams or tests at physical locations, or utilize the webcam.

Myth #5: There is often no interaction between online students and their teachers

Fact: Online students are required indeed to develop and employ good communication skills so that they can interact more often than not with their fellow students and instructors.

In fact, to ensure that they succeed and thrive in an online learning atmosphere, it is necessary for them to participate in classes and engage with classmates and teachers, using discussion boards, social media, Q&A sessions, email, and the like.

Online learning from a reputed portal is a great way to advance your knowledge and career! Make sure that you exploit to the fullest its advantages!

Sunday, 23 April 2017

How do Online Classes Really Work?

Thanks to high-speed internet, smart software, and faster computers, you can now get a college degree comfortably with these devices from almost anywhere in the world. Numerous reputed institutes and schools worldwide now offer online learning programs that are as good as their traditional counterparts.

However, many students are skeptical about online learning because they are not very familiar with the operation and demands of online degree programs. Here is an overview of the basics you would desire to be aware of.

What should you expect?

Once you have enrolled in a recognized online university or college, your online teachers will begin to offer you full guidance for the entire duration of your course. You will be given all the info you require, from details of the course, through required materials to pace expectations. You will also be given guidance on how to navigate the course.

Online students will be required to complete successfully and participate in all assignments. Online courses do not give you space to delay or take things easy. They require as well dedication, commitment to, and active participation in learning.
  1. You will be expected to log into your classes regularly.
  2. You will have to finish all assignments on time.
  3. You may also be expected to engage with fellow online students in discussion forums.

Understand your tools

Since you will be working a lot with your computer, it is important to understand how the machine really functions. While there is no need to become a whiz, knowing the basic programs is necessary. Software and hardware requirements may vary from school to school, but here are some basic guidelines on how you should be prepared.

Invest in a laptop or desktop that is in the best working condition.
Invest in a stable high-speed internet connection.
Create an email account that you will use exclusively for school purposes.

Learn how to complete the course successfully

  1. Set clear goals: Make sure that you set the right goals and stick with them. Setting clear goals helps you in staying on top of things: online programs are just as demanding as their traditional counterparts are. Make sure you log in every day to ensure you know what is expected.
  2. Keep a calendar: In case you feel you are having a hard time staying organized, keep an online calendar. Gmail offers easy-to-use, amazing online calendars that help users set reminders. There are so many other free tools online that can be used to set timetables and keep tabs on important information and assignments.

Pursue post graduation

Once you have completed an online degree, try first to find the right job. In most industries, the market value of a recognized degree through an online school is the same as that from a traditional institute. Sooner rather than later, you would realize that your career prospects depend on a postgraduate degree. You would do well to think of pursuing post graduation at the earliest.

When all is said and done, traditional degrees still hold a little more value in traditional minds than the online degrees. However, this does not mean you should not enroll in online education.

As an online student, be prepared, as and when you go for an interview, to answer a lot more questions than candidates from traditional colleges do. Be alert and sportive, and use your newly acquired knowledge and skills to impress upon the employer how good you are.

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Stress Triggers of Online Students : Management Techniques

Stress is a very normal and common reaction to demanding or unusual situations. While a little stress is good for better performance, too much stress may cause negative physical and emotional reactions. You can decrease these negative effects by learning how to deal with stress triggers.

Stress triggers

Students of any age can feel stressed due to schooling. Unfortunately, we do come across even elementary school students afflicted sometimes by stomach upset and headaches related to school anxiety. Many college students may also experience high levels of stress related to demands of education.

The most likely reasons for school-related anxiety are feelings of fear and loss of control. The sense of losing control is related to ineffective management of time, which in turn, is due to incapacity to get things done on time. This may also stem from having a hard time maintaining a healthy balance between home, work, personal health and school.

Another probable stress factor is anxiety, which may come in many forms, like anxiety of not doing well on tests or assignments, “sounding stupid” when replying to questions or asking questions, or missing out on deadlines. Another very common reason for stress is fear of ineffective use of technology.

Some people are intimidated by conversing online as what they write remains out there on forums for everyone to see. Those experiencing any of such stress triggers must realize that they do not constitute a small isolated group; there are many others like them. The best way to deal with the problem is to get in touch with your online professor or join a support group to discuss such concerns.

Here are some of the commonest symptoms of stress in online classrooms:

1. Incomplete work
2. Missed due dates
3. Lack of engagement and interaction in online discussions
4. Poor performance in obligatory assignments and discussion posts

Managing stress

Time management

One of the most important ways of reducing stress is to take complete control of your time – not only the time for school-related homework and study, but also that for your family, job, and personal interests. All these are ongoing aspects of your life, which need proper balancing to ensure that you have adequate time for everything.

Everyday time management should however be fluid because at times, your job will take a lot more time than you anticipated, or you will have family obligations that will force a cut down on school and work time. An overall balancing act is the key to preserving a time management system that gives you enough space to get all the schoolwork done.

Positive self-talk

To handle anxiety and fears due to online classes, you must indulge in frequent positive self-talk that everything is under perfect control and fine with you; if that is not enough get in touch with a supportive classmate, friend, or your online professor.

It’s very normal to be nervous and experience anxiety of “looking stupid” or feel diffident about the successful completion of any reputed online course. An important thing for you to remember is that yours is not an isolated case. When lack of time or any fear comes in the way of studying creditably, it’s best to seek help from your online professor, or maybe an academic advisor.

Sunday, 19 February 2017

5 Ideas for Sustaining Motivation for an Online Course

You have signed up for a reputed online early childhood education class and you are pumped up and ready to start. While some people carry this enthusiasm for the entire term, others find it on the wane week after week.

How can one sustain motivation during the course of the entire program? Here are a few ideas for you to help maintain your initial motivation for successfully completing the online course.

Goals

Set your goals firm and clear by writing down and reviewing them periodically. Make sure you keep both your long-term and short-term goals in mind. The short–term ones can be your weekly or daily objectives related to the program.

The long-term goals are related to finishing the course or the online degree program. It is normal for interruptions to happen every now and then, warranting adjustments. Consider the interruptions as challenges and modify schedules as warranted.

Organization

Staying organized is of great help and strength. Ensure that you create schedules for weekly and daily tasks. In case you are juggling demands of family, work, and school, you can plan fun activities combined with school and work tasks. Healthy breaks for relaxation and fun are bound to be rejuvenating and strengthening your motivation for learning.

Challenges

Recognize your challenges and address them squarely. Failure to meet challenges immediately may create a snowball effect. For instance, say you default an assignment a week, and the following week you need to complete two. If you fail to clear them both, you find a third one added up next, then another and so on until you are completely overwhelmed by an unmanageable number due.

When challenges start to build up, you may feel like quitting as your grades fall or you feel like losing the race in a class. Being proactive and seeking prompt help whenever you fall behind is the best way to avoid a backlog and diffuse a crisis build-up.

If you are constantly rushing to finish your work, then maybe it is time to reset plans and goals to a more ‘achievable’ and realistic level. Meeting challenges successfully and achieving goals promptly would certainly help maintain motivation and boost confidence level.

Support groups

You can receive loads of help from support groups; they may be colleagues, family, and fellow students. It would be good for you to discuss regularly challenges, shared problems and successes with your support group; it gives you a sense of strength, confidence, well-being and control of things. Supportive friends can always give you new ideas to meet all challenges.

Communication

It is important for you to communicate with instructors and classmates. Learning online does not mean you have to do it all alone. A live communication channel keeps you abreast of deadlines and schedules and makes learning fun. You may continue to communicate even after the completion of the course.

These tips can certainly make online learning much easy and great fun.