Some Tips to Remember When Starting an Online Course

With online courses becoming more and more popular we wanted to touch on some basic tips students should consider when starting an online class. Being prepared could be what sets you apart from the other students in your cohort. Some of the things we mention could seem like common sense, but none the less, a very important part of being successful in an online course.

First and foremost, make sure you have a reliable computer available with internet access. Check with your academic advisor to see what the computer requirements are for your program. Most computers come standard with what you would need, but you want to double check. For instance, you may need the latest version or Excel or Microsoft Word. Usually the latest version of Microsoft Office will be required. As far as internet goes, make sure yours is fast and reliable. You will probably be attaching documents, doing research, and watching videos throughout the program.

Now that you are online with the latest technology, you are one step closer to succeeding in an online program. The next tip is using proper time management skills. Make sure your family/friends know you are about to start an online course. Make sure you have their support before starting a program. You can anticipate about 15-20 hours a week per class in a graduate level program. Set aside some time during the week and on weekends to allocate to the class. You will typically have to complete case studies, papers, quizzes, and group assignments.

Now that you have allotted time to complete your course it's time to brush up on your skills. Depending on what type of class you are taking, there are different refresher courses you can complete. For instance, if you are starting an online MBA course you can complete some tutorials on statistics, finance, and accounting. Or, if you know what textbooks you will be using you can buy them in advance and start studying. You can never be too prepared when starting an online class.

Finally, when classes are getting close you want to complete an orientation in whichever course platform the University uses. For instance, Marylhurst University uses Moodle while University of Oregon uses Blackboard. Your online platform will contain your assignments, syllabus, and access to contact the other students in your class and most importantly your professor. Try and master navigating through your online course room before classes begin.

Pros and Cons of Online Education

There are many things to consider when deciding to go back to school. What school should you attend? What degree should you seek? How am I going to balance my family, work, and school all at the same time? These are just a few. Above all, one must decide whether to attend a traditional campus program or an online degree program. There are some major differences between the two, but there are also some similarities. It is recommended to first check your daily schedule. Do you have time to drive to campus once or twice a week and attend a lecture? How far is the school from your house? These are important questions, because the answers may eliminate on campus programs right away.

Some of the benefits of attending class in person include: face to face interaction with the professor, live discussions, ability to ask questions on a specific subject, and it is usually easier to work in a group setting. Remember, online education offers many of the same features; they are just implemented a little differently. Questions, chats, and group work are done entirely online through chat rooms and emails. Some consider this a disadvantage of online learning since they prefer to work with their classmates in person. Other students are visual learners and need to be in a lecture hall watching and listening to the professor. This could pose a problem for online learners.

A couple major benefits of online degree programs are the flexibility and convenience you receive while in a class. Most of the time a student does not need to log in and complete their work at any specific time. A student can email their professor their assignment at either 5 a.m. or 5 p.m. This is very important when it comes to full-time working adults with families. Another benefit of doing an online classes is being able to complete your work from anywhere in the world. You do not have to drive to campus, park, or walk to class. This saves time and money.

Time management is important whether you are taking classes online or in a classroom. One major difference is if you are attending a campus based program you have a schedule for when you need to be on campus to sit for a lecture. Online courses do not typically have such a schedule. Online students have to manage their own time and log in throughout the week to complete their assignments. This could become tedious for some.

Learn Speed Techniques

Many students need to study up on speed reading because they have bad reading or study habits. In most cases, when we learn how to speed read or when we pick up how to read, we feel pressured from someone or something. Many students cite examples such as issues at home, with the teacher/other students or exam trouble. This may give birth to bad associations with reading (speed reading) which can explain why some people do not read for pleasure but only when they have to.

Accordingly, if you are searching for 'how to speed read', you must look for techniques to relax your mind before you begin. This study skill may be extended to exams and any problematic study areas that you have. In most cases, the 'problem' is all in how you approach it. There are probably a whole slew of solutions available but they are difficult to see when you sabotage yourself by sticking to your old methods.

The first study skill which students should cultivate prior to speed reading is the skill to relax their minds. A very simple method is to take 10 deep breaths. When you do so, keep your awareness solely on the area at the base of your nose. This is a very skill for general study too.

The next step may be taken after you are confident in your reading comprehension. By now you can tell someone the main message of an article after you finish reading it. Start timing yourself when you speed read an A4 page. How much time did it take? Measuring your progress using a stop watch is an essential study asset whenever you want to increase your efficiency. Try to move your eyes faster. Try not to say anything in your mind, search for important words that can summarise the main message for you.

Search for the key words in the preceding paragraph. Have you understood the main message? Are you 'speed' reading? As if seeing colours giving prominence to key words/phrases as you read, move your eyes faster!

Typical undergrads verbalise the text in their mind as they are studying a piece of writing. Undeniably, this is an ordinary process and can help us understand the basic elements of the text. Yet, to maximise your speed reading technique, reading without verbalising in your mind is an excellent reading ability. Simply keep your eyes moving over the words without verbalising in your mind. If you struggle, move your eyes fast enough to register the words but not say them in your mind. First do this with 2 sentences and then check that you understood the main message. You might find it useful to position yourself back an extra 20 cm from the computer or text.

To better understand your learning style and read the free speed reading blog, visit the Study Style Skills Website. I am a teacher and have put together a learning style program which helps students master specific study skills for their learning style and get the best grades now. To check out the program and for more free information, visit

Secrets of Successful E Learning Course Design

For every learner who reports a good experience using e learning, there are many more who can vouch for a truly terrible experience. The typical criticism from these dissatisfied learners is the e learning course they took was boring. Usually, they report, it involved nothing more than clicking though endless screens of uninspiring content. Many dissatisfied learners vow they will do their very best to avoid taking an e learning course ever again.

If this describes your reaction or the reaction of learners in your organisation, then read on. This article introduces a different, boredom-busting approach to e learning course design, guaranteed to keep your learners engaged, motivated and (most important) learning.

The first step to success involves moving away from a highly content-centric approach to your course design. Is content important? Absolutely. Should it be the sole driving force behind your development? Probably not.

If this seems like a puzzling response, consider this. The more you focus on content at the very beginning of your development process, the more likely you are to end up with a highly structured content outline that reads like a book. And two key things to remember about e learning. It's not about creating an online book and it's definitely not about creating an online presentation. Save the latter for the lecture hall and the former for your Kindle.

So if it 's not about conveying structured information, what is it about?

Let's think for a moment about your learners and what they might be doing in a typical day of their working lives. Whatever their job role, it's more than likely that they need knowledge and skills to solve problems, make decisions and carry out a variety of tasks, some repetitive and frequent, others more complex and infrequent.

So why not create your e learning to better reflect your learners' reality, rather than just pounding them over the head with abstract content? It's not that they don't need content - it's just that they need to discover and learn it in a meaningful, memorable and motivating way.

To achieve that, you need to adopt a broad, four-pronged approach to your development. How do you start? Choose a context for your learning. What will be familiar to your learners? Look at the context (or contexts) that they work in everyday. Perhaps it's an office, or a warehouse or a customer service desk. Whatever their work environment, there will be any number of familiar contexts just waiting to be used.

Within that context, there will almost certainly be challenges your learners have to meet, so choose a challenge that your learners will have to meet that is relevant to the learning and fits naturally within your chosen context.

To meet the challenge you are setting them, your learners will have to carry out some tasks or activities. It's likely there may be more than one right way to meet the challenge, so give your learners options. Allow them to experiment and try different approaches (through a variety of tasks) to see which gets the best (and the worst) outcome.

Finally, provide plenty of feedback. Not just the 'yes, that's right/no that's wrong' type, but detailed feedback on the tasks they have carried out and the decisions they have made. This could be situational or instructional or a combination of the two. In short, the secret to successful e learning course design is escaping the highly content-centric approach to e learning typically used by very many designers.

Andrew Jackson is co-founder of Pacific Blue an innovative learning solutions company providing boredom-busting e learning course design to businesses. To learn more, get your free 'Bored to Death by E-Learning Guide?':

The Differences Between Online and Classroom Courses

Many students looking to go back to school have never taken an online course. They don't know what to expect. They are considering both online and classroom courses. Though the content will be similar in nature, the modality is very different. We are going to cover some of the major differences in online and classroom courses to help future students decide which is best for them.

Let's first start with classroom courses. Typically, a student will come to class 1-3 times per week and listen to an instructor give a lecture. Here, the students are able to answer questions, see their teammates, and usually meet after class if they have group work to complete. It is a very hands-on-experience. Most classes entail a lecture with PowerPoint slides followed by a question and answer session. Students enjoy learning this way because of the interaction with the professor and other students. Attendance is usually taken and counted for participation points. So if you do decide to attend a class on campus, make sure you can make all of the classes. Many schools offer night programs so someone working full-time can attend class after work.

Online courses are a little different. Students are usually attending class from all over the United States and even some overseas in the military. They are not able to meet their classmates or the professors. This can be an issue for a visual learner. Visual learners need the interaction with the professor and classmates to be successful. Another major difference is how assignments are turned in. In an online class everything is either emailed directly to the professor or posted in a discussion board. Discussion boards are in a blog format and used so students can communicate with each other online. Live chats are also an option, but the students would all have to be online at a specific time for it to work. This can be difficult because of different time zones and busy schedules. Remember, flexibility and convenience are the top two reasons students choose an online class.

As you can see there are many differences between online and on-campus classes. But, as stated before, course content is usually very similar. This is a good thing because you know you are learning the same material no matter which modality you choose. Do some research and see which one will be the best fit for you. Whichever you choose, make sure to dedicate some time to study, research, and complete exams on a weekly basis.

Online Continuing Education Classes Explained

Hundreds of thousands of teenagers, adults, and professionals are going back to school to further their education. Many of them are choosing online classes and online degree programs. Not every course or program is the same, but many of them have similar characteristics. Whether you are a professional completing your required continuing education training or a student looking to complete a master's degree online; there is a program available for you. Today we are going to talk about what to expect in an online course and how they can benefit you.

Most professionals have to complete a certain amount of continuing education every 1-2 years. Online classes are very popular for full-time working adults. They are easier to complete and very flexible. Depending on the school, asynchronous courses are usually the preferred method of online classes. Asynchronous means the student does not have to be online at a specific time. They can log in and complete their work whenever they want. Industries including insurance, legal, nursing, and real estate, all require continuing education classes. You can log in, read the textbooks, and then take an exam. That is your typical course when it comes to completing your education online.

An online class at a college or University can be very different. There is usually much more involved in their courses. There will usually be a professor and sometimes even a facilitator conducting the course. There is usually a lot of interaction between the professor and the students in an online course. Support is very important for online students to succeed. Also, in an online college course you will get a syllabus and due dates for your assignments. These courses may be asynchronous or not. If they are not, you will have to log in for live chats with your classmates throughout the week. These can actually be very beneficial even though they seem like an inconvenience. In a live chat you can network with your other classmates and also ask the professor questions. It is easier than sending an email and having to wait for a reply.

As you can see there are different formats in online courses but they are all typically more flexible and more convenient than sitting in a classroom. If you have any questions you can always contact your state or the department of education for more information. They are a great resource for potential students.

Further Your Education

When you want to further your education, you are eventually going to need to look at the options that are in front of you and choose one that is going to be to your benefit. It doesn't matter what type of education you're trying to achieve, the same obstacle is going to be a problem. Of course, if you look at the colleges and other higher learning institutions properly, you will be able to make a choice that is right for you and your individual needs. So, regardless of whether you're looking for music production schools or if you are trying to get into some type of film degree program, you'll find that there are options that are available to help you to do so successfully.

Perhaps one of the first things that you should do is to take off any rose-colored glasses that you may be wearing. You will want to look at any college or higher learning facility without any preconceived notions as to what they have to offer. Unfortunately, many people tend to choose the college by location and even by the sporting teams that they may have. Although this can provide you with a little bit of entertainment, it certainly is not going to provide you with the education that you need. You need to look at the credentials of the college and weigh them heavily when making your choice. Remember your objective is the outcome of a degree not the score of the game.

Another thing that can be of great benefit when choosing a college is a personal recommendation of somebody that you trust. Try to choose somebody that is already gone through the educational process and can give a recommendation from experience. It is also a good idea to speak to guidance counselors at your school as well as the counselors at the college in order to determine if they offer the programs that will enable you to reach your goal.

Have you given any consideration to taking some home education classes? This is something that can save you time as well as money. Some people like to split the educational process between going to a campus for some of their classes and then taking other classes at home. If you're already in the workforce and are just trying to improve your ability to move up in your current position, you may find that taking online courses is the best choice for you. It can give you the flexibility that is necessary to continue in your current work and to get the education that is needed when there is time to do so.

An additional concern that you should consider is the financing that may be necessary in order to attend college. Going to a major university can be quite expensive and it is not always necessary in order to get into the workforce successfully. You may find local community colleges that can offer you the courses that you need and at a price that is far less than a larger more prestigious university. Be sure that you consider this option as it would suit you better in the long run as far as finances are concerned.

The author of this article talks about how to continue your education.
His brother, in his 50's finally wanted to pursue his passion for music by looking at different music production schools. His son, a new high school graduate, wants to become a director and now is in a film degree program. It is never too late or early to gain knowledge on any subject.