Monday, March 5, 2012

My Experience with Online Learning

My experience with online learning was not at all what I expected.  My undergraduate experience was very intimate with a small group and many classes with the same professor (who was also my advisor).  The experience I have had online is the complete opposite by virtue of what it is…distance learning. I had to seek out personal interaction that I had previously had plenty of.

The plus side of online learning is the ability to make my own schedule. I “attend classes” in my office where my children can wander down for my attention.  Most often I give it to them.  I am able to access lectures at my convenience and not just Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6:00 to 9:00.

One thing that I have had to call upon is my self- motivation. I happen to be a self-motivating individual.  I have found that creating a schedule, validated by a support team and sticking to the schedule allowed me to stay ahead or at least on track with the assignments.  I love the cliché “you get out of it what you put into it” and never get tired of repeating it. 

I had put off going back to school for the simple reason that I did not think I would be able to juggle a career, family and school work.  I would not be able to do it without the help of my family also known as my support team.

Technology has come a long way in just a few years and it is taking education to the next realm.  I don’t have the most elaborate equipment but it suits the needs that distance learning necessitates.  I use an E Machine EL 1850, Logitech speakers, a Dynex web cam and a Canon MX 330. This is all low end equipment costing under $1000.00 but I assure you that it has met the technical requirements needed.

Good Luck, Thomas

Sunday, March 4, 2012

8 Tips to Online Learning

1.      Know yourself
Know your studying strengths and weaknesses. If you are an early bird like myself, get up an hour earlier (before work) when you are fresh and vibrant. If you are a night owl, reserve some time to study in the evening.
2.      Be consistent
Set a schedule for yourself that works. Set aside a regular time to study that is supported by the people who are closest to you.  A routine can take the weight off of the lack of desire to study after a long day at work.
3.      Stay ahead
Most online learning environments release all the material for the entire class somewhere in the syllabus. It is easy to scan most of it so that there are no surprises for upcoming assignments.
4.      Get in a study group
Exchange emails, phone numbers or set up a The personal interaction that you will get from getting in a study group can help discuss the content of the class.
5.      Make personal contact
This coincides and enforces number 4 but also includes the professors, any teaching assistants and anyone associated with the class or course. Making contact through a friendly message can set you up for future questions that you may have.
6.      Keep a calendar
For me a hand written calendar works best but whatever form of a daily reminder you use, USE it. You are in charge of the schedule and no one else.
7.      Talk to your employer
Maybe your employer is paying for the class maybe they are not. If they are not let them know what you are doing. Maybe they can help financially or with your personal schedule. If you are taking classes that support your current position or positions within the company than they will inevitably offer support.
8.      Keep a folder on your desktop
I work off of my desktop where everything I present or submit is edited through a word document. This offers clear understanding of what you are submitting and a quick and easy proofread to give a professional appearance.