How to Survive Online Classes at Independence University

Planning your online course//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

By Dru Macasieb

This post is about how to survive online classes at Independence University, specifically focusing on daily checkpoints, Live/Recorded Lectures, discussions, assignments,  assessments, tutoring, and communicating with your instructor.

Daily Check Points

  • Do them in the morning right when you get up or right before or after you check your email/Facebook on your computer or mobile device. Yes, you can log in to Canvas using your mobile device as long as it’s a smartphone.
  • Friday, Saturday, and Sunday daily checkpoints are always extra credit, do them, you don’t have anything to lose.
  • It is best to use your laptop to do daily checkpoints so you can hit “Control + F” to bring up your browser’s find tool. With it, you can search for terminology or phrases that may help you find the answer you’re looking for.

View the Live/Recorded Lectures

  • Try you’re best to view the live lectures. Its only two hours out of your day and you can ask the instructor questions and get answers right away.
  • If you can’t attend the live lecture, view the recording. If you can’t sit there and view the recording, at least listen to it. Take your phone let it play as you take a shower, drive, wash dishes, fold laundry, just get exposed to what is being taught, its better than nothing.
  • From my experience, the instructor goes over everything you need to know to be successful in the course. Including how to do the assignments and how to pass the assessments.

Discussions

  • Do your discussions on or before Wednesdays.
  • Do it in Word, spell and grammar check it, and make sure you have the right amount of words needed as described in the directions.
  • When writing the discussion, its best to get a reference from the book and use an in-text citation, as well as referencing it in APA format at the end of your initial post.
  • Do not use quotes. As an instructor, I find it lazy as its merely a copy and paste and since it’s not in your own words, it doesn’t count towards the minimum word count. Instead, paraphrase. Another problem with quoting is that it seems that majority of students don’t know how to quote properly in APA format.
  • If you can, do one reply the same day as your initial post. You’ll need to do another reply on a different day to get full credit. Its only 50 words, be creative.

Assignments

  • Assignments are a bit trickier because it is going to depend on the class you are taking.
  • For general education and management courses, they’re most likely APA papers. It best to download an APA template and submit your written work using the template.
  • For technology students, it may be writing code or going through a virtualization.  Again, the best bet for completing assignments is by attending/viewing the live/recorded lectures.
  • For programming students, the instructor usually goes over how to code in the live lectures. You can also use the textbook to copy and paste the code and then reverse engineer it by modifying certain elements.
  • For papers, use the writing center (I can’t stress this enough). They’ll proofread your paper and provide you with feedback.

Assessments

  • Before taking the assessment be sure you have viewed and read all the course material. I find the live lectures provide you with enough information to do well on the assessments.
  • Use the “CNTRL + F” method to find specific keywords and phrases in any text document.
  • Before hitting submit, go back an check your answers, some answers answer others.
  • If you focus on the learning objectives each week, you should do fine on the assessments as they are based on the learning assessments.
  • Read the textbook from back to front. Start with the chapter questions, then read the summary, then read each section from front to back to front, ending with the introduction.

Tutoring

  • Did you know that we have online tutoring as well as on-ground tutoring?
  • Check out our Study Hall and Resource Center (aka SHARC) and utilize the Student Success Center for free tutoring 6 days a week.*  Online tutoring can help you with:
    • Walk you through assignments
    • Explain directions
    • Answer questions about course information
    • Read and help edit essays for any subject
    • Chat online with you
    • Work with you on the phone
    • Use Screen Sharing –so you can see exactly what they are talking about on the computer screen, and you can show them what you see on your screen as well.
  • The Writing Center- CCSD has an online writing center where you can make an appointment for one-on-one writing help, or simply submit a paper and the writing center will provide you with feedback.

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*Please be aware there are specific hours for each subject. To find the schedule you can visit SHARC, select Student Success Center, then click Hours of Operation.

 

Communicate with your Instructor

Your instructor is there for one purpose only, to help you learn the material. Communicate with them if you are facing ANY obstacles that hinder you the goal of learning the course material, no matter how trivial or serious the situation is. Under instructor information in your syllabus, there should adequate contact information such as email and phone numbers. You can always use Canvas’ internal email function to email your instructor. Before you submit an assignment, there is a comment box where you can submit comments. You should comment on the assignment. Let them know if you enjoyed the assignment, hated it, obstacles you’ve faced, or best practices in completing the assignment. Remember, instructors are people too and communicating with them regularly creates rapport with them.

The Difference Between Online and On-ground Learning

The majority of the students who fail online classes give  me the excuse that “I don’t learn well online.” As an online student myself, I don’t quite understand that statement because to me learning is the act of acquiring knowledge, and to me, nobody teaches anything in college, except oneself. The faculty of a college isn’t called teachers, they’re called… faculty, instructors, or professors. They facilitate learning by providing the tools necessary to learn, like books, assignments,  and clarification of concepts.  The difference between taking an online course versus an on-ground course is the mode of delivery by which facilitation occurs. In an online class, it is delivered by electronic means, such as email and video chat. While on-ground uses face-to-face communication.  Nevertheless, the on-ground portion also uses online tools such as assignment rubrics and submission, and a hybrid portion which includes discussions and daily checkpoints.

Looking at the difference, it seems that the only real difference between online learning and on-ground learning is that amount of real-time communication one has with the instructor. Online gets you 2 hours of live communication, and if you miss it, you still get a recorded lecture. On-ground gets you 5-6 hours of live communication, however, if you miss it you’re out of luck because it does not get recorded.

Conclusion

So why do students fail online courses more than on-ground classes? I think it has to with the autonomy of learning, that is the self-governance of learning. In online education, you are pretty much learning autonomous meaning you are in control of how and what you learn. You’ll have to take the initiative to read the chapters, study, and do the work. In an on-ground class, the autonomy still exists, however, it is lessened because instructors give students up to 6 hours of force-fed learning through lectures,  assignments and in-class activities. By following the tips regarding daily checkpoints, live/recorded Lectures, discussions, assignments,  assessments, and tutoring outlined in this blog, students may have a better chance a passing an online course, or any course for that matter.

These are my tips for surviving an Independence University online course. Do you have any other tips worth mentioning? If so, comment below would love to hear your tips.

 

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Dropping From School

By Dru Macasieb (March 2, 2017)

It is not recommended to disrupt your academic journey, however, we do understand that sometimes students need to for various reasons. Here is what you need to know before dropping from school.

NOTE: In order to remain an active student at CCSD you must have a class assigned. If you drop your one and only class, you will be may be dropped from the college.

Discuss Dropping with your Associate Dean First

Students should first discuss dropping with their associate dean so that he or she can advise you on possible ways to overcome challenges so that your academic journey does not get disrupted. Another good reason to discuss dropping with your associate dean is so that he or she can advise you on the best way to drop with minimal consequences. 

Consequences of Dropping A Class

Dropping a class is not as simple as it sounds. It comes with consequences.

  1. If you have attended any classes, even logging in once, you will be charged.

Because CCSD is an accelerated environment, you will be charged for any portion of class you attend, either online or on-ground. Dropping during the first week, you can still get a “W” grade for withdrawn. It will charge your student account a prorated amount, credit units will be factored in your course completion percentage, however, the “W” grade not be factored in your grade point average calculation.

Dropping after the first week will garner you an automatic grade of “F.”

1. If you have a scholarship, you will lose it. Please read your scholarship documentation.

Scholarships from CCSD have very specific guidelines, one of them being that you complete your academic journey without breaks. Remember, scholarships get factored into your student account after you have finished your program. Kinda off topic, but there is a minimum of 3.0 GPA required for scholarships.

2. CCSD does not offer a “time off” or “leave of absence.”

If you take a “time off” from your academic journey, you will be dropped. When you decide to come back from your “time off” you must reapply to the college (again) and go through the enrollment process as well as the financial aid process (again).  Please note, students are not guaranteed to be accepted upon enrollment, which is why you must reapply for admissions.

3. You may not be able to come back to school right away due to the possibility of classes (that you need) not being available.

When students drop or fail a course it sends them off their scheduled track. We can no longer guarantee graduation date or course availability. However, we do our best to schedule you as effectively as possible. The sooner you finish, the better it is for both parties.

4. Similar to #3 above, if you drop during weeks 3 and 4, you may not be able to return to the mod after next.

Everything goes through a process. When students drop we have to process your drop paperwork. It goes through the associate deans, the registrar’s office, financial aid, and the business office (to name a few). Re-entering also goes through a process. We cannot re-enter a student if the student has not been completely processed through drop side. Because of these lengthy processes, students who drop in weeks 3 or 4 may not be able to re-enter until the mod after the next one (for instance you drop in week 3 in mod 1, you probably not be able to re-enter until mod 3).

5. If you drop, you will not maximize your financial aid (Title IV funding).

We want you to maximize your student loan. When students do not maximize their student loans, it causes them to refund unused amounts. Students end up reaching their borrow limits and have to borrow additional funds from a private lender to compensate for the missing federal funds. I know this may sound confusing, it best to speak with your financial aid adviser on this topic.

6. If you are receiving VA benefits, you may be required to pay them back.

The Veteran Affairs distributes education benefits depending on enrollment factors (i.e. full-time, part-time, on-ground, online etc.). Depending on the nature of your circumstances, the VA may decide to recoup any benefits distributed based on non-attendance or failures aka “F” that the student received because of non-participation.

7. Other charges involved with dropping.

Students that drop must return their laptop, any outstanding books, and any other school property in their possession. Failure to do so in a timely manner will create a charge in their student account.

When you drop there is a $150 admin for processing your drop.

8. Upon the last day of attendance, students will enter student loan repayment after six months for federal loans. 

As a reminder, be sure to speak with financial aid to find out who your student loan servicer is and communicate with them regarding repayment plans. Please note this grace period is for federal loans only, not private loans.

Conclusion

It is best not to drop and work with your instructor and associate dean to overcome obstacles. If you have to no better choice but to drop, you associate dean will provide you with guidance as to how to best approach dropping with minimal consequences.

Professional Development (San Diego)

Professional Development 2018

California College San Diego presents the 2018 professional development workshops that are designed to provide you with skills and tools necessary to be a successful professional upon graduating from CCSD.  The faculty and staff at California College San Diego encourage continued personal and social growth, and these workshops will aid in your development.  Please join us at for each workshop at the San Diego main campus at 11:00 am in the auditorium.

Friday, January 26, 2018 Career Services
Friday,  February 23, 2018 APA format
Friday, March 23, 2018 Social Media/ Networking
Friday, April 20, 2018 Soft Skills/Work Environment
Friday, May 18, 2018 Basic Computer Skills
Friday, June 15, 2018 Microsoft Office
Friday, July 27 , 2018 Self-Reliance/ Attendance
Friday, August 31, 2018 Time Management
Friday, September 28, 2018 Writing Skills
Friday, October 26, 2018 Public Speaking
Friday, November 30, 2018 Professionalism
Friday, December 14, 2018 Conflict Resolution

 

Upon completion of all 12 workshops, each student will receive a blue cord at the time of graduation as recognition of professional development.

*If you have any questions, please see Student Services*

In Danger of Being Dropped

By Dru Macasieb

Originally Written: January 9th, 2017

Students need to log into Canvas at least 4 days a week, preferably on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday of the week. Friday, Saturdays, and Sunday are optional, however, it is best to log in and complete the daily checkpoints on those days, as more than 4 daily checkpoints correct in a week, turns into extra credit.

Students that do not login consecutively or post attendance for more than 5 days are placed on an attendance watch list.

Students may be dropped for:

  • not attending online or on-ground for the first week of the mod
  • failing to attend online and/or on-ground for 14 consecutive days
  • poor attendance or academic performance, as recommended by a school offical

Dropping is not automatic as not all students’ circumstances are the same and there are various factors involved in this process. Therefore, students must take the initiative to communicate with the education department to inform us of their situation, and if they wish to remain enrolled or would like to drop.

If you need to drop from the college please contact the education department as soon as possible. For best results please send an email that:

  1. States you would like to drop
  2. Give a reason for dropping. Be detailed and specific as possible so that someone may give you the best possible advisement, provide you with possible alternatives to dropping, provide you advisement on how dropping will affect your academic and financial aid status, and provide you with advisement on re-entering
  3. Provide your availability so that we may schedule the best time for an exit interview and to drop off books and your laptop  (to avoid additional charges).

Note: If you drop in the middle of a Mod you will receive an “F” grade. Please visit this review the site “Consequences of Failing a Class

Consequences of Failing a Class

By Dru Macasieb

Originally Written: December 16th, 2016

All students, including VA students, must progress satisfactorily toward meeting graduation requirements. Academic progress is measured in two ways: (a) grade point average, and (b) course completion. The academic progress of each student will be reviewed at the end of every term. A student is considered to be making academic progress if his or her grade point average is above the minimum requirement and the student has successfully completed at least 67% of the credits attempted, otherwise known as the completion rate standard. The evaluation points, grade point average standard, and the completion rate standard are provided in the table listed.

  • Required Evaluation Point and Minimum GPA with 67% of Grades Completed for Associate’s Programs
    • First Term (4 Months/Mods)    1.0
    • Second Term                         1.5
    • Third Term +                         2.0
    • Graduation                            2.0

The consequences of failing a course can be detrimental to your academic future. 

The consequences of failing a course are as follows:

  • You will waste time and resources
  • You will have to retake the course
  • You basically paid to get an F
  • You will be charged for retaking the course (so basically one F will cost you twice as much!)
  • Your GPA will significantly drop
  • Your graduation date will be pushed further

Consequences of a trend of failing courses:

  • Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) standards apply to all students at a college.
  • Failure to achieve a 2.0 GPA for each term will put you on Academic Probation, called a Financial Aid Warning Status (FAWS)
  • Failure to complete 67% of credits attempt will also put you in a FAWS
  • Once in FAWS you need to demonstrate positive progress by having 2.0 or above GPA for a term (which is 4 months).

So what happens if I get dropped for not achieving Satisfactory Academic Progress?

  • Financial aid may stop loaning you funds for your education with us.
  • You will be dropped from the college and cannot attend at our college.
  • Your chances of future financial aid benefits may be in jeopardy.
  • For VA students, you may be decertified from the VA benefits program and you may have to pay them back.
  • If not in school, you will have to repay any student loans after 6 months.
  • If you do not pay student loans and go into default, it will harm your credit score and the government may garnish your wages and intercept any tax refunds.

OPINION: Why You Should Not Fail A Course

By Dru Macasieb

Students that have a history of poor academic performance at ANY school may be denied enrollment based on multiple variables which include: GPA, grades, financial aid borrowing history, and repayment history to name a few.

The reason this may happen is that, when colleges admit students, they are accepting reasonable responsibility to educate, graduate, and place these students in careers related to their field of study, as well as ensure that graduates make payments to their student loans. This is why college typically asks for transcripts. If a student’s transcripts have a history of poor academic performance (like a low GPA, or its plagued with Ds and Fs, or they have taken many courses but have not completed a degree), the student may be denied admission as this becomes a liability for the school.

The school’s financial aid department will also see how much money a student has borrowed, thus far, and can deny a student admission based on the amount of debt the student has acquired versus the amount the student needs to graduate. For example:

  • Say you went to ABC College and racked up $25,000 in student loans.
  • You apply at XYZ College, but in order to complete an associate’s degree, it will cost $50,000.
  • The total amount the student will owe after graduation will be $75,000 for an associate’s.

The school will be responsible to educate, graduate, and place student in careers related to their field of study, as well as ensure that student make payments to their the student loan (as default rate is also known as the rate in which students’ do not pay their loan on time, is also a metric that a school must achieve).

This is why it is crucial to maintain satisfactory academic progress (SAP). Schools that are impacted (have a surplus of applicants) often deny students based on academic performance at other schools (including High School).

If you are struggling with achieving good grades and attending class, I recommend speaking with your school’s student services, your area of study’s department head (like the associate dean), or any school staff in the academic department. The worst thing a student can do is nothing.