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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My First Four Weeks of School

 

Going back to school as a non-traditional student can be a daunting experience. The last time I set foot in a classroom was ten years ago. Now, being enrolled in an online classroom, it is even more intimidating because not only do I have to get back into the groove of academia, but I also have to learn new technologies. This blog will reflect on my first four weeks back in school in regard to the new things I have learned and how I have personally developed from the Psychology of Motivation course.

New Things I Have Learned

During this first module at Independence University, I have learned a lot, both through the course material and experience as an online student. The most interesting and useful piece of information I have learned in the Psychology Motivation is the concepts associated with learning styles and personality types. Psychologists have developed ways to identify people through various personality categories, one being Myers -Briggs Type Indicator personality test (Ferret, 2012). This concept really resonated with me because knowing your personality type can be the first step in understanding who you are, or who you are perceived to be. With this information, one can take steps to change their behavior, thus changing their personality, or one can use it guide their decisions to complement their personality types (like finding jobs that complement certain personalities).

Another thing I learned from the first four weeks, was that education is important in life and the way it is consumed has changed. Education is important because it encourages critical thinking and prepares for life on the job (Ferret, 2012). Education is no longer consumed by students in a classroom while instructors give one-sided lectures. Education is now consumed through digital text, videos, and interactive components such as the daily check points. Education has broken the boundaries of space and time as one can learn from anywhere at any moment.

My Development

Throughout this four weeks, I have developed both personally and professionally. The chapter on time management has helped me developed personally as never thought I would have time to go to the gym. Up until recently, I have been placing going to the gym under discretionary time, the time that I considered free time. Now, I’ve made going to the gym a priority by placing it under my maintenance time, the time I spend maintaining myself (Ferret,2012).

The chapter on supportive and diverse relationships has helped me developed professionally because it has taught me the importance of effective communication and rapport. In this chapter, I learned to be an assertive communicator. Assertive communicators speak clear and concise, they express their feelings and use assertive body language (Ferret, 2012). Using these tips, I have noticed that I am more effective in the way I communicated with my team at work.

Conclusion

         My first four weeks back in school has been an amazing experience. I have learned new ideas such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator personality test and how the landscape of education has changed. During these four weeks, I have also developed personally and professionally. I have learned to manage my personal time wisely by learning to differentiate between discretionary activities and maintenance activities. I have also developed professionally by being more assertive at work. Overall I believe that this course is a great start to my academic journey and personal development.

References

Ferret, S. K. (2012). Peak performance: Success in college and beyond (8th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.