To start your academic support orientation, I want to talk a little bit about how to be a successful online learner
You probably understand that learning online and as an adult student has extra challenges – so let’s go through some strategies and tips for success
First, you need to make sure you understand the computer hardware and software you need to complete your classes
Do you have a working computer and an understanding of important computer programs like email, Internet browsing, and Microsoft Office? You may need to use Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and Excel in your classes, among other programs.
Next, you should not only complete your online orientation in MoodleRooms, but also explore the different buttons, links, and resources within the course site. Get familiar and comfortable clicking around your classes.
Finally, make sure you pay special attention to information on accessing books and articles online through the library. This is an important resource for you to use as a student.
Before you start classes, you should also develop a strategy or “battle plan” for managing your time
Many adult students say their biggest struggle is not learning the course material, but learning to balance the demands of school with work, family, and other responsibilities
Start by asking yourself – are you a good planner, or are you a procrastinator that puts things off until the last minute?
Either way, you must understand that YOU and only YOU are responsible for getting your work done on time. Instructors are not looking over your shoulder reminding you to finish your assignments.
To manage your time and meet deadlines, try creating a personal schedule or calendar. This will help you keep track of your activities and make sure you don’t leave anything important – like work or family time – out. Don’t forget to schedule some free time to relax
And remember to reward yourself for little victories. When you meet a deadline or get a good grade on a quiz, give yourself a little treat like a night off from school or going to the movies with your family.
In addition to managing your time, you should also develop good study habits
Again, you must take responsibility for your academic success. No one is going to do the work or study the material for you
Take time to discover how you are most productive and how you learn best. Do you study best early in the morning or late at night? At home or at Starbucks? By taking notes or drawing diagrams?
Make sure to plan enough time to complete your class readings and look through other materials. This should NOT wait until the day a paper is due!
The more you engage with your classmates in discussion forums, the more your classes will feel like a learning community. Reach out to your classmates and offer help and advice. You are all going through the same challenges together!
Create study guides, visual diagrams, or flashcards to help you review – find out what works best for you
Remember to take advantage of the many resources out there on the web. Academic support has lots of instructional videos to help you with writing papers and understanding confusing grammar concepts, for example
Last but not least, the best way to avoid anxiety and stress in school is not to procrastinate or cram! The more you take control of your time and divide up your work into manageable chunks, the easier school will be for you
Many students don’t realize this, but being an online learner means that you have to be proactive
You will be expected to keep yourself motivated and on track in school
And also to determine areas where you can improve. Instructors may give you feedback on your assignments and refer you to a tutor, but ultimately it is UP TO YOU to put in the time and effort to create work at the college level
You must also learn to advocate for yourself
If you have any question about class assignments, scheduling, or studying, ask your advisor, academic support coordinator, or instructor. The faculty and staff are not mind readers – often we cannot tell that you are struggling until you do poorly in class, and then it may too be late to catch up! Do yourself a favor and reach out for help early and often – that’s what we’re here for
You should also seek help with other problems outside of academics. Anxiety, depression, family problems, financial stresses – these can all impact your ability to complete your work and live your life to the fullest. Working with a counselor can be a great way to balance your life, establish priorities, and be successful
We understand that there is much more to you than just a student
You are a family member, a professional, a child of God, and much, much more
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