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At the moment of reentry into your o inline program you may have?and should have?a passionate commitment to the goal ahead, but you u need to give careful attention to underlying supports that are essential in sustaining your intention ins. You’re beginning a challenging journey alone, in many ways! Give careful attention to shaping it f or personal success. Because it’s easy to overlook the importance of support factors, we are providing an ova review in this chapter of 63 things you need to have in place, and able to count on, as you begin and contain nee course-by-course in classroom-based learning activities.

The Essential Learning Support Sources I was trying to daydream but my mind kept wandering Steven Wright Convenience is considered the greatest advantage of studying inline. The fabled e-learner is a person with a laptop logging into a course discussion board from nap,veer in the world?or sitting quietly at home in front of a computer screen in pajamas, completing assign meets in the evenings or on weekends?and still showing up during the workweek at a regular job.

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But, beyond the flexibility and the ability to study anaphora, at any time in a ‘ virtual classroom,” there are “realities” that must be encountered and a range of demands, unique to the o inline learning environment, to be faced. You can’t afford to overlook them. A major demand in e-learning I accountability. Fascination with the Web’s endless resources, for example, can add complexity to your re search activities and even divert you from the main focus of an assignment. Potential distractions pea r every time you boot your computer, challenging your commitment to coursework tasks.

Sooner or later , you encounter the jolting awareness that learning is a highly structured activity and demands structure De, timely participation. DEVELOPING ONLINE STUDY SKILLS Assessment 3. 1 lists other demands that online learners need to consider full y. Mark the ones that you articulacy need to pay attention to, as you prepare your online learning strata sieges. Assessment 3. 1, Skills for Studying and Learning Online Skill Importance Overcoming aloneness Because the verbal and nonverbal signals that stimulate activity in the traditional classroom are not present, you need to demonstrate confidence and readiness for online activity. Tahiti Eng interaction Go ahead, begin! Remember, in the online learning environment, everyone has a voice. Developing technological Technological know-how is essential; build competence in skill the instructional platform as rapidly as possible; add skills s you go; use available technical support resources; keep a hard copy of important work. Using Web resources Don’t get sidetracked but use the Internet to explore and locate rich information resources related to course topics and assignment. Be an inquiring learner.

Find out how to document material you gather from the Web, properly citing your sources. Practicing persistence Anxiety and frustration most commonly occur in online learning situations when there are “gaps” in Need to Improve Participating honestly and graciously Meeting deadlines Enjoying relaxation 64 communication or when communication is not clear. You wouldn’t guess at what is intended but be direct?and persistent?until you get clear answer every time vagueness exists. It’s important to remember the human aspects of cyberspace.

Your interactions are with other people who value respect and honesty, even as you do. Web etiquette (Often called netiquette) emphasizes these basic conventions: Respect others’ points of view and privacy; avoid derogatory comments; be time-zone and culturally conscious; refrain from “flaming?that is, control your emotions. Be honest and willing to share knowledge and experiences. Self-discipline is the key to meeting deadlines and an replicable habit if online learning is to be satisfying and successful.

Find the Internet Lounge on your university instructional platform and engage in open dialogue with other students. These informal exchanges are vital sources of information and personal encouragement! SUPPORT BY FAMILY AND CLOSE FRIENDS Your decision to begin an online degree program is a solitary one. Like dropping Eng a pebble in a pool of water, however, it’s not the initial splash but the resulting ripples that profoundly oaf etc the people who are most closely connected to you. “So, you’ve decided to do some online learning,” a friend says to you. Sounds like a good idea. Well, maybe so?until the ripple becomes a wave?and this person realizes the at the cherished pattern of sharing golfing or weekend activities with you is changing because you have t o devote blocks of time to your online studies each week. Stress is an insidious enemy, capable of undercutting even the strongest intent notions. Spoken ATA vulnerable moment, even casual comments from close friends?such as r studies are sure interrupting the things we used to do together”?can create enough stress to make you fee el unable to deal with the situation.

Just a few words, surprisingly, can cause you to shut down. Consequently, the key to initiating and maintaining support from family and CLC SSE friends for your back-to-university decision is communication. Stress, unhappiness, and unpin addictiveness can be avoided through frank and open discussion of the ways that your life will change while you are engaged in online learning. Consider the case study of Joey’s dilemma. 65 Case Study: Joey’s Dilemma was always committed to “family first! ” And, subconsciously, I didn’t want to et go of this important personal value.

But, when I looked at how things were happening after I’d bee enrolled in my online degree program for a few months, I was pretty stressed?and my family was questioning my priorities. To be blunt about it, we were ripping into each other because my personal life e patterns had changed. Couldn’t afford to give up every Saturday for family activities and have enough h time to stay on top of my online coursework. Before I started the program, had talked with my fame ill about my educational goals, but at the time we didn’t really discuss the conflicts that are now happen Eng.

So, I arranged some further family conversations, not to rehash my goals but to identify the improvises that we all would need to make until my online program ended. We each listed the things that we absolutely needed to continue to do together as a family, and I com edited myself to “being there” and not letting anything interfere. This was not easy! It was a difficult p irritating process that required or three family conversations. As part of these talks, we listed my online priorities, and my family promised not to hassle me about them.

Open, frank communication reduced a lot of conflicts in our family, and no 10 anger felt that was pursuing an educational goal at the expense of my family. BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS AT WORK This same Structure Of open communication and compromise can be useful I n developing awareness of your educational goal in your work relationships and in identifying support. O often, you can arrange adjustments in such areas as scheduling and team responsibility assignments if you engage your colleagues and supervisors in open communication about particular workload timeliness t youth are facing in university courses.

The common understanding resulting from such converse actions creates a basis for maintaining work productivity and replacing frustration with support. It is imp rattan to identify common underlying values in the process, as Figure 3. 1 illustrates. Figure 3. 1 Underlying Values 66 IDENTIFYING TECHNOLOGY RESOURCES To participate successfully in university-level online courses, having high-level technological knowledge is not necessary. But you have to be responsible for knowing the requirements f or computer hardware, software, and Web access in your e-learning program.

Each university online program will have clearly defined technology requirements: be sure to know what they are. Here’s a baa sic checklist of questions you are likely to be asked: Computer Hardware What kind of computer do you have? What operating system does your computer have? What is the speed of your computer’s processor? What is the capacity of your computer’s hard drive? How much storage capacity does your computer have? Do you have a printer?

Computer Software What word processing software do you have on your computer? Do you have Powering software? Do you have Excel software? DO you have Acrobat? Internet Access and Functions Who is your Internet service provider? Do you have a high-speed or a dial-up connection? What Web browser do you use? What email client software do you use? Does your email service allow attachments? THE INSTRUCTIONAL PLATFORM The university will provide information about and access to a particular instruct sectional platform.

It will provide course materials, explain how to use course management tools, and guide you in step-by-step communication with the instructor and students. The supportive features of t he instructional platform create a learner-friendly environment, minimize navigation challenges, and en courage collaboration. Learning activities may be designed with a synchronous structure (requiring a II participants to be engaged in a learning activity at the same time) or an asynchronous structure (allowing a learning activity to be completed at a time convenient to each participant).

EVALUATING FINANCIAL RESOURCES Asking if a university degree provides a good return on investment is a reasonable question. Normally, an important part of the answer is provided by looking at financial-earning potential. Ample evidence shows that people with university degrees typically earn more money than those without a degree. According to a 2007 College Board Report, the typical full-time, year-round rocker in the United States in 2005 with a university degree earned 62 percent more than a full-time, year- round worker with only a high school diploma.

Over a lifetime, there is a 61 percent difference in the accumulated earnings of these two groups. There are non-monetary rewards to college, individuals who attended university tend to be more open-minded, rational, consistent, and less authoritarian A Carnegie Foundation study cited several monetary benefits associated with a university degree (Porter 2002). It showed that individuals who attended university, com pared to those who did not, ended to be more open minded, cultured, rational, and consistent and less a authoritarian.

The Institute for Higher Education Policy (1998) has also documented that university graduates are more personally/ professionally mobile, make better consumer decisions, and contribute a high ere quality of life to their offspring. These and other benefits indicate that completing a university degree will give you a significant return on investment, not only financially but holistically. As you think about if nuances, its helpful to list the particular long-term benefits that you hope to gain from your degree.

Keep the SE in mind always as you proceed; they will become important motivational resources as you develop y our financial strategies. In developing your financial plan, consider these areas fully: Program: Do I Know the Exact Requirements of My university Degree? How many courses do I need? How long will it take me to complete all courses? Cost: Have I Fully Calculated the Cost? Tuition Books “Median lifetime earnings for individuals with a university degree are 61% higher than median lifetime earnings for high school graduates. Sandra Bam and Jennifer Ma 68 Fees Equipment Other related expenses Payment Plan: What Are My Specific Sources for Payment? Employer reimbursement Scholarships Federal financial aid Other sources Personal funds Repayment: Have I Carefully Considered Plans for Repaying Borrowed Funds? What will be my monthly loan repayment amount? How long will it take to fully repay my borrowed funds? What increased income can I expect when my degree is completed? SUMMARY: ESSENTIAL LEARNING SUPPORT SERVICES Personal success does not depend entirely on your motivation.

You can nah once personal success by giving careful attention to sources of support that are part of your immediate environ meet. It can come from family, friends, and colleagues at work, if you seek it and are open in identify Eng areas where you need help. In addition, make sure that your have appropriate technological equipment b cause technology is an essential source for support of your educational goals. Often, if you are willing g to consider some restructuring in the critical area of finance, you may identify resources that all aviate financial stress.

It is wise to analyze potential support resources thoroughly; there are many ways to secure help in the field of education. Course Design Resources Learning happens mostly by design, but there are many circumstances in our lives in which we learn unexpectedly and sometimes unintentionally. These experiences, often described as “serendipitous,” have important and lasting value. In fact, you should expect serendipitous encounters as you read and interact with others in your university studies. But in formal education, you will also engage in learning experiences that have a systematic design.

In other words, the educators who develop your university courses have not Learning outcomes are well thought out in advance to provide students with measurable goals and expectations 69 only carefully identified specific learning objectives for each course but also AR ranged relevant learning resources and activities to guide you in exploring, understanding, and achieve Eng the designated objectives UNDERSTANDING COURSE DESIGN In our daily work, we are familiar with orientation sessions?occasions when we learn what a new challenge involves and how to go about meeting it successfully.

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