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Instructor Blog: Tips on Preparing for Midterms

Part of being successful academically and professionally is tackling major assignments and projects early.  While midterms can seem daunting, a thorough approach can help you feel more confident in the expectations for the assessment. The first step to preparing for midterms is to figure out what information is available about the midterm for your particular course. Some midterms are available at least a week early, and there should be at least a basic description of the midterm in your tracking calendar. If you would like to know more about your midterm, ask your instructor. He or she may be able to provide you with the material early. However, if you are not able to obtain further information, I recommend viewing the midterm on Sunday so you can see if it is a timed assessment or essay. This allows you to look over the material and email your instructors any questions you might have.success

It’s also useful to think about the purpose of a major assessment overall. A major assessment is designed to test your knowledge of the course material, and possibly to apply the knowledge to a work-related scenario. With this in mind, consider your progress in the course. Do you thoroughly understand the lecture and textbook reading? How are you performing on the weekly activities? Has your instructor indicated an area you might need to improve or an idea you might not understand correctly? A great way to make sure you really understand a concept is to explain it to a friend, and think about how you will use the knowledge in the workplace. Take the initiative to read the supplemental reading provided by your instructor (located in the tracking calendar) as well as your own research. Read More…

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Four Practices for Prioritizing Your To-Do-List

When you’re enrolled in online school or working at your job (or maybe both), one of the key tenets to good time management is being organized. Typically this means creating a to-do list. But, if you’re like most people your ongoing to-do list can get to be multiple pages (or screens) long. Sometimes it can be long enough that you simply throw in the towel and decide to catch up on you DVR full of The Bachelorette instead.Work Life Balance

But a tiny twist to your approach could help. Making your list is step one, but learning how to prioritize that list is just as important. Try out some of the ideas below and you’ll be surprised how much you get done in one day. Read More…

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Instructor Blog: Tips for Succeeding in English Courses

Some students may feel as if they need to just simply survive English courses. As an instructor who teaches four different English courses at Bryant & Stratton, I wanted to share some tips for not just passing, but thriving in courses essential to your life-long learning and professional development.   Most assignments in your English courses are focused on research and writing. This means that, to succeed, you will need to communicate an idea clearly and support it with research.  Thinking about how you can improve in those areas will help you in each English course.

One common error I see is students not proofreading carefully.  Almost all assignments in your English courses include a category in the rubric for grammar, including discussion. Taking the time to not only run spell-check (even in discussion) but proofread can be the difference between an “A” and a “B.” Creating even short assignments such as the initial posts for discussion and reflections in Word can ensure that you meet the word count requirement and have the opportunity to proofread carefully. Read More…

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Instructor Blog: Citing for Success

Plagiarism can seem like a scary word, and it can be difficult to understand everything that is considered plagiarism. Most students would never intentionally steal work from another student or the internet. However, plagiarism also includes:

  • submitting the same document for more than one assignment
  • using a quote or idea from an outside source, such as a website, with no in-text citation and/or reference page listing

While citation can seem involved and complicated, it’s important to remember the purpose of citation. Citing a source shows the reader what information is from an outside source.  When presenting an argument or proposal, you want to show the source that supports your argument. Introducing a source helps orient the reader. For example, let’s say you are creating a proposal to implement a specific kind of software. Your in-text citation might look like this:

 

According to the Journal of Medical Software, “Software X decreases errors and increases efficiency by 73% through streamlining all patient information” (Hernandez, 2013, p.4).

 

The reader gains helpful information from this introduction. The name of the publication is listed, which saves the reader from having to scroll to the reference page. Also, the year is part of the in-text citation, which shows the currency of the information. For direct quotes, the page or paragraph number is required.

 

With the above source, let’s look at examples of plagiarism: Read More…

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Instructor Blog: Keys for Studying at Home

I’ve been teaching online since before my three-year-old was born. So when students share how difficult it is to complete assignments with young children at home, I understand! While everyone enjoys working from home, there are some disadvantages. I wanted to share some strategies for studying amidst the distractions at home.

One disadvantage to attending class online is that there is no set time to spend time on schoolwork. There is always something that seems more pressing like housework, or more enticing like the internet. I encourage all students to log in on Sundays to look at the discussion topic and the assignments for the week. Writing down all of the tasks for the week (four days in discussion, reading, activities) can ensure you allow time for everything. If it helps, you can write specific assignments into your calendar. For example, “Monday, 10 p.m., write initial post for discussion and read textbook reading.” Writing deadlines on the family calendar will help your family remember your commitment. Setting boundaries that you can live with- such as staying off social media during your study time, or waiting to answer a text- can provide some accountability.

The most challenging distraction is, of course, children. While children naturally want your attention, there is a benefit to them seeing you study. Treat studying with the seriousness of going to a job, and you model healthy habits to even young children.  Explain why you are studying and what the benefits will be for completing your degree. For older children, connect your homework to the importance of theirs. Your study time can be time for them to play on their own, or, depending on their age, “lesson time” for them to color while you study and complete assignments.

There may also be times when it is necessary to arrange for childcare. I tell my daughter she will have more fun playing with friends than playing by herself while I am working. Paying for childcare (or swapping with friends, if possible) also helps me be the most productive.  It can be hard to invest in childcare, but, remember, your degree is the ticket to a new career. Devoting time to understanding the course content and producing your best work is an investment in your future. I’m also able to enjoy my time with daughter knowing the work I completed.

In the short term, it can be hard to plug in the headphones, turn off social media and open a textbook.   But the rest of the world will be waiting, and you will be proud of yourself for each well-completed assignment!

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Three Reasons To Be Excited to Go Back to School as an Adult

Back to school used to mean new notebooks, a new set of crayons and maybe a new back pack. But for the 37 million Americans with some credit but no degree, going back to school can mean anxiety, fear and worry. Adults are filling out applications for college at a growing rate for a lot of reasons and many of them are finding there’s no reason to fear hitting the books. Plus, there are a number of payoffs to finally earning that degree.

That’s not to say college is all happy times and stress-free living. Anyone who is going back to school needs to seriously consider the financial and time investment school takes. Thinking about the decision to go back to school and how it will affect your (and your family’s) life is important. Yet, there are a lot of benefits to going back to schools as an adult. Read More…

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First Day: 5 Tips to Make the Most of Day 1

Even though you’re not showing up in person, how you approach your first day of online learning will set the tone for the semester and your class experience. Here’s what you need to know to put your best virtual foot forward from day one.

Complete Your Orientation

Here’s your starting point. Your online orientation will cover all of the basic information you need to be ready for your first day. It will introduce Blackboard, the system your online learning will be based on. You’ll learn about the online bookstore, the library, how to find scholarly documents and more on setting yourself up for success. This should take roughly an hour to an hour and a half. Once you’ve completed orientation, you’ll be ready to log in. Read More…

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Tips on Transferring Colleges without Losing Credits

Transferring colleges requires meticulous attention on the part of the student to ensure every possible credit will transfer. In addition to reducing the amount of time you spend making up coursework, transferring your maximum credit potential can save you thousands of dollars in tuition expenses. There are specific steps you can take to ensure your new college accepts most, if not all, credits from previous educational institutions. When in doubt, contact the admissions office of your new campus to get personal assistance reviewing former transcripts, course requirements, and syllabi from your previous school(s).

Here are five tips for transferring colleges without losing credits: Read More…

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Back to College, But Do You Need Back to School Supplies?

Store aisles are overflowing with school supplies and back to school sales. You may be checking off long lists of must-haves for your children in elementary and high school classes. Even preschools are sending home hefty requirements of paint brushes, playdough Ziplock baggies.

But when you head back to class, online, do you need to have a stack of freshly pressed notebooks and red pens at your side?

No. Your only must have is your computer and an internet connection.

Brook Urban, Bryant & Stratton Academic Advisor, said students do 100 percent of their work online.

“Their papers are submitted online, the quizzes are completed online, even the portfolio they create will be completed online,” she said.

Which means your number one school supply is your computer and an internet connection.

Students in the public speaking class will need to make sure their computer contains a camera since they will need to record themselves giving a speech.

All students are given a list of hardware and software requirements when they submit their application, but in case you missed it, here it is again: Read More…

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Study Tips from Academic Advising

Study Tips from Academic Advising

Good study skills can help with even the most difficult classes. See what tips and techniques our advising staff has to offer and try to utilize them this fall!

Go into your Introductory Folders for each of your classes and thoroughly read, print and post all of the course document information. The Supplemental Syllabus, Course Policy, Tracking Calendar and Rubrics include a plethora of information that students must be aware of and understand to be successful in their courses. If there is something that you don’t understand, ask!”     -Lynn Bala, FYE & Orientation Instructor

Make a weekly plan for yourself as to when you can work on assignments. Also, post your discussions as early as possible so you have more time to concentrate on discussion responses and other assignments.”

Read More…

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