• Struggling with Online Classes? Here are 5 Key Ingredients to Success

    by McKinley Falkowski

    A view looking down on a college student’s desk featuring a large desk calendar, computer keyboard, computer mouse, and notepad. The student’s hand appears to be writing notes on the notepad.

    During my freshman year of college there was a constant joke going around about how online classes were so much easier than in-person classes. But during the past two years, I have learned that online classes are not easy at all, and I would argue can be much harder. I found it more difficult to grasp curriculum, and easier to focus on everything besides school and fall behind.

    If you are currently taking an online class, or are planning to take one soon, this blog is for you. Below are the five key ingredients I found to achieve success in online courses. These ingredients are tried and true and will never fail you.

    1. Organize your time – This is perhaps the most essential ingredient to success. You need to set aside time each week to focus on your class rather than simply doing assignments when you remember to do them. Setting aside time during the week is critical to getting your body in a groove and helps keep you on track in terms of due dates, leaving you ample time to study. My rule of thumb is to set aside two hours a week per credit hour for each online course you are taking.
    2. Write down all your assignments and due dates – It is easy for students to fall behind on work when they rely on a syllabus to tell them when an assignment is due. Syllabi are often complex and may not be organized in the most logical or coherent manner; it is easy to forget what assignments are due when even after reading them. That is why another key ingredient is to write down all the assignments and due dates. I use Microsoft Excel to write down all my assignments for all my classes into one sheet with each class designated by a different color listed by due date. This way I can quickly see what important projects are approaching.
    3. Utilize a calendar – When you organize your time, put your designated focus time for each class in your calendar. This way you won’t schedule other events like dinners, dates, or whatever, on time you already designated for your classes. Simply telling yourself that you will do the class material another time is a recipe for disaster! Keep yourself in the routine and use a calendar.
    4. Communicate – This may sound easy, but it is critical to communicate to others in the class, and to those in your life about what you are working on. Communicating with others about class work is an easy way to reinforce course material and keep your mind in the academic mindset. Additionally, communicating with family or friends about the fact that you are taking an online course allows an external check to exist as they might ask how your classes are going and what you are working on.
    5. Attend office hours – There is a reason why your professors or TAs have office hours each week and that is to help you. Take advantage of this opportunity to get one-on-one time with your instructor as they will help you fully grasp the course material. Plus, you will begin to establish a relationship which can help in the future should you need to ask them for letters of recommendation.

    Online classes aren’t easy, and that’s okay. But following these five ingredients are the key to success in online classes.

    Do you have a compelling story or student success tips you’d like to see published on the Pearson Students blog?  If you are a college student and interested in writing for us – click here to pitch your idea and get started! 

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  • Best Places to Get Virtual Badging

    by Rhea Mathur

    A screenshot of eight digital badge examples for topics related to career development and leadership.

    As the recruitment process relies more and more on virtual aspects, it is more important than ever to maintain an accurate and competitive online presence. Virtual badging is a newer way to receive recognition for skills learned on websites like LinkedIn.com and Monster.com. Virtual badging typically doesn’t take very long to obtain – for many LinkedIn Learning certifications, it could take anywhere between 45 minutes and 3 hours, making the commitment totally worth it!

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  • The proper way to email your professor (or anyone on campus)

    by Marissa Atilano

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    As students begin college, a new chapter of adventures, discoveries, and experiences begins. They have the ability to develop relationships with many different people, including both peers and professors. In recent times, digital communication has become more important than ever before. Here are a few items to consider when establishing a professional and respectful line of communication with someone.

    Utilize Accessible Resources

    Anyone who has stepped foot on a college campus (or logged into a virtual class) has likely heard the phrase “check the syllabus”. It is important to refer to your accessible resources before emailing a professor directly. Often, the question can be answered by reading through a rubric, asking a friend, or reaching out to a teaching assistant. If this is the case, take advantage of these alternative methods before directly contacting your professor. Like many of us, professors have busy schedules and an overwhelming amount of emails to read. By using available resources, it saves both you and your professor valuable time.

    Crafting an Email

    If using available resources does not suffice, it may be necessary to contact professors directly. Professors expect professionalism in conversations and proper email etiquette from students. In all emails, it is important to include a proper greeting such as “Good morning”, “Dear Professor/ Dr.”, or even “Hello Professor/Dr.” to create a respectful relationship with the recipient. Be sure to use the proper title and the correct spellings of their name. Next, include your full name and a reference to how they know you. This can be the class session you are in, the organization they sponsor, or the conference where you met.

    To begin the body of the email, clearly state your question or reason for contacting them. After this, explain the action you are looking for as a result of the email. Some examples include: asking for a response to your question, requesting an appointment, or expecting an adjustment on a class assignment. Finally, include an appropriate signature which contains an expression of gratitude, your name, title, and contact information. Always be sure to include a subject and verify the email address before sending.

    Building a Relationship

    Contacting professors can be nerve-wracking to a student. The dynamic and expectations greatly differ from those in high school, so it is important to remain respectful and professional when contacting anyone on campus. Writing an email can be a great way to engage with your professor outside of class. Building a relationship beyond the classroom can lead to great connections and opportunities, like research positions or internships.

    In times where face to face conversation can be limited, digital communication is a great way to continue expanding your network.


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  • Digital note taking with Microsoft OneNote

    by Krystal Nichols

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    If you are a student with access to a computer or tablet, this blog is for you! Going through our academic careers today has so many advantages. With the move towards digital educational materials, we no longer have to lug around multiple heavy textbooks and notebooks. But how can we continue and improve our organization to optimize our study habits and, ultimately, our grades? The past year, I made the switch to digital note taking with the Microsoft application OneNote; students with a school email can download it for free on any device. These tricks have helped keep my notes creative and organized when planning for my classes or studying for that big test!

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