Releasing your inner reading potential and Quick Tip #2 (Effective Studying)

If you’re a student and you’ve at least made it through your high school education, you probably think you know how to read and study by now. But are you doing it in the most time-effective and purposeful manner?

One issue many people have is lack of preparation for a reading. To retain the most knowledge while reading, you need to put yourself in the right mindset before beginning. First, remove all distractions from your environment. Next, realize how the reading your doing actually fits into the material your currently learning; this will help to create connections to past materials while you read, which in result will boost your retention rate. Finally, identify the type of reading you’re doing and realize it’s strengths and weaknesses. For instance, traditional reading (as opposed to online) poses the benefit of almost always being reliable by virtue of being published, but limits how you can learn the material to a very linear path. On the other hand, online reading allows you to learn on your own non-sequential path in order to make immediate connections between the reading and other sources that can further supplement the material.

During and after the reading, focus on identifying and jotting down main ideas, and your comments/reactions to these ideas. This will help you later to recall main ideas and chapters without having to dive into the reading entirely again.

Quick Tip (#2) Effective Studying

Being an active learner meanings getting creative with how you process and organize ideas. One way to be an active learner is to create your own study tools: the act of making something helps you to learn it more effectively by allowing you to demonstrate your own relations among learned concepts. Here are some cool tools you can utilize in aiding your studies:

1) Infographics

2) Timelines

3) Mind Maps

4) Presentations

5) Animations



Netiquette and Quick Tip #1 (Online Group Projects)

Netiquette – or etiquette on the web – is a set of standards that regulate how we communicate with one another online. Unlike real life in which there are general societal constructs in place to keep us civil, the rapid expansion of the Internet and its users has created a place in which expression is unlimited and generally un-hindered. This is why netiquette is so important: we must re-teach individuals how to treat us – and therefore how we would like to be treated.

From my studies in communication technology, I can tell you that almost every non-visual cue that occurs in live conversation also manifests itself in digital text. With that being said, not everyone overanalyzes every word you write, however there are a number of solid guidelines to follow. For example, using emoticons to express tone (good) as opposed to using “all caps” to express loud anger or excitement (bad). Although it would seem that the goal is to represent yourself online – because of the ambiguity of text – your digital self must remain more guarded then your real self. Using sarcasm, slang or idioms may be your style – but it can sometimes be confusing and send the wrong signals if not used carefully.

To practice good netiquette, you must know the general rules of the forum from within you’re communicating. Emails to professionals should be written like you would a finely worded letter, while ongoing discussions are generally your own personal thoughts – so more personal flavor is acceptable. Your comments on blogs and other news sites should reflect the overall tone and formality of the site based on that of your commenting peers and the actual creator of the work.

Quick Tip (#1) Online Group Projects

When working with a group on a project that’s mostly digitally based (generally because of physical constraints on your ability to meet), here are some helpful tips:

  1. Immediately clarify project requirements, group roles and preferred communication methods
  2. Although it can seem tedious and a waste of time, sometimes establishing at least a little interpersonal context can go a long way in helping your group “mojo”.
  3. Use the tools and resources available to you. Texting, chat rooms, wikis, Google docs – it’s the 21st century! Properly using the resources at your disposal saves time and unneeded headaches.