During this course I have learned a lot about online tools and resources. There are various websites that help students manage their time, create better study habits and stay organized. I’ve learned that resources like quizlet and study stack can help students when studying by allowing them to create flashcards and use other user’s flashcards as well. Study stack also has interactive games to help students study and I think this is a great feature because it will keep users interested in the subject they are trying to learn. I can use both of these sites in the future to help me prepare for tests and quizzes. I also learned how to use sites like Google Docs and Google Calendar the correct way so that I could maximize their utility. I did know about these sites before this class, but seeing how I can use them to track how I use my time and create tasks to be completed showed me just how useful these sites can be. I will certainly be using these in the future when I go to graduate school.
I have learned several things about myself while taking this course. The first thing that I learned is that I am a procrastinator. After taking the time management quizzes, I realized that I tend to put off important tasks and wait until the last minute to do papers and projects. Luckily, I think I am improving on this ever since I realized how bad my problem was. I try to complete tasks ahead of time now in case I run into any problems. I also learned that I can work with technology a lot better than I thought I could. I would have never used websites to help me stay organized or study in the past because I thought it was better to use more traditional methods. I wouldn’t even use my computer to take notes in class. I now feel a lot more comfortable with using online tools and see how beneficial they really are.
I think my most meaningful experience in this course would be learning how to communicate with my peers better. I am usually fairly shy and reserved, so I try to avoid talking to or messaging my classmates. I think that by creating a blog for my peers to read and having to comment on their discussion posts helped me become more comfortable with this though. I was always afraid that I would be criticized for my thoughts, but I found that the other student’s were actually quite supportive and we were all able to learn a lot from each other. I am hoping that after this class I will be able to continue to reach out to my fellow peers and instructors because I truly believe that it helped me be more successful in the course.
Finally, I will apply what I have learned in this course by continuing to use the resources that were taught to me. I want to be more organized in graduate school and have better study habits so I would like to use a lot of the websites and online tools that we discussed and used in this class. I will take what I learned about audio tools, researching for papers, writing emails the correct way, communicating with my instructor and peers and staying organized with me to graduate school since all of these are valuable things to understand. By continuing to use sites such as Google Calendar and Study Stack, I think I will be able to accomplish more than I thought I could. Hopefully, I will keep these skills for a long time and can teach them to other who are entering or in college.
As a student, one of the hardest things I have had to do is a lengthy research paper. Usually there is a lot more work that goes into these papers than I anticipate at first. The first step in any research paper is choosing a topic. The second step is usually finding reliable sources and in my opinion this is the hardest part of writing a paper. There are many factors that have to be taken into account when doing this. If the source comes from an internet search, it is important to make sure that this source is from a reliable domain (i.e. .edu and .gov), lists an author with contact information and credentials, avoids broad generalizations and bias, and has been written fairly recently. Most professors will prefer that you search for peer reviewed articles and books using your school’s library website. These websites are especially useful when searching for books because you can order them online and have them waiting for you on the library front desk. Often, you can retrieve books from other libraries in the area as well. Using your school’s library website to search for articles is also useful because they usually have subscriptions to journals that allow you to access any full text of any articles from these journals. Other than writing the paper, the other main part of your paper that can be very time consuming is the works cited page. I know that I use to be hesitant to use any citations provided online, but if done correctly it can save a lot of time. For instance, when finding a journal article on my school’s library website there is a button you can click to cite the article you are using. After pushing this button you can choose the style you want it to cite in (i.e. APA, MLA, Chicago, etc.). You can then use this citation in your paper, but always double check this citation to make sure it is correct. Overall, there are many ways to make sure you are finding credible sources and once you find a way that works for you writing research papers will become much easier.
Listening to online lectures can sometimes be boring because of the lack of visual aids. I know that when I listen to online lectures I tend to zone out and not pay attention because I get so bored. Students are unable to see the instructor’s body language and visual cues which can lead to the student not fully understanding the instructor’s message. It is also hard to hear all of the transitional cues needed to know where you are at in the lecture. Despite all of these problems with listening to a lecture online, there are also many advantages to this type of learning. First of all, it allows students to listen to lecture from the comfort of their home. This can help them avoid classroom distractions such as, students leaving and coming to class late and students trying to talk to them during class, for example. Another advantage of online lectures is that you can pause, rewind, fast-forward and play the lecture which can help students if they missed something while writing notes or get distracted at some point. I know I find this very helpful when taking notes. I think that online lectures can be helpful to a lot of students if used properly.
Another good tool for students to use is online videos that discuss academic topics. Some students prefer this method to just listening to a lesson because it provides visual aids that help make the topic more interesting. Videos often only go over the basics of most subjects, but often have graphs, charts and animations to help students remember what they are learning. Videos are my preferred method of online learning because I usually remember certain facts by the animations used to describe them. Each student is different and should try all different types of online learning strategies to see what works best for them.
(Citation: University of New England. “Strategies for listening and note taking.” <http://learninghub.une.edu.au/tlc/aso/aso-online/learning-strategies/listening-notetaking.php>. accessed on 14 July 2014.)
One topic the video discusses is the differences between environmental science and environmentalism. The main difference is that environmental science is actually a field of science that uses chemistry, biology and other core sciences to answer questions, while environmentalism may not. Instead, they may use political science and economics to answer their questions. Both fields have a great passion for the environment though. The video also discusses the differences between renewable resources and non-renewable resources. Renewable resources can be restored over time and include timber, wind and sunlight. Non-renewable sources can not be restored over time and include minerals and oils. Since the population has increased so rapidly, both renewable and non-renewable resources are being used up faster than they had been in the past. These are some of the main topics that the video discusses to explain environmental science.
This video helped me learn some of the basics of environmental science. I was unaware that there was a difference between this and environmentalism. It was interesting for me to learn about how the humanities also play a big role in the environmental field because I always thought that it was only for scientists. The video also did a great job discussing the subject on a level that most people would understand. It gave the information in basic terms and used a lot of visual aids to help make the video more interesting. Finally, I really enjoyed the summary at the end of the video because I thought it did a good job going over the main points quickly to remind me of everything I just learned. I think repetition is one of the best ways to learn something new. Overall, I really like this video and I would recommend it to others.
(Citation: Education Poral. “What is Environmental Science? Definition and Scope of the Field.” Online Video Clip. Youtube. Youtube, 31 Dec. 2013. Web. 16 July 2014. )
Online study tools and readings can be extremely useful to college students if used properly. These tools and readings can be used on computers, tablets and phones allowing students to access them from anywhere, at any time. It is important to use these resources properly in order to get the most out of them. For example, when using a tablet to read a chapter in a textbook, highlight important information and make notes in the margins. This will help with reading comprehension and allow you to come back to these notes for a quick overview of what you read. This same method can be used when listening to a podcast of a lecture, for example. Class discussion boards are useful online tools because they allow students to contact each other outside of the classroom and get feedback from their peers. Sometimes students can learn just as much from their fellow classmates as they can from their instructors in these discussion boards. Finally, there are many websites out there that are designed to aid students with time management and studying. Some websites can help you manage how much time you spend on social media sites to help you avoid wasting more time than you had intended while on your computer. Other sites have planners and to-do lists to help keep you on task during the day. There are also many sites that are used to help students with their studying by providing flashcards, quizzes and games on common college subjects, even allowing students to upload their own information. If used properly, all of these online tools and readings can make studying and managing time easier for college students and I would encourage the use of these resources to anyone.
(Tips retrieved from: Watkins, R. & Corry, M. (2014) e-Learning companion: a student’s guide to online success. (4th ed.). Chapter 1 Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.)
I’ve worked on many group projects while in college and one thing I’ve learned is that being able to communicate with both my instructor and my peers is the key to being successful. This week I learned even more tips that I believe will be helpful to other college students. The first important tip I have for other students is to make relationships with your peers and instructor. Taking the time to get to know them and their schedules can be crucial to making a project work. Each time you reach out to someone over email, for example, it is important to make sure you take to time to read over what you wrote to check for spelling errors or any language that could be considered to be offensive. Sometimes you may want to make a joke or use sarcasm in an email, but I would avoid this since it is very easy for a miscommunication to occur over email. This happens because they can’t see your body language or hear the tone of your voice, so the other person may just think you are being rude. It is also frowned upon to use all capital letters in order to get a point across and express anger in an email. If you do this, an instructor or peer will be less likely to feel the need to help you. In order to ensure your success with a group project, try to avoid miscommunications like these. Finally, the most important concept to always keep in mind when communicating and collaborating with your instructor and peers is to remain professional. A student should use the correct title when addressing an instructor and verify what class they are in so they aren’t left guessing. You should also make sure to ask questions nicely and end the message by saying something like “thank you for your help” so that they know you appreciate them taking the time to answer your questions. This same courtesy should be extended to your peers when communicating with them as well. No matter what type of online communication you use, these tips will always be useful because being professional and sincere will always be of value.
(Tips retrieved from: Watkins, R. & Corry, M. (2014) e-Learning companion: a student’s guide to online success. (4th ed.). Chapter 6 Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.)