Module 4 – Online Learning Strategies & Skills

Hello All! If you have been keeping up so far we have discussed tips on communication and a couple of strategies to battle our compulsive technological urges but some of the most important things are yet to come.

Prepare, Prepare, Prepare for online reading! This is probably one of the worst things to ever happen to me when I got to college. It’s almost like nothing is on paper anymore. Get a comfortable reading on a device and for that matter get comfortable active reading. I promise this will save your butt in many situations. What I mean by active reading is simple, interact with your text in ways you don’t normally do.

  1. Use the margins or online note taking app to summarize key ideas
  2. Pause to quiz yourself to test your comprehension and reinforce important content
  3. Create and jot down mnemonic devices
  4. Draw symbols to identify important or confusing information
  5. Develop diagrams to support your understanding
  6. Highlight important information (and review it in 1 day, 1 week, 1 month)

If you do these things I promise assignments will become easier and testing will be a breeze especially when it comes to your English courses. I know I make it seem like sometimes technology is our enemy but it really isn’t if we use it in a way to benefit our minds. Technology can actually help to support your active reading and memory strategies. They allow you to learn new things, practice, review, and quiz yourself. Below I will link a source that helped me tremendously in finding a website that was not only right for me in boosting my memory strategies but also in helping me find some sweet college deals. Check it out and I hope you find something that works for you too!

Module 3 – The Digital Age

One of the most common distractions that students of our age face is the over usage and reliance on technology. When the pressures of school work get to us it can be quite easy to turn to digital formats to act as an escape. You can’t do anything about the problem until you admit that there is one! You can quickly do this by monitoring your weekly screen time. This includes facetime calls, app time, and the amount of time you spend watching television or Netflix. Regardless of what it is you are exactly doing, it is taking away from valuable time that could be spent studying or completing your weekly coursework. If this is you don’t worry! There are a few strategies out there that you could try.

Freedom – this will help you manage your temptations by temporary blocking your popular apps and websites.
Turn off notifications – if you are someone that doesn’t normally browse the web but for sure has their phone in hand at all times to answer emails and text messages, this is for you. This allows you to not be distracted during assignments because you won’t be alerted of the incoming ping.

I hope you find some time to try these two very easy and simple solutions to becoming distracted by the lovely digital age. Another great resource comes from The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen. While you watch this Tedtalk practice turning off notifications so you can watch it fully interrupted!

Module 2 – Constant Communication

It is no secret that while you’re in college you will be flooded with emails whether those be from, your advisor, campus news, professors, Carmen, or most importantly when the bar crawls take place. Online communication is very important to maneuvering college in the modern day. If you are someone that doesn’t check your email regularly or if you don’t even have an email account you are in for a tough time. Your email should become your best friend. You should get in the habit of checking it once a day if not more. This will ensure that you are not missing out on any important announcements. Now, when it comes to you being on the other end of an email always always ALWAYS remember to be professional. I have learned this early on and it has been the biggest help to me when dealing with my professors. Think of it this way, if you need an extension on an assignment and you reach out with an email that looks like, “Hey, I don’t have enough time to complete this. Can you change the date for me?”. Do you really think your professor will grant you the extra time? From this point on all, you should follow this format and I swear it will make your life so much easier as it has mine:

Subject line (e.g., Potential Extension) 

Greeting (e.g., Dear Instructor/Professor/Dr./Ms./Mr. _____,) 

A context for your message (e.g., I am a student in your _______ class.) 

Closing and your full name (e.g., Best, Bob Smith)

Aside from emails, some classes will make you stay in constant contact with your peers. This can take the form of weekly discussion posts or group projects both of which can be stressful. While discussion boards can be on the easier side of things, group projects bring out…well, let’s say… the worst in people. One of the best things I have learned is that there are 5 tips to deal with lazy group members. I have provided the link below, take some time and reflect on the ideas shared and how you can put them to use. Also, I wanted to leave you when something that I have learned more about this last week. I have never gotten quite into the fad of using Google Docs however, it has recently come to my attention that this can be a quite valuable tool for collaboration and I look forward to trying it out in the future!


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