Module 6 – Searching and Researching

I guarantee that at one point in your academic and professional lives you will have to research something. Research can be a daunting task but thankfully there are a number of ways to narrow down your search as well as things to look for to make sure your source is credible!

I always recommend In fact, any search engine you use, scholarly or otherwise, utilize the advanced search settings! With Google Advanced Search you can search for general keywords, exact phrases, put limits on language and region and so much more. My favorite part about Google’s Advanced Search settings is the fact that you can limit the websites. You can look for .edu, .gov, .net or whatever you need! If I’m looking for something from a certain university (say OSU), I like to limit it to

Once you’ve found your article or website or book, always make sure it’s credible! There are three things to look for when checking credibility: reliable information, quality information, and utility of the article. To make sure your article is reliable always check for question contact info, author credentials, the reputation of the organization, and to see if it’s peer reviewed. To make sure your article has quality information check to see if it is up to date, consistent, well written, biased, and most importantly, make sure it has citations. Finally, to make sure your article has utility, verify the target audience matches your goals, and that it’s related to your topic!

Module 5 – Online Learning and Listening

In online classes there are obviously going to be a lot of information that you’ll only have access to online. There are definitely some pros and cons to this. Some of the pros include being able to review information and lectures multiple times as well as being able to have all your information in one place. There are cons though, including not having written information to review in some cases.

If you’re watching video or podcast lectures you definitely have to take good notes. You can either take notes on your computer or with a pen or pencil. Personally I like taking written notes but I definitely understand the appeal of having them saved to your computer.

If you are taking notes on the computer one of the best things I’ve learned is to take all your notes for one class in one document. This makes it very easy to study and review later.

Another fantastic tip I’ve learned has been to make your notes brief. If you’re too concerned with getting every little word down you often don’t get the whole picture. Instead make short, important notes. If there’s something you don’t quite understand then make a note to research it or ask the professor later.

Finally, make clear keywords and categories. This will help you find things in your notes when you are reviewing later!

Module 5 – Video Post

I frequently listen to NPR and Star Talk and get extra excited when Neil DeGrasse Tyson comes on so I knew I wanted to share a video with him in it. This was a lecture I found especially interesting on how and why some viruses jump from species to species. Infectious disease expert, Laurie Garrett basically  explains the process of zoonosis. She goes into details explaining why a virus is so virulent when it initially jumps species and why it becomes less dangerous as time goes on. The trio on the show spend a little time explaining HIV as well and why it’s one of the most perfect viruses, so to speak. Finally, Dr. Garrett explains how species jump and that it’s basically a result of risky human activities that cause animal displacement.

The main aspect of this video that helps me learn the topic is that it’s question based. I appreciate lectures that are based off of actual audience questions because I feel as though it supplements the information that would ordinarily be provided. Another important thing about this video and other Star Talk videos is that you get to see the physical cues. At one point in the video Dr. Tyson takes note of something that Dr. Garrett elaborated on. This lets the viewer know that it’s important and something they should take note of as well.


Module 4 – Online Learning Resources

Whether you’re in an online class or not, you need to have access to the internet!

Before you delve into the depths of the internet make sure you know what resources you’ll be using. In addition to knowing what sites can strengthen your academics, also know what sites you tend to waste time on. If you’re on a Mac I suggest downloading the app SelfControl. It allows you to block these distracting websites like Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit for any amount of time. I’m still waiting for the PC version! If anyone knows something similar, let me know!

A lot of online learning resources require significant amounts of reading. When you’re reading online it’s always best to take some time before hand to think about what you want to learn from the reading. You should also be reading actively and taking notes to reference later in the assignment and course. Also, one of the best perks online is that you can bookmark readings or useful sites that help with analyses.

For any student looking for sites to help their studying efforts, my number one recommendation is It’s a website for flashcards and it’s incredibly easy to use and navigate. Not to mention, there are thousands of decks already created for a wide variety of Ohio State courses!

Module 3 – Internet Communication Tips

One of the things any incoming student needs to know about college is that communication is key! If there is any problem, mishap, question, comment, or concern it won’t get answered if you don’t talk to someone about this. Sometimes you can just ask the kid next to you in class or sometimes you can pop in early and ask the professor before class but in distance learning (online) classes you have to take the initiative and type that email.

Generally with online classes when you have a question for the professor, email is the way to go. Always make sure to keep it professional and treat it like a letter to someone you want to impress, not a text to your BFF. As long as you keep in professional, concise, and from your school email, your professor should respond quickly. That’s one of the biggest benefits of email. The hardest things about email have to be the lack of nonverbal cues and that sometimes, you just don’t understand the way they’re explaining it. In that case you can always request an alternate explanation or resource or even to meet up.

Every once in a while you’ll have online projects with your classmates. When you can’t meet up, the most useful thing I’ve discovered is gChat. You can instant message or video message to set standards, goals, roles and deadlines. It’s great to plan everything so no one is confused and everyone is held responsible. I always suggest writing everything down and making sure everyone gets a copy as well.

Finally, just as a reminder, always be positive. You can come off all kinds of different ways over the internet so always stay aware of the persona you’re conveying! Be nice and remember the golden rule!