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Tips for Academic Student Success / Managing Your Time
« Last post by jmountney on October 04, 2016, 11:03:57 am »
Managing Your Time
1.   Make on-line courses no less a priority than face to face courses.
2.   Put yourself on a predictable schedule so that you allocate time for the course.  Pace yourself, don’t procrastinate.
3.   Manage the use of your time by blocking time for the semester on your calendar for reading, discussion board posts and projects. Also, block time for your exercise, meditation and eating right.  It will make a big difference!
4.   Make a routine of checking in on your course. You don’t have to post every time you check the course, but make a plan to check it on a regular basis. Even go so far as to make appointments to post or read info on the course.
5.   Don't procrastinate: Work ahead when you can. Look ahead, knowing what is due in six weeks, not just the next day. Once you know when an assignment is due, don't wait until the day before to start working on it.
6.   Speak up: If you struggle or fall behind, don't stay silent. Contact you instructor to let them know you are having difficulties. Your instructor is there to help; they can only do so if they know you have a problem.
Tips for Academic Student Success / A Good Online Study Environment
« Last post by jmountney on October 04, 2016, 10:48:56 am »
A Good Online Study Environment
Two key advantages of online learning are flexibility and convenience. However, a good study environment is necessary for student success.

A Good Study Environment. A critical component of academic success is a good study environment.

•   Get some peace and quiet. You will need a quiet place to work without distractions from things like television, family, or roommates.
•   Avoid games. Consider uninstalling any computer games to avoid temptation. Or keep the games on a different computer in the house.
•   Turn off your cell phone. Let friends and family members know the hours that you will be "at" school.
•   Beware surfing the black hole of the Internet. It is easy to lose track of the time as you wander from site to site.
•   Consider ergonomics. Adjust the height of your chair, keyboard, and screen so that you are comfortable. Forearms and thighs should be level and parallel to the floor. Wrists should not be bent while typing.
•   Set up good lighting and comfortable seating. Lighting in the room should be at least as bright as the computer screen to avoid eye strain.
Tips for Academic Student Success / 10 Study Tips For Online Learners
« Last post by jmountney on August 03, 2016, 08:01:29 am »
10 Study Tips For Online Learners

Taking online courses can be very convenient for many people. However, online learning requires time management skills, self-discipline, willpower, and strong motivation, as it may be challenging for online learners to successfully complete their eLearning courses. Here are 10 key study tips for online learners, in order to help you stay focused and motivated when taking courses online.

1.   Understand online learning practices and expectations.
The first thing you need to realize is that online courses are not an easier way to learn, but rather a more convenient one. To successfully learn online, you need to dedicate a significant amount of your time, consistently attend the program, be concentrated while studying, and fully commit to your learning process, just as you would do for a regular course. You should also have in mind that when you take an online course, you may be expected to:
o   Fully commit yourself and participate in the virtual classroom as required.
o   Be, or be willing to become, tech-savvy.
o   Work with others effectively.
o   Complete your learning tasks and assignments on time.
o   Be self-disciplined.

2.   Make sure that you have reliable internet access.
Technology glitches happen all the time. Imagine you are working in the middle of the night and your computer crashes. To avoid mishaps, ensure that you save your work repeatedly and backup regularly using cloud storage, for example Dropbox or Google Documents, in order to be able to access your previous work from your smart phone or tablet, if needed. Furthermore, ensure that you not only have a backup of your online course material and assignments, but also you have saved your instructor’s contact information in your cell phone or in your email. A reliable internet access will also give you the opportunity to check in, stay current with your eLearning course, and deal with sudden schedule changes.

3.   Have a dedicated study space.
Whether you decide to study in your office or in your living room, ensure that this place is quiet, organized, distraction-free, and available for use at any time. Your study environment should be one of your main concerns when you are an online learner, so make sure that it enables your study routine. Furthermore, ask your friends, relatives, and colleagues to respect your “work mode” and consider turning off your phone and logging off of all social networks when studying; you will want to be neither interrupted nor distracted.

4.   Identify your learning objectives and goals.
To stay on track with your online course, make sure that you always keep in mind what you hope to accomplish by the end of it. The learning objectives and goals of the eLearning course can be an excellent road map during online learning; read carefully your online course requirements, create notes that are closely related to your objectives, and make sure that you review them thoroughly every time you start an assignment, so that you stay focused on your goals. Finally, consider starting with the most difficult tasks, as this will improve both the effectiveness of your study and your performance.

5.   Build a study plan.
An study plan is critical to online learning. Here are some tips to help you build it:
o   Plan ahead.
Never wait until the day before an assignment due date to start working on it. It will stress you and stress will prevent you from effectively completing the online task. Furthermore, knowing when all of your assignments are due until the end of the eLearning course will facilitate your time management; for instance, if you are going on vacation in the middle of the eLearning course, you can study ahead.
o   Have an effective calendar system.
Online learning needs structure; create a study calendar that will help you remember all important dates, like exams, or deadlines for submitting your assignments. You can save your calendar in your computer or in your mobile device, or you can even create a wall planner, which you can mark up and check every time you study.
o   Create to-do lists.
At the start of each week, make a to-do list of the tasks you need to complete by the end of the week. This is an excellent way to prioritize your study plan and stay on track with your studying.
o   Set time limits.
Before you start studying, estimate how much time each task will take to complete, whether it is a specific assignment or simply reading a chapter. Try to stick to your time limits, as this will help you develop your self-discipline. Furthermore, when you realize that despite your best efforts you cannot concentrate, consider stopping for an hour or for the night; it is better to wait until you are able to start afresh than to waste your time trying to focus.
o   Stay on schedule.
Finally, stick to your study plan. Procrastination is the worst enemy of online learners, so make sure that you stay organized and you are not falling behind in your online class. If you are having difficulties submitting your assignments on time, contact your online course instructor and let them know, so that they can help you create a consistent study routine.

6.   Ask for help when you need it.
While it may be constructive to look for answers to your online course-related questions independently, hesitating to contact your online instructor when you are stuck may be problematic. If you don’t ask for help when necessary, you may end up falling behind, which may lower your self-esteem, as you may not be able to keep up with the online course. Build a relationship with your online instructor and avoid misunderstandings by contacting them regularly and informing them who you are, and how you could use their help. By asking your online instructors to clarify problems, you will also help them not only to evaluate learners' level of understanding of the online material, but also to get an idea of the overall effectiveness of the online course. Finally, due to the open nature of online courses, by asking a question, you also help at the same time your virtual classmates, in case they are having similar difficulties. Keep in mind that if you don’t ask for help when you need it, your online instructor may never know that something is wrong.

7.   Review, revise, repeat.
Regular revisions of the things you have already studied will not only improve your memory, but they will also help you better understand what you are learning. Create your own flash cards for your key notes and quiz yourself on the key concepts of the online course. Furthermore, consider having one or more study partners; working in groups will offer you alternative views of difficult concepts, motivation to achieve better results, and help in completing your online assignments more quickly by reviewing what you have learned. Share your study notes and habits with your virtual classmates and support each other throughout the online learning process.

8.   Take study breaks.
Your performance will decrease if you are feeling tired or frustrated while studying. Integrate some personal time into your study routine and you will be able to work more effectively on your online course goals. When taking a break, make sure that you get away from your study space; you need to have a change of scenery. A mild physical activity, such as a walk around the block, will help you maintain balance, renew energy, and go back to studying with a clear mind.

9.   Participate in online discussions.
Online learning doesn’t necessarily mean learning in isolation. Connecting with your virtual classmates on social media or your online course’s forum will enhance tremendously your eLearning experience, especially if you are an introvert and visual barriers hinder you in expressing yourself. Participate actively in online discussions and group activities, suggest study tricks, offer your input on the eLearning course, and engage in new ideas. Just ensure that you are mindful of your online tone; be respectful when you disagree with other members of your online group, and always write in complete and clear sentences to avoid misunderstandings and tone mishaps.

10.   Stay motivated.
Finally, don’t underestimate the effort needed to fully commit to your online course. To make sure that you stay motivated and engaged in your online learning experience, consider following these tips:
o   Feel free to create your study routine at your own comfortable pace.
o   Decorate your study space with inspirational quotes and pictures.
o   Never forget the reason why you took this online course.
o   Accept that you will have productive and less productive days.
o   Have healthy snacks nearby to boost your energy.
o   Reward yourself every time you complete a challenging task.
o   Make sure that you take some time for yourself from time to time.
o   Stay positive and keep your chin up.

Follow these study tips for online learners and you will be able to make your online learning a fun and enjoyable eLearning experience.
Tips for Academic Student Success / 4 Time Management Tips for Online Students
« Last post by jmountney on April 06, 2016, 12:44:47 pm »
4 Time Management Tips for Online Students

Online courses give students the flexibility to take their class anytime, anywhere. The trick, students say, is staying on top of them.
Doing so requires discipline, commitment, and organization—traits any successful student should possess, no matter what path they're taking to complete their degree.

1. Make a plan: Online students need structure, and a study calendar is a great way to create it.  Check your syllabus before your course kicks off, and commit to due dates on your calendar. Then, designate study times for each class, and stick to them.

2. Check in daily: One draw of online classes is that students only need Internet access to connect to their courses. If you have an iPhone or Android device, leverage it to stay organized and check into your course daily.

3. Look ahead: Knowing what is due in six weeks, not just the next day, can help students maximize their time. And once you know when an assignment is due, don't wait until the day before to start working on it.

4. Speak up: If you struggle or fall behind, don't stay silent, reach out to your instructor to let them know what issues you are facing.
Tips for Academic Student Success / Tips for Online Student Success
« Last post by jmountney on April 06, 2016, 12:38:32 pm »
 Tips for Online Student Success

Here are some helpful tips that will assist you when taking an online class.

Time Management

    Determine what time of day is best for you. Do you work better in the morning, or are you more productive when burning the midnight oil? Schedule a regular time that works for you and stick to it.
    Reserve a designated amount of time to work on your course. It is important that you stay committed to this time.
    Check at least 4 times a week. Most online courses are now accessible via smart phones or tablets as well as your computer. Check in often for updates or announcements from your instructor.
    Look ahead in your course. Knowing what is due in five weeks, and not just the following week, can help you maximize your time and preparedness. If the course materials aren’t open that far in advance, check your course syllabus and course schedule to see what is coming up.

Learning Environment

    Choose a workspace that is comfortable where you can be fully focused on your course. Do you work better in your home office, local library, or do you prefer to work in a coffee shop with Internet access?
    Work on your course in an environment that is free of distractions. You’ll find that your learning retention will be vastly better when you are not constantly sidetracked or distracted.
    Avoid disruptions like social networking or TV noise. Minimizing interruptions during your studying time will increase your efficiency and learning.
    Take advantage of any and all virtual meetings. If your instructor sets up a virtual session, take advantage of it - particularly early in the semester. Although it may not be required, it gives you an opportunity to ask questions and learn more about your instructor. Even just “lurking” in a virtual session can provide helpful information.

    Student-Instructor Communications

    Introduce yourself to the instructor. Your instructor may never get to know you unless you take the initiative. Most courses include an area to introduce yourself to the class.
    Don’t hesitate to ask your instructor questions. You may not be able to work with your professor face-to-face, but it’s still vital to build a relationship and ask for help when necessary.
    Don’t expect the instructor to be available at all hours of the day. Sending an e-mail about an exam minutes before it is due is not a successful strategy. Don’t put off work until the very end.
    Get to know the other students. Many online course have a “hang-out” for students. This can be a good place to interact with other students on any topic of interest. If your course requires group work, reach out immediately to the other members of your group. This can help establish trust and credibility in the group.

Student-Student Communications

    Take advantage of online chat rooms and message boards. The utilities are great resources for making connections and getting instant feedback from your peers.
    Participate. Sometimes it's difficult to jump in and participate in online class discussions. But, don't hesitate - you'll end up with a better grasp of the material.

Littlefield, Jamie
Merchandise Math (FMMA 201) / Welcome to The Help Forum
« Last post by aburnstine on March 27, 2016, 12:18:37 pm »
Welcome Fashionistas!

Do you sometimes go "crazy" when you see math formulas that you don't understand, or answer questions and assignments that make  no sense?

Help is here! We can now assist you with formulas, and help you navigate through the "rough" math waters out there. Let us know what questions you might have, and we will get back to you as quick as possible.

Please only include posts on Retail Math issues, and include all posts in English.


Andrew Burnstine and the Retail Math Team
Tips for Academic Student Success / 10 Helpful Study Tips for Online Students
« Last post by jmountney on January 06, 2016, 04:32:02 pm »
 10 Helpful Study Tips for Online Students

Working toward a degree of higher education isn’t always easy. Chances are you have a job and household responsibilities. Online degrees, are the answer for many busy adults. However, you do face the challenge of organizing your time and studying on your own. Here are some helpful study hints make it easy:

1. Make flash cards
It might seem juvenile, but the act of writing information onto easy-to-carry cards helps cement the information in your brain and is one of the easiest helpful study tips there is. It also gives you a handy, portable set of study terms that you can pull out anytime you have a few free minutes to study.

2. Read
Whether they are hard copies or the online version, the information contained within the textbooks for your courses are full of valuable information that help you gain an understanding of the subject.

3. Switch between classes
Spending hours on one class might be counter intuitive. Instead, study material for each of your classes for short blocks of time and alternate between them. This gives your brain a break from one subject, which helps hold your attention.

4. Don’t procrastinate
Instead of waiting until the night before an exam to study, take the time to look over the material for a few minutes each day. This will keep you from pulling an all nighter and keep the information fresh.

5. Get comfortable
Find a place to study where you feel comfortable. You’re much more likely to stick with it this way.

6. Practice
Put together practice tests using your materials. Then, put away your books and notes and see how well you do. This way, you’ll know what you need to spend more time on.

7. Organize
Designate a folder for each class, so your study materials are easy to find.

8. Take breaks
Too much at one time can overload your brain. Take a walk or have a meal midway between your session then finish up with a fresh brain.

9. Manage your time
Work study time into your schedule so it doesn’t fall by the wayside amidst your other obligations.

10. Join a study group
Email classmates and set up a time to get together and share helpful study tips. This lets you quiz each other and is a good way to gain a better understanding of the material.

Merchandise Math (FMMA 201) / Six Month Plan
« Last post by aburnstine on December 10, 2015, 03:07:29 pm »
Tips for Academic Student Success / Five-step Success Strategy for Students
« Last post by jmountney on November 01, 2015, 08:47:16 am »
Five-step Success Strategy for Students
I’ve customized the following strategy based on three credible sources of ‘real’ online students: 1) a student body of online learners at a four-year college (my workplace), 2) a group of successful online students from a study ‘How Students Develop Online Learning Skills’ and, 3) from my experience as an online student.

Step One: Read the syllabus. The syllabus is a critical resource for any course. It is the road map or ‘game plan’ for the entire course—get to know it well. Print a copy on the first day of class, read through it twice. At the same time highlight, then record the due dates for assignments and threaded discussions in your personal calendar. If you need reminders, add those too.  Once the course gets going, review assignment instructions, discussion topics, etc. at the beginning of each week and consult grading guidelines and check dues dates [again]. You’ll be amazed how much easier assignments become once you are [very] familiar with the instructions.

Online Student: “I had work and family responsibilities when I took online courses – life would get crazy! After the first course when I missed the due dates for assignments one too many times, I was determined not to get behind again. The most effective method for me was to enter the due dates in my calendar. I was then able to get a handle on what was due when.”

A note about due dates: if you know it will be impossible to submit an assignment by the due date because of an urgent life situation (illness, work disaster, etc.), contact your instructor as soon as possible, before the assignment is due. You will get far more consideration from the instructor by contacting him or her before rather than after-the-fact.

Step Two: Plan weekly study times. Studying, participating in forums and completing assignments in an online class can be challenging, even more so when juggling multiple responsibilities. Time management is vital for online students. Planning a regular study time, blocking off set times each week is what successful online students do most often. According to the study referenced in this post, 79% of students identified this method of managing their time as critical to their success (Roper, 2007). Plan a schedule and stick to it.

Online Student: “Setting and staying to specific study days was one factor that worked for me. For example, in the evenings throughout the week, I read the lessons. Weekends were generally reserved for working on assignments. Saturdays were also devoted to online postings and building on what I had submitted.

Step Three: Log onto the course home a minimum three times per week. Logging onto the course home page consistently each week is associated with higher grades for students according to several studies on online student behavior. Get into the habit of checking in consistently, even daily, to read discussion posts, check for instructor announcements and/or review course materials.  While you are logged on, get involved and be an active participant in discussions. Though threaded discussions may appear daunting when you first get started, everyone has something of value to contribute. By logging on consistently each week, reading and responding to classmate postings, you will begin to feel part of a community, and enhance your learning experience at the same time.

Online Student: “The experience was greatly enriched by the relationships and interaction with my fellow students. It amazes me how well we got to know each other even though we were often thousands of miles apart and were only virtual classmates. I learned as much from other students as I did from the instructors.”

Step Four: Ask questions. Instructors want to help, they want students to be successful and expect students to ask questions. When I work with course instructors this is one complaint that is expressed most often about online students, ‘why don’t they ask?’ The virtual space in online learning can be a barrier, if you let it get in the way. If you have a question about course content, need clarification on a difficult concept – ask.  And when you do ask a question, make it count. Before you post a question, know what you are asking and why. Be clear and concise in your communication. You’ll be glad you asked!

Step Five: Make connections with fellow students. Connecting with online classmates and building a learning community is easier than you might think given all of the social tools and applications available today. Reach out to one student, send an email to ask a question, or create a Facebook group for your class, even create a small study group. If assigned to a group project, try Google Docs, which is a terrific collaborative tool, and while in Google, try Google+ Hangouts, an application that allows you to video chat and discuss in real time, even share documents and Web pages.

To all online students: I encourage you to apply and try-out at least one of the five suggestions outlined here. Though there is no perfect strategy that guarantees online success, trying at least one strategy is better than no strategy.  The critical factor in online learning success is your role as the learner – the learning experience is what you make of it. Be an active participant, ask questions and enjoy the opportunities that learning provides.
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