When it comes to online learning, there are a few things I wish everyone knew.  When I refer to “everyone” I am speaking about students, teachers and even myself when I first began taking classes.

1.) NETIQUETTE!  you’ve never heard of it??!  Netiquette is the idea that you should speak in a careful and respectful manner to all of those that you associate with on the net.  If you really think about it, how many times have you thought that someone was yelling at you when they type in ALL CAPS?  Or how many times have you capitalized a statement when texting or using Facebook in order to emphasize your point?  But this is just ONE example (see what I did there?)  Another part of netiquette is carefully choosing your words.  People you are interacting with online cannot hear the tone of your voice when you write something; therefore, the words you choose are incredibly important.  I am only a sophomore at FIT but I have interacted with several PROFESSORS who didn’t abide by the unwritten netiquette rule and it left me feeling as though my professor was unapproachable and if we contacted them in any way– then we were bothering them.  How excited would you be about that class?  Not too excited, huh?

2.)  Dont put off your work until Sunday!  …Or whatever day it is due.  I know life gets in the way and when something isn’t due until Sunday it is really hard to start it on Monday.  However, there WILL be a class in your future where the weekly due date is mid-week and you will find yourself struggling to break those old habits.  I am going through this in my current term.  After two years of Sunday due dates…. I now have TWO classes where my discussion board postings are due on Wednesday!  That means on average I have to read FOUR CHAPTERS in less that 72 hours in order to submit my best work.  My inner laziness is battling me as we speak…. I should be reviewing lectures and here I am…. blogging ;)

3.)  KNOW YOUR STRENGTHS!  If you REALLY suck at math… take math by itself.  Dropping to part-time temporarily is better than failing the class and having to pay for it out-of-pocket… trust me on this one.  If there is absolutely no way that you can drop to part-time you should definitely take advantage of tutoring services if they are offered.  That’s one thing that’s great about my online college, we have online tutoring service available to students– of course I did not take advantage of this when I failed my math class but I really wish that I had.

4.)  DON’T MARK THE INSIDE OF YOUR BOOKS! Seriously.  Don’t highlight…. take notes in a separate notebook.  Write the answers to your practice exams in a separate notebook.  Why?  Because you can sell your used books when you’re done with them!! The best thing for a broke college student was the invention of half.com.  The better condition your book is in, the more money you can get for it.  Another benefit of half.com is that you can buy some of your books there instead of paying full price for the new books at school.  I would recommend talking to your advisor before buying your book through a used-book site though.  Sometimes the textbooks can include discs that are required for the class and can only be used once.  If the person that you bought your used book from has already used the disc, then you will need to buy it separately… which can set you behind if you were unprepared for that.  I love making money off of books that would just be sitting on the bookshelf collecting dust.

5.)  RATE YOUR PROFESSORS!  There are websites like Professor Performance and Rate My Professors where you can grade your instructors.  You might think that these professors don’t check their grades on these websites, but c’mon… wouldn’t you??  I don’t mean rate your professor badly if they gave you a bad grade…. likely your bad grades have something to do with your poor quality of work.  What I mean is let people know what kind of professor they will be getting if they elect to take one of their classes.  For instance, when I had the rude and seemingly unapproachable professor I rated them accordingly.  You could be saving another student from an undesirable classroom experience.  Alternatively, rate your great professors positively!  They deserved to be recognized for their hard work and dedication to you and your education.  Rating an inspiring professor well can encourage other students to take their class.  Do your part, but do it honestly.

….I’ll be adding to this list as time goes on– I’m sure there are points that I would like to make but are slipping my mind at the moment.  Stay tuned, but feel free to post what you wish people knew about attending college in the comments section below!


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