Category: online learning

Not Just for Students: Clever Ways that Teachers Can Use Instagram in the Online Classroom

In the previous article, we looked at the benefits of Instagram from the standpoint of students. This article looks at how teachers can use Instagram as a powerful teaching tool in the online classroom. The power of Instagram creates meaningful online interactions between students and teachers, keeping both parties engaged and informed.Instagram and the Online Classroom

For instructors, Instagram makes it easier than ever to post reminders and notable factoids discussed during regular class time hours. Teachers can simply upload pictures of relevant material (such as textbook chapters, learning resources, etc.) to share with their students. Teachers can also post motivational memes and other encouraging photos that will help build solid relationships with students by promoting lighthearted exchanges of everyday information. Additionally, instructors may post review reminders to encourage students to stay on-track with their homework and/or with remembering notable items that might be present on a quiz or test.

In return, students can also provide valuable content for their instructors as part of this positive exchange. For example, students might post subject-specific pictures from their own lives that illustrate concepts explored in class. Additionally, students might provide a sort of “photo essay” for instructors, which is a practical, lighthearted way for instructors to gauge student progress on an infrequent basis. A teacher can post a relevant picture, and the class can post their thoughtful reactions to this picture using certain teacher-specific guidelines.

Of course, when it concerns Instagram and the online classroom (or any classroom for that matter), it is crucial for both teachers and students to remain professional in all of their interactions. It is equally important for instructors to check with higher education administration to fully understand any guidelines regarding acceptable social media activity.

Want to learn more about how teachers can use Instagram in the online classroom? Contact us today.

How truly inspired learning brings your medical training to life

Online healthcare courses are the norm for today’s budding medical students. Most students dread the boring, two-dimensional, rote learning of “online courses.” Online healthcare courses don’t have to take the inspiration out of learning. At Avidity, our courses are designed to engage and inspire you! What happened to hands-on anatomy, the engaging questions and answers in pathology or epidemiology? None of these topics are cut and dry – and that is what makes the study and practice of medicine so fascinating.

In a field that is constantly evolving and innovation, the way we learn and transfer that learning into the real world should bejust as exciting. Welcome to Avidity Medical Design, where we bring your online healthcare courses to vivid, vibrant life. Our courses are so uniquely engaging, so completely inspired, they smooth out the inevitable transition from book learning to on-the-spot clinical experience.

How do we do it? Here’s some insight into how to transfer your online training directly to the medical office:

how to transfer your training to the medical officeThe right tools for the job

The world of online healthcare course design is a lot bigger than most people realize. Why shouldn’t we be usingDreamweaver, Captivate, and Sharepoint in addition to introducing the standard medical software? Sheila D. McCray, MS, CCS, CCS-P, principal of Avidity Medical Design, holds certifications in all these applications and more. She brings her vast experience in medical coding and software design to bear in Avidity’s online health courses.

Captivating visuals of anatomy and biological processes brilliantly animated come to life before your eyes. Because Sheila holds a Master’s in Instructional and Performance Technology, the courses she designs for Avidity illuminate medical billing, coding, and statistics like you’ve never seen them before.

An engaged learner is a real-world doer

Because our online courses aim to engage all your senses, and to present information in new, innovative ways, you graduate with an internalized understanding of real-world, clinical applications of all your learning. It is not enough to memorize by rote. Medical offices are anything but predictable, rote, and routine! Avidity’s online healthcare courses transfer your engaged learning directly to your new medical career, doing what you love.

The more engaged you are with the material, the easier it is to transfer your training to the medical office. Contact us to get started with the most exciting online healthcare courses today!

Is Facebook A Good Tool For eLearning?

We’ve all heard the business benefits, but what about the benefits of Facebook in eLearning? There are actually numerous uses for Facebook in the classroom. Many of these uses most people might not think about, while others are little more obvious. However, they all increase the education quality for the students using them.

  • Trends, polls and reviews are great way to incorporate Facebook into the classroom. Using trends and newsfeeds, students can use Facebook to track new information pertaining the role of Facebook in eLearningto subjects covered in class. The polls and reviews can collect opinions in order to maximize class experience for the students. Giving the students the ability to have their input integrated directly into the class structure.
  • A Facebook page is a more obvious use of Facebook in the classroom. Offering an open flow forum for information that is very beneficial, much like classroom discussion. This can allow students to utilize each other for personal benefit as well as the class as a whole. This also gives the professor easy access to understanding where their students are in the learning process.
  • Facebook Groups are an easy way too literally get everyone on the same page. Groups have the option of privacy so that only the people invited can see what happens in the group page. This is a great way for a professor to assign assignments and delegate questions from outside of the classroom.
  • Facebook events allow professors to update the date and time for tests, as well as for make up opportunities. It is also beneficial for classes where students are required to attend outside lectures and activities. Because the events on Facebook have the capacity to sync with smart phones, students no longer have excuses for missing tests or activities.
  • Brainstorming and sharing are two benefits that Facebook has that you don’t see as much in the classroom. Because it is text-based communication, you don’t have to worry about the conflict of people trying to talking simultaneously. This allows for sharing of discussion topics, URLs and information seamlessly among students.

Facebook and other social medias have a wide variety of uses, both inside and outside the classroom. Contact us for more information about how you can integrate eLearning in your classroom.

Tips For How to Get a Healthcare Internship in the Online Classroom

The normal course of events in college is that you go to class, get your degree, and get a job. Some fields are less likely to hire fresh graduates though, which is why it’s often a good idea to complete an internship. Since it’s now possible to take your classes and get your degree online, it’s also possible for you to get an online internship.

How to Get a Healthcare Internship in the Online Classroomhow to get a healthcare internship in the online classroom

Tip #1: Use Your Network

One of the biggest advantages of attending college is the network it provides. You have teachers, classmates, and even support staff at the school to help you find jobs as well as internships. If you’re looking for an online healthcare internship then you should touch base with all of these outlets and ask if they can help you find one. Sometimes your teacher will be able to recommend you to one right off the bat, ending your search almost as soon as it’s begun.

Tip #2: Check Your Email and Newsletters

Businesses offering online internships will often contact colleges who will try to relay the openings to students. That’s why it’s important to check the student announcements and to see if there are newsletters or email lists you can subscribe to through school. Often these will help you find leads.

Tips #3: Spruce Up Your Resume

It’s important to make yourself look good on paper since this will help you land an internship. Contact the student writing center, your professor, or even other classmates to get advice on how you should structure your resume. This is important for getting an online internship, so you need to start strong.

Tip #4: Ask About Online Options (Even if None Are Listed)

It is important to remember that you may find the perfect internship, but it may not necessarily not be an online one. Don’t be afraid to email the program and ask if the internship is an online internship, or to double-check with your academic advisor just to make sure.

Keep in mind that the goal of your internship is to help you gain experience and sharpen your skills in the field that you choose. An internship gives you the opportunity to prove that you are a hard worker and a self-starter, who is willing to learn. For more tips on how to get a good internship, contact us today!

More Tips On How To Research Effectively When Writing Term Papers

You already know you have a paper due at the end of the semester, but that doesn’t mean you need to wait until after spring break to start working on it. Here are some top tips on how to research effectively when writing term papers.

How to Research Effectively When Writing Term Papers

  • Start early: You don’t need to read every single source thoroughly at this point, but you need to get started early enough that you aren’t scrambling at the last minute to find good sources. Starting early also lets you know if your topic is valid–if you can’t find enough research to support your argument, you’ll need to re-think your argument. Further, if you have access to a college or university library, you may need to use ILL (Interlibrary Loan) for a book or article that your library doesn’t have in the system, and those can take weeks to go through.
  • Mix-up your keyword search: Students often get frustrated because their keyword search doesn’t yield good results, but then they don’t experiment with other keyword combinations. Use keyboard shortcuts to yield more results. For instance, in EBSCO Host, Wom*n will give you results for both “women” and “woman,” with the asterisk standing in as sort of wild card. This trick will work with any word that can have multiple endings. Talk to a librarian for more shortcuts like these to help you with your search.
  • Use your library’s database system: Speaking of EBSCO Host, use your library’s database system for finding scholarly articles. Don’t rely on Google for your papers. If you don’t know what constitutes as a scholarly source, ask your instructor. As a general rule of thumb, a scholarly source is any printed source that includes a bibliography as a reference and is written by a reputable scholar in the field. Articles should be peer-reviewed, meaning they’ve gone through a rigid process of fact checking and editing before being published in a scholarly article. Blog posts, websites (including and especially Wikipedia), magazines, tradeback books, and newspapers are all examples of sources that are not academic. Unless your prof states otherwise, use scholarly/academic sources.
  • Don’t limit yourself to “full-text only” articles: And we’re back at the start again with the top tip of starting early. Limiting yourself to only reading articles that are available in a full-text format limits the amount of knowledge and research that you can use. Start now so that you can get articles from other libraries around the country using Interlibrary Loan. If you’re in a bind and the due date is looming, then sure, search for full-text sources. But now while you have time, look at books that are on the shelves as well as articles that you can get from another location. You will end up with a more thoroughly researched essay, and your instructor will recognize that you put forth a good effort in finding useful research to support your essay. (Pro tip: instructors can tell when students are only using the first two sources that popped up on a Google search.)

What are you waiting for? Start searching for sources now so that your term paper will be well-researched and well written. For more information on how to be successful during the research process, contact us today.

How To Research Effectively When Writing Term Papers

Writing term papers isn’t easy no matter what class you’re taking, but it’s something you’re going to have to do sooner or later. And the first step to writing a great term paper is to make sure you do good, effective research. While it might seem easy in the age of the Internet it’s easy to stumble into mistakes when it comes to checking your facts. That’s why it’s important to follow these tips.

How to Research Effectively When Writing Term Papers

Tip #1: Only Use Reliable Sources

How to Research Effectively When Writing Term PapersThere are billions of websites in existence, but not all of them are equal when it comes to doing research. Wikipedia is one of the biggest offenders when it comes to an unreliable source, but opinion blogs and user-created content is typically not what you should be citing in a term paper. Generally speaking you want something published by a newspaper, a scholarly journal, an encyclopedia, or other reference source to provide credible information for your term paper.

Tip #2: Know What You’re Looking For

The key to research is to know what you’re looking for. For example the topic of depression is huge, and it’s difficult to get more than general information on the topic. If someone is attempting to research the correlation between depression and veterans who have served in war zones though that is much more specific. The narrower you can make your search terms the more likely you are to find information that’s specific to your particular paper.

Tip #3: Utilize All Your Resources

When doing research it’s important not to get pigeon-holed. While the Internet has plenty of sources (Google Scholar and InfoMine are just two solid examples of free academic sources), it’s important not to forget that books are still on the shelves and ready to be cracked open. There are still scholarly journals and periodicals being published, and many of them can now be found in ebook format. To top it all off there are human resources such as librarians who can help you direct your queries in order to find the best information as quickly as you can.

For more information on how you can come out on top in your classes simply contact us today!

How to Work With Your Classmates in Discussion Groups For Your Online Classes

Online classes are different from traditional courses in a variety of ways. Their schedules are more flexible, you don’t have to be in a physical classroom, and work is handed in via email instead of passed to the front of the room. Online classes are still How to Work With Your Classmates in Discussion Groupsthe same in many ways though, and one of them is that students should get together to discuss the material they’re all trying to learn. One of the most common ways this happens is to create online discussion groups either in a forum-style setting, chat room, or via a Skype connection so that students who can’t get together physically can still talk.

Before you decide to try to work with your classmates online though, you need to make sure you’re ready to deal with any drama or problems that might ensue.

How to Work With Your Classmates in Discussion Groups

Tip #1: Establish Some Rules (And Enforce Them)

In order to make sure everyone in a group is on the same page it’s important to create a list of rules for everyone to abide by. These rules will help keep discussions on track, and they can help everyone feel secure. For instance a discussion group might install a rule that says “respect other members and their wishes,” or “this is a place for discussion and learning. If you can’t be civil you’ll be asked to leave.” Once the rules are established make sure you have a moderator who can take action to enforce those rules.

Tip #2: Try To Avoid Miscommunication

In any group setting it’s almost a given that someone is going to say something that will be misinterpreted. Rather than jumping all over someone or getting snarky though it’s a much better idea to ask what that person meant. If you can keep a civil discourse then you’ll get much clearer communication, and be able to learn more about both the subject matter and your fellow students at the same time.

Tip #3: Figure Out What You Want

When you join a discussion group for your online classes you need to know what you want out of the deal. Are you looking to socialize with your classmates to help feel more like a traditional class setting? Are you confused about the material and need help learning it? Do you want to help others by offering your own insight? You need to know what you’re expecting before you join so that you can figure out whether or not this group is going to meet your needs. If not then you either need to try to change the group, or find one that’s more suited to what you require.

For more information about online classes and how to succeed in them simply contact us today!

How to Avoid Falling Behind in Your Online Classes.

how to avoid falling behind in online classesOnline classes are great for working adults who want to keep their jobs and earn a degree at the same time. However, the nature of online classes can make it easy to miss a lesson here or there or skip an assignment. Every misstep can add up to an ultimate F in the class. Before you get too far into the semester, make sure to take our advice on how to avoid falling behind in your online classes:

  • Put it on your calendar: Sure, you have a digital syllabus, but you probably aren’t checking it for due dates when you make appointments or schedule work meetings. Once you get a syllabus, make sure to input every single due date into your digital calendar so that you will always be alerted when an upcoming assignment is due. The old “I forgot” excuse is officially obsolete, and your instructors know it. This also helps you avoid over-booking yourself when you need extra time to prepare for an exam or write a paper.
  • Get your household on board: Your family members don’t necessarily need to know when every discussion post is due, but they should have a heads up about major tests and assignments. If you have a family calendar, put those dates up there so that your spouse and/or kids know when you need extra time to study or write a paper. If your spouse operates digitally, make some time now to go through all those dates together so s/he can input them into a calendar. This simple but important step can save a lot of headaches down the road.
  • Ask for help from your instructor: Instructors prefer that you adhere to deadlines and generally enforce strict policies for late work, but at the same time they’re human. If you have a good track record but happen to fall behind for one reason or another, send an email to your instructor. You will probably still have to pay the penalty for late work, but s/he will appreciate the heads up. If something more serious has come up that will affect several assignments, ask your instructor what you can do to get everything turned in and keep your grade up. Instructors are often willing to offer extensions when they are asked directly. They just don’t like to advertise this to the hundreds of students they teach each semester for obvious reasons.

Don’t fall behind this semester! Take these steps to stay on top of your online class and earn the grade you deserve. For more tips on how to stay organized when taking online classes, contact us.

10 New Year’s Resolutions for Success in the Online Classroom

We make resolutions every year to tackle a variety of different issues–weight loss, improved health, better performance at work… Resolutions are made to help improve areas of difficulty or struggle. Online schooling requires a degree of discipline that can be difficult to maintain. So why not try making New Year’s resolutions for online success? Check out these ten resolutions for success in your online classroom:

new years resolutions for online success1. I will live by the syllabus. The syllabus is your most important tool in an online course. Most teachers create a very detailed syllabus that outlines each assignment. The syllabus will help you stay on track and complete assignments on time. The biggest mistake online students make is to simply skim the syllabus and then forget about it.

2. I will embrace my strengths. Let’s face it–highlighting big chunks of text and committing them to memory is not for everyone. Think outside the box when it’s time to study. Are you a visual learner? Does music help you study? Consider your strengths when developing a study plan. You are much more likely to retain information if it is presented in a way that you enjoy. Try this quiz to determine your learning style and learn helpful tips about studying.

3. I will learn how to use online tools. Thoroughly read through the instructor’s list of classroom tools. Become familiar with each tool by going through it extensively and learning exactly how it works. Taking a little extra time to explore these elements can be a lifesaver. You will use many of the same core tools for different courses and you will become proficient in their use over time.

4. I will become a master of time management. Many online students find that time management is one of their biggest challenges. Online courses are a great choice for students with a very busy lifestyle–they may have children and a full-time career, leaving little time for attending a traditional bricks-and-mortar school. The opportunity to attend class from your own home is very convenient, but it also requires strict discipline. Developing a plan to manage your time (and sticking to it) is essential for success in online classes. You have to create schedules to help juggle your daily commitments and prepare for unexpected occurrences that will affect your class time. For example, if your assignments are always due on Sundays, and your children have loads of activities on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, you should plan to have assignments completed no later than Wednesday of each week. Download an app that allows access to your classroom discussions in case of emergencies that keep you away from your computer. Mobile access to your classroom can come in handy.

5. I will participate in discussion. Discussion questions and participation are often a large part of your final grade in an online course. Since you are not attending a class in person, your contributions to discussions are the only way an instructor can gauge your participation. Treat these discussions as important as assignments, and be sure to respond with thought-provoking messages–avoid quick replies such as “I agree” or “I disagree”.

6. I will be ambitious. Online learning is challenging, and requires patience, stamina, and ambition. You must stay motivated in order to be successful. The last thing you want to do after a long day at work is to sit in front of the computer screen again–this is a difficulty that many students face. It is important to think often about the outcome of your online learning. You may be working toward obtaining a degree so you can finally find a job you truly love. Your degree might mean more income to ease financial stress. Think about your long-term goals whenever you feel yourself losing motivation.

7. I will not be afraid to ask for help. Some people don’t like to ask for help. They see it as a sign of weakness, or they are afraid of looking unintelligent. You will have to ask for help when you are attending online school. You will need help both in your courses and at home–everyone does. There will be some assignments that you just don’t understand, and you can ask your instructor or classmates for help. There will be times when you need to ask a family member to step up and help you with something around the house so that you can meet a deadline for class. Asking for help doesn’t make you weak–it makes you smart.

8. I will learn effective online communication. Online communication is quite different from face-to-face communication, and most people don’t realize this until they take an online course. Face-to-face communication involves more than just spoken words. You are able to read body language and facial expressions, which are both quite helpful in understanding someone’s message. Online communication relies mostly on words (although in some cases emoticons are used). This is very important to remember, because people may not be able to pick up on things like sarcasm or playful tones. Your messages must be very clear and concise and always avoid ambiguous wording.

9. I will not overburden myself. Online courses often require even more time than a traditional college course, so it is important to start slowly. Try one or two courses when you begin online schooling, until you become accustomed to it. You may decide that you can handle more, but you’ll probably find that one or two courses at once fits in well with your schedule.

10. I will create a “study” spot for myself. Most people have a specific environment that enables concentration and fosters creativity. Create a specific “study” spot in your home. You may be able to better concentrate in a quiet atmosphere, or you may find too much quiet distracting. Consider your personal preferences, and find a spot that works best for you.

Attending school online is challenging, and it is often difficult to stay motivated and avoid stress. Online learning is also very rewarding, and skills learned online can be immediately applied to the real world. Please contact us for more information regarding online classroom success.