Tag: e-learning instruction

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.

The Role of Instagram for Students in the Online Classroom

instagram and the online classroomWhen people think of Instagram in the classroom they typically think of problems students have goofing off on social media and sharing pictures and video when they should be paying attention to what the teacher is talking about. When it comes to online learning and the digital classroom though, Instagram might be a useful tool instead of a useless distraction.

Instagram and the Online Classroom

For those of you not familiar with Instagram as a service, it’s a social media platform that specializes in sharing pictures and video both among Instagram users and within other social media platforms. For those whose entire classroom experience takes place over the Internet, the ability to quickly share images and video with classmates can be a necessity. Instructors may also find the video-sharing capabilities of Instagram to be beneficial for making announcements and for getting lectures into a student’s news feed.

The real power of Instagram isn’t the speed with which this media can be shared though; it’s that Instagram posts across different platforms. This means that someone can post an image or video once, and it will shoot across several different social media websites. This can be extremely useful for teachers, or for group projects when someone wants to make sure everyone sees an update, but that person doesn’t want to post and re-post the same content a dozen times.

Any technology that allows for faster, more streamlined communication across great distances is going to find a use in the online classroom. The key to Instagram is to use it to enhance the learning experience. For more information about social media and its place in the online classroom simply 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.

Tips For How to Stay Organized in the Online Classroom

Keeping everything organized in college is hard to do, but for students who are taking online courses and thus never set foot in an actual classroom organization can be both a requirement and a nightmare. To stay on top of online coursework though it’s important for students to take these tips to heart.

How to Stay Organized in the Online Classroomhow to stay organized in the online classroom

Tip#1: Make Your Calendar Functions Your Friend

In the old days you could pin a calendar to the wall over your desk and mark out all of your goals and needs on it. An overview of the month let you see when tests were, when assignments were due, etc. While that still works it’s also possible to use a smartphone to set reminders so that tests and due dates don’t sneak up on you. Sit down with your syllabus and plot out the semester to make sure you know what it is due when.

Tip #2: Ignorance of The Course is No Excuse

When you first sign up for a course, whether it’s online or in-person, the teacher is going to give you a syllabus. Don’t just toss it in a drawer sight-unseen; read it. If you know what’s on the syllabus then you’re never going to be surprised when a test or quiz shows up. You’ll understand how you’re going to be graded, and you’ll know about big projects you need to complete from day one. While you might not know all of the material required for the course, you do know the date you’re expected to learn it by.

Tip #3: Make A Friend

While never actually spending time in a physical classroom is one of the big benefits of online courses, it can also be a problem if you attempt to tackle everything by yourself. If you make friends with someone taking the same course that you are it becomes easier to stay on track and keep to deadlines. It’s like having a workout buddy; even when you don’t want to crack the books or you forgot what day it is your friend will be there to help keep both of you on the road to success.

Tip #4: Make it a Priority

Life is complicated, and things happen. If you want to succeed with your online course though you need to make your education a priority and put your nose to the grind stone. There’s no two ways about it; dedication and attention to detail pays off.

For more information on how you can succeed in your online courses simply contact us today!

Appropriate Email Etiquette in the Online Classroom

An online classroom provides a unique way to interact with your instructor and peers. You may feel comfortable enough with them to joke around, and you may even think you can address your professor more as a peer than an authority figure. However, the written word is often misunderstood, and you still are the student, not another professor.  You can run the risk of misrepresenting yourself through email and on discussion boards if you aren’t careful. Here are some tips for email etiquette in the online classroom:

Email Etiquette in the Online Classroom

  1. Always address your professor with respect: Consider your professor to be your boss, and address her with the same level of respect. NEVER address your professor by her first name unless you have received explicit permission to do so (heads up, you won’t). Use appropriate language, i.e. no slang or swear words. Your written word is the only way your instructor knows you. Make a good impression.
  2. Don’t sound angry: When you’re upset about a grade or comment your professor made, it’s natural to feel angry and defensive. Use email to your advantage though. Your professor can’t see your emotions here, so this is a chance to demonstrate your maturity and respect even in the midst of your internal anger. Instead of making accusations, ask for clarification as to why you earned the grade or comment in question. Approaching a conflict respectfully and with a congenial tone will go a long way. Remember, your words are the only way your professor knows you. Just like number 1, make a good impression through email.
  3. Never EVER make a threat: Sometimes we forget that emails are permanent. If you have a true problem with a professor, seek help from another source like your academic advisor. Your professor will take your words seriously, which can result in serious consequences for you. Don’t even joke about a threat. Just. Dont.
  4. Avoid jokes among peers: Online discussion boards are the online equivalent to a classroom discussion. The main difference is inside a classroom, everyone is participating at the same time and can understand your attitude and tone when you make a particular statement. Your peers can feed off of your instructor to determine whether or not you are being appropriate. Abide by the blanket rule to not tell jokes and you’ll be fine.
  5. Respect your professor’s time: Just because you’re up and writing a paper at 11:00 on a Tuesday night does not mean your professor is also awake and ready to answer her emails. Sending her a second message at 2 am will not make her answer your question any sooner. In fact, you may get the opposite result. Abide by the virtual office hours she has set up, and allow an appropriate amount of time to pass before re-sending her your question. A good rule of thumb is up to 24 hours on a weekday and 48 hours on a weekend, unless your professor has stated otherwise. Remember, as an online professor she is serving hundreds of students. In order to keep an appropriate work/life balance, she will have to set boundaries. Observe and respect these boundaries.

Taking online classes can be a rewarding experience, especially for students who can’t otherwise fit college classes into their schedule. Contact us if you have further questions on how to maintain an appropriate email relationship with your peers and professors.

How to Minimize Distractions During Your Study Time When Taking Courses Online

Taking online courses sounds like a great idea at first glance. There’s no need to go to a physical location, you can study and complete your work when it’s convenient for you, and the courses are by and large less expensive than traditional courses are. The problem many students realize is that study time becomes even more important when there’s no class time.

That’s why it’s important to minimize all possible distractions so you can get the most out of your study time.how to minimize distractions during your study time

How to Minimize Distractions During Your Study Time

In order to avoid distractions you need to have answers to all of the basic questions before you sit down to work. Who, What, When, Where, How (we know why you’re studying, so you get that answer for free).

– Who: Are you studying alone, or with someone else? Some students work best in solitude, while others work well with someone to keep them on task.

– What: What are you studying? Pick a given thing to study in a session and study that. Maybe it’s a review of chapters 1-3, or just a discussion of the last lesson, but you need to know what you’re studying in order to stay focused.

– When: Different times of day come with different distractions. Late night studying is ideal for some students because it means there’s quiet and roommates or children are asleep. Early mornings might be better, particularly if there are fewer demands on your attention. Once you’ve selected a time make sure you stick to it as best as possible, and inform people who might need to get hold of you that you’re not to be interrupted during this time if it isn’t an emergency.

– Where: Your location is a prime consideration when it comes to distractions. Studying in a familiar place like your bedroom might sound like a good idea but are you surrounded by too many distractions? Your TV with recorded episodes of your favorite show, friends and family stopping by to chat, and worst of all your bed constantly tempting you with a nap. Often it’s a good idea to pick a location where you have nothing else to focus on, such as the library. If leaving home isn’t an option then picking a spot like the basement or the kitchen where there are fewer distractions is a smart idea.

– How: Different people learn in different ways, and it’s important to know how you learn best before you start studying. If you’re the kind of student who can just crack open a book and read that’s great, but if that approach is going to bore you then you’re going to fade quickly and your attention is going to wander. Do you need a video that shows you examples of what you’re studying to focus? Do you need silence or loud music to concentrate? Do you need to take breaks every 20 minutes or so, or are you the sort of student who if you lose your momentum will never get it back? You need to know what works best for you before you get set up.

Tips For Distraction Minimization

If you have answers to the above questions then you have the broad strokes of what you need to do to avoid distractions while you study. There are some specific things that can help if you find your attention wandering though.

– Turn Off Your Communicators: Studying is hard enough without people trying to get hold of you. As such you should close any chat or social media programs you have going that aren’t necessary, and you should turn off notifications on your phone. Leave text or the ringer on, but ignore the rest until you’re done.

– Shut Your Doors: An open door is an invitation to poke one’s head in and see what’s going on. Whether the doors are real (like your bedroom door) or metaphorical (your computer’s connection to the Internet) keep them closed until you’re done.

– Study in Small Doses: It’s a lot easier to study for half an hour or forty minutes a night for a week than it is to study for two hours a night for two days before a test. Your attention is less likely to wander if you just need to take a bite than if you try to eat the whole horse at once.

If you need more tips for making the most of your study time then contact us today!

Why Medical Terminology Is So Important To Learn

Medical terminology is important if you work in the healthcare field. It is the basis for all that you will do. It is used to describe symptoms, diagnoses, tests that need to be ordered and ran, and special medical equipment. The terminology is spoken and written in charts so you must learn to say, spell, and read medical terms.

Medical terminology is important for many reasons.medical terminology

  • It allows all healthcare workers to communicate in one language.
  • You will use it every day when you work in the healthcare field.
  • If you have to get your medical dictionary out every time you get asked to do something, you will be wasting valuable time. Nurses, doctors, and other health care professionals do not have time to waste, especially in an emergency situation.
  • One small mistake can make a big difference. You could give the wrong medication or just give the right medication the wrong way. It can be the difference between ordering the right test or the wrong one! You need to understand medical terms
  • Common abbreviations are used in patient records. This helps doctors and nurses write quickly and efficiently in the records so that they can be onto the next patient. It also allows you to read and understand the records quickly.

If you want to do a great job in the health care field, you need to learn medical terminology and understand it! You do not want to have to reach for a medical dictionary every time you are told to do something. If you are unsure, it is better to check your dictionary than get something wrong. However, with a basic understanding of medical terminology, you will be able to communicate quickly and efficiently with other healthcare professionals.

Contact us whether you need a full course or a refresher course on medical terminology!

Why e-Learning Is So Important In The Healthcare Field

cloud computing for the healthcare sectorEveryone is really busy these days, especially people who work in the healthcare field. However, as a professional, you may need to take classes for many reasons. You might want to advance in your career or simply keep up with continuing education so your knowledge stays up to date. Finding time to fit it all in can be extremely difficult. Because of this healthcare e-learning is becoming more popular and necessary for the following reasons.

  • Online classes are extremely flexible. Usually, you do not have to show up for classes. Instead, you can log on and take them when you have time. This helps when you have to work late or have been up all night with a sick patient.
  • You won’t have to miss work (or weekend time) to take classes. Often, especially with continuing education classes, you would have to miss a whole day of work or spend your entire weekend at a conference. Instead, with online classes, you can work whenever you have some free time.
  • Online classes can be done wherever you have a computer and access to the internet. Everybody has times when they are waiting around, especially people who are on call. If you are able to bring your computer, you can work on your schoolwork while waiting for the next emergency to come in.
  • Online classes can be cheaper than taking classes at a college or conference. The price is often a little cheaper because they don’t need to find a classroom and a designated teacher.   You also do not need to purchase as many textbooks. Instead, teachers will give you links to the websites that you need. You also will not waste gas money on a long drive.

Healthcare e-learning is becoming really popular. It allows extremely busy individuals to fit classes into their busy schedule, whether they work late every night or not. You won’t have to miss any work or lose some of your family weekend time. One of the best parts of online learning is that you can fit the classes in wherever you have a computer and the internet. You can even do it while you are on call!

Contact us to help with your online learning today!

What’s On The Horizon: 3 Important Trends In E-Learning For 2014

The Internet has ushered in an era of prosperity that is unmatched in modern human history. There has never been a time when the common man has been endowed with so much power to change the world through hard work and imagination.

The Internet has fundamentally changed the way we do things. This is especially true in the field of education. The traditional brick and mortar classrooms are slowing becoming extinct as digital structures take its place.

This transformation is still in its embryonic stage but is rapidly becoming the norm. More and more people are ready for changes in the way they learn and acquire knowledge.

There are lasting trends that are emerging as fundamental truths in the e-learning arena for the foreseeable future.

e-learning

Online Learning Is Becoming More Social

We all learned as grade school students that humans are social creatures that thrive on social interaction.

We want to learn from each other’s experiences and gain perspective through other people’s points of view. This is the essence of learning in its most basic form. The fact that this natural function of human behavior has migrated to the digital world isn’t surprising.

What is surprising is that educators are finally catching on to this fact. E-learning courses that allow students to discover knowledge and insights and share it with their contemporaries have more successful students.

Fostering enhanced collaboration between educator and student is a trend that will continue to evolve.

Learning Isn’t Linear and Never Has Been

Conventional wisdom tells us the A+B=C and is so just because this is the way that it has always been taught. Rote learning techniques for thousands of years has been used as an efficient tool to educate millions of people around the world with great success.

While this is a testament to the enduring spirit of man to streamline the transmission of knowledge, the truth is learning has never been linear. Throughout human history knowledge has been gained and re-discovered in a non-linear fashion. This pattern holds true today in our hyper-connected world.

E-learners today spend time jumping from website to website looking for keywords, scanning articles and not even finishing a paragraph. In fact the average attention span of the average Internet user in 2014 was around 8 seconds!

E-learning courses that are data rich and easy digestible are becoming the norm in today e-learning environments. Incorporating content that is short and interesting is imperative to keeping students actively engaged in the course material.

Visuals Are On The Rise

Infographics, charts, photos and videos are quickly replacing text-based instructions. Visual presentation of information is easy to understand and is more appealing to students. Science lends credence to our predisposition towards visual information. Here are a few interesting facts about visual learning:

  • 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual
  • Visuals are processed 60,000X faster in the brain than text
  • Our eyes can register 36,000 visual messages per hour

Click here for more information on visual learning.

The Internet, learning and how we mesh the two together will continue to shift as student learning styles and preferences change. The one constant is that the people will never stop wanting to learn.

If you have any questions about these trends or need help with incorporating some of these trends into your courses please contact us today. We look forward to hearing from you.