5 Tips for Delivering Assessments During Covid-19

The following is a guest post by Jaclyn Gulinello, an instructional design intern at Touro College. If you would like to submit a guest post, please contact us

While assessments are an essential component of education – they’re not one size fits all! It’s important to deliver online exams that best suit the type of learning that took place for your students. In the online space, you have a wide variety of assessment techniques available. This assortment can enable you as an instructor to deliver the most efficient and effective exams to assess your students’ progress.  Here are 5 tips for delivering assessments in an online environment.

1.Prioritize Informal Assessments

Informal assessments are often used in the traditional classroom by a simple means of asking questions to students. With distance learning, informal assessments can occur just as simply in the form of online discussions boards, quizzes, essays, and asking questions through synchronous Zoom meetings. You can use many online learning tools for informal assessments that engage your students and check for understanding.

2. Use Turnitin for Written Assignments and Essays

Written assignments such as essays and research papers are a great method of determining student comprehension.  Turnitin is a plagiarism detection software system that helps to maintain academic integrity standards, so that you can ensure there is no misuse of information or plagiarism. Simply have your students submit their papers through the system, to take the guess work out of plagiarism!

3. Use Respondus Products for High Stakes Assessments

While it is recommended that high stakes tests are not administered at this time, we do understand that a midterm or a final exam will still need to be delivered. Respondus Lockdown Browser® is a customized browser that increases the security of test delivery while students access an exam. It prevents their ability to print, copy, go out on the web, or access other applications. Respondus Monitor enables use of a webcam and flags suspicious activity while a student is taking an exam.  When using these tools, it is important to administer a practice test using the browser before the actual exam. There are other products on the market that may also assist with test security.

4. Be Mindful of Timed Exams

Often times, faculty may end up providing students with timed exam to deter cheating. However, timed exams can potentially create unnecessary stress for students as their focus may be on speed rather than knowledge. Should you need to deliver a timed exam, it is best to consider providing students with the same time allotment as you would in your traditional classroom space.

5. Check in Frequently With Your Students

With all of us going through a tough time at the moment, it’s important for instructors to remain informed on students current situations as certain situation will directly impact their academic standing.  Student value the opportunity to interact and hear from you. Let your students know that they are not alone by sending an announcement, or email to check-in.

This transition to online learning has forced many of us to think differently about the way we teach. While we are all doing our best to adapt accordingly, it is important to keep in mind that many of us are stressed and/or facing difficult situations. Doing you best to keep students on track, while empathizing with the current state of the things will improve communication and sense of community among you and your students. 

Author’s Bio: Jaclyn Gulinello is currently attending the graduate school of technology at Touro College, and is pursuing a degree in Educational Technology. While Jaclyn is currently on the corporate track, she also has a background in education and obtained a B.A. in Early Childhood Education with a minor in speech communications. Jaclyn would like to apply her knowledge of teaching methods, creativity skills and her interest in emerging technologies to eventually become an instructional designer. She is currently working on various projects as an Instructional Design Intern at Touro College, and will go on to become an ID upon her graduation in June 2020 from the Touro Graduate School of Technology.

5 Essential Steps to Study for an Online Exam

The following is a guest post by Robbie Marquis, a college student. If you would like to submit a guest post, please contact us

College is one of the busiest phases of a student’s life. There are so many things to keep in mind and balance that you tend to lose time for other parts of your life. Of course, right now, your studies are your top priorities, but if you ever find yourself cramming for some last minute studying, remember that it definitely will be a difficult task to undertake, but with enough focus and determination, nothing is impossible. To make it easier for you to retain everything that you study, here are some steps that you can take.

1. Turn Off Social Media

Social media has definitely changed how we see our world nowadays. It has altered the way we stay updated about the ins and outs of the current world and the way we keep in touch with the people around us. Essentially, social media has become a very important tool for us to stay in the loop and create new acquaintances.

But if you have errands to do, books to read and online exams to pass, then you will need to keep yourself from checking your social media feeds in the meantime. Whether it is your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or any other platforms that you use for social connections, if it won’t help you focus on your studies or even pull your attention away from it, it’s better to leave it alone until you are done with your online exams.

Social media has made a reputation on its own for affecting the focus of many students and even affecting their scholastic performances. So if you want to keep your focus on nothing else but your studying, then stay away from any gadgets that may allow you from opening your accounts. Turn off your phone, laptop and other online devices and stick to reading and memorizing your lessons to make sure that you pass your exams.

2. Gather All Your Materials Before you Cram for an Online Exam

There is nothing more frustrating and panic-inducing than knowing that you don’t have all your study materials available. Not to mention that it’s affecting your study session! So it’s ideal to always keep all your books and notes in one place and ready to use at all times. And if you have an exam coming up soon, get all of your materials ready beforehand.

Aside from getting your documents ready, it’s also best to always have your study station ready and available for your sessions. Keep your desk clean and make sure that the only things you have available on your table are your books, notebooks, pens and papers, or if you have notes on your laptop, then you might want to keep that handy, too. Take away anything that might distract you and once you have started studying, you should just focus on getting yourself ready for your upcoming online exams.

Another good thing that you should do is for you to get some important details about your upcoming exams. Once it is announced that you have an online exam coming up, you should write down the exam’s location, date, and time.

It will also be helpful if you can find out what its focus will be as it can help you understand what you have to study and retain. Some professors give out some pointers beforehand, but if it’s something that is not available, you might want to ask your professor to provide these details to you and your classmates as it can help you concentrate your studies only on topics that are covered.

3. Review All Your Notes or Flashcards One More Time

Whenever preparing for an online exam, you should never underestimate the importance of taking down notes or preparing cards to review everything that you have read and studied. By writing things down, you get to retain information better. By reading back the notes you have prepared, you get to refresh the information in your brain and hone your brain’s ability to easily recall information.

This is why it is essential to schedule a study session, either by yourself or with a group. There are, of course, pros and cons to both setups. If you study by yourself, you tend to get bored or get distracted and no one can tell you off or remind you to go back and focus on studying. On the other hand, by studying with a group, you have like-minded people to throw questions and answers to and to review your lessons with, but there is a tendency for the study sessions to veer away from what really needs to get done. But if you are really determined or focused on reviewing and absorbing as much information as you can, there will always be a way. All you need to do is focus, focus, focus.

4. Focus only on the Big Ideas & Key Details

Speaking of focus, did you know that you can teach your brain to be selective in the information that it retains? Instead of trying to cram every single information from a book into your brain, you can instead focus on the valuable information and tune your attention out from the unimportant details. This might sound challenging to some, but there are ways to improve your ability for selective attention.

First of all, you need to identify which of the topics you need to study are the most difficult to retain. Maybe you are doing well with Chemistry, but you need to improve your understanding of some topics in Calculus. By knowing which of the subjects are more challenging for you, you get to improve your focus and prepare your brain as to what needs to be prioritized.

Next, you should establish your goal. The good thing about online exams is that it usually provides the examinees with an introduction about what they will be looking forward to in terms of the exam proper. If you have that information ready, then you can easily shift your focus on what sections or chapters will be included in your online exams. It will also help if you have an idea about the style of the examination. Will it be multiple choice questions, fill in the blanks, essay style, or a mixture of each. By anticipating the challenges that you may encounter in your online exams, you’ll be able to identify what information you need to focus on.

Lastly, you need to keep yourself focused on nothing else but your study session. You might have a few other things on your to-do list, but by understanding the importance of passing your upcoming examination, you can keep yourself from doing other less important matters. By knowing what to focus on and what ideas or topics matter, your brain can then filter out all the unimportant information and just retain all the necessary details.

5. Set Goals & Rewards as you Study for an Online Exam

Studying for an exam involves a lot of focus and hard work. It might sound like it is an easy task to undertake, considering that all you need to do is sit down, read and write down some important stuff. But it takes a lot of energy for your brain to sponge in as much information as necessary in a short span of time. This is why, as much as possible, last minute studying is not always advisable.

Overworking your brain can sometimes affect your mental and physical health. You might have to sacrifice sleep hours, not be able to eat a proper meal, or even have to drink some carbonated, caffeinated or sugary drinks just to keep you going while you burn the midnight oil. By the end of your study sessions and online exams, you might feel so drained out. But you have done your best to ace your exams, so you deserve nothing but some much-needed R and R.

A good practice that usually encourages us to meet a specific goal is by giving ourselves a reward. It could be something like scheduling a relaxing weekend trip to a spa resort with your BFF or significant other if you pass your online exams. Or maybe you’ll throw a house party and invite everyone in your class to join you. Whatever reward works for you, it’s a good thing to give yourself a prize for accomplishing something important.

Whether you are trying to balance your life as a working student, as a parent pursuing a college degree, or as an active member of your college’s org, the fact remains that your study should always be a part of your list of priorities. Studying should always be a constant practice, so that you won’t have to stress yourself and tire your brain out by doing it last minute. A more relaxed and laid-back study session will help improve your focus on everything that you need to retain. This way you are ready, even for surprise quizzes or exams.

Whether you are preparing for a big online test or just for a weekly quiz, it’s still important to be in control of your studies. Remember that it will take a lot of time, energy and effort before you can get that much coveted diploma, so make every moment count. Who knows, if you are hardworking enough, maybe you can get rewarded with some honors on your graduation day!

Author’s Bio: Robbie served as the Vice President of the Student Congress at OU and has dedicated his collegiate time to representing the students. Some of Robbie’s other interests include writing reminders for himself on sticky notes and putting them everywhere, learning how to become a better leader, watching or performing spoken-word poetry, or doing things that inspire him.

Reference herein to any specific commercial products, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise, does not constitute or imply an endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by Touro College.

The Most Effective Studying Tactics for Online Learners

The following is a guest post by Stacey Wonder, freelance blogger and content specialist. If you would like to submit a guest post, please contact us

Your parents and grandparents probably never imagined how the education process would change in 20-30 years. Now, you can choose what, how, and where you want to learn without being bothered by location, time, or sometimes even money.

If you are eager to get knowledge without leaving your room, online education is what you need. It allows students all over the world have access to the classes and professional teachers’ assistance.

However, remote studying has its pitfalls, such as the lack of motivation, concentration, or organizational skills. What can you do to make online learning effective? Keep reading to know about the five tactics that every online learner should try.

1. Communicate with Other Students

Entering the common chat for all the students in your online course is a great way to avoid falling behind while socializing even if you are far away. You can simply chat just like with regular classmates, discuss assignments, or help each other with studying.

Such communication will not only help you find new friends and make your studying more interesting; it will also allow you to retain information when looking through the discussions between your peers.

2. Learn How to Take Notes Effectively

Notes are an essential part of studying. Unfortunately, most students don’t pay attention to the note-taking method that they use, which might have a significant influence on their effectiveness.

For example, there are effective note-taking methods that are proven to be effective in any format of learning – online or at the traditional learning institution. Here are a few of them:

  1. The Cornell Method. The uniqueness of this method is in its page layout – the division into a few sections, for example, title, keywords, questions, and summary.    
  2. The Boxing Method. The boxing method is helpful for visual learners (the students who perceive information through visual sources) as it implies breaking the page and the lecture material into logical parts that are written down in the small boxes. This method helps with structuring information and writing it down in a way that makes it easier to later.
  3. The Charting Method. This method uses charts for writing down the main aspects of different terms, events, or facts. This is the most convenient method of note taking for history classes or in cases when you need to compare something according to specific characteristics.
  4. The Outline Method. If you need to take a lot of notes on broad topics or follow the fast tempo of your lecturer, this is the most convenient method. It is similar to the outlines that you usually write when creating an essay or any other type of school paper. It implies using headings and subheadings with the combination of bullet lists and the key ideas written in the form of a brief outline.

So, the note-taking method that you choose depends on the specifics of the subject and the lecture format, but you never know what will suit you the most until you try more than one of them. Sometimes students might combine these methods to increase their effectiveness.

3. Don’t Take Long Breaks

Online learners often have an opportunity to schedule their studies as they want and dedicate time to online studies according to their busy schedule. While this is one of the core advantages of online learning, it often results in long breaks between lessons and study sessions, which isn’t good for proper studying.

If you take many long breaks between your sessions, you increase your chances of spending your time and money in vain as such studying won’t provide you with enough knowledge.

Our memory is a complicated system which demands some repetition from time to time. If you you don’t re-read your notes or textbook, you will probably forget almost everything due to the volume of other information that you perceive every day that replaces information that your brain considers irrelevant. This phenomenon can be proved by the Forgetting Curve of Hermann Ebbinghaus and the experiment with spaced repetitions.

4. Manage Your Time with Planners

Many students suffer from lack of motivation and self-discipline which we usually tend to describe as “the lack of time.” Let’s face it, procrastination takes big chunks of our time and decreases our productivity, especially when it comes to activities that might seem less compelling or relevant.

However, online learning can and should be scheduled just like regular classes in school. Why? Because it helps students to organize their time and get prepared for new study sessions. When your brain is used to the schedule of your classes that you regularly have, you

can see that it’s much easier for you to concentrate and focus on studying.

So, is there any option of how one can ease studying schedules for self-organization? Modern technology will provide you with the answer as mobile apps for daily planning are great for every student:

All these apps are highly effective when it comes to planning your studying sessions, tracking your studying accomplishments and writing down your homework tasks. Online learners will experience the benefits of these apps even more than regular students as they face the need to motivate themselves more and keep up with the course program without any help.

5. Stay Motivated

Motivation is one of the most important parts of self-development. If you lack the motivation to continue your online learning, try some of the following tips:

  1. Establish short-term goals. For example, pass the test, finish a book, complete an assignment, etc. Make a plan and track your progress. This way your growth will be more noticeable to you.
  2. Don’t forget why you do it. You took this online course for a reason, but with time you might forget about it. You can write down your main goal on a paper and put it in a place where you can always keep an eye on it. Or, you can even create a collage or a vision board.
  3. Develop a positive mindset. Sometimes studying may be challenging and overwhelming to the point when it makes you want to quit your courses. Remind yourself that every task that the teacher gives is manageable.
  4. Organize your workplace. Having a clean and organized workplace definitely helps with your motivation and inspiration. Try to make the most comfortable surrounding and avoid distractions to improve your productivity and feel happier.

Every studying program is manageable when you are motivated. Even if you fell behind because of procrastination, you can ask your teacher for an individual class, or hire a tutor to help you with certain tasks. So, never give up and keep a positive approach.

Wrapping Up

Online classes are great for everyone who wants to learn something new. Using different note-taking methods and having a consistent, serious approach will help every online learner to achieve the best results.

If you want to improve your online learning process, be sure to follow the simple pieces of advice listed in this article. Also, don’t forget to stay motivated – sometimes you need to remind yourself that the reason why you learn is to have more opportunities in the future.

Author’s Bio: Stacey Wonder is a freelance blogger and content specialist. She usually writes on educational topics, motivation, productivity, and self-development. When not busy with her projects, she creates short detective or fantasy stories.

Reference herein to any specific commercial products, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise, does not constitute or imply an endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by Touro College.

Impact of Artificial Intelligence (AI) on the Education of Children

The following is a guest post written by Steffen Carter, A level maths tutor in Singapore associated with ChampionTutor. If you would like to submit a guest post, please contact us.

Technology has progressed by leaps and bounds and today, it has become an integral part of all of our lives. The entire world functions based on technology and many are looking towards further progress to make life increasingly convenient. The influence that technology has, has also seeped into the education arena. Virtual learning has become extremely famous these days with regards to education. Years ago, this was unheard of, and today, thanks to technology, online learning is possible and this strategy is something that every educational institute tries to follow.

Laptops, computers and smartphones are the most common technological devices being used in classrooms while teaching. And though these devices may serve as a source of distraction, under teachers’ supervision and if the student is disciplined enough, students are sure to reap the benefits. The biggest advantage is that the internet has an infinite amount of information about anything and everything.

This also extends beyond schools, whereby tuition centers also use technology as much as possible to make sure their lessons are engaging and effective in communicating the topic to their students. Tuition centers make it a point to constantly upgrade themselves and they have learnt to change their teaching methods for adaptation in order to thrive as a business and to provide quality service. One of the biggest reasons for the organic change in teaching style and method over the past two decades, is the rise in the importance of technology.

Everything has become digitalized and the children’s attention span has decreased over time. These days, we are able to book a ticket with a single click, send a text message within seconds, and swipe to take a look at your next potential soulmate. Technology has decreased the time being “wasted” and has increased our impatience (this is one of the key disadvantages of technology in this era).

In order to keep students engaged with constant stimulation and eradicate boredom, one of the best ways is to teach them through the medium that they are most familiar with since birth, and that is, via technology. Whether we like it or not, technology has become an integral part of all of our lives and kids these days say that they feel rather disabled without their gadgets around them.

Technology encourages the use of real-world problems in the classroom as well. This enables students to be adventurous in finding out about the various problems that exist around them and this will motivate them to find innovative solutions. By using the Internet, students can research real issues happening at that moment within the classroom environment and participate in classroom discussions. This leads to students being critical thinkers, and this is a quality that is much needed and relevant in this day and age.

Students certainly create online groups, Web pages, and virtual communities which enables them to be connected to various kinds of people who are knowledgeable, all around the world. Within a small group with teachers and students together, students can pose questions or share interesting facts. This will deepen their understanding about concepts and further widen their horizon by learning new concepts as well. Moreover, because it is online, feedback will be instantaneously sent and received as well. By listening to and reading about others’ opinions and feedback, students can refine their thinking process, and the kind of exposure they gain would definitely be invaluable.

One of the most effective ways to teach is by the use visualizers and screens and this is one of the boons of technology, indeed. It gives a theater-like feeling; the dim lights within the classroom setting and the colorful presentation of information gives students a more enjoyable approach towards learning. The traditional classroom rules are broken and a different ambiance and aura is being created. Showing content-driven educational videos will enable information to be stored easily and constructively in the mind and recalling them during exams will be easier.

Another way in which technology is being utilized is through online content-related games or activities. This is not a method that all teachers incorporate into their teaching and hence it is not as prevalent, but this is something that teachers adopt especially when they are trying to engage students who lack the patience to sit in one place and learn (ie. students with very short attention span), and maybe break the ice if it’s an introductory lesson or when new students join the class. Students who are sincere about learning will make good use of the devices they have and will also appreciate the fact that their teachers are utilizing technology to teach as well.

BOTTOM LINE

Technology plays a vital role in all of our lives and it certainly holds great significance in the educational journey of our children today (as well as those of future generations). Promoting healthy use of technology is crucial and that way, progress can be made beyond a shadow of doubt.

Author’s Bio: 

Steffen Carter is A level maths tutor in Singapore associated with ChampionTutor – One of the best tutoring agencies. He enjoys working with students very much. He has a positive attitude and a passion to assist and motivate struggling learners.

Reference herein to any specific commercial products, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise, does not constitute or imply an endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by Touro College.

8 Surprising Facts About Online Learners [INFOGRAPHIC]

The following is a guest post by Shristi Patni, content writer and Chief Content Officer at Raletta and PR Bulls. If you would like to submit a guest post, please contact us

 

As online learning becomes more mainstream, we gathered some information about the online learner. Through this infographic, we bring you eight surprising facts about online learners.

This infographic was made by Navrajvir Singh, content creator at Technology Moon.

 

Author’s Bio: Shristi is the Chief Content Officer at Raletta (Digital Marketing Agency), and PR Bulls (Content Marketing Agency). She enjoys writing about food, fitness, finance and everything in between.

 

Reference herein to any specific commercial products, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise, does not constitute or imply an endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by Touro College.

9 eLearning Stats Every Student Should Know in 2019

The following is a guest post written by Hugh Beaulac, blogger, social media manager, and content strategist. If you would like to submit a guest post, please contact us.

The rise of modern technologies affects our lives, so it’s no wonder it has an impact on traditional teaching methods. Living in the digital era, eLearning isn’t a new concept even though many students are afraid of giving it a try: lack of control, social isolation, and low motivation are just a few reasons why students don’t want to study online.

However, learning online can be a great idea to obtain knowledge without spending time on attending lectures. If you’re doubting whether eLearning can suit your needs and wants, you’re welcome to look through the list of statistics that prove it is the future of education.

Here are 9 eLearning stats every student should know in 2019.

#1. Around one half of all classes are done online.

Elearning gives many opportunities for both teachers and students. Moreover, it’s important to keep up with the trends, so eLearning is getting more and more popular. One in two lessons is done online which means students can expect even more online lectures in the nearest future.

#2. eLearning increases knowledge retention by 25% to 60%.

Humans are visually-oriented creatures, so it’s no wonder we perceive visual information better. When you study online, you work with various visual content  – presentations, videos, infographics. As a result, knowledge retention is increasing.

#3. eLearning is generally shorter than classroom training on the same subject by up to 25-60%.

When you study online, you save a considerable amount of time as the educational process is focused on providing the right information to the right person at the right time which means obtaining knowledge faster.

#4. 60% of people say that online courses fit their personal schedule/lifestyle better.

The best thing about online learning is an opportunity to do it in your spare time. Whether you learn new material, do your homework, or communicate with a mentor, it’s you who decides when to do it, so eLearning can suit any lifestyle.

#5. 81% of college students agree that digital learning technology helps to improve their grades.

With a variety of online educational organizations, it’s easy to pick a course to get a deeper understanding of any subject. Moreover, it’s a proven way to get additional knowledge, and therefore improve grades.

#6. 52% of people use m-learning in bed after waking up.

Nowadays the educational process is about comfort and time optimization. It’s enough to have access to the internet to do your course wherever you are.

#7. 90% of students believe online learning is better than traditional classroom experience.

For the majority of students, eLearning gives many opportunities to make the educational process more interactive and creative. As a result, they are more engaged.

#8. VR/AR educational software is predicted to get $300 million in revenue by 2020.

No matter what your major subject is, it’s important to ensure you get an engaging learning experience in order to be interested in the educational process. With the rise of VR/AR, students have an opportunity to be engaged in the process.

#9. The global mobile learning market is estimated to be $37.6 billion by 2022.

Nowadays more and more people own a smartphone, and it’s not just a way to connect with people – it’s also a way to obtain knowledge on the go. There are many apps and mobile-friendly educational websites that allow people to improve skills wherever they are.

Final Thoughts

There are many reasons why eLearning is just the future of education. The above-mentioned statistics facts prove that people love learning online and eLearning gives many benefits to modern learners. Thus, it’s important to get rid of your worries and give online education a try.

Author’s Bio:Hugh Beaulac is a blogger, social media manager, and content strategist who helps people fall in love with STEM disciplines. He writes for different websites to share his knowledge, so follow him on Twitter to stay tuned for more.

Reference herein to any specific commercial products, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise, does not constitute or imply an endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by Touro College.

How to Improve Learner Experience with Mobile Messaging

The following is a guest post written by Anastasia Sviridenko, content marketing manager at TextMagicIf you would like to submit a guest post, please contact us.

Mastering virtual communication is really essential to running a successful online course. Did you know that one of the biggest challenges to online courses is student engagement? Without the pressure of face-to-face teacher and classmate competition, many students lack follow-through. Mobile messaging through apps like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Slack, and SMS messaging can create those important connections and ensure a better learner experience.

Mobile messaging has a lot of benefits as a communication tool between teacher and student, and even among students. First, more and more people are comfortable using messaging platforms. Though some may think that mobile messaging is only for millennials, a study by AARP showed that 88 percent of adults aged 50+ use their mobile for IMS. And with a variety of apps to choose from, you can choose the one that is most popular among your virtual students.

While younger people are abandoning email and voice calls, the trend towards texting has been gaining ground with all demographics. That means that using mobile messaging will allow you to reach the largest number of your students effectively.

Also, it’s convenient. Many online course students are currently employed or have other commitments that keep them busy. By allowing mobile communication, students don’t have to wait until they’re at their desktop to send a question.

They might even forget the question by then anyway! Instead, as they’re messaging colleagues on WhatsApp or responding to a message on Facebook Messenger, they can shoot off a question to you as they come up, increasing engagement and facilitating learning.

It also allows the teacher to answer faster, giving the student a timely response that they might need in order to finish an assignment.

Here are some benefits of mobile messaging for both online teachers and students.

Allows Students Easy Access to Teachers

Students may struggle with a number of challenges in an online course. As mentioned above, engagement is a big issue. By allowing students easy access to the teacher through mobile messaging platforms that they already use, it enhances engagement and stimulates more active participation. It also gives teachers a convenient platform to offer explanations and encouragement.

Great for Communicating Reminders and Changes

If there are any last-minute changes in course material, deadlines or online sessions, mobile messaging is a great way to let people know. Text is particularly effective since it’s immediate and has nearly 100 percent open rates. That means if you send out a text, you’re nearly guaranteed that your students will read the message. It also doesn’t depend on an internet connection for student to be able to receive it.

For that reason, it’s also good to remind students of upcoming exams and assignments. Everyone gets busy and it can be hard to stay on top of schedules and deadlines while juggling other life events. A little reminder can help students be prepared and make it easier for them to succeed in your course.

Group Discussions Help Build Community

Students taking online courses may miss the community that comes with on-site courses. Apps like WhatsApp and Slack can help create that necessary community. Groups have so many benefits:

  • They stimulate discussion, giving students a wider range of information on the subject they’re studying
  • They help students answer each other’s questions, relieving the pressure on the teacher as the only point of reference
  • They allow students to increase their network, a valuable benefit to students
  • They allow the teacher to observe what areas are most challenging and which themes are most interesting to students, helping with the planning of future courses

Collect Feedback Through Mobile Polls

Mobile messaging isn’t just a great tool to use during a course. It can also be of use after a course is already finished. Why not send out a quick poll to students after the course is over? It’s easy and convenient to respond to a mobile poll message while on the go, so students will be more likely to respond.

Keep the poll simple, with just a few key questions to increase participation. Finishing the course experience with a feedback poll is very important for many reasons.

It allows you to see what areas you did well in and what areas need improvement. This will help you organize your next course to better meet expectations.

It gives students a place to voice criticisms in a productive way. If you get negative feedback, address it proactively by responding to the student individually, offering to remedy any complaints they had. It could have been a misunderstanding or miscommunication that caused the trouble. Don’t miss the opportunity to take a negative experience and turn it into something positive, improving a student’s overall experience with your course.

Let Them Know About Related Courses

Many students will appreciate learning about similar related courses that would help them hone a skill they’ve been developing. Continuing your relationship with the student by letting them know about upcoming courses through a mobile message can strengthen their relationship to your course and enhance their overall learning satisfaction.

Online educators can use mobile messaging to improve the overall learning experience. By giving students a convenient platform where they can communicate with the teacher and other learners, you enhance community and open the doors for greater exchange.

 

Author’s Bio: 

Anastasia Sviridenko is a content marketing manager at TextMagic. She’s always on the lookout for new ways to create exciting content. When she’s not working, you can find her at home curling up with a book.

 

Reference herein to any specific commercial products, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise, does not constitute or imply an endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by Touro College.

Should We Incorporate Social Media Into Online Education?

The following is a guest post written by Emily Johnson, freelance blogger and content writer. If you would like to submit a guest post, please contact us.

Let’s be honest: online teaching and learning is not easy. Both instructors as well as students need to deal with a number of problems that arise from the limitations of virtual education. Thus, online instruction requires novel, creative methods, which would help students acquire new knowledge and make them feel less isolated.

Does social media have the power to improve virtual education? Can it solve most of the problems both online educators as well as online students strive to overcome each and every day? Would incorporating it into virtual teaching and learning make a difference? Keep on reading to find out.

The Challenges of Online Education and How Social Media Can Help To Overcome Them

Whether you’re a teacher who considers conducting online courses or a student who got enchanted by an idea of getting a degree online and wants to try, chances are that you think there’s nothing complicated about it:

  • As an online tutor, all you’ll have to do is to prepare materials, upload them on a site, and then, check the progress of your students and provide them with feedback.
  • As an online student, all you’ll have to do is download materials from a website, study them at home, and then, do the homework and upload it on a site.

That’s it, right? Unfortunately, in practice, it’s more complicated than that. Each step of the way only seems to be easy. In reality, problems arise. Problems, which can be hard to deal with and solve.

#1 Computer literacy.

Attending and creating an online course requires a person to develop new computer skills, and while professors may already have the knowledge on how to navigate the necessary systems and programs, many students don’t. Research shows that computer literacy of university graduates is low. Thus, we can assume that computer literacy of students who just begin their studies or are in the middle of them isn’t any better.

Now, to be able to fully participate in an online course, students need to learn to use LMS (i.e. Learning Management System), be able to operate such programs as MS Word or PowerPoint, and fix computer problems if they occur. Without any technological knowledge and skills, it can be a challenge too hard to deal with.

Also, although “Help Pages” and detailed FAQ sections may be of some help, finding the necessary information and following instruction can be time-consuming, problematic, and frustrating. Thus, here’s another idea:

To allow students to contact and chat with a computer expert via a social media platform. It’s fast and easy. Moreover, this way, students can quickly improve their computer skills and feel more supported in their studies.

#2 Communication problems and the lack of human contact.

Conducting as well as participating in an online course often results in communication problems and limits for both professors as well as students. Thus, exchanging thoughts, sharing ideas, asking questions, clarifying various issues, explaining the course material, or simply talking, may take some time and be difficult (especially if it can only happen in the LMS or via email). What’s more, distance learning means learning away from a campus and student dormitories, which can affect a person’s sense of belonging to a community of students and so, make them feel isolated.

Can we improve communication between online tutors and students, and help students make friendships, share their thoughts, and interact with their peers? Yes, we can. Social media is the answer.

By promoting the use of social media and creating special groups for students on such platforms as Facebook, we can help teachers contact their students (and vice versa) quickly from any device, and we provide students with a perfect place to talk to their peers, discuss problems, share various ideas or reviews, and form a community. In fact, in a recent study, 75% of students say they feel comfortable using social networking to discuss course work with other students and 58% use it to communicate with their classmates.

Now, since students find social media platforms useful for educational purposes as well as forming friendships, incorporating social media into online education can both improve communication between students and teachers, and make students feel less lonely.

#3 Boredom, self-motivation and time-management.

Although online courses work for a number of students, many fail an online class, especially at community colleges. Why? Well, in a study conducted in 2011, students provided a number of reasons why you may fail an online course, and so, drop out of college. Here are the causes:

  • Motivation (35%).
  • Study habits (17%).
  • Academic preparedness (12%).
  • External factors (11%).
  • Attitudes (11%).
  • Instruction (10%).
  • Relevancy issues (4%).

What also has a negative impact on online students is the fact that e-learning may sometimes feel like e-reading. Thus, online courses lack variety and can be simply boring. After all, not everyone find reading textbooks and other materials as the best way to learn. Some students acquire new knowledge by listening to lectures. Others prefer doing things in practice. There are also those who learn best by watching videos. So, variety in virtual education is a must to keep students engaged.

Now, since online students are not self-motivated to learn, find it hard to create and stick to their own learning schedules, and often get bored, is there anything we can do to help them? As a matter of fact, yes, there is. Social media gives us a possibility to solve a number of problems that online students face.

Here are several creative ideas on how educators can use social media platforms to support their students:

  • Create and post inspirational and motivational quotes on Facebook, and thus, help your students achieve their goals.
  • Send reminders about assignments and upcoming deadlines via online platforms.
  • Make competitions and contests (thus, you can encourage creative writing, help students improve their skills in a number of areas, and entertain them).
  • Instead of uploading another longish lecture on a website for your students to read, make a video lesson on YouTube.
  • Ask intriguing questions in posts and so, start an online discussion (let your students engage in a conversation with you as well as their peers).
  • Encourage your students to make posts or tweets on a given topic for extra credit.

As you can see, social media gives a number of possibilities to help students succeed in an online class.

Final Thoughts

There are many reasons why we should incorporate social media into online education. First of all, students are familiar with it, so they will have no problems with accessing materials on social media platforms or contacting their teachers. Also, social media platforms can help students to form and maintain interactions with others. Moreover, it allows online students to ask more questions and get answers fast.

For online teachers, social media gives a lot of new opportunities as well. Teachers can easily contact their students, have more possibilities to help them acquire new knowledge as well as engage them. Also, it’s much faster, easier, and convenient to give students feedback via a social media platform than an online system.

Thus, by incorporating social media into virtual education we’ve nothing to lose, and a lot to gain.

Author’s Bio: Emily Johnson is a college graduate who spends her free time writing thought-provoking blog posts about education, college life, blogging, and writing. Her articles that give career advice help and inspire people all over the Web. To find out more about Emily, check out her Twitter.

Reference herein to any specific commercial products, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise, does not constitute or imply an endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by Touro College.

Online Orientation for the Virtual Classroom

Getting acclimated to the online virtual classroom can be tough, especially when you are new to the E-Learning world. Online orientation gives students a sense of what their online program entails, so that they can navigate comfortably once their courses begin. Check out this great article from Marian Stoltz-Loike, Chief Online Education Officer and Vice President of Online Education at Touro College, and learn what to expect during online orientation.

Click here for the full article: Online Degree Program Virtual Orientation: What to Expect

Source: USNews.com