Category Archives: Success Guides

pencil for writing

The Write Stuff: Why Learning How to Write Well Matters Beyond the Classroom

Writing well can give you a leg up in your studies, but not only because it can help you earn better grades on writing assignments. The skills required to help you write well can actually make you a better reader and problem solver, making you a better student overall.

While writing is often critical to success in the classroom, it can also often have an impact on advancement in your professional life. Whether you’re writing contracts, conversing with clients over email, or developing content for a company website, writing will be a key tool in nearly every career avenue you’ll encounter.

That’s part of why it’s so critical to develop your writing skills now. The good habits and strong skills you develop today will not only help you as a student, but can also make a huge difference in your success in the professional world. Read on to learn more about why writing matters and to get tips and ideas for improving your writing.
Continue reading

Girl on Laptop

The Online Student’s Guide to Netiquette

Etiquette is a set of expectations for social behavior in a society. This manifests itself in a wide range of ways in daily life, from the use of basic manners to how we show respect for others. Following this code of conduct isn’t just important for your real-world interactions, however. In your online courses, you’ll need to embrace the digital version of these rules, often called “netiquette.”

Online etiquette isn’t that much different than the face-to-face version, but there are a few things you need to keep in mind as you participate in discussion boards and send emails. Here, you’ll learn the rules you’ll need to follow to stay polite and professional in your online courses.

Continue reading

5 Lessons from Top Productivity Gurus to Help You Be a Better Online Student

You don’t have to be a busy professional to take advantage of the advice productivity gurus have to offer. Often, their advice can just as easily be applied to college studies, allowing students to improve their time management skills, get organized, and even get more out of class. Even better, mastering some of these habits now will help you out in the working world later on.

Here are a few great ideas from the experts for boosting your productivity as a student.

Continue reading

Job Hunting

Beyond Book Learning: The 7 Soft Skills Online Courses Can Help You Hone

While a college degree is an excellent tool to help you get the job of your dreams, showcasing your expertise in the “hard” skills, like mathematics, writing, and science, it’s not all you need. Employers also want employees who are responsible, creative, good at communicating, and work well on a team. These abilities, referred to as soft skills, can be what separates the good employees from great ones, making them highly desirable to employers and, in turn, extremely important for job seekers.

In fact, CareerBuilder reports that 77% of employers rank soft skills as just as important in hiring as hard skills and 16% say they are actually more important. Essentially, it’s not just your proficiency in your subject area that will matter—you’ll need the right attitude and interpersonal aptitudes, too.

Luckily, your college courses, even those online, provide plenty of opportunities for you to build these skills before graduation. Here, you’ll learn about some of the most in-demand soft skills and find tips and ideas on how you can turn your online education into a soft skills training ground.

Continue reading

Learning on the Fast Track: An Online Student’s Guide to Surviving and Thriving in Accelerated Courses

Accelerated courses allow students to complete a course in anywhere from 10 to 5 weeks rather than the usual 16. For many students, they can be a great way to earn college credits quickly, but they can also be incredibly intense, especially if you’re trying to take one while balancing your usual responsibilities at work and at home.

That’s not to say that you shouldn’t enroll in an accelerated online course if you believe it’s the right fit for you, but you will need to be prepared and know what to expect. Here are some tips that can ensure that you’re ready to take on any of the challenges an accelerated course may pose.

Continue reading

Forget Facebook: Why You Need to Embrace LinkedIn Before Graduation

While Facebook is great for keeping up with friends and family, following products and services you’re interested in, and even connecting with your online classmates, it’s not the ideal social media tool for promoting yourself professionally. If you haven’t yet set up a LinkedIn account, or haven’t really put much effort into fleshing it out, it’s critical that you do so before graduation.

Why? According to a report from ABC News, more than 80% of today’s jobs are landed through networking. While some of that networking can happen the old fashioned way, a lot of it occurs online and if you’re out of the game, you won’t have access to these important opportunities which can make it much harder to break into a new industry or to land that critical first job after graduation.

So how to do you make the most of what LinkedIn can offer you as a soon-to-be certified professional in your field? There are a few ways you can do the work now of cultivating your profile that will help you reap big benefits later on.

Continue reading

Hybrid Classes: Expectations vs. Reality

My name is Jason Snart.  I’m an English Professor here at COD and I teach a lot of hybrid classes.

What is a “hybrid” class?  A hybrid, or what is sometimes called a blended, class involves a combination of face-to-face, in-the-classroom learning with online learning.  At the College of DuPage instructional time is usually divided on a weekly basis.  So maybe a class that would meet from 9-9:50am on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday in the face-to-face version would, in the hybrid version, meet in class on Monday and Wednesday but not on Friday.  Instead, there would be an online learning component each week, probably available through our Learning Management System, Blackboard.  

Continue reading

5 Research-Proven Tips for Studying More Effectively

When it comes to studying, it’s not just how much you study, but how well you do it. In fact, the better you are at studying, the less time you’ll actually have to commit to it. How can you attain pro status when it comes to studying for your online courses? Here are five tips, based on psychological research, that will help you hone your study skills and ensure you get more out of every minute you put in.

Continue reading

Well Said!: How to Get More Out of Your Online Course Discussions

In an online course, discussion boards take the place of many of the face-to-face interactions that students have with their professors and their fellow students. These forums are more than just a place to socialize–they’re one of the key places you get to show what you know, ask questions, and engage with the course material in a deeper and more dynamic manner.

As such, part of getting the most out of your course and making a good impression (not to mention getting a good grade), is crafting posts and responses that are of high quality.

Well, you may be thinking, that’s easy to say, but not so easy to do. And you’re right in that it will take some effort, but the benefits—deeper learning and stronger relationships with classmates and instructors to name a few–can be well worth the challenge. And like anything, the more you practice, the easier it will get.

So where do you begin? Let’s start with the basics.

Continue reading

Coming Back from Academic Disaster: How to Get Back on Track and Pass Your Class

There’s nothing quite like the sinking feeling you get when you realize you totally bombed a test or turned in an assignment that you know isn’t your best work. While it might be too late to fix your mistakes for this assignment, if it’s still early enough in the semester you may still be able to pass your class, seriously learn the material, and salvage your GPA.

All of this can be made a bit more difficult in an online course where you’re learning at a distance and may not be able to meet with your professor or take advantage of all the academic support offered on campus, but it’s certainly not impossible and well worth the effort if you want to turn things around and get back on the right track in your online course. Here are some things you need to do in order to turn an academic misstep into a step in the right direction.

Continue reading