How Can I Succeed in College?
Congratulations on taking the very important step to begin or continue your college studies! This is a very big step, and what you learn in this course will pave the way to your success. You will learn how to successfully complete your classes, how to address things that might get in the way of success and how to overcome them, how to develop a Plan of Study to use as a “roadmap” to keep you focused and on track, and how to manage your time to succeed in classes while taking care of your personal and professional responsibilities. Some students may be pursuing the same degree that you are, but many others will be working toward degrees in a variety of concentrations, from business to IT.
What Can You Expect From Your Learning Experience?
Think of the course Syllabus as the roadmap for your course. Print this Syllabus right away and read it carefully, referring to it often throughout the course, at least once or twice a week. Pay close attention to the section titled Online Discussions. This is where you will respond to questions posted by the professor based on your readings in the text and where you will read and respond to or comment on what other students post, as well. It is important for you to participate fully in these discussions, or threads. You will take quizzes online in this class. It will benefit you to take notes along the way because you are allowed to use them when taking quizzes and exams in DeVry University courses. Yet these quizzes and exams are timed, so you will want to have your notes readily accessible; you simply won’t have time in most cases to search for answers while taking the quizzes and exams. In fact, you will want to keep a close eye on the timer when taking quizzes and exams, because you will be kicked out when the time expires, whether you have finished or not! You should also note that you can only enter the quiz or exam one time. You cannot open the quiz or exam, leave for any reason, and go back to it; you will be locked out after the first attempt.
Although technical difficulties don’t occur frequently, you need to have a plan for this possibility.
• Save your work every five minutes to ensure that you don’t lose your work.
• Write down the number of the Help Desk and keep it close by: 1-877-496-9050.
• If technical difficulties occur, contact the Help Desk immediately and e-mail your professor with the number of your Help Desk ticket.
In the Webliography, your professor shares additional resources that are relevant to the course. In this course, the Webliography has additional study strategies and free self-assessment inventories to help you find out more about yourself as a learner.
In Doc Sharing, your professor has posted a number of documents that will be useful to you as you proceed through the course. New documents may appear here as your professor adds them.
How Will You Learn at DeVry University?
One advantage of learning at DeVry University is flexibility. Your virtual classroom is open 24/7 and you can participate from any computer with Internet access. Along with this flexibility comes the necessity for you to ensure that you have a back-up plan for doing your work. You need to have a plan ready to implement if and when you can’t access the Internet using your usual Internet service provider (ISP), or if you have computer or technical problems. It is important to note that technical, computer, or Internet access problems are not valid reasons to ask for an extension for assignments or to take a quiz or exam.
Time Management Skills
As a college student, one of the most important skills to master is time management. Here are some strategies that will help you learn how to manage your time effectively.
• The Weekly Check: At the beginning of each week, review all of the assignments due for that week. Determine how much time you will need to spend on each assignment and then prioritize them. Finally, take a look at your life schedule and block out the time that you will need to manage both your assignments and your personal commitments.
• The Weekly Download: At the beginning of each week, download any materials that you will need for the week. This will be a great timesaver if you are pressed for time at the end of the week.
• The Weekly Save: SAVE! SAVE! SAVE! Save copies of everything that you do for your class. While it doesn’t happen often, our learning platform does experience technical difficulties from time to time. Your longer posts are definitely worth saving.
• The Weekly Review: All work must be completed and turned in by the schedule indicated in the Syllabus. Make a habit of re-reading the weekly Assignments page to make sure that you are prepared to complete everything for the week. It is also a good idea to review the material presented during the week and ask questions in the threaded discussions.
Teamwork can be challenging, whether in a face-to-face or virtual environment.
• Many of your courses will include real-life scenarios that will require you to work in teams.
• One of the challenges of teamwork is the variety in the schedules of students who are managing both work and school. Flexibility and empathy are critical when working together.
• As a member of a team, you will need to communicate effectively, divide work fairly, give constructive feedback, and collaborate in the production of the assigned project.
• Remember, the time and energy that you spend in developing these skills in this class will serve you well in the workplace.
Your DeVry University Learning Community
Attending college takes self-discipline because it is self-directed. Unlike high school, you are responsible for your own learning. One of the keys to success is to establish a set schedule and stick with it. Keep in mind the following strategies to ensure your success.
• Stay active in the online discussions. Students who participate early in the week and often throughout the week tend to earn higher grades than those who wait until later in the week to participate. In most courses you are required to post three days per week in each topic for a minimum of six posts per week.
• You will probably answer some of the professor’s posts directly, but sometimes you will post a response or comment to what another student posted. This is just like being in a face-to-face discussion; sometimes you will respond directly to a question asked by the professor, sometimes you will comment on what another student says.
• In this course you will have two graded discussion topics each week, and it is vitally important for you to post to both discussion topics as directed in your Syllabus. This is the minimum requirement; you are encouraged to participate much more.
• Reach out to your classmates and they will reach out to you. You will find that valuable learning takes place as you share your personal experiences related to the topic being discussed. You won’t always agree with what another student posts, and that’s okay. Be sure to disagree without being disagreeable. Use good “netiquette” by being respectful of the opinions and views of other students, even if they differ from yours.
Netiquette can be defined as appropriate online behavior. Since you will be communicating with your professor and your classmates, the following guidelines are important.
• Avoid flaming, which is defined as using derogatory, obscene, or inappropriate language. For example, let’s say that in an online conversation, you unintentionally offend someone. You could then expect to receive some angry e-mail or to be treated rudely in the discussion. This is called “being flamed.” Incidences of flaming will be reported by your professor to Student Services. Therefore, if you have any doubts about the tone of a message that you have typed, take at least 10 seconds to think about how your message might be interpreted before clicking on the Send button.
• Avoid using all capital letters in your posts; this is perceived as shouting.
• Avoid spelling and grammatical errors. As with any written work, take the time to use the spell check feature that can be launched by clicking on the tab next to the Send button.
What if I am not a good writer? What if I need a study buddy? What if I ask a stupid question? What if I don’t know anything about computers?
We’ve heard questions like these ones. Repeat students will tell you, though, that online and blended learning is nothing to fear. At first, the lack of face-to-face interaction with a professor and other students can feel strange. Or, you may have occasional feelings of isolation – after all, it’s often just you, your computer, and your books. However, these anxieties can be overcome with some simple strategies.
• Don’t be afraid to write – your thoughts are more important than how you present them. Get into the online discussions early and often.
• Don’t get intimidated by those who may appear to have more experience than you. Everyone in the class, including your professor, is in a position to learn from other students.
• By all means, use the Tutor Source. You can go to your local campus for help or chat online with a live tutor through Smarthinking.com. You can also ask for help with papers. Math tutors are available 24/7!
• Don’t hesitate to e-mail or phone your professors: They want you to succeed in their courses, in college, and in your profession. They are committed to helping you. And, while they will challenge you to stretch yourself, they will suggest ways to make your growth more comfortable.
Note that your textbook and each chapter have been designed to integrate deeper levels of thinking. These levels of thinking are commonly referred to as Bloom’s taxonomy. They are named after Bloom, who first made the distinction of the different types of learning in which students can engage. In high school, students typically engage in the lower levels of learning, such as remembering and understanding. In college, you will focus on the deeper levels of learning, such as analysis, application, and synthesis.
If you ever find that you are not challenged enough in a class, perhaps because you’ve learned the material on the job or in life, challenge yourself by approaching the course material at the deepest levels. If you are asked to apply information that you are learning and you find that too easy, then go on to evaluate the material and create new learning materials on your own. In online discussions, don’t just show that you understand the material, analyze it, make finer distinctions, draw your own conclusions, and share these ideas with your classmates and professor.