Friday, April 15, 2011

A Note Taking Dream: Microsoft OneNote

A Note Taking Dream: Microsoft OneNote
By Linda S Pogue

Recently, I was priviledged to learn how to use Microsoft OneNote. There are so many ways to keep notes and information in this software that I would recommend it to my students and fellow learners without reservation. You can set up a notes page for each class. In each class section, you can pull in information from Web pages (with reference information), add files needed for that class, such as assignment instructions, and save images from cameras or the Web for use in papers. You can set up a separate tab for each assignment, where you can keep record of the resources you used for papers, among other pertinent information.

If you take face-to-face classes and have a laptop, you can type lecture notes right into the course section. Each entry is dated, and gives you the opportunity to add any files to it that you need. Did the instructor send you a spreadsheet to review for a finance class? Save it to the course section and have it handy when you need it. You won't have to search your hard drive to figure out where you saved it.

I wish I had had this software and a laptop when I was taking face-to-face classes. It would have made taking notes so much easier. For my online classes, it would have make it easier to keep up with my schedule and when assignments were due. If you are looking for software to help you manage your college courses, I highly recommend OneNote.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Does Your Online Instructor Have Virtual Office Hours?

Does Your Online Instructor Have Virtual Office Hours?

By Linda S Pogue

Many online instructors now have virtual office hours. These are times set aside several times during the week when students can contact the instructor either through the online course room chat room, though Internet Messaging, or by texting. Online students sometimes need to discuss homework assignments or questions about the material in the course with the instructor. However, before contacting your instructor, there are a few things to keep in mind.

  1. The instructor cannot see your computer screen. I can't tell you how many times a student called with a question and we were looking at different information on our screens. I have learned to ask, what are you looking at before answering their question. Before asking your question, give the instructor some background information. Exactly what were you doing when the issue arose? Which page or screen on the online course room are you looking at? If you are using software, what tabs or buttons have you clicked, what were you trying to do, what happened, and what specifically are you looking at when you call.

  2. Remember that instructors are not online 24/7. If there are virtual hours posted, then you should call or contact the instructor during those times. If you can't, try emailing your question and requesting a virtual appointment. When doing this, it is helpful for you to offer several times and/or dates you will be available, so that the instructor can fit the appointment in with times available.
  3. Don't wait until the day the assignment it due to contact your instructor. Some will give you an extention, but most will not. And you may not be able to get the information you need in time to get the assignment turned in on time. You are in college, and will be held to a high standard of personal responsibility.

Getting the help you need is your responsibility. Everyone has different learning styles and learns at a different rate than everyone else. If you take a while to learn something new, make sure you give yourself the extra time you need. Take advantage of your online instructor's virtual office hours when you need help.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Nontraditional Students and the Freshman 15 - Keeping Your Health and Sanity When Attending College

Nontraditional Students and the Freshman 15 - Keeping Your Health and Sanity When Attending College

By Linda S Pogue

As nontraditional students, keeping your health and sanity is a must. Every college student learns about the dreaded 'freshman 15.' What no one talks about is how much more likely gaining 15 pounds or more is for those of us who are no longer in our twenties. As we age, our metabolism slows down, making it easier than ever to bring home the freshman 15 and some of his brothers. Once they move in, it is difficult to get them to leave. Spending hours everyday in front of a computer, sitting in classes, or reading books adds to the problem.

There are several ways to help prevent weight gain while attending college.

  1. Walk to your classes. It is very tempting to drive from one campus building to the next, or jump on the campus bus, but unless the next class is too far away to get to in the length of time between classes, walking will give you some exercise. The fresh air will help you think better when you get to the next class, too.

  2. Sign up or join the campus fitness center. Spend at least 30 minutes three times a week using the campus exercise equipment. If you have never used it before, be sure to talk with the fitness center monitor for instructions on using equipment. Also, you might check in with your doctor or the campus nurse to make sure you are healthy enough to exercise.

  3. Take advantage of the campus swimming pool. Swimming is a good all-body workout, and can help you avoid adding those extra pounds, or even help you get rid of a few.

  4. Drink water instead of soda from the machines. Water is calorie free, required for health, and can be carried from home or purchased at the campus bookstore. Don't substitute juices for soda. Most juice has as many or more calories as soda.

  5. Ride a stationery bike while reading your textbooks. Since you don't have to watch where you are going, you can give your attention to what you are learning.

  6. Form a walking group or yoga group with like-minded students. Whether it is because misery loves company, or because it gives you someone to talk to while exercising, a supportive group can help motivate you to stay with your fitness routine.

The most important things you can do for keeping your health and sanity when attending college is to eat right and get enough rest. Take a good multi-vitamin to help you maintain the schedule most college students endure. Many doctors recommend taking extra vitamin C during cold and flu season. This is sound advice for college students, since you will come into contact with a large number of people on campus. Getting enough rest will also help keep your immune system operating at peak capacity.

The freshman 15 is not a foregone conclusion. With the right diet and exercise choices, you can prevent those 15 pounds, feel better, and cope better with the hectic schedule imposed on college students. Get away from the computer. Put the book down. Get outside and get some fresh air. Your body and brain will thank you for it.

Nontraditional students have very specific needs. For helpful information for nontraditional students, visit Student Again.

Knowing Your Personal Learning Style Helps You Learn Faster and Better

Having difficulties learning the material presented in your classes? It could be that you are studying in an inappropriate way for your personal learning style. I spent countless hours studying in ways that did not match my learning style, which means I did not do as well on my tests and exams as I would have, had I studied in a way that was more appropriate for my learning style.

I am primarily a visual learner, which means I more easily retain what I see than what I hear. By learning my personal learning style, I was able to adjust my study habits to be more productive and helpful for my learning goals. Do you know your learning style? The North Caroline State University has a free online learning styles test you can take. You need to enter a name in the first textbox, answer the questions, then go to the results. Your results will be processed and displayed. Print these out, so that you can refer to them when you go to the page that explains what the results mean. To discover your own learning style, visit

Monday, April 11, 2011

Tips to Make Online Learning Easy for You

Tips to Make Online Learning Easy for You

A Guest Post By Sunu Philip

Can't you not access a university physically, are you too busy taking care of the kids or are just looking to get some extra degree, then online education is your forte. Online education makes it possible for you to fulfill your obligations as well as get some advanced degrees and diplomas. These additional qualifications will aid you in your career or business growth. There are many online short courses and hobby related courses to get an extra qualification in your field of expertise or interest.

Most people complain that online courses are more difficult because you have to learn everything by yourself. And when you get stuck, you may not be able to get help on time or reach your online instructor quickly. These are rather true as well. But with proper planning and scheduling, you can successfully complete any online or distance education program.

In this article, you will learn a few tricks that will help make your online learning easier and less tasking.

1. Having a positive mindset is very important.
As you are on your own you to need to motivate yourself to get it going. Family and work obligations might put in extra pressure on you, but possessing an optimistic attitude will help you in moving forward.

2. Concentrate and focus on your work at hand.
Focusing is very important as time spent should be well worth it. Concentrated effort brings in more results. When you are studying online, don't get easily distracted by chatting, Facebook activities, online games etc.

3. Schedule a Proper Time for Study and Classes
Just like most courses in school, you have to schedule and make time for study and classes. The beauty of online classes is in the ease of access and its flexibility; you can easily access materials at any time and study. However, until you make out specific periods, odds are that you would soon be swamped with the workload. So, schedule about 3-4 hours a day for your classes. It is way better and easier than being in class 8am-2pm.

4. Avoid Procrastinating
The temptation to postpone things and assume that you can finish an assignment or test later is really huge in the case of online learning. To avoid piling up your work, download all the necessary study materials and then some. Spend time with the materials and consistently read through the materials. Create an assignments and tests time table based on your syllabus requirements and adhere to that.

5. Join Communities
If you want to really make progress, then you need to join study communities and message boards. It doesn't help to think that you can go it all alone. Look for related forums, educational forums, join them and ask questions. If you can help, please do so as well. Your contribution to the community will give you credibility and make fellow students open up. This will further help you in getting answers or clarifications for yourself. Also there are many online study groups. Join some related to your subject.

6. Ask Questions in Class
If you have weekly video conferencing among all classmates and the lecturer, be sure to ask questions. Most times, people log on to video conferences just to hear the professor talk and without adequate preparation. Doing that won't help you grasp what you're learning or make your learning easier and faster. So, always log on to the conference prepared to the teeth. Also, get the professor's phone number and email in case you need clarifications or need to ask questions. This alone can save you a lot of stress and time.

If you use these tips, odds are that you will find online learning a lot easier than most people.

For more information on available online courses, Visit our portal of online education and distance learning courses.

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Saturday, April 9, 2011

Nontraditional College Students Who Home School Their Children

Nontraditional College Students and Their Children

By Linda Pogue

Going to college when you have children at home is difficult at best, but when the nontraditional student parent is also a home schooling parent, it is doubly difficult, especially if they also work. This was brought home to me recently when a friend decided to go back to college after a few years away. She decided it was time to complete her degree. Changing her degree program makes this a bit more difficult, since some of the subjects she had already taken do not apply to the new degree program. At the same time,she is trying to help her husband build a home business and home school her three children. Is she a brave soul or crazy?

She is much braver than I am. I did not attend college until after my children were grown. I saw the difficulties both my siblings had going to college while their children were young, and decided I would wait. Is she crazy? No, I don't think so. In today's economic climate, having a college degree is almost mandatory for a good job. She wants to help provide for her family and wants the best for her children, just as all good parents do. At the same time, it won't be easy.

She has to schedule time to teach her children, as well as work on her own school assignments, in addition to family and household chores. Thankfully, her husband works from home and is able to be more help than he would if he were working somewhere else. They can share the tasks of teaching and grading children's school work to give her more time. She also sits at the table doing her homework while the kids do their homework. That way, she has time to work on her own assignments, while being there to help the kids, if they need it.

She can also use what she is learning to add to her children's education. When she is studying science, she can demonstrate and explain the principles she is learning to the children. For instance, she can do a topical unit study for the kids on climate and weather patterns while she is studying the same thing for her Earth science class.

Nontraditional college students who home school have resources available to them that other home school parents may not have. They have instructors who may be willing to answer questions and may even be willing to talk with the children. They have the college library for resources. If the college has a school of education, there will be lots of excellent information on teaching specific subjects to children. Going to college online would give more time to work on assignments and work with the children, too, since there would be no lost time in commuting to and from the college campus.

Friday, April 8, 2011

How Can An Online Tutor Help You?

How Can An Online Tutor Help You?

A Guest Post By Harvey Burton

The education industry is realizing that there are various ways in which it can help people learn better than ever before, and one of those ways is distance learning. Distance learning has become extremely popular with many individuals who want to continue their academic pursuits but who cannot afford the necessary time it takes to travel long distances to attend the specific schools which have their desired courses. Education online is also being used to help students who are struggling in their coursework to receive online help in a very timely and effective manner. This kind of online learning is far better than getting tutor to come to your home because the student can decide the time that is best for learning.

There are various benefits of an online tutor. But before you start to think about how a such tutor for math or any other subject can help you, take a look at some of the ways in which this type of tutor can support you in your academic life.

There are various tutoring services which are offered by online tutoring sites. There is one tutoring service done through online in which the tutor and student work together simultaneously on a whiteboard over the computer while speaking with each other by telephone. During these tutoring sessions, the tutor and student discuss material and solve problems together from given chapters from the student's textbook. This form of tutoring is similar to an in-home tutor except for the fact that the tutor and the student need not be present in the same location. Choosing an online teacher has the great benefit for the student of being able to work with high quality tutors from any part of the country and being able to tap into the best tutoring talent out there. Another great benefit of working with an online educator is that the student can feel at ease knowing that they can continue working with their tutor even if they move or their tutor moves out of town.

Online teacher help is also available via the email. Using the online email tutoring service, students can send problems that they are having a very difficult time solving to their online tutor, the detailed solutions to be emailed back to the student in a timely manner for the student to learn from. An online teacher can also email to the student specific points and important concepts from the text to be reviewed by the student to increase their learning curve.

Some online teaching sites or distance learning sites also have a special section for those students who want help with their homework. Homework help online can be provided in the form of email help or live tutoring through online help. Those who subscribe to such a service find that they do not have trouble in completing and understanding their homework. Every time they get stuck with a math problem, they can get homework help and check out what the solution is.

Some of the online tutor sites also provide phone help to students. With phone help, the tutor and student work together over the telephone, the tutor walking the student through difficult problems and concepts which are causing them great frustration. This additional service is great because there are times when a quick two-way conversation can clarify difficult concepts that may not be so clear otherwise.

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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

How to Avoid Diploma Mills and Find Accredited Online Colleges and Universities

How to Avoid Diploma Mills and Find Accredited Online Colleges and Universities

A Guest Post By Michael L. Moss

As the job market grows more and more competitive, employers are looking to find applicants who possess a minimum of a college degree. Other more specialized jobs require a master's education and certification from an accredited institution. Unfortunately, with the rising cost of tuition and the time constraints that come with being a conventional student, pursuing this type of degree may be financially and physically impossible. However, many prospective students are turning to online colleges and universities as a way to earn a degree in a timely and convenient manner. This in turn has also created a large market for profit based online universities, which has also fostered an environment for scams.

While traditional universities try to sell students on the myth of prestige and campus life, there is technically little to no difference in the education amassed at a university. The quality of the courses are the same, gleaning information from the same textbooks and curriculum. Research has shown that graduates from these colleges are as well trained and effective in the workforce as their traditionally schooled counterparts. Yet many online colleges are pure scams, with no academic standards or accountability.

The key to differentiating between proper and scam online colleges comes down to accreditation. Accredited schools will have more money at their disposal for instructional and technological advancements. They will have standards as to the quality of student admitted. They will have limits on the size of enrollment and the number of students per class. While it is difficult for an individual to decipher this particular data, many regulatory bureaus have been set up for this purpose, certifying and accrediting schools that meet these standards. Before you enroll, it is critical you research whether the college has been independently reviewed by a local or federal accreditation board. Many schools will claim to be accredited simply as a sales tactic. Not only will an independent review board give a school accreditation, but will grade the college in comparison to both conventional universities and online universities.

My Colleges and Careers helps students connect with the best Online Colleges available to earn their college degree and embark on a rewarding career! A powerful resource for individuals who have full-time jobs, family responsibilities, My Colleges and Careers connects people with the best online colleges and universities.

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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Online College Could Be The Solution To Your Education Dilemmas!

Online College Could Be The Solution To Your Education Dilemmas!

A Guest Post By Whitney Goldbach

Online college options are more abundant than ever before. Many students return to college after beginning their careers to gain an advanced degree, and an online school is an excellent avenue for just such a case. Others begin their careers right out of high school, and instead choose to finish college after entering adulthood and working life, and again, online education is a convenient way to approach the journey.

After earning an Associate's, Bachelor's, or Master's degree, most students will locate work relevant to their field of study. They begin their careers with the intention of pursuing daily responsibilities geared around arts, teaching, management, and more. Oftentimes, once a career is in motion, many of these careerists recognize that their value as an employee can truly advance with incremental degrees.

At this point in the student's career, it is often very difficult, if not downright impossible to simply quit a job to pursue full-time school hours. The timing of professional job placement often coincides with marriages and children, meaning many of these students are not only supporting themselves, but their families. This is where online college prevails.

Online schools offer students with existing jobs, incomes, and families a way to manage all of those things while still pursuing an advanced degree. Online schooling promotes flexible scheduling and a learning pace that is completely personalized. For both of these reasons, online college is a widely popular option for many working adults.

On the other side of things, there are working adults who've not yet earned a degree. Often is the case where some credits have been earned, but for one reason or another, the student did not complete the coursework for a degree. Many students move away from their hometowns, while others simply choose to enter the workforce. Whichever the case, these students often find themselves seeking to finally fulfill that degree, but with a full-time work schedule cannot afford to go back to school full-time.

Again, online school comes to the rescue. With night classes, weekend classes, and even completely autonomous study work, scheduling is a breeze. Online college also allows both full-time and part-time enrollment, meaning students can work at their own pace toward degree fulfillment. As many accredited colleges, online schools will sometimes accept previously earned credits - which ones are dependent on study work and degree sought. Check with your admissions office for clarification.

So whether you're a full-time worker seeking to climb a few rungs up the corporate ladder with a higher-level degree, or simply looking to finish what you've started, finding an online school is a great place to start. Online college offers working adults an excellent opportunity to maximize their time and still earn their degrees. Online school promotes healthy learning paces, which minimizes the stress that comes with going back to school. Online college is affordable; from grants, scholarships and loans, there are many options for financial aid out there.

Remember this: every good education is backed by solid homework. So, when you decide to finally make that move to pursue an online education, be sure to research different online colleges and universities to gain an understanding of what you're looking for, and what you're not.

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Sunday, April 3, 2011

Three Reasons the College Catalog is Your Friend

Three Reasons the College Catalog is Your Friend

By Linda Pogue

When going to college, it is important to get a copy of the college catalog, even if it is only an electronic copy, of the college catalog that is current when you begin classes. If the only copy you can get is an electronic copy, at the very least, save it to your hard drive. It is a good idea to make a backup on another drive and maybe even print it out. There are several reasons for this.

  1. Your degree program's specific requirements will be listed. One idea is to put a pencil mark beside each class as you complete it. This will give you a visual record of what you have accomplished and what you still need to take.
  2. Degree program specific requirements change often. If your degree requirements change while you are continuously enrolled in the program, the college should honor the original contract(i.e. catalog) from when you enrolled. Sometimes, this means you will take a substitution course for a course that is no longer offered in your degree program, but it will make completing your degree a stationary target, as opposed to a moving target that can't be accomplished.
  3. You can plan ahead. By checking out which courses you have to take, then making a list and noting which courses have pre-requisites and co-requisites, you can plan your schedule. Most college catalogs will also tell when courses will be offered, such as Fall of even years. This lets you know that if you don't take the pre-requisite by spring of the odd year preceeding the course you need, you won't be able to take it until the fall two years later. If you are confused (and it is easy to get confused about this), be sure to see your academic advisor early, rather than late.

Keep you college catalog the entire time you are in college, because it is a legal contract with the school detailing what you have to do to graduate. You catalog is your friend, because you not only have degree specific information, you have contact information such as addresses and phone numbers, and information about each instructor, too. It's not a bad idea to have two copies, one to carry with you, and one to keep at home. Reading the college catalog tells you about college expectations of student conduct, as well as general information about the college itself.

If you have not yet enrolled in college, be sure to obtain and read through the college catalog before signing up. The catalog will tell you what is expected of you as a student, what courses you can CLEP, how many courses you can transfer into the college toward your degree program, the academic policy to follow if you disagree with a grade, and much, much more. College catalogs should be required reading for all serious college students.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Online College Courses - Why Are Online College Courses So Popular?

Online College Courses - Why Are Online College Courses So Popular?

A Guest Post By Benjamin Robert Ehinger

Have you ever taken an online college course? Are you thinking about going back to college or going to college for the first time, but are stressed about working your classes around your job? Online college courses are great for students that want to go to college, but need to work a full time job as well. Here are some of the benefits of online college courses.

1. You will save a ton on gas because you will not have to drive to school ever. With the way gas prices are going you will probably be able to save a couple hundred dollars a month compared to having to drive to your local campus to take classes. This is a big deal because the gas prices are probably not coming down anytime soon.

2. You can schedule your classes however you please. Since you are considering online college courses you will be able to schedule your homework, participation, and test times around all your other obligations. This is a great benefit for those that have to work a full time job, have children to raise, or have other obligations. You can use your free time to take classes no matter if it is in the morning, afternoon, or evening.

3. Most online courses are faster than traditional college courses. There is actually a few online colleges that have accelerated programs. These are usually 6 week classes and you can finish a 2 year degree in about 18 months or a 4 year degree in about 3 years. This will save you a ton of money in the long run because you will not be paying for all that time you don't need to be in class.

Discover all the College Courses Offered Online and start on the path to your success here:

Online College Courses

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Friday, April 1, 2011

Testing in Online Classes

Testing in Online Classes
Linda S Pogue

When taking classes online, different instructors have different ideas on testing. Some instructors may have to follow college rules for testing, while others get to make up their own minds. So, what are the methods of testing in online classes that you may see?
There are basically three methods to online testing:

  1. Proctored exams. When instructors or colleges require proctored exams, you will have to locate an acceptable place to take your exam. Usually, the testing center of a local university or community college is the best place. Contact the testing center to find out what fees you will need to pay and to set up the time you need to take the exams. Your college will send the test to the testing center, or will have some specified way to ensure that you are taking the test there. Unless otherwise instructed by your teacher, the testing center will not allow you to have calculators, purses, backpacks, textbooks, or notes with you during the test.
  2. Online testing. Some online course rooms, such as Blackboard, have the testing function built-in. Instructors can add multiple choice, fill-in-the-blank, and essay questions to the course. Multiple choice exams, depending on how the instructor sets them up, usually give your grade immediately after completing the exam. Fill-in-the-blank exams may give a grade, but the grade may not be correct. For instance, if the answer was New World, and you typed new world, the computer will count the answer wrong. However, your instructor has the ability to go into each student's exam and review answers that he or she deems to be acceptable, and give those points back to the student. Essay questions must be graded by the instructor before the score appears. Online tests are usually timed to help deter cheating, and may have an online proctor who is logged in and monitoring your computer screen during the test to prevent the student searching the Internet for answers while taking the test. Some will require you to have a Web cam and scan te room with the camera before taking the exam.
  3. Open book testing. Some instructors have open book tests that are basically essay type tests, but these are usually harder than any of the other types of tests.

So, why have proctored exams, online proctors, and Web cams? Educational institutions are very concerned with maintaining the quality of their grading systems. If students cheat, they don't test well on exit exams, which reflects poorly on the university. The quality of the education the student receives is adversely affected, and the college accreditation may be impacted.

Whatever type of testing a college requires, the best way to prepare for exams is to do your assignments, read the material, and review it every week. If you review every week, there is no need to cram all the material the last few days before the exam. You will know enough that it won't take long to study the material you just recently learned in class.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Going Back to College After 30

Going Back to College After 30

A Guest Post By Arlene Mones

Thinking about going back to college? Well, I have and it is one of the best decisions I ever made. The thought of going back to college can be overwhelming. You may wonder how you are going to afford it, how will I have the time to study, with conflicting thoughts of really wanting to have that degree. A degree in anything, but just to be able to tell your employer you have a degree, to stop hitting the brick wall in your career because you don't have one.

I decided to go back to college after a seven year break from college and in some ways it is so better this time then when I was in school before. In the 90's, I had to search the card catalog if I wanted to find a book in the library and I had to go through several books to make sure that they were relevant and also had to check the copyright dates to make sure the book was not outdated. Today, you can use goggle or use the library database. If I am on campus and I "Google" something on campus, it will let me know if it is a full text article in my university's database, at least this is how it works at the University of West Florida. I can also use the library databases, like Lexus Nexus. These databases also work like Google, I just put in search words in quotation marks, and it does a search for the topic or topics I am looking for. It is great. No more going through the library carrying heavy books, no more disappointment that someone has checked out the book you probably needed. No late fees or worrying how you are going to carry all of these books.

Another pro about going be to school this round is that you can actually email the professor. This still blows my mind. The first time I was in college, 1993, we did not talk or see our professor until next class. If we had questions, there was no emailing the professor, much less expecting an immediate answer like most of the college kids (from the instant generation) expect.

Now to the cons of college, there are a few, but they are not bad enough to make this an excuse. One con is that most of the people in my classes are much younger than me. They do not respect their elders (the professors) like we were brought up to do. They may constantly talk or interrupt the professor, especially in some of the core classes where they are fresh out of high school. Not all of them are like this, but you will see this, do not be shocked.

Another con, if you study better with someone that studying by yourself, try to find someone your own age to study with. The most of the younger students do not like to study with others, they may tell you that they will study with you at first, but they usually say they study better alone.

If you are going to go back to college and you are going to be expected to do group work, make sure you have text messaging on your phone. From my experience, you will not be able to get a hold of anyone under the age of 25 if you do not have text messaging. For some reason they will not answer their phones, but they will text. If you need to talk to them, as crazy as it sounds, text them first on what is about and ask if they can talk, then tell them you are calling them. I would rather talk to someone then text, but this generation likes to text and they usually do not return your voicemails. It you have a major project, if you can't communicate with your group members, do not expect the project to get done.

Now with our technology, we do not have to go to the class room we can take classes online. There are pros and cons to this alone. The pro is that you don't have to quit your day job to go back to school. The cons are that online is more expensive and you will have to allot more time to figuring things out, because the professor is not there, literally there, to tell you what they expect.

If you go online try to find out from an advisor or other students the professor's style. Finding out their styles and what is expected will help you succeed because some online professors are not organized and are not always good at explaining what is expected in the class. Some of them are not good at returning emails and do not want 80 emails if they did explain something well. Call or set up a time to meet with the professor to find out what will be expected in their course. I did this one semester when I had to take all my classes online because of my work schedule. After meeting with one of my professors, I realized that she was a librarian at the school and she was able to assist me if I had any questions.

Overall, I would say that my experience with college this round is much better. I am making better grades because I want it more now. I can use my iPod to record my lectures, instead of worrying if the whole class will look at me as I flip my tape in my tape recorder. I started with one class at a time and eventually decided to take more. Even taking one class will get you closer to your college degree, then not going at all. I was scared at first, but I am glad I did it and I am proud to be a part of "Class of 2011."

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Saturday, March 26, 2011

USB Flash Drives

One of the questions students sometimes ask is, "What size USB drive should I get?"

Today, you can get drives up to 32GB or more, but that is much more memory than you need for college course work. Not only do you not need that much memory, they are much more expensive when you get into the upper memory size ranges. A USB flash drive of 1GB would actually be enough to save all the papers and research you will need for a semester, and maybe for the entire time you are in college. A 1GB drive will hold several complete textbooks, so you are not likely to fill it up with text documents.

That said, if you are in a graphics arts class that uses computerized images, or a CAD class, you might need a larger USB drive to contain all your work.

There are many brands avaiable today. You can sometimes pick up a 1GB or 2GB USB flash drive for $10 or less. For the person who has fashion in mind, you can even purchase USB jewelry, necklaces, watches, and bracelets. Some even come with Swarovski crystals for that extra bit of bling.

One thing you should know about USB flash drives, though, is that they are not reliable for permanent storage. They may last for years, or may last for a few months. You should use them as backups only. Keep another copy of your work on your student drive at school, your home computer, or on SkyDrive in Windows Live Essentials, which can be downloaded from

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