Category Archives: About Online Learning

Internet Safety

The Internet provides online learners with a great opportunity to earn a degree, connect with others, and share information. Whether enrolled in online K-12 or higher education courses, you should take advantage of the Internet as powerful tool to help you reach your goals.  You should also take responsibility in knowing how to safely navigate the Internet to protect yourself, your family, and your information.

We recommend using the simple guidelines for Internet Safety for Online Learning by iSEEK to protect yourself online. In addition, the USAA Educational Foundation offers a comprehensive online Internet Safety for Adults publication with topics including passwords, safeguarding your privacy, social networking and more.

Be safe!

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Advising in the Fast-Lane

Online Advisors at the Online Support Center are continually looking for new ways to promote online learning. In an effort to find new ways to deliver information regarding online education, advisors have launched new webinars for prospective and current students called “High-Speed Advising” events. Adapted from similar campus-based events, these events are hosted by an Online Advisor via WebEx to relay information in a speedy format.

Each event features a guest speaker who can offer expert advice on the webinar topic. Events are free and typically last under 30 minutes.  Guests can join the event online, by telephone, or both. While no questions are taken during the event, Online Advisors do make TinyChat rooms available for attendees to log onto after the event to ask questions and chat with advisors or speakers.

For prospective online learners, Online Advisors offer events featuring information on:

  • Enrolling in online programs and degrees (i.e. specific curriculum and career information)
  • Determining online college readiness
  • Preparing to finance college

For current online learners, Online Advisors offer events featuring information on:

  • Changing program requirements (for Distance Minnesota programs only)
  • Using online resources and tools

Previously recorded events have highlighted information regarding online degrees in the Energy field, using an online personal portfolio (eFolio), and more.

To aid in better preparing prospective students for online courses, as well as retaining current students in online programs and/or degrees, Online Advisors are preparing to expand these High-Speed Advising events to incorporate tips for college success, including “soft skills” required by online learners.  In addition, Online Advisors plan to increase event offerings to include evening and weekend webinars for attendee convenience.

Learn more about these High-Speed Advising events sponsored by Minnesota Online or sign up today for an upcoming event!

Contributor: Nicole Seifert, Online Student Advisor

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7 Things Every Online Learner Should Do DAILY

1. Log into your course(s). No matter which course management software your college or instructor is using (Desire2Learn, Moodle, Blackboard, etc), you should make time every day to log into your course(s) and check things out. Especially watch any news feeds or discussion boards for updated information regarding your course, assignments, or deadlines.

2. Review the course syllabus. Make sure you understand what your instructor requires of you to be successful in your course(s). Instructor expectations may vary based on teaching style, so refer to your syllabus often to be sure you haven’t missed anything.

3. Check your college email. Your college email account is the official means of communication between you and your college. Check your email for updates or important announcements from your college or instructors.

4. Update your calendar. As new assignments or tests come up in your course(s), update your calendar to be sure you stay on top of things. Missing a deadline could mean big trouble. Keep a master calendar for all of your courses and check it every day.

5. Open the book. Most online courses will have a textbook requirement. Instead of trying to find time to read 10 chapters before the test, read a little every day to stay caught up. This should help you retain what you’ve read and make studying that much easier.

6. Visit the college website. Even though you are learning from a distance, it’s important that you know what your college is up to. There may be events or information that you’d be interested in knowing about. Check your college’s website and any social networking tools (Facebook, Twitter, etc) to see what’s happening.

7. Connect with classmates. Most online classrooms will have a classlist or discussion board for you to connect with classmates. Sometimes profiles of your classmates will be available for you to view as well. Get to know your classmates. They can be great resources for information and support. And…you’re likely to have them in another online class before you finish your degree.

Contributor: Nicole Seifert, Online Student Advisor

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8 Things Every High School Student Should Know About Online Learning

1. It’s flexible.
Already have a part or full-time job you love at home? Not looking forward to the campus experience? Don’t short-change yourself by delaying your college education. Online learning allows you to access your courses at anytime, anywhere through the Internet.

2. It’s cheaper.
Most four-year institutions require that freshman (and sometimes sophomores) live in on-campus housing. Why not cut out the cost of room & board? If home will have you, why not start with online courses? In addition to saving on housing fees, you’ll save on gas, parking fees, and time spent traveling to & from school.

3. It’s challenging.
Thinking online courses are easier than traditional on-campus courses? Think again. Online courses are taught by real instructors who apply the same rigid standards for success in an online class as they would in a traditional classroom. You’ll still need to devote a sufficient number of hours each week toward each online course in order to be successful.

4. It’s diverse.
Online learning is no longer limited in the programs and courses offered to students. Minnesota State Colleges & Universities (MnSCU) currently boasts more than 300 online programs (in addition to the thousands of annual course offerings) ranging from business to health services to technology to energy. Check out Minnesota Online for a complete listing.  Not only are online program offerings varied, but your virtual classroom will be diverse as well. Fellow classmates will vary in age, ethnicity, and economic status. Think of the networking!

5. It’s hot.
ISEEK.org says that growing careers in Minnesota include retail, internet publishing, individual & family services, network administrators, registered nurses, and accountants. And don’t forget about the huge growth in the green/energy industry! Minnesota Online offers certificates, diplomas, and degrees in all of these areas.

6. It’s technical.
Beef up your basic computer skills because online learning will put them to use. You will need your own computer and access to the Internet. Online courses will routinely require you to navigate the web, participate in online discussion boards, read and send emails, and use general computer software like Microsoft Word, Excel & Powerpoint.

7. It’s eligible for aid.
Programs and courses listed at Minnesota Online are offered by accredited colleges and universities within Minnesota State Colleges & Universities (MnSCU). If you plan to apply for financial aid, any grants or loans you qualify for can be applied to your online courses. Details will be worked out with the college you choose to enroll in. Feel free to ask an Online Advisor at Minnesota Online for help.

8. It’s transferable.

MnSCU’s four-year universities, the University of Minnesota, some private colleges, and even a few out-state colleges will accept a 2-year degree that meets the Minnesota Transfer Curriculum. Why not complete your first 2 years of general education courses online from the comfort of your home, at a cheaper tuition rate? Your transfer opportunities are numerous to move on to a Bachelors and maybe even Masters degree!

Contributor: Nicole Seifert, Online Student Advisor

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