|By Business Wire||
|August 31, 2011 08:06 AM EDT||
With online education growing at a record pace at every level, from high school through graduate programs, Dr. Rebecca Wardlow, provost for Ashford University, has identified eight helpful tips to aid high school students in achieving academic success through online learning.
High schools across the country are adding online education to their core curriculum to improve student access to advanced placement classes, to stimulate more student-teacher interaction, and to create new efficiencies in an era of severe budget constraints. The percentage of high school students taking online courses nearly doubled in a single year and, according to the latest data available from Project Tomorrow's annual Speak Up Survey, more than one-quarter (27 percent) of all high school students took at least one class online last year, up from 14 percent the year before. High school students, although tech savvy and online for hours a day, can face a tough transition into online learning. Teens often don’t have the frame of reference, and discipline necessary, to succeed in what may falsely seem to be an unstructured learning environment.
The initial impression may be that because a class is online, it won't be as rigorous as one in a traditional classroom. Actually, online learning can be more rigorous. There is no credit for attendance. Students only get credit for what they do and the quality of the work submitted. There is no hiding in the back of the classroom. So how, exactly, can high school students succeed in their first online learning experience?
In reviewing the work of thousands of online students, Dr. Wardlow has found certain consistencies to the most successful approaches and has identified eight tips for online learning success in high school. These tips will set the stage for further growth in college:
One – Read everything thoroughly. This sounds obvious, but students need to become oriented into the online classroom. Essential materials can be a click or two away and not easily discovered. Students need to understand the assignment calendar, find the due dates for any and all assignments, and work backward to prepare to fulfill the requirement. Find the tech support number right away so it’s handy for the time that you can’t login, which inevitably happens on deadline!
Two – Visit the classroom every day. Even if it’s for just five to 10 minutes, look for changes, new information, advice and available resources. Explore the online environment to find the library, a writing center, technical support and links to other services that can help the student do better in class.
Three – Figure out how to submit your work. Build on numbers 1 and 2 for great classroom navigation. This is more than just finding the room number. You need to know where the key elements are online and how to submit assignments.
Four – Embrace time management – this is a tricky one. There is a tendency to procrastinate if something isn't due until tomorrow. Become efficient and plan well. Set specific dates and blocks of time to work, just as you would have done with a live classroom schedule. Just because the classes are online doesn't mean you don't have to be there. Establish the disciplines for success.
Five – Establish a relationship with the instructor. Ask questions well in advance of need. Online education can be an advantage here. When stuck, get fast responses via e-mail. Take the time to read input from the instructors. Remember, the instructor can see everything you do in the classroom. They can analyze when you login, when you do your work, and the time you spend online. There is no credit for simply sitting in the seat, you must actively participate and complete every assignment.
Six – Be diligent in your editing and proofreading, your work should be perfect. Students who are active in social media can get lazy in their writing and may not demonstrate good grammar. When writing, use spell check, compose off line, then cut and paste into the classroom if the right editing tools are not available. Avoid social media abbreviations and slang that are inappropriate in any learning environment.
Seven – For parents, be involved online as you would with traditional classes. Help your budding scholars set aside time for studying online. Go over the classes with them. Encourage them to establish their own calendars and plans of action. Communicate with the teachers just as you would in a traditional classroom.
Eight – As one technical detail, make sure the AP credit is approved for universities and colleges. Also, check on how many students are in the online classroom. Class size matters, even when online. Ensure there are teachers and facilitators in the online classroom. Some schools offer what is often called “PDF learning.” Downloading PDF courses for learning puts the entire onus on the student. There is no support or guidance.
With a good online learning experience in high school, students will be better prepared for advancing to any college or university, whether online or traditional. Online classes are the future of education.
About Rebecca Wardlow
Dr. Rebecca Wardlow has been a valuable member of the Ashford University team since 2008. As provost, Dr. Wardlow is responsible for Ashford’s academic plan, including new programs, accreditation and assessment, the academic mission and the overall academic experience for students. Before assuming the role of provost, Dr. Wardlow served as Ashford’s executive dean of the College of Education. Dr. Wardlow earned her Ed.D. in Educational Leadership from University of California, San Diego. She also holds an M.A. in Education Administration from University of California, Riverside and a B.A. in Psychology from San Diego State University.
About Ashford University
Founded in 1918, Ashford University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (www.ncahlc.org). The University offers graduate and undergraduate degree programs online and at its Clinton, Iowa, campus. The University is known for its high quality yet highly affordable online and on-campus programs. For more information, please visit www.ashford.edu or call Shari Rodriguez, associate vice president of Public Relations, at 858.513.9240 x2513.