Category Archives: Student Success Tips

Open Source Materials and Textbooks

wikilogoIf you’re a student in the twenty-first century, you’ve probably wondered why professors even bother to require a textbook. After all, the amount of knowledge available online is astounding, abundant, and free. Why don’t academic professionals simply assign open source materials for the courses they teach?

Open Source originally started as a term used to refer to license-free software with freely shared and modified source code. Developers are able to share and collaborate on the software code. Now, the term is used widely to mean shareable data that is available for use, free from restrictive copyright or licensing. Sites such as Wikipedia or Khan Academy are great examples of open source in action.

So what’s wrong with using open source materials in the classroom?

On the internet, anyone is free to publish – and that’s both the beauty and the weakness of the internet. When you use a resource on the internet, it has not had the extensive vetting that a published academic work has had. Educational publishing has a complex system of peer review and cross checking for inconsistency and error.

Carefully chosen open source resources will undoubtedly be a part of the reference materials used in courses you take at Wilmington University. But an authoritative, scientific, and accurate textbook will still be the most reliable and solid choice for a course.

Online Students – What’s Your Learning Style?

In 1983, Howard Gardner proposed the theory of multiple intelligences in his book Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences. This theory has been widely discussed and criticized in the academic and psychology communities. Gardner himself cautions against using his theory to label students as one type of learner or another.

learning style imageHowever, as an online student, being aware of your strengths and weaknesses when learning new material is crucial to your success. Gardner’s theory proposed seven basic “intelligences:”

  • Visual (spatial):You prefer using pictures, images, and spatial understanding.
  • Aural (auditory-musical): You prefer using sound and music.
  • Verbal (linguistic): You prefer using words, both in speech and writing.
  • Physical (kinesthetic): You prefer using your body, hands and sense of touch.
  • Logical (mathematical): You prefer using logic, reasoning and systems.
  • Social (interpersonal): You prefer to learn in groups or with other people.
  • Solitary (intrapersonal): You prefer to work alone and use self-study.

An online student who is a strong social learner might need to make a concerted effort to incorporate social interaction into their studies. Students strong in visual intelligence may learn quicker with online presentations, while a student strong in aural intelligence may prefer to listen to a lecture. Being aware of these choices can help an online student enforce their learning by focusing on their strengths.

What are your strengths? For fun, try this quiz to identify your preferred learning style:
http://www.edutopia.org/multiple-intelligences-learning-styles-quiz

 

Online Students at the Campus Store

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At Wilmington University, online students and face to face students who take the same course will generally have the same resource requirements. But if you’re a student in Florida, do you shop at the Wilmington University Campus store – online?

Carmen Casanova, Campus Store manager, says that over 25% of the Campus Store sales are online – but very frequently, online sales are to local students. “No matter where the students are located, we’re here to assist students, getting their books to them on time,” she said. “We ship around the corner, and overseas.”

If you’re an online student receiving financial aid, using that credit at the Campus Store after tuition obligations are met is probably the easiest way to use the remainder of your award.

Online textbook retailers such as Chegg, Amazon and Ecampus make comparison shopping very simple, but Casanova recommends caution. “Be careful that you are ordering the exact edition you need, with all software or online keys intact.”

Third party purchases are often not guaranteed or returnable, so if you find that the textbook you’ve ordered is missing a dvd, you may be out of luck. Using the Campus Store for your textbook purchases means you are guaranteed to have the correct materials for your class.

Ebooks: The Campus Store Weighs In

201girlwithtabletEarlier this year, Dr. Sallie Reissman, Senior Director of Online Learning and Educational Technology gave us her opinion of ebooks and the future of printed material. We asked Carmen Casanova, Manager of the Campus Store, and Rich Knapp, Assistant Manager to share their perspective and tell us about the Campus Store’s electronic offerings.

The Campus Store first offered ebooks to students in the fall of 2010. It was a small test run, with a limited number of titles that included a math text. Four years later, the Campus Store offers a wide selection of texts, mainly from large publishers.

“The publishers give us different options that we pass onto students,” said Knapp, who also serves as the Textbook coordinator for the Campus Store. “E-books are available for 360 and 180 day blocks of time,” he said, “and hopefully, we’ll be able to offer 90 day rentals in the near future.”

Knapp believes that it’s in the best interest of publishers to make the move to ebooks. With electronic resources, there are fewer third parties, and the publisher has much more control over content and revenue. While there are a few courses at Wilmington University that use electronic resources exclusively, Knapp believes there will always be print offerings available.

What excites Knapp about the electronic revolution in the textbook market is the opportunity for student feedback and adaptable content. Ebooks with interactive learning components such as quizzes or problems that can adapt to the students’ needs are becoming the norm. “They’re creating content that can help an A student or a C student succeed,” he said.

Carmen Casanova, Campus Store manager, points out that ebooks have a tremendous advantage for students with visual impairments. “Students can increase the font size or even have the text read to them.”

Ebook sales have recently leveled off nationally (Yahoo Finance article), and the Wilmington University Campus Store has also noticed a leveling off of demand for electronic media.

What Every Student Wants to Know: Why Are My Books So Expensive?

textbookblogWe sat down with Rich Knapp and Carmen Casanova from Wilmington University’s Campus Store to ask them about renting and purchasing textbooks and etextbooks. We asked them the question that most students ask – “Why are textbooks so expensive compared to non-educational books?”

Unlike non-educational books, textbooks go through a rigorous approval process. “Development and vetting of the product is the most expensive part of textbook development,” said Rich Knapp, Assistant Manager and Texbook Coordinator at the Campus Store.

Tenured professors are hired to write the book, while other professionals vet and correct the text. After that, a sales team markets and sells the book. “All of this happens before the publisher gets any revenue,” added Knapp. Mass market publishing requires much less up front investment.

Carmen Casanova, Manager of the Campus Store, wants Wilmington University students to know that the Campus Store is committed to giving students the best price possible for their books. “The Campus Store is owned and operated by Wilmington University, a non-profit institution,” she said.

Many higher education institutions have outsourced their bookstores to outside companies. “We’re here to provide a service to our students, not to make a profit,” said Casanova. “We work very hard to find the lower possible prices for our students.”

But there’s no denying that textbooks are a large expense in your education budget.

If textbooks are straining your budget, there are steps you can take to reduce the expense. Try renting your books, or consider ebooks, which can be up to 50% of the cost of printed books. And financial aid students may use their award to purchase books at the Campus Store after their tuition obligation is met.

Casanova and Knapp recognize that students also take advantage of Amazon’s competitive textbook pricing, but caution students that outside sources’ return policies may not be as generous as the Campus Store’s. Students also run the risk of ordering an outdated or wrong textbook.

Tech Support and Online Students

techsupport cut outAt Wilmington University, ensuring that online students have the technical resources they need to be successful is a priority. We’ve instituted a number of support programs targeted toward technical support of our students, including:

  1. An online orientation course, DIS 095, with links and tools to technical support in the course.
  2. Blackboard How-to Videos
  3. Access to the University Information Center, which offers a toll free phone number for tech support.

And all matriculating students, online or on campus, with less than 15 credits must take FYE – First Year Experience, a seminar designed to introduce students to college level expectations and experiences. Kelly Clayton, Online Student Navigator at Wilmington University, says, “Part of FYE’s goal is to give the student an overview of the technology tools they need for success in Wilmington University’s online programs.”

Clayton says most tech questions that she fields are simple issues regarding web browsers and problems within specific courses, such as assignment submissions.

Students who need help with Microsoft software applications can visit Wilmington University’s Student Success Center – online. If you need to brush up on your Excel, PowerPoint or Word skills, you can view a video tutorial or check their calendar for online workshops: http://www.wilmu.edu/ssc/workandsems.aspx


Students needing technical support for Blackboard, WebCampus, email, or other technology systems, please contact The University Information Center (UIC):


 

 

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD): Online Students on the Front Lines

Bring Your Own Device(BYOD) is an industry and educational buzz phrase that’s been getting a lot of attention lately. Businesses and educational institutions have modified their rigid technological requirements in favor of a more relaxed acceptance of employees and students using their own technology in the workplace and classroom.

For online students, using your own technology is nothing new. And students that choose to attend classes completely online must rely completely on their own ability to manage technology.

an array of different technology: tablets, laptops, phones
What device do you bring to the table?

Faced with a dizzying array of technology tools, laptops to desktops, tablets and smartphones, how do online students decide which tools will work best for them?

Sometimes students don’t make any new choices, but simply use their home computing system without investing or changing technology when they enroll in an online course. And that’s fine.

Wilmington University’s recommendations for students interested in online education are very basic:

  • convenient internet access
  • email
  • online research capability
  • computing skills that include proficiency with Microsoft products, including Word and PowerPoint

Wilmington University also recommends the use of certain internet browsers.

For the student interested in buying new devices or software, your status as a Wilmington University student entitles you to educational discounts at Dell, Apple, and JourneyEd. Com. You can find student purchasing information on this page.

Is BYOD liberating or nerve wracking? When you are buying technology, do you consider your needs as an online student?

The Pen is Mightier than the Keyboard

study-notepadVstypingHow do you take notes these days? Can you type faster than you can write with pen and paper? If you’re using your laptop to type notes during lectures or meetings, you may want to rethink that practice. The Chronicle of Higher Education (http://chronicle.com/blogs/wiredcampus/taking-notes-by-hand-benefits-recall-researchers-find/51411) recently reported on a new study of note taking practices. This study shows that students have a much higher rate of knowledge retention and comprehension when handwriting notes rather than typing.

“When I type notes, I find that I’m not really listening and comprehending the information. It seems it goes in one ear and out the other while transcribing what the speaker is saying,” said Adam Voyton, Instructional Technology Project Specialist at Wilmington University’s Educational Technology Department.

There’s a scientific basis for Voyton’s impression. An experiment conducted by Jean-Luc Velay at the University of Marseille (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110119095458.htm) demonstrated that the brain uses different areas when writing longhand as opposed to typing. Writing by hand engages the sensorimotor memory part of our brain that helps us recognize letters.

The report in the Chronicle of Higher Education states that even though note taking on a computer results in more detailed transcribed notes, long hand note takers have more conceptual understanding of the material, and in some cases, even more factual recall.

But fans of technology shouldn’t despair. Instead of a pencil, why not break out a stylus pen and take notes on a tablet? You’ll have the best of both worlds – the advantage of notes taken electronically combined with the higher brain retentive action of long hand writing.

Useful Web Sites

Amazon Prime shipping benefits free for 6 months

Take advantage of this special offer exclusively for students to get FREE 2-day. Shipping from items purchased on Amazon.com

Tricks for students conducting research

By pressing Ctrl+F (on a PC) on your keyboard, you can type in a word to find all the instances of that word on the web page you are on.

Improve your focus while studying with this free white noise generator

This tool can help to improve your focus the next time you need to get down to business at writing a term paper.

Ways to backup your computer files

For anyone that has had a computer crash, you know the importance of backing up your files.

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Campus Updates

Important dates for Spring 2012

Did you know that Spring Semester classes will start on Monday, January 9,2012? check out more important dates on the Academic Calendar Virtual Career Fair. You dont even have to leave your home to attend this event! All jobs are posted online to review from your own computer.

Tips for scheduling your time

Feeling overwhelmed by the hustle and bustle of the holiday season? read these strategies on how to manage your time more effectively.

Check your web browser’s compatibility with Blackboard

This web page determines the capabilities of your web browser that are necessary for your Blackboard courses to work properly

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With the Fall Semester finally coming to a close, it’s time to get ready for the holidays and prepare to set foot in a brand new year. Finish off the 2011 year by reading this eNewsletter, which contains information on student services and academic resources to help you in completing your educational goals.

We hope that you have a safe and enjoyable holiday break. See you online in 2012! The Online Learning Team navigator@wilmu.edu

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Improve Your Study Skills

Studying can be a very challenging. Not only do you have to find the time to study without distractions, but you also have to focus your mind to concentrate on the subject matter (coffee tends to help). Here are some helpful study tips when you are reading a textbook:
  • First, break the chapter down into an outline in your own words. Then, underline the most important elements.
  • Show the relationships each of the statements have to each other when arranging your notes.
  • If there’s a summary in your textbook at the end of a section, read it first, then keep the points that it emphasizes in mind as you read through the section from the beginning.
  • To reinforce your memory of the new vocabulary words in each chapter, try to incorporate them into your everyday conversations.

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Learn how to Cite Properly

Have you ever been in such a hurry to finish a paper by a tight deadline that you forgot to quote a piece of work you used? You are not alone. Fortunately, Wilmington University now offers SafeAssign: a service specifically designed for students to:

Research, Plagiarism, and APA Resources

Writing in APA format can be challenging. To assist you, the Student Success Center has compiled these Writing Resources that may help you improve your writing skills. They will help you to learn the APA format, view the guidelines in which a paper is graded, and become informed of the trappings of plagiarism.

Wilmington University Quick Guide to APA Style

Need to brush up on how to write an APA formatted paper, or never learned the APA format at all? This guide will help you get started.

APA Paper Template

Use this Microsoft Word Template as a jumping off point for your next research paper.

APA Citation Guides

Another great place to find the right way to format the reference page of your next paper in APA format.

Son of Citation Machine

Use this citation generator to properly cite resources for your next research paper.

Plagiarism and APA

Download this PDF document that covers plagiarism, APA writing, and some very useful writing tools.

Zotero.org

Collect, Research, Cite, and Organize your references using this online web application.

Electronic Reference Formats

This site provides formatting directions for referencing electronic sources in specific subjects such as history, science, social science, etc.

Career Central – Your gateway to the best entry-level jobs on the Internet

College Central is a powerful online tool for students and alumni to maintain a resume and find jobs. Click here to register now. There are many reasons to sign up:

  • Search for jobs posted exclusively for Wilmington University students.
  • Build a résumé with Résumé Builder or upload a résumé so it can be searched by employers.
  • Receive e-mails about programs, services and job-related topics.
  • Gain access to announcements, upcoming events, career advice documents, career advice videos, and career articles from over 125 authors.
  • Build an online portfolio in Career Portfolio CentralSM to support your résumé and demonstrate your best work to employers.

Online Career Development Workshops

Online Interviewing  Workshop

Register for an online career planning workshop (accessible through Blackboard) to have your resume critiqued by the Wilmington University Career Services Office. Please email careerservices@wlmu.edu to register today! The deadline to sign up is February 22

Online Job Search Strategies Workshop

Looking for a new job? Need help searching? Register for this online workshop to review up to date tips and techniques! Please register at careerservices@wilmu.edu. Service available from March 7-21.

Online Webinars

Access FREE online webinars at TalentMarks.com! Just create a username and password and you will have access to great webinars from the experts in Career Development!

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