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  • drdianehamilton 9:02 am on October 12, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Florida, , Indiana, Michigan, Online Learning, , , ,   

    Online Classes So Important: Mandatory for Graduation 

    Times have certainly changed for high school education.  Alabama, Florida and Michigan are just some of the states that now require students to take at least one online course to graduate.  According to the article 10 Online Ed Trends Coming to a High School Near You, “Administrators believe that getting students to take online courses will better prepare them to work with the technologies they’ll face in college and the workforce.”

    In Memphis online classes were increased due to an upswing in the desire by students to take these courses.  Online courses are available for both high school and middle school students.  An advantage for the schools is that they are less expensive.  In the article Online Class Required for Graduation in Memphis, the author points out that there will be some stringent requirements.  “The structure calls for accountability requiring students to log on, finish assignments, and participate in hour-long live chat sessions with an instructor and classmates. Teachers speak with students after each module to verify their identity. Proctored semester exams are administered on school grounds.”

    The number of states adding online requirements continues to grow.  Idaho has a tech-focused school reform program that will require students to take two online courses.  Indiana has also jumped on the technology bandwagon.  Indiana state superintendent, Tony Bennett, recently announced that students will be required to take at least one online course in order to graduate.  In the article United States High Schools Including Online Coursework as Graduation Requirement, the author stated, “Mr. Bennett explained his rationale for an online course requirement by stating that he felt like experiencing an online course would help to prepare Indiana students for the technology they will be using at colleges and universities, as well as in the workforce.”

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  • drdianehamilton 8:23 am on September 23, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Academic Dishonesty, , , , , Online Learning, , , ,   

    New Studies Show Technology to Blame for Increase in Plagiarism 

    Article first published as New Studies Show Technology to Blame for Increase in Plagiarism on Technorati.

    Two Pew Research studies conducted in the spring of 2011 have shown that technology has made it easier for college students to cheat.  TechNewsDaily reported, “A report from the Pew Internet & American Life Project found that 55 percent of college presidents said they noticed an increase in plagiarism over the past decade, and 89 percent of that group said technology has played a major role.”

    Some are blaming this increase on the fact that more colleges are offering online courses. PewSocialTrends reported, “More than three-quarters of the nation’s colleges and universities now offer online classes, according to the survey of college presidents, and about one-in-four college graduates (23%) have taken a course online, according to the general public survey.” However, others are saying this is not only an online course issue as traditional courses allow students Internet access to do their research as well.  The traditional classroom has seen its share of technology-related issues including the use of portable cellular devices to text answers to test questions.

    Research shows that there will be more growth in digital learning. With this growth has generally come more appreciation. Online learning has become a more well-respected form of learning.  “The vast majority of two-year colleges offer online courses (91%), and their leaders are among the most likely to believe that online learning is comparable to learning in a classroom.” However, with access to the Internet, schools must take steps to insure that students are submitting their own work. 

    One of the biggest issues is plagiarism. Sometimes students plagiarize unintentionally due to a lack of understanding how to cite correctly in APA format.  However, many intentionally plagiarize. Schools have combatted this problem by requiring papers be run through a plagiarism-checker like TurnItIn.  Universities buy licenses to use the TurnItIn website which checks documents for originality.  TurnItIn boasts the following statistics:

    • 150+ million archived student papers
    • 90,000+ journals, periodicals & books
    • 1+ million active instructors
    • 14+ billion web pages crawled
    • 10,000 educational institutions
    • 20+ million licensed students
    • 126 countries

    Sites like TurnItIn include many of the papers that are sold online.  Students who are caught submitting these papers face being expelled.  Plagiarism checkers are helpful finding papers that have already been written. However, they cannot detect papers that students pay others to write for them.

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  • drdianehamilton 11:39 pm on May 3, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Blog Talk Radio, , , Internet radio, Monster Jobs, , Online Learning, , , , , Sound Files, Streaming   

    How to Teach Online Classes 

    I’m testing doing some radio podcasts.  This initial show has issues with the music in the first few seconds but it is just a test . . . Anyone interested in learning how to teach online courses may want to listen to this for helpful information though. Click on the picture to hear the podcast or click here.


    Listen to internet radio with DianeHamilton on Blog Talk Radio
  • drdianehamilton 2:48 pm on February 16, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , Online Learning, , , , ,   

    How to Respond Effectively in Online Discussions 

    Online college students often find that they are required to answer discussion questions in class.  With the popularity of texting and the lack of formality used when writing an email, many students are lacking the necessary skills to write an appropriate posting. 

    Online schools often require that postings are substantive.  In other words, the postings should be substantial and have sufficient content to answer questions in depth.  Students may be given guidelines or a minimum word count to guide them.  However, when responding to fellow students’ postings, there are usually not specific word count requirements.  Therefore, it is important for students to respond in a way that is not merely showing their agreement or disagreement with what is being discussed. 

    A good rule of thumb is to support what the student has said with at least one sentence. That doesn’t mean the student has to agree with the statement; they just have to support the fact that the student has made their point. 

    Then after supporting them, the student can disagree or agree with the topic at hand.  They should include several more sentences explaining their position on the topic.  They could give examples and cite sources.  

    A good way to end the discussion would be with a question that is either addressed to the original student or one that could be addressed to the class in order to bring more participants into the discussion.  

    It is extremely important that students write in complete sentences, use correct grammar, check spelling and punctuate correctly.  For additional help with writing skills, please check out the following links:

    Can Spell Check Make Things Worse?

    Top 15 Writing and Grammar Mistakes

    15 Ways to Improve Writing Skills

    10 Common Writing Mistakes

    Can Texting Damage Writing Skills?

  • drdianehamilton 6:48 pm on August 6, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: College students, e-expectations, , , , Noel-Levitz, Online Learning, recent high school graduates, Where high school graduates find college information   

    Where Future College Students Are Finding Information 

    This E-Expectations 2010 report is out and it includes information about college-bound student’s expectations and how they are finding information about learning.   It can be confusing for recent high school graduates to know which college to attend.  In this report Google is the front-runner with 44% of students using this search engine to find college websites.  I found it interesting that 89% of the students learn about schools from traditional mail sources vs. 79% from email and only 65% from online searches.  Not surprisingly, 76% used Facebook as their number one social media resource  compared to only 33% using MySpace.

  • drdianehamilton 1:20 pm on August 5, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Online Learning, Question about Online Learning, student questions,   

    Ask Dr. Diane: First Time Online Student Questions 

    Ask Dr. Diane:  This week’s question is actually a compilation of several questions my “new to online learning” students have asked this week.

    1.  How much time does a student have to complete an online quiz?  This varies by school and by quiz.  In most of my courses, there is no time limit on taking the quiz.  However, many of the quizzes are set up so that you can only take them once.  If you get out of it, they often do not let you get back into it.  If you have technical difficulties, you might be able to call technical support and have them reset the quiz for you.
    2. How many discussion questions do I have to answer each week?  This also varies by school.  I have schools where I post one or two discussion questions each week that we get into a lot of depth discussing.  I have others were we have 5 questions.  Most schools require that you not only answer the initial question but that you also respond to some of your fellow classmates’ responses to that question. 
    3. How much time will I need to spend online each week?  This is a complicated question to answer.  Most of the classes I teach are asynchronous which means you can access the class during the hours of the day when it is most convenient for you. If a class is synchronous that would mean you would have to be online at a specific time.  In asynchronous classes, like the ones I teach, the majority of times students will spend will depend upon the course being taught.  It has been my experience that first-time 100 level courses require more reading than they do a lot of writing.  As you progress into master level courses, more research and writing will be required.  If you are reading more than writing, the time you spend online would depend upon whether your books were online books or regular books.  Even if they are online books, you could technically print them out.  I have some students say they spend about an hour a day online while others spend much more time.  A lot depends upon your learning style and that week’s assignments’ requirements.
    4. How are assignments submitted?  Each school uses a software program to have you access their classroom materials.  This software is called a platform.  The schools where I work use: OLS, Angel, eCollege and Blackboard.  The software for each school may differ to some extent, but in general, you will post answers to questions by responding in a way that is similar to responding to an email or a blog posting.  To upload assignments, it is very similar to uploading a file as you would if you were attaching it to an email. 

    I answer a lot of these questions and more in my book:  The Online Student User’s Manual.

  • drdianehamilton 11:41 am on August 2, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Index of Learning Styles, Kolb's Learning Theory, , Online Learning, , , Verbal Learning,   

    Ask Dr. Diane – Today’s Question About: Online College Student’s Learning Style 

    I am happy to answer questions about online learning, understanding personalities, careers and job changing, personal finance, and more . . . To see the list of things I write about, see the categories to the right. 

    Today’s question:  In an online-learning system, how do you identify visual and verbal learning styles, and then what is the right method to use. Maybe you can give me the information and recommendations about it. Thanks.

    There are several instruments (tests) that can be taken to give you an idea of your preferred style of learning.  You may have heard of VARK, Kolb’s Experiential Learning Theory (ELT), or The Index of Learning Styles .

     Although it is the most helpful to do so, you don’t necessarily have to take a formalized test to know which of the styles best fits you. A student can try several different methods of learning to see which of them provides the most benefit. 

    Some clues that you might be a visual learner would be if you like to:

    • Highlight or underline things to remember them
    • Prefer to re-write notes you have taken to better remember them
    • Find charts or graphs helpful
    • Find flashcards helpful

    Some clues that you might be better with verbal learning would be if you like to:

    • Talk about what you have learned
    • Do well with audio books or like to record lectures
    • Read out loud to listen to questions asked and hear your answers given.
    • Like study groups

    The following site offers a free learning assessment:  http://www.learning-styles-online.com.  This site could be a good starting place to give you a idea of what your style is and to suggest ideas of things you can do to help you learn based upon your preferred style.  

    If you have a question you would like to ask me, please contact me by clicking here.

    To receive a copy of my free online student’s newsletter, please click here.

    Thanks for the great question!

  • drdianehamilton 11:05 pm on July 29, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Free Online Education Information, Newsletter, , , Online Learning, ,   

    Free Information for Prospective Online College Students 

    To sign up to receive my free newsletter containing helpful information about online colleges, including what to expect in the classroom, how to pay for classes and much more click here

    The information in this newsletter includes some excerpts from my book The Online Student User Manual that is due to be published this summer.  To get a head start on the information before the next semester begins, sign up for the newsletter today!

  • drdianehamilton 3:24 pm on July 14, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Online Learning, , , ,   

    7 Benefits of Online Education | Geo Blog 

    7 Benefits of Online Education

    1. Accessibility

    Traditionally, if a student wanted a college education they had to relocate or commute to campus, reduce hours at work, or even postpone careers entirely. But not anymore. Online education offers the same quality education, the same courses, and the same degrees as traditional education but in a more convenient setting. With online education, you can get a college education on your schedule. All you need is a computer and an internet connection and you can go to college in the comfort of your own home.

    2. Flexibility

    In addition to being more accessible, online education is also more flexible than traditional education, especially for students who work. With online education, you can cater your courses, homework, and school correspondence around your work or family schedule. Study when you want and where you want. The flexibility of an online education allows you the ability to maintain your priorities and your income while still earning a college degree.

    3. Work-Ability

    Many people fear that starting or finishing their college education will interfere with their existing careers. Traditionally, going to college meant going to school full-time during the day, which made it difficult to work. Not so with online education. By going to school online, you can keep your current job and continue earning the money you need. Online programs allow you to take courses at your own pace, which in turn allows you the flexibility to work full-time or part-time while still maintaining a balance among work, school, and your social life.

    4. Applicability

    One of the oft-overlooked advantages of working while going to school is the potential applicability that studies may have on your job. In other words, it’s one thing to go to class and learn about something in theory, and it’s another to take that theory and put it into practice. Students who work can apply their newly acquired knowledge immediately to their jobs; they can also focus their studies on the kinds of real-world problems that professionals face daily in the workplace.

    5. Speed

    The accessibility and flexibility of online education makes it possible to shave months, even years off your graduation date. Motivated students can earn prestigious degrees online in half the time it would have taken in a traditional classroom setting.

    6. Variety

    One of the great myths regarding online education is that there aren’t enough degrees to choose from. Not true – at least, not anymore. Colleges and universities are now offering scores of degrees in a variety of different areas including business, criminal justice, education, engineering, health care, hospitality, law, liberal arts, science, and web design, to name but a few. Furthermore, within these areas you can obtain associate degrees, bachelors degrees, masters degrees, and other professional degrees in addition to a gamut of certificates and diplomas.

    7. Cost

    Finally, one of the most dramatic advantages of online education is the cost. Typically, the tuition of online programs is already less expensive than traditional programs. When you add in the potential savings associated with housing, transportation, books, and lost wages, the difference is enormous. Furthermore, if students continue to work while taking classes online, the need for student loans decreases, which greatly eases the financial strain of college after graduation.

    Whether you experience college in a brick-and-mortar classroom or a virtual one, your education will be one of the most important investments you will make in your life. So as you prepare for this important decision, make sure you consider all the options, including the unique possibilities offered by online education. Whatever you choose, you are certain to have a genuine “college experience”, including more than a few all-nighters cramming for that chemistry test.

    People often ask me what the differences are between online learning and the traditional classroom, I think this article gives a pretty good idea of the advantages of online education. I address a lot of this in my book The Online Student User’s Manual.

    • lbwong 4:44 pm on July 14, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      I had the wonderful opportunity of being able to obtain my degree through online education. I chose online education mainly for the flexibility of being able to study and complete assignments at my convenience (both time and place). In my situation, cost was higher for the online degree program than if I would have gone to a traditional program. Nonetheless, I felt it was more important to have flexibility. I was pleasantly surprised that the online program provided me with the structure and material that allowed me to learn effectively. I would highly recommend online education especially for those who work full time and need to juggle family and personal life. Informative post! LB

      • drdianehamilton 8:41 pm on July 14, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks for the comment LB. I have received one of my degrees online and I teach for many different online universities. I am a huge fan of that form of education. It just makes so much more sense! D 🙂

  • drdianehamilton 3:36 pm on July 10, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , Online Learning, , , ,   

    Top Questions New Online Students Ask 

    I need your help! I am developing some videos for YouTube where I will be answering some of my student’s questions.  I would like to hear from those who have questions that you would like answered about online college courses.  Many of my students have questions about participation, time requirements, how discussion questions work, how to stay on track, how online degrees compare to traditional degrees, etc.  Please email me by clicking here and  I will send you back a response and your questions may show up on YouTube!
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