Hello once again and let’s take a trip down Friendship Lane. In the days long ago before technology was in the forefront people used to call each other, stop by and visit, walk to school together hence fellowship. Now we text, text, and text some more hence technology is first and foremost. Traditional (ground) students get together to have study sessions, meet at a coffee shop, library, or someone’s home. These study sessions are all fine and dandy if your fellow classmates are a car distance away, hop on a train or meet on campus. What about the online student (new traditional) whose classmates and professors are miles, states, or continents apart? Online students need to form online communities of support, networking groups that lend themselves to being able to communicate with their fellow online students.
Let’s Make it Easier-There’s an App for That!
As we all know technology is part of our lifestyle in some form, shape, or fashion. With being a student, technology is most helpful provided you allow it to be. Since I am user of technology for the most part, I still had to make adjustments during my doctoral studies. When I started my program in 2008, I was unaware of the tools/apps there were available to make my life easier. There were the usual Endnotes (free from my school), Zotero, and RefWorks (all web-based) that was used for bibliographies and article tracking. At that particular time that was ok but as I advanced in the program those really didn’t work for me or I was just stuck in my “own way” of doing things.
This time of year the majority of school aged children are returning to school after a summer break. Their parents are purchasing uniforms, new backpacks, and much needed school supplies. The kids have to get in the right mind-set of returning to school and get ready for their first day. The same goes for adults when returning to school. Starting an online program can have an extreme learning curve if you are a “first time” online student.
The Learning Curves and Preparation for Writing the Dissertation
As I stated in my first blog, I was not the traditional student. It had been over 20 years since I had been in school when I returned to finish my Bachelor’s degree. There was limited writing in my undergraduate program and the writing that took place the papers was very short in length. I then made the decision to embark on graduate school, and that is where the lack of experience became very real. I was not prepared to write graduate school, academic quality papers but I quickly learned.
Since I have just completed an online doctoral program, I have taken a bit of time to reflect on the process. When making the decision to attend an online doctoral program one must do their homework. Look at all the programs, see how they are facilitated, ask if you can see a past syllabus, etc. just to get the feel of the class. When entering an online PhD program I highly advise one to have a plan of action for you only have seven years to complete the “entire” program (at least at Capella), which is from the first class within your course work through the final dissertation. Find out what the policies are in terms of taking a leave of absence for whatever reason. Understand the dynamics of the asynchronous classroom and the expectations of the instructor for they can vary from class to class and program to program.