A supportive institution can make all the difference for online students

support-blog

When students make the decision to enroll in an online program, they frequently have apprehension. Perhaps they have been out of school awhile or have never taken an online class. Maybe they are nervous about writing a paper or taking a math class, or simply feel that they will be isolated and on their own in an online program.

At Linfield, we know that it can be overwhelming to take this step and coming into a supportive environment can make a big difference. In our Online and Continuing Education program, we celebrate our students and know that they are often balancing a heavy load of responsibilities.  We know that their lives are often very different from our residential students and have tailored our program to address their unique needs.  The many staff who work with online students at Linfield are enthusiastic about helping them take these next steps in their lives.   Assistant Director of Admission Reese Zimmer genuinely appreciates working with students who are so driven towards their goals, especially when so many of them have to balance their education with having a career and/or family.

This admiration is echoed by Academic Advisor Ann Sukalac who says, “I love to getting to know the students, learn about their goals and dreams and then help them to meet the academic part of those goals.  Online students are generally working (most of them full time) and balancing work and family life with their schooling.  Their dedication is a wonderful thing to behold.”

From the time students fill out a request for information form, it is our goal to make the online learning process easy and worry-free. Academic Advisor Joanne Swenson works with our RN to BSN students and focuses on customer service. “We answer emails within 24 hours, offer phone call appointments for students out of the area, or meet in-person with students who can or who want to,” said Joanne.

Joanne also cares about how the students are doing emotionally, as well. “I often have to put on my ‘counselor hat’ to talk students through difficult situations or personal issues they are dealing with.”

Admission Counselor Deanna Fairchild knows that “returning to college can be stressful and cause some apprehension…” and she always tries to put a student’s worries to rest in their first conversations by discussing their concerns and answering any potential questions that may arise about their education.

When comparing Linfield to other online learning programs, our liberal arts core sets us apart because of how it develops students’ skill set. Instructional Designer Jane Wilde noted that “Linfield’s commitment to liberal arts ideals is the hallmark of what we offer. Regardless of the subjects we teach, or the professional credentials we offer, we emphasize critical thinking, and the ability to see the problems from multiple points of view.”

The other thing that sets Linfield apart is a strong sense of community which carries over to our online classrooms.  Advisors like Ann notice that the successful students are the ones who find an avenue to connect in the online environment.

“The most surprising thing to me about online students is how they manage to personalize the environment for themselves.  When I first worked with online, I was concerned that the environment would be cold and lack the collegial aspect of the classroom.  And a student who doesn’t take advantage of the possibilities could still find it to be that way. But so many students actually do take my advice and form study groups, or just have particular study-buddies that they work with via phone, or Skype, or chat and some great friendships have been formed,” says Ann.  “If a students will put out a virtual hand, there are people there to virtually take it:  faculty, advisors and fellow students.”

All of our staff members are committed to making the student experience as rewarding as possible. As students strive to meet their educational goals, the staff at Linfield will be here to support them every step of the way.

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Five Tips To Help Form Bonds With Online Peers And Teachers

Not even the online student, isolated in their personal schedule, is an island. Taking part in the online community made available with online college courses enhances and encourages the learning experience.

Linfield’s online college courses offer a unique and convenient experience to students across the globe. Even though the programs are designed to fit the needs of the individual student, everyone is encouraged to join the online community as much as possible. Forming a bond with a peer, or a personal connection with a teacher, can not only enrich the online experience but encourage growth and hard work within a student as well. Here are a few ways to reach out to the online community and get to know others.

Make Your Profile Available

You should have at your disposal an online profile of some kind. By filling out details about your goals, experiences, background, and even your personal life, you become more “approachable” by those that see your name on the roster. Go the extra mile and make sure your profile represents you and your personality and reasons for joining Linfield’s online college courses. If you’re comfortable with an online presence, provide a picture of your face and links to personal social media.

Take The Initiative In Communicatin

Your teacher will probably want everyone to be familiar with themselves and each other. They will likely create a thread on the community forum just for this purpose. Don’t wait for someone else to get the conversation started. Put yourself out there so others feel comfortable doing the same. If your teacher doesn’t create a “meet” thread on one of your online college courses community’s forum, be the first to create it. Your actions will be rewarded (more on that later).

Respond When Possible

In class discussions or in threads on the forum, always answer questions when you can. Remember, teachers are trying to encourage a conversation. By building a reputation as a student who responds to questions from both the teacher and students, you make yourself available for feedback later.

Reach Out When Needed

You may end up forming a personal connection with your fellow students. If you notice one of your peers has stopped participating and you have the resources to reach out to them appropriately, doing so could encourage them to continue on their educational path.

Embrace Acceptance And Community When Needed

Online college courses are as much about community as they are about independence and flexibility. By reaching out, taking the initiative and making yourself available when possible, you are helping to build that community. Your actions will be rewarded in the form of encouragement when you need it the most. If you miss a discussion, or need more time or help on an assignment, you will find that you have sown the seeds of an online group of friends who are ready and willing to help.

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Four Ways To Get The Best Experience With An Online College Degree Program

An online college degree program sets students up for success, but it’s up to the student to get the most out of their education.

Linfield College offers a dynamic, 100% online college degree program that has enabled students to earn their degrees with flexible schedules at their convenience for over ten years. These fully accredited degree programs are great for the busy student who needs to balance work and family with the pursuit of higher education. While Linfield has made these options available, forming a solid education path can ensure that students get the most out of the program. Let’s take a look at some strategy points.

Decide On a Career Path… And Stick To It

Students who don’t know exactly which online college degree program they would like to enter upon enrollment are less likely to graduate. Indecision is okay at first, but taking the time to make an educated decision on a path allows for a student to focus on the forming and execution of a graduation plan. Take advantage of online degree listings to get an idea of what goes into a specific degree program.

Work With An Advisor To Find The Right Schedule

One of the most significant benefits of online learning at Linfield is that students can create a unique schedule that fits into their already busy lives. While scheduling on one’s own is possible, contacting a personal advisor gives the student the assurance that the school is willing to listen to their needs. Linfield’s counselors are dedicated to their students, so be sure to check in with one frequently with any issues.

Get Involved, Stay Active

Though the freedom of studying from home at their own convenience can be an accommodating experience for a student, sometimes motivation can be hard to find from within. For this reason, extracurricular activities offered online should be taken advantage of when possible. Students of Linfield’s online college degree program can take advantage of current online enrichment programs to bond with peers or to find unexpected career paths.

Don’t Be Afraid To Use Resources

Ultimately, students are not alone even when studying online. The online resources, staff, and fellow students form a support system that need only be tapped into to get the most out of an online degree program at Linfield.

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