Using the internet for academic work

The internet has become arguably the most powerful technology of our age. With it people can connect to each other all over the globe, activists can fight oppression, and educators and students can utilize it to learn. However, with all of this capability comes a load of responsibility.

Search engines and internet portals are great tools to get you started on academic work. However, these tools should not be all that your research entails. Most campus libraries pay money so that students have access to a wealth of articles and books published by scholars in a variety of fields. The internet can help you get started, but research papers should not rest on abstracts and summaries.

Instead visit your campus library and make an appointment with the librarian. He or she may be able to help you find sources that are valid, timely, and respected in the subject about which you are writing. Using reputable sources is the foundation of any good paper. Don’t lose points before you even get started.

5 ways to get on a professor’s good side

5 ways to get on a professor’s good side

College professors have gone through at least six years of education past graduating from high school in order to teach.  They have written lots and lots of papers and completed lots and lots of assignments.  You may want to keep this in mind when you think about how to approach obtaining high grades.  Professors have either seen or even done it all, and they are looking for shoddy work and cheating.

Here are some tips on getting on your professors’ good side as you start this new spring semester.

1) Read your syllabus.

I’ve come across countless students who lose points on assignments simply because they do not read what is expected of them.  Your syllabus is a contract between you and the professor.  It tells you what a professor expects and when it is expected.  The professor may not remind you that certain things are to be read or are due.  However, not knowing is not an excuse.  If it’s written then it’s required.

2) Attend class.

It seems like a simple thing that doesn’t need to be said, but professors notice when you do not attend.  They may not take formal attendance, and there may not be a college attendance policy.  Nonetheless, they notice, and when it comes to grading it can help you if you’ve put forth the basic effort to attend.  Professors sometimes give the benefit of the doubt to students they know.

3) Come to class with questions.

Professors do not like to assume that you understand what they are trying to help you learn.  Many would rather instruct for part of the time and lead discussion, or help students with difficult problems, the other part of the time.  The problem then occurs when students aren’t prepared.  If you haven’t done the necessary reading or homework then the professor has no way to gauge your ability.  Coming to class prepared with questions will show your professors that you are serious about your studies and your grades.

4) Make definitive arguments.

In larger classes it can be hard to stand out.  When you finally do have a chance to speak be sure you make it count.  Don’t start your argument with phrases like “well, I’m sorry but I think. . .” or “I may be wrong but. . .”  You are entitled to an opinion if you’ve done the work in the class.  Own the floor when you get a chance to speak in class and your professors, and classmates, will respect you.

5) Focus

Technology is advancing rapidly, and students want to stay in contact with their friends and families.  However, classtime is no different than work.  It is rude to text, facebook, or twitter during class because it lets the professor, and your peers, know that you do not value what he or she is saying.

Taking advantage of $12 billion

Taking advantage of $12 billion

President Obama has dedicated $12 billion dollars to community colleges in order to train workers and increase the nation’s economic prosperity.  A great deal of these funds will be allocated toward improving the infrastructure and curriculum of America’s community colleges.  However, that does not mean that gains cannot be made individually.

6 steps to take advantage of the President’s community college stimulus:

6)  Spend time researching where the job market is headed.

When restructuring academic programs professors and administrators are often looking to industry, and those new programs will usually be the first to receive federal funds.  Head to your local or state job training site to find out what careers will be hot for the next 5-10 years.

5) Take a look at the federal Standard Occupational Classification

The federal government maintains a list of job titles and duties for a wealth of industries.  After you’ve determined what fields may be growing in your area you can then find out more about them through this document.  It is completely free and on the web.

4)  Find out if the community college near you has a major or coursework in your field of interest.

Community colleges are supposed to be anchored in their, well, communities.  A good one is responsive to its communal needs and will have training and educational opportunities that fit the needs of its residents.   Once you know what you want to study take a look at your local school’s website to find out if the subject is available.

3) Review your format options

What happens if your community college of choice does not have your major?  If you find out that the program you want is not at your home campus then double check to see that the school doesn’t have a nearby campus that does have your program.  Many community colleges have several branches, and not all campuses have the same programs.  Yet, you still may be able to get the courses you want through online learning.

2) Bone up on your math and English

Every one who begins an associate’s degree program must take these subjects – everyone.  People tend to panic when faced with trying to remember concepts from high school, but generally if you take a few breaths and a few books out of the library you can prepare yourself for your placement exams because you will have made yourself comfortable with the subjects again.  By the way, nearly everyone has to take placement exams – everyone.

1) Apply and register for classes in your new chosen field!

Community colleges are in high demand these days as the nation realizes that it needs more educated workers to advance.  You don’t want to be one of the potential students left in the cold because there are no spaces left for you!  Apply well in advance of your anticipated start date and call the admissions office if you feel you may be too late.  An admissions counselor may be able to help you take classes even if the initial deadline has passed.