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How You Can Prepare to Learn Online

Any degree program can be challenging, but online learning can be even more difficult if you’re unprepared. Online students are often balancing many priorities: school, work, family, military service and more.

How can students set themselves up for success in an online classroom? First, get to know your student success team. Boise State Online equips students to face any challenge with a full team of coaches, advisors, faculty and staff who are dedicated to helping you reach your goals.

In addition to your support team, you can take a course specifically designed to help you prepare for online learning — ACAD 107: Preparing for Online Learning.

Woman sits on couch looking at laptop

Making the Most of Online Learning

Why create a course to help students learn about learning? Bonnie Jaks, Student Success Advisor and ACAD 107 instructor, gives us some insight into the importance of the course. It’s designed to help any online student make the most of their time in school. Offered in a seven-week session, either during the first or second session of the semester, this class is available to brand new students and those who decide they need more support after beginning courses.

Many schools offer new-student transition resources to incoming first-year students — this course applies that proactive support mindset specifically for online students.

Online students come from all different backgrounds, from traditional students transitioning to online courses and programs, to adult learners who have never attended college or are returning after a long time and with as many unique obstacles as there are online students.

For students who haven’t been in school for a long time, technology can be intimidating.

“We just assume they know how to use these types of technology, like Blackboard or Google Suite…… All of these things we expect them to know how to use, but a lot of them have actually never used it – that’s what this class is for, to get them feeling comfortable with that technology before diving deep into their studies,” said Jaks.

“…that’s what this class is for, to get them feeling comfortable with that technology before diving deep into their studies.” -Bonnie Jaks

Other students jump into their online program and realize that they need a little more assistance. For those students, the class creates a support system where students can discover and acknowledge the areas they need help with and grow their confidence in the online classroom.

Built for Success

The ACAD 107: Preparing For Online Learning course covers many useful topics, including time management and how to schedule study time, computer maintenance basics and file organization, sourcing credible information and how to cite sources properly. Course assessments help you identify strengths and weaknesses so you can focus energy on developing the skills you need most.

Students master the tools commonly used in online learning, like the Google Suite, Blackboard, Zoom and FlipGrid. Getting technology hurdles out of the way leaves more time to absorb the actual course content.

Jaks says the most valuable part of ACAD 107 is feeling more comfortable as a student.

“I don’t think students can be effective if they don’t have the basics down. For the student who is uncomfortable with using a computer or says they ‘are not tech savvy’ this teaches them the basics so they can get through their class without panicking as an instructor is saying ‘go to this website, submit this’ ….. This takes away that fear, which is great!”

For students who aren’t used to the time management that an asynchronous online course requires, ACAD 107 fills their tool box with tools for planning. The course is all about helping non-traditional students with busy lives find practical solutions to their specific problems.

“Say you are a working mom who has to drop your kids off at school and then go straight to work and then figure out a way to do homework and get food on the table — we talk about how to create a study schedule around that. It’s a much more real-life scenario than some of the traditional ‘study schedule tips’ that you see. We are recognizing outside responsibilities and helping them navigate everything on a more personal level.”

“It’s a much more real-life scenario than some of the traditional ‘study schedule tips’ that you see. We are recognizing outside responsibilities and helping them navigate everything on a more personal level.”

Why Boise State Online?

While it’s common for college freshmen to take first-year experience courses to prepare for the rigor of university life, the same type of incoming support course is not common in online degree programs.

“Everybody knows that freshmen need help; they need that transition time from high school to college. I don’t often see this focus on the adult online learner who is coming from a completely different point. So that is unique to Boise State. We understand our student population and we want to meet them where they are.”

“We understand our student population and we want to meet them where they are.”

In addition to the Preparing for Online Learning course, Boise State online students receive other resources to help them succeed. First-time users can utilize a Blackboard practice site to become familiar and access a resource site for each program. These resource sites help students find information about courses, how to talk to instructors, quick access to the advising team and other important links.

The Boise State Online program is unique in that it provides a full support team to students. Each coach, advisor, faculty and staff member is here to guide students through financial aid, learning resources, career support and the tough questions they face, whether it’s balancing responsibilities or getting a tutor.

We understand that your path to your degree is unique, and we want to meet you where you are to help you reach your goals.

Interested in learning more about our online programs? Talk to one of our team members today!

Contact Boise State Online

Questions about Boise State Online? Talk to a Student Success Coach today!
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