Equipping Cutting Edge Leaders
Top 10 Tips
For V.E.T.I. Students
Last updated: March 9th, 2011.
If there was only one thing I could tell you about being a V.E.T.I. student, it would be this: if you really want to succeed, you must take responsibility for your own learning.
But there's more than one thing I can tell you about being a V.E.T.I. student (online or onsite). Here's my top 10 tips that can help just about any student.
1. Read the syllabus completely and carefully. The syllabus is like a road map. It helps you navigate your course successfully. It is the student’s job to read the map. Review the course syllabus often. Mark your calendar with all dates and note any special instructions. Many times all you have to do is follow directions. If you can follow directions, you will do well.
2. Introduce yourself to your instructor and classmates. Let your instructors know who you are, your goals and get to know your classmates. A good time is as soon as you are enrolled into your class. You should also share a little about yourself by updating your student profile with your interests and goals.
3. Manage your time wisely. You got things to do, places to go, and souls to save. I get that. You may even have kids, a job and family. I get that too. But guess what? You're in school. And this may just be the most important thing you got going for yourself. School is just as important (if not more important) than any other thing you got going, including ministry. In case know one has told you yet, school is a ministry. That's right. Once you settle this in your mind, you will be free to "Just Say No" to others (who keep asking you to do stuff) and "Yes" to your homework and to consistently enrolling in class (the ministry of education - which should be a priority, at least to you).
If you really want to succeed as student determine the best time for you to study. Commit yourself to those hours and treat it like your most important appointment each week. Schedule your week and include time for reading, writing, discussion posting, and test taking. Discipline yourself to get your work done. Don't look for time, make time.
Students should be dedicated, motivated, organized and committed to each of class.
If you are a busy person sometimes you just have to "burn that midnight oil". If I can do it, you can too. Through determination, persistence, and hard work I was able to complete graduate school in 4 years as a full-time student with a full-time job and a full-time father of 4 teenagers. I asked myself many times, "What were you thinking?" I was also heavily involved in ministry during that time too. When many of my friends were out having fun, I was studying. I thank God for his grace, my wonderful wife for her support, my kids for their patience, and for coffee. It is very possible to be a busy person and to do very good in school (while having fun) but ... you must manage your time well and be willing to pay the price.
Online classes require at least 3-6 hours of study per class, per week. Keep in mind that V.E.T.I. Online is never closed. We are open 24 hours a day. You can log into your course anytime that is convenient to you. Just don't forget to log in. It's all on you, so take advantage of all of the benefits that online classes have to offer and do your best.
I'm reminded of what author and great motivational speaker Zig Ziglar once said, "If it is to be, it's up to me". I heartily agree.
4. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you don't understand an instruction, an assignment or anything in your course, ask for help. Ask lots of questions. Ask another student for help. Call or email your instructor. His or her contact information will be in the course syllabus. If you don't hear from your instructor within 24 hours, contact the office. We will do everything possible to help you succeed.
And don't forget that you can pray and ask God for help too. Your education is a ministry and you are very important to God. He wants you to do your best, so you can become your best. When you study so hard that you get a brain freeze, that's a good time to take a 15 minute break to worship God. I call them, "15 golden minutes". God will help you to "snap out of it" and snap back into your studies with an alert mind (even if it's 3 am in the morning). Believe me, it works. Call him up anytime. God's telephone number is Jeremiah 33:3 (look it up).
5. Participate in class discussions. Contributing in the course discussions is one of the most exciting things to do in an online class. Our discussions forums allow students to contribute significantly to the class plus it helps to build successful communication and community in our online school. Students also frequently receive personalized feedback from their professors each week. We want students to know that they are important and are not isolated at their computer screen. A big part of your grade is also determined by a student’s participation in class, so check you syllabus carefully.
6. Turn in all assignments on-time. Late assignments are accepted by most instructors but, they received a 25% reduction in grade for each assignment per week. If you want to receive the full grade for your hard work, turn it in on-time. All assignments are due by 11:55pm each Sunday night. Review the course syllabus for any additional special instructions. And don't forget to save a copy of all of your work, just in case.
7. Before you submit any assignment, proofread them for errors. Make sure that you grammar check and spell check all of your assignments before turning them in. Most errors can be caught by spending a few extra minutes carefully reviewing your work. I like what Samuel Johnson wrote: "What is written without effort is in general read without pleasure". And please, don't turn in your work completely written in CAPITAL LETTERS.
8. Be self-motivated. Have you ever wondered what it takes to be successful in school? Have you ever asked yourself, "Why do some students make it and some don't?" What's the secret? It's the ability to be self motivated, here's how to do it:
To succeed in school, (or in anything for that matter) learn to encourage yourself. Talk to yourself - yell if you have to. When the pressure is on and your stress level rises remember why you are in school (see #10. below). Commit yourself to others by telling them your goals. Make friends with your classmates so that you can share each others "homework burdens", believe me, this helps. Even if you are not in a class at this moment, talk to other students on The V.E.T.I. Network. Connect with people ( a skilled leader, pastor, teacher, etc.) who are already doing what you desire to do when you graduate. Get a mentor and spend time communicating with him or her. Keep good company by connecting with people who are supportive, encouraging, motivating and yet are not afraid to tell you the truth. Hang around eagles and minimize your time with turkeys, in other words, spend time with positive people.
Watch your progress. List the classes you have completed and put them someplace where you can see them daily. Learn to manage your time better (see #3. above). Even if you fail a course, don't quit. Failure is not Final. Learn from your mistakes, get back up and do it again. Nobody said it would be easy, did they? If they did, they lied. Remember to ask God for help (as you study vigorously). He's just one prayer away. Be persistent and don't give up. And always, always, always practice academic integrity. In other words, be honest.
9. Have fun. After you are done studying, take a break and do something fun. If you don’t, you may burnout and other areas of your life may also be affected. Take care of yourself. Walk around the block and get some fresh air. Eat brain food and do some exercise. Even if it’s only for a short time, set aside time regularly to recuperate, regenerate, to regroup and for renewal.
10. Remember your goals. Education is not simply about completing a program nor simply acquiring information. Education is a time of personal preparation where you become equipped with the knowledge you need to succeed. Write down the reasons (or goals) why you are in school. Keep them in front of you. Little by little you will be getting closer and closer to your goals. Don't do your assignments as fast as you can. Take your time and learn from all of your school work, even if they don't appear to be important (Just Remember the Karate Kid Movie - "Wax On - Wax Off"). Give your best effort and don’t be afraid. You can do “all things” through Christ who strengthens you. Pray and ask God to help you (See #4. above). Grow strong and fulfill your calling. Plan to sacrifice now and decide to pay the price today so you can be well prepared for the opportunities that lie ahead.
There you have it, the Top 10 Tips for Online students. If you practice these tips, you will do well in your class. Although online courses are more flexible than the customary brick-and-mortar classroom setting, they require just as much work. So remember, if you want to succeed in an online classroom, take responsibility for your own learning.
So what do you think? Anything you'd like to add? Please comment below.
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