Read the article from Colombia University News: 5 Tips to Achieve Your Optimal Work/School/Life Balance

Pursuing an online education can teach you about virtual communication skills and the importance of self-discipline.

Online education can help prepare you for these four real-world situations.

1.  Sometimes you will never meet your coworkers in person. We live in a time, and in a world, where your workspace likely consists of networks spread across the globe. Written language becomes a primary form of communication, and in place of nonverbal cues and gestures come emoticons and other symbols. Online learning can help refine these ways of communicating before getting into the workplace, where they can turn into the difference between getting a task done and losing efficiency due to poor online writing skills.

2.  Online programs rely on self-discipline. Online programs teach students self-reliance. This means that students must learn how to succeed without outside motivation and must find it within themselves to get online every day and do the work without anyone watching them. This translates into successful office practices because businesses often reward those who take the initiative to perform their duties.

3.  You learn to make deadlines on your own. Programs foster self-motivation by setting deadlines for all assignments. With online learning, nobody's there to remind you or give you weekly assignment schedules. Online students need to set deadlines for themselves to accomplish the goals set out by each course. Oftentimes, the student gets the whole assignment schedule up from the very beginning, and it's up to the student to adhere to it for the rest of the semester. This creates self-motivated and efficient workers after graduation.

4.  Online schools familiarize students with technology. Many nontraditional students may not have the same familiarity with technology as their younger counterparts. This may cause a significant learning curve for some, or generate a fear of misusing the technology used at the workplace. Online students might not have this issue as often, since they have already used similar technology to get through their school career.

The takeaway: School does more than just provide an education. It also teaches a valuable work ethic, and online programs prepare students to work in an online world. 

Greetings MyCity Online Learners,

In addition to writing more often, learners may find that they are researching the lectures, websites, and library resources in every online class. “Why is that?” We are glad that you asked. Each online course is designed to help students to make great strides towards graduation, which includes training students in soft skills like researching. The same skill that a student uses to find the source of a quote is the same skill that an employee will use to research a client’s concern. Just like excellent writing skills, researching is a transferable skill to employment opportunities or promotion. We want to provide you with some tips to sharpen your research skills.

*Remember that students have access to GRAMMARLY (located on their MyCity Page)- an automated plagiarism checker. Its free for City College students by creating an account with our designated code.* See attached for more information.

Follow the link to the article:    6 Strategies to Develop Research Skills as an Online Student

Because online learners must literally engage course material on the Internet rather than in the physical classroom, it becomes all too easy to copy and paste an unsubstantiated factoid into a discussion forum or homework assignment without giving it rigorous scholarly consideration.

The following six strategies can help online students produce stronger research.

1.  Contact a librarian before getting stuck sifting through piles of online information: Reaching out at the beginning of a project to clarify the topic, research questions, methodologies and best potential sources will make the research process and project better.



2.  Consider that when in doubt, it's wiser to over-cite sources than risk plagiarism: Online students can use free plagiarism checkers such as PlagScan or GRAMMARLY to ensure an assignment complies.



3.  Use Google and Wikipedia at the beginning of a research process, not the end: It's best to think of Wikipedia as a table of contents of popular sources about an idea rather than the single most definitive source. The links at the bottom of a Wikipedia entry are useful jumping-off points.



4.  Don't think that the Web is your only source of information: Online students can access premium databases that are not available to the public such as ProQuest, EBSCO, JSTOR, Naxos and Elsevier. The difference between searching these collections and the entire web is that these sources are peer-reviewed and under copyright, and do not contain commercial results


5.  Understand the professor's expectations for citation format: Before using a scholarly reference citation tool such as CiteULike, Zotero, or BibDesk, understand that a professor's requirements may differ from the default settings in these tools.



6.  Understand why professors still assign research projects: Research isn't busy work or an outdated vestige of higher education. Research and the information literacy needed to produce it remain sought-after job skills. Online students must be able to accurately search and source scholarly information, evaluate it, contextualize it; think, speak, and write critically about it; and synthesize it to inform opinions and drive good decisions. Graduates who have honed these abilities will quickly rise as the most valued in the workplace.

The takeaway: As online students absorb new knowledge, competencies and skills in pursuit of a degree or certificate, sifting through the copious amounts of useful and useless information should be viewed as a special skill in need of development. Seeking the online assistance of research and reference librarians is an essential practice, and online students must work to develop healthy information-seeking and scholarly citation habits.

Research is one of the skills that your hiring manager is looking for. We are hoping that you will view every assignment that involves research as a perfecting process. The skill of research can be used for personal and professional avenues. As you complete each online course, research should become easier for you to do and produce rewarding results. Embrace the healthy challenge of research; spend adequate researching the right resources, and citing your sources as you write your paper.

As we approach the middle of a term, learners may find that they are writing more often. “Why is that?” We are glad that you asked. Each online course is designed to help students to make great strides towards graduation, which includes training students in soft skills like writing and grammar. Increasing the quality of your writing ability is a transferable skill to employment opportunities or promotion.
*Remember that students have access to GRAMMARLY (located on their MyCity Page)- an automated writing tutor. Its free for City College students by creating an account with our designated code.* See attached for more information.

5 Tips to Improve Writing in Online Classes

The author (Bradley Fuster) starts the article by stating, “I cannot overemphasize the value of excellent writing skills when taking an online class. Unlike face-to-face classes, which often credit oral participation, online courses generally rely more on written work for grading and assessment purposes.” In other words, students should not “treat their weekly PHI 101 reflection or SOC 100 paper as an LOL, ROFL, SMH, GR8 hot mess”.

Consider these five tips to improve your performance when taking writing-intensive online classes.

1.  Understand the writing style expectations for each type of online assignment:

A student's ability to write appropriately for the assignment's context will positively influence their class performance. When in doubt of appropriate style, students should err on the side of formal writing.

2.  Remember that professors have advanced degrees for which they had to write a thesis:

While faculty do not expect thesis-quality writing on a regular basis, they do appreciate Correct spelling, punctuation, grammar and excellent word choice should all be present.

3.  Consider using one device, in one place, exclusively for academic writing:

Limit social media use to a mobile phone and use a tablet or laptop at the kitchen table or library to write for an online class.

4.  Actively schedule time to write for an online class:

Resist the temptation to communicate or view social media during that time

5.  If the class allows, have someone trusted proofread written work

At minimum, students should complete their writing with enough time to re-read it multiple times prior to the submission deadline.

The takeaway: As students spend the majority of their waking hours engaged in mobile social communication, they must consciously switch from social media and less formal communications to their work in online classes. Academic writing style, ability and formality in online classes is a paramount skill for students to be successful.

We want our students to walk off the graduations stage to their desired occupation. Adding excellent writing skills to your resume increases your marketability with employers. Humbly embrace the feedback from instructors, spend adequate time molding your craft of writing, and use all of the tips and resources that City College has to offer.