The world of online learning opens doors in the academic world to make higher education more convenient and accessible. I know what you’re thinking: Tell me something I don’t know.

Succeeding as an online student requires focus, dedication and strategy. Learning is both a challenging and rewarding process. It’s kind of like learning to ride a bike, climbing a mountain, running a mini-marathon or finishing the entire Star Wars trilogy in a day: difficult, but rewarding in the end.

So, what are the tools you can use in your online classroom, either as a teacher or student, to make sure you have the same feeling of sweet success that you had when you finished Return of the Jedi just before the stroke of midnight?

A Reliable Host

Having an accomplice to your online classroom can give students a forum for discussion, resources, help and collaboration. Websites like Blackboard and Moodle offer great aids for classrooms, both in-person and online.

If you’re choosing to go with a less well-known site, make sure they are connected to a reliable web hosting company. Your additional class website won’t do any good if it’s constantly crashing, down for maintenance, bugged out or generally malfunctioning.

Easier Navigation

If you already use WordPress and/or del.icio.us, you could soon navigate the Internet with unprecedented speed. Navigating the web with ease and efficiency could make or break your e-learning experience. You want to be able to access the sites you need with the click of a button, from any computer. Time is money, and you don’t want to waste a half hour trying to get around a few different websites.

This WordPress plugin allows you to add your necessary sites to one sidebar on your word press page, kind of like a bookmark on your browser, only this sidebar comes with you wherever you go. Convenient? I think so.

Accurate Feedback

Few aspects of the learning process are more vital than effective communication, especially for online learners. If students and professors can’t communicate questions, comments, concerns or crises, many issues go unaddressed. A huge void typically results in poor results both for the student and professor.
The survey website urtak.com offers professors the ability to communicate with their students with ease and quickness, especially if feedback is needed from a large group. It’s great for course evaluations, so a professor knows how to tweak the course for the next go-round. If the weekly forum posts aren’t adding anything to the learning experience, Professor LeMonde has the right to know.

The site is also compatible with social networking giants like Facebook, Twitter, Blogger and WordPress.

Planning

Whether you’re a student or a professor, proper planning is a key to success. If you’re a visual learner,simple diagrams offers a service that allows you to map out your plan. This could be great for designing your course, planning the syllabus or developing projects. It’s a great tool for students to gather ideas for assignments and papers, managing time or collaborating with other students.

Being able to sketch ideas and see them visually, then share them digitally is a great way to help others understand where you’re coming from, or even help yourself understand your own subconscious. Think about that one for a while.

Go forth and learn!

Learning can be at your fingertips with the help of a few Internet savvy tools. So, don’t let inaccessibility stand in the way between yourself and a valuable education!

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