What I Learned After Taking Online Education Strategies at UoPoeple

What I Learned After Taking Online Education Strategies at UoPoeple

In June 2019 I started my new course, Online Education Strategies at the University of the People. Previously, I had taken the English Composition course at the university as a prerequisite as a non-native English speaker. Now, this new course was like yet another prerequisite for online students. In the past, I posted an update every week about the course but I didn’t this time because I was busy studying. I realized it would be great if I just post one nice summary of the entire course experience by the end of the course.

I felt the same for the last 8 weeks

Yesterday, I took part in the final exam and now I have 3 weeks to relax until the next term of college starts. So let me share what I learned in the course in this blog post.

Online Education Strategies: First Impressions

When I read about the course as a prerequisite of the university, I thought to myself, “Yeah, yet another time-wasting filler course with no real-world use case.” But as I reviewed the syllabus and started reading, I slowly realized these things are important; maybe more important than other general education courses.

I became overwhelmed when I saw the amount of work required each week. Each week I had to read more, write more and put more effort into the studies. After completing the English Composition course last term, which was very simple I thought this one is going to be the same. But I was wrong. The amount of effort required to get the same grade was doubled (maybe even tripled.)

It was really overwhelming at the start of the course. The fact that I have to put more effort into passing this course made me feel bad. However, I realized in order to achieve something really worthwhile, I have to work hard.

What I Learned in This Course

Here’s a quick list of the topics I learned in this course with no particular order:

  1. Time & Stress Management: To me, this was highly required. I am the kind of person who keeps on stressing all the time. The stress management techniques helped me cope up with my stress and anxiety. Time management techniques helped me get a grip on my daily schedule. I can get more done without taking on stress. Effective time management happens by knowing where your time is going and planning ahead of time.
  2. Critical Thinking: Yet another valuable skill in everyday life and also in work life. I heard about critical thinking for a long time but didn’t know what it is and how to do it. Critical thinking is the process of evaluating the value of an idea. I learned many strategies for critical thinking throughout this course, and now actively using this technique to think about things in my study, work and in my day to day life.
  3. Effective Goal Setting: I know how to make and set goals, but sometimes I achieve them and most of the time I fail them. I didn’t know how to set effective goals. Setting effective goals puts you in a position where you can successfully achieve the goal. An effective goal is S.M.A.R.T., Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound. I added an extra Y to the method to make it SMART-Y. The Y stands for Yes, I want to achieve it.
  4. Active Learning: We can retain more of what we learned if we learn it actively. Active learning includes discussing the topic, writing about it, teaching to others, and applying it in the real world. Turns out I have been doing active learning for a while because I always love to blog about the things I love. I love to teach it to others and also use the knowledge to build new things. The VARK modal of learning (Visual, Aural, Read/Write, and Kinesthetic) showed me I am a Kinesthetic learner; meaning, I learn better by doing or watching other people do it in front of me.
  5. Self Directed Learning and Intrinsic Motivation: A self-directed learner is a person who takes charge of his/her learning. A self-directed learner is often intrinsically motivated. Intrinsic motivation is when you do something because you love to do it. I realized I am an extrinsically motivated person, which means I care about outside rewards to do certain things. It’s good to become a self-directed learner and I am thinking about developing intrinsic motivation for learning.
  6. Note Taking: This is an effective skill when it comes to learning about new things. I always used to take notes using the list method. I used to write down all the facts and items on a paper which is very ineffective. With better note-taking methods, I can take effective notes which will help me learn and retain things for longer. I learned about the Cornell Method of note-taking and now using it on my day to day life.
  7. How to Read Better: Finally, the best thing I learned in this course is how to read better; especially how to read very long reading assignments and how to retain more information. Combined with effective note-taking, time management, and goal-setting I can now read efficiently. In the past, I used to read things word for word, but now I learned that it’s not realistic to read everything from start to finish. By learning the strategies of effective reading, I am no longer afraid of taking on large reading assignments.

This course has been a huge help for me, as I used the teachings in not just school but also in my work, and in my daily life. I couldn’t have found and learned all these life-changing skills on my own.

What’s Next?

I had a hell of time studying this course and my exam went really well. I hope I will pass and in the next term, I am going to take on 2 new courses: 1. Programming Fundamentals (Yes! a CS course!), and 2. Greek and Roman Civilization. I can tell I won’t have much time once I take on these courses next term, but I expect to squeeze in some extracurriculars on the side. Hope to write more!