Accredited online colleges continue to increase in popularity as an alternative to campus-based education. We evaluated distance learning trends and built a list of technological necessities for online students.
1. mLearning Devices
mLearning is the ability to connect and learn through the use of mobile devices and is often associated with distance learning because of their portability and convenience. mLearning is a fast-growing trend that creates a personalized learning experience with instant connectivity.
BlackBoard has responded to this trend with the launch of its Mobile Central series of applications. Learning institutions can customize the mobile content to offer their students on-the-go education. Applications include: course catalogs, online library book catalog, university maps and school directories. Mobile Central only runs on Blackberry, iPhone and iPod Touch devices.
2. External Hard Drives
Since online courses heavily utilize videoconferencing and computer-based teaching applications, students earning online degrees must be prepared to responsibly manage their computer's storage space.
The storage of class notes, assignments and presentations will eventually eat away at your computer's capacity. Investing in an external hard drive allows you to securely back up important files onto a separate drive that can disconnect from your computer. For most external hard drives it's as simple as plugging in a USB cord. If you need to work on another computer you simply hook up your hard drive and access the saved documents. Also, if you share a computer with family or roommates, this allows you to keep important information safe with limited access.
3. Office Chair
A typical full-time, on campus student attends 12 to 18 hours of lectures per week. This number is similar to online students, but in a virtual environment instead of a classroom. When you add up the time spent on assignments, a significant portion of your day is spent on your computer and at your desk.
Invest in an office chair that focuses on ergonomics. The Eurotech 24/7 was designed for hours of daily use. Some of its student-friendly features include: built-in lumbar support, tilt tension control and a waterfall seat for comfort. Just don't get too comfortable; your academic concentration should be top priority over afternoon naps.
As we've pointed out, online schools require a significant amount of hours per week in front of the computer. While speakers are an option, there are often moments when headphones are your best bet (late at night when others are sleeping, traveling, etc.). Our advice? Go with the Bose In-Ear Headphones. These earpieces feature ultra-comfortable tips that rest in the bowls of the ear (instead of the canal) and are ideal for extended use during online lectures, project discussions, etc.
5. Memory and Retention Games
Memory and retention rates of students enrolled in accredited online courses compared to campus-based students continue to be a heavily debated topic. While some institutions argue that there are no quantitative methods that produce valuable analysis results, others have conducted studies with, what they consider to be, valid findings. In their 2009 winter issue, the OJDLA found distance learners to have a 20% lower retention rate than their traditional counterparts.
What better way to build your retention rate than through an exciting game format? The Simon Trickster Handheld Edition is the perfect solution. Simon has four colors that light up in a sequence with a different tone assigned to each color. After Simon chooses a color sequence, the user is required to repeat the sequence by pressing the appropriate color. This version is also portable and allows you to take advantage of down time or when you are traveling.