Since Full Sail is on a month-to-month schedule, each month I get a whole new set of students. By the end of the calendar year I’ve taught upward of 1,000 students!
Since I teach online it’s harder to get to know my students than it was when I taught in the classroom. It is, however, possible to make yourself stick out and get noticed as an online student. Here are a few tips for you to be positively remembered by your online teachers:
Show enthusiasm for your teacher’s subject and for your education. Even if you don’t love writing, give your teacher a chance to show you why she loves it so much and how she can help you get better at it. When students email me or message me and show me their enthusiasm for learning I remember and appreciate them for it.
As I’ve said before, it’s cool to ask for help. Why anyone would not ask questions about something they find confusing is beyond me. Whether I’m learning a new exercise at the gym, sitting in a meeting at work, or watching a presentation, I always have a lot of questions. I like to get things right, and the only way to be sure you’re doing something correctly is to ask questions. I get so disappointed when students send me frustrated emails about their grades saying that they didn’t know how to do the assignment correctly. Why didn’t you just ask if you were confused? WHY? I don’t get it. Just ask questions. You’ll save us both a lot of trouble down the road.
Satisfy Your Hunger
Your hunger to learn, that is. I expect that if you’re paying a hefty pricetag for your education, you actually want to learn something. I enter every new month of class assuming that every one of my new students is attending Full Sail because he or she wants to learn and acquire new skills. School isn’t about proving that you already know how to do something. It’s about learning how to do something and then applying it in a practical manner. When you come to my class I don’t assume you already know how to write a complete short story–I certainly didn’t when I first got to college–but I do assume that you’re here to learn how, and that you have a desire to obtain that knowledge.
Your expectations have to be realistic if you wish to succeed in school. If you spend 30 minutes on a paper and turn it in two minutes before the deadline, can you realistically expect to get a 100% on it? If you don’t speak to your teacher all month, don’t view her feedback, and don’t read the directions on your assignments, can you realistically expect to pass the class? Part of being a student is being realistic about what is being expected of you and what you expect from yourself. Sometimes this means being realistic about what you actually can accomplish. If you have a super busy week and you can’t put 100% into your assignments for the week that’s fine–but you also have to accept that you can’t expect 100% on something you didn’t put 100% into.
Learn From Your Mistakes
Everybody makes mistakes. Some people learn from them, some people don’t. It’s okay to make mistakes, as long as you learn from them. If you fail a class, it’s a good idea to avoid repeating the things you did the first time around when you retake the class. I’m always amazed by how many people try to turn in work that was submitted previously to a different teacher. This is unwise. You’ll most likely get caught, and your new teacher will be baffled as to why you didn’t at least make the changes your previous teacher suggested. Learn from your mistakes. Don’t recycle work that didn’t cut it the first time around. Ask questions to improve your work. Learn and move on.
Remember That Your Teachers Are People, Too
Based on some of the correspondence I’ve had with students, I sometimes wonder if they realize I’m actually a person and not a grading robot. I have sympathy and empathy, to a degree, and I also truly want all of my students to succeed. Trust me, it’s way easier for me in every way if everyone follows the directions, writes well, and passes. That gives me a lot less work to do. I don’t just pick a handful of people every month to pick on and give bad grades to. It’s a ton of work to chase after people who don’t turn in their assignments and it’s a ton of work to comment on a paper that needs a lot of improvement, as opposed to one that’s pretty good. I always do my best to grade fairly and to give people the necessary feedback to succeed on future assignments. I’m human, and I get that other people are human. If you just talk to me, ask questions, and be realistic, you’ll see that I’m not a grading monster out to get you.
Have Some Respect
Have respect for your teachers, certainly, but also for yourself. Allow yourself the opportunity to actually benefit from the education you’re paying money for. Remember that just because you’re paying doesn’t mean you’re owed a certain grade or a degree with no effort. You earn your grades. Again, if you chose to be in school, we expect that you’re here to learn new things and to grow as a person. We respect you enough to hold you to that expectation. You should too. If someone gets out of line with me I have no problem telling them to back up and think about the way they’re approaching the situation–and I do that out of respect for their future as a functioning member of society. You’re welcome.
What else goes into being a super online student? What advice do you have for students who are new to online learning? How do you connect with your online teachers?