Being fully engaged in your courses will allow you to maximize your experience and, ultimately, your knowledge. As someone who graduated from the business degree program with highest distinction, I found these rules of engagement most useful:
1. Use the Syllabus
Most of your professors will advise this, and I recommend going beyond simply referencing it for key policies, procedures, and due dates at the beginning of the course. You should reference syllabi throughout their courses. Rather than send an email to fellow classmates or contacting a professor when running into a question or concern, you can quickly find a solution by referencing the syllabus or the outlines of past and future lessons.
2. Check Past Email for Answers before Asking Questions
You can often navigate through previous email exchanges for answers to many questions or concerns. It can be frustrating to teammates to address the same concern twice, especially considering that many of us have responsibilities outside of our studies.
3. Log into Your Courses every 24-48 Hours
When attending campus, students have the benefit of a weekly interaction with fellow students and professors, but there is no such benefit in most World Campus courses.
For this reason, it is of pivotal importance that students log in to their courses every 24–48 hours so that they can stay abreast of recent communications. This is particularly important when working within a group, as group members can often be scattered nationally or even internationally, so having group meetings can prove difficult due to obvious physical and time-zone barriers. Streamlined communications can be a strong asset as an individual and, even more so, in groups.
4. Make Use of Outside Resources for Group Work
World Campus offers some great resources for communicating within groups, but you should also use outside resources. In one of my groups, we used WhatsApp – an application that expedites group conversations via text free of charge. This app was particularly useful in international groups. Other resources include, but are not limited to, Skype and Google Drive, Docs, and/or Chat.
5. Reach Out to Professors Regularly
Don’t hesitate to regularly reach out to professors via email (or phone and even in person, in some cases). In my experience, Penn State World Campus professors are typically prompt and empathetic when addressing questions or concerns, and this also provides a unique opportunity to build rapport.
What Tips Do You Recommend?
I am sure there are a slew of other tips that current or former World Campus students would happily offer to those looking to get more involved in their studies. What are some of the things I may have missed?