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Mar 25, 2020 | JT Klopcic and Kate Ford

Adjusting to online learning can be overwhelming for students and adults accustomed to face-to-face engagement with teachers and students. Olympiada Georgiou, Crime Scene Investigation student recalls her uncertainty when starting an online program, “When I first started taking online classes, I was concerned about how this is going to turn out because I have never taken online classes before. I was mostly worried about how the coursework was going to be done and how I would be able to contact my professor in case of an emergency. I was also worried if I had to be online at a specific time or not, which was really because I was not an experienced online student.”

Stevenson University Online (SUO), prioritizes providing students with a personalized experience with one-on-one support, making them feel connected to our staff, faculty, and other students while working in an online learning environment. This includes offering a variety of resources that help students to be successful in their program. Below are just some of the many resources students will utilize over course of a remote semester.

SUO Student Success Coach, Fran Jackson encourages students to “use your resources above and beyond the instructor- ex. the library staff, Smarthinking tutoring, and reading the syllabus thoroughly so you understand what’s expected of you.”

BlueJeans:

BlueJeans Network provides cloud-based video conferencing that connects participants across a wide range of devices. Students can expect to use BlueJeans quite often, as it will be Stevenson faculty and staffs’ primary means of meetings. From full lectures from instructors and course instruction to one-on-one meetings with support staff, BlueJeans makes it easy to connect one another. Features include screen sharing and live chatrooms, making this an essential tool for online learning.

Blackboard:

Blackboard Learn is a virtual learning environment and learning management system that is heavily utilized by Stevenson faculty and students. Instructors rely on a wide range of features offered within Blackboard due to the accessibility of built-in tools, resources, and flexibility. Students will use Blackboard features such as Blogs, Journals, Groups, and Discussion Boards.

Smartthinking:

Smarthinking is an academic online tutoring service. The service provides on-demand support from tutors in over 25 subjects. Smarthinking is a great tool for students to receive online interactive tutoring from professional tutors on the spot. Smarthinking also offers writing revision services where students can submit a paper for review and receive quick feedback and insight from a professional.

Office 365 Suite:

Office 365 is an integrated experience of apps and services, designed to help you work in a collaborative environment. Free access to Microsoft programs including Outlook, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint help improve workflow. Use cloud-powered email to communicate with any member of the university; collaborate in Microsoft Teams, a hub for teamwork where you can chat, organize meetings, and share files; and save files to OneDrive allowing access across devices and on the go.

Voice Thread:

VoiceThread is a learning tool for enhancing student engagement and online presence. With VoiceThread, instructors and/or students can create, share, and comment on images, Microsoft PowerPoint presentations, videos, audio files, documents, and PDFs, using microphone, webcam, text, phone, and audio-file upload. VoiceThread is the perfect platform for both students and instructors to give virtual, in-class presentations with peer interaction.

Faculty and Staff:

Every Stevenson University Online student is assigned a Student Success Coach to provide them with one-on-one support from acceptance to graduation. A student can benefit from utilizing their success coach to help balance their school-work-home life, course schedule, time management, and more. When in doubt, students should reach out to their Success Coach for guidance.

Additionally, faculty is available to assist students with questions and concerns regarding their coursework. Fran Jackson, Student Success Coach, states that a key to student success is, “communicate with your professor and success coach consistently. Don’t think you’re bothering them, they’re there to support students. Student success reflects positively on their success as an instructor. Professors want students to be successful but can’t help if they don’t know there’s a concern.”

While overwhelming at first, Stevenson University Online provides the tools and resources to simplify the transition to online learning. Olympiada Georgiou says, “Do not panic, online classes are as practical as face-to-face ones. You will still be able to contact your professor for further information about an assignment, or for any questions that you may have. This is the 21st century, everything is happening through online platforms now, so we should not be worried about it.”

Stevenson University Online offers an in-depth look into Online Learning for students, which includes a look at the typical week of a student, Blackboard video tutorials, an Online Readiness Assessment, and list of technical requirements.

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