BRINGING TECHNOLOGY INTO LEARNING
Becoming an online student can move your career forward faster than almost anything else, so don’t let the tech slow you down. Education technology might not be what you’re used to, so it’s important to know what you’re getting yourself into before classes start. Make your technology work for you with these 4 tech tips.
MICROSOFT OFFICE 365
It’s no secret that great technology can also come at a not-so-great cost. But for students who know their resources, that might not be the case. In 2011, Microsoft debuted “Microsoft Office 365”, a subscription based service that provides its users with access to Microsoft programs for a fraction of their original costs. For students and teachers, “Microsoft Office 365 Education” was introduced to “make schoolwork more fun, and use the technology that will take you successfully from the classroom to the conference room.” Anyone with a valid .edu email address can get Microsoft 356 for free. There are available upgrades that require a monthly fee, but many students work well with the tools offered in the free version, which includes: Office Online (Word, Powerpoint, Excel, and OneNote), 1TB of OneDrive storage, Yammer, and SharePoints sites. All this is free, and for only $6 a month, students can get even more. Things like fully installed applications for your desktop, apps for your tablets and phones, and some other great tools come with a paid student subscription. Some institutions provide this extended service to their students for free. If your school does, you’ll see the “Install Office” button on your homepage right when you sign-up.
Online learning is already a convenient and flexible way to move your education and career forward, but using the right technology in the process can make your time back in the classroom even easier. With Office Online and OneDrive that gives you a whole terabyte of storage, you can access your work from anywhere, on any connected device. If you upgrade, this flexibility goes farther: from desktop to tablet, your online learning has never been more accessible.
Online students are often trying to get their class work done on the go. Things like Microsoft 365 make those minutes between meetings and morning commutes a lot more productive, but working on a smartphone or tablet can be cumbersome. Hooking up your device with some other accessories might be the answer to your touch screen trauma. Adding a keyboard to your tablet is an easy fix: typing on a touch screen isn’t always bad, but when you’re writing a paper, it might be easier to have the screen tilted towards you and a full keyboard at your fingertips.
Navigating programs on a small screen can also pose a problem— writing an email to your professor and accidentally hitting send before it’s done is a nightmare we’ve all lived through. Minimize those panicked moments with a mouse. Another quick fix that gives you more control of your device.
TALK TO TEXT
One major part of online learning is written assignments, and when one of those assignments is a ten page paper, it can seem a bit daunting. And getting all your thoughts down on paper when inspiration strikes isn’t always possible. Microsoft 365 and additional accessories are a big help—but talk to text can make every second count when you’re working on a tight schedule.
Start your first draft on the drive home from work or brainstorm while you making dinner. It’s always a good idea read your writing out loud anyway, so talk to type helps make your writing better and get done faster. Apple devices have a dictation option, and software like Dragon can make talk to text easy. It can take some getting used to, but once you get the hang of it, there’s little standing in the way between you and your degree. Just remember, proofreading is an important step in the talk to text process!
KNOW YOUR RESOURCES
Questions about technology can be hard to answer when your only resource is also technology based. Online students are dependent on their technology, so when something goes wrong, most schools know it can’t go wrong for too long. Knowing the challenges that go with online learning, many schools offer 24/7 tech support hotline for their online students. Keeping this number handy can ease the stress of a tech meltdown and help you focus on what matters. It can also be useful to get to know some people in your classes who are tech savvy, and can help you when you need it. A lot of school use their own websites and student portals, so a friend or spouse might not be able to help you like another student would. It’s always important to make connections, but tech savvy friends are a great way to stay on track in your online program.