Saturday, March 14, 2020
With so many institutions of higher education cancelling classes and moving them all online due to COVID-19, there is a level of uncertainty among students who have either A. never taken a course online or B. have never taken a full load of courses online. In either case, it is important to still be successful despite what the world is facing and the tough decisions institutions are making.
Failing to be successful in your online courses can result in a lower GPA which can lead to many things; academic probation or suspension, dismissal from student organizations for falling below eligibility criteria, and even loss of federal financial aid. Talk with your Financial Aid Office about SAP (Satisfactory Academic Progress) if you haven’t heard of it before.
As a higher education professional who completed a masters degree online and works with students every day, I wanted to share some words of wisdom in the hopes it will help someone be successful this semester (and in the future with online courses).
I believe there are 3 components to being successful in online coursework:
Discipline | Focus | Communication
Without the daily structure of getting up and going to class, some students will slip into a routine of staying up late, laying around on the couch all day binge watching Netflix, spending too much time on social media, etc. Essentially wasting the day away. How to stay disciplined:
•Every week day should have a routine, as if face-to-face class was never cancelled. You had an 8am class? Then get up and get dressed and at 8am start working on that class. Work on that class content for the length you would be sitting in class. Then move onto your next class. Have a 2 hour break between classes at lunch time? Great, that gives you 2 hours to do what you would have normally done on campus. Grab lunch and then go to the library? Do it!
•Know how and where you work best. For me, sitting on my couch in a quiet house was the perfect place to read, study, and work on assignments, but for some of my friends, they had to get out of the house. Find that perfect setting for yourself.
Some may argue that focus and discipline are the same thing. I disagree! Focus is more granular. Keep reading to see what I mean…
•Study your syllabi, know it backwards and forwards. Understand the responsibilities, assignments, and expectations for success.
•Put important due dates in an easy place for you to reference them. That could be an old school paper planner, your Outlook calendar, or a personal calendar on your phone.
•Once you know what is expected of you in the courses and you’ve come up with a plan to store important dates, you will want to begin breaking down the larger projects into more management short-term goals. Create a project timeline and focus on those milestone dates. Have a research paper as a final? Must have 10 pieces of literature as part of the paper’s lit review? Start there! Once you have 10 solid works to review (no, Wikipedia does not count as credible), move onto the next task. Slowly you will produce the final product on or before (would be better!) the due date. Bonus tip: the Purdue Owl is a lifesaver for APA
A key component of success is communication. Especially in online courses since communication with your professors and peers will be radically different than in a face-to-face course.
•After knowing your syllabus backwards and forwards, ask the professor for clarification if you don’t understand something. This goes for during the semester too. Read How to Email Your Professor for pointers.
•Communicate with your classmates. They’ll likely be experiencing the same stress as you.
•Discussion boards! Most online courses include some type of discussion board and have requirements (and deadlines) associated. For example, you may have to post a minimum of 3 times; 1 as your original post answering the prompt and 2 additional times in response to classmates. All of which may have deadlines. Discussion boards usually act as “class participation” and failing to do them could mean an impact on your grade.
•Set up study groups face-to-face if you live near classmates or schedule regular Skype meetings regardless of if there is a group project or not. Again, these individuals are experiencing the same or similar hardships with their new classroom environment.
•Find and communicate with academic resources on campus (tutoring, writing center, etc.). They’ll likely have a way of delivering their services in an online format.
At the end of the day, view this as a learning opportunity. With these 3 components you can be successful in online courses. Hey, one day you may be in an interview and they ask you about a challenge you’ve faced and how you overcame it. You can talk about this experience and what you did to be successful. You’re welcome in advance for the answer to that interview question 😉
Until next post…xoxo Becca
Tuesday, November 19, 2019
I have had a few expecting moms ask me what products are my “must haves” and I shy away from calling them my must haves because all babies are different, so what Baby G loves may not work for other babies. This is a list of the products we love, that make our life a little easier.
First, if you plan on having baby showers, I recommend asking for books instead of cards. It helps build your child’s library early. I also recommend registering for said books so you don’t end up with 3 copies of Green Eggs and Ham 🙂 Unless you want extra copies for grandparent(s)’ house.
Love To Dream Swaddle UP Original
Since the womb (we have picture evidence), Baby G likes to have his hands up by his ears. Most swaddles keep baby’s hands down at their sides. We tried several swaddles and all were failures because of his desire to have his hands up. I learned about this swaddle from Emily of The Sweetest Thing and it is a hit. It’s super soft and one of the best features is the two way zipper. Makes for easy diaper changes without having to take the swaddle off completely.
Burt’s Bees Baby Organic Cotton Fitted Crib Sheet
We have these sheets in navy blue and gray. They are SO soft and have a super snug fit on the mattress.
Nanit Plus Video Wall Mount Baby Monitor
One of the most expensive purchases, but worth the price. This baby monitor comes with an app so we can check in on Baby G from anywhere. This is great when the hubs is working and wants to see him. We use the app on our phones, but also added it to an iPad for when others are caring for him.
Burt’s Bees Baby & Dottie Bee Organic Cotton Muslin 3-Pack Swaddle Blankets
What I like most about these is how light weight and versatile they are. They are great for everything from swaddling, to covering the car seat, to putting on the floor as a “mat,” or being used as a burp cloth or nursing cover. They have a variety of designs too!
Burt’s Bees Baby & 5-Pack Organic Cotton Burp Cloths
Speaking of burp clothes, these from Burt’s Bees are also some of my favorite. Baby G tends to leak milk from the sides of his mouth when he eats so these burp clothes are thin enough to tuck under his chin to catch all that spillage. Side note: I also like the ones from Cooper Pearl because, on the contrary to these, they are thick and absorb spit up quickly! Plus they have the cutest designs. I mean look at this milk and cookies burp cloth!
Kiinde Twist Gift Set
Our friends told us about this product line and let me tell you, it does make things simple. I pump straight into the storage pouches and when we’re ready to feed Baby G the milk is warmed in the pouch and then inserted into the feeding bottle and a nipple gets attached to the top of the pouch. It eliminates the need to pour milk from storage pouches to a bottle. Less opportunity to spill that precious liquid gold. Now that we are supplementing with formula and adding rice cereal we do pour the breast milk into the bottles, but pumping into these bags for storage is still great. I also like to use them if we are out and about, just because bottles take up a lot of room in a diaper bag and this system doesn’t.
Boon Grass Countertop Drying Rack
For cleaning, we like this drying rack so the excess water drips down to the bottom. Since we are in an apartment with limited counter space, the “grass” version fits better, but I know a lot of people have the “lawn” which is larger.
Milk Snob Multifunctional Cover
Just like the name says, multifunctional, it is a fitted infant car seat cover that also can be a nursing cover, on shopping carts, high chairs and more.
Playtex Diaper Genie
Perfect for all those stinky diapers. Enough said.
FridaBaby DermaFrida the SkinSoother Silicone Bath Brush
The nurse in the hospital will use a soft bristled brush for baby’s first bath and you should totally take that home with you. We use this product now though and Baby G loves having his hair washed.
Boppy Sea Explorers Tummy Time Pillow
Pediatricians say tummy time should start immediately. Seems like most babies don’t like it, I get it, it’s like if we were going to work out. No one likes to work out, especially an infant. We used this a lot in the beginning to help prop him up on his tummy, but as he has gotten stronger we use it less and less. I also liked to place him on it on his back on his play mat so he was slightly elevated and could look around.
Marpac Dohm Hushh Sound Machine
Great for on the go white noise. We’ve placed it in his car seat, stroller, and crib when traveling. The charge lasts for awhile!
nuna PIPA Lite LX Infant Car Seat & Base
In the beginning, the hubs spent hours researching best car seats and we registered for one, but then we were at Nordstrom one day and saw the nuna PIPA and loved how light weight it is…just 5 pounds. Which saves your arm and back when you add your baby to the weight. There is also a zip out extension inside the canopy that has hidden magnets for easy attaching at the foot area. It’s great for when I don’t want to use the Milk Snob cover. Again, a pricier product, but with the safety ratings plus the light weight feature, I was sold!
nuna 2019 TAVO Stroller
Like the car seat, the hubs researched strollers and we registered for a different one. Then a friend learned we had purchased the nuna PIPA car seat and suggested we look into their strollers. The stroller we originally registered for featured a “ripcord” style folding feature. Essentially, a cord in the center of the stroller you pull to activate the fold. We even went so far as to purchase a used stroller with this feature. I found it challenging and to be honest, difficult. When I tested the nuna stroller it was a matter of using a single hand to pull two levers and folding it. I was sold! I told the hubs it was a must have! (See, I went back on my word and said I have a must have, but this one is worth the money.)
This has been a lifesaver when I need to set Baby G down for a few minutes. He loves all the settings (especially the car ride setting). The seat also reclines so it is great for short naps. He would fall asleep in it a lot more often as a newborn than he does now. Overall we love this!
Gas and Digestive Discomfort Medicine (Mylicon and Mommy’s Bliss Gripe Water Night Time)
From the beginning, Baby G had a lot of tummy related issues (reflux, gas, etc). We eventually learned it was related to a dairy sensitivity. Now that we have that sorted out we do not use these products much, but in the beginning they were very helpful. Always consult your child’s pediatrician before use though!
Another piece of advice when building your registry, register for items beyond those first couple of months. Many times you are loaded down with all the goods to care for your newborn, but when it comes time for things like solid food or more advanced toys, you are purchasing them on your own. I made sure to add things like bowls, trainer cups, utensils, bibs, and a few development toys to get us beyond those first several months.
If you are an expecting mom, I hope you found this post helpful. If you are a mom, share your favorite products in the comments so others can see! Until next post…xoxo Becca