In this issue:
Summer Courses Online: A great way to get ahead
Tech Corner: RefMe
Summer Courses Online: A great way to get ahead
By: Bianca Chan
Picture this: it’s the middle of April and the cold is finally starting to loosen its grip on us. You’re about to finish your semester of school and most of your friends can’t let up about how excited they are to relax, have flexible schedules, and have the time to do the things they’ve been waiting all semester to do.
But listen to this – you can do all of those things and reach your academic goals faster.
Carleton University OnLine (CUOL) offers a myriad of summer online courses. So whether you’re studying chemistry, interested in economics, minoring in law, or majoring in psychology, CUOL offers more than 40 online courses that span between two- and four-month-long semesters.
Plus, there are a variety of ways to access your courses, including live streams, pre-recorded lectures through the CUOL web channel, and web-based courses, which are designed specifically to be delivered online. With a variety of courses that can be accessed so many different ways, CUOL provides the flexibility summer demands..
Signing up for one of these courses is simple. Once you’ve chosen what course or courses you’d like to take and how you’d like to access the lectures, you can sign up through Carleton Central if you’re already a Carleton student. If not, you can still take an online summer course through CUOL, but it requires one more step. Apply through the Registrar’s Office website and fill out the form to become a Special Student. Students from other universities can get a Letter of Permission from their home institution to apply the course to their degree program, and then become a Special Student
Summer online courses host a variety of benefits. For starters, the semesters can be half the length of a regular semester, which means you can complete a course more quickly and efficiently than you ever could during a fall or winter course.
The transition into summer courses isn’t nearly as difficult as you might expect. You can build off the momentum you’ve already gained in the swing of the winter term. And by fall you’ll already be in school mode with the material that you would have forgotten over four long months fresh in your mind.
Online summer courses are also helpful for getting ahead. It’s an extremely productive use of one-third of your year. Whether graduating early is on your radar, or you’re interested in completing a prerequisite for fall enrollment, lightening next semester’s load, or making up for a failed class, taking CUOL summer courses can help you achieve your academic aspirations effectively and efficiently.
A common concern is about midterm and final exams, for which you will need to find an approved proctor if you are at a distance from Carleton. Fortunately, CUOL has ties with proctors throughout Canada and abroad. Contact information for these proctors is on the CUOL website under the Examination Services heading. And there’s no need to be nervous about contacting these proctors for their services – this is their job, they do it all of the time, and are here to help you.
CUOL has also been using Live Online Proctoring for some courses since 2013. The student uses his or her own computer anywhere with an Internet connection. Then, the proctor connects with the student via webcam and gains access to the student’s computer to monitor any movements, keystrokes and sounds. If any suspicions arise, the proctor has the ability to stop the exam.
And while there are fewer courses offered and no breaks from school, the benefits of taking online summer courses arguably outweigh the drawbacks. Taking even just one online summer course will help keep you on track without a massive time commitment. Which means you can still be academically productive while taking a break.
Registration for summer courses starts March 23.
Professor Profile: Richard Nimijean talks online courses and communication
By: Bianca Chan
After years of teaching in broadcasted, blended and online courses, Carleton University Canadian Studies professor Richard Nimijean has acquired enough tips about online learning to fill a handbook.
This summer will be Nimijean’s fifth time teaching a purely online course. When it comes to making online learning accessible and successful, he says there needs to be a team effort between students and professors.
“We interact differently in a classroom because you’re not feeding off of me or another student – you’re just looking at a screen,” Nimijean said in an interview over Skype. “It can be isolating, which can be good in terms of focus.”
Nimijean designs his courses around “chunkifying” material. This means, to break up what could be a lengthy three-hour lecture, he “chunks up,” or separates material, with two-minute essay exercises, videos, reflections, relevant news segments, and PowerPoint slides.
“We work at different things to keep it interesting and to keep you engaged,” Nimijean said. “It’s a completely different experience despite it being the same material.”
One of the main benefits Nimijean pointed out is that each module is laid out for you from step one. This means that there is less room for spontaneity in each class, but on the other hand, it also means that classes are much more organized. However, he’s not a magician. Nimijean said he can lead the horse to the water, but he can’t make it drink.
“I can lay it all out for you and I think that works well for a lot of students, but in the end of the day, you as a student need to be motivated to do the work,” Nimijean said. “So if you’re doing this with one eye always on Facebook or Twitter, and you’re distracted in your apartment, that becomes one of the challenges.”
Nimijean said you can curb this challenge by improving your time management.
“The good thing is, it’s all laid out for you. It’s just a matter of students realizing that the work needs to be done on their own time and at a certain calibre,” Nimijean said. “For us professors, it’s all about finding new ways of transforming a classroom class and putting it on the web.”
If you’re interested in taking one of Nimijean’s web courses, he will be teaching the web course CDNS 1001 R, Studying Canada, this summer.
Tech Corner: RefMe
By: Radiyah Chowdhury
If writing the essay is equivalent to making the meal, doing the citations is the same as doing the dishes. With a range of courses and professors demanding their own respective styles, often the last thing we want to do after pumping out a paper is tediously putting together a bibliography or works cited list. But with the innovative use of technology, some Good Samaritans came together to create RefMe (www.refme.com), an application for computers and phones that makes the game of citing infinitely easier.
From MLA to APA to even lesser used styles like the McGill Legal Guide, RefMe allows users to piece their bibliography together in a simple and efficient way with over 7,500 reference styles to choose from. It also doesn’t limit you to citing only print and web documents like many other referencing websites; essentially you are free to reference any source. RefMe has your back for videos, manuscripts, legislation, artwork, and more. The website (www.refme.com/citation-generator) allows you to input the name or URL of whatever you’re trying to cite, and very often full citations already exist that you can add to your list with a simple click. If they don’t already exist, you can insert the information manually in a direct form and the website itself will generate a citation for you.
It’s highly recommended that you make an account (it’s free!), and if you’re particularly lazy you can just sign in through Facebook since you’re probably already logged into it. Once logged in, you can create different projects and compile your bibliography there. This means you can work on multiple papers simultaneously and keep track of everything in one place. One cool feature allows you to add notes and quotes for each individual citation. After adding it, there’s an option to the right called “Add Note.” This is particularly useful for keeping track of important quotes from one particular source that you will later integrate into your paper. The website also allows you to create group projects, where you can invite friends via email to collaborate, which makes the process of group work that much faster.
The best feature, though, has to be the phone app. You can generate citations simply by scanning book or journal barcodes by using your phone’s camera. If there’s no barcode, search by title, ISBN, ISSN, DOI or URL. If your phone is synced to your computer’s browser — which most phones using Google Chrome are — the citation shows up on the RefMe website, too. There’s a Chrome extension as well, called the WebClipper, where users can create references for webpages directly through the browser. The extension has been met with mixed reviews, with some people commenting that it is faulty and doesn’t work on all pages. Some reviewers also caution users to double-check citations, as sometimes they might get mixed up.
Still, with all the papers coming your way, RefMe is a good mechanism to keep organized and save yourself a lot of time. Now to create an app that will actually wash dishes.