How Online Learning Gives Every Student a Chance to Succeed

Online learning creates a level playing field for all students

One thing I came to appreciate during my time at Ashford University was the level playing field provided to every student. No one is at a disadvantage within the online classroom.

This week the University’s Forward Thinking blog published an article I wrote about the resources that make online learning more accessible to students. These are especially helpful for adult learners, many of whom are parents attending class in the hours between putting the kids to bed and settling down for whatever sleep they can get before a new workday.

For me, that was usually about two hours per night, and about 4-5 hours on Saturdays. I tried to keep Sundays clear of school, save for an hour or so of reading. The schedule won’t be the same for everyone, and whatever time you put in can be shortened considerably if you’re maximizing the resources mentioned in that article.

Getting back to the point about a level playing field, the article references the American Psychological Association (APA) writing format as the standard for all Ashford University students. Every university is different, so this is something you’ll want to research if you’re thinking about going back to school.

Here are some links to get you started:

APA Essay Checklist for Students: From the University Writing Center, this explains the in-text citations and formatting guidelines of APA style. You’ll also find links to sample APA-formatted pages, and a PDF you can use as a go-to reference.

APA vs. MLA: The latter is another common academic writing style, and this Forward Thinking article explains the differences (and similarities) between the two. The official American Psychological Association website will link you to more writing style basics, explain the origin of APA style, and answer any remaining questions you might have.

Learning APA may take a bit of time, but so does anything worth doing. At the end of the day you’ll have mastered a new writing style while also finishing school, so you’re not only on a level playing field with fellow students, but you could be at a higher level professionally.

Your Job Search To-Do List

Staying Positive During the Job Search

Today Ashford University’s Forward Thinking blog published an article I wrote about staying positive and productive during the job search. This advice comes from the University’s Career Services team, which is always there for students who need help with everything from resume writing to job interview preparation.

Now that the article is published I realize there is some personal advice I should add for anyone who is in the midst of a job search:

Stick to a schedule

If you woke every morning at 6 a.m. while you were working, you should keep waking at the same time (okay, maybe 6:15). Try to stick to the same “workday” schedule during your job search, and replace work responsibilities with equally productive activities. For example, if you had a 9 a.m. staff meeting every morning, schedule a 9 a.m. “catchup meeting” in which you can sit down and plot your daily priorities. Keep eating lunch at the same time, and replace any down time from your work day with something that can increase your chances of finding a new job, like taking a free online course.

Keep it professional on social media

If you had gotten used to posting about work-related topics and your daily workflow, try to recreate that on social media during your job search. Instead of posting about random things, or nothing at all, use your time off to redefine your social image. As they say, stay on brand, and look for articles and events within your industry that you can talk about online. You may end up making connections this way, and you’ll be staying on top of changes that could affect your next career move.

Don’t touch that dial

This kind of goes without saying, but it’s a healthy reminder during the job search. Television (and online videos) are a distraction that you don’t need when you’re looking for your next opportunity. Many of you reading this might agree that just turning on the television when you should be at work makes you feel a little guilty, as if you know there are more important things you should be doing. Once you’re settled into your new position, you can go back and binge watch that new show people can’t stop tweeting about.

Remember, you’re only one half of the job search, and while it may feel like the hiring process moves very slowly, you can do a lot to close that gap between you and a potential employer.


Where online students go for resume tips

Resume Writing for Online Students

The job search can be really challenging for introverts. What if you are someone who can expertly perform the tasks a job requires, but you’re really not good at promoting yourself? This is why people get paid to write resumes.

If self-promotion is not in your skill set, it’s okay to ask for help. If you’re a college student (traditional or online), you might be able to get free resume reviews and guidance via student services. I interviewed a specialist with Ashford University’s Career Services team about resume do’s and don’ts, easily fixable mistakes, and what you should (and shouldn’t) leave off your resume. It’s good advice even if you finished college years ago.

The story went up this week at Ashford’s Forward Thinking blog.

You’ve got a job offer, now what?

This is the fourth article I’ve written in a loosely connected series about taking a new career path, the questions you should ask yourself, and how to avoid making mistakes along the way. This latest article is about what to do after you’ve received a job offer. Employers will anticipate that you’ll need 24-48 hours to discuss the offer with your family, and in that time there are some items you’ll want to check off your list.

Obviously, this doesn’t apply to everyone. If you’re offered the job you want at the salary you want and everything seems lined up perfectly, maybe you don’t need 24-48 hours. But sometimes you don’t want to take a job just for the money, or you might end up turning down the offer.

I got some advice from an expert on Ashford University’s Career and Alumni Services team, and you can read it on Forward Thinking.

How to tell if this is the right job for you

Here is the third article I did in a series about taking a new path in your career. Sometimes when we’re searching for something new, we can get a little desperate or anxious, and want to jump at the first thing that comes along, because we don’t know if there’s anything better out there.

Other times you may be motivated by money, and depending on your situation you may be inclined to take the best offer on the table. That can work out, sure, but you want to know what you’re getting into. Company culture is just as critical as salary. This article is about getting the complete picture, beyond the interview, the red flags to look for, and how to know that this is the right job for you.

Read the story on Ashford University’s Forward Thinking blog.

Changing jobs often doesn’t have to be a bad thing

Here’s the second blog from a series on leaving your career in search of something new. In some industries — take broadcasting, for example — people are expected to move around a lot as they search for a bigger opportunity. But not all industries are like that, so I asked the Career Services team how someone can avoid the “job hopper” label when applying for a new position.

How to Combat the Job Hopper Stereotype


Bored at work? Don’t be afraid to move on

Signs It's Time For A Career ChangeChanging careers can be terrifying, but so is the idea of staying in one place and never growing. Recently I published the first in a loosely connected series of blogs about leaving your career in search of something new. You can read them on Ashford University’s Forward Thinking blog, and here’s a link to the first article: “Signs It’s Time For a Career Change.”

Online vs. Traditional Learning

Online learning isn’t for everyone, but it has its advantages. In this article for Ashford University’s blog, Forward Thinking, I talked to our AVP and Editor-In-Chief of Learning Resources about the evolution of the university’s online platform, Constellation, what could improve the experience for students, and what he sees for the future of the industry.

Read How Technology Turns Online Learning ‘Cons’ Into ‘Pros’ on Forward Thinking.

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The perfect score

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Brian Habel earned a 4.0 GPA at Ashford University.

Recently I was reading a story about an Ashford University graduate (a National Guardsman) who earned a 4.0 GPA while he was deployed overseas. At graduation, he talked about how he did it, and I reached out to Ashford University’s Readiness Advisor team to see what kind of advice they could offer.

I compiled their answers in this story, 4 Tips for Achieving a 4.0 GPA.

Finding a Balance

Being a parent is a challenge. Being a single parent is a greater challenge. And being a single parent in school… I don’t know how they do it. I still don’t know how my mother did it. But to accomplish what she and so many other single parents have done is beyond incredible.

I wrote this blog article – “School and the Single Parent” — earlier this month for Ashford University’s Forward Thinking site and I wanted to share it here. Read on to hear from two remarkable women who finished school while raising children as single parents. One of them, in fact, was a single grandparent.

Here’s a quote from one of the women, who became pregnant while attending school:

“Many times people view single parents as not being able to do or accomplish as much as others, but I refused to fall into that stigma. The greatest feeling and my happiest moment was watching my son cheer for me as I walked across the stage to receive my degree.”

Read on…

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