Staying on Track

Procrastination is the thief of time. Two weeks into the spring semester, and I finally made my eBook free on Amazon, something I do a few times throughout the year. Some people ask why I continue to do this since it doesn’t “boast my numbers,” and my reply is always the same thing. I didn’t write the book to get rich. I wrote it to help students.

Without fail, each semester, students ask some of the same questions and make the same mistakes. They want to know how many tests there are, what the written assignments are, and how the final grade is calculated. They come to class late, miss due dates, turn in written work that looks nothing like the guidelines, and sometimes they get discouraged and just quit coming to class (or logging in if it’s an online class).

Yes, there are students who know what to do from Day One, and there’s information in the book designed to help them too. Right now, however, I’m thinking of the ones whom I’ve already identified as being precariously balanced on that fence between passing and failing, between staying the course and leaving the game. I’m wondering who Diehard is, someone who wrote asking how to get started with the “online thing.” Unfortunately, he (she?) used a gmail account, and I have no idea who the person is.

Since my classes are all online this semester, those students are the ones with whom I’m most concerned. Here’s a little something I want them to know:

“My best advice is to navigate around the course to see how it’s set up. Where are the quizzes and tests? The discussions? And what about the written component of the course? How much does everything count? How are grades calculated? How often does the instructor expect you to log on? And about that logging on, do you have to communicate through email, discussion board, or both?

“Participation in a traditional environment includes showing up for class and staying engaged and focused. In addition to emails and discussions, participating in an online class includes posting a profile picture. What message are you sending the teacher when you refuse to post one? Teachers count on that tiny snapshot of you to forge a connection, however tenuous. Occasionally, students have ethical reasons for refusing to post a personal picture. In that case, check with your instructor about posting something that represents an interest or vocation.”


And from the students who graciously provided quotes and opinions for the book:

“Generally, the student is also the teacher in an on-line course. You have to control your classroom (prevent interruptions, avoid distractions like the phone), plan your activities, and schedule a time to study – then stick to the schedule.” Heather

“Online classes require the student to be a good organizer and time manager.” Susan

“Online courses are my favorite. I personally don’t like to drive to class to sit through a lecture because I am much better at reading the material and teaching myself. I love online classes.” Denise

“The challenges are staying on track. There are a lot of distractions here. Phone calls, knocks on the door. And you don’t actually get to meet your classmates. But there are benefits as well. You can do your school work at 1 a.m. in your pajamas if you need to.” Chris

“Tips for success would be to keep an open mind to new ideas that may certainly work better for you than what has been done in the past. Online classes have been the easiest for me and less time consuming than going to class room, I have been able to maintain my life while still attending school, and I’m never late to class.” Scott


As a psychology instructor, I believe that learning and applying psychological concepts such as self-efficacy and positive reinforcement can improve a person’s life, and I KNOW that the application of the principles in this book will help the reader to be a more successful student and effective person.


About jayne bowers

*married with children, stepchildren, grandchildren, in-laws, ex-laws, and a host of other family members and fabulous friends *semi-retired psychology instructor at two community colleges *writer
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