Archive for February, 2017

Basic Steps To Write An Outstanding Research Paper

February 14th, 2017

BY AMANDA WILSON  

As you move up the educational ladder, you realize that there are more upper-level courses that need intensive research. Writing a research is one of the most daunting tasks especially for students. It involves the detailed reading of both print and nonprint texts, classic and contemporary works. Before you are through with everything, you realize you’re exhausted and tired of the process.

Writing a good research is challenging for most us. In fact, few people can easily churn out an A-Grade paper. But these steps will certainly increase your odds of acing your research paper and get a good grade.

Understand what your instructor wants

Before you embark on doing your research, ensure you understand the expectations of your instructor. Go through your paper several times and note the key action words such as describe, evaluate, define, argue, analyze, compare, and classify. If the task doesn’t contain any action words, your instructor may probably want you to provide an argument on the topic and support it. In the end, the important thing is to understand what your instructor wants.

Craft out an initial bibliography

Once you have understood the topic and the instructor’s instructions, move on to craft your bibliography as described below;

  • Make an outline or a diagram of your ideas: Organize your thoughts by taking what you have researched on and put it on a piece of paper.This will allow you to see connections of the topic and link the ideas more clearly. Outline these ideas and organize them well.
  • Write a thesis statement: With a topic in hand and an outline of ideas that are relevant to the topic, it’s time to create a thesis statement. This section highlights the main points of your paper to the reader. It will consist of two parts; the topic and the point of the essay. The objective is to state your argument and support it.
  • Make a list of possible sources:

Your instructor expects you to provide truthful, credible, and reliable information. Your list of sources should adhere to the same format.  Look for sources that help you collect and cite your research resources effectively. Some of the main ones include Zotero, Mendeley, and so on.

Write the paper draft

Start by organizing the information collected. Then write a rough draft where you write your ideas on a piece of paper but in an unfinished version. This will help you know which points to add and what to omit before compiling the final draft.

Some can opt to do all this by themselves while others can use helpful tools and services to get the work done. There are a handful of reliable tools to that can help you do your research.

For research writing

  • OneLook’s thesaurus: OneLook tool allows you to key in a concept and gives a list of words and phrases related to the concept. The description can be a single word, few words, or even a whole sentence.
  • Reverse Dictionary: If you need to find the right word when writing a paper, Reverse Dictionary tool will try to rescue you and get you what you want. Just key in the word you want and the tool will serve you with up to 40-word choices to choose from.

For editing and proofreading

  • Hemingway: The Hemingway app allows you to communicate a lot of words in short sentences. The tool shows you where your writing is weak and allows you to count words, characters, paragraphs, and sentences to grade your writing based on the difficulty of reading.
  • Paper Written: com is a writing service that assists students to write a descriptive essay, dissertation, resume, research paper, and more. If you are struggling with coming up with writing a paper from scratch, Paper Written is the best solution.

For compiling research

  • Evernote: Most people consider Evernote app as a useful tool when compiling research. Its real value is in its ability to compile materials from several sources and share notebooks with others.
  • Scrivener: If you anticipate that your essay may be lengthy and it may take several turns, Scrivener writing tool might be helpful. It allows you to portion your content into several sections and even take a snapshot of your “before version” to be used for reference at a later stage.

The final draft

After you are through with the rough draft, compile a final draft of the whole paper. Include credible citations to allow the reader to connect the ideas you have highlighted with the sources listed in your reference list. The final step is to proofread your work. Read through the text several times to check for errors in grammar, spelling, and punctuation. You can ask someone to read it through again just to make sure it is perfect.

Conclusion

Writing a comprehensive research paper doesn’t have to be complicated. Most students find it hard to get through the first step of creating an outline. All you need is the right plan and the right tools and everything will flow smoothly. This guide will help you get on the right track and deliver a top notch and A-Grade paper. Use it and you will far ahead in your research process.

Amanda Wilson is a student and a freelance writer. Study Social Media and Digital Strategy. She believes that all thoughts were already invented and thought over by someone in this world. And her goal is – to find original one and provide it to the modern life.

                      

 

Must-Have Items for Your Campus Room

February 13th, 2017

BY JANE HURST

You are heading off to college, and ready for some big changes in your life. With so much to plan for, it’s easy to forget some of the basics that can make the transition a lot more comfortable.

For example, most freshmen will be moving from a home environment to life in the dorm. Remember, unless you end up renting an apartment right off the bat, your door room is going to be your home for at least a year or two. So, you may as well bring along the things that are going to help make your daily living just a little bit easier. Here are some suggestions:

  • Bedside Table – There may be items you need to access quickly in the middle of the night, such as a glass of water, your phone, etc. One space-saving solution is to get a small table that clips to the side of your bed.
  • Extra Outlets – No matter where you live, there never seem to be enough electrical outlets for all of your gadgets. Be sure to bring along a couple of power bars or extension cords so you always have power when you need it.
  • Smart Outlet – In addition to power bars, it is also a good idea to have smart Wi-Fi plugs. This allows you to control any outlet from your smartphone, so you can turn the coffee maker on before you get home, turn off things you may have forgotten to turn off, etc.
  • Entertainment – You are responsible for providing your own entertainment while you are living in the dorm. Make sure that you bring a television, DVD player, movies, gaming system, and/or other devices that you use for entertainment. Sure, you are supposed to be studying, but you need to take a break once in a while, so you should have the stuff to be able to relax with.
  • Supplies – Most dorm rooms are not equipped with basics like cutlery, can openers, coat hangers, plates, etc. Be sure to add these items to your list.
  • Breakfast Foods – Skipping breakfast as you dart off to early-morning class is a mistake. So keep some breakfast bars in your dorm room so you can eat on the go. You can also opt for powdered protein shakes that you just mix with water or milk.
  • Shower Caddy – Most dorm rooms don’t come with running water, let alone a shower. So you’ll have to use one down the hall that’s used by other dorm residents. Make sure you have a carrier for your hygiene products. Also, get a pair of flip-flops, so you aren’t walking around the shower in bare feet and picking up bacteria.
  • Laundry Bags – Rather than tossing your dirty laundry all over the floor, keep things neat and tidy with a few laundry bags. You can get them at just about any department store for less than $20, and they will make things a lot easier when it’s time to take your stuff to the laundry facility.
  • Bedding – Your dorm room will likely come with a bed, but you’ll need to bring along your own bedding. Get some soft sheets, a cozy comforter, and supportive pillows. You may want to get a foam mattress pad to make the standard dorm bed more comfortable.

This is by no means a complete list of what you’ll need to bring to create a suitable dorm living space. Need more ideas? You’ll find many suggestions online, such as this list. Also check with your college to see if it provides a customized list that works with the particular dorm rooms on campus.

Jane Hurst has been working in education for over 5 years as a teacher. She loves sharing her knowledge with students, is fascinated about edtech and loves reading, a lot. Follow Jane on Twitter.

 

Why Lifelong Learning Is More Important Than Ever

February 10th, 2017

BY SYLVIA KOHL

 

It’s no secret that the models of work and education have changed. Your parents probably spent their youth learning and then perfected their craft at the same job for the rest of their working life. That linear progression simply doesn’t exist now. The world changes faster and your ability to adapt is a valuable asset.

Here are some of the reasons you should never stop learning.

Industries Change Fast

Companies are now more focused on disruption than preservation. Every firm in every industry faces the risk of being disrupted out of existence by technology or political uncertainty. Professionals have been feeling less confident about their job security since the global financial meltdown.

The only way to be secure in your career is by developing human capital.By expanding your skillset you can create your own opportunities even as the economy shifts.

Work Is Competitive

Getting employment and staying employed is more competitive than ever before. Corporate recruiters received 250 applications on average for every job opening. There’s a lot of people competing for a piece of the limited pie. This makes it important that you stand out from the crowd by offering unique and value skills.

You Need To Stay Updated

Rules and regulations tend to change faster than industry circumstances. Every year there are new laws passed for specific industries and new codes of practice for qualified professionals. Finance, legal, and marketing professionals need to stay ahead of the curve and be updated with the latest trends. A quick professional workshop or management courses could offer you a way to learn about the latest developments and master useful techniques to advance your career.

It Helps Keep Your Mind Sharp

Finally, the best reason for you to be a lifelong learner is that it keeps your mind sharp. Much of what you learn in college and university isn’t practiced regularly enough. After years of working in an industry, you get used to doing things a certain way and struggle to look at challenges with a fresh perspective. Besides, research indicates that trying to learn something new is the best way to retain mental abilities and fight cognitive decline as you get older.

Perceptual learning will help you break free from bad habits and bureaucracy. By taking the time to learn something new you can look at the same issues from a unique angle.

An investment in yourself is probably the best invest you could make. Find time to learn something new or find a course that helps you advance your career and ambitions. By constantly reinventing yourself you can keep creating value for your clients or employers. In a fast-paced world with an unpredictable economy, the only way to survive is to adapt. Regardless of your industry, it’s important for you to be a lifelong learner.

Sylvia Kohl is an IT teacher with more than 8 years of professional experience. Her main spheres of interest are e-education and she convinced that learning process doesn’t stop after years in school and university.

 

 

 

 

Entrepreneurship in College: Advantages and Keys to Success

February 9th, 2017

BY MELISSA BURNS

When you’re busy studying for finals, writing essays, and worrying about next semester’s classes, the last thing on your mind is becoming an entrepreneur. But starting a business in college can be a real opportunity for college students—and it’s more feasible than you might think. At worst, you’ll walk away with a significant experience that you can put on a resume, and at best, you can growth hack your way to the status of brands like Spotify, YouTube, or Facebook (the latter of which was actually started by a founder still in college).

Advantages of College Entrepreneurship

So why is starting a business in college advantageous over simply waiting until you graduate?

  • Sheer connection potential. In college, you’ll be surrounded by hundreds to thousands of other students, all of whom are energetic, eager to learn, and motivated to find a future career for themselves. If you’re looking for partners, employees, or interdisciplinary contacts, you’re never going to find a better time and place.
  • Advice from professors and counselors. You’re surrounded not only by peers, but by people far more experienced and knowledgeable than you are. Depending on the nature of your business, you may be able to find seasoned experts in your field teaching classes, or at the very least, be able to contact advisors who can connect you to those resources outside the university.
  • Extra free time. Being a full-time college student is demanding, and on top of that, some students even have part-time or full-time jobs. However, most students aren’t juggling full-time work, overtime, family responsibilities, and other obligations the way most graduated adults are. You’ll almost certainly have more free time now than in the future, so it’s a prime opportunity to invest more hours in a potential business.
  • Business world connections. Even if your business isn’t a success, as you develop your business, you’ll make valuable connections in the business world. For example, if you start wooing potential investors, working with other business partners, or finding new suppliers, you’ll build yourself an extended network of contacts you can use for references or opportunities down the road.
  • Entrepreneurial experience (while you’re young). Finally, and most importantly, you’ll gain the experience of starting and running your own business, which will teach you invaluable lessons about leadership, creative problem solving, critical thinking, and communication–all of which are valuable to learn while you’re still young.

How to Succeed

Just because there are major advantages to college entrepreneurship doesn’t mean it’s easy or straightforward; you’ll need these strategies to find success:

  • Choose the right idea. Not all business ideas offer the same degree of feasibility for college students; for example, you’ll likely need an idea that won’t require much upfront capital, and one that won’t demand an intensive investment in infrastructure. Opt for more inexpensive, nimble options for your first foray.
  • Start slow. Don’t start sacrificing everything for your business. It’s a good thing to be passionate about your business and invest yourself fully in it, but not at the expense of your other responsibilities. Start working on your business slowly, and gradually scale up as you become more comfortable and familiar with the process.
  • Listen to advice. You may have a great idea, but you’re still young and inexperienced. You don’t have to take the advice of everyone who offers, but you should at least listen. Absorb as much information and as many different perspectives as you can during this experience.
  • Prioritize your studies. Your business does have a chance to become successful, but it’s still a good idea to complete your education. Even if you’re more excited about your business idea, try to prioritize your academic studies. Think of it as hedging your bets for the future.
  • Be careful with your money. You’re likely facing a large sum of student debt, without much personal capital available to fund your venture. Accordingly, you’ll need to be frugal and judicious about how your business financially operates. The last thing you want is to accrue a secondary source of massive debt before you graduate.
  • Remain flexible. Finally, understand that few paths to success in the business world are straightforward and unbent. Your business will likely take a course of development that you wouldn’t expect and can’t predict, so remain flexible enough to allow that development.

Starting a business while still in college is certainly a massive undertaking, but it’s both possible and beneficial to do so—regardless of your business’s ultimate fate. Put your fears of failure to the side and start taking advantage of the resources and opportunities that surround you.

Melissa Burns graduated from the faculty of Journalism of Iowa State University in 2008. Nowadays she  is an entrepreneur and independent journalist. Her sphere of interests includes startups, information technologies and how these ones may be implemented.

 

    

5 Strategies for Better Roommate Relationships

February 8th, 2017

By David Gutierrez

College is stressful enough on its own. The last thing you need is a noisy, disruptive, or rude roommate interfering with your ability to study—and don’t forget, you might be that roommate to someone else if you aren’t considerate with your behaviors. There are many benefits to having college roommates—which is one reason why so many universities make roommates mandatory for college freshman—and fortunately, the downsides can be managed easily if you have the right system in place.

Strategies for Better Relationships

These strategies can help you start and grow better roommate relationships overall:

  1. Seek off-campus or alternative housing. There’s (usually) nothing mandating that you stay in a college dorm. Dorms tend to be cramped, which can make strenuous living situations even more strenuous, and there are hundreds to thousands of students living in the same complex. Consider seeking alternative, off-campus housing with your chosen roommates; not only will you get more space, you’ll also have more control over who you end up paired with. Plus, if you’re an older college student with some extra capital, you can use an option like rent-to-own, or even buy a house outright to make money back on your investment.
  2. Establish quiet hours. Once you and your roommate are settled in, it’s essential to designate “quiet hours,” during which no excessive noise is permitted in the dorm—that means no company, no loud music, and no other major disruptions. This period allows everyone a guaranteed time to sleep, study, or enjoy themselves quietly without issue. How you set quiet hours depends on you and your roommates’ needs; though most quiet hours run through the night, you may have an alternative arrangement, or you may need more or fewer “quiet hours” than others.
  3. Study together when possible. You have a roommate, so why not make the most of the situation? Chances are, you’ll have at least one or two classes together, and even if you don’t, you can study together anyway. Take some time at least once a week to help each other prepare for an exam or recap a lesson; not only will you learn more, you’ll establish a closer bond, which can help you resolve problems faster when they come up in the future.
  4. Set mutually agreeable rules for cleaning and inviting people over. It’s best to set rules proactively when it comes to how you take care of your shared space. There are many different ways to handle it, but you must come to an agreement. For example, if you’re both neat freaks, you can take turns cleaning every other day. If both of you hate cleaning, you can use a game or challenge to draw for cleaning duty randomly. Plus, you’ll want to establish ground rules for who can be in your dorm and when—and the earlier you have this conversation, the better.
  5. Speak openly about your concerns and needs. Finally, try to be as open as possible when discussing things with your roommate. If they break a rule, address it right away. If you’re concerned about their behavior, mention it. If you have a request, bring it up. As long as you do so politely and consistently, you’ll open the door to conversation and, eventually, a resolution.

What to Do With a Disagreeable Roommate

In some cases, no matter how hard you try to set agreeable rules, politely talk about your concerns, and strive for the best possible environment, your roommate won’t hold up their end of the bargain. If you’re stuck with a roommate who refuses to follow the rules (or help to set new ones) and disrupts your ability to study or academically function, you need to take action. File a complaint with the university asking for a new roommate, or work with your landlord to get them off the lease.

Roommates are, for the most part, a pleasure to have around—even if you don’t see eye to eye right away. The more open you both are to creating the best possible living conditions, the more successful and satisfied you’re all going to be.

David Gutierrez has worked in the field of web design since 2005. Right now he started learning Java in order to get second occupation. His professional interests defined major topics of his articles. David writes about new web design software, recently discovered professional tricks and also monitors the latest updates of the web development.

 

 

10 Places Where College Students Can Learn Code

February 7th, 2017

BY JANE HURST

If you are in college studying about web design and development, you are going to need to learn code. No matter how long you try to avoid it, learning code is inevitable, and it is necessary if you want to get into this line of work. But, you may not be able to get all of the training you need with your college courses, and will need to look outside of your school for places to learn code. The Internet is the best place to begin your search, and there are loads of great sites where you can get the training you need. Here are our top 10 picks.

 

  1. Codecademy – If you are new to the world of coding, this is a great place to start. This platform lets you learn interactively, so you are reading and typing code, seeing immediate results. There are many topics you can choose from, including HTML & CSS, JavaScript, Python, Ruby, Angularis, The Command Line, and many more.
  2. Marksheet.io – Here is another great learning tool for beginners. It is broken into four chapters, HTML5, CSS3, the web, and Sass. This is a lot like an e-book, but it is under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. This means that you can use it to learn what you need.
  3. Tech Camp – Students who are still in high school can prepare for college and learn code at one of the Vision Tech Camps. This is the San Francisco Bay area’s top tech summer camp, with learning opportunities that are science and math-based. Students can take part in the Programming Camp, where they will learn Java, C, Python, C#, and C++. Learning is fun, because students apply what they are learning to create video games, robots, and more.
  4. The Odin Project – The creators of Viking Code School have created this coding boot camp. This is actually the free version, and you have the option to work on your own, with others in-person, or in online study groups. The topics you will learn include HTML, CSS, JavaScript & jQuery, Ruby, and Ruby on Rails.
  5. Free Code Camp – First you will learn coding via a common curriculum. Then, you will get hands-on experience with coding, working on a variety of projects for nonprofit organizations. Not only do you get to learn for free, you get to give back by working with nonprofits. You will learn HTML, CSS, Bootstrap, JavaScript, Databases, DevTools, Node.js, React.js, and D3.js.
  6. Skillcrush’s Coding Bootcamp – This free coding boot camp is perfect for those who are new to coding. You will learn all about working in tech, and get definitions of industry lingo that you can actually understand. You will also have the opportunity to create your first lines of code and get your feet wet.
  7. The Code Player – Here you will find a large collection of video tutorials that will help you learn coding, inside and out. This is great if you are trying to learn smaller projects, and you can learn HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript, Regex, and JQuery.
  8. Coursera – These courses are free, and taught by actual university professors. If you want to prove that you have completed the training, you will need to pay for the Coursera Verified Certificate, which costs $30 to $100, depending on which course you are taking. There are also specialization courses, which you also have to pay for.
  9. Khan Academy – Whether you want to learn about coding, or anything else, you can learn it here. There are loads of computer programming courses, and there are even some courses geared for younger kids.
  10. Udemy – You can choose from both paid and free courses on many subjects, including web development, data science, and programming. Because these courses can be made by anyone, be sure to check out reviews to make sure that you are going to be getting the right training.

Jane Hurst has been working in education for over 5 years as a teacher. She loves sharing her knowledge with students, is fascinated about edtech and loves reading, a lot. Follow Jane on Twitter

7 Off-Campus Housing Tips for College Students

February 6th, 2017

By Lorraine McKinney

When you choose to live off-campus instead of in the dorms when you are in college, the first thing you have to do is find a good place, which isn’t always easy. While there may be plenty of apartments available to rent, it doesn’t mean that they are going to be suitable for your needs, or even livable for that matter. So, here are some things to think about when you are looking for a place to live while you are in school.

  1. Tour the Neighborhood – When you find an apartment you are interested in, check out the neighborhood. There are certain things to look for. Make sure it is on a bus route. Also, find out from people who live in the area if it is a safe place to live, and if there is anything or anyone you should look out for. Don’t forget to make sure that it is in close proximity to the school. While this isn’t necessary, it helps when you are running late for class and you don’t have to go all the way across town to get there.
  2. Tour the Right Place – Many landlords will show you their more expensive apartments rather than the one you actually want to consider renting. These apartments are all set up for show, but they aren’t going to show you what your potential place will look like. Ask the landlord if you can see the actual apartment that is for rent rather than the showcase apartment.
  3. Check the Walk Score – Residential properties are assigned a Walk Score between one and 10. This will tell you how far it is to walk to school, stores, restaurants, etc. If you don’t have a vehicle and tend to walk to most of your destinations, you need to make sure that you live in an area that is close to everywhere you need to be. Otherwise, you will end up spending extra money on cabs, subways, etc.
  4. Talk to Tenants – “It is a good idea to speak with people who already live in the building to learn more about it. The landlord can tell you all kinds of great things, but you won’t know the full story until you talk to the people who actually live there,” says an expert from Miami Properties. Ask what they like about the building, if the landlord keeps up with repairs and maintenance, etc. There will always be at least one or two tenants in the building who love to talk, and who will give you the lowdown.
  5. Inspect the Apartment – Before you sign the lease, make sure that you give the apartment a thorough going-through. And, be sure to bring along your phone or a camera so you can take photos. This way, you can prove what the place looked like before you moved in if the landlord tries to say that you ruined anything. Also, be sure to check for anything that may need repairing, and make sure that the landlord agrees to make repairs before you sign the lease.
  6. Inspect the Lease – Be sure to carefully look over your lease before you sign it. If there are any discrepancies between the lease and what you have discussed with the landlord, now is the time to get things straightened out. Also, you need to make sure that you won’t get locked into a lease that you can’t get out of if you need to.
  7. Furnish for Free – Once the lease is signed and the rent is paid, it is time to move in. You probably don’t have a lot of furniture, but, don’t go out and spend a lot of money on stuff you will likely throw out after you graduate. Talk to graduating seniors about donating furniture they won’t be taking with them when they leave. Visit thrift shops for cheap items. Just be careful about stuffed furniture, such as beds and sofas, because of bedbugs and other creepy crawlies.

Lorraine McKinney is an academic tutor and elearning specialist. 

 

3 Ways to Keep Your Student Loan Debt Low Without Starving

February 3rd, 2017

By Dorothy Mitchell

Student loans are essential for most people to get the education they want, and the growing debt can be scary. Most students live a frugal life, but there are other ways that you can keep your student debt low without making living unbearable.

Here are 3 things that you can do to earn extra cash to start paying your loans off before you graduate.

  1. Start a Business

Although you should never sacrifice your studies for making money, it is viable to start a business during your student years, and make a dent in your debt in the process.

College kids always need frat shirts, banners, and all sorts of merchandise – providing an affordable solution on campus could see you making some serious cash.

You can also do part-time work, get involved in paid tutoring, or learn a skill that will help you make a little money on the side. For instance, you could provide referrals to a law firm like Fisher & Talwar, and then get a commission when some defined results are achieved.

  1. Make Compromises

It seems logical to try to reduce your expenses by sacrificing your everyday comforts, but a lot of students want to live on their own terms instead of saving towards their student loans.

Being smart with your money doesn’t mean that you must live on a dollar a day. There are practical steps that you can take. Start by creating a budget that covers everything you’re going to have to pay for, such as accommodations, books, gas, entertainment, and food.

Once you have an idea of how much you can spend, try to find low-cost ways of making your available money work for you. Find a roommate to reduce your rent, buy second hand books and computers, and think about trading your car in for a bicycle.

You also don’t need to be the guy buying everybody drinks all night, or the girl who goes out every time her phone rings. Take a balanced approach to your student experience, plan, and you can ensure you have the best time ever without breaking the bank.

  1. Shop Like a Student

From travel deals to discounted meal combos and screen printing software and supplies, the world is geared towards making life easier with student-only specials.

The average college student can probably tell you the exact time when drinks are on special at their local bar, but isn’t aware of how much they can save by cashing in on student specials.

Ask other students for tips on how to save – buses, haircuts, movies, and other student essentials are often discounted in college towns. Take advantage and put your savings right back into your student loan and you’ll find you have enough money to enjoy yourself.

Conclusion – Every Little Bit Helps

Car pools, split the bill on dates, unsubscribe from cable – do whatever it takes to save without living in misery.

Making ends meet as a student can be tough, but if you’re prepared to take any job that pays, reduce your expenses where possible, and look for student specials, you can make it through without a mountain of debt.

Dorothy Mitchell is a freelance business writer and social media marketing consultant. She has worked as a writer, researcher, social media manager and business consultant with several companies, including Fortune 500 companies like LinkedIn, Microsoft, Cisco and PepsiCo.

How to Fit Daily Meditation Into A Busy Schedule

February 2nd, 2017

By Anamika Nair

 

There are many reasons why someone should try practicing meditation throughout the day. Mainly, daily meditation can help you reduce stress levels and find your inner peace. It’s a fantastic and easy way of calming yourself down and helping you think straight. By meditating a few minutes every day, you can bring clarity to your mind and help you relax more.

The problem is, many people believe they don’t have the time to meditate because of their busy schedule. A busy schedule is often an excuse for a lot of things. It’s the reason we eat badly, the reason we don’t exercise, and now it’s the reason we can’t meditate. Granted, modern life can be very fast-paced, and you’ll see minutes turn to hours as a whole day passes you by in the blink of an eye. However, no one is ever ‘too busy’ to spare a few minutes throughout the day where you can sit still and meditate. Where there’s a will there’s a way, it’s much easier than you might think.

The following article will show you some easy ways that you can fit daily meditation into your busy schedule. Plus, we’ll also look at the benefits this will bring to people of various different lifestyles.

Create a Meditation Schedule

It’s a lot easier to fit your daily meditation in if you schedule it at the start of the day. Before bed each night you should get your phone out and add reminders at certain times to take a minute and meditate. You’ll be notified during the day, and it’s a great way of ensuring you never forget. Plus, you can work your meditation around your busy schedule for that day too. You can look at what’s on your agenda, and figure out when you can and can’t spare a few minutes.

Wake Up Half an Hour Earlier

One of the easiest ways to fit in a solid 30-minute meditation session is to wake up half an hour earlier than planned. This means you have the time to meditate and can start the day off feeling a lot calmer and in the right frame of mind. It’s the perfect way to prepare yourself for another busy day in your life.

The best thing about this idea is that your meditation doesn’t eat into your schedule at all. By the time you’ve finished, it will be the time you usually wake up.

Meditate Before Bed

Another simple way to fit in half an hour’s worth of meditation is to do it before bed. Get ready for bed earlier than usual, and spend 30 minutes sitting peacefully before you hit the hay. Again, it’s a great time to meditate as it relaxes your body and mind. You’ll find yourself having a much better night’s sleep if you go to bed relaxed and with your mind at ease.

Spread Your Meditation over Small Periods

Generally speaking, meditating for at least half an hour per day will make a big difference to your life. But, this doesn’t mean you have to meditate for half an hour straight. What you can do is split up your meditation over smaller periods throughout the day. Meditate for five minutes here, five minutes there, and you’ll soon rack up all the meditation time you need to benefit from it.

There really are no excuses for missing out on daily meditation because of your busy schedule. Even if you genuinely can’t spare a few minutes here and there to meditate throughout the day, you’ll definitely be able to do it in the morning and evening.

The big question is, why should you put in the effort to meditate daily? Below, you will find the main benefits of daily meditation, and how it can affect different lifestyles:

Relieves Stress

Arguably the biggest benefit of meditation is that it helps reduce your stress levels. If you practice it every day, you’ll start to become far more relaxed and stress-free. This is great for people from all walks of life. Students should practice daily meditation during exam periods to relieve them of stress and help them feel more relaxed before sitting for an exam. Business owners are often subjected to high degrees of stress, as are people with very demanding jobs. By meditating, you help undo all the negative effects stress has on your brain, and it will help you be better at your job.

Helps Clear Your Mind

Another benefit of daily meditation is that it can help clear your mind. When you meditate, there’s an emphasis on controlling your breathing and relaxing your mind. This helps you become more mindful and aware of your thoughts. You start to think straight, and it leads to you being in greater control of your reactions. As you can imagine, this is highly beneficial to anyone in the workplace. If you work a busy job where you have lots of things to do, it pays to have a clear mind. If you spend a few minutes clearing your mind and become more aware of your actions, you’ll make better decisions in the workplace.

Enables You to Control Your Emotions

Thirdly, daily meditation helps you control your emotions. By slowing things down and sitting still for a few moments, you can get your emotions under control and avoid any outbursts. This is very beneficial for parents who are likely to have their emotions run ragged by their children throughout the day. By meditating, you can get things under control and avoid losing your cool and shouting at your kids. This is the same for business owners when things go wrong at work, and you want to lose it and shout at everyone. Take some time out, breathe deeply, and gain control of your emotions.

As you can see, meditating benefits you in many ways no matter what life you live. Along with all these benefits, it’s also a great way of just slowing things down and reflecting on all the good things in life. Make sure you use all of the earlier advice to fit daily meditation into your busy schedule.

Anamika Nair is an experienced freelancer with extensive experience in writing texts, blogs, and columns. She studied Neuroscience of Yoga and Meditation from University of Eidenburg and she is also a meditation expert who is skilled to write about vast variety of topics on Meditation.

 

 

4 Steps to Design an Outstanding Online Course

February 1st, 2017

BY NORMAN ARVIDSSON

Whether you are a corporate trainer designing a new online program, a teacher who is proposing a new course to the Superintendent/Board of Education, or a professor who wants to add a new online course, decisions will very well be made by others. Your job is to present a proposal that is well-organized and compelling. To do this, you will need to follow a proposal model that most everyone understands and accepts as valid. It is not a complicated model and, if used well, will provide all of the information that a decision-maker will need.

The “devil,” of course, is in the details, and those will differ widely dependent upon the learners to be served. For example, a U.S. history course planned for high school learners will differ markedly from a university level course. With that in mind, these are the overriding components of a course proposal.

Step I: Needs Assessment

No one will consider supporting or putting money into a project unless they determine that there is a real need among consumers of the online course. And the first step in a online course proposal is to prove there is a need. This “proof” can take several forms:

  • Such a course does not exist within the context of the implementation venue. For example, an online course in personal finance for high school does not exist does not yet exist and is not offered by the school district to whom the course is being pitched.
  • Provide research/data that shows there is a gap between the number of consumers (students) who could benefit from this project and the opportunities for them to obtain the learning they need.
  • What is the consumer demographic and what are the numbers that would choose to participate in the course, training, etc. that the online course addresses? A course might be an elective at either the secondary or university levels, but what are the specific numbers of students who could be tapped to enroll?

Why a Needs Assessment is Important

The idea for an educational/training online course may have come from any number of places – a casual conversation or something you read, for example. And while you and a few friends or colleagues may believe it is a great idea, the course and/or the timing may not be feasible.

  • A needs assessment may show duplication of such a course – duplication that is already serving a large part of your demographic.
  • A needs assessment may show that there is not enough of a “gap” to justify the time, effort and investment to move forward on a project
  • A needs assessment may show that there is not sufficient demand for the project you are contemplating

On the other hand, a needs assessment may present the research and data that supports the course. In that case, decision-makers will take notice and, indeed, throw their support behind it. Other stakeholders, such as those who may be asked to help fund or provide other in-kind support, are far more inclined to provide their support too.

Step II: Online Course Planning and Implementation

Planning and implementing a course is a complex task. The best approach is to break the whole down into manageable parts of a logical development process.

  1. Set Goals and Objectives

Anyone who has been involved in an educational field understands goals and objectives. These form the skeleton by which a course curriculum is developed. It is probably not necessary to discuss this step in detail, but a brief review of the difference between these two might be a good idea:

  • Goals constitute the big picture – the large learner outcomes as a result of the teaching and learning process. They are not measurable because they don’t have a specific end-point.
  • Objectives are the goals broken down into smaller chunks of learner outcomes. Unlike goals, they are measurable. The best way to think about objectives is in terms of input and output. The input constitutes all of the activities to meet the objective. The output is the level of mastery of the objective on the part of the learner.

 

  1. Objectives From the Units of Study

Now the specifics of the course or program are added. These include the learning activities, the assignments (if relevant) and the manner in which mastery will be evaluated (tests, reports, presentations, papers, etc.). You can order your works somewhere, or hire someone, buy something… Sometimes it’s a good idea because there are plenty of good helpers, you can check them all at the bestessays.review. But… The key to an effective course or program is the following:

  • Course objectives must be age-appropriate for the prospective learners. This means that a high school course in economics will address basic theoretical and practical concepts; at the college level, however, such a course may move into such things as global economic policies and circumstances, currency manipulation, politics of trade, etc.
  • All learning activities must relate directly to the objectives.
  • Learning activities must engage the participants and be as student-centered as possible. The differences between planning for learners at different academic levels is quite pronounced in this section of the proposal. Secondary students, for example, are not as capable of long-term independent learning as university students are. This means teachers must plan for far more communication, connection and nurturing as students move through their assignments and activities.
  • Resources and materials should be identified. Again, age-appropriate materials must be selected.
  • A timeline must be included

 

  1. Market the Course/Program

Marketing strategies will, of course, vary dependent upon who the potential consumers are. Certainly, if the course is a part of an educational program, then those program “owners” will implement the marketing, such as it is. At the secondary level, this may mean a course announcement, a description, and “talking the course up” on the part of the teacher. At the university level, the course will be included in the course catalog. Beyond that, the instructor may want to promote the course through the department as well.

If on the other hand, you are an entrepreneur/consultant who has designed a new training program, your marketing techniques will be those that businesses typically use to market a new product or service.

Part III: Evaluation

In advance of implementation, the methods by which the course/program itself will be evaluated should have been designed when the needs assessment phase was being conducted and a proposal made to decision-makers. The most important thing to remember here is that courses are never perfect. There is always room for improvement. A solid evaluation methodology will identify areas for improvement.

Throughout the implementation of the course, formative evaluations should occur. For example, if, after a unit of study is finished, a large percentage of the learners did not master the content or skills at an appropriate level, then it is time to investigate and analyze why that occurred? Often, asking the students will provide excellent feedback. Materials and activities may have to be revised or replaced.

If the evaluation is honestly implemented throughout the implementation, in the end, you will have information and data necessary for the final part. Here are typical questions to be asked as a program is evaluated:

  • Were the resources used as planned?
  • Was the program implemented according to the design and plan?
  • How actively were participants involved in their learning? What was the quality of student-produced products?
  • How have participants responded to the activities?
  • What are the participant survey results?

Part IV: Revision

Revision can be a difficult activity. One of the reasons is that the individual(s) who has designed and implemented the course or program is emotionally attached to the design, the goals and objectives, and the activities, most of which have also been designed by the individual who actually delivers the curriculum. Another reason, of course, is time and money. If for example, it is determined that different or additional resources must be acquired, evaluating the options and budgeting for those additions may be quite challenging.

Revisions must always be based upon the results of the evaluation. Each issue that is pointed out by the evaluation must be addressed, analyzed, and its weaknesses identified. And a plan must be developed to strengthen each weakness. If students in a high school online course state that they felt too isolated, for example, then steps must be taken for more collaboration, discussion, and instructor/peer support.

Conclusion

In the end, the success of any course or program is participant mastery and level of satisfaction. When that mastery and satisfaction occurs, the course will continue, will be popular, and will be recommended by satisfied students.

About the author: Norman Arvidsson is a young and passionate blogger, tutor and educator. He writes about student’s life, education tips, and studying. You can contact him via Twitter.