Posts published in March, 2018

Success Tips For Your Job Interviews After College


Just because you are ready to graduate from college, don’t think that your test-taking days are soon going to be over. In fact, they are only just beginning. Now comes the real challenge: getting out there and finding the career that you have been working towards. Gone are the days when one could rely on the strength of their resume to get a job. Today’s employers are looking at many other things, and many are doing pre-employment testing to find the best candidates for the jobs they are offering, including aptitude and personality tests. This is not something that you need to be worried about if you are prepared. Let’s take a look at what you need to know about interview assessments and how to get through them.


Understanding Aptitude Tests

An aptitude test evaluates your skills and lets the employer know if you have what it takes to do the job. There are likely going to be hundreds of people applying for the position, and this testing can help to narrow the list down to a few qualified candidates. There are several different types of aptitude tests, so it is unlikely you will be able to fully prepare, as you won’t know which one is being used until the interview. In most cases, these tests are provided by assessment companies.


Understanding Personality Tests

Not only do you need the right skills for the job, you also need to have the right type of personality and mindset. Many employers use these tests, and the answers will help them to decide if you are right for the job. It is a good idea to take several practice tests before the actual interview. You need to be able to answer as honestly as possible, while also being able to give them the types of answers that they are looking for.


Preparing for Assessment Testing

When you arrive at the interview, be sure to have an up to date copy of your resume. If you are still in school, create a student resume that lists your skills, grades, volunteer work, etc. Before the interview, you should do the following:

  • Take Practice Tests – While you can’t be prepared for everything that is going to be asked on the tests, by taking practice tests, you can be prepared a lot, and be used to taking these kinds of tests. It will also give you a pretty good idea of what you can expect to find on the actual test.
  • Be Well Rested – The night before your interview, try to get to sleep as early as possible. You will need to be well rested in order to be able to get through the testing and interview process. It is also going to help you to feel less stressed if you are able to relax the night before the interview.
  • Look Over Your Resume – Also on the night before the interview, take a few minutes to go over your resume to make sure everything important is there. If you are unsure about your education information, find out how to list education on a resume, and make any necessary changes.
  • Pace Yourself – When you are taking the actual tests, you need to be able to pace yourself. Don’t take too long on any one question, but at the same time, do not rush through the answers either. Yes, there is a time limit, but if you know how to pace yourself, you will achieve a high score.
  • Quality, not Quantity – While it is important to answer as many of the questions as possible, employers are often more concerned about the quality of your answers rather than how many questions you are able to answer. Look for the questions that are easiest for you, and concentrate on those.



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.


5 Countries You Could Consider Moving To After Graduation


For the large majority, graduating from college also means moving back home.

This can sometimes feel like a backward step in your development, especially if you’ve spent the last three years living independently.

One way to get around the issue is to think about moving abroad after you graduate. With travel becoming cheaper and working visas on offer in a variety of interesting countries, it’s never been easier to spread your wings.

The experience will help add a major selling point to your resume and will allow you to fulfill any desires you might have to travel at the same time.

To celebrate this, I’ve come up with a list of five countries you should consider moving to after you graduate, below:

  1. Australia

For graduates majoring in agriculture, tourism, or administration, there are few better countries to work in than Australia. The Land Down Under is currently undergoing an extended period of major job growth, making its 12-month working visa for US residents an attractive prospect. Thanks to its stunning coastline and year-round warm weather, you’ll never be short of outdoor activities to enjoy outside of work.


  1. Ireland 

The rolling emerald hills of Ireland are the place to head for graduates looking for employment in the hospitality or retail sectors. In fact, the services industry makes up around 75 percent of Ireland’s employment, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The country’s economy was the fastest growing in the whole of the European Union over the last 12 months, making their 12-month working visa for US residents one of the most attractive prospects on our list.

  1. France

Calling all marketing masters, language experts, aspiring attorneys, academics, and fashionistas, France is very much open for business. Following the United States’ withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement, the French Prime Minister, Emmanuel Macron, actively encouraged scientists and academics from the States to move to the country. The European powerhouse has a steady economy and a culture that is unrivaled anywhere else on the planet. Be warned: your chances of success in the country depend almost entirely on whether you can speak the language of love fluently. The country’s strict visa requirements also mean that you’ll need to have a job lined up before you travel to the country.


  1. The United Kingdom

Despite worries over the long-term effects of Brexit, the UK economy has continued to go from strength to strength. Innovation looks set to be at the forefront of government planning over the coming years, with increased funding and job opportunities in the sciences, engineering, and creative sectors. The UK government is investing nearly £2bn per annum into businesses through the HMRC R&D tax credits scheme.  The tax relief scheme is boosting innovation, productivity and employment and will possibly become more generous post Brexit.

Much in the same way as France, the UK requires all working visitors from the United States to have arranged employment before travel.

  1. South Korea

South Korea’s capital, Seoul, is a thriving metropolitan area, with numerous jobs in business and education available to US graduates. The country offers two different working visas: a business visa and a work visa. The former requires an offer of employment before you travel to the country. Naturally, South Korea’s main language is Korean, but many residents under the age of 40 also speak English to a high standard. When you’re not at work, you can take the time to enjoy the beautiful mountainous peninsula on which the country sits on.

Kate Larson is a college student and aspiring blogger, who has a strong interest in the environment and personal well-being. She enjoys travelling and reading, as well as writing novels.





How old is too old to invest in postsecondary education?



We occasionally hear inspiring stories of 60-something-year-olds making the bold decision to return to university in order to change their lives or achieve a life-long dream of being educated. But in actual practice this is no longer a rarity. The number of people turning to tertiary education in their twilight years – seeing it as an opportunity to reinvent their lives, improve their salary or tick off a bucket list item – is only growing. In the U.K., the Open University now has 11 percent of its students over the age of 55 and 3 percent over 65 – a huge development considering that 10 years ago the idea of a senior citizen re-enrolling in an education course would have been thought preposterous. The number of people aged 30 to 34 in the EU who have completed tertiary education continues to rise steadily, from 23.6 percent in 2002 to 39.1 percent in 2016. Women are leading the way, from 24.5 percent in 2002 to 43.9 percent in 2016.


But some would-be students see their age as an obstacle or a reason not to further their education. They see embarking on a four or six-year course as a waste of time and investment, largely due to the short life span of a career started after one turns 60. Many are also of the preconceived notion that retirement should be a time of relaxation, of kicking back and enjoying the good life – not of sitting in exams and having to do assessments again.

But in fact, there are countless benefits to becoming a mature aged student – and by mature aged, I am referring to anyone who has not studied for over 20 years and is over the age of 40.

Firstly, gaining further qualifications such as an MBA can lead to one earning a salary increase. Whichever university or online provider one opts to enroll with, there is a strong likelihood that an MBA will prove a strong long-term investment. Research shows that MBA graduates enjoy, on average, an 18 percent rise in their base salary upon graduation; an increase that jumps up to 53 percent after another three to five years.

For others, gaining a degree or MBA – even a graduate diploma – is about achieving a life-long dream and feeling a sense of success for perhaps the first time in their lives. For 63-year-old great-grandmother of five and grandmother of seven Priscilla Santiago of Connecticut, gaining a bachelor’s degree was her way of “owning” her life again after a series of misfortunes and abuse, including a devastating sexual assault that forced her to drop out of high school 47 years earlier.

“Everything happened for me from age 59 to 63,” she said. “It’s never too late for you to do what you think you can’t do. Every day God gives you the chance to do what you want with your life. Don’t let insecurities prevent you from living out your dream.”

Many older women alive today were born and raised in an era where female education was not valued by society. Today, by entering university or college as a female student, those women are taking advantage of the same opportunities offered to young women today – opportunities they were not lucky enough to be given. The sense of self-fulfillment gained by those women is one that goes on to encourage other female seniors to jump on board and gain a qualification too.

However, having a degree or other qualification is no simple guarantee of finding a job in this day and age, where sluggish recovery following the Great Recession has seen an overall unemployment rate of recent college graduates drop to 7.9 percent. Despite common belief that having a degree certificate will lead to job offers, the reality is that employers are seeking professionals with both qualifications and experience. New graduates often find themselves incredibly frustrated with this criterion when job seeking in a new field, since without relevant experience, what hope do they have? They need experience in a certain field to get a new job, but they need a job to gain that experience.

It turns out that choice of college or university, as well as the chosen subject of study, makes a real difference in terms of employment prospects upon graduation. One study found that the unemployment rate for nursing and education majors at U.S. colleges was roughly 5 percent, but that number rose to 10 percent for graduates of architecture and information systems. The digital marketing, entertainment and I.T. industries are generally more favorable toward younger employees, while healthcare and accounting are more willing to consider older employees.

It is often recommended that those wishing to begin studying later in life consider enrolling in a certificate program rather than a four or six-year degree or master’s program. By doing so, students can learn new skills and specialized training in a particular discipline program but take less time to do so than they would earning an associate’s, undergraduate or master’s degree, enabling them to accumulate less student debt and progress toward a new career more quickly. Given the flexible nature of certificate programs, they also allow students to take up an internship or part-time work in the relevant industry while studying.

Slowly, America’s biggest universities and community colleges are making the move to popularize certificate programs, in acknowledgment of growing demand by midlife students seeking an alternative to traditional adult education. Technical schools, community college websites and industry associations are a great place to search for certificate programs targeted toward this demographic. The Plus 50 initiative, a U.S. based program offering life transition counselling services, education courses and other support services to people over 50, is also worth having a look at. Perhaps the most effective way of entering the industry as a midlife graduate, however, is by leveraging opportunities that may exist within your new school’s alumni office or network of professors and classmates.

Byline – Anton Lucanus is the Director of Neliti. During his college years, he maintained a perfect GPA, was published in a top cancer journal, and received many of his country’s most prestigious undergraduate scholarships. Anton writes for The College Puzzle as a means to share the lessons learnt throughout his degree and to guide current students to achieve personal and educational fulfilment during college life.



6 Best YouTube Channels for Quality Learning Online Courses / Material


If you want to expand your knowledge and gain more skills, one of the best way to do it is by taking online courses. The only problem is that with so many courses out there, it can be difficult to know which ones are the best to take, and which aren’t going to do you much good. You can find all kinds of great courses and learning channels on YouTube, but which ones are going to offer the best quality learning material for you? Today we are going to take a look at what we consider to be six of the best YouTube channels that offer quality learning material.


1) Vsauce: Some channels are very specialized, while others offer a huge selection of learning material. Vsauce is one of the latter, and you will find everything from human behavior to physics to general knowledge to earth and space, and even learn if headlights can work at light speed. These courses are fun, and loaded with information that can help with your work, current studies, etc. Learn about how the earth works, dinosaur science, how Alzheimer’s disease affects the brain, and more.

2) Gresham College: This is another channel that offers a variety of online courses that can help to improve your general knowledge. For instance, you may be interested in learning about asthma and other diseases of the airways. Or, you might want to learn more about the world of insects, including the various diseases that are spread by mosquitoes. Some of the most popular uploads from Gresham College include “The End of Space and Time? with Professor Robbert Dijkgraaf, the “Shakespeare Politics” series, and “Mathematics: The Next Generation” with Professor Peter.

3) Veritasium: This is a channel that offers courses about science and engineering. You will find loads of cool experiments, interviews with experts, awesome demonstrations, public discussions about various science topics, and more. Some of the most popular uploads on Veritasium include “Can Silence Actually Drive You Crazy?”, “Anti-Gravity Wheel?”, and “Why are Mosquitoes Attracted to Me?”. If you need to upgrade your iPhone to be able to use this or any other YouTube channel, look into going for an iPhone 6 trade in so you don’t have to pay full price for a new iPhone.

4) Smithsonian Channel: If you are looking for quality programming from a YouTube educational channel, look no further than the Smithsonian Channel. Here you will find award-winning programming about such topics as air and space, history, science, nature, pop culture, and so much more. This is a joint venture that offers the expertise of Showtime Networks with the resources offered by the Smithsonian, and you will find yourself enjoying endless hours of top class learning material that can help you with your work, studies, and more.

5) C.G.P. Grey: Are you curious as to how machines learn? Do you want to learn about the differences between Great Britain and the United Kingdom? Are you interested in learning about Canada/United States border issues? You will find all of this, and more, on C.G.P. Grey, and you can even “Ask Grey a Question”. There are even a lot of fun videos, such as “The One Ring Explained” about the Lord of the Rings mythology, and “How to Become Pope”. This is a fun and eclectic learning resource that you need to check out.

6) BrainCraft: Maybe you are interested in psychology, how the brain works, and why we do the things we do. When you check out the videos at BrainCraft, you will be able to learn about these things, and then some. This channel offers videos about neuroscience, psychology, etc., and you will find some pretty interesting videos, including “How to Think Like Einstein”, “The Neuroscience of Creativity”, and “Your Brain in Virtual Reality”.



Martha Karn develops online educational courses and writes for students.

5 Ways To Help You Succeed In College


The college years are difficult for most students. For many, it’s their first time away from constant adult supervision. Students must balance adult responsibilities, such as part-time jobs, with coursework. Read on for a list of five tips for college success.

5. Use Your Campus Resources

Most college campuses have learning support services. For instance a writing lab provides tutors, typically during weekdays. These tutors will sit down with the student and provide feedback on student essays. Check with your school’s learning support center or library to ask about tutoring. However, you should not wait until the week your paper is due. Many writing labs require a student to make an appointment.


In addition to writing labs, some campuses also have math labs and other types of tutoring. Most of these tutoring services are included in student fees. This eliminates the need for private tutoring. In most cases the tutors in learning support services are graduate students or part-time staff who have studied the subject at an advanced level. Thus, they are knowledgeable on the subjects in which they tutor. Resources, notes and study aids are also available online through websites like Course Hero free in some cases, but accessible for a fee in others.

4. Organize a Study Group

If you are struggling with a particular subject, don’t feel overwhelmed. You undoubtedly aren’t the only one who needs help. Get together with friends who are in your class(es). Meet at least once per week to help each other with homework. During exam times, meet for several hours to go over your notes.

3. Get to Know Your Professors

Most professor hold office hours during weekdays. It’s a good idea to attend office hours at least a few times during the semester. Take advantage of any one-on-one time with your teachers. They can explain things you didn’t understand in class or answer any questions you have about your grade or upcoming assignments. Professors are also more likely to help you if they see that you’re putting forth the effort to meet with them outside of class.

2. Prioritize Your Physical Health

College is a time in which students are often on-the-go. They may stop for fast food on the way to class or stock their dorms with unhealthy snacks. Eating too many empty calories will not only contribute to an unhealthy weight gain, but it will also not create the energy necessary to study and focus. Instead, you should limit yourself to only a couple of fast food meals per week. Keep fruits and veggies in your dorm or apartment. It is also important to get plenty of sleep each night.

1. Stay Organized and Disciplined

The importance of good organizational skills cannot be emphasized enough. Undisciplined and unorganized students lose sleep by having to cram and study for exams at the last minute. Being unorganized can also cause a student to misplace important things, such as lecture notes. If you want to succeed in college, invest in a daily or weekly planner. Either add a planner app to your phone, or buy a paper tablet to keep track of all the important dates for the semester. Begin by gathering your course syllabi. Go through each syllabus and write important due dates in your planner. This will help you see which weeks of the semester are busiest for you. It will also help you plan ahead.


College students are pulled in many directions. They have studying to do, parties and sporting events to attend, and jobs to do. While this is overwhelming to most students, any student can pass college successfully. It all begins with careful planning, taking care of one’s physical health, prioritizing study time and using campus resources when necessary.




I am a young mother who loves kids, that is why I became a teacher. Education is one of my passions, along with caring for animals like my pupper Morris. In my down time I love to paint and practice my calligraphy.


7 Smart Steps to Take if You Need More College Funding


One of the biggest problems faced by college students today isn’t how they plan to go about their studies, but how they plan to pay for them. Even with student loans, many students still lack the funds they need to get through college. After all, the cost of studying at a college or university involves a lot more than just tuition and books: students also have to consider how to manage living expenses like rent, food, transport, and a whole lot more.

If you’re worried that you won’t have the funding you need to complete your education, we’ve got you covered – check out the following seven steps to help you secure more funding for your studies.

1. Ask Your School for Help. Many schools offer financial aid for their students, though not all of it is based on academic merit. Some schools offer “preferential packaging”, and only give financing to students who can raise the profile of the school. If you have great grades and are involved in extracurricular activities, you may be eligible for one of these awards. Speak to your school’s financial aid office to find out if you qualify for financial aid.

2. Claim a Tax Credit. Your parents can get a tax credit of as much as $2,500 annually per child, after paying tuition, room and board, and books. If your parents’ modified adjusted gross income is less than $90,000 (or $180,000 if they file jointly), they can claim this credit, which will cover many of your educational costs. They can file for this credit for every year that you are in college. Make sure to ask your parents whether they’re aware of this option – it could save them a lot of money in the long run, and ensure you have the funds you need to complete your education.

3. Look into Grants and Loans. Government grants are also an option and are available both at state and federal levels. Some colleges even provide their own grants. Most of these grants are based on the financial needs of the student, which are determined by your reported income on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Students at public colleges can receive up to $5,000 on average, and those studying at private colleges can receive over $16,000.

If you have a more immediate need for funds, you can consider an emergency cash loan, so long as you perform due diligence to make sure you’re going with a reputable company and not taking on debt you can’t handle.

4. Ask about Payment Plans. Talk to the school’s billing office, bursar’s office, or cashier’s office to find out if they offer any payment plans that can help you spread out the cost of your tuition so you don’t have to pay the full amount up-front. This would allow you to make payments during the semester and avoid late fees if you are unable to pay all your expenses at once.

5. Possible Special Circumstances. Unexpected events can change your circumstances overnight. For instance, your family’s finances could quickly change if there is a loss of a job or a divorce. A special circumstances re-evaluation of the financial information on the FAFSA could result in your eligibility being recalculated, and you could end up with more financial aid.

6. Get an Emergency Advance. Often, students have expenses, such as paying for housing and other living expenses, before they actually receive their financial aid. In such cases, they can apply for an advance in their financial aid or apply for a school-based loan. Talk to your financial aid office to find out if this option is available at your school. However, before you take on an emergency advance, it’s vital to make sure that you fully understand the terms and repayment schedule.

7. Research Private Scholarships. Many companies, community groups and non-profit organizations offer private scholarships to deserving students. A good example is the scholarship offered by Air Charter Service. This is something that you should talk to your guidance counselor about, as they will likely be able to point you in the right direction. You can also go online to research the various scholarships that you may be eligible to receive. Another option is to use a company such as Fastweb to find the best scholarships based on your needs.


Lorraine McKinney is an academic tutor and elearning specialist.

How Virtual and Augmented Reality Alters the Future of Learning


Despite that almost every system has evolved drastically over the past decades, the educational system still follows the same learning model as hundred years ago with no considerable adjustment.

Nevertheless, with the evolution of augmented and virtual reality technologies, the learning experience is going to drastically improve and probably change once and for all. In order to clarify this phenomenon, we’ll explain how virtual and augmented reality can alter the future of the human learning system.

Virtual and Augmented Reality: Definition


Virtual reality (VR) is a three-dimensional computer-generated environment similar to real-life, which attaches the user to a different data stream. VR technology simulates most of the human senses (touch, vision, hearing, and even smelling), embarking the user on a journey (inside a different world). Usually, there’s a purpose that can be attained once the user makes choices and tries different possibilities. All of this technology relies mainly on special VR headsets.

Augmented reality (AR) is defined as an improved version of reality created by a live direct/ indirect view of the physical real-world environment which is augmented by the computer-generated image of something being looked at through a smartphone/ camera. The most typical versions are:

  • Projection-based AR
  • Location-based AR
  • Superimposition-based AR


How VR and AR Improve the Quality of Learning in Different Fields

 In order to help you achieve a better understanding of how VR and AR can improve our future learning experience and academic environment, let’s see where and how we can use it in a practical way.

1.     Languages

Helen Hilton, the leading IT specialist at Superior Papers, argues that “besides the traditional methodology of language learning, a better method is to actually talk with a native speaker abroad.” Unfortunately, not many can afford this type of practice. Fortunately, with the means of VR technology, kids and students from all over the world will be able to “visit” to different countries and talk to different natives, therefore enhancing their learning experience.

2.     History and Geography

Many kids find learning geography and history quite boring. Imagine how this situation would turn around if they would have the chance to visit the great pyramids from their classroom. All of this can actually be possible with the means of AR and VR technology. And then, instead of feeling bored or annoyed, they’ll be eager to “live” the next class.

3.     Healthcare

Until now, the only way to become a doctor and to understand more about the healthcare was to attend the medical school, become an apprentice, and eventually,  having enough knowledge, start practicing on real cases.

Now, with the help of VR headsets, you can actually perform surgeries without risking hurting anybody. This leads to a definitely enhanced learning experience which is based on trial-and-error.

4.     Chemistry

Chemistry is yet another “unpleasant” class for lots of kids and college students. Nevertheless, this changes once the VR and AR technology gets implemented in schools. Students will have more fun mixing all kinds of substances and learn without harming themselves due to obvious mistakes. Moreover, this will spare schools from the costs of chemical substances and tools, which is definitely a bonus.


These two future technologies can definitely lead to the development of a different learning system, one that can replace or alter the traditional ways of teaching, which unfortunately have become ineffective.

Today’s educational system is ought to adapt and change along with the evolution of technology, so our next generations will experience an improved education and understanding of the world we live in.


About the author:

 Alexandra Hayes is a creative writer interested in tech and educational issues. She enjoys visual arts and yoga. Besides, Alexandra is a starting photographer. Meet her on Twitter!

What college students should know about mental health problems


College is supposed to be the time of fun, new acquaintances, and life-changing experiences. However, all too often these experiences turn out to be too much of a strain for a great many students: too much pressure combined with a hectic tempo of modern life can make short work of one’s mental stability. And students are even worse off than many other groups because they are unlikely to seek help and tend to take their mental health issues too lightly. Which is wrong: you should look at them at just any other illness, because if left untreated they can be just as dangerous – if not more.

So, what are the problems students are most prone to and what are the signs that you should run to a shrink? Let’s find out.

1.    Adjustment Disorder

It is quite natural to feel ill at ease if it is your first time leaving home for a prolonged period. However, if time goes on and it doesn’t feel like you are getting used to your new condition, if you still find functioning in college problematic, avoid people, cannot concentrate – you may need psychotherapy to cope with it.

2.    Depression

Depression is one of the most widespread mental health issues in all developed countries, and students are among its most common victims. For many, it begins in college or high school and becomes the first step towards a plethora of other conditions.

It is hard to give a definitive set of symptoms because it may be different from person to person, and many people either don’t realize they have depression or successfully hide it for years. Being depressed isn’t equal to being sad – sadness is a natural reaction to some events and situations, depression remains the same whatever happens. Common signs include feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, self-disgust, the absence of motivation. Long-term depression isn’t caused by external factors but the chemical imbalance in the brain and requires complex treatment.

3.    Anxiety Disorders

It is normal to feel stressed and anxious before an important exam – in fact, stress is a natural tool that helps body and brain deal with extreme situations. However, when you feel stressed, fearful, nervous and irritable most of the time, without any significant real-life reasons, it may be a sign that your brain is out of whack. A widely-known Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (a condition that imposes obsessive thoughts and behaviors on its sufferers) also belongs here. Students are especially prone to anxiety because college means completely changing one’s habitual lifestyle and opening up to a whole lot of new stress factors – so if you feel that unreasonable fears and obsessive thoughts don’t disappear for a while, it may be time to start worrying.

4.    Eating Disorders (Anorexia and Bulimia)

College is likely to become the first time in a student’s life when he/she is completely cut from home and both convenience and control imposed by family meals. Easily accessible unhealthy food makes gaining weight a common occurrence, which leads to problems with self-image. It, in turn, causes all kinds of obsessions like anorexia (fear of gaining weight, eventually leading to weight loss much exceeding what one needs to be healthy) and bulimia (combining binge eating with compensatory behaviors like self-induced vomiting or fasting). If not treated, the effects may be much worse than unpleasant eating habits, in some cases leading to kidney failure and death.

Not all unpleasant feelings mean that you have a mental condition – sometimes it is a result of objective reality. However, if any of the symptoms mentioned above persist, you should seriously consider getting professional help – just like any other disease, putting off treating mental issues only makes them worse.

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.


New Methods And Places For Teacher/ Student Communication


Times, when the interaction between a teacher and his students was limited to the classroom, are long past – the Internet, social media and a variety of specialized tools have multiplied both methods and places for communication, efficiently erasing the boundaries of the school. Today teachers can reach out to their students wherever they are and whenever it is necessary, which brings about both new challenges and new opportunities.

1.    Timely Updates and Information

Messengers like Remind or ClassDojo make the exchange of information between the teacher and the class easier, faster and more efficient. No longer can students say that they forgot to jot down the number of home exercise or didn’t know they have to write an essay by tomorrow’s morning – even if a student misses a class, the teacher can quickly send tomorrow’s homework to the entire class with a press of a button. In addition to that, it opens up an avenue for parent-teacher interaction – if the teacher notices that a student has specific problems, he has an easy way to discuss it with parents without having to find some time when they can talk personally.

2.    Online Student Portfolios

A student portfolio is a woefully underused but extremely powerful assessment tool that seemingly acquired a second life through the massive emergence of online tools created specifically for that purpose. They allow students to build a narrative of their growth and development and, what’s most important, provide an audience capable of authentic and friendly feedback. Unlike standard blogging services, these tools are created for student use, which means no advertising, moderation capabilities to ensure students’ safety, and options for automatic collection of materials – this way portfolios will automatically build up across classes and throughout the learning process, documenting the student’s development in the course of time.

3.    Video Conferencing

Video conferencing technology not just provides a basis for distance learning, but opens up a host of other opportunities. Such as personalized instruction for individual students, natural communication with classes from other schools and even nations, having students listen to real-time speeches given by well-known people and specialists in specific fields, remote field trips to places that otherwise cannot be realistically visited, and so on. Of course, even today many locations cannot boast of having sufficient bandwidth to maintain connection necessary for available video quality, but NBN efforts in this area let us hope that the situation is going to change pretty soon.

4.    Engaging Teachers, Students, and Parents

Setting up a class blog using a tool like EduBlogs is an excellent way to establish closer connections both with students and their parents, engage them in meaningful conversations about learning and what each party has to pay more attention to. You can post with any frequency you feel comfortable with and have a universal tool anybody can use to voice their concerns.

5.    Sharing Information across Community

Using tech in school doesn’t have to be limited to interactions with a single class or even an individual school. Consider using Edmodo – a service uniting millions of teachers, students and parents from all over the world, giving them an opportunity to share their experiences, learn new techniques, discuss topics of interest, ask questions and receive answers from those who encountered similar problems and managed to deal with them.

In the long run, the Internet quickly and successfully changes the nature of education – which is amazing, given the conservative nature of this industry. Earlier concerns speaking about possible depersonalization of education, as a result, seem to be unfounded – on the contrary, what we’ve seen so far shows massive possibilities for closer and more personalized connections between students, teachers, and parents.

Melissa Burns graduated from the faculty of Journalism of Iowa State University. Nowadays she is an entrepreneur and independent journalist. Follow her @melissaaburns or contact at


Balance Social Life, Good Grades, And Sleep At College


College life is a never ending conundrum of having a social life and good grades or sleep. Many joke that you can only have two, but never all. However, the problem with college students is that they are fresh out of high school – an education system that has the student’s life plotted out to a tee – and have not yet come to terms with their newfound freedom, much less the responsibility for it.

With routine thrown out the window from the moment the student reaches their campus, it throws them off track and therefore loses their balance. Balance is what keeps life functioning. In high school, there was a fixed schedule but now, routine has become something of the past.

Furthermore, without the constant classmates that serve as reminders to the upcoming due dates, or the shared social life, it becomes hard to draw a line at how much fun one should have and when one should get started on their assignments.

What college students have to understand is time management and utilize a day planner. The idea is that everyone has the same twenty four hours, and it is up to you to make it count. The problem with poor time management is brought over into the next stage of life, when one starts their career. Hours seem to fly by and never seem to be enough. However, the trick is maximizing your time.

Ronald Weasley, the fictitious character from J.K Rowling’s fantasy novels, was right about priorities. To master one’s time, one must first figure out what comes in consecutive order of importance. This does not mean that one should sacrifice a party happening in five hours in favour of an assignment due the next day.

It is not about giving up one thing for another. It is about creating an efficient workflow that keeps one productive regardless of whether one stops for a few hours.

Instead of a fixed routine which is less effective in a world of snap decisions and last minute ideas, dedicate a fixed amount of time for a series of tasks one must take part in daily such as cleaning or studying. As the Chinese say, small increments create abundance. List out tasks that if left neglected, would result in a monstrous and seemingly impossible feat. Imagine a month’s worth of work to be done in a day versus a month’s worth of work to be done in a month. The latter would prove to be a more favourable option.

After one has gotten that out of the way, it is helpful to set priorities within those confines of time. Take a page out of successful entrepreneurs’ books: tackle the hardest task first. Procrastination comes from the idea of being challenged, but when one rises up to meet it head on, it would not only build character, it makes one more competent. A necessary skill to thrive when one graduates.

To set up priorities, it helps to think in goals. Granted, this is one thing that is hard to focus on when one is trying to find oneself or any direction at all. However, it does not hard to be life changing or major for it to matter. Perhaps the goal is to raise one’s GPA, to be able to afford a significant purchase, if one would like to be more popular, be specific such as to what would constitute as popularity. Once one has a good idea of what it is they would like to achieve, everything else should fall into place. Eliminate or de-prioritise whatever does not align with one’s endgame.

However, relaxation and having fun are a part of the campus experience. Therefore, always allow time for entertainment. Any extra time one gains could go into what one could visualize as time allowance. This would serve as incentive to accomplish goals faster and in turn, heightens productivity.

When one has saved up enough time for a party, throw one. Not only is hosting an event another useful skill to gain, it would up one’s social life if done right. Performances are key to a successful event, and one can source talents on campus for a night of fun. Or one could hire an entertainer without forking out extra cash college students always seem to be low on. For some help, Special Guest App (created by Hollywood actor Damon Wayans Jr.) helps book talent without managers or agents. There are plenty of undiscovered talents on the app looking to get hired without the steep prices. Hailed as the Airbnb for entertainers, anyone can sign up as a talent which is quite perfect for college students out to make a quick buck off their own skills and creativity.

The final step to having a rich campus experience is not falling prey to what millennials have taken to calling FOMO (fear of missing out). This would only make one unhappy and destroy the meticulous planning one has done to be productive. One must learn to accept the fact that there is something happening which is more interesting than what one is doing at any given time. The way to rid oneself of the irrational doubts of whether one has made a good choice is to believe in oneself. Ask ‘what do I want?’ with emphasis on the ‘I’. Because how one feels and one wants should be much more important and satisfying than doing anything else.

Annabel Monaghan is a writer with a passion for education and edtech. She writes education and career articles for The College Puzzle with the aim of providing useful information for students and young professionals. If you have any questions, please feel free to email her at