Is Your Content Inviting?

This post is one of a series in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge 2016
A: Affirmation


Is Your Content Inviting?

You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.

Like most old sayings, this one’s still around because it’s true. We’d rather be around a positive person than a complainer. We usually prefer to listen to an uplifting speech over a tirade.

And if you’re a college student contemplating online courses, you want to feel reassured and wanted, not discouraged and unworthy.

I’m afraid someone at the University of West Alabama forgot the adage. They seem to be more focused on keeping students out of their online learning program than on bringing in new recruits.

I get it; online learning takes a lot of self-motivation and discipline, and it’s not for everyone. I’d argue, though, that it is for most, and so that’s the audience the university should be speaking to.

Moreover, online courses address some of the major trends in education today: the need for universities to reduce costs and the rising popularity of student-driven personalized learning, to name two.

So, UWA, let’s be encouraging!

crowd cheering
Currently, these are the first three paragraphs students see when they visit the “Are you ready for online learning?” page of the school’s website:

Do you manage your time well?
Time management is a major factor in succeeding in online courses. How many hours a week can you dedicate to school? Can you establish a set schedule for coursework? If you have only a few hours to spend on academics, you might want to take one class at a time (a full online course load is two classes per term). Reserve time for your courses, and you will succeed.

Are you committed to your online experience?
Successful online students are proactive in their studies and take responsibility for their own learning. Are you highly motivated and self-disciplined? Are you a self-starter? If you have the desire, you can do it!

Will you participate?
Your courses will often use discussion boards. Contribute your ideas, perspective and comments on the subject you are studying, and read those of your peers’. You can gain great insight from your peers, and they can learn from you. Communicating with peers and faculty will also give you a sense of being connected to your classes. Online does not mean alone. Enjoy the others in your classes and school will be even more rewarding.

Intimidating, right? If you weren’t sure you have what it takes when you get to this page, I’ll bet that once you read this content, you’ll be pretty convinced that you do not.

See if you think the following approach is better at putting the student’s desire to learn ahead of the institution’s fears:

More students than ever are taking college courses online. If you need flexibility yet don’t want to sacrifice the quality of your education, then the University of West Alabama has the program for you!

Here are some tips for making your online experience a success:

  1. Take the right course load. Make an honest assessment of how much time you have to spend on these courses – classes, homework and study – and decide accordingly how many courses you can handle well.
  2. Use class discussion boards. Though you’re not in the same physical space as your professors and classmates, you can share ideas, insights and comments through online discussion boards. Part of any degree is learning from your peers, and our online program is no different!
  3. Write your future self a note. You have the drive and desire to start; help keep yourself motivated by jotting down your pledge to stay on task and actively manage your time. Studies show that people who write down their goals accomplish significantly more than those who don’t. If you have the desire, you can do it!

It’s easy to focus on what we believe our audience “needs” to hear. Just remember: We have to engage them first!

 

Please visit my fellow bloggers taking part in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge 2016

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