Tips for better online learning

The holiday season is a time of reflection, getting together with loved ones and, of course, exchanging gifts. As much as it can bring happiness, this time of the year can also be filled with a lot of stress. Here are 5 vital skills that will help you master the holiday season and make these days more enjoyable for you.

1. Visual Thinking Skills

We all know that awkward moment when we unpack a gift that does not even resemble anything we could have wished for. Yes, you said you needed a new lamp for your bedside table. But you definitely didn’t mean this moss green vintage monster with a pink flower pattern. This year, you can avoid sticky situations like this – with the right skills. Instead of writing down your Christmas list, why don’t you just sketch it? Take our course  “Visual Thinking for Business” to learn vital drawing and visualisation skills. Using visual thinking and visual communication will also help you to create an accurate mental image when you describe your Christmas wishes. No more unwanted gifts this year!

2. Design Skills

Of course, Christmas is not just about receiving – more importantly, it’s about giving gifts. In order to give your gift ideas a more creative and personal note this year, why not take our course “Design 101 Redux“? It will give you a ton of useful ideas about how to create do-it-yourself gifts, design a personal Christmas card or wrap your present perfectly. This way, the prize for the most memorable and personal gift will go to you this year.

3. Digital and Social Media Marketing Skills

Your company wants to use the holiday season for a special marketing campaign? Great idea! Learn how to use digital tools and social media marketing in order to reach more customers in our course “Digital and Social Media Marketing”. Another great idea is to update your own social media profiles during the holidays. Use your free time to acquire vital skills about how to build your online presence for personal branding.

4. Presentation Skills

So your boss asked you to give a small speech at this year’s office Christmas party. Not like it’s a big deal, you first think. But as the date approaches, you start getting more and more nervous, wondering what you are going to say and how your co-workers are going to perceive you. Our course “Presentation Skills for Business” will help you fight the anxiousness and master the challenge perfectly.

5. Social Innovation Skills

For most people, the holidays are a time of contemplating and thinking up new ways of how to go about things. You might even want to start a new initiative in your neighbourhood or volunteer at the local soup kitchen. Our courses “Social Innovation” and the Geman-language “Changemaker MOOC” can help you collect even more ideas on how to solve societal problems, improve social practices or even open up your own social business. Start planning now and learn vital skills to make your plans happen in the new year.


Do you think your friends and family could also benefit from learning at iversity? If you’re still looking for a present, why not give the gift of learning this year? With the iversity Gift Card you will be giving a gift that is not only educational, but also unique, fun and engaging.

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What is the one thing that you have been meaning to achieve but never quite got around to? Sometimes all we need is a bit of inspiration to kick start us into action. That’s why iversity has put together this guide to taking your road to success in steps with some quotes from the likes of Aristotle, Benjamin Franklin and Maya Angelou (your awesome spirit guides). Now let’s get started!

1. Contemplation: What do you want to achieve?

Okay, so maybe you got to this stage all by yourself and could do with moving on. But contemplation is an important step. You need to decide where you want to go and why!

Napoleon Hill - Desire is the starting point of all achievement, not a hope, not a wish, but a keen pulsating desire which transcends everything

2. Preparation: Plan and commit to your goal

Even if you’re eager to start right away, take some time, make a plan with lots of details and steps so you reach little goals on your way to success. Because, after all…

Benjamin Franklin - By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail

3. Action: Implement your plan and make the change

You can only hope to succeed if you get started! Now all you have to do is to take the first step and you’re on your way. Planning is fine, a to-do list is great, but…

Goethe - Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do.

4. Maintenance: Keep it up!

Remind yourself every day why you’re doing this and keep your focus on the goal. Even the best athletes, musicians and scientists didn’t get to where they are over night! What’s that you say, Aristotle?

Aristotle - We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is not an act, but a habit.

5. Hurdles: You might fall down, but you will get back up!

Nothing great has ever been achieved without some kind of failure along the way, so pick yourself back up and get on with it, because after all…

Benjamin Disraeli - There is no education like adversity

(We’re also not sure whether Disraeli has been misquoted here and actually meant to say “iversity”, but we’ll give him the benefit of the doubt this time…)

6. Success!

Achieving a long-term goal is one of the greatest feelings in the world. Well done! Take some time to enjoy it and look back on what you have achieved. Feels good, doesn’t it?

Maya Angelou - Success is liking yourself, liking what you do and liking how you do it

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Below is a guest post from our friends at careerloft, a career network paired with a scholarship program, founded with the goal of giving students orientation for their future path. Now you can pair careerloft with your iversity courses. Check out their great offers and see if there is something that can help you take your learnings into the workplace.

careerloft

Want to go a step further with your online courses? You got your certificate, but now what? Looking for an internship? Job?Forget applying blindly to every firm you ever knew and clutching at every straw you can reach! Experience top-tier firms first hand and get to know them on an equal footing. careerloft helps students to get in touch with major international companies within a casual context and gives you the opportunity to ask questions you could never ask in a job interview.

Being member of the careerloft scholarship program entitles you to the careerloft “rewards”,like literature vouchers, a free truck rental for the next time you move to a new place, or free premium accounts for leading academic research platforms. Others offer invaluable career advice, like free CV consulting, language trainings or special events, such as workshops with one of careerloft’s 17 partner companies. In cooperation with these companies, careerloft also offers an exclusive mentoring program that pairs each participating student with a high-level employee of the company they are interested in. Here you can see the full list of rewards.

After registration you can click here to see job offers and internships from and upcoming events with these firms.

You can register for a free careerloft account and apply for its free scholarship program as a student, graduate and also when you’re doing your PhD. In order to do so, simply upload your CV and grade certificates. careerloft reviews each application individually. Good grades are not the only factor taken into account. Work experience, international experience, social engagement like community involvement and of course the extracurricular activities that make you special are also being considered.

For more information visit www.careerloft.com (website is available in both German and English).

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I often find myself getting lost in a long trail of clicks browsing the internet. What was I searching for again? Why am I reading about Chimpanzee group behaviour? Most of us have a thirst for learning and discovering new things – let’s admit it, even procrastinate – and sometimes we aren’t even sure what we want to learn next.

Vector Online Conference Concept In Flat StyleIt goes without saying, of course, that MOOCs and online courses are the best source for online learning, but there are many other great resources out there that will keep you entertained and informed. Sometimes you just need quick information feeds, updates and news. And of course, something to give you fresh ideas and information that you can flaunt at dinner parties and in MOOC discussion forums.

Here are 3 great online multimedia resources that will keep you learning late into the night, and you won’t feel like you’re wasting your time:

1. Webinars and web conferencing

Webinars are live online seminars, allowing participants to watch the lecture or engage in a workshop, discuss and ask questions and talk to each other realtime. There are many great webinars that you can join for free or for low cost all over the web. For example, check out the free webinar on Inclusive Learning that will take place on 28 August. There is also web conferencing, which follows the same logic, allowing people to take part in a conference without having to be physically present. On that note, many conferences offer a live stream of the speakers, so be sure to check out the website of that conference you missed out on and look for the streaming link. Some MOOC professors offer virtual classrooms, much like having “virtual office hours.” Keep an eye out in case your course professor offers a virtual classroom day – it’s a great opportunity for interacting with the professors and other students.

2. Videocasts and Podcasts

Sick of your music collection and turning that radio dial back and forth? Podcasts are an awesome way to make your commute to work or school fly by. Stories, news, discussions, performances and interviews, are the most common content formats you’ll find in a podcast, and you can download it right to your mp3 player. The iTunes store is a popular portal for podcast downloads, but you can also normally find a way to stream or download them on the podcast provider’s site. Videocasts offer you the same thing except with one added element. Yep, you guessed it, video. One popular example of a videocast are TED talks, although TED also offers a podcast edition. And guess what? With careerloft, you are invited to become a speaker yourself at TEDxBerlin. Check it out – maybe you have some great ideas to offer to the online learning community.

3. Tutorials

You can find out how to do just about anything when scrolling around on Youtube. Video tutorials can be a quick and easy way to figure out how to do something on your own. How to change a tire? No problem. Build a house? No problem. Well, the quality and the difficulty vary with the multitude of tutorials at our fingertips. I am sure there is even a tutorial for making a tutorial. Access to information online can help you become more proactive and independent – tutorials can be fun and give you a DIY kick.

Online learning and MOOCs are about taking advantage of the tools the internet offers. There is certainly a lot of material online that is not so valuable, but if you are smart about it, you can use it to boost your learnings. Don’t forget to go outside and get some fresh air! Your online course will still be waiting for you online.

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01 Sagar Aryal_largeby Sagar Aryal

Learning online has always been the best part of my studies. Whenever I try to learn new things, the first source I look into is internet sites with some popular university notes and blogs. As per my view, learning online from these sources may help broaden the topic of interest, whereas in a book, we may only find limited resources. Since I am from science cum microbiology field, mostly I spend my time watching animations and videos on the internet instead of reading books and class notes.

During my exam time, I regularly followed the lectures of Dr. Mobeen Syed, who used to upload the videos about immunology and other medical studies onto YouTube. This way of studying online helped me boost my knowledge about immunology.

Girl Watching Education Tutorials

Image: bigstockphotos.com

We can find many courses from different fields with MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses), but the main drawback of MOOCs is that we don’t have any professors or teachers in front of us to help us out instantly with any of our doubts and confusion. We are supposed to just watch the lecture and on the basis of those videos, we have to understand the whole theme of the course. But why worry? There are many ways to interact with professors in order to clear up our doubts. Here are some of the ways to contact professors:

1. Email Address

This is the most common way to connect them. We can find the email address and other details about the professor in the instructor tab of that particular course. In this way, we can clear and quench our confusion, doubts, and curiosities with a forwarded email to them. But you may get a late reply from our professor because they usually have tight schedule.

2. Skype

This might be the best way to contact them, as we can interact with them live like we are in a classroom. But the professor’s Skype ID is not publicly placed in the blogs of the university or MOOC websites. For that, we need to contact them personally via email.

3. Social Media

This the latest technology that has made it easier for us to contact our professors. The best way to contact them is via Facebook, but many reputed professors might not be available on Facebook, as it is not the most professional form of social media. The best professional media channel is LinkedIn, where we can find almost all the professors and we can discuss with them via their groups or personal messages.

4. Forums/Blogs

This is the place where we can publish our questions and discussions. We can get replies from other students as well as professors. In forums, we might find that our questions have already been posted, since the same question come up for other students as well. This helps us interact with other participants and get more actively involved in the course.

Sharing her experience, my friend Kranti Thapa said, “Online education does not demand physical presence to obtain a degree from American and other reputed universities, i.e. one can study at home. It is flexible time-wise, cost-wise, course-wise and relevant to the present study context. Access to mass opinion and cross border interactions among teachers and students can be bettered through live conferences on Skype and other online channels.”

Connecting professors in the course “DNA-From Structure to Therapy”

While taking the course “DNA-From Structure to Therapy”, we mostly used social media to contact our professors because all of them were available on Facebook. There was a Facebook group and pages where we could have discussions with them. I added them on Facebook so that I could message them personally and clear up my doubts about the course. There was discussion forum, too, where we could post our questions and students and professors could give answers.

At last, I really want to thank iversity for giving me this opportunity to write some blogs related to online studying. This is my 6th and last blog that I wrote during my last 8 months of the Ambassador campaign, which has literally improved my writing, too. I would be happy to write further blog posts for iversity in the future.

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