Book Review: Your Online College Course Survival Guide: How to Make the Grade and Learn in the Virtual Classroom
From time to time, we like to review some of the books available for parents of college students. There is a wealth of literature available to help parents cope with the transition to college and the changes that occur throughout the college years. We’ve offered some lists of recommended reading, and there is something for everyone. Visit our Resources page for suggestions of important books for college parents and their students.
This month we’re reviewing a book that parents should recommend or gift to their student who may be taking an online course. As more colleges offer online courses, more students are taking them, but many students find themselves unprepared for a very different type of learning environment. Online learning can be a great thing, or a stumbling block – and much of the difference has to do with how prepared the student is.
Your Online Course Survival Guide: How to Make the Grade and Learn in the Virtual Classroom by Jacqueline Myers is a wonderful tool for students who are experiencing their first online course – or who have been less than successful in an online course in the past. As the author states early in her book, “students who succeed in online classes come prepared to work independently, stay organized and focus on self-motivation.” Not every student begins with these traits, but this book can help many students gain and hone these skills.
One of the outstanding features of Your Online Course Survival Guide is the practical nature of all of the advice shared by the author. The chapters are laid out as “success strategies,” and cover everything from necessary preparation, knowing and working with professors, the importance of writing well, course syllabi, class participation, and organizational guidelines. Students who implement these strategies cannot help but do better in their courses (whether online or not)!
For students who need some extra guidance, each chapter, or strategy, is followed by action steps. Students don’t need to guess how to put the strategies to use. Step by step, specific action steps help students put the advice to work immediately.
We know that this book is aimed specifically at students in online courses, but the advice is important for any student in any class. If your student is taking an online class, he definitely needs the book. If your student is taking a traditional class, but might take an online class in the future, don’t wait; get the book to him now. Much of the advice is universal.
About the author:
Jacqueline Myers has been an English professor since 2002, teaching online college courses exclusively since 2010. She has been assisting students to improve their writing skills since the 1990’s, and is dedicated to guiding college students through the murky waters of college writing and research. She has taught writing skills in various capacities including high school composition, English as a Second Language (ESL), developmental college writing, and college composition, as well as academic research and information literacy as an academic instructional librarian. Ms. Myers has a B.S. in secondary English education and a M.A. in English.
In 2013 she began blogging at Nitty-Gritty English as a way to offer her expertise to more students in a less formal way. She is also a freelance writer and editor.
What the author has to say about the book:
“Since 2010, I have been teaching college classes exclusively online. The issues I talk about here are ones that I see over and over again, every semester. Bright, well-meaning students buy into the myth that online classes are easy and forgo their basic understanding of what skills are necessary for educational success.
I’ve also been on the other side – I received my Master’s Degree 15 years after my original degree. When I returned to college, I took many classes online since I had a family and was working full time. I had a big learning curve on top of just keeping up with all of the reading and assignments, as well as my other obligations. I want to make that learning curve less steep for others who are entering the world of online education.
I speak from experience when I say that students who succeed in online classes come prepared to work independently, stay organized and focus on self-motivation. Of course, these traits are also important in the traditional classroom, but not to the extent that they are in online classes. That is where this book comes in. Here I will help you discover how to get prepared and move through online classes so that you can succeed!
I’ve spent my life helping college students, and that is why I wrote this book – to help smart students like you reach their potential and succeed in the online classroom!”
What others have to say about the book:
“Your Online Course Survival Guide gets down to the nitty-gritty of making online education work for you. Jacqueline Myers of Nitty-Gritty English knows her stuff – she has created a guide based on long experience and includes several anecdotes from student experiences gone wrong, as well as laying out clear and supportive advice for making the best of online classes.”
Katie Dwyer, My College Advice
“An experienced educator and a life-long student, Ms. Myers shares excellent and easy-to-follow strategies for succeeding in the virtual classroom. This online course survival guide will walk you through the nitty-gritty of preparation, acing the classes and even effective communication with professors. Whether you are a current or a returning student Your Online Course Survival Guide is a must on your bookshelf.”
Kat Bakhmetyeva, Study Hack
“As an online instructor I am always amazed at how many students sign up for their first online course and think they are prepared and then suffer the torments of the first half of the semester trying to figure out the ins and outs of taking an online course. I’ve been waiting for an educator to write a book just like this – one that will clearly explain to my online college students the subtle, yet vital, differences in the skill sets necessary for doing well and actually learning in the virtual classroom! . . . As promised, the book is written for college students of all types by a legitimate online college educator.”
Holly Oakleaf, MA, Ohio State University
“I have taught online classes for many years and experienced the topics discussed in Your Online College Course Survival Guide. I find this book interesting to read, comprehensive in subject matter, and presented in an easily understood manner. It is a great tool to use when entering or improving your existing approach and success with the online learning environment.”
John W. Aguilar, MBA, Online Educator, University of Phoenix (retired)