How To Get An “A”

By: Kristen O’Connell- Dean of Faculty

With the start of the new quarter, we thought we might share some insider secrets on how to get off to a good start to give everyone an opportunity to earn an “A” in all your Early Fall online courses.  To do this, we surveyed the academic leaders of the Online Division, and below you’ll find their top tips, tricks, and best practices to put you on a path to more enriched learning and increased academic success.

Have a Plan, Work Your Plan

  • Expect to spend at least 10 hours a week doing work for each class including reading, studying, writing, researching, and discussing
  • Use Saturday as your personal due date so that if you run into technical issues, you have a day to get them resolved
  • Start large projects early and take advantage of faculty suggestions/feedback prior
    to submitting the official assignment
  • Good grades are conscientiously earned by consistently investing quality time in
    your coursework

Work Smarter, Not Harder

  • Closely read assignment expectations and carefully follow assignment directions so you don’t miss part of a question or an important component
  • If a rubric is available for an assignment, use it and be as detailed and specific to earn maximum points
  • Thoroughly read instructor feedback and incorporate suggestions into future assignments when applicable
  • Might sound obvious, but double check that you’ve submitted the correct assignment in CampusConnect

Do More than the Minimum

  • Participate more than the minimum (3) in each discussion forum and provide meaningful and thoughtful responses
  • Exceed assignment expectations by writing more than the minimum word count, and include additional sources or PowerPoint’s on large assignments
  • Take the lead in group projects and rally your group early to ensure you provide a
    quality, timely submission
  • Read and take notes on all assigned readings to comprehend the main concepts…if it’s not “clicking”, then ask for help or seek a tutor

Proofread and Cite Properly

  • Proofread all work before submitting discussions, assignments, and emails; write it, read it out loud, edit it and then do it again
  • Learn APA, use it properly, and avail yourself of APA refresher courses and tutorials, don’t lose points due to format and never plagiarize
  • If a student is unsure, he or she can ask the instructor to check their work
    before the due date
  • Don’t forget about the Online Librarians, because they are ready and willing to help students research and cite their work properly

Ask For Help

  • If you don’t understand something; ask. Then, if you still don’t understand; ask again and be more specific, never be afraid to call instructors
  • Use your communication resources such as Student Email, Blackboard IM and the Student Lounge to ask clarifying questions prior to turning in work
  • Keep your instructor informed (ahead of time) of any pressing issues that may impact timely submissions
  • Read and know each instructors’ late policies, because asking permission yields much better results than asking forgiveness

As always, if at any time you need assistance or if you have questions, please feel free to contact us at 1-877-609-8889 or use the Course Feedback link found on the Course Menu of each course.  Once again, following these tips may not guarantee an “A”, but you will greatly increase your chances, and as always, we wish you continued success in your online courses.

About Kristen O’Connell

Kristen O’Connell has been the Dean of Faculty since 2010. Kristen earned a B.A. in
English and Psychology from Gustavus Adolphus College, an MBA from Minnesota School of Business and is currently pursuing a Ed.D. in Higher Education and Adult Learning from Walden University. Kristen has worked with the Globe Education Network since 2006 and has held roles in Online instruction, Academic Delivery and Financial Aid. In her free time, Kristen enjoys golf, running and cheering on her favorite sports teams – especially the MN Twins!