Online Learning: Top Five Resources for Online College Students

Sony Walkmans® have become near fossils when compared to the Apple™ iPod; encyclopedias, a relic in regard to the modern web. Today, we surf the Internet instead of waves. In fact, the Council for Research Excellence estimates that the average American spends over 8.5 hours attached to media each day (on cell phone screens, computers, televisions, video games, and so forth).  Within this time, you are bombarded with information and choice….and with these choices come the added pressures of imposed diligence and confusion. 

Online degree-seeking students may search again and again bumping against the virtual wall of frustration. With pixilated eyes and binary souls, it’s easy to sink in the vast array of information available.  But alas, there is hope.  In navigating the search for useful resources, here are five websites that are stand- alone online learning resources for online college students in terms of merit, reliability, and accessibility for the online learner:

1. The Purdue Owl

Sailors wrote of sirens luring them to sea with sweet sounds, only to drown in the murky depths.  The Purdue Owl is the life raft in such a sea.   This website is a lifesaver for both the novice and experienced writer alike.  One can easily navigate the many choices of formats (APA, MLA, Chicago Manual) –and- can even download a sample paper to see a working example of what is covered.

2. The General Social Survey (GSS) 

The General Social Survey (GSS) is the Wal-Mart of social statistics.  This is true one stop shopping for many statistical needs.  Topics covered extend from gender issues, political preferences, and even go on to controversial social issues.  One can easily create tables, charts and a combination of chosen factors to study the correlations and connections among them.

3. JSTOR

One could dive in and lose themselves for days, or just take a quick dip.  JSTOR is a highly organized collective in which one can access thousands of journal articles.  Chances are that if a student has a research paper to work on, they will find information on their topic of choice here.  From history to women’s studies, mathematics to astronomy, JSTOR has it all.

4. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)  

The Bureau of Labor Statistics shines a lighthouse bright beacon on all nearly all of one’s career related questions and concerns.   Consulting with this site can help online students to choose what field, or career path, they may wish to take.  Average salary, projected field need and so forth are all gathered here.  Additionally it is overflowing with useful information, statistics, and reports/handbooks that can be easily applied for use within research papers, discussion, and homework assignments.

5.  Mind Tools

Last, but by no means least, is Mind Tools.   The website has a wealth of information students can use to strengthen their skills.  While not a website to be cited in the midst of a research paper, this collection of tips, tricks and tools can be paramount to helping ones college experience.  Of particular interest is the area on time management which helps to guide the user through a series of suggestions and assessments.

With each educational endeavor one embarks upon, and each new chapter they create for themselves, new opportunities and options become apparent.  Through online students exploring new means of finding information and synthesizing this with the world around them, waves of connection swell and true knowledge begins to be gained.   It’s imperative to take the time to get to know what is expected from one's class, where to find learning resources, and most importantly, what to expect of oneself. 

Sources:

Bureau of Labor Statistics.  Retrieved on April 27,2011, from: www.bls.gov

Council for Research Excellence.  Retrieved on April 27, 2011, from: http://researchexcellence.com/

JSTOR.  Retrieved on April 27, 2011, from: www.jstor.org

Mind Tools.  Retrieved on April 27, 2011, from: www.mindtools.com

General Social Survey.  Retrieved on April 27, 2011, from: www.norc.org/GSS+Website

Purdue Owl.  Retrieved on April 27,2011, from: owl.english.purdue.edu 

Robyn Milliken-Setser

Robyn Milliken-Setser is an instructor for the Sociology Program at Rasmussen College Online. She has worked in the field of online instruction for several years. Robyn holds a B.A. in Psychology, a M.A in Sociology, and a MBA.

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