5 Time Management Tips for Online Students

May 20th, 2015 by

One blogger’s perspective on how to organize yourself and improve your time management techniques in the first few weeks of your online course work

My name is Jeanne Damon, and I’m currently pursuing my master’s degree in Human Resources and Employment Relations at Penn State World Campus. I’ve found the Penn State culture to be team oriented, with fellow classmates and professors sharing advice.

During my completion of two full-time semesters, I used helpful tactics to manage my time more efficiently. If you are new to the program or are wondering how to juggle classes with work and/or family life, I hope you will also find these tactics valuable:

1. Choose your courses wisely. Ask your adviser about which course should be taken before another. If you struggle with writing research papers or working with online teams, you may want to schedule courses that are heavy in these areas during a time of the year that will be easier for you to manage. Many of us find that certain periods of the year are busier than others for various reasons, whether family or business based.

2. Plan ahead. At the very start of each course, I take the time during that first week to download and save all of the articles that will be required reading; in that way, as the course picks up speed, I am not wasting time performing this task. During the first week, create a folder on your computer for your courses. In each folder, copy and paste the assignments for each week into a Word file and save this by lesson number. Working in a Word document is my personal preference, which saves me a great deal of time.

Clock

Dineshraj Goomany, Flickr

3. Leverage resources. You may want to check out the APA quick citation guide for referencing from the Penn State University Libraries. Additionally, check out this Citation Linker that is also provided, where you can check to see if the library has a particular article of interest for your research.

4. Be a team player. While working on team assignments, be understanding of others’ schedules and challenges. However, please be aware that you are also a team member, and your input helps the team to succeed. Communicate with your team if you need help.

Organize your team assignments with deadlines and ask team members about their ability to reach them. Organize the work throughout the weeklong assignment and don’t try to do everything in one day unless you absolutely must.

5. Get ahead of your assignments. One of the great aspects of working online is that you know the assignments and required reading ahead of time. If you have the time to move ahead one week, seize the opportunity to work on the next week’s assignment or the research paper. Reread the assignments and ensure that you answered all the questions before submitting your assignment.

Remember that the professors want you to be successful. You will probably notice one or two during your career that don’t necessarily connect to your style of writing. Don’t be discouraged; try to adapt if you can. Do your best and attempt to discern what is missing from your writing.

If you have some tips that should be added to this list, please feel free to write to me at jsr245@psu.edu. Good luck!

Should You Drop a Course? How to Decide

May 15th, 2015 by
Question Mark

Image by Andres Nieto Porras via flickr

by Academic Advising and Registrar Staff

If you’re considering dropping a course, you’ll need to know the drop deadlines and how to take action to remove the course from your schedule. In addition, it’s a good idea to think about the academic and financial implications of dropping before you make a decision.

Deadlines and Procedures

Penn State World Campus offers three different sessions for summer courses, each with their own regular- and late-drop deadlines. You can find all of the important dates and deadlines for each session in the Summer 2015 Academic  Calendar.

You can drop a course from your schedule using eLion or by sending an email to coursedrops@outreach.psu.edu. Fees and tuition penalties may apply depending on when you drop the course, and dropping may affect your eligibility for financial aid. In addition, there is a limit to the number of credits you can drop during your academic career at Penn State. Complete details are available on our website.

Making an Informed Decision

Dropping a course may be the optimum solution for you after considering the academic and financial implications of this decision. But you may not want to take action too hastily and regret it later.  Making an informed decision will eliminate surprises, and you may even find a way to successfully complete the course.

Here are some factors that Penn State World Campus academic advisers recommend you consider before dropping a course:

Feedback: If you are receiving lower grades than expected and you’re not sure why, reach out to your instructors for additional feedback. They may be able to provide some guidance to improve the quality of your work. Instructors may also guide you to additional resources to supplement your course.

Grades: It is important to understand your grading system and how much of your total grade is impacted by lower grades on one or more assignments. For example, it could be that you do well on writing assignments and poorly on quizzes. So, understanding that quizzes may not have a major impact on the total grade is meaningful information while you are working on skills to improve taking quizzes.

Do you know what grade you need in the course for it to count toward your degree requirements? Some courses require a C or higher, while others may allow for a lower grade. Before dropping a course, you may want to know if the grade you need is still achievable.

Time: Time plays many roles in a decision to drop a course. One consideration is how early you realize that you need some help or support in the course. The sooner this need is identified, the better chance you have to recover and complete the course. If you are well into the semester and you have been struggling the entire time, it may be too late to make adjustments to pass the course.

Also, have you spent enough time on the course? A general rule is 3–4 hours per week for each credit that you have on your schedule. So you may need to spend 9–12 hours per week on one 3-credit course. Your adviser can discuss time management skills and help you create a plan for allocating enough time to your studies.

The third timing consideration may be that something unforeseen is now taking more of your time and leaving you with less time to devote to your courses. You may need to lessen your course load to be able to devote more time to the remaining course(s).

Resources: Have you explored resources to help with the course? There may be tutoring, note taking and studying techniques, library services, disability services, and other resources that an adviser can discuss with you. And your course may include virtual review sessions or other ways to enhance your knowledge. We can help you explore resources only if you reach out to us!

Course Impact: How does dropping this course impact your academic progress? There are some courses that are entrance-to-major requirements or prerequisites for other courses. If you are considering dropping a course, it is good to have a conversation with an adviser to understand how this may impact your next semester schedule or finishing your degree by an intended date. This will allow you to understand the impact and plan for the adjustment. Knowing the course impact may also help in deciding between dropping two courses in which one has impact on your progress and the other does not affect your ability to stay on track.

Cost: Starting on the first day of classes, there are costs that are nonrefundable when you drop the course. If you are using financial aid, dropping a course may also impact your aid. It is important to understand the consequences before dropping the course.

To recap, if you know things are not going well, don’t wait to reach out for help. Don’t be afraid to contact your instructor to discuss your grades or a situation affecting your work. Contact your adviser to talk through the difficulties, explore options, and understand the academic impact of dropping the course. Contact financial aid and/or the bursar’s office if you are unclear about the financial impact of your decision to drop a course. Once you are informed, you can then move forward with the decision that works best for you!

Did You Know? Course Registration Is a Two-Step Process

May 15th, 2015 by

Did you know that scheduling your courses is only the first step in registering for the semester? Penn State actually has a two-step registration process:

  1. Schedule your courses.

    Student working online

    Image by Jennie Faber via Flickr

  2. Pay your tuition bill or confirm that you’ll be using financial aid.

After you schedule your courses, you will receive your semester bill, and then you can pay the bill or confirm that you’ll be using financial aid. Even if you have a zero balance on your bill, you still need to complete this step. Penn State World Campus will notify you if you schedule courses but do not pay your bill and complete your registration.

You have until Monday, June 8, to complete your registration for the summer 2015 semester. If you do not pay your bill and complete your registration by this deadline, you will be canceled from your courses.

You can do both steps — schedule your courses and pay your bill or confirm your financial aid — in eLionCheck our step-by-step instructions to see exactly where to go and how to complete these actions.

If you’re not sure whether you’ve completed your registration, you can check your registration status in eLion. Penn State World Campus will also notify you via email if you still need to complete your registration. If you do not complete your summer 2015 registration by Monday, June 8, you will be canceled from your courses.

Learn more about scheduling courses and completing your registration.

Email at Penn State: WebMail and ANGEL Communications

May 14th, 2015 by

Now that you are beginning a new semester, you have new instructors and professors whom you are eager to meet. Since we at the Penn State World Campus don’t meet in a traditional classroom setting, getting to know our instructors is a whole new experience for us. How does this happen? By email, of course!

At the beginning of every semester, you will probably get a “Welcome to the Course” email from your professor. Be sure to read this, as it will contain valuable information to help you succeed in that course. As a current graduate student in the Human Resources and Employment Relations program at the Penn State World Campus, as well as a graduate of the World Campus, I have received those emails the first week with every course. The instructor introduces himself/herself, and outlines what is expected of you as a student in the class. As part of the “Welcome to the Course” assignment, you will probably be asked to send an email to the instructor introducing yourself. For many of you, this will be your primary source of communication with the instructor, and it will allow you to establish that relationship that will be crucial to your Penn State World Campus success.

Keyboard

Keyboard, Javier Morales, Flickr.

By now, you probably realize that you have two email accounts. One is called WebMail, and the other is located within your courses on ANGEL. For ANGEL, those emails are designed specifically for the courses in which they are located. It is very helpful to use ANGEL email when you want to contact the instructor with specific questions relating to the course. It is also useful when you have team assignments or group work, and if you need to email everyone on your team or in your group. The instructor usually creates a list for each individual student that has the particular group you are a part of, and you can find those lists in your ANGEL email.

WebMail is Penn State’s email system that provides each student with their own personal email. It is designed to help you maintain your emails, and your ANGEL emails can be forwarded to your WebMail account. Use this account when you want to email someone who works at Penn State, or to contact other students. I have all my emails set up to be forwarded to my regular email account. Just keep in mind that when you receive emails from the courses, you may not be able to respond unless you are logged in to your ANGEL account.

So which email should you use? If you have specific questions related to the courses you are taking, always use ANGEL to ensure that your instructor will see it. Some instructors do not care which email account you use (either ANGEL or WebMail), but try to avoid using your personal email accounts (Hotmail, Yahoo, Gmail) if you require immediate assistance for your courses.

In my undergraduate career at the Penn State World Campus, as well as my current master’s career, I have found that meaningful communication with my instructors is a great asset for my education. Even after graduation, I have stayed in touch with a few of my instructors, and I even received a letter of recommendation for my graduate school applications from one of them.

Remember that while the beginning of a new semester is a busy time for you as a student, it is also a busy time for the instructors. They are meeting new students for the first time, and emails are the way that they get to meet you. You want to be as professional as you can, be courteous, and know that they are not ignoring you if you have not received an immediate answer. The instructors are getting to know everyone in their courses, and they want you to succeed.

Have a great semester, and take pride in knowing you are part of the world’s greatest University, and that you are getting a world-class education!

 

8 Technology Tips for Boosting Online Student Productivity

May 6th, 2015 by
Image by Ginny via flickr

Image by Ginny via Flickr

by World Campus HelpDesk Staff

As an online student, you probably know that your computer is one of the most important tools you use. To help you make sure you’re getting the best possible performance and productivity from it, Penn State World Campus HelpDesk staff members offer these tips:

1. Know your shortcut keys for your operating system — using keyboard shortcuts can save you time and effort in completing tasks that might otherwise require a mouse or other device.

2. Keep current with software updates. If you use a PC, make a point of routinely running and installing Windows Updates. In Windows 8, in Apps View, search for “windows update” and then select “check for updates” to run the process manually. In Windows 7, open the “Start” menu and then search for “windows update” and select “check for updates.” Install these updates once a month at a minimum.

If you use a Mac, select the Apple icon and then select “software update.” To ensure that updates are made automatically, go to “System Preferences” and then “App Store” and make sure that “Automatically check for updates” is selected, as well as each of the three options below that selection.

Update JavaFlash, and QuickTime as updates become available. These programs will periodically check for updates after they are installed. Some browsers may also update them automatically.

3. Create a separate login profile just for your course work. Windows and Mac systems both allow you to set up multiple login profiles. This will allow you to keep your work or personal files separate from your school files. This may be especially important if you share a computer with your family or others in your household.

4. Dedicate a web browser to use only for course work if you prefer. This is another effective way to keep your school activity separate from personal or work activity.

Penn State World Campus recommends Firefox as a browser for your course work. You can download Firefox for free.

5. Back up files regularly by copying them onto a USB flash drive or external hard drive, to keep from losing them if there is an accident or system crash.

6. Contact the HelpDesk immediately if you have a problem during a timed quiz or exam, even after hours, since an email or voice mail will have a date and time stamp. This will create a record of your efforts to get assistance in case you are unable to complete your exam.

7. When submitting attachments to a drop box, try selecting your submission after it is ready to confirm that the file is attached and readable.

8. Take advantage of the free technology resources that Penn State provides to students:

  • Downloads.its.psu.edu: Provides antivirus protection and other downloadable tools
  • Microsoft Office 2013: Provides Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and other programs; note that students must select the link for Penn State students to download Microsoft Office from the page linked here.
  • WebApps: Provides programs that can be accessed on most mobile devices
  • WebFiles: Allows you to access and manage your files and copy files from other services like Google Docs, Dropbox, and SkyDrive
  • Box at Penn State: Allows you to store and share files securely online
  • Lynda: Offers online training for commonly used programs

What other tips or online technologies have you used to increase productivity online? If you ever experience any difficulty, you can contact the Penn State World Campus HelpDesk at any time with technical support questions or for help with Penn State systems.

Blogger’s Perspective: Military Appreciation Month

May 4th, 2015 by
Jeff Bauer

Jeff Bauer

The month of May brings Memorial Day, a time to reflect on and remember those who have given their lives in military service to the United States. It also happens to be Military Appreciation Month, and Penn State World Campus would like to honor the many students and alumni who dedicate their lives to service in the U.S. Armed Forces. Penn State is regularly ranked by U.S. News & World Report as one of the best universities for veterans, and I can personally attest to that fact. I have been attending Penn State since 2011 and will be graduating with my bachelor’s degree in letters, arts, and sciences on May 9. In that time, I have experienced nothing but the highest-quality assistance and understanding from Penn State about my military background. I highly recommend my academic adviser John Mills, whose job it is to solely advise the Penn State World Campus military student population. In addition, my professors have been empathetic about everything, from deployments with limited Internet access, to my PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) upon my return home. Penn State deserves its reputation in terms of serving our military population.

May is about appreciating those who have died serving in our military, but it is also about appreciating veterans who are still making an impact in our country. May (particularly Memorial Day) is a time when I find myself frequently looking at my wife, friends and family, pets, home, and job and feeling deeply grateful for all of the wonderful things in my life. The military has shaped nearly all of them in various ways!

I credit the United States Navy for encouraging me to apply and eventually enroll at Penn State World Campus. One day, while walking through the mess decks of the USS Enterprise, I passed the Educational Services Office. I saw a poster featuring the top 100 military-friendly schools, and Penn State was on the list. I applied and was nervous about getting accepted, because my previous academic history had been somewhat spotty. I got in and have been attending since 2011, but the opportunity may never have come about without the encouragement that I experienced in the Navy.

I can also thank the Navy for the home that I live in with my wife, because our house was financed through the Veteran’s Administration. Without assistance, we’d probably still be residing in a small apartment.

Of course, not everything about military service is glorious. We are all aware of its detrimental effects, such as PTSD, among a host of other problems that returning service members may face. My personal relationships with my family and friends have been strained at times during the two years I have been reintegrating into civilian life. Fortunately, they are all very understanding people who only want the best for me, and they continue to support me every day in every way that they can.

I have found working in the civilian sector to be somewhat of a challenge as a result of my service. In the Navy the only requirements for a promotion were to work hard, study for the advancement exam, and step outside of your job role into extracurricular activities. I find that the civilian world is much less structured and far more susceptible to politics and appearances. That is not to say that civilian life is without its own distinct advantages; as a salaried employee, I often choose my own schedule, and my particular position comes with a great deal of autonomy that I never experienced while serving in the military.

Ultimately, working and living in the civilian world is a balancing act that requires a constant effort for me to maintain. Eventually, I’m sure that I will acclimate far better than I have so far, but I have no doubt that my service will, in one form or another, stay with me for my entire life.

So there you have it; May is a month for remembrance. I encourage you to reflect on the sacrifices made by service members in the United States over the course of time, and look for ways to support our current service members in small ways every day.  I know it has had an impact on me and many others.

How to Navigate Courses if You Have a Disability: JooYoung Seo’s Student Perspective

May 4th, 2015 by

I’m Sonya Woods, an accessibility consultant for Penn State’s World Campus Learning Design. Part of my job is working with instructional designers and instructional production specialists to help them design course content that works well for students with disabilities, including blindness. Since I work with design staff and our students are at a distance, I rarely get to meet the students whom I help. As part of professional development, I am taking a course called Learning Design Studio LDT 550 at Penn State’s University Park campus, where I met a blind student named JooYoung Seo.

Being in a class with JooYoung, and learning from him what works well for him in a learning environment, has given me valuable information I use every day in my work. I sat down with JooYoung, who has taken both resident courses and online courses at Penn State, to better understand his challenges and successes. Our conversation follows:

Where are you from?

My service dog (a yellow Labrador retriever), Arang, and I came here last August from South Korea.

What are you studying now and what are your career goals?

I am a first-year master’s degree student in the learning, design, and technology program. I am interested in how technology can impact students’ multidimensional learning. Thanks to my visual disability, I use other senses, such as hearing, smelling, touching, and sometimes even tasting, to learn. I know from experience that visual input and output is not the only effective way to learn.

It is true that human beings rely mainly on sight, but at the same time, we are missing great potential if we don’t develop other senses. As a person who depends on senses other than visual, I wish to contribute to researching a multisensory approach to teaching and learning. I believe I can use cutting-edge technologies, such as augmented reality, virtual reality, and haptics (process of recognizing objects through touch) as tools to support multidimensional learning.

JooYoung Seo

JooYoung Seo

Recently I have been focusing more on online accessibility for the visually impaired and blind students’ learning for my master’s thesis; I am planning to write a paper about how MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) can impact visually disabled students’ learning. I hope to work on my multisensory approach more deeply when working on my PhD.

My goal is to be a researcher and professor in this field, and help others with my findings and teaching.

What is your experience with taking online courses?

I have taken one online course here at Penn State and additional online courses in Korea.

It is highly competitive to enter a college or university located in Seoul, Korea, which is the capital and largest city, and the entrance exam requires a lot of preparation time. Most Korean high school students, therefore, go to private (extracurricular) academy cram schools, called hagwon, to make up their weak points in some subjects and learn more to get better grades on their exams.

I wasn’t able to go to those profit schools because they didn’t provide me with any alternative materials or alternative texts; they target mainstream students, which did not include me as a participant. That’s why I used online courses a lot for my university entrance exams.

There is a public educational broadcasting channel in Korea called the EBS (Educational Broadcasting System) that offers high-quality online courses for free to anyone. When I was in 10th grade, there was an effort to make accessible video lecture files for both blind and deaf high-school students who used EBS to prepare for the entrance examinations. At that time, I was one of the representatives for Korean blind students and attended the meeting to come up with proper guidelines for the universal videos. EBS ended up providing some alternative textbooks and narrating voice videos for the blind and subtitles for the deaf. Those accessible
e-learning materials helped me so much to study and prepare for the college exam that I did quite well on it.

What course elements create the most difficulty for you?

Since an online course is taught and experienced on web pages, challenges depend on how accessible the website is; in other words, if an online lesson is well designed, based on WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) 2.0, I can navigate and participate in that course without any difficulties. Otherwise, it could be very challenging.

Therefore, web accessibility is really imperative for me and other disabled students to be able to participate in an online course.

What strategies do you use to overcome the challenges you face as a student?

There is an Office for Disability Services (ODS) at Penn State for supporting those who have physical challenges and other disabilities. I work closely with them to address some of the challenges I face.

If needed, they send official requests to my instructors and discuss with them how to make the course more accessible for me. Sometimes web accessibility consultants help by redesigning the course website or providing alternative content.

What would you say to a student who is blind, who is considering college?

Blindness or a visual disability does not need to be a stumbling block to going forward. If you are interested in something, just accept the challenge and go get it. Gone are the days when we say, “It’s impossible.” Why? Because there are many assistive technologies we can use for study. Plus, the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) supports us to pursue our future as much as we want.

What can faculty take into consideration when teaching students who are blind?

Many instructors are unfamiliar with how to embrace the blind student(s) in their class. I think, however, it is not as difficult as they might believe. I kindly suggest that they provide their blind students with accessible materials, as they upload their handouts on the course website.

Blind students mostly use screen-reading software, which translates texts on the screen into speech so that users can understand the spoken texts. But there are many images on web pages and even in the course materials. PDF files and PowerPoint slides can contain lots of graphics. Those are not accessible to screen reader users, so one thing instructors can do is give additional descriptions for the important images, charts, and tables in a text format for the blind students. I believe those additional alt texts will allow their blind or visually impaired students to follow up and participate in the lesson with their classmates.

Maggie Kwok, Academic Adviser and Disability Specialist

April 28th, 2015 by

Maggie Kwok is an academic adviser and disability specialist at Penn State World Campus. Here’s our conversation about the important position she holds with Penn State:

Tell me about your position as an academic adviser and disability specialist to our military students at Penn State World Campus.

I work with the Penn State World Campus military and veteran population. As a veteran myself, I can really identify with this particular group of people.

On a typical day in the office, I talk with about 10 students directly over the phone. The bulk of my work with military students is done by email, since those folks are often working full-time, traveling, on active duty, etc. I correspond with them to help them answer questions like — what course should I take next or what can I do with my degree?

What is your education and work experience background?

I joined the military as a Navy corpsman right after completion of my high school degree. I spent 5 years providing medical care to sailors and Marines. I was stationed at Twentynine Palms, California, and completed two deployments to both Cuba and Iraq.

Maggie Kwok

Maggie Kwok

After my time in the military, I decided to complete my bachelor’s degree at Penn State’s University Park campus. When I completed my degree, I decided to stay in State College and work for the University as an academic adviser for Penn State World Campus students. I’m currently pursuing my master’s degree in counselor education, with an emphasis on mental health, with my alma mater.

What unique challenges do our military students face with online learning?

A significant number of the students that I work with are military and veteran students, and some also have disability-related challenges. These students need to know that we have resources available to support them academically. I assist them in learning how to secure disability accommodations and make their courses accessible. I can help them “level the playing field” and offer them a “fair chance” to complete course work the same as a student who doesn’t need accommodations.

What are the benefits to our nonmilitary students by having a military member or veteran as part of their learning environments?

Military students offer unique perspectives in the online learning environment. Their experiences both in life and in the military can offer civilian students a glimpse of the challenges and rewards associated with serving our country. Their experiences often trickle into discussion boards and group assignments for classes — and ultimately enrich the learning environment for all Penn State World Campus students.

What are some questions that you think you could answer for our military population that always seem to pop up when they are taking courses?

I can categorize the types of questions that I receive into two main categories. The first category of questions fall under general academic advising and can include advice on degree audits and scheduling courses. The second set of questions usually fall under the category of military/disability-related queries. There are a lot of students who don’t know how they can seek disability accommodations. I educate students who need accommodations that show them how we can work together in a confidential environment. Oftentimes, if a member of the military is rated by the VA as having a disability, we may be able to provide academic accommodations for their online learning.

At Penn State World Campus we have a military support team—could you tell our readers a bit about the folks that you work with and how your team works together to benefit military students?

Our team works together to help our Penn State World Campus military and veteran students feel at home in our course environments. We strive to establish a level of trust and rapport with students to ensure success.

What’s the best part of your job?

The very best part of my job is seeing students succeed in their individual goals! There’s nothing better than hearing from a student who is simply grateful and appreciative of the support that I was able to lend to them!

Contact Information for Maggie

Toll-Free: 800-252-3592

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) As Illustrated by AMC’s The Walking Dead

April 20th, 2015 by

Given my four years in the United States Navy, taking online classes over the course of two deployments, and working toward my bachelor’s degree since 2013, I realize that I notice things a little differently than others. This became especially evident when I recently considered my loyalty to a popular television series. My military service and Penn State World Campus student experience mean I have different take-aways.

Light Through the Fog, Donnie Nunley, Flickr

Light Through the Fog, Donnie Nunley, Flickr

For example, one common affliction affecting many service members is post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).  Several dramatic television series have illustrated living with PTSD—including Homeland, The Sopranos, and AMC’s The Walking Dead. In particular, The Walking Dead has done a tremendous job of relating it to everyday life for the characters attempting to survive a zombie apocalypse.  I hope everyone understands that PTSD is a very real and terrifying reality for a lot of folks, and not just those who have served.  Real world experiences and their resulting traumas mean you don’t have to be a soldier to suffer from the effects of PTSD.  Survivors of car accidents, violent assaults, and tragic loss are struggling with PTSD every day. You may be in class with some of them right now and not even realize it.

The prevalence of this disorder has even prompted the creation of advice guides at some universities to help faculty relate to military students (I can tell you Penn State World Campus professors in general do a tremendous job with working with military students.)

If you’re like me, you followed The Walking Dead closely this season and noticed a particular penchant for the characters to suffer from very sudden and dramatic changes. Though it makes for great television, these changes and the end results are all-too-similar to the symptoms of PTSD suffered by countless U.S. Military service members returning home after deployments abroad.

I would like to elaborate on the PTSD symptoms as they apply to The Walking Dead characters as defined by the veterans support site, Make the Connection.

All of the symptoms on this list are regularly experienced by folks returning from military service, and The Walking Dead does a beautiful job at expressing them in a way that non-service-personnel are able to understand.

The experiences we have witnessed Rick and the gang battle their way through for five seasons, are not that different from those that military members go through when they come home from service. Sure, it may not be post-apocalyptic, but for them, it’s the same as finally finding a home and not quite feeling comfortable in it – or Sasha, who is continually haunted by her need to be outside the walls and hunting, rather than sitting behind them comfortably.

Nobody needs to become an advocate, a spokesperson, or an apologist for sufferers of PTSD, however the contemporary media makes explicit the connections that become applicable in everyday life. We are inevitably married to our experiences, and it is impossible to understand those that reside outside of our own. Whether one has experienced trauma in -or- outside the line of duty, it is often difficult to know the extent of said trauma. In these cases a little empathy can go a long way in understanding the difficulties of your fellow classmates.

Bloggers Wanted!

April 10th, 2015 by

In search of Penn State World Campus bloggers

  • Do you have advice for your fellow students on how to successfully navigate online learning?
  • Would you like to add guest blogging to your résumé?

If these questions spark your creativity, we’re interested in chatting more with you — because we think what our followers have to contribute is interesting.

The Penn State World Campus Blog reaches countless current and potential students and their supporters each month through posts and social media.

We’re looking for guest bloggers to write about topics of interest for all of us.

Potential topics might include:

  • How you selected your area of study? How will you put your degree to practice?
  • What motivated you to seek your degree through Penn State World Campus?
  • How do you manage your time inside and outside the classroom? Do you have best practices for staying organized?
  • What is it like to participate in a student organization through World Campus?
  • How does your work/military/family schedule impact your time to study?
  • How do you balance your personal obligations with your studies?

If you have a particular passion, area of interest, or hobby and think it would resonate well for our readers, now is your chance to pitch your story! For example, a nutritionist may consider writing a post on how nutrition impacts study skills. Parents may consider posting how they helped their child complete homework while completing their own assignments for Penn State World Campus.

We’ll work with you to make sure your post is written in a format that is best geared for our audience. While you can expect some minimal edits, we want to make sure your personality shines through in the post! We’re open to suggestions when it comes to writing, photography, and video.

If you’d like to learn more about this exciting opportunity, contact Jennifer Hicks at jah46@psu.edu.