Most of us are not mind readers. So when it comes to writing essays on a midterm or final exam, it can be hard to know what the grader is looking for. Here are some insider tips to help you know what your mentors want to see when they are grading your work. Next time you are writing an essay for a course exam, use these tips to compose an organized, well-written answer.
By Heather Russino
You just began reviewing the syllabus for a new online course. It didn’t take you long to realize there are several graded written assignments along with a final paper scheduled in the course. You are motivated to work hard and submit quality work, but you are uncertain about one major thing—what exactly is the mentor looking for, especially in terms of a particular written assignment?
Selecting which courses to take may have been the easy part. Now comes an even harder decision - which mentor do you choose to take the class with? Which one will be the most helpful? Clear? But how are you supposed to figure all that out without interviewing every single one?
“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”
More than 250 years later, Benjamin Franklin’s words still ring true when it comes to the academic relationship between student and mentor. It’s a common misconception that a mentor and teacher are one in the same. While both work with students and grade assignments, teachers focus on instruction and presenting information. A mentor’s role is to facilitate your learning and assist you on the path to earning your degree.
But how might they do that? And why? Glad you asked!
Even though students have done their research and decided that online classes are the best option for them, they still have tons of misconceptions about course expectations and requirements. We tracked down the most common myths students believe, and asked our mentors (yes, those mentors, the ones assessing your grades) to officially bust them, once and for all. Let the debunking begin…
As the dynamic feature of online courses, discussion boards provide for vibrant engagement between classmates and mentors. You’ll find your interactions to be lively and thoughtful—like actually being in a classroom together.
However, just as in a traditional classroom, professional etiquette still applies. In an online atmosphere, what you post is a reflection of who you are. Everyone is trying to learn, so understanding the DO’s & DON’Ts of discussion boards will help you avoid unprofessional pitfalls that can hinder the learning process of the entire class, and most importantly, you.
By Warren Gramm
Prior learning assessment (PLA) is designed to help students gain college credit for knowledge gained through real life experiences. As a mentor for the College, when I consider that, I can't help but gravitate towards the many students that have had success through the music PLA credits they've earned while serving our country in the armed forces in locations throughout the world.
Many adult learners are actively engaged overseas and are at the same time demonstrating for me their music backgrounds and capabilities. I wish that more members of the armed forces bands knew that it is possible to gain college credit for what they already know!
By Dr. Mark Kassop
I have been a mentor at Thomas Edison State College for more than 25 years for several reasons. First and foremost, I enjoy the adult, self-motivated students who populate my online courses. They are a pleasure to work with and their diverse backgrounds lead to fascinating assignments and discussion postings.
Connecting with students in an online environment is about creating a positive impact on the student and on the student’s classmates. Mentoring courses on the sociology of the family, as I do, my students have been in all stages of dating, marriage, divorce, remarriage, etc., and their experiences enrich the classes that I mentor. I have learned a lot from my students and, hopefully, they have learned a lot of useful material from me, too!