Working online – Library school, committee work, work work, it’s all the same.

Today, Drexel (my alma mater), has an interesting post on their einsights blog, where they discuss different issues surrounding online/distance education. Today, they tackle common mistakes online students make and how to avoid them. The mistakes are:

  • Assuming online is easy
  • Poor time management
  • Communication breakdown
  • Not utilizing available resources
  • Not staying connected
  • Taking on too much too soon

I really identified with many of these mistakes, though by then end I think I had it figured out. I knew how to fit it into my life and understood that I had to really take the time and make the effort to stay on top of everything. I really think that these are useful tips to remember for any student, not just online students. (OK, save for maybe the first one?)

The thing is, these tips don’t stop being relevant when you graduate. In fact, I’ve seen how valuable the lessons of my online education have been for me as I work and collaborate with my colleagues from around the world. I know it’s going to be extra work, but it’s not impossible. I wonder, as more and more people graduate with online degrees, will professional online collaboration be more effective? It could happen. I know from my experience, it took time for people to warm up to the online environment. I had spent years chatting online and using message boards to communicate, so it was a fairly easy switch. You could tell some of my cohort struggled to figure out how to use the medium. It’s the same with using listservs, blogs, wikis, and other venues to communicate. If people aren’t comfortable with it, they won’t use it. So we have to work together, and then hopefully something good will come of it.

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