Health Information Management Student tells all!

Health information manager at her desk
Learn Health Information Management!

Hello my name is Anne Michalski, I am currently a student with CD-ED a terrific on-line school based in Cape Breton Nova Scotia. As a mature student with previous data management experience I have been able to apply some of my life experience and skills to an exciting new course, HIM, health information management.

The main advantage of online training is the flexibility of the hours, but there are other advantages such as no need to commute to classes, no distractions in your work environment (unless you have young children) and the ability to contact other students or your instructors when required. While on my first year practicum in Montreal, I had the opportunity to speak to students from other schools that also offer the HIM program and realized for them it is a 3 year program which I will be able to complete in 102 weeks, less than 2 years, that is pretty exciting to me. If you have previous experience with health records you could complete the program even faster since it is self-paced.

The school is always looking for speakers to provide webinar presentations and give the students a chance to speak with current professionals in the HIM world but I noticed the choice of speaker holds great variety and introduces not only health record professionals but all sorts of different avenues within health information management. Many of the lessons cover current articles for a better understanding of medical research papers, current events and challenges to health data as well exciting new developments within health care management.

One of the reasons I was attracted to this profession was the wonderful opportunities it holds from hospital records to medical research to worldwide standardization of terms and classifications. There are jobs coding, co-ordinating, privacy advocating, programming, and standardizing or even teaching to name just a few. The other important aspect of the HIM profession is the high ethical standard and sense of co-operation that are encouraged within the membership. The sense of sharing and learning that continues far beyond the initial classroom phase is not found in many other professions and brings a sense of community with many opportunities to have a positive impact on the direction of health care.

I feel blessed to have this new career direction thanks to the great instructors at CD ED.

Best Regards,

Anne Michalski

Health Information Management Student Presents Paper

Jordan Bassett Receives International Acclaim for her Final Research Project

A Medical team hears presentation from health information management specialist

The CD-ED Health Information Management program is of top quality, arming graduates with real world experience and in-depth (technical) knowledge (with the convenience of online learning).

This is evident as graduate Jordan Bassett wrote a research essay that was recently selected to be featured in an industry publication, for The International Society for Telemedicine & eHealth (ISfTdH).

The Health Information Management program requires a self-directed research project as part of the 2 year, online program.

The research project takes place at the very end of the program, once students have learned:

• Basic anatomical systems
• Medical Terminology
• Health data classification
• Health information law and ethics
• Informatics Module, and
• Completed 2 on the job placements

Armed with technical working knowledge and aided by professional instructors who have years of industry experience, Jordan set to work completing her research assignment (and commencing her program).

All of that hard work paid off! Jordan’s paper titled, “titled “E-Prescribing: An Important Part of Medication Safety” was accepted for presentation by the Selection Committee at Med-e-Tel 2017, taking place on April 5-7, 2017 at the Luxexpo Exhibition and Congress Center in Luxembourg.

Jordan is, quite understandably, very happy at this news; “Thank you all so much. Chandrika and Sandra both did an amazing job in helping me … I feel very honored to represent the school for this presentation.”

Congratulations Jordan on a job very well done! We are and proud to have her as a student and wish her all the best with this endeavour and all future projects.

Lie #5: I Only Need To Log On Once A Week

I suspect that some people are drawn to online learning because they think that being in class is a big waste of time. But does that mean that the learning can all take place once a week? Well, according to those who have studied the way we learn, no.

Imagine a college course that meets Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9am-1pm. You go to class three separate times for several hours at a time, with breaks in between to allow the material to sink in. Each Monday you have a test on the week before so maybe you meet with your study group a couple of times to talk over the material. You probably take a few hours over the weekend to study on your own, as well, just to make sure you have everything straight before the test.

Then imagine trying to learn all of that material in one hour on Sunday night.

Your head would explode! 

And yet, that’s what some people think they can get away with simply because there are no set class times with online learning.

The fact is, that learning is a brain-changing process. Each new piece of information connects our neurons together that makes new pathways inside our brain.  The more times we revisit those pathways, the deeper and more reinforced they get.

In most cases, it would be impossible to take in all the material in a single sitting. It would be even more impossible to expect to retain that material along term. For good reason,most online courses take between 10 and 20 hours a week, and some more intensive programs could be even more demanding. It is important to maintain contact by logging in several times a week, and to spread out all of the materials, lessons and resources so you don’t get overwhelmed.

But if you just make an effort, it pays off big time.

Lie #4: I Won’t Have A Personal Connection With My Instructor

Photo taking from the back of a very well-attended classroom. Text on the image says: Lie #4 about distance education; I won't have a personal connection with my instructor.

This is the most frustrating lie of all the ones I’ve heard about distance education. It goes on the assumption that in order to have a personal connection with an instructor, you have to be jammed into a classroom with 40 other people who are all trying to get the attention for themselves.

In an online course, your instructor is all yours. Her attention will be focused entirely on you, and so she’ll be able to adjust her teaching style based on how you learn best. You’ll laugh together, figure out problems together, and she’ll do her best to help get you through to the end of your program, come what may.

Our Favourite Personal Connection Is One-on-One

Our students are often so moved by the connection with the instructors they have over their year here that they send holiday cards, presents, and invitations to come visit and stay for a week! When we ask for testimonials about the school, almost invariably a student’s favourite thing was their instructor.

Read just a few of the thousands of positive statements we’ve gotten about our instructors over the years:

——————————————————-

“The staff at CD-ED were great. I would like to thank them for all the support and help they gave me through this course and never giving up on me even when I did at times!”
– Christine Ede, Graduate

“Gail and Joanne, you put up with my bad days and good days. Thank you for being there all the way. I would love to meet you in person some day!”
– Monique Houston, Graduate

“My instructor took the time to listen to my frustrations, feelings and failures, etc. and boosted my self esteem to levels where I was able to succeed in my course of studies, even with the medical problems that I have.”
– Lenore Pettipiece, Graduate

——————————————————-

Are you looking for an education experience where your instructor gets to know you and your learning style personally? Then perhaps learning through the Centre for Distance Education is for you. We are proud of the personal connection that each of our instructors work to build with their students. Contact us for more information.

Lie #3: Online Learning is Easy

Picture of a street sign with a cobweb in the corner. The sign says Easy Street. Text on the image says; Is online learning easy compared to traditional classes?

Conventional wisdom says that online learning is easy, and therefore it isn’t worth your time. As it so often is, conventional wisdom is dead wrong about that.

Online learning is simple, sure – it’s straightforward and uncomplicated – but it sure as heck isn’t easy.

Just like traditional schools, some online institutions are known for being easier and others are known for being harder. But because of the nature of online learning, it requires a little more effort to keep on top of your weekly studies when they’re self-motivated. While your instructors are your personal cheerleaders, you’ll still need to find the motivation inside yourself to actually do the work each week.

Be Your Own Cheerleader

You’ll need to take responsibility for completing assignments on time and meeting set deadlines. With nobody standing at your shoulder to enforce deadlines, online students must be able to manage their own time. Late assignments are not acceptable online any more than in class.

Self-motivation is the biggest hurdle, but if you can manage it, you will become an amazing employee that your boss will trust to get the job done on time.

Additionally, you’ve got a lot of college-level reading ahead of you, so while that probably won’t be difficult for you, it will be time-consuming. In an online career college like CD-Ed, you’ll probably find more hands-on work than theoretical reading. You won’t have to memorize it as much as you’ll need to spend the time to understand it. The doing should keep it in your brain.

Finally, you’re probably learning something you’ve never done before. Throughout high school, for instance, each year in English class, you simply expanded ideas you’d already been introduced to the previous year. But with career training, it’s likely that everything is completely new – so it takes practice to get it down pat.

Not Easy, But Rewarding

So no, online learning isn’t easy. It’s at least as difficult as traditional college work – if not more so! But that doesn’t mean there aren’t things you can do to make sure your online learning is a success! Here’s a link to a list of 14 proven ways to make online learning a breeze:

15 Proven Ways to Make Online Learning a Breeze

 

Lie #2: Online Colleges Aren’t As Good As Traditional Ones

Black and white image of an empty classroom. Text on the image says; Lie #2: Online Learning is Not As Good As Traditional College

If it were actually true that traditional colleges are better than online colleges then I suppose there’d be no point even trying to juggle work and school. Universities would all close their distance education departments, and you may as well quit your job right now so you can trudge downtown every day to attend a traditional college.

But most of the time, “traditional” schools aren’t even giving you the best education you could get in order to get hired. Think about how many university graduates you know who are flipping burgers just to keep afloat.

In fact, most online graduates are actually getting higher grades than graduates from in-class programs.

Let me spell that out for you: higher grades mean you are:

  • more confident when entering the workforce,
  • more sure that you’re able to meet the requirements, and
  • more likely to get hired.

It makes a difference when your instructor’s teaching style is based on how you learn. Every talk with her is a 1-on-1 conversation, so you can’t help but retain more information, compared to sitting in a lecture hall. Traditional lectures often have 150 other people – and the only thing you have in common is that you’re all facing in the same direction – listening to a professor talking at you (not to you).

Maybe you already knew this, but traditional schools have desks in a row, a teacher at the front, lectures and memorization for a reason. In fact, they came out of the Industrial Age, when it was really important that people grew up to follow orders.  They expected only to go work in the factories.

The Problem with “Brick and Mortar” Schools

That type of teaching punished individuality, and focused on verbal intelligence to the exclusion of all else. As a result, you were at a disadvantage if you were right-brained or artsy! In contrast, you were in luck if you could fit into the “norm” without making any waves.

Today when you think about a brick-and-mortar school, picture this in your mind: a dark brick factory in the early 1900s, with the rank smell of coal smoke suffocating the air because the windows don’t open, each dark and choking breath closing in upon rows of people who’ve all been trained, criticized, and beaten into performing exactly the same tasks in the exact same manner at the exact same time.

Now picture one of these people shoved out into the sunlight, blinking at the glare and scared to take a deep breath of the unfamiliar cool, fresh air. What happens if they’re given a task outside of what they’ve been forced to repeat day after day, hour after hour?  Perhaps we ask them to simply find North, but they stare blankly and confusedly. That’s because the system didn’t teach them to understand the world outside their comfort zone, without the ability to solve a problem on their own.

Actually, a tiny handful of extraordinary, talented workers will solve the problem by strength, courage and wit. But the odds are heavily tilted against them. Only the very, very best even survive, much less prosper.

Can Traditional Education Teach Independent Thinking?

If the only way you’ve ever done anything is by blindly following orders, you’re standing sightless in the sun with no idea which way is North. And as the 21st century unfolds, the problem’s going to get worse, not better.

Think about this: a few decades ago, the factories gave way to cubicle farms. As a result, the air was cleaner but the tasks were still repetitive.  We had more business and less industry, but traditional education still had a place preparing people for the workplace.

Today, many businesses are ditching those rows of identical cubicles in favour of more informal settings. For instance, Google’s employees work at a “campus”, have individual decorating budgets for their office spaces and are given 20% of their time to work on personal projects. In many offices today, people don’t wear 3-piece business suits; instead, they wear jeans and t-shirts. There are bean-bag chairs in the break rooms and Wii tournaments every Friday. And these non-traditional businesses are cleaning up – nobody is more successful than Google.

But traditional schools are still teaching people to sit in a row and stare straight ahead!

Imagine for a moment that you show up to apply for an accounting job with a paper ledger and a slide rule (not so uncommon even 40 years ago). How would you ever compete with applicants carrying accounting software on the smart phone in their pocket – or even those with just a calculator?

Impossible. You’d starve to death. And you couldn’t possibly provide your customers a similar level of service or speed.

And yet, lots of university graduates are doing just that. They’re trying to fit a square peg of education into a round hole of a job. Traditional universities just don’t prepare you for a career out in the real world. Instead, they hole you up in a library doing archaic research and debating academic problems that are only relevant to other academics.

Factory workers – and the schools that produce them – are a dying breed. Large institutions are too unwieldy to change direction quickly and it’s taking forever for traditional schools to catch up to the current job market. Unfortunately, they spin their wheels and keep teaching lessons that are simply no longer relevant to today’s employers. Meanwhile, being able to toe the line and sit quietly in a row is less and less important these days.

The Solution to Preparing for a 21st Century Education is Online

But here’s the TRUTH: 

IF you can learn to be a critical thinker who can solve problems beyond what you’re taught, and IF you attend a school that is able to offer the newest, most relevant career-based training, you CAN become a valuable employee and you CAN compete.

And you won’t end up another square peg with no place to rest. Smaller online colleges can turn on a dime as the industry changes, and can produce employees for the 21st century – not the 19th.

Listen up:  you MUST learn the essential job skills for your exact job, and you MUST be able to keep learning even after school is over.

Most people do not. Most people go to university and learn to be drones for jobs that don’t even exist anymore. Thanks to their lack of experience, they don’t have any idea how to think globally and solve a problem they’ve never seen before. Most people don’t know that they don’t know.

BOTTOM LINE:

1) You must learn the right skills employers need to fill the job.

2) You must be able to adapt and change as the job changes.

Often you’ll try something and it doesn’t work the first time. But… the good news is, once it works, it will usually work for YEARS.

That’s why time spent on education is absolutely the best time investment you can make – IF you’re aware of what really works and what doesn’t.

Lie #1: Online Colleges Aren’t REAL Schools

Close up of a rolled-up diploma tied with a green ribbon.
Real schools expect you to work for your diploma

The 5 Big Lies of Online Education – Part 1 of 5

If you’re reading this, you’ve been thinking about online education one way or another. Maybe you’re already a student at the Centre for Distance Education, and we’re preaching to the choir. Or maybe you are weighing your options on how to get career-focused training. If you’re one of the second group, then stick with us through this 5-part series. You’ll find out how you can get training in your own home, on your own time, and end up ready for the career you’ve been dreaming of. But first, we need to clear up some misconceptions and outright lies about distance education. The first deals with the misconception that online colleges aren’t “real schools”.

Let’s get this out of the way:

What do you think of when you hear “distance education”?

I bet it’s the same thing many people think of – those little fake stamps or matchbooks you get in the mail; you know, the ones that come alongside coupons for Elvis statues and radios that look like Victorian record players. You’re never sure if it’s a real school, their accreditations are from some third-party company you’ve never heard of, and you suspect the “instructors” work while in their pajamas – if you ever hear from them at all. There’s a reason people are afraid of “diploma mills”, after all.

CD-ED, on the other hand, is a real school in a real place, with real, government-recognized diplomas. And yes, we mean the Canadian government, not some dubious tropical stand-in. (Check out our registration at http://pcc.ednet.ns.ca/)

We are a proud Cape Breton, Nova Scotia private post-secondary institution.  Several years ago we purchased a building in the Heritage district of Sydney, Nova Scotia to house our instructors, administrative staff, business team, management and admissions representatives. 

(In fact, if you’re local, come on in and see us! We’re at 222 George St.in Sydney.)

Real Schools Have High Standards

Thanks to that government recognition, you can be secure in the knowledge that our programs’ materials, instructors, and methods meet both government and industry standards. Graphic designers respect our Graphic Design program. Likewise, medical practices approve our Medical Office Administration program – and so on.

The regulations for career colleges in Canada are strict: we can’t even change a textbook without approval – and we like it that way. We even went and got ourselves certified to ISO 9001:2008 – talk about regulations! But we feel our school has never run smoother.

As a student at CD-ED, you’ll experience all the rigour and high-standards you would expect of any higher-education institution. We know there are no shortcuts to getting excellent training; we expect you to do the work, and our professional instructors will give you the support you need. That’s because when you succeed, we succeed.

 

When Can I Start Online Learning?

Picture is taken from outside of someone staring out a window that is streaked with rain. Text on the image says; When can I start start online learning?
Just because September is well underway, doesn’t mean you’ve missed the learning deadline.

Attending school in person and learning online are very different activities. While the classroom learning experience is a tradition that has built up over hundreds of years, no such traditions exist for online learning. That means that you can write the rules, including when you decide to start online learning.

It often seems like a huge barrier that school only starts in September; sometimes in the joyful wonder and sun of summer, September sneaks up on you and before you’ve even realized it, school has started: and you’re not in it.

Well, that doesn’t have to be the case!

You don’t have to let another year slide through your fingers, or stay in the job that’s beneath you, or collect employment insurance. This year will be different.

Start Online Learning When YOU Want

With Online Education at the Centre for Distance Education, you can start going to school pretty much any time you please.

Our continuous intake service means that you can start when your schedule allows.

We’re talking all year – even at the end of September when all the other schools are full, in the middle of February when you’re so sun-deprived you would do anything not to be bored anymore, or in the dead heat of summer when you just want to hide inside with the A/C cranked.

Finish When You Want, As Well!

Starting school any time you like means you can finish school any time you like. So if you plan it properly and look ahead…. instead of being a graduate in the spring in competition with all the other fresh-faced university and college grads, you can show up at an interview when everybody else is still in school, right when employers least expect you and they’re dying to find qualified applicants for the jobs they have available.

Once you’ve grasped the concept of starting school when you want (not on some ancient schedule, irrelevant in the 21st century), you will look at the timing of college very differently: as a strategic tool on your true career path.

 

Why do Legal Office Assistants need Strong Interpersonal Skills

Legal Office Assistant sitting at her computer. Text on the image says; Why do Legal Office Assistants need strong interpersonal skills?

Working as a legal office assistant can be fulfilling!

You get to help people when they are sometimes at their most desperate and don’t see the silver lining in their own lives. However, if you don’t know how to communicate with that person, you can end up making an already stressful experience even more chaotic.

When a person makes the decision to seek legal help, they are already feeling pretty angry, upset, sad, stressed, or sometimes all of these feelings at once. As the legal office assistant, you are usually the first person these potential clients speak to. Knowing how to speak to the client can go a long way toward securing a lifelong business relationship.

In the course of a day, you can go from working on a real estate transaction, to a custody case, to a personal injury, and then end your day with a probate matter. The ability to switch between the different aspects of legal issues is important, but not as important as your ability to switch between conversations. You wouldn’t speak to a client who is purchasing their first home the same way you would to a parent who is working on a custody case.

What interpersonal skills do you need for legal office administration?

There are numerous things to take into consideration when looking at your interpersonal skills. https://blog.udemy.com/list-of-interpersonal-skills/ lists 10 of them as being verbal and non-verbal communication, listening, questioning, manners, problem solving, social awareness, self-management, responsibility, accountability, and assertiveness. While these skills are great to possess in any office environment, it is especially useful to have them in a legal environment.

Proper legal communication with clients

You need to be able to communicate clearly with the client using your focused legal administration training. They need to know exactly what you are saying/asking, because this could be new territory to them. If they are not familiar with the way that a legal matter is handled, they are going to need guidance. The better able you are to verbally communicate this with them, the better!

Non-verbal communication is a big help as well. You could be telling the client one thing verbally, but your non-verbal cues could make them feel differently. Key things to notice about your non-verbal communication is to maintain eye contact, don’t cross your arms, don’t stand in front of the exit, and don’t put your hands on your hips. Something that I have tried in the past is to have a mock conversation with a friend or family member and had them take notes about my non-verbal cues, and how they made them feel. It helped me to get an insight into what my posture and position said to another person, without running the risk of offending them.

While working in legal office administration, it is extremely important to listen to your clients; take notes if you can, but never make them feel like you aren’t listening to what they are saying. Try short-form notes that will allow you to look up and have eye contact; after your meeting, you can type up the information in full from your notes.

Questioning ties in with listening. A client will tell you what they think is important; they may not realize that some smaller things are just as important in a legal setting. Ask questions while they are talking that can pull other information out of them. This will not only help with you’re listening, but it can help you to get the full story that is needed for your records. One big thing about questioning is to make sure they aren’t closed questions (yes or no answers). For example, instead of asking “Did you live with your spouse until a certain date”, you could ask “what events led up to your decision to live separately?” This question will draw out more information that you could use, and it can still help you to secure the main point you need.

Legal office administration customer service

Always remember to keep your manners. An old adage is to treat people as you want to be treated. Try to think of yourself in the client’s shoes. If you were in their situation, how would you want people to interact with you? Most times, you will want to be sympathetic and helpful; let the client know through your manners that you are here to help them in this situation, and that they don’t have to go through it alone.

The ability to solve problems goes a long way in a legal office administration career. This doesn’t mean you will be quoting law or legal terminology to the client; sometimes problem solving is simply knowing what information needs to get to a lawyer quickly, and what information you can look into. You aren’t expected to make the problem go away immediately, but being able to put an action plan in place helps a client to feel as though they made the right choice choosing your firm. This doesn’t mean that your plan will work – not every plan is foolproof. However, having a sound plan in place to help as a starting point is appreciated!!

Keeping your social awareness in gear will help you when working with clients. You want to be able to tune in to what they are feeling without them having to tell you their feelings. Sometimes this can be as easy as looking at the series of events that brought them to you; if they are fighting for custody of their children, you would be pretty safe in assuming that they are upset with their ex-spouse and probably scared of not having their children around them all the time anymore. With proper training in legal office administration, your social awareness will help you determine the best way to communicate with the client!

The ability to know how to put your feelings aside while dealing with a client is the most important interpersonal skill you can have. If you slept through your alarm, were unable to get your morning coffee, and rushed into work just on time, you would probably be in a pretty bad mood. That doesn’t matter when a client walks in the door seeking legal help because their ex-spouse refused to bring the children back after a visitation. The client doesn’t care about your issues, and unfortunately, your issues are not the main focus. You need to be able to put aside your bad day and give your attention to the client; they are not only feeling scared about their children but they are also paying customers. They are paying to tell you their problems, so listen!

Your responsibility as a legal office assistant

Being responsible and accountable for your own actions are huge when working as a legal office assistant. If you tell the lawyer or a client that you will work on something, then do the work. This will show that you are reliable and keep people coming back to seek your assistance. If you make a mistake, own it. Don’t get upset and play the blame game; explain that you understand you made an error and let them know you understand how your mistake affects the situation. This can be extremely hard because no one likes to own up to their own shortcomings. Avoid excuses, and offer a way to rectify the situation. Then, do what you say you will do!

Assertiveness is probably the trickiest of all of the interpersonal skills to master. You want to be able to get your thoughts out there without coming across as being aggressive. This skill works best when dealing with your peers in an office setting and not the clients. Being assertive could be something as easy as selling yourself to your boss when looking for a raise. The key is to believe in yourself and what you bring to the table, without making other people look or feel bad.

How to become a legal office assistant

These skills are just a few of the interpersonal skills you will find come in handy when employed in the field of legal office administration. If you feel that you already have a good grasp on these, then the field of legal office assistant could be for you! Check out Centre for Distance Education and the Legal Office Administration program online. Get the skills to be a legal office assistant in 64 weeks online. Currently working? Get an online distance education and earn a diploma in legal office administration from the convenience of your home

At the end of the day, there is no better feeling than knowing that you helped a client get exactly what they wanted, and seeing their smiling face as they leave the office can clear up any grey sky!

 

7 Habits of Highly Effective People – Webinar Recap

Image of a glass with water. Text on the image says; 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Half Full? Half Empty? Don't let your current perspective define who you aim to become.
Steven Covey’s classic book can be applied to many situations, including taking education online.

 

Introduction to the 7 Habits Webinar

Every one of you has obstacles in life, whether it be:

  • Taking care of family and loved ones;
  • Working a job while attending school; or
  • Financial difficulties (but are trying to better your future to change that).

No matter what the obstacle, each and every one of you could benefit from “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”, if you’re willing to accept it in your life. The 7 habits are not a part-time job; it is a lifestyle choice.

I spent some time recently reviewing the 7 habits in a live webinar with some students at the Centre for Distance Education. It was such a great experience I thought we could share it on the blog, as well!

The habits in this webinar are based on a book written by Stephen R. Covey. I welcome each and every one of you to seek out this book to learn more on this topic and how to apply it to your whole lives. Here, we are covering how the seven habits relate to everyday school life for online distance education.

Below is the recorded video, along with some of the highlights from the transcript.

When attending an online distance education school, there are certain benefits, such as:

  • Not having to travel, but instead, working from home in your pajamas.
  • Sending email and calling on the phone for support, rather than raising your hand 10,000 feet in the air screeching and crying for you to be picked out of the many peers beside you so you can have your question answered.
  • Or how about my personal favourite, you don’t have to face the evil… oh please don’t make do it… stand up in front of the classpublic speaking!!! (buuhh buuuhh buuuuuhhhh).

However, with all of these benefits to online distance education, there must also be some problems that all students may face, such as:

  • You may miss that face-to-face interaction which can truly prepare you for the real world when introduced to various social experiences.
  • Consider another scary but affective means to keep yourself on-track. Showing up to class with your homework not done and your instructor asks, “Why is your assignment not done”? Unfortunately, “My dog ate my homework” just won’t cut it in today’s digital age. With online distance education, you may find it difficult to keep-on-task and meet your deadlines with so many distractions at home.The truth is, there is no difference between the two, except one has more consequence by possibly causing you to be embarrassed in front of your peers. I’d like to ask each of you to consider something should you be late on an assignment, ask yourself why you took this course in the first place. If your answer was to better your future, then why not do your hardest to truly make an impact on your future, starting with those very assignments.

Now to get started on “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” and how they may relate to your online distance education:

Habit 1: Be Proactive

Don’t let your current perspective define who you aim to become. There is no right or wrong answer on how one should perceive themselves or others, but if we can dig deep and change some of that negative energy into positive, then perhaps we may have a less stressful day. This is typically known as the “Glass Half Full” method. There are too many external forces to keep us from reaching our goals, make today a better day by nulling out those negative influences.

How does this affect online distance education?

  • You get up in the morning, and treat each day like it is better than the previous. Chances are, if you say, “Ugh… not another assignment” then that is going to be a loooonnngggg day. But! If you return back to the question, “Why did I spend all this money to enroll in the first place?” Then, you may continue to remind yourself of what is important and instead of feeling negative, go ahead and turn that frown upside down. P.S.: coffee helps. Since we are speaking about online distance education, how about decorating your work area with motivation photos, action figurines, inspirational quotes, and please please please consider using Pinterest; that social media network is packed full of motivation!

Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind

Some of us work best in chaos, others need a great deal of planning. Regardless of how our personalities work, setting some sort of goal in mind can keep us on track and motivated to succeed. A fellow instructor sent me this quote last week, and fits well to this situation. “Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going”.

How does this affect online distance education?

  • Day 1 of school, you have two options! Either plan out your first week, and/or plan out the entire year. Life happens and we can’t always control it. But if we create a schedule to follow a specific routine, we at least have some sort of structure.
  • Have you heard of brick walls? Not the hard kind, but rather the metaphorical kind. A brilliant college professor by the name of Randy Pausch who taught at Carnegie Mellon University hosted an assembly called “The Last Lecture”. I HIGHLY encourage each of you to look this video up. I can’t count the amount of inspirational insight I’ve received from this video. He speaks for a part of the video about brick walls and how they are put into place to keep those who don’t want something bad enough, out. Jumping back on topic here in regards to “Begin with the End in Mind”, sometimes, it may take one brick at a time, but in the end if you push hard enough, those bricks will fall and you will be a graduate.

Habit 3: Put First Things First

We all need a balance between work and personal life. Too much of anything can drive us crazy! Understanding that as humans, we need certain forms of entertainment, friendship, work, and of course education. Responsibilities such as family and friends are crucial to one’s successes in life, just so as long as you maintain that balance, like on a teeter totter.

How does this affect online distance education?

  • Clearly, your job is important, but so are your studies. Create a chart that will allocate precisely what needs to be done for the week and do not reward yourself until specific tasks are met. For example, submit a tutorial assignment and then take the family for a nice drive to the park. Perhaps video games are your thing. No problem, just be sure to complete what is clearly more important first. Think about it: if you spend thousands of dollars on education, why would you put TV or video games first? That would be an example of putting Last Things First.

Habit 4: Think Win / Win

Pursue mutually beneficial situations where both parties have a positive gain. In circumstances where both parties cannot meet an equal arrangement, consider agreeing to a draw or both parties walk away from the situation. Some may call this, “agree to disagree”, or perhaps it is a business decision that just doesn’t add up. Without an equal arrangement, there is room for Win / Lose behaviour that may have problematic consequences.

How does this affect online distance education?

  • When working on a project that just doesn’t seem to be cooperating, perhaps you are having a mental block. In these situations, walk away from the assignment and take a look at it from another approach. This may consist of creating a mind map, or even percolating while working on another activity such as doing the dishes. Avoid watching TV or playing video games, these can serve as a distraction and should instead be used as a reward system for yourself. When faced with a problem that you simply cannot solve at your current mindset, go for a nature walk. When you complete your assignment and submit, reward yourself!

Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, then to be Understood

When having a conversation with your peers, we may all have great ideas and stories to tell. The problem with this is we all want to tell our story, as it is important to us. But we don’t realize that our peer may have an equally important story that they feel is important to them. Listen to what they have to say, consume that information, and offer a conversation based on that story. When the time comes, you will have your turn to share your story. In the meantime, do not interrupt or direct a conversation elsewhere when the current information is still relevant.

How does this affect online distance education?

  • With online distance education, asking questions can be difficult because we are not face to face. This answer is a little more untraditional with this habit, but still relevant. Before asking a question or submitting an assignment, pretend you’re the instructor! Carefully read through the assignment instructions, and do a little more research on the topic at hand. Upon carefully evaluating your own work, give yourself some constructive feedback and then apply that feedback to furthering your work. Once you’re satisfied, go ahead and submit – I’m certain you will be far prouder of yourself.

Habit 6: Synergize

When entertaining an idea or solving a problem, the creative cooperation of teamwork and freedom of speech from other’s personal experience and expertise may lead to a solution.

How does this affect online distance education?

  • Unfortunately, online distance education limits students from speaking with their peers. This weakens the social interaction for each student who may wish to synergise with their fellow peers, whether it being for questions about an assignment, or starting a study group. To get around this, there are various social media networks such as Facebook, and LinkedIn. We have a Facebook page at CD-Ed, and also a Student Forum when you login to the LMS. A great feature we offer on the front page of the LMS is Common Rooms. Common Rooms are a list of available discussion areas for each course. This is a fantastic place to ask questions and even receive feedback from other students regarding your work. These resources may be a good way to connect with your fellow peers.

Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw

Doing the same thing over and over again can cause us to forget some of the important things that define who we are, and who we aim to become. Always practice and re-evaluate your physical, mental, social, and spiritual health.

How does this affect online distance education?

  • One day, each of you will become graduates and move onto a successful future of your field of study. What you may not realize is that the learning carries on when you graduate. It is your responsibility to continue practicing these skills so you don’t forget. For example, Graphic and Web Designers need to have a portfolio when they graduate. What they learned in the 1st month compared to the 12th month is completely different. So two years after starting the course, their work should be on opposite sides of the world different. That is because they’ve evolved as designers and are now pushing out better work.

Conclusion

This concludes a brief summary of “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” in regards to online distance education.

But!!! I have one task for each and every one of you: Take a few moments of your time to research “The EIGHTH Habit of Highly Effective People”! This is for your own personal gain, and I welcome you to continue this positive journey.

Thank you all for reviewing this webinar, and I truly appreciate each and every one of you for listening/reading; I hope my brief summary was clear and understood.