As a result, a student must learn how to manage and find information with little time and energy spent on the search and which produces a maximum return on their efforts. To use a simple word picture, in the classroom, the information is a pool, or a small lake from which to draw. In the workplace, the river of information is always moving, and attempts to put up a dam in order to measure and quantify the amounts of water simply will not be successful. A student must learn to paddle the boat, and gather information from the moving stream all at the same time.
While internet searches have become less arcane over the past few years, a student cannot expect to find everything he or she needs from a Google.com search or a stop at Wikipedeia.com. A student should find and subscribe to a few favorite online libraries and databases which will provide depth of information. Two of my favorite online libraries are www.questia.com and www.highbeam.com. These online libraries contain scholarly journals, complete book transcripts as well as newspapers and magazine articles. These web sites can often provide all the background and research materials for the successful internet enabled student.
Unfortunately, with the availability of electronic versions of data, the temptation to copy and paste information, and thereby plagiarize another's work is strong. The mass amounts of data which are available, and the time crunch under which today's students must produce results create the perfect envelope in which to commit intellectual robbery, and pull someone else's ideas.
In order to maintain intellectual honesty, and uphold academic standards of integrity, the student should take this mantra as his own personal guide. "If the idea is not mine, I should cite the source." By applying this standard, the student can steer his boat around the whirlpools, rocks and rapids which will quickly capsize his boat should he begin to copy others work and call it his own. Material which comes from another's published works, whether taken in summary, or repeated word for word - if the material contains an idea from another person's published work, it must be cited as such.
Developing Effective Study Skills
Effective study skills in the online learning environment are somewhat different from those which a student needs in the traditional classroom. In the traditional classroom, many elements co-exist as part of the learning process. These elements go beyond simply inhaling information and exhaling assignments and tests. In the traditional classroom, a learning community already exists. The learners are able to draw encouragement, inspiration, and fellowship from one another. In the traditional classroom, one person can set the pace somewhat unconsciously, a level to which other students are drawn toward as they set their own goals.
In the online learning environment, the students are individualized and compartmentalized. The online community still can, and must exist in order to create an effective learning environment. However, the students must seek out that community, and become a part of electronic tools such as chat rooms, group discussions, and list serve email digests in order to form the e-learning community. If the student only reads lessons and turns in assignments, he or she will be missing