Friday, January 20, 2012

Reasons for Students to Sign Up for Virtual Classes

At present, virtual training is a popular choice for learning both in the academic and the corporate environment. The concept is widely recognized after the invention of cloud-based class management tools. Today, schools, colleges, and various professional training organizations are adopting these tools to save huge amount of operational and administrative costs of running a class. It is better even from the students' point of view. Here, we have come up with top five reasons for which students should sign up for a virtual class.

1. Flexibility of Class Schedule

A virtual class allows students to attend the training session at their convenience. The flexibility of class schedules makes virtual training the most convenient medium of learning. With virtual medium, students no longer require to run all the way to reach schools or colleges in time. It offers you the opportunity to schedule your class in the morning or at night, depending on your convenience.

2. Instant Access to Notes and Class Work

Virtual training offers the students instant access to the class materials and all kinds of notes given by the instructors. Since the digital media is the only platform of delivering such training, all the class materials are uploaded to the server. In many cases, students can also collect and store their notes online. Thus, they don't run the risk of losing their course materials and important notes and even access it as and when required.

3. Interacting with Fellow Students

Interacting with fellow students helps extending your knowledge base and allows you to prepare for upcoming tests in a better way. Virtual training gives you the opportunity to create study groups and student discussion boards where you can share your views and exchange important information. The class management tools available nowadays allow you to create a private community, which makes getting together easier than ever before.

4. More Engaging Sessions

Training in virtual medium can be highly engaging for the students. Using the powerful features of multimedia, online courses can deliver training through video-based courses. Through videos, you can participate in a face-to-face interaction with the lecturer.Apart from this, you can use PowerPoint slides for illustration. With the help of video streaming technologies, students can watch the videos through freeware or plug-ins.

5. Backup and Verification

Through virtual classroom, keeping a track of your students' grades and class performances becomes easier. Through online tools, regular and updated reports of the students' performance are easily stored in the database for future use. Accessing the database, students can check the past grades as well as upcoming lectures and tests for easy reference.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Techniques for Overcoming Test-Anxiety

The California Subject Examinations for Teachers, or CSET exams, are taken by thousands of credential candidates every year. Many embark on a CSET test prep program, but one component that is often missing from their CSET test prep plan is an effective strategy for dealing with test anxiety.

Whether you are a prospective elementary school teacher taking the CSET Multiple Subjects exam or a single subject credential candidate planning to teach high school, passing the CSET is critical to your career. The stakes are quite high, and you want to perform well on the test, so it's completely natural to feel nervous on exam day, or even during the days of test preparation leading up to the exam.

The problem is that excess anxiety can actually impair your performance. According to a study performed at the College of Charleston, test-takers with higher levels of test anxiety performed worse than those with lower levels of anxiety, at least on certain types of assessments.

Test anxiety can rob us of our focus and fill our minds with distracting thoughts, and this seems to interfere most with our ability to perform complex tasks. An anxious test-taker may be able to answer the question "What is 2+2?" just as easily as a calm test-taker, but may not be able to answer a more in-depth question that requires careful attention and greater mental calculation. Unfortunately for anxious test takers, the questions on the CSET tend to be more of the complex variety. That is why it is important to have your anxiety under control on test day.

The good news is test-anxiety is something you have the ability to manage, and managing it effectively can have a huge benefit. Below are three good strategies for dealing with CSET test-anxiety.

Technique #1: Be Prepared

It's no secret that the more prepared you are, the more confident you will be. A good CSET test prep program, be it a prep class, private tutor, or online preparation program, should teach you the content and strategies you need to pass, and knowing you are truly ready for the test will usually bolster your confidence greatly and help to assuage test anxiety. But your CSET test preparation shouldn't stop there. You should also prepare for the environment in which you'll take the test, and the potential stressors you will encounter there.

A professional football team, for example, doesn't practice solely by running drills. The team will usually also engage in scrimmages in which they can practice playing in an environment that is more like the one that will be encountered in the actual game. This allows them to prepare for challenges like managing the clock and reacting to tough opponents. As part of your CSET test prep, you should do the same thing. When you take a CSET practice test, take it under conditions that closely replicate those you'll face on the real exam. If you plan to take three subtests in one sitting, practice taking all three subtests in one sitting, so you will be ready for the effects that fatigue may have on your performance. Set a timer and take your CSET practice test in the same amount of time you'll have on the real exam, so you can get used to working at an appropriate pace. If you're planning to take the computer-based test, take your practice test on a computer, so you're familiar with the feel of reading questions onscreen instead of on paper. The more variables you can get used to in practice, the less those factors will distract or intimidate you when you face them in the game, and that means less anxiety. On test day, you'll be able to say to yourself: "I don't need to worry about this; I've already done it before."

Technique #2: Get Rid of Excess Energy

Fear is part of our natural defense mechanism; it causes a surge of adrenaline that readies our body and mind to take protective action. We're suddenly filled with the energy we need to sprint away or to fight off an attacker, and these reactions stem from ancient times, when our ancestors often faced true physical threats like being attacked by wild animals or a neighboring tribe. But the fear one may feel when taking the CSET requires little, if any, physical response. So we're left with clammy hands, a racing heart, and jittery nerves that serve to do little more than distract us from the task at hand.

One great way to calm yourself and release some of this excess energy is exercise. If you wake up feeling nervous on CSET test day, start the morning by taking a walk, a jog, or a swim. Work off a little bit of that excess energy, and in the process, you may release some endorphins that will allow you to enter the testing facility not only feeling calmer, but also feeling happier and more confident. Don't push yourself to the point of exhaustion though-you want to save some of your energy for the test.

You may also wish to practice some other physical techniques for deactivating your sympathetic nervous system (the part of your autonomic nervous system that is responsible for the "fight-or-flight response"). Such techniques may include taking slow, deep breaths from the bottom of your stomach or contracting and releasing each of your major muscle groups until you feel the tension start to dissipate.

Technique #3: Turn Negative Energy into Positive Energy

So you've taken a great CSET test prep program and learned everything you need to pass your particular exam. You've also released some of your excess physical energy through using the techniques described above. And yet, as you approach your testing location, you still feel a bit of anxiety coming on. Congratulations, you are a normal human being.

Some amount of anxiety is to be expected. Your body is releasing the energy it needs to prepare for a challenge. You may not be able to get rid of that energy entirely, and in fact, you may not want to. A little bit of extra energy may be exactly what you need to perform at your peak. But don't let that energy take the form of nervousness, fear, or self doubt. Instead, let it take the form of excitement. Excitement about taking the CSET? Yes, absolutely. You've put many long, hard hours into your CSET test prep; it's time to show off what you know and show this test who is boss. As you drive to your testing location, sing along with your favorite song-loudly. Give yourself a mental high-five for all the hard work you've put in, and for having the guts to pursue a career that truly makes a difference.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Romantic Relationship While In Graduate School

f you're planning on going to graduate school, one of your major concerns might be your relationship with a significant other. After all, attending graduate school often means that your relationship will be inconvenienced in many ways. Learning some of the problems students in romantic relationships often face during graduate school can help you take steps to preserve your own relationship. After all, if your romantic relationship is truly meant to be, you and your significant other should be able to make things work in spite of grad school.

One of the major problems that romantic relationships must endure when one or both parties are in graduate school is distance. Unlike four-year college programs, graduate degree programs in your chosen area of study may be spaced out across the country. It's quite possible that the program you hope to attend is far from home. Unfortunately, many relationships cannot withstand long-term separation. If your education is your top priority to make a better life for yourself, however, you are left with no option but to pursue grad school in another state.

How can you handle distance in a relationship? Staying in touch with loved ones is easier now than ever, due to technology such as Skype. During breaks and holidays, you may even be able to travel to visit your significant other. Trust and patience is key to making a long-distance relationship possible. Distance and separation is the true test of a relationship, and in some cases, it doesn't work out. You should be open to giving this a try, however, rather than sacrificing your graduate education for your relationship.

Another problem many students encounter during grad school is the demand on their time. As a graduate student, you will be pulled in many directions. In addition to your demanding coursework, you may have duties related to a teaching assistantship or other paid position at your graduate school. You may also be conducting a great deal of research independently, working day and night. It can be difficult to give a relationship the time and consideration that it deserves when you are pressed for time.

Making time for a relationship is up to you. Your significant other should understand the temporary demands that your education is placing on you. Similarly, you should be sensitive to the fact that it can be hard for your loved one to be satisfied in a relationship where he or she comes second to your schoolwork.

Finally, many students in grad school find that they change a lot during this time in their lives. Many find that they become less interested in a current boyfriend or girlfriend during their graduate studies. You will be learning and growing as an individual, meeting others in your graduate program who have a lot in common with you, and reevaluating what you are looking for in a potential partner.

It is important to accept that we all undergo changes. Don't look at this as a negative thing, but rather as a chance to find happiness. You should be honest at all times with your current partner if you find that you are losing your commitment to the relationship.