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Sunday, September 23, 2012

E-Learning: Three Tools College Students Can Utilize in Group Settings

Today I have Maria Rainier guest blogging. Please be sure to check out her unique guest post. Guest posts are always welcome, please contact me.
When I first started college, I felt incredibly nervous. For years, I had worked hard so I would be able to attend a prestigious university, but when I finally made my way to the ivory tower, I felt horribly inadequate. I constantly wondered if I would be able to handle all the challenges that college would throw at me; if I would meet a group of classmates I could successfully work with; and if I would know what technological tools to utilize when it came time to study for an exam.
To ease my worries, I decided to ask one of my favorite professors for advice. One day after class, I nervously approached my U.S. history teacher and asked if he had any tips on how to study for his fill-in-the-blank exam. Upon hearing my timid inquiry, his kind face lit up and he gently responded, "Why don't you form a study group? Students who study in groups usually tend to do better in my class."
I took my professor's advice to heart: I reached out to students in the class and formed a small study group. Collectively, we used a number of different e-learning tools to help us all prepare for all his difficult exams. In the years that followed, I learned that studying in groups with e-learning tools is perhaps the most efficient way to prepare for difficult exams. For those of you who commonly study in groups, here are three useful e-learning devices you can utilize to help you prepare for all those college exams.
YouTube Videos
Sometimes there will be questions that even a group of intelligent college students can't answer. I know there were many times my group members couldn't grasp a number of key concepts and difficult theories. Whenever we all reached our whit's end, however, we'd utilize the magic of YouTube videos, which are surprisingly helpful in both teaching and learning. Believe it or not, many professors and teachers utilize YouTube to distribute helpful videos and unique tutorials that curious students can watch and study for free. You might be skeptical about what you can truly learn from an Internet video, but if you don't believe me, why don't you test it out for yourself? You might be surprised what you find.
Google Docs
I've used Google Docs for many years and I've never grown tired of this amazing tool. Not only is Google Docs wonderful for sharing documents with other people, it's also great for using in group collaboration projects. Whenever I'd have an intensive college exam coming up, I'd ask my group members to upload their personal notes so I could combine them into one large group document that everyone could view and contribute to. Within this single document, we'd all insert questions, comments, concerns, messages, etc. that helped each other study more effectively. Studying group notes helps open our eyes to ideas and concepts we may individually overlooked that our other group members pick up on. It's also useful because it allows you to study independently as well.
Dropbox is similar to Google Docs, except it doesn't have group collaboration tools. Dropbox, however, allows you to send an array of varied document formats to fellow Dropbox users, including lecture recordings, PowerPoint presentations, high-resolution images, and a numerous other useful materials. The amount of data you're able to send along to other users varies across different price points, but truth be told, the free Dropbox space you receive is probably more than enough for what you'll need to send to your group members.
E-learning is an evolving tool that many college students are just getting a grasp on. If you're attempting to prepare for your exams in groups, try utilizing YouTube videos, Google Docs, and Dropbox to help you out.
Maria Rainier is a freelance blogger and writer for an online degrees blog. She is interested in all things concerned with higher education and is particularly passionate about technology in the classroom.

Please share your comments or questions with her.
Many thanks to Maria.
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