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WorldWide Wildcats Newsletter

Volume 7, Issue 4 

Celebrate National Distance Learning Week Nov. 10-14

NDLW logoNational Distance Learning Week is Nov. 10-14, 2014. Sponsored by the United States Distance Learning Association, the week increases awareness and appreciation for distance learning. Help us celebrate!

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Kansas State University Global Campus is celebrating National Distance Learning Week with the following activities.

Distance Learning Essay Contest

Currently enrolled distance students can submit a short essay (300-word maximum) with the subject line “Essay Contest” by 5 p.m. CST on Friday, Nov. 14, 2014. Essays should be emailed to global@k-state.edu. One winner will receive a $150 Varney's Bookstore gift card and will be featured in the distance student newsletter.

Essay Topic: At Kansas State University Global Campus, students can learn online, grow professionally and connect globally. What has K-State Global Campus meant to you?

Distance Learning Event Booth

Students who live near the K-State campus in Manhattan can stop by a booth in the K-State Student Union to learn more about online course options. The booth will be available to visit Wednesday, Nov. 12, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the first floor food court of the K-State Student Union.

Online Video Chat Event

Join K-State Global Campus student services staff for a video chat about online learning at K-State. Bring your questions about financial assistance and scholarships, degree programs, application requirements and more. The scheduled chat will be Thursday, Nov. 13, from 7 to 8 p.m. CST. Participation in the chat is limited. Please schedule your spot by contacting Maleah Lundeen at maleah@k-state.edu, or call toll free at 1-800-622-2578.

View a complete listing of events or participate in activities on the National Distance Learning Week website.

Staying Organized for Online Learning

JasonMasebergTomlinsonWritten by Jason Maseberg-Tomlinson, director of student and faculty services, K-State Global Campus

How many of you stop to think about all of the technology (hardware, software and Web tools) that you depend on each day? Here are some tips on how to stay organized as we study and work in online education and become immersed in the digital world.

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I direct the Student and Faculty Services office for K-State Global Campus and I am also a doctoral student. In addition to my computer, smartphone and tablet, I use a number of software tools to accomplish my daily tasks. I can quickly list off 14 digital tools that are essential elements in my day-to-day operations.  

Have you ever had a day that you forgot to check one of those pieces of technology for a task? Perhaps you forgot to check your email for an assignment update, or maybe you saved a file on a computer in a folder that was important only to forget which folder to open when you needed it. Thankfully, there are many resources that can help us stay organized.  

Here are a few:

Email: First and foremost, we should think about communication. Your faculty will email a great deal of information to your K-State account. Whether you log in on the K-State Home page (upper right corner), through Connect or through Webmail, check your K-State email. While you can forward your email to another account (Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo Mail), nothing is more dependable than our own Webmail system. When an email is forwarded, there is no guarantee that it will end up in the inbox of your other email account. However, it will end up in the inbox of your K-State account. We recommend using Webmail, or setting up Outlook on your computer to ensure optimal email use.  

Folders: Be sure to make use of folders so you don't let all your emails pile up in your inbox. That only makes it harder to find what you need. Once you are done with an email, put it into a folder for a specific course. If you need to respond to an email, do so and then file that email. If an email has a task that will take more time than you have available at the moment, you can always flag that message for follow-up and move on. Once done with that task, get it out of your inbox.

Calendar: Paired with our Webmail system is a calendar, which is not only great for setting up appointments, but you can also set up tasks as appointments. Perhaps you have a paper due on the 23rd. Set yourself a time to work on that paper and place it in your calendar as an appointment. That way, you schedule time to do your classwork! Using your calendar to accomplish tasks means that you can also set an appointment alert for when that task should be completed. I also use my calendar to set up reminders shortly before a task is due. If I have a paper due on the 23rd, I set up time a week in advance to write the paper. I also set up an alert at 5 p.m. on the 22nd just in case I forgot to finish something on that paper. Make your calendar your hub for all tasks. If you use a smartphone, you can also link up your K-State email and calendar so that alerts come through on your phone.

Evernote and OneNote: Many of us type up notes and store them on a computer, but do you have a simple system to sort, store and search your notes? There are two free programs to help you: Evernote and OneNote. In the Student and Faculty Services office, we have found that OneNote works very well for many of our tasks. This is a Microsoft product with a free app for iOS and Mac. You can learn about how to purchase Microsoft Office through the K-State Computer Store. I myself also use Evernote for work and school. I have been using this product for five years. With your free account, you can also install software on your computer or smartphone. Each of these resources lets you create a folder or notebook based on each class where you can then write a new document for each lecture. You can paste in graphics, type text and even add other files to your notes. Perhaps you also jot down notes in your notebook when you don't have your computer available. Not a problem. Take a picture or scan them in and add them to your notes. These programs will scan your notes for text and make them searchable as well. I have even found that they will successfully scan some handwritten documents and make them searchable!  

Find what works for YOU: No matter how you stay organized, make sure that you also know what mode is best for you. Some students learn best by writing notes with a pencil. Others can type their notes and remember materials. Don't feel that you have to use technology because it is available. Technology is a resource and if you struggle to stay organized with technology, there is always the paper planner. I know many technology professionals who depend on a paper planner and handwritten notes. You control technology; don't let it control you.

Just make sure that you write or type a task into your calendar daily to check Webmail and your courses. You can visit the Connect page and view all of your calendar entries for the day, link directly to each of your courses and also see what new emails have come in. Make it a habit and stay on top of your course work.  

I always enjoy hearing about other resources students are using. Please email me with your favorite tools for staying organized at jasontom@k-state.edu.

Military Student Spotlight: Sgt. Gus Wessels

Gus WesselsSgt. Gus Wessels, general business bachelor's degree student stationed at Fort Riley, Kansas, is using Kansas State University Global Campus to accomplish his educational dream.

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“I've always wanted to have an education,” Wessels said. “I joined the Army not necessarily knowing I would get one.”

After being stationed at Fort Riley, Wessels began exploring what K-State had to offer and came across the general business bachelor's completion program.

For Wessels, being considered a distance student seemed a bit of a stretch with Fort Riley being a nearby military installation to the university, until he really thought about his education.

“I've been stationed at Fort Riley for four years and I've been deployed two of those years,” Wessels said. “I've taken a majority of my classes in Afghanistan and in Iraq, and that's quite a distance if you ask me.” 

Being in a different country presents enough challenges for soldiers, but completing school work in a timely manner can be another challenge in itself. Wessels found that the instructors at K-State were very accommodating, even at odd hours.

“The professors were great,” he said. “They knew generally what time I would complete the assignments from getting my emails at three in the morning. They knew that I wasn't on the same time schedule and were very understanding.”

Wessels is completing his bachelor's degree through a 2+2 partnership, which allows students to complete an associate degree at a community college and finish up with a bachelor's degree through K-State distance education.

“The most rewarding part is just slowly finishing it,” Wessels said. “It's nice to know that the end result is going to be my bachelor's and eventually an MBA.” 

Help the K-State Book Network Select the Common Reading Book for 2015

KSBN logoThe K-State Book Network, or KSBN, the all-university reading program, selects a common book for the academic year and coordinates activities to correspond with the reading. You can participate in choosing the next book.

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The Book Selection Committee, comprised of students, staff, administrators and faculty, has spent the last six months reading books and has narrowed the list down to three finalists: The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown, I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai and Christina Lamb, and The Other Wes Moore by Wes Moore.

Boys in the boat book imageMalala book imageOther Wes Moore book image

K-State needs your help selecting the 2015 university common book. Visit the K-State Book Network website to read about the three finalists chosen for consideration and offer your feedback by Monday, Nov. 17.  

Distance Students Can Participate in Thrive Book Club

Lynda Spire portraitWritten by Lynda Spire, assistant dean, K-State Global Campus

Soon after coming to Kansas State University, one of First Lady Noel Schulz's first endeavors was to develop and lead an effort to create a structure and support system that provides a superlative environment for the growth and advancement of all K-State Women.

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Thrive book coverEach year, a number of events of interest to many women are scheduled. While most of the events are attended in person by those physically located on campus, this fall there is an opportunity for distance students to participate in a book club event.

The Women of K-State Steering Committee selected the book Thrive as a wonderful resource for those interested in improving their own well-being. They can read the book and view an interview related to Thrive.

This book, written by Arianna Huffington, co-founder and editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post Media Group, has become a favorite among women who are seeking a more balanced way of living. The premise of the book is that there is more to success than prestige and money and that these are of little value unless a person truly achieves a balance that lets them thrive in their personal lives. In the book, Huffington describes her personal wake-up call in the form of an accident that was related to exhaustion. She goes on to describe changes she has made and describes her newfound successes in terms that are more personal than professional achievements.

Watch the interview of Arianna Huffington by Sheryl Sandberg.

Graduating Distance Students Invited to On-Campus Celebration

Alumni Center buildingAll students who have applied for summer and fall graduation are invited to an on-campus reception to celebrate graduation. Students' families are also invited. The celebration will take place Friday, Dec. 12, at 4 p.m. at the Alumni Center, 1720 Alumni Center, Manhattan, Kansas.

Students who would like to attend may RSVP to lwidenor@k-state.edu.

A save-the-date email will also be sent.

#KStateGlobal Hashtag Question 

We love to hear from you! In each issue of WorldWide Wildcats, we'll post a question you can answer via social media. Include #KStateGlobal with your answer, and we'll display your results in the next issue.

Your highest response from the previous hashtag question, "What time of day do you usually study for classes," was: during the evenings after work. 

Here's this issue's hashtag question:

Global Campus social media icon

Q: Where in the world do you plan on celebrating when you graduate from K-State?

Post your answer on Twitter or Facebook.

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