Education for Everyone Everywhere

Archive for the ‘Students’ Category

Quieting the Mind

“Education for Everyone Everywhere”

The slogan sits beneath the Horizons University banner on our official website, proclaiming the idea that education should be available for everyone, anywhere in the world. While of course Horizons University offers on-campus learning, we’re able to bring the classroom anywhere and everywhere through our online programs. The classroom is wherever the student wants it to be. Whether it’s the living room sofa, the corner table in the local coffee shop, the public library, or the aisle seat on a flight to Boston, online education releases the student from a regimented schedule and allows them to study at their own pace, in their environment of choice.

But, as much as we don’t want to admit it, this freedom comes with the burden of responsibility and self discipline.

Centering the mind and quieting the mind to focus in a non-traditional work environment takes time and practice. Working from home or completing a degree online has wonderful perks, but it’s important to stay organized and to stay aware of our time and space in order to stay creative and productive.

Here are some helpful tips to quiet our minds and decrease distraction when working:

  1. Meditate: Daily meditation may seem like it belongs in yoga class instead of the office, but meditation can be done by anyone, anywhere, at anytime. Take a break during the day to recollect. It could be in the morning while your coffee is brewing, at lunch in the break room, at your desk or cubicle, or when you get home in the evening. Simply close your eyes and breathe. Meditation isn’t about trying to block your thoughts. The human brain will continue to think and process and worry no matter how hard you try to silence it. The point of meditation is to acknowledge these thoughts and gently move back to a central, calm, focal point. Meditating for 10 minutes before sitting down to write a paper or doing a project will allow your mind to focus more clearly on the task at hand.
  2. Clear Your Schedule: Clearing your schedule doesn’t necessarily mean canceling plans with friends or missing your favorite TV show because you’re stuck in the library studying. It’s important to balance studying or working with personal time for yourself, however when it is time to buckle down and write, make sure there is nothing hanging over your head. For example, before sitting down to write or begin your work for the day, make sure the bills are paid, the cat is fed, and the laundry is done. It’s incredibly difficult to focus wholly on a project when you are distracted by chores or other tasks you need to accomplish. If possible, set a time during the day that is devoted entirely to your online work or study, then, try to get as many chores accomplished beforehand so distractions are minimized. Hide your phone in the pantry, plug in your headphones, keep a snack next to your computer, and get to work.
  3. Find Your Ideal Environment: Some people can design, read, write, create, blog, edit, etc. while seated at a tiny table in a loud, bustling cafe. In fact, this may be the only environment they are able to work effectively in, or at least the environment in which they’re the most creative and focused. Others couldn’t read and comprehend a sentence amongst the music and clanking of coffee cups. While most of us think we know our ideal study environment, it’s important to think critically about how productive we’re being in the different places we choose to work. Ask yourself, “Do I get more work done at my kitchen table? Or at the library?” “Does the bookstore or cafe bring me much needed inspiration for my writing? Or is it ultimately a distraction?” Take time to find your space.

Comment below to share your personal study habits. What works well for you? How do you quiet your mind and focus?

1470014_10205459422952122_2579698686996698459_n

Advertisements

Useful Tips for Online Learners

USEFUL TIPS

That’s it, you are enrolled and ready to embark on a new learning journey! This one will be slightly different from your previous experiences: you are now an online learner, with a mouse at your fingertips and a course on a remonte server at your virtual door. What we encourage you to do today is to embrace your online enrollment as a brand new opportunity to grow your skills and personality.

To help you on your way, we have a few tips to share based on our experience and our students’ valuable feedback over the years:

Tip #1: Cover the tech basics

First things first: to ensure that you can study whenever you want and access your courses smoothly, you have to be able to rely on your hardware and internet connection. Sure enough, there will be times when the provider will be down, times for LMS upgrades etc. But aside from the occasional glitch, upgrades and maintenance periods are announced in advance in order to  help you work around them. Do invest in an external hard drive if you can and – in any case – regularly back up your work in order to prevent dramatic computer crashes and data loss. You may also want to set up a GoogleDrive or Dropbox account: they are free (check out Dropbox plans for added storage capacity) and easy to set up in just a few steps.

Tip #2: Define your study space (and let others know)

At a time when multitasking is all the rage – not to mention the “I-am-busy” syndrome – it is capital that when you sit down to study, you fully ease yourself into the task. One way to achieve this is related to setting up your study area in a way that allows you to sit down and work whenever needed and with no outer/inner distractions. The size of the area is not important in this case: quality is what matters since it should be a quiet space, dedicated to your activity only and accessible to you only during your study time. Defining your study space also means ensuring that your entourage understands your academic project and respects it. As a former freelancer, I have mixed feelings and memories about having to remind family and friends that you are actually working, even if you are around and seem to be available for any type of questions!

Tip #3: Plan your studies

In a way planning your studies time wise is part of defining your study space too and is every bit as crucial as your study corner. Aside from the multiple calendars you can set up on any type of device, including your computer, Horizons University provides you with a Study Plan. You are invited to fill your Study Plan upstream under the guidance of your facilitator and Student Premier to make sure you set achievable and actionable goals. To reach those goals is the key to your structured progression and I suggest you read our goal-oriented post (and cheat sheet!) to find out how to set that up.

Tip #4: Get familiar with the rules

Studying online requires structure and motivation as well as the skills to learn the policies and rules that will make it easier for you to access your LMS, understand how it works and establish efficient communication channels with our staff and your student community. When starting your program with Horizons University you will first go through the introduction courses: these self-paced online courses are meant to help you get familiar with our LMS but also our policies, such as plagiarism and academic honesty. In the end, you start the program fully aware of your environment, both technical and intellectual, which we believe is a significant asset!

Tip #5: Engage!

The term “motivation” appears higher up in this post – and is a key term when you are studying online. Feeling isolated in the midst of tons of conversations and social media exchanges – as paradoxical as it may sound – is common nowadays. We do encourage you to join us throughout social media channels, but also and above all to turn to your Student Premier whenever you have questions about your learning experience; or to your facilitator for curriculum content related queries; or to the Administrative Officer for administrative questions. Horizons University students are part of a community of professionals. There is the social community out there, but it is also backed up by experts who know your profile, academic history prior to Horizons University and at our institution. They are here to listen to you and provide customized assistance wherever and whenever needed.

What other tips would you like to share with your fellow students or our prospects? What makes online studies easy or difficult for you? What could we implement to make your online learning process smoother?

Credits: DeathToTheStockPhoto (edited by Horizons University)

5 Top Tips for Your Next Job Interview

Job Interview Tips

Now that you have sent your resume and cover letter out and that you have been receiving requests for interviews, it is time to up your game and think about the next step, the ever important face-to-face meeting. Research says that recruiters make their mind during the very first 20 minutes of your job interview and even that the first 90 seconds are crucial, so there is little time to make the strongest (and best) impression! In order to get you started and help you on the way to success, we share with you 5 essential tips that should make you feel more at ease with the challenge ahead – while putting you in the position of a winner!

TIP #1: Nail that first impression

The first impression is a visual one, as simple as that, with 65% of hiring professional considering that clothing can be a decisive factor between two candidates. The recruiter is going to see you and what he/she is going to see needs to be positive. Taste is a very personal matter, but when applying for a job, it might be advisable to steer clear of excessive clothing, make-up and attitude in general. We would suggest you dressed as a professional: simply and efficiently, with no frills susceptible of distracting your contact. Show that you know what matters and you like going to the point. This does not mean that you should avoid putting your personality out there: you may express it via a touch of color, or a subtle pattern, for example. Who would have thought fashion to rank so high in the list?

TIP #2: Body Language is the Key

There’s the outside look and…your body language. While it may not be the most important aspect of your interview, it is one that draws attention from the beginning of your interview. Do show a steady gaze, make eye contact, shake hands firmly (without overdoing it) and avoid being fidgety (leave your hair and face alone). This will ensure that your contact stays focused and – you too.

TIP #3: Prepare, prepare, prepare

Show your recruiter that you are genuinely interested in him/her, the company and its activity sector. Do use LinkedIn to get to know their environment and research the company on the Internet and read as much as possible about it. You may also join related groups on LinkedIn and Facebook and a bit of benchmarking to try and understand who the competitors are and where the differences lie may be a good idea. A good level of preparation and understanding will  help you move to asking the right questions – which is probably even more important than providing good answers. You will be able to show your critical thinking skills and fluid intelligence.

On a more practical note, do remember to pack more than one pen, a notebook, several copies of your resume and any additional document that will support your achievements and profile.

TIP #4: Open Attitude

Take advantage of your interview to show that you have an open attitude: listen carefully, react accordingly and show that you are interested and adaptable, willing to learn and share. Your recruiter needs to understand that you are someone his/her team will enjoy working with.

TIP #5: Take Responsibility

Instead of listing your strong points, weaknesses and tasks as if they were a mere checklist (although we do love a good old checklist at Horizons University), take some distance and include your tasks and achievements in a more holistic and analytical presentation. For example, one of your weak points may be just the perfect opportunity to improve: how? What are you doing to grow? What project have you taken on? Your tasks and studies may also be presented in a dynamic, development oriented way instead of being a mere bullet pointed list: in what way the choice of you studies/the tasks you have performed at work as an employee or an intern in the past show that you know how to take responsibility and grow?

The tips above are meant as the starting point of your brainstorming and preparation and we do hope you will find them helpful and efficient. The interview, regardless of the job you are applying for, is a great opportunity to show a complete picture of who you were, are and will be: potential is your ally!

Are there any other tips you would like to share with us? What would would be your piece of advice to candidates?

P.S.: If you like this post, sign up to enjoy the HorizoNews newsletter. Each month, receive the issues packed with the latest news and tips straight to your inbox!

 

Credits: Canva edited by Horizons University

Horizons University on Youtube

YouTube channel

Videos are the go-to solution for an ever increasing amount of brands, businesses and schools. They are a great tool to foster engagement and show what happens behind-the-scenes in a lively way. In 2014 alone, Facebook averaged over a billion video views per day, not to mention that “in just one year, the number of video posts per person has increased 75% globally and 94% in the US.”

Videos have become a creative way to reach out to audiences around the world. Horizons University has followed the trend with great enthusiasm in order to keep in touch and reach out to its students from all over the world. When you think about it, how could it be otherwise when we offer an MFA in Filmmaking?!

Our dedicated video channel features a series of presentations ranging from the uniqueness of studies at Horizons University and our accreditations to testimonials from our online and on-campus students, giving you an overview of the institution, its stakeholders and their experience with us.

Come and find out about Horizons University in action thanks to our YouTube channel and do not hesitate to let us know should you wish us to focus our video on a given topic!

Credits: Horizons University

Une stagiaire à Paris…

download1

En tant qu’étudiante en 3e année de LEA anglais-espagnol à la fac de Nancy, j’ai dû faire un stage en entreprise pour valider ma licence. L’année précédente (2013-2014) je n’ai validé que mon premier semestre donc j’ai dû repiquer mais seulement pour le S6, c’est ce qu’on appelle être AJAC (Ajourné mais Autorisé à Continuer). Cette année j’étais donc en simili vacances durant le S5 puisque je n’avais pas cours du tout, j’en ai alors profité pour commencer mes recherches de stage car, quoiqu’on en dise, le temps file à toute allure et on se retrouve en juin sans même l’avoir vu passer…

Trouver un stage ce n’est pas si facile, il vaut mieux éviter de faire la fine bouche, mais il ne faut pas non plus sauter sur le premier stage s’il ne vous plaît pas : essayez de trouver un équilibre. Je me suis inscrite sur différents sites d’offres de stages ou d’emplois (Indeed, Vivastreet, Adzuna…), j’ai recherché sur le site l’Etudiant et j’ai contacté diverses entreprises dans lesquelles les anciens étudiants de LEA avaient fait leurs stages : ne lésinez surtout pas sur le nombre d’entreprises auxquelles vous envoyez vos candidatures !

J’avais quelques réponses mais pour être franche rien ne m’inspirait vraiment… j’ai même passé un entretien mais j’en suis ressortie dubitative. Puis, un beau jour, je suis tombée sur une petite annonce de Vivastreet : Horizons University recherchait un / une stagiaire en traduction pour trois mois. C’était exactement ce que je voulais mais, petit bémol : c’était sur Paris. Je me suis dit « Allez, tente ! », et je me suis lancée. Ça a été plutôt rapide : j’ai eu une réponse, on a convenu d’un rendez-vous et comme vous vous en doutez j’ai eu le poste !

Le logement… vous vous demandez sûrement comment j’ai fait… et bien c’est tout simple : j’ai eu la chance d’être hébergée car j’ai des contacts sur Paris, mais si vous ne connaissez personne dans la capitale, faites passer des annonces sur Facebook, Twitter… ou demandez à vos contacts, sait-on jamais ! Et puis changer d’air ça ne fait pas de mal, ça vous permet de faire des découvertes, de vous instruire, de voir du pays, de connaître autre chose et de vous faire une expérience en plus (sur un CV, ce n’est jamais de trop !).

J’étais vraiment contente d’avoir trouvé ce stage et surtout d’avoir été prise mais il y a toujours le stress qui vous taraude lorsque vous allez vers l’inconnu… malgré cela, tout s’est très bien passé le jour de mon arrivée : l’équipe m’a super bien accueillie et intégrée. Quand c’est comme ça, il n’y absolument rien à redire. J’ai direct été mise dans le bain car j’ai eu à traduire une brochure de cours dès le premier jour. Rassurez-vous je n’ai pas traduit que des brochures ! Il y a eu aussi des syllabus, des articles pour la Newsletter et le blog, des parties du Yearbook et du site de Horizons University, et des formulaires. C’était plus ou moins dur, tout dépendait du contenu, et puis ma tutrice relisait mes traductions pour y apporter des corrections ou autres : vous voyez j’étais bien aidée !

En général, pour mes traductions je me servais de mon dictionnaire papier le Robert & Collins français-anglais / anglais-français, ou des dictionnaires en ligne tels que Larousse, Wordreference, Linguee… Je n’ai pas fait de glossaire car je n’en ai pas ressenti le besoin, mais pour certaines personnes c’est indispensable alors n’hésitez pas à en faire un.

Le stage met fin à la licence, il est donc noté et pour ce faire la fac demande un rapport papier à rendre accompagné d’une soutenance orale. Pour ma part, c’est cette partie là qui a été la plus stressante… Rassembler toutes les informations nécessaires, la rédaction, la mise en page, le nombre de pages à faire, la relecture, l’impression, la mise en forme et surtout, surtout, l’envoi ! Et oui, avoir un délai ce n’est pas toujours amusant car le stress, la pression… tout ça se mêle ! Mais quand tout est bouclé, quel soulagement ! (conseils pour l’envoi : bien se renseigner sur la date de remise du rapport, les modalités de remise – combine d’exemplaires, papier / digital, combien de jours à l’avance, quel type d’envoi (suivi / AR etc.)).

Mon stage en tant que traductrice chez Horizons University m’a vraiment beaucoup apporté, aussi bien sur le plan professionnel que personnel, mes missions m’ont réellement plu et l’équipe a été et est vraiment super. Je vous conseille vivement d’y postuler, vous ne perdrez pas votre temps et vous partirez ravis !

Par Mathilde Marie-Jeanne

Organization is your best friend

ORGANIZATION

Have you ever had the impression of working a lot but never reaching your objectives in the end? When faced with a task, do you tell yourself you do not know where to start – not to mention when?

Today we are sharing with you a few practical tips that should help you see clearly and get organized in order to knock down walls and tasks!

Tip #1: Clear your head and space

We do hear a lot about Spring cleaning and since we are in the season on this side of the planet, it might be time to do so in your head and…on your desk. If ideas and tasks keep piling up, some light clearing should help you spot priorities, postpone what’s not on the agenda and identify actual, imminent tasks in need of your full attention. Sometimes, taking a step back can help see the big picture: get up and take a walk, go to a museum, see a movie and shift the focus of your brain on a different topic, at a different pace. Rest and hobbies will help you take a step back so that when you get down to work, you start with fresh ideas and a bright mind full of positivity and reborn motivation. Fatigue is one fierce enemy! On the practical side, clearing your room or working space is the next step: sorting papers out, stationary, invoices, notebooks – and even doing some actual cleaning etc. is the way to go so that once you get down to work you know where to find your preferred and most useful working tools.

Tip #2: Take out your agenda

Time is of essence when writing a paper, preparing for a class or submitting your assignment. If time management is not your strongest asset, there are many tools out there to help you, starting with the good old agenda. We would suggest starting from the end of the process by writing down all the deadlines for due assignments, tests, oral presentations etc. Weekly planners may also be useful if you prefer to view a whole week worth of schedules. We are mentioning the paper-based agenda because the fact of writing down by hand each and every deadline will help you memorize and grasp the full scope of your planning. Should you prefer to use an app, try giving a go at tools such as Tasks, iCal, Sunrise, for example. Once the deadlines are in, you can move on to the assessment of your study and preparation time.

Tip #3: Know thyself

To assess how long it will take you to perform a given task in any given topic, you need to know how fast/slow you usually progress. Should you have trouble assessing your progression and learning skills, it might well be an idea to ask your fellow students, colleagues, family members for help. Be prepared to have some honest feedback help you along the way and to acknowledge honestly what your strong/weak points are. If maths are not your cup of tea, do plan more working sessions, or just more intensive ones, in this specific area!

Tip #4: Keep your focus

Distractions come in every shape nowadays – the Internet being one of them, along with the TV, radio and so forth. Try disconnecting from the Internet during some of your working hours. Keep social networks shut, disconnect your phone line, turn your mobile off if you tend to get distracted easily. One tool you may enjoy at the end of the day – if you work on a computer – is RescueTime: this time management tool provides you feedback on how long you have spent on every task during your computer-based work. By doing so, it helps you spot areas with lack of productivity and turn them into pools of productivity instead!

Tip #5: Multitasking or no Multitasking

This one might well go hand in hand with tip #4 if you tend to scatter your energy and loose yourself in a whirlwind of ideas and projects (which is very positive in essence, mind you!). Streamlining your working process might be what you are looking for: when you start planning or working on a task, finish it. This will be your specific goal, no other. Once that task is done, cross it out in your agenda (!), reap the sweet fruit of satisfaction and move on to the next one (ok, after a little break if you want!). The visual process of striking out accomplished tasks is rewarding and helpful in assessing your progression. Jumping from one idea and action to the other is extremely time-consuming and ends up being frustrating because at the end of the day, not one task will be accomplished.

We hope these simple yet strategic steps will help you find your way and reach your goals! What other tips would you suggest we added? What works best for you? Let us hear about your success stories!

Why Student Surveys?

Snapwiresnaps Surveys

To conduct student surveys, we could theoretically ask a question in class and ask our students to raise their hand to answer – and then start counting. This would probably leave out a big chunk of our students though, meaning our online students. We do agree at this point that technology can only help us reach higher, faster.

Horizons University has actually been relying for years now on online and paper-based surveys combined to investigate in all fields and contexts: informal surveys, feedback surveys, pre-acceptance assessments, outbound surveys and so forth depending on the context and strategy. The names may vary, but the willingness to gather, analyze and enact through swift decision-making remains intact. But why, one could argue, conducting multiple surveys, so frequently?

The aim is to obtain the full picture and evolution of the organic development of a given situation or context, not a one-shot view. The latter may work if you aim for a short-term objective, but the world of education is constantly evolving, making focusing on long-term objectives a must. For example : our inbound survey helps us understand what students know before taking a course or a program, thus assisting us in tailoring our offer to them: this is what our DBA foundation seminars are about since they cover common topics that can be tailored to the specific need of a DBA student to help him/her succeed during the program. Our outbound survey helps us assess how they have progressed, thus unveiling a given program strong and weak points, efficiency and consistency as well as the student’s capacity to evolve. By asking students directly, we build a rich and reliable network of results, valuable data that shows us which way to go – or not to go – and how to better understand the need and specificities of our students.

If we look closer at our surveys, they show us that not only we can grow thanks to them, but ultimately, our students too: the questions we ask them are one additional educations means that will help them understand how they learn and why, empowering them to make the right choices, changes and decisions.

What type of surveys do you conduct as part of your QA process? Do you allow third party surveys? If so, have you defined a legal framework for them? We look forward to hearing from you and learning from your experience!

Credits: Snapwiresnaps (edited)