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Inside LU Online

Friday, February 20, 2015

How to write a great email to your professor

by Tess Stockslager

As the director of the Center for Writing and Languages, I’m passionate about helping students learn to write clearly and effectively no matter what they’re writing, including emails.  As an LUO instructor, I’ve received many clear and personable emails from students, but I’ve also received some that made me cringe.  From those two areas of experience, I give you this list of practices to keep in mind when emailing a professor.

  1. Spell his or her name correctly.  You can find this information in multiple locations in your Blackboard course.  Also, make sure you use the title the professor prefers.
  2. Get right to the point.  It’s fine to open with a chatty sentence or two—i.e., “I hope you’re having a good weekend!”  But you don’t need to tell your whole life story, and you definitely don’t need to apologize for bothering the professor.  If you’re asking a good question, then you’re not bothering him or her, so there’s no need to apologize.  If you think you might be asking a bad question, see #3 and #4.
  3. Search for information on Blackboard before you contact your professor.  I am always happy to help my students understand the course material better or clarify what I’m asking them to do.  But sometimes I get emails asking questions about information the students could have located in the syllabus or elsewhere on Blackboard.  Please try to locate the information yourself first, but if you can’t find it or don’t understand it, don’t be afraid to email your professor.
  4. Ask clear, specific questions.  I’m sure you want your professor to answer your question thoroughly in his or her first reply, so that you don’t have to email back for clarification and wait even longer for the reply you needed.  If you want a clear, specific answer, ask a clear, specific question.  Mention details like the assignment you’re asking about and what kind of problem you’re having (if any).
  5. Include a closing.  An email is less formal than a written letter, but it’s more formal than a text message.  Most email recipients still expect a greeting (“Dear Professor X”) and a closing.  The closing can be as simple as “Thanks” and your name.  It may not be necessary (after all, your name is in the recipient line), but it’s polite.

Just remember that in most cases, you won’t be able to meet your LUO instructors face to face, so unless you talk on the phone, your written communication is the only way they’ll be able to get to know you.  One of the best ways to make a good impression on your professors is to write emails that are polite, correctly spelled, and clear, and that sound like they were written by a real person—you!

Postedby Luis Lucchini at 2:46 PM | Permalink

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Top 5 Things You Need To Do to Stay Fit

by Jamie Swyers

If you’ve been to a gym recently, it’s no secret that the floor is a bit more crowded and the machines are harder to come by.  Losing weight and getting fit both remain in the top ten most commonly set New Year’s resolutions.  While many resolutions rarely last, a new year is a great time to reevaluate where you are and what you want to accomplish.   In the forefront of the mind of a Christian is that we are stewards of all that God has blessed us with, including our bodies. Romans 12:1 says, “I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship.” But how can you keep that resolution you set after a winter of extra couch time from being a long forgotten January promise?

So as we enter 2015 here are my top five tips for getting and staying fit all year long.

1- Find What Works for You

There are hundreds of exercise routines and programs that promise to be the “magic bullets” to healthy body, but remember, the best exercise is the one you can stick with!  Don’t force yourself to run if you hate running and if you aren’t into working out in a gym, find an outdoor routine you’ll enjoy.  There are so many modes of exercise out there so it may take a few tries until you find something that works for you.  If you strive for consistency in whatever routine you follow, it will pay off.

2- Start Slow

 Don’t try to do everything at once; if you haven’t run since high school, starting off by signing up for a marathon is asking for an injury.  Take your time and remember, it’s not all or nothing and some is definitely better than none.  In the same way you wouldn’t give a second grader a three inch novel for their first book report, you shouldn’t set yourself up for failure by doing too much too soon.  Once you have developed sustainable exercise habits, you can build up the duration, frequency, or intensity of your program.

3- Set Goals

Set realistic but challenging goals and write them down.  You’ll want to make sure your goals are very specific and measureable so you can easily see when they are achieved.   Make sure you include a time frame to keep you focused.  For example, “I want to get in shape” is not a great goal, however, “I want to be able to be able to complete a Turkey Trot 5k in November 2015” is.

4- Tap into the Power of Accountability

I cannot stress enough the importance of community.  Working with a qualified fitness professional or registered dietician is a wonderful decision if you have that opportunity, but even the support of a friend or spouse can increase the likelihood of you sticking with a routine when you encounter difficulties.

5- Rely on the Lord

Pray for God to give you strength to care for his temple and to use the journey to help you grow spiritually.  Challenges and difficult situations often facilitate the most personal growth, so it’s clear that God has so much to teach us through the process of changing old habits. 

By considering these five tips you can start on an enjoyable and sustainable fitness journey.  Remember, it’s not a 6 week challenge or a 12 week plan- it’s every day, taking small steps to take care of the body God has blessed you with.  So, what do you find that works for you? What goals will you be setting for yourself? Use #Fit15 to talk to us on Liberty Landing!

Jamie Swyers is a contributor for Inside LU Online. She is the Associate Director of Fitness at the LaHaye Recreation and Fitness Center at Liberty University.  She is passionate about holistic wellness and a balanced approach to health; spiritually, mentally and physically.

Postedby Luis Lucchini at 1:01 PM | Permalink

Friday, January 9, 2015

10 habits to start in 2015


It's that time of the year again.  In another week we will be watching the ball drop and a new year will break the dawn.  How has the past year been for you?  Has it held lots of surprises or been rather quiet?  Has it meet your expectations or been a tough year?  I know for me, it's been a little bit of everything - Highs and Lows. 


So what will 2015 look like for you?  What goals, dreams and hopes are waiting just on the other side of January 1st?  What kind of habits do you hope to break? What habits do you hope to start?


I asked our Online Communities staff this very question - "What are 10 good habits to start in 2015?" - and here is the list we came up with:


  1. Drinking more water (not tea, soda, or lemonade - just water)
  2. Give more random compliments
  3. Have your neighbors over for a meal
  4. Read a portion of your Bible every morning.  1-2 verses a day is a good start. 
  5. Praise your spouse every day.  Privately and publically.
  1. Set aside time every day to read
  2. Walk at least 10,000 steps every day
  3. Extend your quiet time by 10 minutes
  1. Read through the Bible with your spouse
  2. Be intentional in prayer


So now it's your turn.  What suggestions do you have? What habits are important for you to cultivate in this new year.  You can leave your thoughts on Liberty Landing, using #2015habits!


Postedby Luis Lucchini at 4:21 PM | Permalink

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Fail Proofing Your New Year's Resolutions

It's hard to believe that the New Year is here.  I hope that as you look back on the past year that you have seen God's hand through it all helping you through the joys and the trials. 


As we look to the new year what are your hopes and dreams? What things do you want to accomplish?  What resolutions will you make? Is God calling you to head into new territory this year or challenging you to develop new habits?  Maybe in your health, your relationships or your schooling? 


Many of us make New Year's Resolutions but do not always succeed in fulfilling them. 


So how do we fail proof our resolutions from falling apart before the first week of the new year is over? Here are three tips to making your New Year's Resolutions a success. 


  1. Is it the right resolution? - Often we jump right into a commitment to change without really taking the time to ask if it's the right one.  I challenge you to take your "resolutions" to the Lord in prayer and ask Him what change He wants to affect in your life this year.
  2. Focus on one resolution at a time - If you are tackling more than one resolution this year remember that it is not a race but a marathon.  Baby steps are important and help to cause lasting change.
  3. Find an accountability partner - Tell someone else about your resolution.  Allow them to hold you accountable and to ask the hard questions.  Let yourself be challenged and encouraged, so that on the tough days you can keep going.


In it all remember Proverbs 16:9 "We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps."


What suggestions do you have for Fail Proofing Your New Year's Resolutions? Share with us in the comments.



Postedby Luis Lucchini at 2:23 PM | Permalink

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Office of Military Affairs

By Victoria Mininger, writer for Online Communities.

This week, on our Discover Blog, we are focusing on the Office of Military Affairs.  Last week I sat down with Emily Foutz, director of the Office of Military Affairs, to find out how her department works to support our student service men and women.

"Liberty University has a long history of supporting student veterans. Before most schools thought it was necessary to support military students, Liberty University created the Office of Military Affairs to guide students on the issues facing service members and veterans."

The Office of Military Affairs supports military students in the following ways:

  1. Counseling on military benefits and processes
  2. Serving as a liaison with military and veteran organizations to initiate benefits
  3. Serving as the Point of Contact for the unique needs of military students, such as exceptions to policy in light of military duty and deployments.
  4. Offering website services
  5. Providing social media and online connection:
    1. Facebook:
    2. Twitter:
    3. Instagram:
  6. Institute for Military Resilience Blog
  7. Coordinating Military Appreciation Days through Online Communities.
  8. Participation in Liberty Landing (University social media through Facebook)
  9. Holding military outreach events throughout the year, including Military Emphasis Week

This week on campus, Liberty University is hosting its annual Military Emphasis Week (November 3-8).  There are many activities planned to honor and recognize our service men and women, both past and present.  To read more about what is planned for this military emphasis week you can find the details here.

We hope you will join us for a live streaming of Wednesday's Convocation, when special guest Oliver North comes to speak to the students and staff of Liberty University.

We appreciate the sacrifice and dedication our men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces give to ensure the freedoms that we enjoy each and every day.  I encourage you to take a moment to show your appreciation in some way to these brave men and women who put their lives on the line every day for our freedom.

Postedby Luis Lucchini at 11:11 AM | Permalink

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