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Inside LU Online

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 | Comments (0) | Permalink

Friday, November 7, 2014

Forming an Online Study Group

The old adage goes “two heads are better than one” and it applies in online learning too! If you are struggling with content, talking to your online classmates, just like you would in a traditional setting, may provide you with the additional brain power, perspective, and resources to get ahead. A study group is not there to complete your homework for you, however it is used to tap into your combined understanding of the learning material and help you exercise what you have learned by sharing with others.

1. Identify students who would like to participate

Starting a study group is as easy as reaching out to the other student’s in the class. You can start with a discussion post in the Collaboration and Communities Center of your class or reaching out through email. Put out there that you would like to form a study group. State your objective or reason why: to help each other, to improve your grades, to seek support from other students, or even to just connect. Provide an idea of how you want to structure it: weekly online discussions, phone calls, emails, posting and sharing information, or just casual conversation about the topics. Be prepared to be the leader: this is your idea so don’t be surprised if you are seen as the group leader.

2. Let your teacher know about the study group

By letting them know, you can offer to let them in on your discussions. This will allow them the opportunity to chime in if the group starts to get off topic, or if clarification is needed. Also, it may help them see any areas where the curriculum needs additional explanation. If you have organized your study group so that all of the questions are sent to the professor via the group leader, then they will be aware that the questions represent a larger population of the class.

3. Set up a study schedule—and stick to it

Study groups come in all shapes and sizes, but remember, once a commitment is made it should be honored. If your assignment is due Sunday and you have all agreed to provide research resources by Wednesday, don’t post your work late! And if you are going to be late, send an email to the group explaining why and give a time line for them to expect your portion to be done. If you have committed to answering each other’s emails within 24 hours, stick to that commitment.

4. Be Kind

If your study group decides to share their work for review before submitting it, they should also agree to adhere to the Liberty Way and the student conduct code. This means that disagreements should be handled with courtesy, there should be no name-calling, and any criticism should be done in a professional but kind manner. In order to learn from one another there must be trust within the group. Any abuse of the work or the individual could erode group trust and result in less sharing and no learning.

5. Prepare to learn!

Research has shown that students who learn material under the pretext of having to present or teach later retain the information better than those who are only being tested on the material. Given this, the group could take a complicated concept, break it down into more manageable chunks, and each individual work to master their portion of the material. Coming back together and sharing what they have individually learned not only provides that teaching opportunity, but helps others build confidence in their comprehension and mastery of the material. 

Studying online does not mean translate to studying alone. Look around your virtual classroom and know that the best help may come from a classmate “seated” right next to you! Be open and communicative about your desire to study together and you will find many others who desire the same!

Leslee Gensinger

Leslee is the Director of Training and Quality Assurance for Liberty University Online. She has participated in several study groups while pursuing her Master of Arts in Management and Leadership. She has found that a common thread in needing to be in a study group is that no one wants to feel alone on the journey.

Postedby Luis Lucchini at 8:42 AM | Comments (0) | Permalink

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Writing Winning Discussion Board Responses

Now that you have written a winning Discussion Board, you get to respond to your classmates with a reply! This is how you interact with the other students in an online setting. It allows you to learn from one another and interact with the information. It is also designed to sharpen your critical thinking and communication skills.

Actually read the other posts—don’t just skim through each Discussion Board looking for something to reply to! Take your time, read each one until you find something that peaks your interest, something that challenges you, something that makes you stop and think. This is an important aspect of learning: making it interesting!

Read the instructions—just like with the original post, you need to make sure that you are following the guidelines posted by the instructor in the grading rubric! Use the rubric as a checklist for your reply too. This will help you maximize your grade.

Research!!!—yes, even a response requires a research! Start by looking at the sources that the original poster used. This will lead to related content in the online library, as well as cited content in the original article. Think of it as a breadcrumb trail back to the beginning. If you agree with the original poster, you will be able to see where their research came from. If you disagree, you will be able to see their perspective and where they found their facts.

It isn’t your story!—So many times responses are riddled with “I” statements—“I agree” or “I think.” Unless your instructor indicates otherwise, the first person should be avoided. This helps keep the tone of the paper professional and objective.

Stay on topic—once you have found a discussion board that you want to respond to, make sure that you keep your topic and your response on point. Typically you have fewer words to use for the response so use them wisely. There’s no need to restate facts from the original post and don’t rabbit trail off into the unrelated.

Mind your manners—do not bold, italicize, underline, or USE ALL CAPS in your response. While you would commonly use them to make emphasis, in this forum it would be the equivalent to raising your voice or pointing your finger at someone while talking to them. Remember, it is a discussion, so all sides of the argument should be represented. Doing it the right way is important as well as effective.

The discussion board response is the opportunity for the student to interact. Many times, for adult learners, the best education activity comes from simply talking to peers. Take each opportunity in your class to treat this like a conversation and you will find the value and importance of each interaction.

Leslee Gensinger is the Director of Training and Quality Assurance for Liberty University Online. She is on her way to finishing her Master of Arts in Management and Leadership. When she is not working on classwork, she enjoys listening to podcasts, researching training theory, and reading young adult fiction. 

Postedby Luis Lucchini at 10:27 AM | Comments (1) | Permalink

Friday, May 23, 2014

How to Write a Winning Discussion Board

by Leslee Gensinger

You wouldn’t just step into a kitchen to make a meal without a strategy or plan for that meal. The same goes for the Discussion Board assignment. Planning and organization is the key to getting the recipe right. If you’d like to go from good to great with your Discussion Board assignments, follow these few simple steps:

Read the instructions--It’s easy to fall into a mindset that you “know how” to write a Discussion Board and that you don’t need to look at the grading rubric. However, each class can have small variations that could have big impact on your assignment and grade. Use the rubric as a checklist when writing your post to make sure elements are covered. This includes the basics like formatting, grammar and punctuation, deadlines, and length.

Follow the recipe--Each weekly module assignment will have specific items that you should address in the Discussion Board. These parameters help you keep your research and reading from being too broad. The parameters also provide key words and phrases to help you in your search for strong references. If you stick to these topics, you won’t be sidetracked by the mountains of available research.

Use quality ingredients--Did you know that “wiki” stands for “what I know is…?” Wikipedia, while a great read, can be moderated by anyone who has access to the website. This is why we discourage this, and anything like it, as a resource. Instead use the Liberty University online library and other scholarly search engines to find journal articles and research written by authors whose credentials can be verified. This will ensure that your post is made up of the highest quality research available.

Cook for the whole family--Remember, while your discussion board post is a graded assignment for your class, it is also the course interaction for online students. It is the point where we get to “hear” each other’s voice, understand one another’s perspective, and learn from our peers. Make your post such that others will want to read and respond. Using different writing styles to address your audience will bring the information and research to life!

Save the leftovers--If in your research you found articles or information that you could not fit into your assignment, be sure to save it for future posts. This allows you to cut down on time spent with future research and allows you to build on your knowledge, refer back to what you have learned, and create a foundation for future success.

Discussion Board posts are the main course in online learning. They can make or break the learning that you get out of the class. Make sure that you invest in them, use them to develop your writing, critical thinking and analytical skills, and get the most out of your program. If you take the time to really learn from them and your classmates, all the rest is icing on the cake.


Leslee Gensinger is the Director of Training and Quality Assurance for Liberty University Online. In addition to working for LUO for the past 9 years, she is also working on completing her MA in Management and Leadership online with LU. She has learned, the hard way sometimes, that good quality work is rarely done at the last minute. 

Postedby Luis Lucchini at 11:36 AM | Comments (3) | Permalink

Saturday, May 17, 2014

British Isles Tour Day 4

Dublin and Glendalough

This will be another short and sweet one as we get ready to travel via ferry (more like a cruise ship rather than a ferry you traditionally think of) from Dublin and Wales, England.

The first through third pictures are of St. Patrick cathedral and a demonstration of how buttresses work with a few members of our group.  The fourth and fifth picture are of the beautiful and serene grounds at 10th century monastery, Glendalough.




Postedby Luis Lucchini at 7:05 PM | Comments (1) | Permalink

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