Liberty Insider

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Liberty Insider

Friday, January 29, 2016

Overcoming the Online Education Stigma

by Dr. Emily Heady

Vice Provost, College of General Studies

Two years ago, U.S. News & World Report published an article called “Americans Doubt the Rigor and Quality of Online Education.” While the article acknowledged that most Americans recognized the convenience and cost-effectiveness of studying online, it emphasized the fact that roughly 25 percent of Americans believe online learning is inferior to in-class learning.

Often, when people compare in-class to online learning, they fail to realize how different the goals of the two environments are. In a traditional college experience, an 18-year-old moves away from home, lives in aresidence hallparticipates in social organizations and extracurricular activities, and — hopefully — chooses a major that leads to a productive career. Socialization and intellectual growth work hand-in-hand, contributing to the maturation of the student into an adult. However, in an online experience, the socialization aspects — while present — are vastly reduced, as every component of the educational experience is organized toward one end: teaching the student the material he or she needs to know.

Many of the negative stereotypes about online learning come from the belief that reducing the social aspects of college reduces the quality of education. While a campus experience can be intellectually stimulating and life-changing, so can online learning. 

A few facts about online learning:

  • Online programs are subject to the same standards as residential programs. Regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) applies to all of an institution's programs, which makes it Liberty’s responsibility to maintain the comparative quality of both online and residential classes.
  • While residential programs tend to represent a specific demographic, online classes have students of all ages, races, and geographical locations. The ability to study with a variety of people prepares students for diversity in the workplace. 
  • Online programs use creative teaching strategies involving technology, such as adaptive learning (delivering content piece by piece based on the student’s performance), or courses that increase student engagement. Multiple studies have proven that these strategies improve learning. 
  • Online programs often reflect real-world schedules. For most working adults, learning is rarely accomplished in a classroom; it happens on the job, via email exchange, or through self-directed study.
Postedby Rebecca Eller at 1:53 PM | Permalink

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Three S.M.A.R.T. Resolutions for Your New Year

by Zachary Woolard

New Year’s resolutions offer an opportunity for a fresh start, recommitted to our goals. However, often our resolve falls short, and we quickly slip back into old patterns. How can we break the cycle? Success is found when we make S.M.A.R.T. resolutions.

When deciding on a resolution, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Specific – What goal do I want to achieve? Why is it important to me?
  • Measurable – How will I see progress toward my goal? How will I know when I attain it?
  • Achievable – Is my goal within my reach? Am I setting realistic expectations for myself?
  • Results focused – How do my daily activities push me toward my desired outcome?
  • Time bound – When do I need to reach my goal? What deadline will create a sense of urgency?

Here are three starting points for your New Year’s resolution along with resources to support you as an online student. Remember to tailor these goals in a way that is both S.M.A.R.T. and meaningful to you.

1) Focus on Your Career

Students commonly pursue a certificate or degree in order to advance their careers. Liberty University provides many career-focused resources to our online students.

  • FOCUS 2 Career Assessment – Provides you with personalized career recommendations based on your interests, personality, skills, and values.
  • Résumé Critique – Gives feedback on how to improve your résumé as well as tailor it to a specific job opening.
  • Wynbi – Offers you a private network to explore career opportunities and network with other Liberty students and alumni. Wynbi helps you understand how your current abilities and experience align with hundreds of occupations and then suggests additional skills you may need to land your ideal job.

2) Connect with Your Fellow Students

With over 95,000 online students, Liberty University has a diverse yet tight-knit community. Our students enjoy the camaraderie and encouragement their fellow students offer.

  • Online Communities – Helps students feel connected through streaming video events, live chat, blogs, and social media.
  • Liberty Landing – Our private Facebook community connects students academically, personally, and spiritually through chat, photos, and friendly competitions. 

3) Find Support in Your Coursework

Reach out for extra help with difficult subjects. Whether you need assistance in math, writing, or study skills, we have professional tutors ready to help you succeed.

  • – Receive one-on-one tutoring in over 40 subject areas — available 24/7.
  • Online Writing Center – Helps you identify, understand, and improve your academic writing.
Postedby Rebecca Eller at 8:22 AM | Permalink

Monday, December 14, 2015

We’re Committed to Your Success

Need career advice? The Liberty University Career Center is available to provide expert guidance. Whether you’re still in school or you’ve been an alum for many years, the Career Center is an excellent resource. Here are a few tips:

  1. Your résumé is always growing. As you progress professionally, so does your résumé. Let us help you keep it updated through our résumé critique service and take advantage of our variety of sample résumés for reference.

  2. You never “arrive” professionally, so keep looking for opportunities to sharpen your skills and increase your network. Don't become complacent. Remember that the job market and economy are always moving, and your ability to grow is integral to your professional success. We can help you remain a polished professional. 

  3. Invest in future Liberty University talent. Don’t forget your roots at Liberty! The successful professional you are sure to become has been largely formed through your interactions with professors and peers while in school. When you have opportunities to hire candidates in the future, we hope that you will remember your alma mater and consider actively recruiting Liberty talent. 

  4. We’re here to serve you even after graduation. We serve the entire Liberty family — not just current students. We are dedicated to your professional success and want to continue to help you well after you leave campus.

Connect with us at or

Postedby Rebecca Eller at 8:55 AM | Permalink

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Are Healthy Living and Academic Success Connected?

by Jamie Swyers, LaHaye Student Union associate director of fitness

When you’re working hard to further your education, it’s easy to neglect your health. Stress and a busy schedule often lead to cutting corners when it comes to regular exercise and eating well. However, you may be selling yourself short on academic success. Over the past several decades, many studies have found a strong correlation between educational achievement, good nutrition, and regular activity. If you want to maximize your grades, here are five reasons you can’t afford to neglect healthy living. 

  1. Physically active students usually have better grades. You may think that spending all your time studying will result in better school performance, but studies show that making time for physical activity is an important factor in your GPA. Set aside 30 minutes a day for physical activity and put it on your planner or Outlook calendar.
  2. Higher fitness levels are associated with improved cognitive performance, such as concentration and memory. Stay motivated by working out with friends, taking an exercise class, or enlisting the help of a qualified fitness professional. 
  3. Brief activity breaks during extended studying or homework are linked to improved concentration and test grades among students. When your schoolwork is consuming your day, it’s easy to get into the power-through mindset where you sit until your work is done. However, your performance will benefit from regular breaks. Set an alarm every 20, 30, or 40 minutes to get up, walk around, and do some stretches to get your blood pumping.
  4. Lack of specific foods in one’s diet, such as fruits, vegetables, or dairy products is associated with lower grades. Busy schedules sometimes lead to poor nutritional choices and a lack of healthy, whole foods. Make it a priority to consume your five servings of fruits and vegetables each day and allow yourself the necessary time to plan and prepare balanced meals.
  5. Lack of specific nutrients (i.e., folate, iron, zinc, calcium, and vitamins A, B6, B12, and C) is associated with lower grades and attendance rates among students. Consuming processed foods with minimal vitamins and minerals can lead to nutrientdeficiency over time. To avoid this, reduce your intake of processed foods.  
Postedby Rebecca Eller at 9:11 AM | Permalink

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Six Ways to Organize Research Material

by Randy L. Miller
Jerry Falwell Library graduate research & instruction librarian

  1. Plan ahead. Good research takes time. At the start of each sub-term, review your assignments to see which ones require research. Use Outlook (part of the Office 365 Suite) to schedule your work before it is due and set reminders for yourself. Be sure to allow plenty of time to search, sift through the results, analyze the sources you discover, and complete your project.

  2. Learn research skills. Dedicate uninterrupted time to exploring library resources and develop research skills to more quickly find quality search results. As you review abstracts of articles, you will learn to recognize and use common scholarly terms in your searches. Library Research Tutorials andResearch Smart webinars are also available to help you learn some of these strategies. These tutorials and webinars teach you tips and tricks such as connecting Google Scholar to our library subscription databases. Go to “Settings” on the main page, choose “Library Links,” check all of the boxes for Liberty University, and click “Save.” You will then see “Get it @ LU” to retrieve articles from our databases in the search results. Additionally, Blackboard now has a “JFL Library” tab where you can find a series of short videos introducing topics such as beginning your research, searching by subject, choosing search terms, saving and organizing your work, and properly citing sources.  

  3. Follow assignment requirements. Review the grading rubric and assignment instructions before you begin. Our research guides give you access to subject-specific library databases, which are a better source for finding articles than using a search engine. You can also specify peer-reviewed articles, set a date range, and use advanced search techniques. With the InterLibrary Loan there is no need to pay for journal articles. If the Jerry Falwell Library doesn’t already have it, the librarians can likely find it for you.   

  4. Learn to skim search results. It is not necessary to read every article in a search results list. Learn to skim abstracts and look for bolded search terms that match your research needs. Only read articles that seem applicable to your topic.

  5. Save your work. To keep your worksave a PDF of the article, making sure to save the citation. You should also visit the organizing research Web page to learn how to create EBSCO, Summon, and ProQuest folders to save your work. Bookmarking the page will not work because of authentication processes required for accessing the subscription databases. 

  6. Ask for help. You can reach a librarian at the Jerry Falwell Library by chat, email, phone, or in person. Don’t hesitate to contact them. Research smarter — not harder!

Postedby Rebecca Eller at 11:12 AM | Permalink

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