UoPeople Online Syllabus Repository (OSR)

General Studies

UNIV 1001 Online Education Strategies

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Prerequisites: None.

Course Description: This course will serve as preparation for students to make a successful journey into the University's online learning environment. It will introduce students to the University of the People's resources available to them, to the academic methods, and to the policies and expectations for student performance. Further, it will provide an overview of strategies for student success including time and stress management, effective study skills, and personal ownership of the learning process.

Required Textbook and Materials: UoPeople courses use open educational resources (OER) and other materials specifically donated to the University with free permissions for educational use. Therefore, students are not required to purchase any textbooks or sign up for any websites that have a cost associated with them. The main required textbooks for this course are listed below and can be readily accessed using the provided links. There may be additional required/recommended readings, supplemental materials, or other resources and websites necessary for lessons; these will be provided for you in the course's General Information and Forums area, and throughout the term via the weekly course Unit areas and the Learning Guides.

This course does not contain a main textbook; resources to all required reading will be provided in the course Learning Guide for each week.

Some of the materials for this course can be found in this archive.

Software Requirements/Installation: No special requirements.

Learning Objectives and Outcomes:

By the end of this course students will be able to:

  1. Identify the key strategies and characteristics necessary to become self-directed, independent learners.
  2. Explain why critical thinking is important apply some tools for critical thinking and problem-solving.
  3. Explain what academic integrity means, including how to avoid plagiarism and how to identify reliable sources for research purposes.
  4. Apply proper techniques in note-taking, reading, and study strategies for improvement of academic performance.
  5. Examine the benefits of and methods for conducting peer assessments.

Course Schedule and Topics: This course will cover the following topics in eight learning sessions, with one Unit per week. The Final Exam will take place during Week/Unit 9 (UoPeople time)

Week 1: Unit 1 - Welcome and Introduction to University of the People

Week 2: Unit 2 - Academic Integrity and Ethical Conduct

Week 3: Unit 3
- University of the People Educational Methods: Part 1

Week 4: Unit 4 -
University of the People Educational Methods: Part 2

Week 5: Unit 5
- Time and Stress Management

Week 6: Unit 6 -
Study Skills and Test Preparation

Week 7: Unit 7 -
What is Critical Thinking and Why is it Important?

Week 8: Unit 8 -
Developing Personal and Academic Goals

Week 9: Unit 9 -
Course Review and Final Exam

Learning Guide: The following is an outline of how this course will be conducted, with suggested best practices for students.

Unit 1: Welcome and Introduction to University of the People

  • Read the Learning Guide and the Reading Assignment
  • Participate in the Discussion Assignment (post, comment, and rate in the Discussion Forum)
  • Complete the “Scavenger Hunt” activity
  • Make entries to the Learning Journal

Reading Assignment

Read through the course syllabus (available in the General Information Section on the course home page).

Read the mission and goals of the University of the People, as well as who the key leaders and partners are in making this educational opportunity available to you: http://www.uopeople.edu/about/uopeople/mission-values/

Read about the student support options and the Library services

Read about our online learning method:

Read through the University Catalog. This document is a VERY IMPORTANT informational tool for your studies at University of the People:

*Review this presentation about student expectations, the components of the classroom, the types of assignments you will encounter, and how to find the resources you need at University of the People.

Unit 2: Academic Integrity and Ethical Conduct

  • Read the Learning Guide and the Reading Assignment
  • Participate in the Discussion Assignment (post, comment, and rate in the Discussion Forum)
  • Complete and submit the Written Assignment
  • Make entries to the Learning Journal
  • Take the Self-Quiz

Reading Assignment

Download the University Catalog at http://www.uopeople.edu/about/uopeople/essential-uopeople-documents/university-catalog/ and refer to the University of the People's Academic Code of Conduct.

When writing research papers, your ideas are important but so are information taken from other sources. After finding a source and evaluating it, if you think it should be included in your writing, then you need to cite the source. Providing citations acknowledges the contributions of others. There are ethical reasons and legal reasons to cite work.

Also read the following definition and examples of plagiarism:

When you research information online, you want to be sure that you are accessing information that is credible, objective, and reliable. Read about evaluating internet research sources for quality and objectivity:

Some examples of periodicals are listed below, but you do not need to visit or study them for this unit. They are provided only as a reference.



Scholarly Journals 

Scholarly journals are written by researchers for other researchers which can make them difficult reading for students. But it can help to understand how research articles are constructed.  Google Scholar is a search engine specifically for academic journals. 

The next group that you will often encounter is books. Online books are often referred to as "digital books,” "electronic books,” or simply "e-books.” E-books are distributed in a variety of file formats such as plain-text (.txt) and Portable Document Format (pdf). Most e-books can be read on a desktop or a laptop computer screen as well as portable e-reader devices, mobile phones, etc.

A digital library is a collection of books, documents, or other resources in digital format. The contents and services provided vary with each library. For example, Project Gutenberg [1] makes available thousands of non-copyrighted digital books. Another digital library, American Memory [2], offers users a look at historical American works. 

University of the People has joined the Library and Information Resource Network (LIRN):
LIRN enhances our academic programs with a rich and powerful collection of resources: over 60 million journal articles, books, encyclopedias, newspapers, magazines, and audio and video clips. Students are also provided recommended open educational resources including textbooks and course materials. 

The LIRN can be accessed from the UoPeople Library. The library is accessed from the course homepage.

UoPeople library link

For questions or suggestions regarding the UoPeople Library and Resource Center, including LIRN or open educational resources, please contact library@uopeople.org

Primary and Secondary Sources

There is a difference between primary sources and secondary sources. Primary sources can include diaries, letters, manuscripts, event broadcasts, photos, government hearings, speeches, and other material produced during the time period you are studying. A secondary source is an interpretation and analysis of events which can include books, journal articles, etc. The links below provide some guidance for the use of primary and second sources:

Free Online Information Sources

While the Google search engine is used to find freely accessible resources, there are even more specialized sites and search tools. 

  • DOAJ: Directory of Open Access Journals at http://www.doaj.org/ provides indexing and full text for articles in more than six thousand journals.

  • Google Books: http://books.google.com Search for a topic and after getting the results list, click "Free Google eBooks" on the left side of the screen to see if the full text is available online. Availability will vary depending on where you live due to variations in your country's copyright laws. (Books are included in a general Google search as well.)
  • Google Scholar at http://scholar.google.com Google Scholar attempts to index the world's scholarly literature. Many items are only available for a fee, but you will find open access material as well. A search on the adoption of cell phones in Africa (mobile phones Africa* adoption) identified items such as the one below available in PDF format from usc.edu

Properly citing sources using APA Standards for citing sources 

Unit 3: University of the People Educational Methods: Part 1

  • Peer assess Unit 2 Written Assignment
  • Read the Learning Guide and the Reading Assignment
  • Participate in the Discussion Assignment (post, comment, and rate in the Discussion Forum)
  • Complete and submit the Written Assignment
  • Take the Self-Quiz
  • Take the Graded Quiz

Reading Assignment

University of the People ascribes to the importance of developing and achieving the three primary domains of learning for students, as outlined in Bloom’s Taxonomy (http://www.nwlink.com/~donclark/hrd/bloom.html, developed by Benjamin Bloom and a committee of colleges. These three domains include:

  • Cognitive, which refers to mental skills or acquiring knowledge
  • Affective, which refers to emotional growth and the ability to internally feel the area, including developing of one’s attitude
  • Psychomotor, which refers to one’s physical skills or abilities

UoPeople courses are designed to assist students in achieving these three domains of learning, through engaging students in the process of acquiring new knowledge through readings, discussing and forming opinions and applications of the new knowledge through discussion forums, and developing personal skills and competencies through the process of assessing peers.

There are certain strategies that can be applied when answering questions for a discussion forum, a journal entry, or an assignment. These strategies help you to be more effective at answering the questions so that your answers will be thorough, in depth, and within the guidelines of the instructions provided:

Discussion Forums are very important and should be taken very seriously.  Read about online discussion forums and what makes them successful:

Peer assessment is an important aspect of your education at University of the People. When you learn collaboratively, you are given the opportunity to learn more through additional perspectives. When you assess someone else’s work, you engage in a process of understanding it at a deeper level, which also improves the product of your own work.

Unit 4: University of the People Educational Approach: Part 2

  • Read the Learning Guide and the Reading Assignment
  • Participate in the Discussion Assignment (post, comment, and rate in the Discussion Forum)
  • Complete and submit the Written Assignment
  • Peer assess the Unit 3 written assignment
  • Make entries to the Learning Journal
  • Take the Self-Quiz

Reading Assignment

Self-directed learners tend to be able to transfer their learning from the knowledge they acquire into different contexts and for different applications. Also, the habits of self-directed learners are consistent with that of leaders and facilitators, thus providing them with practice and preparation for leadership roles. You will learn about the benefits of these methods and how they can help to enhance your learning and motivate you to take ownership of your learning process, which will lead you down a path toward ongoing lifelong learning. The successful UoPeople student does the following: 

  • Takes ownership of the learning process by setting personal educational goals, and monitoring their own progress.
  • Is self-motivated to learn and understand; not only driven by grades or external praise.
  • Pushes him/herself to think deeper about issues and draw connections to their personal, academic, and professional lives.
  • Views the instructor as a guide, but themselves as the pursuer of deeper understanding.
  • Learns collaboratively, through peer engagement and feedback.
  • Seeks out the available resources and understands the scope of the University, its departments, and its learning philosophy and approach.
  • Understands the importance of applying the knowledge learned in the classroom to continued personal and career development potential.

Read about how to become a self-directed and lifelong learner:

An essential part of being a self-directed and lifelong learner is to have self-motivation and to be an “active learner”. Read about becoming an active learner:

Individuals who are self-motivated have more intrinsic motivation. The chart below (http://mmrg.pbworks.com/f/Ryan,+Deci+00.pdf)   shows the differences between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation and is known as the “Self-determination Theory”.

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Making the best choices is also a mark of a successful student. Compare yourself to Choices of Successful Students here: http://www.collegeofsanmateo.edu/bsi/docs/successfulstudents.pdf

Unit 5: Time and Stress Management

  • Peer assess Unit 4 Written Assignment
  • Read the Learning Guide and the Reading Assignment
  • Participate in the Discussion Assignment (post, comment, and rate in the Discussion Forum)
  • Make entries to the Learning Journal
  • Take the Self-Quiz

Reading Assignment

Unit 6: Study Skills and Test Preparation

  • Read the Learning Guide and the Reading Assignment
  • Participate in the Discussion Assignment (post, comment, and rate in the Discussion Forum)
  • Complete and submit the Written Assignment
  • Make entries to the Learning Journal
  • Take the Self-Quiz
  • Take the Graded-Quiz

Reading Assignment

Effective Note-taking methods:

  • VIDEO – Study Skills and Effective Notetaking for Online Students: 

  • College Note taking -- styles and examples

  • VIDEO – How to take Notes in College – 5 Best Methods: 

  • Effective Reading and Notetaking
  • Mind mapping

Reading strategies:

Methods for preparing for exams, reducing test anxiety, and effectively taking exams:

Unit 7: What is Critical Thinking and Why is it Important?

  • Peer assess Unit 6 Written Assignment
  • Read the Learning Guide and the Reading Assignment
  • Participate in the Discussion Assignment (post, comment, and rate in the Discussion Forum)
  • Complete and submit the Written Assignment
  • Take the Self-Quiz

Reading Assignment

Read the following tutorials to learn about the meaning and importance of critical thinking development, and how to become an independent thinker:
Read through the following tools and their practical applications for challenging assumptions, brainstorming, deeper analysis of issues:

Unit 8: Developing Personal and Academic Goals

  • Peer assess Unit 7 Written Assignment
  • Read the Learning Guide and the Reading Assignment
  • Participate in the Discussion Assignment (post, comment, and rate in the Discussion Forum)
  • Make entries to the Learning Journal
  • Take the Self-Quiz

Reading Assignment

A. Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: http://www.quickmba.com/mgmt/7hab/

B. How to Write your Success Story: http://www.secretchanges.com/how-to-write-your-success-story.html

C. Personal Goal Setting - University of Minnesota Libraries Publishing. (2010). College success.  http://www.oercommons.org/courses/college-success/view

    • Read Chapter 2.1 - Setting and Reaching Goals

D. Goal setting with Action plan template: Refer to Learning Journal instructions

Unit 9: Course Review and Final Exam

  • Say goodbye to your classmates in the Discussion Forum and share one significant learning point that you will apply to your ongoing studies with University of the People and beyond
  • Take the Final Exam

Course Requirements:

Written Assignments & Assessment Forms
Some units in this course require that you complete a Written Assignment. You are required to submit your assignments by the indicated deadlines and, in addition, to peer assess three (3) of your classmates’ assignments according to the instructions found in the Assessment Form, which is provided to you during the following week. During this peer assessment period, you are expected to provide details in the feedback section of the Assessment Form, indicating why you awarded the grade that you did to your peer. Failure to submit Written Assignments and/or Assessment Forms may result in failure of the course.

Discussion Assignments & Response Posts/Ratings
Some units in this course require that you complete a Discussion Assignment. You are required to develop and post a substantive response to the Discussion Assignment in the Discussion Forum. A substantive response is one that fully answers the question that has been posed by the instructor. In addition, you must extend the discussion by responding to at least three (3) of your peers’ postings in the Discussion Forum and by rating their posts. Instructions for proper posting and rating are provided inside the Discussion Forum for each week. Discussion Forums are only active for each current and relevant learning week, so it is not possible to contribute to the forum once the learning week has come to an end. Failure to participate in the Discussion Assignment by posting in the Discussion Forum and responding to peers as required may result in failure of the course.

Learning Journal
Your instructor may choose to assign specific topics and/or relevant questions as a weekly Learning Journal entry for you to complete, but you are still encouraged to also use it to document your activities, record questions/problems you may have encountered, reflect on the learning process, and draft answers for other course assignments. The Learning Journal must be updated on a weekly basis because its entries will be assessed by your instructor directly as a part of your final grade. The Learning Journal will only be seen by your instructor.

This course will contain three types of quizzes – the Self-Quiz, the Graded Quiz, and the Review Quiz. These quizzes may contain multiple choice, true/false, or short answer questions. The results of the Self-Quiz will not count towards your final grade. However, it is highly recommended that you complete the Self-Quiz to ensure that you have adequately understood the course materials. Along with the Reading Assignments, the results of the Self-Quiz should be used as part of an iterative learning process, to thoroughly cover and test your understanding of course material. You should use the results of your Self-Quiz as a guide to go back and review relevant sections of the Reading Assignments. Likewise, the Review Quiz will not count towards your final grade, but should also be used to assist you in a comprehensive review and full understanding of all course material, in preparation for your Final Exam. Lastly, the results of the Graded Quiz will count towards your final grade. Specific instructions on the format and content of the Graded Quiz will be provided by your instructor.

The Unit 1 Scavenger Hunt Activity and all Self-Quizzes in this course will remain open until the end of the term and allow unlimited attempts.

Final Exam
The Final Exam will take place during the Thursday and Sunday of Week/Unit 9, following the completion of eight units of work. The format of the Final Exam is similar to that of the quizzes and may contain a combination of different question types. You will have one attempt to take the exam, and it will be graded electronically. Specific instructions on how to prepare for and take the Final Exam will be provided during Week 8 (located inside the Unit 9 Learning Guide). Final Exams must be taken without the use of course learning materials (both those inside and outside the course). If particular materials are allowed for use during the exam, these will be noted in the exam’s instructions.

Course Forum;
The Course Forum is the place to raise issues and questions relating to the course. It is regularly monitored by the instructors and is a good place to meet fellow students taking the same course. While it is not required to participate in the Course Forum, it is highly recommended.

Course Policies:

Grading Components and Weights
Each graded component of the course will contribute some percentage to the final grading scale, as indicated here:

Learning Journals 15%
Discussion Assignments 10%
Written Assignments 10%
Graded Quizzes 30%
Final Exam 35%
TOTAL 100%

Grading Scale
This course will follow the standard 100-point grading scale defined by the University of the People, as indicated here:

Letter Grade
Grade Scale Grade Points
A+ 98-100 4.00
A 93-97 4.00
A- 90-92 3.67
B+ 88-89 3.33
B 83-87 3.00
B- 80-82 2.67
C+ 78-79 2.33
C 73-77 2.00
C- 70-72 1.67
D+ 68-69 1.33
D 63-67 1.00
D- 60-62 0.67
F Under 60 0.00

Grade Appeal
If you believe that the final grade you received for a course is erroneous, unjust, or unfair, please contact your course instructor. This must be done within seven days of the posted final grade. For more information on this topic, please review the Grade Appeal Procedure in the University Catalog.

Non-participation is characterized by lack of any assignment submissions, inadequate contributions to the Discussion Forums, and/or lack of peer feedback to Discussion/Written Assignments. Also, please note the following important points about course participation:

  • Assignments must be submitted on or before the specified deadline. A course timeline is provided in the course schedule, and the instructor will specify deadlines for each assignment.
  • Any student showing non-participation for two weeks (consecutive or non-consecutive) is likely to automatically fail the course.
  • Occasionally there may be a legitimate reason for submitting an assignment late. Most of the time, late assignments will not be accepted and there will be no make-up assignments.
  • All students are obligated to inform their instructor in advance of any known absences which may result in their non-participation.

Academic Honesty and Integrity
When you submit any work that requires research and writing, it is essential to cite and reference all source material. Failure to properly acknowledge your sources is known as “plagiarism” – which is effectively passing off an individual’s words or ideas as your own. University of the People adheres to a strict policy of academic honesty and integrity. Failure to comply with these guidelines may result in sanctions by the University, including dismissal from the University or course failure. For more information on this topic, please review the Academic Integrity Policy in the University Catalog.

Unless otherwise stated, any materials cited in this course should be referenced using the style guidelines established by the American Psychological Association (APA). The APA format is widely used in colleges and universities across the world and is one of several style and citation formats required for publication in professional and academic journals. Purdue University’s Online Writing Lab (OWL) is a free website that provides excellent information and resources for understanding and using the APA format and style. The OWL website can be accessed here: https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/purdue_owl.html

If you are instructed to do so or choose to strengthen any of your work with outside sources or references you must indicate where you found that source or reference and give credit to the author(s) using standard APA formats.  You will be doing extensive work on APA formats in Unit 2.  However, here are two excellent sites should you wish to begin learning about APA formats before Unit 2:

Code of Conduct
University of the People expects that students conduct themselves in a respectful, collaborative, and honest manner at all times. Harassment, threatening behavior, or deliberate embarrassment of others will not be permitted. Any conduct that interferes with the quality of the educational experience is not allowed and may result in disciplinary action, such as course failure, probation, suspension, or dismissal. For more information on this topic, please review the Code of Conduct Policy in the University Catalog.