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One of the most challenging aspects of online learning is developing a strategy for taking notes. Online student often rely more on course content delivered in text than a normal lecture course. The blog “Online Courses” offers several note-taking strategies for online students. They are:

  • The Cornell Strategy
  • The Mapping Strategy
  • The Charting Strategy
  • The Sentence Strategy
  • The Outline Strategy

Get the details on these strategies in their blog post ” Note-Taking Strategies for Online Students”.


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Earth Science is closely related to physical geography.

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One of the most difficult aspects of learning online is knowing how and what to take notes on. If the course you are taking relies mostly on text to deliver its content, one does not have the audio and visual cues from a lecture to discern what is important to take note of. RNDEGREES.net provides has several good tips for note taking in an online course. These are:

  • Active Reading
  • Use Diagrams
  • Audio-visual materials
  • Note Taking Software
  • Reflecting on the Material
  • Referencing

See their site for details

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gtdI’m always looking for apps that keep my online work organized and efficient because I work from a variety of locations and on a number of different computers. Here’s a couple that have been a big help.


I use multiple browsers for my online work as each has different qualities that appeal to me. Doing so has caused the unfortunate problem of not having the same bookmarks available to each browser. Though most can import bookmark files from other browsers, their implementation is often cumbersome and much editing has to be done upon uploading. For the last few years I’ve used a program called “Foxmarks” to sync bookmarks across the Firefox browser installed on my home office and workplace desktops and laptop. A new version of Foxmarks now syncs across Firefox, Safari, and Internet Explorer (if you unfortunately have to use it). Foxmarks has worked flawlessly for me and I highly recommend it. Check out the video below

Firefox Wired-Marker Extension

I’m a big fan of the Firefox browser largely because you can customize it to suit your needs. A number of browser add-ons or “extensions” have been created to do all sorts of things. One that I like is the “Wired-Marker” extension that lets you highlight text on a web page like you do in a print textbook and permanetly stored. Watch the video below to see how it can work with your online reading.

The downside is your highlights are stored on the computer that you make the highlights on. The highlighted web page text is not available if you move to a different computer. One way to get around this is to use the portable version of Firefox that can be installed on a flash drive. Students can take the USB drive to class with their laptop, fire up Portable Firefox, then highlight and annotate online lecture notes. No matter where they are at, their highlighted lecture notes are available on the USB flash drive.

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The Unit 4 exam will include several questions dealing with the use of topographic maps. Many will ask you to identify  landforms created by fluvial and glacial processes. An extensive list of landforms depicted on topographic maps is available here. It serves a a good resource for studying for the exam.

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Google Calendar

I’ve been using Google Calendar (GCal) to manage my academic and personal life for several years. Having a calendar online and always accessible from any Internet-connected computer is a real convenience. With GCal you can create specific calendars for the various aspects of your life, I have one for each course I teach, one for my professional consulting work, and one for my personal life. All calendars are color coded and viewable within a neatly organized window. Calendars can be synced to many desktop applications and even calendar apps on your cell phone. Calendars can be kept private or shared.

I’ve added a GCal calendar widget to your D2L course portal. I have it set to “Agenda” view but you can also view by “Week” or “Month” by clicking on their tabs. At the bottom of the widget is a button to add the course calendar as one of your personal Google calendar. It will automatically update as I add or revise course activities.

Here’s a few links about Google Calendar:

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