Making It as a Distance Student
The Distance Learning Way
Did you know that 73 percent of graduate students at Northern Arizona University are earning their degree somewhere in Arizona other than Flagstaff? It’s true! NAU Distance Learning, the Graduate College, and the various academic programs collaborate to ensure that 4, 187 students can pursue their education in their local communities and online. Of the graduate students pursuing a degree at one of NAU’s 38 statewide campuses or online:
How are these students supported by the Distance Learning Community?
Anchor Faculty Working Closely With Part-Time Faculty
Tips for Current Graduate Students
If you are currently studying at one of our campuses, here are some tips to help you make the most of your graduate career.
Connect with a full-time faculty member in your program. Whether the faculty are in your local community or in Flagstaff, they are committed to your success and can connect you to areas of your field that are of the most interest to you. Call your academic department and ask to speak with a faculty advisor. Ask him/her specific questions about your circumstances; share what you hope to achieve after graduation (career advancement, a Ph.D program, etc.). Faculty can help you access research experience, opportunities to publish work, and a multitude of other relevant activities.
Reach out to part-time instructors in your field of interest. These individuals are interested in sharing their "real-world" experience with you. Contact them by making an appointment, coming to class early, or sending them an e-mail. Work with them to base your writing assignments on current advancements in the field. Capitalize on how their experience can enhance what you gain from individual classes and the program as a whole.
Be Proactive. If you’d like to improve your writing skills, be proactive about asking faculty for advice and feedback. Soliciting the feedback/information you are looking for will ensure that you get the most out of your graduate program.
Utilize your cohort network. Form study groups, learn from the professional experience of your fellow students, and look for opportunities to collaborate outside of the classroom.
Sign up for online classes early. Online classes are in high demand and fill up quickly. Talk to your advisor about what classes you’ll need early, allowing you to enroll in both in-person and online classes at your first opportunity. This will ensure you the flexibility you’re looking for in your degree.
Read your NAU e-mail. Important deadlines, announcements, and opportunities are sent to this account.
Access the many resources available on the NAU Distance Learning website. Here you’ll find links to online writing labs, citation guides, study skills resources, technical help, an orientation for new students, and more.
Cline Library staff members are available to assist with research help – just ask!
Complete your course evaluations. Your confidential feedback is essential to help instructors consistently excel in the classroom. Focus on feedback that is specific to what works and what doesn’t. The more concrete the feedback, the more meaningful it is.
If you’re having trouble, ask for help. If you begin having trouble keeping up with coursework or if your grades start to slip, reach out to an advisor or faculty member to discuss what the right course of action should be. Juggling work and school can be a difficult balance and often requires input from others.
Call us! The Student Service Center can help you navigate any number of processes. We’re here to help students succeed wherever they live, work, and study. Reach us at 1-800-426-8315.
Terri Hayes, Associate Director for Distance Learning