To be a successful online degree program student, take advantage of academic resources early in your college career.

We all know what happened to the two little pigs who built their houses out of straw and sticks.

One puff from the big, bad wolf and "poof."


We also know that the third little pig built his house out of bricks.

He understood that a solid foundation would enable him to prevail when the wolf came knocking on his door. So he took a proactive approach. Even though it cost him more time and energy upfront, he believed the investment was worth it.

Be proactive: take advantage of academic resources.

The same principle applies to academic success. Build a firm foundation right from the start, and you'll be able to withstand the winds of rigorous courses and stand triumphant, degree in hand.

Do that by taking advantage of academic resources early in your college career.

For example, before your first paper is due, do you know the best way to conduct research online? How to tackle one of those intimidatingly long and complex scholarly journals? Or how you can use Turnitin to help sharpen your paraphrasing, quoting, and stylistic skills?

To enable Saint Leo University students to answer "yes" to those questions, psychology faculty member Dr. Shannon Farris created eCOACH Online Learning*.

Boost writing, research and presentation skills.

eCOACH is a live, interactive web conference series available to all on-campus, center, and online Saint Leo students and faculty – undergraduate, graduate, non-traditional, and traditional – across all disciplines and teaching locations.

In other words, everyone.

Divided into three webinar levels – basic, advanced, and faculty – sessions are aimed at giving participants resources and tips that will increase academic and career skills, such as writing, research, and presentations.

Thanks to a live interactive web conferencing feed through the Blackboard Collaborate platform, webinar participants see the presenter and can ask questions and receive answers in real time. To accommodate students in various time zones, the webinars are offered during the day and then repeated in the evening.

What makes eCOACH unique?

Last year – the first year eCOACH was offered to the entire university – more than 2,000 SLU students and faculty members attended 80 eCOACH sessions.

"eCOACH Online Learning is unique from other supportive services provided by other universities," said Dr. Farris. "The reason why is that eCOACH wrap-around supportive services are provided in-house and are 100 percent student focused and student driven.

"Every webinar that I conduct is focused on a specific topic that will engage and encourage student academic and career success.

"I do this by providing follow-up tutoring sessions for each webinar, facilitating faculty development webinars, and including guest faculty speakers to address specific content challenges. Each session is tailored to meet the specific needs of the audience.

"Plus, eCOACH is always live, never recorded, and given multiple times to connect to our global audience."

But wait! There's more!

Now in its third year, eCOACH has expanded its mission so that participants receive additional hours of follow-up support for each webinar. Called tCOACH, these supportive services are provided in the same live, engaging web conference program by a qualified professional or student tutor through the Saint Leo Learning Resource Center.

The best part is there is no fee for SLU students and faculty to participate in an eCOACH webinar or receive a tCOACH session.

Bet that clever little pig didn't get his bricks for free.

*While eCOACH is no longer available, online students can click here for more information regarding tutoring services that are available through the Center for Academic Vision and Excellence.

Image Credit:
verbunkos on Flickr/Creative Commons