Meet Your Advisor: Ted Rankin

Image is of Ted Rankin.

My academic journey has definitely taken some turns along the way. Originally graduating with a bachelor’s in biblical studies from Huntington University in 2013, I took a long break to go out and earn some work experience. This eventually led me to Ball State University, where I completed my master’s degree in student affairs administration in higher education in 2019. Since education is life-long, I enrolled in Ball State’s EdD in higher education last fall. With a target finish date around 2025, you can see that I’m in it for the long haul!

How Long I’ve Been With Ball State Online

I have been with Ball State Online as a student success specialist for a little more than a year. In my role, I advise for the entirely online undergraduate programs for those with last names A-K (except for one program). Here’s a list of all the programs I advise for:

  • Associate’s in general arts
  • Associate’s in criminal justice and criminology
  • Bachelor’s in applied behavior analysis (Only last names C-K)
  • Bachelors’ in business administration
  • Bachelor’s in criminal justice and criminology
  • Bachelor’s in early childhood education
  • Bachelor’s in general studies
  • Bachelor’s in logistics and supply chain management
  • Bachelor’s in nursing, RN to BS concentration


Why I Enjoy My Role

My desire to serve students as a student success specialist is to provide consistent support throughout their entire academic journey. Navigating an online education can be difficult, and many nuances can be tricky to work through on your own. To make my students’ experience better, I want to be someone who can be their “go-to person” and answer all their questions (in a perfect world) or can find those answers quickly. Eliminating any sort of barriers lets students know someone is on their side, that they are not just another number, and there’s always a person they can turn to when in doubt.

I stay in this role because I have experienced first-hand the tremendous impact of having someone genuinely in your corner—not just in the classroom, but in all aspects of student life—and it’s my hope to be that person for those I work with daily.

From my perspective, one of the most important things for online students to know is how to make a time management plan, and as a part of that, including time for yourself. Doing course work on top of other life responsibilities is challenging, and it can be draining. It asks you to pour your energy into a ton of different places. We often neglect to take care of ourselves during that process. I know we all have a lot of things to get done, and we only have so much time to do it, but if you are not well in your personal life, that will seep into all other areas of your life. There will be times when you’re trying to balance school and life that won’t necessarily feel like a party. But, just know that there is no need to feel shame in taking an evening to recoup and relax so you can come back stronger tomorrow.

A Few Fun Facts

Anyone who knows me personally long enough will quickly pick up that I’m fairly “nerdy.” My wife and I regularly play D&D with friends. I’m a big fan of collectible/trading card games. I currently own four different game systems, and Iron Man and Spider-Man are my favorite superheroes.

Beyond my personal hobbies, I am a husband, father of two young, strong-willed, independent children, and a dog dad to a pit bull rescue named Cisco (who we think might really be a cat on the inside). My favorite foods are breakfast and barbeque (the entire categories), and Sunshine Café in Muncie, Indiana is one of my favorite places to eat.

Want to get to know the rest of the Ball State Online advisors and student success specialists? Then remember to visit our blog, FacebookTwitter, and Instagram!

Study Tips for Students New to Online

If you’re brand new to online classes, or even if you’re back after a brief pause in your education, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed when it comes to studying at your own pace.  Nothing a few useful tips and planning can’t overcome! These are some of the top tips I give to the students I advise to study successfully.

Get Organized

An easy trap is to forget when assignments or exams are due as you’re trying to balance classes with home and/or work life. It’s always a great idea to compare course syllabi and schedules provided by your instructors with the Canvas calendars. This should help to ensure you don’t miss anything.

Time Management is Huge

Our online courses are just as rigorous as our main campus courses. It can be easy to procrastinate on your coursework due to the more independent nature of online learning. It’s vital to set aside time to dedicate to your reading, assignments, discussions, quizzes, and exams the same as if attending in person. You’ll be amazed at how much more manageable and beneficial online learning is with strong time management skills and a regular (as possible) schedule.

Reach Out Early and Often

Your instructor, advisor, and other academic support offices are here to help, and it is never a bother to assist you. When you are confused or unsure who to reach out to, contact your advisor or instructor, and we can help guide you. If you have questions about course content, it’s always better to talk with your instructor early in the semester so that they can provide you with tips, advice, and guidance for success.

Discover How You Learn Best

Every person learns in different ways and is most successful in various formats. Maybe you need to do your work early in the morning with a cup of coffee and no background noise. Or perhaps your best work is done in the evening with some soft music as white noise. If you can identify the time and way you learn best and are most productive, it will have exponential benefits as you go through your courses.

Change Topics and Take Breaks

This may seem a little counterintuitive considering all the things pulling on your time, but your brain can only focus on one thing for so long. Sometimes to refresh and revitalize, you need to switch subjects or step away for a few minutes. The variety will allow your brain to rest and help you come back stronger as you continue your coursework.

Participate as Much as Possible

Take full advantage of any discussion groups, forums, virtual office hours from your instructors, and any other chances to engage. By connecting with others, you will reinforce your learning while also filling in gaps from their perspectives. The more your instructor sees you actively taking ownership of your learning through engagement, the more they can assist you and guide you through the process. You’ll build camaraderie with students and instructors and get so much more out of your courses!

Take Care of Yourself

This might be one of the most important tips while also being the one you may least prioritize. Between studying, working, family, and several other things, it can be challenging to take time for yourself and focus on remaining healthy. Make sure to set aside time to focus on your health—and this doesn’t just mean exercising. Whatever you need to stay in a positive and healthy state of being: prioritize those things as well!

Remember to visit the Ball State Online blog, Facebook, and Twitter for more tips, advice, and resources.

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