"Education is the most
powerful weapon which
you can use to change
the world".

-- Nelson Mandela



"Genius without education
is like silver in the mine."
-- Benjamin Franklin

Archive for August, 2007

Six Ways Virtual High Schools Prepare Students for Online College

Thursday, August 30th, 2007

Students like Alyssia and Andrew McRoyal, who attend IQ Academy Arizona, will have no trouble transitioning from their virtual high school to an online college degree program.

They, along with fellow 14-year old cyber-classmate Carl Wilson, are enjoying the flexibility that has drawn millions of students to the e-learning phenomena.  IQ Academy has enrolled approximately 500 students in this unique program; and in addition, a laptop computer and a printer are provided, compliments of the $6,000 per student garnered in tax dollars.

Similar programs across the U.S. may become primary feeders into accredited online degree programs.

Those who successfully navigate the challenges of independent learning in high school have an advantage if they later choose an online college to further their education.  Armed with a user-friendly predisposition toward distance learning along with the skills mastered during homeschooling, these students move ahead of the class in college e-learning.

These skills include:

  1. the ability to adequately use a computer, software applications and the Internet
  2. the ability to effectively communicate with teachers via e-mail, message boards, and other Internet forums
  3. the ability to manage and budget study time
  4. the ability to complete course assignments with little or no teacher intervention
  5. the ability to read and comprehend course materials at a high level
  6. the ability to follow detailed teacher instructions

IQ joins a growing number of innovative alternative schools that enable students to learn at home via specially-designed, computer-based classes that are monitored by and funded by the state.  This high-tech homeschool program has the advantage of adding tax dollars to school coffers while meeting the needs of students who prefer to skip the negative aspects of enrolling in a traditional public high school.

Critics of virtual high schools cite the outdated excuse that homeschool students are not properly socialized. But tell that to Alyssia and Andrew, who are active in church activities, music pursuits and part-time jobs. Studies have generally found that homeschool students are better socialized; because their social patterns are learned from parents and adults rather than from youthful peers.

Carl Wilson is enjoying online classes in chemistry, Spanish III, pre-calculus, psychology, English, geography and world history. He completes his daily coursework in about 6 hours and is not bored, like he was in the traditional school setting.

IQ Academy is expected to extend its online offerings to 7th and 8th graders next year as distance learning preparation seeps down to even younger students.

It is apparent that the leap from homeschool to online college is not so far after all.

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Popularity: 6% [?]

Posted by vida

Top Ten Online Schools by Directory of Schools

Monday, August 27th, 2007

Following are the Top Ten Online Schools compiled by Directory of Schools. Online colleges and universities were selected on the basis of excellence in instruction, accreditation, reputation, enrollment, student services and alumni satisfaction.

A number of reputable and excellent online schools could easily have been included in a longer list; and potential students should shop around for their best-fit distance learning school based upon areas of interest, industry recognition, budget and previous college background.

Here are our top picks in alphabetical order:

1. Capella University - Is designated as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education by the National Security Agency and the US Department of Homeland Security; offers one of only 12 Ph.D. programs in Project Management in the world; also offers 101 graduate and undergraduate specializations and 15 certificate programs.

2. Colorado Technical University – Was founded in 1965 and offers both on-campus and online degree programs and professional certificates; focuses on preparation for business, health care management, criminal justice, and information technology careers; provides exceptional student support via admissions advisors, financial aid advisors, a career employment team; is accessible & industry-experienced.

3. DeVry University - Trains students in the latest technology; have 91% job placement (within 6 months of graduating) for those actively seeking employment, with an average salary of $41,000; is the number one college for Hispanic graduates with bachelor’s degrees in Computer and Information Science; works toward education for those underrepresented in higher education; has over 48,000 students enrolled in 25 states.

4. ITT Technical Institute - Offers technology, business, and criminal justice degrees from 80 campuses in 32 countries, is especially involved in encouraging women to pursue the technology fields and is intentional about highlighting women’s accomplishments.

5. Jones International University - Was founded in 1993 and in 1999 became the first fully online university accredited by the Higher Learning Commission; has served students in 144 countries; employs faculty from top universities around the world; in 2001 was selected by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) to establish its Virtual Development Academy, which involved creating and educational model for managers to use in the countries in which they work.

6. Kaplan University - Is part of Kaplan, Inc., a subsidiary of the Washington Post, and is well known for providing high-quality educational services since 1937; has comparatively reasonable tuition.

7. Liberty University -  Is a conservative Christian college founded in 1971 in Lynchburg, VA; has approximately 20,000 students enrolled from 50 states and 7 countries that attend on-campus and online; offers reasonable tuition ($250 per undergraduate credit hour for 2007-2008 school year); offers online associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in a number of fields, including accounting, business, criminal justice, psychology, nursing, education and religion; friendly support staff.

8. University of Phoenix - Is the largest of any university in the US — online or traditional — with over 300,000 students, and is the online college most widely recognized and respected by employers; offers both on-campus and online degrees in a wide variety of disciplines.

9. Walden University - Has been around for 35 years; has merged with National Technological University; recruits world-class scholars for faculty; challenges grads to use higher education to bring about social change.

10. Western Governor’s University - is a private, non-profit university founded in Utah and supported by 19 western governors; uses competency based approach; tuition for most degree programs is $5,580 a year as of 2006-07 school year; won a Best of State award in the field of education in April 2007; their National Advisory Board includes representatives from Google, Microsoft, Oracle, Farmer’s Insurance, Siebel and others; best value for an MBA at $6,500 per year tuition.

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Popularity: 9% [?]

Posted by vida

Indiana Attorney General Shuts Down Diploma Mills and Files Lawsuit

Saturday, August 25th, 2007

Diploma mills in Indiana better high-tail it out of town; because the law is on their trail.

Two fake degree mills based in Michigan City were recently shut down by Attorney General Steve Carter. Authentic looking degrees from Indiana State University and its esteemed Kelley School of Business were sold through the illegal businesses, along with degrees from other accredited colleges and universities. Students who worked diligently to earn their degrees felt cheated by those who plunked down a few hundred dollars to receive a replicated degree from their alma mater.

The businesses were charged with violating the state’s Deceptive Consumer Sales Act; and the state of Indiana sued them for penalties. These websites focused their advertising on the realistic quality of the counterfeit degrees; and customers were offered fake transcripts to accompany their purchase. Michael Everett and David Schoettlin, who ran the illegal Internet sites, were prohibited from selling or transferring the domain names.

Kelley School of Business offers the only online MBA degree that is listed among the Top 20 MBA Degrees for 2006 by Business Week. They also offer an on-campus version of the MBA; and both programs have the same prerequisites, faculty and requirements. The school’s rigorous standards are well-recognized and highly-regarded in the business community. Indiana University joined Attorney General in denouncing diploma mills and supports efforts to eradicate them.

Of major concern to law enforcement officials are fake  degrees that open doors for the unlawful practice of medicine, engineering, law, finance, biological sciences, architecture, nuclear physics, and other areas that compromise public safety and endanger human life.

Employers should independently verify the higher education credentials of job applicants to avoid hiring those who falsely list a degree that they have not earned. Degree mills often give their customers a phone number to a bogus verification service. Employers believe they have thoroughly checked out an employee by using these handy phone numbers; but they have merely played into the hands of con artists.

Diploma mills should not be confused with accredited online schools that require students to complete online classes, turn in homework, pass exams and write research papers. These degree mills generally require little or no work and are not among the the U.S. Department of Education’s listing of accredited schools.

However, the law is bearing down on fake degree mills; and the public can help by never purchasing a fake degree — even for fun.  Remember, diploma mills are no laughing matter.

online schools, diploma mills, Indiana University, Kelley School of Business, higher education, Internet, college degree, fake degree, fake college degree, online MBA, employers, college and university, business degree, Business Week, Indiana, Attorney General Steve Carter

Popularity: 4% [?]

Posted by vida

CHEA Hatches Plan to Get Rid of Diploma Mills

Tuesday, August 21st, 2007

The Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) has hatched a plan for putting diploma mills out of business.

The crime of selling and buying fake degrees has gotten out of hand; and CHEA has committed to continue the fight to wipe these counterfeit online schools off of the map. Nowadays, deceptive internet businesses boldly advertise medical degrees, law degrees, Ph.D.’s, masters degrees and other college degrees for sale. At stake is the safety of the U.S. and international public.

For example, in the last five years, the Saudi Commission for Health Specialties (SCHS) detected 572 medical workers who were attempting to obtain jobs by using fake college degrees. In the United States, unlicensed medical doctors, psychologists, and other high-profile professionals have successfully conned patients and employers by using authentic-looking degrees purchased illegally over the Internet.

CHEA has outlined steps for consumers, employers, federal & local governments, advertisers and others to utilize in the fight against this threat to public safety. These are a few of their recommendations:

  1. Become knowledgeable about the characteristics, ploys and practices of fake degree mills.
  2. Insure that degree mills and their consumers do not received federal financial aid, public funding or employer tuition assistance.
  3. Make sure that advertising related to higher education is limited to legitimate providers and not degree mills.
  4. Pursue legal action against diploma mills; and encourage the prosecution of providers and users of fraudulent credentials.
  5. Encourage and support legislation that makes it illegal to establish, license or operate a diploma mill.
  6. Use recognized accreditation and quality-assurance bodies to establish that distance-learning colleges and universities are reputable and have met rigorous educational standards.
  7. Discourage the import and export of Internet-based fake degree mills by encouraging multinational cooperation in identifying degree mills. Also support the establishment of country-based lists of legitimate online schools.

Everyone can do their part in this valiant effort to protect the public from educational scams and the potential deadly consequences of unlicensed and unqualified career professionals.  Support CHEA, Congress and the law enforcement community in the ongoing fight against diploma mills.

Additional CHEA article on degree mills: Click here

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Popularity: 4% [?]

Posted by vida

Acclaimed Online School Offers Excellence at Bargain Tuition Rates

Saturday, August 18th, 2007

If you compare Western Governors University’s online degree programs to grocery items, they would be flying off the supermarket shelves.

Yet surprisingly, this gem of an online school harbors a secret educational stash. It won a 2007 award for Best of State in the Educational/Training Institution category by a panel of 100 independent judges in Utah. Its advisory board reads like a Who’s Who of the business world, with Google, Microsoft, AT&T, Hewlett Packard, Cisco, Oracle and Dell Computers on the elite list. Yet the surprisingly low tuition for such a high quality education is, in a word, rare.

Western Governors University is a non-profit college based in Salt Lake City, Utah; and its unique background serves to heighten its allure. It was founded by 19 governors after a Western Governors Association meeting in 1995 that kick-started the idea for a distance learning institution which would increase the skills, technology and competence of adult learners.

This e-learning university offers competency-based college degrees which prepare students for life in the real world. Additional highlights include the following:

  • WGU’s tuition may be the lowest of any 4-year college ($5,580 per year for undergraduate degrees in 2006-2007).
  • It is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU) and is therefore recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education (CHEA).
  • It is the only university to receive accreditation by 4 reputable regional accrediting bodies.
  • It offers hefty scholarships to designated groups of students, i.e. rural teachers and students who wish to become math & science teachers. The funding is provided by the U.S. Department of Labor, private businesses, financial institutions, and additional donors.
  • The WGU Teachers College is one of 632 colleges to receive accreditation by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE); and it is the first online institution to receive this high accreditation. Other teachers’ colleges accredited by NCATE include Stanford, Purdue, Columbia, and Southern Utah State.
  • Its competency-based approach requires students to pass industry levels of compency in their career fields, making graduates more desirable to employers.
  • It offers perhaps the lowest priced, high quality MBA degree ($6,500/year tuition in 2006-2007).

Western Governors University offers the only accredited, compency-based online degree programs in the nation and is setting high standards in online education. Students who uncover this gem should find a unique educational experience that won’t break the bank.

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Popularity: 7% [?]

Posted by vida

Crime Mug Shots Are on the Horizon for Users of Diploma Mills

Wednesday, August 15th, 2007

U.S. Representative Betty McCollum has taken a historic step to target both sellers and users of fake college degrees

Those who use diploma mills to boost their job qualifications may soon have to trade their faux sheepskins for a mug shot, especially when attempting to secure a job with the federal government, the largest employer in the United States.

In an effort to stave off the deceptive and increasingly dangerous use of college degrees from diploma mills, this Minnesota Congresswoman has introduced a bill that would “reduce and prevent the sale and use of fraudulent degrees in order to protect the integrity of valid higher education degrees that are used for federal purposes”.

Bucketfuls of diploma mill revelations have rained down scandal on the U.S. government, highlighting the antics of federal employees who have doctored their resumes with fake online degrees.  These revelations have weakened the public’s confidence in the integrity of information and decision-making that flow from high offices and sensitive levels of the federal government. From Senators to the Pentagon to NASA and on down, diploma mill degrees have been listed on the resumes of those who have sworn to protect and serve the public. 

The obvious safe and ethical choice for career-oriented job seekers is to work diligently toward an accredited online degree or on-campus college degree. The investment of time in this pursuit is minimal when compared to the lifetime of disgrace, shame and loss of income that could result when a fake degree is discovered by employers.

Several states have passed legislation outlawing the use of fake degrees; but if passed into law, this new bill would address the diploma mill problem on a national level. Kudos to Rep. Betty McCollum.

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Popularity: 4% [?]

Posted by vida

Employers Highly Satisfied With Online Degree Grads

Friday, August 10th, 2007

A recent report issued by American Intercontinental University (AIU) confirmed that employers of its online degree graduates are overwhelmingly satisfied with the level of competency, skills and knowledge found in theses new hirees.

The survey, which tabulated responses from 275 employers and 550 AIU alumni, included questions regarding problem solving ability, oral and written communication skills, knowledge of information technology, an understanding of teamwork and group dynamics, and an awareness of cultural diversity. Employers’ responses revealed satisfaction levels of 95% or above for all categories. Online degree graduates of AIU also expressed a high degree of satisfaction with the education they received.

A leading educational consulting firm, Eduventures, forecasts that 10% of college students will be enrolled in an online college or university by next year. This will certainly be reflected in the workplace as an increasing number of e-learning graduates transfer their skills from the classroom to their careers.

As employers continue to appreciate the self-discipline and motivation that is common to successful distance-learning graduates, many more students will choose computer-learning as the perfect solution for acquiring a college degree.

online degree, online degrees, e-learning, distance learning, employers, employees, college degree, college or university, AIU, American Intercontinental University, Eduventures, workplace, careers, online college, computer-learning

Popularity: 4% [?]

Posted by vida

Better Business Bureau Warns Consumers About Belford University Diploma Mill

Wednesday, August 8th, 2007

Complaints about diploma mill scams are rampant, including this report by the Better Business Bureau (BBB) in Fort Wayne, Indiana, regarding Belford University.

“Belford High School/Belford University sends e-mails offering a diploma based on life experience. The problem? The diploma is worthless! Belford is what is referred to as a diploma mill. This Texas company has the BBB’s lowest rating. Tell-tale signs of a diploma mill: No need to study; no attendance required; a flat fee is charged; guaranteed degree; you will receive your diploma in days, weeks or months; and they are typically through e-mail.”

The deceptive ads of these fake degree mills entice consumers to fork over their hard-earned money for a worthless product — a useless piece of paper that looks impressive but is easy to verify by vigilant employers. With the current spotlight on diploma mills, the informed consumer should have no problem distinguishing between an accredited online degree program and a fake degree.

It is important for potential students to research any distance-learning institution before writing a tuition check based upon hype or sales jargon. A number of reputable educational websites, like Directory of Schools, offer huge databases of accredited e-learning schools from which to choose, along with simple forms to contact the selected online colleges, universities and industry-recognized vocational schools.

Rather than playing Russian roulette with a future career by falling into the diploma mill trap, consumers can use their heads to come out ahead in the game of life.

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Popularity: 39% [?]

Posted by vida

Former Diploma Mill Spammer Sentenced to 30 Years in Prison

Monday, August 6th, 2007

A spammer who was fined $5 million by America Online (AOL) last year for sending billions of junk e-mails that peddled fake college degrees and other unsavory wares was sentenced to spend the next 30 years in prison.

The long arm of the law caught up with Christopher William Smith after he began illegally hustling prescription drugs over the Internet. Business was booming with over $24 million worth of inventory sold; but his escalating descent into the abyss of criminal activity finally landed him under the watchful eyes of federal prosecutors.

Still, his luck had not run out; the government was willing to cut him a deal. But Smith’s lack of remorse and continued shenanigans landed him in deeper trouble, especially when he threatened to kill the children of an accomplice who was cooperating as a government witness against him.

So another unscrupulous Internet hoodlum has been shut down; and the byways of the World Wide Web are slightly safer. But each member of the Internet community should be vigilant in avoiding websites that break the law or deal in unsavory products, including fake college degrees and illicit drugs.

Do the right thing – earn an accredited online degree and patronize only legal pharmacies and businesses. In the long run, this will minimize risk and vulnerability to scams and inferior products.

Otherwise, caveat emptor — buyer beware!

See full article.

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Popularity: 4% [?]

Posted by vida

Beware of SpeedyDegrees.com and Ashwood University

Friday, August 3rd, 2007

We warn potential students to avoid being taken in by the deceptive press releases and false advertising of speedydegrees.com.

They send ads dressed up like legitimate information into e-mailboxes via Google Alerts under the heading of online degrees. But this ’school’ is a diploma mill that issues fake college degrees through Ashwood University, a partner in crime. These are the facts:

  • They claim to be highly accredited, but are not accredited by any accreditation body that is recognized by the US Department of Education.
  • They advertise that customers can receive a college degree in 7 days. Does that sound legitimate?
  • No school work is required; just fill out a form and pay the money. Alarms should go off here.
  • Employers can check them out quickly through Google’s search engine; and the search results provide enough information to indicate that this is a fake degree mill. Any co-worker, friend, significant other or child can easily check it out as well. It may seem like a quick way to earn a job promotion right now; but the embarrassment and shame that follow the future revelation that the degree is worthless and that its holder is a cheater should be a strong deterrent. A damaged reputation coupled with the erosion of trust on the job and at home is not easily repaired.

So instead, earn a reputatble accredited online degree. Aesop’s fable, The Tortoise and the Hare, has a lesson in this for all of us: ”Slow and steady wins the race.”

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Popularity: 7% [?]

Posted by vida