"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 December, 2007

Distance Learning May Slow Progression of Alzheimer’s Disease

Friday, December 28th, 2007

Individuals who choose to enroll in an online degree program may be selecting more than just an education. Their choice to learn new information may also help to avert or slow the development of Alzheimer’s disease. 

Learning Helps Prevent Dementia

According to an article in Science Daily this year, learning may slow the physical development of two brain lesions that cause the main symptoms of Alzheimers disease. The article also mentions that “highly educated individuals are less likely to develop the disease than people with less education”.

Most adults are already struggling to work and take care of necessary responsibilities; so going back to school may not be on the radar screen. However, distance learning has opened doors of learning to those who recognize the value of returning to school, yet need flexibility in their schedules.

Learning May Slow Death from Alzheimer’s

Currently, Alzheimer’s disease is among the top six leading causes of death in the United States. The average course of the disease before death is 8 years; though some people live with it for as long as 10 years. By age 80, over half of senior citizens have developed Alzheimer’s.

In a previous blog, How Online Schools Help Improve Your Brain, the case is made for incorporating lifelong learning as a prescription to delay dementia. Dr. Richard Restak, M.D., – eminent neurologist and brain specialist – made this observation:

“You can reduce the chances that you will develop Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia if you think of education as a life-long project, if you remain curious and inquisitive about people and events . . . By taking active efforts to remain mentally agile, you  increase both your chances of growing new nerve cells and the likelihood that your brain will maintain and increase its nerve cell connections and circuits.” (Mozart’s Brain and the Fighter Pilot, chapter 4)

Resting on past learning laurels is not enough. What was learned and conquered months ago is not enough. The brain needs new stimulation and challenges for maximum brain health and improved memory.

Online Schools Are A Great Choice

Accredited online schools offer the ability to choose when and where to study. And it is helpful that the learning is under the tutelage of highly-credentialed professors who help students to maintain a regular pace leading to a well-defined goal. Whether the online classes are taken for personal knowledge, a professional certificate or an online college degree, the brain receives the workout it needs.

As a possible bonus, increased longevity with a healthy brain is the priceless byproduct of a college education. Give distance learning a try; you might be amazed at the results.

online schools, online degree program, distance learning, Alzheimers, education, back to school, brain, dementia, Richard Restak, brain health, college education, healthy brain, Mozart’s Brain, improved memory

Popularity: 4% [?]

Posted by vida

Distance Learning Boosts a Graying Workforce

Thursday, December 27th, 2007

Older adults are attending online schools in droves for yet another reason: they expect to work well beyond the usual retirement age of 65.

Lack of adequate health care and retirement benefits have forced some retirees back into the marketplace. Another segment of older workers simply chooses to work as long as they are physically able to do so –either because they are bored, or to keep their brain engaged and stimulated.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the so-called “graying” of the work-force is already taking place and will be particularly evident by the year 2016. The main labor force of those between the ages of 25 and 54 is expected to decline from 68.4% to 64.6% between 2006 and 2016. But the percentage of older workers, aged 55 and up, is expected to increase from 16.8% to 22.7%.

Those who are interesting in retiring from one career now have the opportunity to study at home for a new career.  Distance learning has made a way for full-time employees to earn an accredited online degree without sacrificing time off from work. 

And what promising careers are calling to retirement-age workers?

The hot jobs of the future are in varying fields — including health services, education, business administration, computer information systems, scientific and technical consulting, software publishing, administrative support, Internet publishing, broadcasting, telecommunication services, arts, entertainment and recreation.

According to the CIA World Fact Book, a male or female child born today can expect to live 75 or 80 years, respectively. Soon, it will not be unusual to find people living to be 100 years old. So the thought of experiencing 2-3 major careers in one lifetime is not a stretch.

E-learning has spread to traditional colleges and for-profit online schools. And adult learners who thought their schools days were over are now taking notes – once again.

online schools, distance learning, e-learning, online education, adult learners, employees, jobs, career, study_at_home, college, retirement, hot jobs, colleges

Popularity: 6% [?]

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Procrastination and Online Schools: A Deadly Combination

Wednesday, December 26th, 2007

There is an old saying, “He who hesitates is lost.” Some consider this to be the true essence of procrastination.

But procrastination and online degree programs do not mix. They are like oil and water, never successfully blending. The distance learning student who suffers with a time management or procrastination problem will find a thorny path along the way to degree completion.

Do Not Despair

If you suffer from procrastination, do not despair — there is hope.  In the beginning of an online degree program, a majority of students find that they have not planned properly for assignment due dates. But after a few missteps in this area, it is possible to make some minor adjustments to stay on track:

  • Thoroughly read the syllabus, or course requirement details.
  • Place reading assignments, homework, and exam dates into a calendar (including a Palm Pilot, Blackberry, iPhone or other organizing device).  
  • Work on assignments incrementally, a small portion at a time, by adding study times into the calendar up to just before the due date.
  • Include enough time to absorb mishaps, like computer glitches.
  • E-mail the professor as early as possible about any problems completing an assignment. Do not wait until the last minute.
  • Never rely on cramming for an exam by staying up all night. Begin studying early so that the course information has a chance to simmer and settle into the memory banks over time.

You are Not Alone

According to USA Today, 26% of Americans consider themselves to be procrastinators; and according to additional sources, between 80% to 95% of all students procrastinate sometimes. Previous data linked perfectionism to procrastination; but recent studies conclude that distractions are to blame for most people putting things off until later.

Televisions and computers are the biggest culprits; and new technology, like iPhones, are expected to move to the top of the distraction list. E-mail, You Tube, and downloaded music are readily accessible from almost anywhere, making it more difficult to focus on tasks that may be viewed as less than fun – like homework.

But e-learning students must force themselves to complete their homework assignments before surfing the web, playing video games, or watching television. And they should study early in the day, if possible, rather than making it the lowest priority. Studying too late makes it more difficult to concentrate or remain awake.

You Can Do It

Transforming from a procrastinator may not be easy; but it is possible. By becoming aware of unnecessary habits that devour precious time, students can become efficient and diligent in their studies.

The act of focusing on the light at the end of the tunnel, rather than settling for the distracting sights and sounds surrounding them, assures e-learning students of the best chance to succceed — whether the goal is to earn an online associate’s, bachelor’sdoctoral degree or professional certificate.

So don’t let procrastination kill your dreams.  Beat it and receive your college degree! 

online schools, online degree program, online degrees, college degree, distance learning, USA Today, procrastination, time management, computers, homework, exam, iPhones, online associates degree, online bachelors degree, online doctoral degree, online professional certificate, e-learning

Popularity: 5% [?]

Posted by vida

The Gift That is Great Year ‘Round — a College Education

Monday, December 24th, 2007

The Christmas season is almost past; but one gift that is always right on target is that of a college education. It is a creative way to express love and gratitude to someone who has been living with this dream. And there are a number of ways to give this gift.

Most of us have family members and close friends that have expressed the dream of earning a college degree. Yet for gift-giving occasions, we often disregard this opportunity that is staring us in the face. 

There are several ways to give the gift of education:

1)  Send a card with the name and web page of an online school directory, like Directory of Schools. Write a note offering to pay part or all of the costs of enrolling in the first class.

2)  Give a book containing scholarship and financial aid information. These books can be found at major book retailers or online at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

3)  Purchase a book of preparatory information for tests like the GED, SAT, GMAT, or LSAT (if they are pertinent to the selected area of educational interest.)   

4)  Pick up or order a copy of the local college catalog, along with a schedule of classes for the next term. (Most traditional colleges offer online classes.) Put the catalog in a package and add some with school supplies – like notebooks, pens, pencils. You could also include a small monetary contribution to cover part of the tuition.

5)  Write a card to a spouse or significant other lending your support and encouragement as they consider going back to school. Let the person know that you will do whatever you can to lend a hand, to help financially, and to be understanding about time constraints. 

The gift of a college education is a useful and thoughtful one; and there are a number of additional ways to give this gift to a special someone. So remember these tips the next time a special occasion rolls around for someone on your gift list.

Give the gift that really does keep on giving.

college, online schools, online classes, education, financial aid,

Popularity: 4% [?]

Posted by vida

Assistant Police Chief of Dallas School District Resigns Under Diploma Mill Cloud

Thursday, December 20th, 2007

According to the Dallas Morning News, the assistant police chief of the Dallas Independent School District has resigned amidst revelations that his credentials were received from a diploma mill.

In 2006, when the position with the school district became available, Donovon Collins listed – on his resume – an online bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Canyon College in Idaho. An investigation revealed that Mr. Collins had taken about 6 classes and paid approximately $2,500 to obtain his degree. 

An accredited online degree for full-time college students generally requires 6-8 classes or more a year for at least 4 years. In a private college, which Canyon College claims to be, $2,500 would barely cover one semester.

Canyon College is absent from the list of accredited colleges and universities provided by the U.S. Department of Education. Because of its unaccredited status in Idaho, Canyon College does not allow students of Idaho to enroll in its classes. In this way, it has been able to offer distance-learning programs to out-of-state students without facing legal challenges from Idaho officials.

But in Texas, listing a ‘fraudulent or substandard  degree’ in order to procure a job or promotion is illegal. Therefore, it is possible that Mr. Collins may face misdemeanor charges.

Diploma mills may provide a shorter path to a degree; but the degree is worthless. So potential students should be careful to check out any college or university before enrolling. 

online degree, accredited online degree, diploma mill, online bachelor’s degree, criminal justice, Idaho, college or university, Texas, resume, credentials, college students, job, promotion, unaccredited college, distance learning, police_chief, Dallas

Popularity: 7% [?]

Posted by vida

Strayer University: Not Just A Military Favorite

Tuesday, December 18th, 2007

Strayer University is much more than the military favorite we portrayed in a recent post.

It is a 115-year old institution, steeped in history and with a legacy of excellence in education. Back in 1892, when it was founded by Dr. Irving Strayer, the school was known as Strayer’s Business College of Baltimore City. When it became licensed to offer bachelor’s degrees in 1969, the name was changed to Strayer College, then to Strayer University in 1998 with full accreditation.

Strayer now has 51 campuses, according to an interview with Michael Midura in the November 2007 online edition of Military Advanced Education magazine. Midura, National Military Manager of Strayer, also spoke about the 32,000 students who have chosen to pursue their education at the university. Most pursue online degrees; though close to half take courses on one of its campuses.

Students at Strayer focus on high-demand career fields — like information technology, business administration, health services administration, education, public administration and more. E-learning students are offered a myriad of support services — including online tutoring centers, an extensive online library staffed with professional librarians, financial aid counselors, a military admissions team and a career development center. 

The for-profit school is owned by Strayer Education, Inc. and is listed as STRA on the NASDAQ.

online degrees, e-learning, online schools, Strayer University, military education, information technology, business administration, public administration, health services administration, education, college, financial aid, NASDAQ, career, university

Popularity: 3% [?]

Posted by vida

No Campus Crime with Online Schools

Monday, December 17th, 2007

As the world becomes increasingly unsafe – due to wars, disease, automobile accidents, terrorism and crime — more people are thinking about ways they can increase their personal safety.

Online schools are rapidly being recognized as a viable alternative for those concerned with the safety issues of on-campus traditional college attendance. A recent news article,  entitled Is long-distance course delivery the answer to increasing campus liability?”, poses a thought-provoking question.  It lays the groundwork for whether distance learning may be the answer of the future for those who are weary of increasing crime on college campuses.

Potential students – whether high school grads or adult learners — who are deciding whether to attend classes on an open campus or a campus surrounded by a crime-ridden neighborhood may do well to consider an accredited online degree program. Online classes may be taken from the comfort of home at a schedule usually set by the student. There is generally no need to travel to a college campus unless the course has a proctored final examination; but this usually only happens in courses for a few specialized fields. 

Law enforcement officials have long known that crime on college campuses is not unusual. Rape, burglary, and auto theft are common to most colleges and universities, but are not well-publicized. However, crime statistics are available through the U.S. Department of Education to parents and students who wish to dig a bit deeper before making a college choice.

But why consider college crime at all? That is the question potential students should ask themselves. Besides saving money on dorm or housing costs, gasoline and auto repair, e-learning offers flexibility and the opportunity to apprentice or work full-time while attending school. Numerous online schools also offer classes year round, allowing students the option of accelerating the process of earning a college degree.

And let’s not forget, of course, distance learning offers the added benefits of personal safety and peace of mind.

online schools, online degree program, e-learning, distance learning, online classes, college crime, personal safety, colleges and universities, traditional college, on-campus college, college campus, U.S. Department of Education, law enforcement, college degree, education

Popularity: 3% [?]

Posted by vida

Author Proves Age is No Barrier to Online Law Degree

Thursday, December 13th, 2007

A recent news article in the Hampshire Chronicle News highlighted a 65-year old college professor who received her online law degree in 2003 and recently finished writing a well-researched murder mystery.

Penny Morgan is one of millions of adult learners who have continued to keep their brain stimulated by pursuing a college education.

For Dr. Morgan, studying at an online school was as normal as her previous educational accomplishments — attending the University of British Columbia, studying zoology in England, doing post-doctoral work at Southampton University, working as head of the psychology department at Peter Symonds College and currently writing two additional books as part of a trilogy.

In a previous blog, How Online Schools Help Improve Your Brain, I alluded to the fact that the brain continues to learn and grow additional brain cells throughout life. I quoted Dr. Richard Restak, a prominent neuropsychiatrist, who also states the following in his book,  Mozart’s Brain and the Fighter Pilot:

It’s likely that your brain cells will also continue to multiply in certain important areas if you continue to challenge yourself intellectually. Think of the brain as a work in progress that continues from birth until the day you die. At every moment, your activities and thoughts are modifying your brain. That modification can lead to enhanced brain performance and capabilities. This holds true no matter what your age or how late in life you begin.” (Chapter 4)

No matter what your age, online learning is an excellent way to sharpen your intellectual skills throughout life. So keep your brain active and challenged; and make education a lifelong goal.

I am sure the Dr. Penny Morgan will agree. 

online law degree, online school, college education, psychology, zoology, brain performance, online learning, adult learner, online degree

Popularity: 4% [?]

Posted by vida

Harvard Gives Major Tuition Break to Higher Income Families

Wednesday, December 12th, 2007

Beginning next fall, according to the Los Angeles Times, families with incomes of $180,000 or less will receive a major tuition break from Harvard University.

These families are increasingly unable to pay for their children to attend the highly-esteemed, expensive school. The cost of tuition, room and board at Harvard is approximately $45,620 a year. But with the new financial aid plan announced this week, those in this upper-middle-class bracket will generally pay only about 10% of their income for tuition. 

Harvard has a history of helping students from poor families to attend college. Currently, students whose families make $60,000 or less are able to attend the university tuition-free. But since Harvard eliminated student loans, even families with incomes above $60,000 have found it difficult to pay the hefty tuition fees.

Although the new tuition plan will cost Harvard an additional $22 million a year, the private university has one of the largest endowments in the country — $34.9 billion – to help pay for it.

Still, Harvard’s philanthropic efforts have generally paved the way for other like-minded universities to do what they can to help those who cannot afford to attend college. And with the rising costs of higher education, more than just the poor are being left behind.

Hopefully, Harvard University’s actions will spur other schools to consider the plight of the middle classes, in addition to those from lower income levels, and to help relieve some of the financial burden of escalating college costs.  A number of accredited online schools already offer lower tuition rates; but there is still a long way to go.

tuition, Harvard, financial aid, college students, higher education, universities, college costs, tuition-free, middle class, accredited online schools  

Popularity: 6% [?]

Posted by vida

Colleges Request Info About High School Students’ Past Troubles

Wednesday, December 12th, 2007

According to a recent article in the Los Angeles Times, colleges are paying more attention to whether applicants for the new freshman class have been troublemakers in high school.

On the heels of the Virginia Tech tragedy, college admissions officers have been forced to acknowledge that a pattern of legal troubles or disciplinary action in a applicant’s high school past could signal trouble ahead.  However, a strong candidate generally does not have to worry about occasional problems.

The Common Application used by over 300 predominantly private colleges — including Harvard, YaleStanford and Princeton — expects honest answers to  questions about “academic or behavioral misconduct” and convictions for any crime.

The student applicant’s instinct may be to omit such offenses from the application. But creative applicants have already begun to spin the unfortunate past events as “learning opportunities” in their college essays. These students are honest enough to admit that they did something wrong and that they learned life lessons that placed them on a better, more productive path.

Such honesty must certainly impress college admissions officers.

Of course, those with a previous pattern of recklessness and destructiveness in high school should consider all of their college options, including local junior colleges and accredited online schools.  Distance learning institutions, by their nature, do not require the type of scrutiny that traditional colleges are forced to address.

But the best way to handle the problem of answering uncomfortable questions on the Common Application is to simply stay out of trouble. That means no drinking and driving, no reckless driving, no fights, no disrespecting of teachers and others in authority, no skipping school, no cheating, no intimidation of other students, no illegal drug use, no stealing, etc.

Colleges care about a high school student’s past; and that is one more reason for students to be on their best behavior.

online schools, distance learning, college admissions, high school seniors, colleges, common application

Popularity: 5% [?]

Posted by vida