"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 September, 2008

Western Governors Offers 150 Scholarships to Train Rural Teachers

Tuesday, September 30th, 2008

In order to help fill the projected shortage of math and science teachers in rural areas of the U.S., Western Governors University is making 150 additional scholarships available for eligible education students.

Made possible by a $3 million grant from the Department of Labor, the WGU Scholarships for Rural Mathematics and Science Educators are a wonderful opportunity for those who are willing to train online to become highly-qualified teachers and work in schools that may be off the beaten path.

The scholarships, in amounts up to $7,500, are additional to education scholarships already offered by Western Governors University. WGU offers a number of generous education and other scholarships in its quest to ease the financial burden of its incoming students, including military personnel and their spouses.

WGU is an online school that charges one of the lowest tuition fees among U.S. colleges and universities without sacrificing quality. It offers a number of accredited online degree programs in high-demand fields of study. WGU’s Teachers’ College is the only completely online teaching program to be accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education.

Distance learning, also known as e-learning, is among the fastest-growing education trends. The ability to study from home, using a computer and an Internet connection, has drawn both adult learners and recent high school graduates back to the classroom.

Western Governors University uses a competency-based program to insure that graduates are able to do the work required of them once they enter the workforce.

This is a great time to pursue a college education; and Western Governors University’s scholarship program for rural educators offers a true bargain for 150 qualified students who will be chosen to receive quite a gift.

online degree program, online degrees, online school, distance learning, scholarships, colleges and universities, Western Governors, educators, teachers, adult learners, military education

Popularity: 7% [?]

Posted by vida

Teacher, Candidate Under Fire for Questionable College Degrees

Thursday, September 25th, 2008

A Wylie teacher and a Lake Elsinore city council candidate are in the same boat. Both are under fire for claiming unaccredited online degrees among their credentials.

In Wylie, Texas, teacher and city councilman Merrill Young has resigned from his job as a teacher in the Wylie Independent School Districe amidst allegations of fraud relating to his education credentials.

The Texas Education Agency (TEA) revoked his teaching certificate when Young appeared on a list of fake degree buyers ’outed’ following a recent and heavily-publicized Seattle diploma mill case. In that case, over $7 million was earned by owners of the illegal business for churning out fake college diplomas.

Young reportedly paid $100 for a fake bachelor’s degree in business administration from Concordia College & University. Concordia boldly states on its website that its college diplomas can be mailed out in as little as 2 weeks following a credit card payment – with no college work required.

The Texas Education Agency considers Concordia College & University to be an unaccredited institution whose fake college degrees cannot be used in Texas to obtain a job, promotion or pay raise. The TEA continues to investigate the case.

In Lake Elsinore, Californa, city council candidate Amy Marie Bhutta is dodging allegations that her doctoral degree is unaccredited.

Bhutta, who is a high school teacher, earned legitimate bachelor’s and master’s degrees from accredited universities; and a doctoral degree was not required for her teaching job. However, during the course of her campaign for a city council spot, opponents raised questions about the source of the ’Ph.D.’ designation that Bhutta so prominently and proudly displayed next to her name.

The online doctorate, received from City University Los Angeles (CULA) in 2003, is in question because it is not accredited by any of the major national or regional accrediting bodies. CULA may not belong in the category of fraudulent diploma mills; however, the school has not met the stringent requirements of accrediting agencies approved by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).

Both cases, Young’s and Bhutta’s, illustrate the likelihood of fake or unaccredited degrees eventually coming to light. Young claims he did not know that his online degree was a phony. Bhutta says CULA required mounds of college-level work, including a doctoral dissertation; but that she cannot remain supportive of the school, due to problems with its accrediting agency.

The lesson in all of this is that potential students should carefully check out any traditional colleges or online schools they are seriously considering as possibilities for enrollment. The U.S. Department of Education has information on accreditation, a listing of reputable accrediting bodies, and a database of all accredited U.S. colleges and universities. But as consumers, students should not forget to heed the caveat, ’Buyer Beware’.

Merrill Young now works for the Wylie ISD as an instructional special education aide while his case is being investigated; and Amy Bhutta continues on the campaign trail, sans the Ph.D. behind her name.

diploma mills, fake degrees, online degrees, online schools, Wylie, fraudulent degree, online doctorate, CHEA, higher education, US Department of Education, Lake Elsinore

Popularity: 15% [?]

Posted by vida

Cal State East Bay Embraces Tech-Generation Students

Wednesday, September 24th, 2008

Cal State East Bay’s recent entrance into the expanding world of online degrees should be the anticipated move of any forward-thinking institution of higher education.

When Cal State East Bay announced that it is offering, for the first time, five online degree programs, it joined the numerous traditional and online schools that have taken a similar step toward the future.

This San Francisco Bay Area university is one of 23 campuses in the California State University system, but it may be the first to offer a fully-online degree. Others in the system are sure to follow.

Most traditional colleges already offer online classes; and online degree programs are quickly becoming common fare at such institutions — whether public or private. For example, Indiana State University offers online MBA’s through its award-winning Kelley School of Business; and Stanford University offers online master’s degrees in the fields of aeronautics, applied physics, engineering, computer science and biomedical informatics. 

But Cal State East Bay is unique because their online degrees remain low-cost for California residents and reasonable for out-of-state students. Rather than follow the pattern of colleges and universities that substantially inflate the cost of their online degree programs – citing start-up, training and distance-learning technology costs, Cal State East Bay has chosen to gift their online students with both flexibility and affordability.

Colleges and universities seeking to remain financially afloat in future years should pay close attention to where education technology is headed, then plot their own courses accordingly, just as Cal State East Bay and other schools have done. 

There is no doubt that e-learning programs will continue to attract the new generation of savvy students who have grown up with computers, the Internet and high-tech gadgets.

And schools like Cal State East Bay are determined to be prepared to embrace them.

online schools, online degrees, online degree program, e-learning, distance learning, Cal State East Bay, traditional college, online classes, online MBA’s, colleges and universities, distance learning

Popularity: 8% [?]

Posted by vida

Free Online Courses Stimulate E-learning Appetites

Sunday, September 21st, 2008

How do you return to school if there is no money in the budget and no time to meet homework deadlines?

Thankfully, there is a solution for wannabe students who are not prepared to pay tuition bills, or who are hesitant about committing their time to an online degree program.

They can try out one of the free online classes from top colleges and universities across the country.

In fact, following the lead of several Ivy League schools, Stanford University now offers 10 free online classes through its School of Engineering.

The free program, known as Stanford Engineering Everywhere (SEE), is available to anyone with a computer and an Internet connection. It is the first time that Stanford has made these classes available tuition-free; and it is a wonderful opportunity for students and faculty all over the world.

Among the 10 classes included are: a 3-course Introduction to Computer Science, 3 courses in Artificial Intelligence and 4 courses in Linear Systems and Optimization.  Each class includes lectures, handouts, homework assignments and a syllabus. However there is no interaction with the instructor or with classmates.

In accredited online schools and online degree programs, instructors are readily available to assist students by e-mail, by phone and even during interactive online lectures. Classmates often assist each other by responding to message boards and e-mails. This is one of the most important differences between free courses and those for which tuition is paid. Also, there is no course credit received for these free classes; although the content is identical to the courses taken by Stanford students.

Still, the free courses are a great way to access valuable information taught by highly-qualified faculty. They also introduce novice e-learners and others to distance-learning technology and the future of education.

Stanford is only one of the schools offering free courses to the public. And in schools like MIT, Harvard and Yale, free courses are spread out across several disciplines — including English, history, science, management, psychology, astronomy, computer science, philosophy, physics, political science, religion, health, architecture and more.

Anyone who desires to further their education without spending any money may do so by taking advantage of these free classes. And once they have tasted the stimulation of newly-acquired knowledge, perhaps the next short step will be to enroll in an accredited online degree or professional certificate program.

Those with a dream in their heart to return to college should not hesitate to reach out and grab this free gift!

online degree program, online degree, colleges and universities, Stanford, online schools, distance learning, MIT, e-learning, professional certificate, free courses, tuition-free, no money

Popularity: 9% [?]

Posted by vida

Six Ways to Fill the Financial Gaps of Heading Back to College

Wednesday, September 17th, 2008

As adult learners contemplate the positives and negatives of whether to pursue a college degree, the potential for higher earnings often tips the scales in favor of returning to school.

But the final decision about college often hinges on one important issue: cost.

As tuition rates rise along with the price of gas, food, utilities and housing, these potential students are forced to consider their budget when choosing an online school, traditional college or on-campus university.

Among the financial issues are a few additional items to consider when making this decision:

  1. Even with rising tuition at most schools, there are still incredible higher education bargains out there. Check local junior colleges, which generally charge a much lower tuition than private colleges, but only to state residents. Also, look into low-tuition online schools, like Western Governors University. Both options offer excellence without putting you in the poorhouse.
  2. Instead of throwing out a college or university because the tuition rate is too high, first check with its financial aid office to discover whether you qualify for special scholarships, grants or tuition discounts. Many accredited online schools and traditional degree programs offer additional financial consideration to veterans and their wives, teachers in rural areas, disabled students, racial minorities, economically disadvantaged students, nursing students and other select groups. You may be surprised to find a tuition break that pays a significant part of tuition at the school of your choice. 
  3. Consider distance learning as a strategy for working and taking classes at the same time. By choosing an online degree program, you may be able to get a head start on job experience and earn money to pay tuition bills. 
  4. Ask your employer whether a tuition assistance program exists for employees. If available, this little-known benefit may take care of all or a portion of your tuition and book costs. And even if there is no such formal benefit, employers often assist hard-working, loyal employees in upgrading their skills and qualifications.
  5. Consider e-learning as an option to save gas and erase transportation costs from the education financial picture. Thousands of online degree programs are available from online schools, traditional schools and junior colleges.
  6. Stay away from diploma mills; they are a waste of money. In an increasing number of states, fake degrees are illegal when they are used to secure employment, gain a pay raise or garner a promotion. Blatant degree mills simply want you to pay a fee, choose your grade point average and select the type of degree you want them to send you. Rather than risking jail time or exposure down the road, choose a reputable education clearinghouse – like Directory of Schools. They have already researched the colleges and universities for you. You may also check with the U.S. Department of Education website to find out whether a specific school is accredited by a reputable accrediting body.

With a little exploration, it is possible to return to school and earn a college diploma while maintaining financial stability. So do not assume that a specific degree program is out of reach until all financial avenues have been exhausted.

And don’t be discouraged. There is a college out there that fits both your interests and your budget.

online schools, e-learning, distance learning, online degree programs, adult learners, colleges and universities, save gas, higher education, diploma mills, fake degrees, Directory of Schools 

Popularity: 6% [?]

Posted by vida

New Jersey Fake Degree Case May Lead to New Restrictions

Saturday, September 13th, 2008

Diploma mill abuses in a New Jersey school district may lead to tighter restrictions on the use of fake or unaccredited degrees.

In a recent New Jersey case, three administrators in the Freehold Regional High School District used tax dollars to purchase fake doctoral degrees from Breyer State University, a now-defunct Alabama-based diploma mill. Those ill-gotten advanced degrees garnered substantial pay raises for the three state employees over the past couple of years.

New Jersey taxpayers criticized the wasteful spending of the school officials. Yet the New Jersey Education Department ultimately found no criminal wrongdoing by the administrators; because no law was in place at the time prohibiting the use of fake degrees.

But N.J. state regulations are currently being tightened to prevent similar college degree abuses. In the future, the use of fake degrees should be prohibited in the Freehold Regional High School District as a means of obtaining employment, a pay raise or a promotion.

Diploma mill cases have become more prominent in the news since the release of tens of thousands of names of fake degree purchasers following a high-profile Washington case. Dixie and Stephen Randock, of Washington, were convicted along with their daughter and several others following a lengthy investigation headed by the FBI. The Randocks raked in over $7 million operating their illegal business.

Following publication of ‘the list’, many of those named were fired, demoted, reprimanded or investigated. New federal legislation continues to move forward in Congress to further strengthen legal avenues of action toward those who sell fake degrees or those who use diploma mills to obtain employment or job promotions.

Fake college degrees are particularly harmful when they are used to secure jobs in the health or medical fields, aviation, counseling, engineering, and homeland security.

Potential college and university students should thoroughly check out both the traditional and online schools in which they are interested. It is important to utilize the resources like the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) in order to insure the choice of an accredited online degree or on-campus degree.

New Jersey, fake degrees, diploma_mill, online school, accredited online schools, unaccredited degrees, fake doctoral degrees, Breyer State University, Dixie Randock, taxpayers

Hopefully, New Jersey taxpayers will soon be able to trust that education expenditures for fraudulent college degrees are a thing of the past. 

Popularity: 20% [?]

Posted by vida

McCain Believes in Education Choice for Parents and Students

Wednesday, September 10th, 2008

It is interesting to see the contrast between presidential candidate John McCain’s position on public education and Barack Obama’s views

Both candidates appear to be interested in an equal education for every American student; but each has a different plan for accomplishing that goal.

An article in the New York Times (9-9-08), reiterates McCain’s position on education as being one that encourages school choice for parents and students, with little intervention from the federal government.

  • Rather than focusing on a one-size-fits-all view of public schools, John McCain proposes offering all students the opportunity to attend a school of their choice, using a voucher system.  This would  particularly benefit students who are currently limited to academically inadequate or unsafe public schools.
  • McCain is also a huge supporter of online schools and wants to provide federal funding so that more distance learning options will also be available to students. He also supports homeschooling as a viable educational choice.
  • McCain believes that teachers should receive pay bonuses for exemplary student achievement in elementary, junior high and high schools. Teachers who choose to teach in ‘difficult’ teaching environments would also receive additional compensation. (The teachers’ union is opposed to bonus pay tied to performance).
  • McCain would like to increase after-school tutoring programs managed by private companies.

John McCain offers an education plan that reflects choice and independence. His support of online schools, homeschooling and vouchers offers an education alternative to all students and their parents.

Although education may be a minor issue for many voters, it is still an issue worth considering between now and Election Day, November 4th.

John McCain,  presidential candidate, public schools, online schools, distance learning, teachers, education, Barack Obama, John McCain, Election Day

Popularity: 6% [?]

Posted by vida

Preparing Online for the Successful Writer’s Life

Friday, September 5th, 2008

The writing life is coveted by many; but in order to become a successful writer, training and education in the language arts is beneficial.

Yet even with the appropriate coursework, the road to financial success as an author is still challenging and competitive. But judging from the millions of books bulging to capacity on library shelves, it is obvious that quite a few authors are able make a living crafting the written word.

For example, highly-acclaimed author Amy Tan has achieved tremendous success as a writer – in her early years as a business and technical writer, then later as a writer of novels. And soon, she will be honored in a way that few writers ever experience.

Amy Tan’s best-selling book, The Bonesetter’s Daughter, debuts on September 13th as a world premiere production of the San Francisco Opera. The story of the difficult relationship between a Chinese immigrant and her Chinese American daughter has captivated the reading public; and now the intriguing tale is live onstage with singers, Chinese acrobats and a full orchestra. Tan, who holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in English and linguistics, also wrote the libretto for the opera.

Previously, Tan’s book, The Joy Luck Club, was adapted into a critically-acclaimed movie; and Tan co-authored the screenplay. The book remained on the New York Times bestseller list for 75 weeks, according to Turner Classic Movies. The movie was a hit at the box ofice.

Amy Tan did her homework as a writer by earning a bachelor’s and master’s degree from a traditional college. But today, an online bachelor’s degree in English, journalism, linguistics, business communications or liberal arts studies is a flexible way to earn the credentials and skills that are so helpful for budding writers.

As e-learning students, writing hopefuls learn the foundational rules and fundamental mechanics of composition, English grammar, English literature, and poetry. Students also study the best of world literature in order to critique and understand how the greats placed their thoughts on paper in a unique and compelling way.

A number of accredited online schools offer college degrees that prepare graduates for the excellence that is generally required in the world of editors, writers and the expectant public. Students schedule their study time to accommodate full-time jobs, family responsibilities, physical limitations, travel and high gas prices.

Although preparation for the writing life is not without hard work, the payoff down the road is often fulfilling, as the abililty to write with excellence brings enlightenment, joy and creativity to others.

Amy Tan is certainly a testament to that.

Amy Tan, authors, accredited_online_schools, e-learning, online bachelor’s degree, college, Amy Tan Opera, Bonesetter’s Daughter, Joy Luck Club, San Francisco Opera, writing life, gas prices

Popularity: 6% [?]

Posted by vida

When the Going Gets Tough, Adults Head Back to School

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2008

When the economy faces challenges as serious as what we are seeing today, most people tighten their budgets and look for ways to bring in more money.

But there is also an interesting phenomenon that takes place:  Adult learners return to school in droves.

Colleges and universities all over the country report increased fall enrollment. As traditional and online schools dust off the cobwebs of a laid-back summer, this time they also prepared for the onslaught of adult learners enrolling on-campus and in online degree programs.

There are several reasons that enrollment in higher education increases during an economic crisis:

  • People realize that what they have been doing to survive is not working anymore.
  • They watch those with multiple skills and higher education being selected by companies to remain, while others lose their jobs.
  • Some who lose their jobs suddenly have the time to return to school. 
  • Distance learning and technology have opened up new options to pursue higher education without losing income.

TImes are tough for so many; but others have it all figured out. Go back to school, earn a college degree, make more money — voila!

online schools, online degree program, higher education, college, job, adult learners, economy, colleges and universities, distance learning 

Popularity: 4% [?]

Posted by vida