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Archive for February, 2009

When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Go Back to School

Saturday, February 28th, 2009

There is no doubt that these are tough times — tough for business, the unemployed and the economy as a whole.

But like weeds pushing through a crack in the sidewalk, the survivors among us continue to press forward.

These comrades — our neighbors, co-workers and friends — are energized by adversity, strengthened by misfortune and transformed by life’s unfortunate circumstances.

In fact, rather than hiding out until the dust settles, many of these brave souls are returning to school.

And in true anomaly fashion, while fixtures along the business landscape topple like dominoes, enrollment in online schools, public universities, junior colleges and trade schools is booming.

These ’survivor students’ are training for new careers, upgrading current skills and earning online degrees and professional certificates. And these adult learners are now free of the barriers that would normally prohibit scholastic participation — being too busy, unable to qualify for financial aid, the high price of gas, and lack of motivation. But hard times have changed all of that.

Careers as paralegals, medical assistants, pharmacy technicians, teachers, nurses, information technology specialists and health care administrators suddenly seem expedient, with online classes for some taking as little as 1-2 years to complete.

Like these survivors, we should also strive to discover creative solutions that may not pay off today, but could offer hope for a better tomorrow. Higher education accomplishes this in a way that few options ever do.

As Ralph Waldo Emerson so pointedly stated, “Bad times have a scientific value. These are occasions a good learner would not miss.”

So take advantage of the ‘bad times’ to lay a foundation for the good times to come.

Take a page from survivors: enroll in online school.

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Popularity: 4% [?]

Posted by vida

No Daydreaming in Class for Future Students

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

The newborns of today are headed toward an education future where they may never experience the ‘daydreaming in class’ kind of boredom that is familiar to so many students.

Instead, motivation and a love for learning will guide each child through middle school and the high school years.

And parents will appreciate not having to pay the expensive fees of a private school education. Instead, their children will experience a free, high quality public school education.

Change is on the horizon for the entire education landscape, or so says ‘disruptive innovation’ guru Clayton Christensen, co-author of the book, ‘Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns’. In a Harvard Business School interview in August of 2008, Christensen states:

Computer-based learning is an exciting disruption because it allows anyone to access a consistent quality learning experience; it is convenient since someone can take it virtually anywhere at any time; it allows a student to move through the material at any pace; it can customize for a student’s preferred learning style; and it is more affordable than the current school system.”

He advocates that all of the different learning styles of students will be accommodated by the e-learning model of the future. A majority of students will learn predominantly online or via software tailored to each individual student’s learning needs.

Christensen purports that the one-size-fits-all model of traditional education is on the way out, along with outdated textbooks and teacher-centered classrooms. He also maintains that college and university administrators who are unwilling to incorporate distance learning into their long-term plans will find it difficult to compete and survive.

As younger students embrace e-learning, online schools and online degree programs are expected to continue to thrive. Future high school graduates may find it difficult to choose traditional colleges when e-learning has been their primary educational reality.

Already, iPods and iPhones have introduced a new dimension to classroom learning. And inexpensive mini-computers, called netbooks, are forecasted to become the next must-have tool for college students. But innovations in the public school system may signal the next wave of major national education change.

Future students may wonder about daydreaming; but they will not miss it. It will lie silently upon the rusty pile of old school tradition, while e-learners enjoy the fruit of an education transformation that has been a long time coming.

online school, online degrees, book, change, class, disrupting class, disruptive innovation, elearning, expensive, experience, forecast, future, netbook, newborns, parents, public school, student

Popularity: 7% [?]

Posted by vida

New Benefit of Stimulus Package: Free College for Needy Students

Friday, February 20th, 2009

Low income students who play their cards right may end up with a free college education.

The new stimulus package signed into law by President Obama on Tuesday includes a provision that boosts the Pell Grant maximum to limits that cover, or nearly cover, the tuition and fees charged by a number of public colleges.

Based upon figures provided by the College Board, the average tuition and fees at a 4-year public college for 2008-09 were $6,585 per year, with most schools falling between $3,000 and $6,000 a year.

The Pell Grant, which provides federal funding to students from families making less than $30,000 a year, has been raised to a maximum of $5,350 per year with the passing of this stimulus bill.

Needy students who attend junior colleges, inexpensive public colleges or low-cost online schools may graduate with little or no tuition debt.

Of course, the Pell Grant is just one part of a financial aid package. Most eligible students will also receive federal student loans and work study to allay the cost of books, transportation and housing. Online students may save gas and housing costs by living at home while they pursue their online degrees. Or they may be able to work a full-time job and study when it is convenient.

Low-income students who are interested in applying for a Pell Grant should file an online FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) and fill out the information accurately and completely. Based upon the information provided, eligibility for the Pell Grant and other financial aid will be determined.

And some students will save enough money on their college education to savor a free ride — compliments of Uncle Sam.

online school, college, FAFSA, financial aid, free college, free ride, low income, needy, online degrees, online students, Pell Grant, stimulus, tuition, college for free

Popularity: 9% [?]

Posted by vida

Netbooks: A Low-Cost Alternative for Online Students

Thursday, February 12th, 2009

I was pleasantly surprised to find a mini-notebook computer, called a netbook, selling recently for as little as $299.

At Costco, for example, netbooks with 120-160GB hard drive are flying off the shelves.

Versions of this mini-laptop computer — manufactured by HP, Acer, Asus and Dell — are being snapped up by consumers, including students. Even Apple plans to join the fray by unveiling its own version of the netbook this year.

This e-learning tool is a godsend for online students. And potential students who plan to enroll in online schools, online degree programs or online classes have another way to save money.

Many netbooks use Intel’s Atom processor and work surprisingly well. To add to the allure of the low price, netbooks are generally Internet-ready and equipped with a webcam.

Students can easily carry the lightweight 2.2 pound computers all over the world and remain connected to teachers and classmates with email and through Skype, which allows users to see each other face to face while talking through the computer.

If you have ever traveled with a laptop computer, you know how heavy and awkward they can be — especially when going through security at airports. But netbooks slip easily into a small carry-on or a medium-sized purse. They are extra light and super-convenient for travel.

The word in the computer industry (and in the New York TImes) is that netbooks are the only computers that are turning a profit. And once students check them out, they will see why.

online schools, computers, elearners, atom processor, internet, laptops, netbook, online classes, online degrees, save money, skype, students, travel, webcam, online degree programs, apple, profit, snapped up

Popularity: 10% [?]

Posted by vida

E-learning and Romance: How Online Education Enhances Love

Wednesday, February 11th, 2009

Okay, so leaning over and gently whispering the words “online education” into your sweetheart’s ear may not stoke the fires of love; but there are other ways that distance learning can help heat up the romance.

Obviously, regular communication that is clear and honest helps to determine the quality of a relationship. And love, respect and appreciation for the other party breeds contentment and longevity.

This is an arena where e-learning may be able to contribute in the following ways:

  1. E-learning is designed to allow more time for relationships, not take it away. On-campus classes demand travel time, time in class, time at the lab (if required), on-campus teacher office hours and possible study and research time at the on-campus library. With e-learning, there is no travel time or in-class time on the campus; and virtual libraries, virtual labs and online office hours are available instead.
  2. E-learning offers flexible hours; and you can choose study times that work around relationship and family time. So if you have a regular date night (or nights), study time may fit either before or after the time out on the town.
  3. E-learning can travel with you and your sweetheart. You can still take that trip to the Caribbean, or maybe that close-to-home trip down the coast, up to the mountains or into the city. As long as your computer is portable and Internet access is available, you can even take exams and do homework from an idyllic travel spot. And since most local libraries have computers and Internet access, having your own computer is not always a requirement.
  4. E-learning may be another way of saying, “I love you enough to sacrifice time and money now to make a better life for us down the road.” Those late nights, early mornings and weekends that involve studying should signify to a significant other that you care enough about the relationship to plan and work now for a better future life together.
  5. E-learning offers the non-student in the relationship a chance to say “I love you” in special ways. A show of support for the student is a significant way to show love and build strong bonds. This support may include: taking care of extra household duties to allow extra study time as it is needed; being especially understanding when the student is studying, preparing for final tests or working on projects; keeping the children occupied when necessary and showing appreciation for the student’s efforts to earn an online degree.

Also, by remaining continually supportive and never complaining about your loved one’s efforts to take online classes, you allow the student to see your unselfish, generous-of-heart attitude, which creates a firmer foundation of longevity for the relationship.

Online schools and online degree programs are designed to enhance the lives of adult learners. And like candy and flowers, they also encourage love and romance to bloom.

For more on love, romance and school, read “Show Your Love On Valentine’s Day Without Spending a Dime

online schools, elearning, online education, valentines day, family, online degrees, adult learners, love, distance learning, computer, Internet, online classes, school, student, travel,plan

Popularity: 8% [?]

Posted by vida

Where the Jobs Are: States & Careers That Are Hiring

Monday, February 9th, 2009

In an economic climate where all news appears to be bad news, it is refreshing to learn that positive job reports do exist.

According to USA Today, jobs are available in specific states and careers. And stimulus or no stimulus, employment forecasts reveal that more people should begin working by the end of the year.

Six states expect to lose only 1% or less of their workers in 2009, according to Moody’s Economy.com, and may even do some hiring. Those states are:

  1. Colorado
  2. Nebraska
  3. New Mexico
  4. North Dakota
  5. Texas
  6. Washington, D.C.

And though 2009 may end with a loss of 2.8 million jobs in the nation, the situation should begin to turn around by the end of the year. It may take several years for employment to match pre-recession numbers; but job growth is imminent, according to economic experts.

In the midst of today’s job losses, at least three employment sectors are expected to show positive hiring gain in 2009:

  • education
  • health services
  • government

Many who have lost jobs are enrolled in online education classes for study in these and other hot careers, including accounting, dental assistant, nursing and other health care, business, computer science, criminal justice and more.

Online schools continue to roll out the red carpet to welcome the newly unemployed who want to be ready for when hiring picks up speed. Through these schools and traditional colleges and universities, unemployed workers hope to be at the front of the line for the influx of new jobs, whenever they appear.

Workers are cautioned against packing up their families to start a new life in a new place, unless proper research, planning and preparation reveal the presence of adequate work and economical housing.

But while staying put, it is advisable for individuals to utilize free monies and low-interest student loans to improve job skills, learn the ropes of a new career or earn an online degree or professional certificate.

Read full USA Today article

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Popularity: 13% [?]

Posted by vida

Seven Reasons Why Actors Are Successful in Politics

Friday, February 6th, 2009

Ronald Reagan did it — so did Arnold Schwartzenegger, Clint Eastwood, Sonny Bono, and Shirley Temple Black. They were actors who became politicians.

And now Val Kilmer may want a piece of the action.

Speaking of action, we are talking about the same Val Kilmer who played Batman, Iceman (Top Gun) and Doc Holiday (Tombstone) on the big screen — three of his most memorable roles. And now he is sending out feelers about the possible role of governor of New Mexico in 2010.

Some may chuckle at the thought; but there are some pretty compelling reasons why a successful acting career might lend itself to politics. Here are seven of them:

  1. Actors already have a connection with the public. Their movies reach millions of people; and many of us feel that we know something about them. So they have a head start in politics.
  2. Actors know how to sell themselves. They are charming salespeople with a knack for manipulating the media and the public. They sell their movies on talk shows, on billboards and in print ads. Then we, their targeted buyers, reward them by showing up at movie theaters in droves.
  3. Actors are excellent communicators. They are accustomed to studying and memorizing scripts, then projecting their voices while filming in front of an entire cast and crew. Giving speeches during a campaign is a piece of cake.
  4. Actors look great. Their appearance is money in the bank for them in the movie business; and successful actors take great care of their bodies. Voters love a politician with substance and good looks — we call it the “whole package”. And some studies show that many employers tend to favor attractive job applicants.
  5. Actors exude confidence, which gives John Q. Public confidence in them as well. Whatever they say, we want to believe them. After all, would Batman lie to us?
  6. Actors have rich and powerful friends and acquaintances. And these friends help fund their campaigns, speak on their behalf, and get out the vote.
  7. Actors are no stranger to patience, perseverance and hard work. After all, who can make it in the movie business without all of those qualities?

But what does all of this have to do with distance education or online schools?

To be honest, actors-turned-politicians are similar to adult learners who decide to enroll in school and begin a journey toward an online degree or professional certificate. Both are willing to choose a new path, take a risk, and learn new skills in an honorable pursuit.

It takes courage for the actor; and it takes courage for the adult e-learner.

Just one question: In the future, will it be President Val Kilmer? Who knows? But for now, let’s just take one step at a time.

val kilmer, online schools, distance education, online degrees, elearning, actor, politician, new mexico, arnold, top gun, eastwood, hollywood, movie, careers, adult learners

Popularity: 7% [?]

Posted by vida

Diploma Mills Use Psychology to Target Victims of Layoffs

Friday, February 6th, 2009

As the unemployment rate nears double-digit proportions, unscrupulous individuals and businesses are accelerating their efforts to further victimize the newly disenfranchised.

These include people who are unemployed or were hit hard by the housing crisis.

A flood of get-rich-quick schemes, identity theft, bad checks to eBay sellers and a proliferation of diploma mill hawkers relentlessly plague the country and the Internet. leaving victims to recover on their own — like those victims on the Madoff client list.

And like Madoff, diploma mills are particularly slick and smooth in their approach.

Diploma mill hackers use marketing psychology to elicit feelings of frustration and entitlement in individuals who feel they have received a raw deal. These individuals are perfect candidates for the false claims and misleading rhetoric of fake degree salespeople.

The sales claims of diploma mills targets those:

  1. who are feeling unfairly treated because of a layoff, demotion or pay cut,
  2. who are upset because college grads are being promoted above them, or
  3. who simply want to buy a college diploma to skip over the diligence, integrity and work required to earn an accredited online degree.

Diploma mill sellers use the following types of phrases on their websites:

  • “It is insulting to hear mainstream institutions say that 4 years of college outweighs your life experience.”
  • “Your life experience alone qualifies you for a college degree. So just write us an essay.”
  • “Buy a ‘novelty’ degree just to impress your friends, co-workers and employers.”
  • “Life experience is a better teacher than academic instruction; so you don’t need the instruction.”
  • “Accredition boards are simply exclusive clubs that were originally formed to insure quality standards at Ivy League colleges and universities.”

Diploma mills call themselves schools and usually have glossy web sites that lack the “.edu” normally found at the end of a reputable college or university’s web address url. They either lack a faculty list, or their faculty members usually claim degrees from the diploma mill. They ask for credit card payment without requiring class enrollment or attendance; or they simply ask for a life experience essay to meet all requirements. Payment is one set fee for the diploma and shipping costs, rather than a tuition costs based on units or credits.An impressive-looking diploma arrives as quickly as 1-2 weeks.

But don’t do it. Don’t fall for it. Don’t risk your future and the integrity of your career by cheating in the short-term to have it all taken away in the long-term. The sophistication of technology continues to enable easier and easier detection of this type of fraud. The chances of being exposed by an employer, colleague or background check are high.

Instead, earn a reputable online degree or professional certificate from an accredited online school.

If a job loss leaves you with more time on your hands, consider using that time to go back to school. You may even be eligible for grants and other benefits to attend school. Use the Department of Education and California Higher Education Accreditation websites to check out the college or university of your choice.

Don’t fall for the marketing of diploma mill schemes.

Earn your degree; don’t just buy it.

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Popularity: 8% [?]

Posted by vida

$15,000 Tax Credit Is Welcome Boost for Real Estate Pros

Thursday, February 5th, 2009

The housing market is poised for a huge boost from a $15,000 tax credit for 2009 home buyers. A whole new world may open up for those individuals and for real estate professionals.

  • An amendment to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (H.R.1) just passed the Senate and is expected to cross President Obama’s desk fairly soon for his expected approval.
  • Once the legislation becomes law, non-investors who buy a house this year may be able to claim 10% of a home’s purchase price — up to a $15,000 tax credit — on their 2009 tax return. They may also have an option to split the tax credit between 2 consecutive tax years.

A previous blog, Hot Career as a Real Estate Appraiser Expected to Sizzle in Future, discussed the projected future demand for real estate appraisers, which is just one of the careers that may be affected by this legislation. Students pursuing this field may choose online schools for their training. Real estate agents, mortgage loan officers, and paralegals are a few others for which online classes and training are available.

E-learning is popular with adult learners who yearn to return to school for an online degree or certificate program in order to obtain the knowledge and credentials necessary to become a successful real estate professional. And thankfully, there is no reason to belabor lost time when education options like online school are readily available for self-improvement.

This is a time to watch with hope, as this and other welcome changes infuse the economy like hot air giving rise to a soaring balloon.

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Popularity: 7% [?]

Posted by vida