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Archive for September, 2009

Western Governors University Does It Again

Monday, September 28th, 2009

Just as Western Governors University appeared to be at the pinnacle of excellence in education and service, they impressed us all — again.

This time, WGU decided in favor of no tuition hikes for undergraduate students this school year.

For a private online school that sets records for being among the least expensive universities, their decision is extraordinary. After all, who would blame them if they joined most other colleges and higher education institutions in raising tuition, especially during a sour economy?

But the economy is one reason WGU decided to give students a break. So tuition remains at its current low of under $3,000 for each 6-month term — a great bargain.

Western Governors even has a unique story about its beginnings to match its extraordinary desire to put students first.

The school was born out of a vision implemented by the governors of 19 western states 11 years ago. And today, WGU is "the nation’s largest supplier of math and science teachers in urban school districts", according to Time Magazine’s article, "Go Western, Young Man" . The non-profit online school has also been lauded by  NBC Nightly News; and because of WGU’s excellent reputation, its graduates are consistently hired by major employers, including Fortune 500 companies.

Western Governors is the only fully online school to receive NCATE approval for online degrees that prepare potential and current teachers. And WGU bends over backwards to provide generous scholarships to military personnel and their spouses, education students, nursing students and others. The school offers millions of dollars in federal financial aid to eligible students.

As the nation returns to its roots of thrift, it is refreshing to discover that getting the most bang for you bucks can apply to paying for a college education.

And this is definitely true at Western Governors University.

Popularity: 8% [?]

Posted by vida

Alzheimer’s Cases Increasing, E-learning Helps Protect Brain

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009

Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia are growing so rapidly that the situation is becoming a global emergency, according to Alzheimer’s Disease International.

The significant rise in Alzheimer’s cases has medical officials baffled; but researchers also report that if proper steps are taken early enough, the disease can be averted or delayed.

According to a recent Associated Press article , approximately 35 million people throughout the world have Alzheimer’s disease. And by the year 2050, over 115 million people are expected to suffer from it.

Dementia, including Alzheimer’s, targets the brain and causes sufferers to lose their memories, the ability to care for themselves and, ultimately, their lives. Generally, those age 65 and older are most affected due to factors associated with aging, genetics and health issues. However, the Alzheimer’s Association notes that dementia may also occur in those who are in the 30 to 50’s age range.

But there are ways to help protect the brain from this type of destructive brain deterioration.

Researchers discovered that keeping the brain stimulated throughout life may help offset dementia. Challenging the brain to learn new tasks and information is most beneficial.

Online degree programs offer this opportunity. And although many people lead busy lives, online schools offer a wide variety of subject areas that enable students to study when and where it is most convenient.

Students may enroll in online degree programs to switch gears and study for a new vocation, hobby or personal fulfillment. Online classes are generally taught using the latest in distance learning technology and offer the opportunity to embrace a new style of learning outside of the standard classroom.

E-learning may involve watching lectures online, reading textbooks, digesting instructors’ study notes, utilizing specialized software, engaging classmates in online discussions, interacting with instructors in online chat rooms or by email, completing timed online quizzes or tests, and more.

Online education stimulates the brain at all ages and, along with other healthful habits, contributes to enhanced brain function, better mental health and protection from dementia.

online schools, alzheimers, brain disease, dementia, brain, distance learning, elearning, loss of memory, mental health, online classes, online degree programs, online degrees, online education

Popularity: 3% [?]

Posted by vida

ACORN Defunding Opens Dangerous Can of Worms

Friday, September 18th, 2009

The community action group, ACORN, which has been accused of criminal activity and corruption, is well on its way to losing all of its federal funds.

In a swift move to deny government money to ACORN, Rep. Darrell Issa introduced a “motion to recommit” into the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2009. This motion was apparently fueled by an entrapment scenario at ACORN offices that was videotaped and made public.

The education bill, with its new attachment, was overwhelmingly and evenly approved by Democrats (172) and Republicans (173) as it passed by a vote of 345-75. All “no” votes came from Democrats. The bill must be signed by President Obama before becoming law.

However, a dangerous precedent is being set in the handling of ACORN.

If this defunding can happen to ACORN, it can also happen to any federally funded organization, school, or non-profit group that has even one immoral or dishonest individual either on the payroll or in a responsible volunteer position.

For example, if a traditional college or online school has corrupt individuals that are caught in criminal activity on the job, should the entire college be stripped of its federal funding? If a non-profit entity has a few bad apples, will that entity also face defunding?

And what about watchdog organizations that work on behalf of consumers? Will their enemies now have a new route to their demise by finding the weakest individual link and setting up a way to entrap them?

Any organization that receives monies from the government should ask themselves these questions as they are feeling smug about ACORN; because they could also be at risk of losing their federal funds — forever.

No one wants taxpayer dollars to be spent unwisely, but going at it this way may open up a whole new and dangerous can of worms.

acorn, community action, corruption, criminal activity , danger, defunded, education, monies, rep, signed, student aid, taxpayer dollars, government money, risk

Popularity: 3% [?]

Posted by vida

Texbooks Disappear from Schools in High-Tech Coup

Monday, September 14th, 2009

Textbooks are disappearing from schools in a high-tech coup that already devastated the newspaper industry.

According to an ABC News report, textbooks are being replaced by digital media in elementary, junior high and high schools, as well as in traditional and online schools.

A Department of Education survey reports that 474 out of 706 public school districts in the nation already made plans to upgrade their teaching materials from print to digital media, says a Boston Herald article.

Traditionally, school districts and colleges have been held hostage by textbook distributors who charge outrageous prices for textbooks that all too quickly become obsolete. With no other viable choices available, both schools and students have taken major hits in their education budgets.

But now the tables are turning.

Laptop, iPods, electronic readers and the Internet have introduced less expensive options to teachers and students. Children are growing up with these sophisticated high-tech gadgets; and teachers are using them to access free and low-cost resources available on the World Wide Web.

Online degree programs through online schools are built with flexibility and convenience in mind; so they already offer massive online libraries and other digital media materials.

According to ABC News , Harvard lecturer David Rose states:

"If we continue to prepare kids for their past, that’s very expensive. Their future is largely going to be in new media. And textbooks are no longer preparing them for that future."

Well said, David Rose, well said.

online schools , online degree programs , textbooks , digital , high tech , public schools , future , abc news , boston herald , higher education , us department of education , high schools , college

Popularity: 3% [?]

Posted by vida

Year Round Enrollment Is Perk of Online Schools

Friday, September 11th, 2009

Classes are now in full swing at colleges and universities all over the nation.

Unfortunately, on-campus students who missed enrollment deadlines must wait until next school term to sign up for desired classes.

However, there is another option for these students — they can enroll in online schools.

Most online schools accept qualified students year round into their online classes and online degree programs. Eligible students may also qualify for financial aid to pay for it.

Online schools cater to the needs of high school graduates and adult learners. They allow exceptional flexibility, especially to those who need it most — including military students, those employed full-time, stay-at-home moms, physically challenged students, actors on location, Olympic hopefuls, professional athletes and others.

Barriers that once kept potential students from earning a college diploma have quickly disappeared. Now accredited online schools offer thousands of accredited online degree programs in all major subject areas.

Students may begin their studies in the middle of the fall, in late spring, or during the summer — whenever it is convenient.

Top online school administrators are eager to accommodate the needs of busy students as they earn online degrees. Colorado Technical University, Walden University, Ashford University, DeVry University and University of Phoenix are a few of the excellent online schools awaiting the opportunity to serve new students.

So there is no need for students to delay their studies because of missed deadlines.

Instead, they can enjoy year round enrollment, convenient study times, and other perks gladly offered by accredited online schools.

online schools , online school , online degree programs , online degrees , elearning , colleges , online classes , enrollment , sign up , military students , moms , students , employed , university of phoenix , ashford university

Popularity: 3% [?]

Posted by vida

Distance Learning Eases Transition for Returning Soldiers

Friday, September 4th, 2009

As thousands of soldiers return from overseas duty in the war zones of Iraq and Afghanistan, the prevalence of PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) and other mental health issues makes it difficult for many to attend on-campus college classes.

For these military students and veterans, distance learning is the perfect way to earn a college diploma while readjusting to life back home.

According to a 500-page study released in April 2008, over 300,000 veterans suffer from serious mental health issues  — including PTSD, brain injury and depression.

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) defines post-traumatic stress disorder as ". . . an anxiety disorder that can develop after exposure to a terrifying event or ordeal in which grave physical harm occurred or was threatened". The symptoms may be debilitating to the soldier and destructive to marital and other close relationships.

The study, entitled "Invisible Wounds of War: Psychological and Cognitive Injuries, Their Consequences, and Services to Assist Recovery” , states that only 53% of veterans sought professional help for their problems. Yet help is available and effective for most who seek it and cooperate with treatment professionals.

Online schools offer a plethora of online degree programs that fit GI bill requirements for tuition assistance and allow military students to study in the privacy of their homes.

Homework and study time for online classes can be conveniently scheduled around counseling and doctors’ appointments. This flexibility contributes to the popularity of e-learning for active-duty soldiers and veterans.

Distance learning may not be a cure-all; but it allows education to continue at home for those soldiers who need additional healing and recuperation.

And hopefully over time, full recovery and peace of mind will grace the lives of these heroic military men and women as they continue their education journey.

online school , online classes , online degree programs , elearning , online degrees , military students , veterans , ptsd , mental health , gi bill , tuition , distance learning , war , iraq , afghanistan , soldiers

Popularity: 3% [?]

Posted by vida

Is Traditional Education on the Way Out?

Tuesday, September 1st, 2009

If disruptive innovation is worth its salt, traditional education may be on its way out of the #1 spot — soon to be replaced by distance learning.

Signs of the times are bending toward the flexible e-learning model that is sweeping the world.

According to the theory of disruptive innovation — coined by Clayton Christensen in his book, The Innovator’s Dilemma – the underdog can ultimately win when conditions are right. This concept generally applies to new technologies, or innovations, that replace older, ‘tried and true’ successes in a kind of ‘upset’ that moves the disrupter into first place in a particular industry or field.

We saw it recently as inexpensive netbooks, or mini-computers, overtook computer sales during the economic downturn, while previously best-selling computers sat collecting dust on store shelves.

In the beginning, e-learning was an interesting novelty that could not possibly impact the on-campus learning model that has withstood generations of proven success.

But conditions have changed drastically over time and the dominoes are poised to fall because:

  1. The new generations are well-versed in computer technology. These students are anxious to interact with this technology in their learning environments.
  2. Software design and distance learning enhancements have escalated as government and private agencies, including the FBI, have embraced and expanded distance-learning technology for training and teaching purposes.
  3. College tuition is too expensive for most students and their families, especially in this economy. Many students must work a full-time job in order to earn a college diploma. Online degree programs are tailor-made for this option.
  4. Traditional colleges and universities now compete with successful, for-profit online schools that heavily support adult learners, who make up the bulk of all college students.
  5. Health concerns, such as the H1N1 virus, are fueling the funding of online education options in elementary, junior high and high schools.

Some say that nothing lasts forever; and this may soon prove true for traditional higher education.

Traditional schools may survive if they continue to integrate online classes and online degree programs into their general offerings.

But for schools that decide to stand their ground and offer only campus-based degrees, it may soon be “Hasta la vista, baby!”.

college, college tuition, disruptive innovation, distance learning, economy, for profit, h1n1 virus, hasta la vista, higher education, jobs, online degree programs, online education, online school, online schools, traditional school, elearning, online classes

Popularity: 3% [?]

Posted by vida