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Archive for November, 2009

A Year Off, Not a Year Behind, for Weary High School Grads

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

Thirteen straight years of school are more than enough for some students.

So when high school grads talk about taking a year off after graduation to “find themselves” and take a break, it makes sense — even to startled parents.

This plan may actually work quite well for motivated students who already know that a college diploma is in their future.

But it is a little more iffy for students who are not crazy about school and who hope to avoid higher education altogether by delaying entrance to college.

Still, statistics show that college graduates continue to earn approximately $25,000 more per year than high school grads; and college grads tend to experience lower unemployment.

Fortunately, rather than an all or nothing proposition, it is possible for high school grads to choose the best of both worlds by enrolling in an online degree program.

While racking up college credits through online classes, students may travel, volunteer, apprentice in an area of interest, work a full-time job, or whatever suits their fancy.

However, before taking this route, students should think things through and plan ahead.

  • Students should enroll only in accredited online schools or online degree programs that are approved by the U.S. Department of Education.
  • Students who plan to transfer to another college down the road should verify that the classes from the online school will transfer to the new school.
  • Students should check with a guidance counselor before enrollment to line up the classes that will count toward the desired online degree.

There is no reason that a year off should cause students to be a year behind in attaining their educational goals.

Instead, with online degrees, students can experience the best of both worlds.

high school, grad, college diploma, online degree program, online degrees, online school, students, year off, college, year off, higher education, parents, motivated, unemployment, online classes

Popularity: 4% [?]

Posted by vida

What If the Economy Does Not Recover?

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009

The last thing I want to do is paint a picture of doom and gloom.

But what if the concept of economic recovery is mere hype - a wisp of hope destined to vaporize, leaving most people worse off than ever?

Thankfully, according to the leading economic minds of our times, this pessimistic scenario is one that is likely never to happen.

Earlier this year, Robert Mellman and Bruce Kasman, senior economists at JPMorgan, predicted that the U.S. economy would come out of the recession in the second half of 2009.

But Mellman also stated in a March 2009 USA Today article: “For the person on the street, it will still feel like a recession . . . I don’t think it will be a joyful recovery. It will be pretty slow from here. It will be tough to get jobs for some time.”

Mellman’s words now ring true as the snail’s pace of recovery particularly tests the metal of those who are among the 10.2% unemployed.

Still, it is important to be encouraged during the painful recovery process by remembering a few facts:

  • Historically, economic recovery is inevitable in the U.S. The economy moves through cycles of ‘drought and plenty’ that replay, somewhat unpredictably, throughout the years.
  • Economic recovery is in motion now, fueled by government stimulus monies. But the fruit of recovery will not trickle down to everyone at the same time. Various sectors — i.e. housing, stock market, employment — will improve out of sync with one another.
  • The recovery of the job market, which will boost consumer spending, is among the last of the leading economic indicators to improve. Yet those who prepare for the influx of new jobs by returning to school to update skills and credentials will benefit faster than most.

One way to increase the odds of snagging a job is to take advantage of online degree programs, online certificate programs and vocational classes. Unfortunately, waiting until the economy improves before taking such a positive career step may delay job opportunities, especially for those who compete for higher-paying technical and skilled jobs.

Economic recovery is moving; and it’s headed your way. Just make sure you are ready for it.

online degree programs, certificate, vocational, economic recovery, jobs, careers, skilled jobs, recession, jpmorgan, unemployment, snag a job, hope

Popularity: 6% [?]

Posted by vida

Veterans Love Online Schools, but Post-9/11 GI Bill Discriminates

Monday, November 16th, 2009

A provision in the Post-9/11 GI Bill is causing difficulties for veterans who require and love the flexibility of online schools.

The new bill took effect on August 1st, 2009. It states that “students enrolled exclusively in online training are not eligible for the housing allowance”.

Studies confirm that military personnel prefer online degrees and online classes. Yet the Post-9/11 GI Bill denies the housing stipend to those who choose e-learning over traditional colleges.

This pulls as much as $1300 of living expense monies from the income of deserving military students and veterans who count on this financial assistance while completing their studies.

Eligible students who enroll in traditional colleges and universities are rewarded with the housing allowance; so this discriminatory provision in the Post-9/11 GI Bill creates a dilemma and barrier for those who want to enroll in online schools.

Mounting pressure by those opposed to this inequity may lead Congress back to the drawing board for a legislative solution.

Military men and women have earned the right to choose online schools without being slapped with an unfair penalty. Studies by the U.S. Department of Education show that accredited online schools are equal or superior in quality to most traditional schools.

The inequity was likely an oversight by Congress in their efforts to fashion a cost-effective bill. But hopefully, Congress will move quickly to insure that our military forces will be able to continue to enjoy the benefits of online education.

accredited online schools, colleges and universities, congress, elearning, gi, housing allowance, military students, online classes, online degrees, online education, online schools, post-9/11_bill, traditional schools, veterans

Popularity: 7% [?]

Posted by vida

The Berlin Wall and Veterans Day: A Remembrance

Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

As the celebrations of the fall of the Berlin Wall continue in Germany, we once again commemorate the members of our armed forces on Veterans Day.

Almost 50 years ago, the city of Berlin was divided by a formidable wall that remained standing for almost 30 years.

East German soldiers patrolled the east side of the wall; and American, British and French soldiers guarded the west side.

My father was a soldier stationed in Germany in the late 1960’s; so I remember the Berlin Wall.

I will never forget traveling into East Berlin as a ‘military brat’ on holiday with my family. We boarded a bus in West Berlin and arrived at Checkpoint Charlie.

There, our paperwork was checked out by U.S. soldiers; and we were given explicit instructions about what to expect on the trip — and how to conduct ourselves. Then the bus drove into East Berlin.

Just a little past the Berlin Wall, the bus stopped.

When I glanced out of the bus window, I saw a mean-looking, well-trained group of uniformed soldiers march up and surround our bus. A few quickly crawled beneath the bus for an inspection, while others walked around it and visually inspected every nook and cranny.

Then, several of them came onboard; and I was suddenly afraid.

They were not friendly fellows. They did not smile, and they certainly did not make small talk.

Instead, they took each person’s passport and stared intensely at the person, then at the passport picture, and again at the person. When it was my turn, I hoped the cold, penetrating stare would not cause me to make any observable misstep.

But I must have done okay; because the soldier moved on and eventually got off the bus with his comrades.

An East German guide boarded the bus and coolly relayed more instructions. The rest of the trip was interesting and uneventful; though we saw only what they wanted us to see — including the majestic Brandenburg Gate.

We were not allowed to talk with any East German citizens, we could not wander off alone, and our bus could not make any deviations from the scheduled tour.

We went through another thorough inspection of the bus before being allowed to cross back into West Berlin; and it was only then that I noticed the tiny crosses that lined the western side of the Berlin Wall — most with flowers, but all standing out as reminders of those who were shot and killed trying to escape into West Germany.

The Berlin Wall was erected in 1961. By the time it began to fall on November 9th, 1989, it stretched nearly 100 miles and was topped with barbed wire.

Historians should continue to remind us of this and other significant events. Without historians, naysayers would attempt to erase or sugarcoat history, in order to promote their own agendas.

Students who major in history should be proud of that choice. And if they can, they should travel to some of the places where key historical events took place.

If they enroll in online degree programs, it will be easier to travel. But online schools and online classes, though convenient, are just one way to pursue a history degree. Community colleges and traditional universities offer additional options.

The Berlin Wall is now gone, thank goodness, but we should remember those soldiers — past and present — who earned the freedoms that America, western Europe and some other countries continue to enjoy.

Soldiers of the U.S. military deserve our highest respect and gratitude, on Veterans Day and every day of our lives, for their generous actions on our behalf.

american, berlin wall, checkpoint charlie, europe, freedom, gratitude, history degree, online classes, online degree programs, online schools, soldiers, us military, veterans day

Popularity: 9% [?]

Posted by vida

Are you preparing today for tomorrow’s jobs?

Thursday, November 5th, 2009

The handwriting is on the job market wall.

Adaptability, multiple skills sets and continuing education will be the norm for successful employees of the future.

Vocational and higher education will escalate in importance as the world recovers from an international economic free-fall.

And online degrees will continue to play a major role in preparing job candidates and keeping them on top of the latest developments in their career fields.

According to an MSNBC article by Jenny Lynn Zapala:

“Lifelong learning will be a forced march. If you stop learning, you will become unemployed and unemployable very quickly.”

General higher education will be helpful; but specialized skills will rule the day.

In addition:

  • No matter what the job, an understanding of technology, especially digital communication techniques and job-specific technology, will be required.
  • Employers will combine two or more job positions into one to save money; so they will value job candidates with dual degrees, multidisciplinary degrees and specialized higher degrees.
  • Employees will need to go with the flow as their job descriptions are tweaked and changed throughout their employment; since employers will need to adapt to rapid industry fluctuations that affect their bottom line.

The future is bright for those who remain informed and aware of the direction that new employment is headed.

Potential job candidates should do as the Boy Scout motto says: “Be prepared.” Earn an online degree today.

jobs, prepare, online degrees, job market, employment, higher education, vocation, job candidate, careers, lifelong learning, skills, employers, new jobs, be prepared, future

Popularity: 4% [?]

Posted by vida

E-learners Should Be Careful of Trojan Viruses

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009

E-learners should be careful to avoid becoming victims of malicious Trojan programs that destroy data and render computers useless.

It is easy for online degree students to become careless as assignment deadlines approach. However, it is important to remain alert to any action that enables malware or other harmful viruses to destroy one’s primary online education tool.

This warning, however, came a little late for me.

I thought I took all the necessary precautions to protect my computer; but I still became the victim of an insidious Trojan virus.

My security program was working; and I had just finished running a virus scan. The scan reported no problems.

Then unexpectedly, a small security box popped up on the bottom of my computer screen, warning me that a virus was attempting to infiltrate the system. It stated that urgent security attention was necessary.

When I clicked the pop-up box for more info, the action suddenly unleashed a wave of destruction that quickly left my computer paralyzed and unusable.

Fortunately, the important files were later recovered; but that was the end of my 2-year old workhorse computer.

E-learners have quite a bit to lose as well:

  • E-learners risk losing all of their computer data in a virus attack — assignments, research materials, other resources — anything not backed up and stored elsewhere.
  • E-learners must come up with money for a new computer. After a few weeks passed, I purchased another work computer for $699 (plus tax) with money I did not intend to spend just before the holidays.
  • E-learners may need to learn a new computer system. That is no fun while focusing on completing required assignments. For example, I must now learn all about Windows 7, instead of coasting along with the Windows XP that was on my old computer.

I don’t know where the Trojan virus came from; but now I am especially careful about opening attachments and clicking on anything that pops up on my computer.

Shortly after my laptop was destroyed, a similar innocuous-looking icon popped up on the family’s home computer. I didn’t click on it this time. Instead, I turned off and rebooted the computer. A security scan revealed a quarantined Trojan Fake Alert among the ‘found’ items.

Thankfully, a little knowledge went a long way to prevent losing a second computer.

So be extra careful and think before you click.

online degree, online degrees, elearners, trojan virus, malware, fake alert, security scan, be careful, windows 7, laptop, online students, computer virus, online education, click

Popularity: 4% [?]

Posted by vida