"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 June, 2010

Early Birds Make Haste to Register for Online Classes

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

Summer fun is not the top priority for college students who are vying for limited spots in online classes this fall.

This summer, college and university students from around the nation await their turn to take part in early registration, which gives priority to continuing students.

Students often feel they must craft an iron-clad registration strategy in order to land a spot in high-demand classes. But basically, success usually centers on being an early bird — paying attention to early registration dates and not procrastinating until the last minute.

Traditional public and private universities are offering an increasing number of online classes to meet huge student demand; but those classes still fill up quickly.

Yet, students who are eligible for early registration definitely have the advantage. But they must act quickly, as soon as the clock strikes their registration day and time.

According to the Sloan Consortium’s 2010 report, Learning on Demand, over 4.6 million students registered in at least one online class in the fall of 2008.  This figure was 17% higher than the previous year, compared to the 1.2% growth rate of on-campus class enrollments.

The accelerated growth of enrollment in online classes is no mystery. After all:

  • Students enjoy the tremendous flexibility of online classes and online degree programs.
  • Online students do not have to physically attend class. Therefore, they have more time for jobs, internships and travel.
  • Online students often experience the bonus of interacting more often with teachers and students via e-mail and message boards.

College students may fully embrace online education by choosing to attend online schools. Instead of hassling with the limitations of rigid class schedules and sparse course offerings at traditional schools, online degree students generally master their own schedules and insert study time where it is convenient.

Online degree students choose from accredited online schools that fit their career aspirations and their budgets. Graduation day may come sooner through online schools; since required classes are usually offered all year round.

The fun and sun of the summer is great. But summer is also a time to set up an academic plan for the fall term.

So remember to be an early bird and register at the first opportunity — then enjoy your summer vacation!

online school, online schools, online degree program, online degree programs, early registration, online classes, colleges, career, jobs, summer vacation

Popularity: 5% [?]

Posted by vida

Rising school segregation robs poor students of quality education

Thursday, June 24th, 2010

Civil rights era gains appear to be fading in the public school arena, as increasing segregation appears to be on the rise.

Schools that were once models of integration, in places like Charlotte, North Carolina, are returning to their roots of segregation.

Even Sante Fe, New Mexico, is not immune to high concentrations of poor, minority students who are relegated to low-achieving pubic schools.

A newly-released report from the U.S. Department of Education, Condition of Education 2010, documents a disturbing trend toward separation of students by race and economic status in far too many public schools around the country.

The gains of the civil rights era appear to be diluted, as low-income black and Latino students are more likely to be left behind in poor, substandard public schools with inadequate educational resources, run-down facilities, lower academic expectations, lower high school graduation rates, and fewer students headed to college.

Most cities that revisit segregation do so as wealthier, predominantly white, families move to higher-rated school districts or abandon public institutions for private schools.

This has resulted in a number of schools around the country with a demographic that is more than 90% minority students.

According to the Christian Science Monitor, socioeconomic status is likely to trump race as a primary factor in the de facto segregation of low-income schools.

Interestingly, the Northeast and Midwest struggle with this growing divide more than other regions of the U.S.; but solutions are being considered from all directions.

The federal government instituted the Teacher Incentive Fund in 2006 with an outlay of $90 million to draw better teachers into low-achieving schools, improve principal effectiveness and help improve student achievement. In 2010, $400 million was appropriated for these high-need schools.

Individual school district superintendents and leaders are proposing the implementation of student enrollment programs that create a diverse mixture of students in each of the district’s schools.

In the meantime, parents who are dissatisfied with the quality of their child’s educations have chosen a variety of paths in securing a better education for their child, such as:

  • homeschooling privately or through the public school,
  • providing after school enrichment activities for their child,
  • frequent participation in the child’s school and classroom,
  • pursuing online education classes to complement high school requirements,
  • taking advantage of students’ early entrance into community colleges before high school graduation, as with California’s CHSPE (California High School Proficiency Exam) program,
  • applying for private school scholarships based on income or academic record

Students in poor schools face tremendous challenges as they attempt to maneuver a difficult education environment.

No time should be wasted in increasing the allocation of funds and other resources to improve the quality of education for millions of students who simply want an equal chance to attain success in their future professional and personal lives.

Of course, close oversight of the funds should be required so that allocated monies are used for their intended purpose — to help disadvantaged students receive a quality education.

Then, perhaps the gains in civil rights will be restored; and society will have a well-prepared generation of leaders, thinkers and problem-solvers.

online education, black and latino, public school segregation, minority students, socioeconomic status, low income students, poor students, quality education, high school, de facto segregation

Popularity: 6% [?]

Posted by vida

Tips for Using Wikipedia in Online Education

Monday, June 21st, 2010

Wikipedia is now a virtually unavoidable tool in knowledge acquisition.

While many doubt Wikipedia’s methods, it is undeniable that both traditional and online education accrue enormous benefits from the website’s ability to instantly disseminate information on almost any topic.

Here are a few things to remember when careening through the wonderful information jungle of Wikipedia:

1. Be aware that not everything on Wikipedia is accurate. This is true of all sources of information, even the published academic ones. But since Wikipedia is a project that relies on mass collaboration, and most of its input is not necessarily purveyed by credentialed experts in each topic, you should be extra careful. Check other sources, whether on the Internet or elsewhere, before using information on Wikipedia for your academic or professional work.

2. Clicking on hyperlinks can be a huge time waster. While the World Wide Web as a whole strongly relies on hyperlinks in order to operate the way that it does, sometimes the temptation to click on Wikipedia hyperlinks can lead you down a rabbit hole to a dizzying and exasperating depth. You won’t even know how you got where you did in the first place.

If you are using Wikipedia for school, be sure to control your hyperlink urges. Click only those that are in some way related to your personal assignment or project. While knowledge acquisition is certainly great, it has its limits and can easily spiral to unproductive nothingness.

3. Don’t be too skeptical. Some professors, especially in traditional, brick-and-mortar institutions, decry Wikipedia because it has signaled the death of the expert. While this is a reasonable concern, you shouldn’t take this brand of skepticism too far.

If a professor does not allow Wikipedia as a citable source in an academic paper, it doesn’t mean you can’t still use Wikipedia as a springboard for further inquiry. Some of the best research sources I’ve found have been at the end of Wikipedia entries.

In the final analysis, if you are careful, methodical, and thoughtful about how you use Wikipedia as you pursue a traditional or online degree, then you have virtually nothing to lose. You have only infinite bits of information to gain.

And who wouldn’t want that?

This guest post is contributed by Katheryn Rivas, who writes on the topics of Online Universities Accredited.You may reach her at: katherynrivas87@gmail.com

online education, online degree, online degrees, wikipedia, world wide web, internet, hyperlinks, traditional degree, internet knowledge, knowledge

Popularity: 6% [?]

Posted by vida

For-Profit Online Schools Face Scrutiny to Protect Students

Friday, June 18th, 2010

For-profit online schools are riding a wave of popularity, hefty profits and bare-bones regulation.

But a few things are about to change, according to the Obama administration’s new proposals.

Most online schools are accredited, reputable and provide an excellent high-tech education for career-minded students. They offer wonderful flexibility and ease of enrolling, availability of required classes, and flexible tuition payment plans.

Unfortunately, other for-profit schools, dictated by greed, encourage deceptive recruiting and counseling practices. This has led to high student loan defaults, low graduation rates, and low employment rates among some online schools.

So perhaps, it was time for an umpire, the U.S. Department of Education, to clarify the rules of the game for the minority of online schools that have abandoned playing fair ball.

After all, trusting students should be entitled to receive pertinent information from any college or university before they spend tens of thousands of dollars in tuition, fees and education materials.

This week, the Obama administration proposed a few reasonable changes for online and traditional schools. The new guidelines include the following:

  1. Colleges and universities must curtail aggressive recruiting practices, including “deceptive advertising, marketing, and sales practices”.
  2. ‘Safe harbors’, regulations that help protect institutions engaged in incentive payments to recruiters, will be removed. This will allow current laws against such practices to be upheld.
  3. Colleges and universities must disclose graduation and job placement rates.

The proposed new rules, and others, are expected to become effective in 2011. They are geared toward all colleges and universities, not just online schools.

One proposal, to limit the availability of student loan monies to for-profit schools, was not among the recommended new guidelines. It appeared to be an excessive measure designed to punish all online schools for the greed of a few.

Soon, adult learners and other will be empowered to make better decisions about which online school best fits their budget, education needs and time constraints.

This additional layer of scrutiny should help protect students and weed out deceptive practices that cast a shadow over many higher education online schools.

online school, online schools, for profit school, higher education, colleges, student loan defaults, obama education, us department of education, low employment, college or university

Popularity: 5% [?]

Posted by vida

Congressman Etheridge Roughs Up Innocent College Student

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010

Long-time congressman, Bob Etheridge of North Carolina, recently attacked a college student in an apparently unprovoked encounter in Washington.

However, the repercussions will be felt all the way to the November polls.

The student was attempting to interview Rep. Etheridge on a public street in Washington, reportedly for a school assignment.

A disturbing YouTube video clearly shows Rep. Etheridge walking down the sidewalk toward the college student, who politely greets the congressman. The student holds up a microphone and respectfully asks the congressman whether he fully supports the Obama agenda.

What happened next may cost the Democratic congressman his seat in the upcoming election.

Rep. Etheridge begins repeating the phrase “Who are you?”, while grabbing the student’s wrist and swatting at a 2nd student who is filming the interview. As the 1st student answers that he is just a student, Rep. Etheridge grabs the student’s neck and pulls him closer. The student continues to answer Rep. Etheridge, always using “sir” as he pleads to be released. Even after being released, the student continues to be polite as Rep. Etheridge walks away.

Of course, this shocking behavior was immediately and irrevocably dispersed over the Internet, locking into the minds of Rep. Etheridge’s voters the images of violence toward a young man.

One has to wonder what the congressman was thinking, especially since he was fully aware that he was being filmed.

Rep. Etheridge has been a congressman since 1996 and has supported bills that help college students.

He voted in favor of legislation that raised Pell Grant limits, increased federal student loans, saved students from unscrupulous lender practices, appropriated money for the American Graduation Initiative, created oversight on college textbook publishers, and instituted new requirements for colleges regarding skyrocketing tuition.

Hopefully his rude and unethical treatment of one particular college student is not a reflection of what truly resides in his heart.

Predictably, Rep. Etheridge apologized today for his actions.

But his constituents will certainly want to hear more on the subject during the next few months.

Then, they will decide whether or not his apology is accepted — at the polls.

congressman attacks, bob etheridge, rep etheridge, college, rep bob etheridge, attack, youtube, college student, north carolina, nc election

Popularity: 5% [?]

Posted by vida

Monsters Within: Healthcare-Associated Infections on the Rise

Wednesday, June 9th, 2010

If you like horror movies, grab your popcorn and settle in for an hour of pretty scary stuff on television.

The show — ‘Monsters Inside Me’ on Animal Planet.

But here’s the catch. The show centers around real people who innocently fell prey to an eerie cacophony of deadly, debilitating and sneaky real-life monsters . . . teeny weeny monsters . . . inside their bodies.

Yes, you guessed it — they are parasites.

Most victims acquired these ‘monsters’ through something they ate, somewhere they traveled, or something that bit them.

The bottom line is that these parasites threw a humongous wrench into victims’ overall health, perhaps for life.

Fortunately, most of us do not have to worry about parasites.

However, if you are sick and need to be treated in a hospital or other medical facility, even for a routine procedure, you could face other destructive dangers, known as healthcare-associated infections (HAIs).

Like parasites, infections acquired in a hospital are generally unexpected and potentially deadly. They can quickly transform a routine illness or surgical procedure into a life-threatening situation.

Healthcare-associated infections are among the top ten causes of death in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). They usually fall into 3 categories:

  • ventilator-assisted pneumonia (VAP)
  • surgical site infections (SSI)
  • cross contamination (contact transfer)

However, HAIs are preventable.

Improved infection control measures are promising, especially if implemented as part of mandatory hospital procedures. Such changes could potentially save millions of lives if followed to the letter by physicians, nursing staff and other hospital personnel.

In fact, the CDC considers the simple act of cleaning and disinfecting one’s hands as the primary way that medical professionals can prevent the spread of deadly germs in a healthcare setting.

The Kimberly Clark website, ‘Not on My Watch‘, seeks to educate and assist healthcare personnel and consumers in understanding and preventing HAIs. They consider this issue one of “critical importance” to the health and safety of healthcare patients worldwide.

After all, deadly parasite problems are relatively rare in the U.S. And with increased awareness and education for everyone, perhaps healthcare-associated infections will also become rare.

Maybe that rarity will highlight HAIs as fodder for a future scary television show . . . or not.

hospital procedures, hospital infections, infection control, patient safety, not on my watch, cdc, parasites, nursing, healthcare associated infections, health care

Popularity: 5% [?]

Posted by vida

Steve Jobs Announces New iPhone 4 Heading for Apple Stores

Monday, June 7th, 2010

If you have been waiting for the new iPhone 4, it is finally here.

Today, Steve Jobs announced, at the Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco, that its latest version of the iPhone is ready to hit Apple Store shelves this month.

If you want to purchase the iPhone 4, you know the routine. Pack up your sleeping bag, grab your folding chairs, and put together enough food to withstand the long lines leading to the Apple Store.

Since the Gizmodo fiasco, when a prototype of the iPhone 4 was allegedly lost, then purchased by Gizmodo and ‘outed’ to the world, the new iPhone 4 has been heavily anticipated.

Over 100 new user features, including 3X faster 3G, plus exciting new iPhone apps, are expected to create brisk sales for this version of the most popular multimedia phone in the world.

Now slimmer, lighter and with crisper and sharper video, the iPhone 4 offers an enhanced experience for those who use it for business, online school, video games and more. An improved 5-megapixel camera with 5X digital zoon, also records 720p HD video; and video-editing is built into the phone.

In addition, Netflix plans to offer its services for the iPhone beginning this summer, Guitar Hero for iPhone is now available, and Farmville has its iPhone version available at the end of June. iBooks will be added as a separate store, like iTunes and the App Store.

Priced at $199 (16GB) and $299 (32GB) for those who sign up for a 2-year AT&T contract, the new iPhone 4 will be available in two colors.

Sounds like another home run for Steve Jobs and Apple.

iphone 4, new_iphone, apple, apple store, netflix, guitar hero, iphone camera, iphone apps, iphone, farmville

Popularity: 5% [?]

Posted by vida

Shopping for an iPad? Save Money with Competitor Tablet PCs

Saturday, June 5th, 2010

Maybe you enjoy being among the first to buy the latest, greatest tech-gadgets. So when Apple recently rolled out their new iPad, you were at the front of the line.

However, others of you passed on iPad’s $499 and up price tag.

If you were able to resist the first wave of this popular gadget, your patience may soon be rewarded. Cheaper versions of the iPad, offered by competitors, are on the way.

These competitors, mostly from Asia, are poised to flood the international market with tablet PCs, similar to the iPad. But their devices will cost as little as a quarter of iPad’s price — around $100.

This is great news for those who are thinking about using a tablet PC to read ibooks and newspapers, surf the Internet, or complete online school assignments. Lightweight and thinner than a computer, tablet PCs have generated a great deal of interest around the world.

Competitor tablet PCs should be released soon and, like netbooks, they are expected to be a huge success.

So if you are in the market for a tablet PC, wait just a little longer.

Sometimes, being at the end of the line has its advantages.

iPad, save money, online school, tablet pcs, computer, competition, iPad_price, gadget, ibook, tablet pc

Popularity: 4% [?]

Posted by vida

Wal-Mart Embraces Online Education to Train its Workforce

Thursday, June 3rd, 2010

Retail giant Wal-Mart has just added a new perk for its workers: an online college education.

In a move that may significantly impact the retail industry, Wal-Mart has partnered with American Public University, an accredited online school, to offer online classes and degrees to its employees.

Wal-Mart hopes to improve workforce performance, through online education, in order to maintain its competitive edge.

Eligible Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club workers will soon enjoy tuition aid to pursue their dreams of a college education, while maintaining their current work schedule.

According to the New York Times, Wal-Mart has allocated $50 million to its employee tuition assistance program. American Public University plans to offer motivated employees a 5% tuition discount.

The decision to partner with an online school was influenced by the results of a survey of 32,000 of Wal-Mart’s 1.4 million U.S. employees.

Most surveyed employees desired the flexibility of online schools over traditional on-campus schools.

Wal-Mart is the No.1 Fortune 500 Company for 2010 and is also the largest private employer in the United States.

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Popularity: 5% [?]

Posted by vida

Oldest College Grads Show that You’re Never Too Old to Learn

Thursday, June 3rd, 2010

Two of the oldest college graduates in the world just received their diplomas last month.

Hazel Soares, 94 years old, graduated from Mills College in California with a bachelor’s degree. And at Fort Hays State University in Kansas City, Nola Ochs received her master’s degree at 98 years of age.

The accomplishments of these remarkable women should be extremely encouraging to the rest of us.

After all, their success illustrates an amazing fact: The brain continues to change and form new connections during our entire life, barring brain injury or illness.

Known as brain plasticity, this concept of brain revitalization is unique compared to the rest of our body. Studies show that as most other major organs grow weaker and less effective with age, the brain continues to thrive.

So we are never too old to learn.

However, we must do our part, just like Hazel and Nola. We must stimulate the brain by continually offering it new information to digest.

Some adult learners choose to do puzzles, brain games and memory exercises. Others study a new language, take up chess, or learn to play table tennis. And still others, like Hazel and Nola, leap into higher education by taking classes or pursuing a college degree.

The ongoing stimulation provided by completing a set of multidisciplinary college classes helps the brain to establish new neuron connections.

This process of brain training also helps to improve memory and increase mental alertness.

The advantages and flexibility of online degrees offer aging seniors an opportunity to pursue their academic interests without the inconvenience of traveling to a college campus. Free or low-cost online classes, scholarships and financial aid for seniors sweeten the appeal of this option.

Remember the saying, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks“? Well, it may apply to dogs; but it does not apply to human beings who make lifelong learning a part of their lives.

But don’t believe me — just ask Hazel and Nola.

adult learners, brain plasticity, brain train, improving memory, memory exercise, never too old, old dog new tricks, online degree programs, online degrees, table tennis, college, hazel soares, nola ochs, oldest college graduates, bachelors degree, masters degree

Popularity: 4% [?]

Posted by vida