"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 the ‘distance learning’ Category

Plenty of Tech Jobs Headed Our Way this New Year and Beyond

Thursday, December 23rd, 2010

Now is a great time to reflect and make plans to insure a more prosperous New Year.

Viable plans may include deciding whether to continue in the same profession or to train for a more lucrative one.

According to recent reports, technology is a field that is expected to grow significantly, adding a large number of new jobs.

The Press Democrat newspaper in Sonoma County reports that technology jobs will play a key role in getting people back to work during the economic recovery.

In the article, Tech to Show Way (11-29-10), jobs in technology are also expected to help move some local counties out of the recession.

“Fast growing tech companies are now forecast to help rescue the local economy as the sector adds high-paying jobs and attracts outside money from investors, according to a new report by Moody’sEconomy.com. . . During the next five years, the tech sector will account for nearly half of the fastest growing occupations in the county, according to the Moody’s forecast.”

Technology jobs include computer analysts, software designers, engineers, systems analysts, telecommunications specialists, and computer scientists. Those trained in these and other areas will likely staff the tech companies that are already poised to blossom and grow.

Fast-growing tech jobs often require a bachelor’s degree, associate’s degree or professional certificate. On-the-job training and continuing education may also enhance those skills and help employees remain plugged into the most current technological trends.

Online degree programs are the most convenient way to earn the credentials that are necessary for jobs in the tech sector. This is a great time to enroll in online schools, while federal student loans and grants are still available to help all eligible students pay for their higher education classes.

The next few years should offer amazing employment opportunities to well-prepared individuals who are trained in technology fields.

Those who are interested in a high-tech career should choose an education plan that will prepare them to qualify for well-paying jobs in the New Year and beyond.

careers, employment, higher education, jobs, new year, online degree programs, online schools, sonoma county, tech jobs, technology

Popularity: 1% [?]

Posted by vida

Fake College Degrees Deal Death Blow to Jobs, Careers

Wednesday, August 18th, 2010

Diploma mill operators prey on the weaknesses of unwise individuals who are seeking a college shortcut to success.

Diploma mills draw in potential customers with a glossy website, friendly service and promises of a bright future with their official-looking fake college degrees.

Later, consumers often discover that the promised success was just a wolf in sheep’s clothing. The victim loses a job, career or reputation, while the diploma mills remain in business.

My neighbors have a beautiful dog that appears to be a Doberman/Rottweiler mix. The dog is friendly and personable — but she has a sneaky and threatening side that the owners do not see. When she is alone in the yard, she becomes aggressive and menacing toward us and our elderly dog. Her wagging tale returns when her owners reappear; but she is dangerous.

Similarly, diploma mill operators portray fake degrees as beautiful, wonderful products. They paint a lovely picture of the additional income, probable promotions and elevated social status that a fake college degree may help provide.

Diploma mill sales personnel downplay the negative news accounts of lost jobs, jail time or shame caused when fake online degrees are exposed. They don’t mention that the use of fake degrees is illegal in some states, or that the Internet makes it easy for employers to discover fraudulent college degrees.

As a result of the deception, consumers do not always recognize the dangers of a fake degree.

But a forfeited career, a fraud conviction and the accompanying fallout ultimately reveal to consumers the importance of recognizing the facts about fake degrees and discarding the superficial surface layer of hype.

Recently, our neighbors’ ’sweet, loving dog’ attacked and injured our blind, frail dog — resulting in a visit to the vet for wound and infection treatment.

So remember not to give in to the dreamy fairy tales and honey-smooth sales pitches of online diploma mill operators.

Otherwise, your fake degree could bite you where it hurts — in your job and career.

fake degree, fake college degree, diploma mill, dog attack, college, career, success, online degrees, dangers, jobs

Popularity: 5% [?]

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

Fastest Internet Service in Nation Coming to California Town

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010

When I opened my newspaper a couple of days ago, I became one of the delighted locals who discovered that our small town was chosen to become the first in the nation to receive super-fast, high-speed Internet service.

Surprisingly, Google is not building it; Sonic.net is doing the honors.

Apparently, while Google publicly declared its intentions to lead in providing extensive fiber optic service directly to American homes, Sonic.net quietly laid the groundwork and moved ahead with its plans to do the same.

Ultimately, those plans brought Sonic.net to the small, farming community of Sebastopol — where Gravenstein apples historically basked in the spotlight for a couple of late summer months and where Charles Schulz, of ‘Peanuts’ fame, is buried.

Sebastopol may be an unlikely choice for high tech innovation, given local protests over proposals to allow new cell phone sites in town. Yet somehow, Sonic.net’s market analysis determined that this is the place to successfully expand their horizons.

Soon, 600 homes are slated to be connected to shiny, new fiber optic cables, allowing faster Internet speeds of between 50 megabits per second (mbps) and 1 gigabit per second — at best, approximately 100 times faster than current speeds offered by AT&T and other companies. Sonic.net is still determining the exact speed that will be offered; but work should be completed by the end of 2010.

Sonic.net’s bold steps are expected to pay off, big time, with a greater share of the wireless market. Surrounding communities — including Santa Rosa and Petaluma — are potentially next on the list for technology upgrades.

These upgrades are hooked into a larger plan, the National Broadband Plan, which hopes to connect 100 million people in the U.S. to the latest fiber optic technology. This national expansion of Internet infrastructure should result in a boon for online education — particularly online degree programs and online schools.

Online degrees are rapidly replacing traditional degrees as a first-choice for busy, adult learners and those who have no access to local colleges and universities. The Sloan Consortium reports, based upon data from 2500 colleges and universities, continue to confirm the rapid growth of online education.  Ultra-fast Internet service will only serve to increase this growth.

Sebastopol is an easy-going town that is about to experience a turbo boost to its wireless technology.

All I can say is: “Thanks, Sonic.net.”

online schools, online degrees, online degree_programs, online education, at&t, fiber service, google, sonic, internet, wireless, mbps, national broadband plan, sebastopol, fastest

Popularity: 5% [?]

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

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

New Education Benefits Arrive for Post 9/11 Military Veterans

Friday, July 24th, 2009

A brand new group of educational benefits arrive on August 1st, 2009, for military personnel who served a tour of duty after September 11th, 2001.

This financial windfall covers major expenses for post 9/11 soldiers and former soldiers who return to school to pursue a college degree or vocational certificate.

The Post 9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2008 provides financial aid and support to active-duty military personnel and veterans who enroll in accredited online schools, traditional colleges and universities, and vocational schools.

Students will receive all or a portion of the costs for tuition, housing and books if they meet the selective eligibility criteria.

For eligible military members and veterans, the benefits will cover:

  • Full tuition up to the amount of the most expensive public college in the applicant’s state,
  • $1,000 a year stipend for books & supplies (for veterans only),
  • a monthly housing allowance equal to the basic allowance paid to a military E5 with dependents (for veterans only),
  • Tutorial assistance or up to $2,000 for one licensing or certification test,
  • The option, for some, to transfer these educational benefits to dependents.

Eligibility requirements for the new education benefits apply to those applicants:

  • who are still serving in the military or were honorably discharged after serving at least 90 consecutive active-duty days following 9/11;
  • who were released from active duty into a branch of the military reserves following 90 consecutive days of active duty after 9/11; or
  • who were honorably discharged after 30 consecutive active-duty days following a service-connected disability.

Additional criteria may apply; but students may enroll in military-approved online degrees, online vocational and certificate programs, and traditional college, university and vocational programs.

Costs incurred before August 1st, 2009, are not eligible for these particular benefits.

Benefits remain active for 15 years following the eligible military tour of duty and are payable for up to 36 months for those who meet all of the necessary criteria.

For further information, check out the Department of Veterans Affairs website.

accredited, active duty, benefits, college, education, eligible, financial aid, military, online degree programs, online degrees, online schools, post 9/11, veteran, vocational schools

Popularity: 8% [?]

Posted by vida

Discouraged Workers Should Snag Health Care Careers

Saturday, July 4th, 2009

Thousands of people who lost jobs during the recession have given up and are no longer even looking for a job.

After months of sending out resumes and making phone calls, they grew discouraged and stopped. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) counted 793,000 of these ‘discouraged workers’ in June 2009. But there may be a brighter day coming for those who choose it.

And who can blame these folks; unemployment is high and employee morale is low. On top of that, the BLS has painted a bleak picture of joblessness in this weak, but slowly recovering, economy.

Yet many employment sectors are losing jobs at a slower rate, which gives hope to those who are banking on a better economy not too far down the road.

And surprisingly, one major industry continues beat the odds by adding new jobs each month.

For June 2009, lost jobs included:

  • 136,000 in manufacturing
  • 79,000 in construction
  • 335,000 in motor vehicles and parts
  • 8,000 in mining
  • 118,000 in professional and business services
  • 21,000 in retail trade
  • 27,000 in financial activities
  • 21,000 in the information industry

However, there was good news for one major employment sector;

  • 21,000 new jobs were added to health care

The BLS reports that the health care industry added an average of 21,000 jobs a month throughout 2009. And in 2008, during some of the worse days of the recession, they added approximately 30,000 jobs a month.

So now, a message to those ‘discouraged workers’. This time off from work may be the best opportunity to consider switching career fields to the one that has remained a bright spot in an otherwise dim economy — health care.

It has proven itself to be a reliable and consistent career area; and a future in this field is promising for those who return to school to train for health care jobs, especially as registered nurses.

To top things off, preparation for some health care careers involves a short investment of as little as 12 months in a traditional or online degree program – for example, the training  to become a licensed vocational or licensed practical nurses takes about a year.

Other health care careers may take an even shorter time to complete — just a few months of classes before snagging a job in a hospital or convalescent home as a nurse’s aide, surgical technician, medical billing clerk, medical receptionist, emergency medical technician or phlebotomist (a health care worker trained to draw blood). Then, while working one of these jobs, workers can continue their education online, with employers often footing the bill.

Low cost tuition fees, federal grants and private scholarships are available for qualified students who have lost their jobs; so affordability is not always a problem.

If you are without a job, now is the time to check into some of these accredited programs for your ticket to a promising job in the growing health care industry.

Then you will be a discouraged worker no more.

career, education, health care, hospital, jobs, medical billing, nursing, online classes, scholarships, snag a job, students, unemployment, online degree program, ticket, brighter day, tuition

Popularity: 8% [?]

Posted by vida

Ten Ways to Cruise on the Cheap While Taking Online Classes

Monday, June 15th, 2009

Summer has arrived; and adult learners may be wondering how to take a cheap vacation without skipping a beat in online classes.

Thankfully, the travel industry is happy to oblige by offering great deals on just about everything. Still, cruising may be among the best ways to save money on a vacation while continuing with online degree studies.

For the price of gas, food, a couple of nights in a mid-range hotel and activities, e-learners and their families or friends could sail away on the vacation of a lifetime.

Just check out these facts about cruising to an online degree:

  1. The costs for a 4-day cruise this summer begin as low as $184 per person (before taxes and fees) from Florida, New Orleans or Long Beach, according to today’s 90-day ticker from Vacations to Go, a  website that lists the best cruise deals, especially last-minute bargains. Additional special discounts may apply for past passengers and those over age 55.
  2. Cruise costs cover a bundle – ship transportation to exotic ports, 24-hour food, some beverages, lavish entertainment for adults and children, room service, twice-daily cabin cleaning and more.
  3. For 4 people staying in the same cabin, the 3rd and 4th persons pay just a fraction of the full fare, generally between 40-60% less. This is a kid-friendly deal for families, but also works well for family gatherings, friends and co-workers.
  4. Onboard credits are free money that is offered by travel agents, credit card companies or the cruise line. These are valuable because they are applied to the onboard account and may cover tipping fees, excursions, alcoholic drinks, shopping or other additional costs. A good travel agent can help explore this option.
  5. Most ports can be explored without purchasing expensive excursions from the ship. A good guide book from the library can give excellent tips about saving money while seeing the sights on your own.
  6. Most ships offer onboard Internet cafes and designated public WiFi hotspots. Some ships, like the new Celebrity Solstice series, offer data ports for Internet access in individual cabins, which is great for online students. Some Princess ships offer the use of individual laptops for the duration of the cruise on a first-come, first served basis. Discounted Internet plans offer cheaper rates then paying by the minute.
  7. To save money on Internet rates, online students may opt to gather web research ahead of time. Then on the ship, they can work offline and connect to the Internet only to turn in assignments or email instructors.
  8. Tipping is generally not mandatory on the ship; although there are suggested amounts per day to cover cabin stewards, waiters, head waiters, and other staff. Even when the tipping fees are automatically deducted from the onboard account, passengers may raise or lower the tipping amount at their own discretion. However, after observing how diligently the staff works on their behalf, the suggested tips — totaling about $10 per adult passenger per day — often appear to be reasonable to most cruisers.
  9. The 3,634-passenger ship, Independence of the Seas, not only provides extensive Internet access, it also offers rock-climbing, a water park, a surf park, ice skating, youth clubs, a full-size boxing ring and sports court, miniature golf, a fitness center, a casino, shopping — plus a multitude of other diversions for those who need extra study time to devote to online classes while family or friends literally dive into the fun onboard.
  10. Retirees, homeschooling families and others may find deeper discounts in the fall and winter, as vacationers return to school and jobs. And most cruises that are more than 90 days off usually require only a modest down payment, with the balance due at a later date. Also, bargains extend to world cruises and, amazingly, an online student could travel the world by sea while earning an online degree.

Of course, it is important to ask questions during booking about cancellation policies, passport requirements, taxes, port fees, the minimum travel age for an infant, and what is covered or not covered in cruise fees.

Still, cruising is a wonderful opportunity for online degree students to enjoy a vacation and stay on track with online school, In fact, it may be the perfect way to enhance one’s career while making loved ones happy.

adults, career, children, cruising, elearning, free, internet, kid friendly, kids, on the cheap, online classes, online degrees, online school, save money, ship, summer, travel, vacation, wifi

Popularity: 12% [?]

Posted by vida

Are Lucrative Teacher Salaries Looming on the Education Horizon?

Saturday, June 6th, 2009

The seed has been planted for the best teachers to see their salaries rise into a six-figure income.

According to the New York Times article, “Next Test: Value of $125,000 Teachers” (6-4-09), one new charter school believes so much in the value of excellent teaching that it recruited and hired a staff of well-trained, top-notch teachers at salaries of $125,000 each a year.

If this becomes a trend, many more students will pursue traditional and online degrees in education, filling up available teaching slots with highly-qualified personnel.

The charter school, known as the Equity Project, offers its teachers about twice the average salary of other public school teachers in New York. But the payoff in excellence is expected to be huge for the low-income students who were selected by a lottery to learn from this select group.

Sure, these teachers will earn their pay with long hours, larger class sizes and high expectations from their employers, but many teachers face the same scenario with much less pay.

If President Obama has his way, the best teachers in the U.S. will be rewarded in the future with higher pay and additional incentives. But opposing voices, including those of the National Teachers Association, may delay this benefit as the details of his education proposals are ironed out and reconfigured.

Still, if the Equity Project is successful, it may encourage other forward-thinking charter and public school administrators to implement the changes that insure a better learning experience for students and a pleasant job environment for teachers.

And since the Equity Project is accomplishing its goals on available public monies, similarly funded schools may be hard-pressed to find reasons to ignore its tacit challenge.

Higher pay for teachers will drive more college students toward careers in education, placing teaching high on the totem pole of lucrative professions. This will raise the bar for teaching positions, insuring that each student receives the best possible education. Accredited online degree programs allow those from other professions to switch to the education field while working to pay bills.

It may be awhile before teachers receive $125,000 across the board; but hats off to the Equity Project for highlighting those who daily pour so much into our children.

teachers, school, online degrees, job, career, students, charter school, equity project, public school, college students, six figure, lucrative, online degree program, new york, higher pay

Popularity: 7% [?]

Posted by vida