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Archive for the ‘online classes’ Category

Students Develop Discipline, Leave Fear Behind in Online Classes

Saturday, March 7th, 2009

Online schools intimidate some college students, especially those students who believe they lack the discipline to study on their own.

But in most cases, that fear of failure is not justified.

And lack of discipline as a prerequisite for enrollment in e-learning classes is fast becoming a myth and a non-issue. For a growing number of students, distance learning is becoming the only way to experience college, even if that includes developing discipline along the way.

It is no secret that online classes require discipline.  But those skills develop quickly when there is an easy-to-understand plan, or schedule, from the beginning of each class. And competent e-learning instructors are especially diligent about providing a detailed online syllabus.

The syllabus, a simplified roadmap for the class, tells students:

  • which textbooks to buy,
  • what assignments are required,
  • deadlines for completing those assignments,
  • how grading works for the class,
  • instructor office hours and contact information,
  • a link to the class website.

Additional information is often included on the class website, like links to: class notes, class video or audio lectures, message boards that connect students with each other, and individual grade books updated with the grades for each assignment.

Weekly emails from instructors are a normal part of online courses and generally explain the current week’s assignment, giving a heads-up about challenging homework that requires extra effort.

In traditional college classes, instructors hand out the syllabus; and students attend classes in person. But there is often little personal communication between instructors and students, unless the student initiates that communication. Online class instructors generally engage students through regular emails and discussion boards; and they welcome feedback from students. This is a strength of online classes.

Students who avoid enrolling in online classes may miss out on a rich, flexible learning experience that incorporates the latest in distance learning technology and prepares students to work in careers that rely upon technology. These career fields include health care, information technology, accounting, computer science, engineering, business administration, medical billing, paralegal and almost every other field.

Discipline is important for successful completion of any college or university class, whether it is online or traditional.

But online classes are a great way to develop that discipline and to leave fear far behind.

online classes, online schools, elearning, distance learning, online class, learning, career, discipline, fear, syllabus, plan, schedule, enrollment, easy, work, success, successful, college

Popularity: 8% [?]

Posted by vida

Why I Signed Up for Online School

Wednesday, January 14th, 2009

What do the cities of Chicago, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Jackson Hole all have in common?

They are all places in which I have either worked on my online class assignments or prepared for the new semester  — completely by computer.

I live in sunny California; and this past year and a half has been a suave, yet challenging, entrance into the world of high-tech learning.

Frankly, I decided to pursue online education because I didn’t want to be confined to attending classes on a specific day at a specific time every week for 17 weeks at a time. I needed the flexibility to study around my husband’s work schedule, my own job, visits to Mom, and other family-related events.

Still, it was more than a little scary to go back to school, especially online school.

Sitting on the couch with a bowl of popcorn while watching American Idol or House was more my speed. And besides, I had heard that online classes were time-consuming and difficult to understand on your own. Worst of all, according to naysayers, there was no teacher around to help.

But in spite of what were rumored to be significant roadblocks, I joined the millions of men and women who have enrolled in online degree programs, online schools, online classes, online certificate programs and online vocational programs.

I signed up for web design classes and began a cool journey that — six online classes later — has left me full of pleasant surprises, but with no regrets.

online school, American Idol, California, Chicago, family, house, Las Vegas, Mom, not, online certificate, online degree programs, online education, school, suave, women

Popularity: 6% [?]

Posted by vida

High School Dropouts Increase as GED Comes to the Rescue

Thursday, November 6th, 2008

In times past, high school dropouts had little hope of ever receiving a high school diploma. Once they left high school, they also left formal education for good — without pomp or circumstance.

But technology has brought new hope for these ex-students.

The rising exodus of teens from secondary school has alarm bells ringing all over the education community, initiating an urgent call for intervention to stop the tidal wave of students who prematurely walk down high school hallways for the last time.

In California, at least 120,000 young people a year become “high school dropouts”, with over a million students in the U.S. falling into this category annually.

According to a 2006 report for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, one-third of all public high students fail to graduate from high school each year. And among Hispanics, African-Americans, and Native Americans, that percentage rises to one-half.

These figures represent a “silent epidemic“, according to U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings. She also mentions that 15% of the U.S. high schools produce over 50% of the dropouts.

And what causes dropouts to “drop out”?

  • The public high schools with the highest number of dropouts — the 15% mentioned by Secretary Spellings — are generally substandard. Buildings are run-down, hallways are littered, desks are chipped and school books are outdated. In order to receive an education, students often face obstacles like routine violence and overtaxed teachers who struggle to educate their students in an unpleasant, hostile environment.
  • Often, students do not understand the relevance of a high school diploma until they leave school. If school is unpleasant and there is little educational encouragement at home, students have no incentive to hang in there and finish their coursework. Once they are out in the real world, dropouts encounter obstacles in finding a satisfying career. Since a high school diploma is a prerequisite for most well-paying jobs, dropouts run into limitless roadblocks in their quest to make a living.
  • Teen pregnancy, apathy, and inadequate reading or math skills make it difficult for others to complete high school.

On the whole, dropouts earn significantly less money and end up with a lower standard of living than high school graduates.

However, many adult learners eventually earn the equivalent of a high school diploma by passing the General Education Development test (GED), signaling a new beginning and better life for themselves and their families.

Adult education programs and online GED preparation courses can be found at local community centers, junior colleges and private online schools. And the flexibility of computer learning makes it possible for full-time workers to study on their own schedule.

When they are ready, students must take the GED test at an approved GED test center. In fact, students should beware of GED testing offered online. There is no valid online GED test; it is a scam.

Passing the GED or receiving a high school diploma opens the doors to enrolling in college, job promotions, increased income and a sense of accomplishment.

Still, the easiest thing for current students to do is to remain in school in the first place.

adult education, adult learners, African Americans, career, high school diploma, high school dropout, jobs, new beginning, online GED, online schools, standard of living, teachers, teens

Popularity: 11% [?]

Posted by vida

Florida Reports Phenomenal Growth in Demand for Online Classes

Saturday, July 26th, 2008

All over the nation, as college students complete registration for the fall term, many are discovering that they missed out on choice spots in online classes.

This is particularly true in Florida, where demand for e-learning classes has grown over 300% in the last 10 years, according to a recent report on Florida colleges. Online classes generally fill up first in Florida, just as they tend to do in many colleges and universities across the nation.

Although more than 34,000 college students registered in at least one online class in Florida in 1997, that number skyrocketed to 152,140 in 2007.

Demand for online degree programs is also on the rise, with over 17,000 Florida college students enrolled only in online classes. High gas prices may be partially responsible for the recent surge; but students rushed to enroll in e-learning courses even before the recent downturn in the economy.

Students are flocking to distance learning options in traditional and online schools for the same reasons they always have:

  • a flexible study schedule,
  • the ability to earn money by working while enrolled in school,
  • being able to spend time with family, friends and others without missing class,
  • the possibility of more frequent interaction with teachers than with traditional classes,
  • the simplicity of using a computer to watch archived lectures and turn in assignments,
  • the choice to keep college attendance private until ready to reveal it to others.

The Sloan Consortium consistently reports an increasing demand for online education. According to its recent report, “Online Nation: Five Years of Growth in Online Learning“, online enrollments are growing at a rate significantly faster than traditional higher education enrollments.

Florida colleges reflect the popularity of online degree programs throughout the U.S. and the world.

And according to the experts, distance learning is on a roll that may never stop.

online classes, online schools, online education, e-learning, colleges and universities, college_students, Florida, distance learning, gas prices, higher education

Popularity: 5% [?]

Posted by vida

Getting Ahead With Summer Classes

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2008

As the heat of summer begins to rise, it is easy to lay low and forget about school and everything except vacations, relaxing and having fun.

However, it may be advantageous to use the summer to gain career momentum and to avoid waiting until the busier fall season when everyone is getting back to  business as usual.

Distance learning has made it particularly convenient to enroll in online classes, even when vacation trips have been planned and time off has been secured. And with a myriad of online schools from which to choose, there is truly something for everyone who decides not to waste the prime months of summer.

There are a number of reasons to enroll in e-learning summer classes:

  1. Taking summer classes can lighten the course load in the fall. For students who have a full load planned for the fall semester, enrolling in one or two of those classes in the summer is one way to lower the workload and stress just a couple of months down the road.
  2. Adult learners who are working full-time may wish to finish an online degree program a lot faster by using the summer to knock out a couple of the required classes.
  3. Full-time college students can save tuition dollars by taking a few summer classes at less expensive state colleges, junior colleges or online schools.
  4. Taking specific classes may be more beneficial (and fun) while traveling to places of interest — like studying humanities while visiting the museums of Paris; studying ancient history while in Greece, Egypt, or Rome; studying English literature while touring Shakespeare’s birthplace; or studying earth science while visiting the Grand Canyon, Yosemite or Yellowstone.
  5. Summer is the perfect time for teachers to work on an online master’s degree in education, or to take computer classes to remain up-to-date on the latest education technology.

Classes are not all the same; so it is important to select the classes that work well with the activities and plans of the summer. Remember:

  • Some classes are taught the same as those during the regular term, while others are accelerated during the summer. Accelerated classes fit the same amount of work in a shorter period of time; so they are more challenging.
  • Some distance learning classes are synchronous, while others are asynchronous. Synchronous online classes — which are more common – have a set schedule with assignments due on specific dates; while asynchronous classes allow flexibility within certain parameters.
  • Some online classes use a blended approach, which may require that the student take tests on campus, attend the first class on campus, or obtain required hours in a lab on campus. Other courses may require a group project that can be done at a distance, but which may require additional e-mailing or message board communication. So it is important to read the class information to make sure the selected class meets the desired expectations.

When the fall colors arrive and career goals are closer because of a productive summer, those who used their summer wisely will have a wonderful sense of satisfaction and a new pep in their step.

distance learning, e-learning, junior college, online classes, online degree program, online degrees, online master’s degree, online schools, summer classes, teachers

Popularity: 5% [?]

Posted by vida

Texas A&M Offers Discounts for Online Equine Business Courses

Thursday, November 15th, 2007

Equine business owners and those aspiring to careers in the horse industry may be eligible for tuition discounts at Texas A&M for online classes offered next spring at the Center for Equine Business Studies.

Those who are already involved in horse-related businesses can rarely take time off to attend traditional college classes. So this opportunity to gain valuable equine management skills from a highly-respected university is both unique and timely.

Two online courses are currently available for Spring 2008:

- Business Basics for the Equine Business, and

- Sales in the Equine Industry.

These courses may be applied to the “Certificate in Equine Entrepreneurship” at Texas A&M. They may also be taken for continuing education credit or for personal enrichment. Registration must take place by December 31, 2007 to qualify for eligible discounts.

In future semesters, the 3 additional e-learning classes required for the equine certificate will be offered:

- Equine Entrepreneurship I,

- Equine Entrepreneurship II, and

- Marketing and the Equine Industry.

According to statistics provided by the American Horse Council Foundation in 2005:

-There are 9.2 million horses in the United States, including those used for pleasure, competition, racing, ranch work, police work, breeding, rodeo and polo.

-There are over 2 million horse owners in America.

-Approximately a third of horse-owning households make less than $50,000 a year.

-The direct economic effect of the horse industry is $39 billion annually.

-Over 460,000 jobs are provided by the horse industry.

-The horse industry provides $1.9 billion to the U.S. government in various taxes.

-There are tens of millions of spectators for horse events each year.

The importance of equine businesses to the U.S. economy is often underrated and rarely publicized. But Texas A&M has taken a giant step in equipping those who are at the center of the horse industry’s continued growth and success.

It seems that the marriage of distance learning and equine business education will be a satisfactory and lasting union.

online education, distance learning, e-learning, online courses, equine education, horse industry, Texas A&M, horse owners, careers, equine business, US economy, tuition discount, jobs, business education

Popularity: 9% [?]

Posted by vida

My First Online Class: Quite An Adventure

Thursday, October 11th, 2007

Although I received my bachelor’s and master’s degrees from traditional USC (University of Southern California), I longed to experience taking an online class. After all, that is what I write about on this blog.

So to test the waters, I enrolled in an online Computer Web Design class at the local junior college. To apply and register took less than an hour and cost $43 — all accomplished online.

The professor, a Stanford graduate, sent out an e-mail directing his students to a web page that contained all of the basic information we needed for the class — the syllabus, resource page, grades page, message board, detailed numbered assignments, quiz information, etc. The syllabus directed us to buy a textbook and cd, which I ordered online. My text was on sale at Amazon, which was a plus.

We were asked to introduce ourselves on the message board; and I found that a large percentage of my class was already working in software design, graphic design, engineering or computer science industry. There were about 125 of us, according to the introductions. As a novice on the technical side of the computer, I wondered whether I had been a tad ambitious in picking this particular class as my online education experiment. But I have an adventurous streak in me; so I forged ahead.

Each week, we received a detailed e-mail from our teacher explaining any pitfalls or special instructions regarding the assignment that was due that week. The assignment instructions, when I printed them out, were detailed — running from 3-7 pages each week.

On average, we had to read about 50-70 pages each week of technical material, watch the appropriate video lessons on the cd, take an open book quiz (which was tricky), take part in the class discussion on the message board and upload our multi-part web page project to the junior college server for grading. Then, within a day, we could check our grades by using our student identification number.

I wish I could say that I sailed through the entire class without a snag; but I quickly learned to depend upon my interactions with the teacher and the other students to complete my assignments successfully. And because the class was online, following the written instructions was crucial to saving time and avoiding errors.

And what else did I learn?

  1. Budgeting my time was critical. I stayed up all night once completing an assignment; because I ran into multiple snags. If I had started earlier in the week, I would not have missed my sleep.
  2. I had more interaction with my online teacher than I ever did with traditional classes. Anytime I ran into a problem, I either e-mailed him directly or wrote to him on the message board. He always responded in a timely manner, even on Sunday evening when I hit a wall.
  3. Message boards are great for interacting with fellow students. The students were great about helping each other and laying out their own problems and solutions so others could benefit.
  4. Open book quizzes require a lot of study. The teacher fashioned the quiz questions so that the answers were not easily found in the book. You had to read and understand the material in order to do well on the quizzes. We were only allowed to log into the quiz once; so I always tried to finish it quickly to avoid getting a zero if the Internet connection cut off.
  5. My teacher was amazing! He handled questions and problems from students 7 days a week from over 100 remaining students (a few dropped the class) and kept a positive ‘You can do it’ attitude. All this with a wife and 2 young children at home.

Would I do it again? I must say — I am hooked. Taking an online class was challenging; but I learned that I can do it. I did well in the class. And I did everything from home on my own computer on my schedule. You really can’t beat that!

I received a class e-mail today about the things we can learn in Part B of Computer Web Design – more on cascading style sheets, tables, borders, linking photos, html, etc. I really don’t need to take that class to move onto Dreamweaver, my ultimate goal. Why put myself through all of the deadlines, work, projects, etc.?

Yet, today I found myself registering for Part B of Computer Web Design with my same teacher. And who knows? I may later pursue an online masters degree in information technology.

After all, as I said, I have an adventurous streak.

online class, online masters degree, online degree, web design, computer, online education, information technology, Stanford, USC, University of Southern California, graphic_design, software_design, engineering, Dreamweaver

Popularity: 7% [?]

Posted by vida