Mar 30th, 2006
It can't be disputed that online classes are surging in popularity. Thanks to this, the negative stigma of online college courses and degrees is finally fading.
An online education is so respectable these days, in fact, that even Ivy league institutions are joining the movement.
With online learning becoming an increasingly integral method for how schools deliver education to its students (many of whom earn entire degrees without ever stepping foot into a classroom), will it eventually be possible to earn an Ivy League degree without ever gracing the hallowed halls?
Considered to be the most prestigious learning institutions the country has to offer – with long standing history and traditions- it's easy to see why there is plenty of resistance among the Ivy League community when it comes to a comparatively new learning model.
However, despite the healthy dose of skepticism from traditionalist scholars, there are plenty of signs that online learning is slowly becoming integrated into the educational elite, specifically through executive and professional education offerings. "You'll always have people who are excited by [online learning] and people who are cautious," explains Ann Armstrong, executive director of Center for Educational Outreach and Innovation at Teachers College, a school within Columbia University. "The biggest concern surrounds being able to deliver the quality we are known for traditionally in the classroom over the Web."
Is this a major triumph for the future of online education?
Mar 28th, 2006
The struggle to gain admission into traditional universities is a familiar one: filling out applications, begging for letters of recommendation, sweating over essays.
But what are the best ways to ensure admission into an online college? And who thought this would be a problem in the first place?
Online colleges and universities, suffering from the stigma of being somehow 'lesser' than 'real' colleges, don't seem to have the luxury to pick and choose among applicants. But with respect for the field growing, and more and more universities–including the Ivy League–incorporating some sort of online instruction, competition is expected to grow in virtual classrooms.
So what's the best way to learn about, and ensure online admission? This article offers helpful information and tips.
At Chatham School of Continuing Education, courses start every seven weeks, offering five start dates each year – two in the fall, two in the spring, and one in the summer. "This is not unusual for online programs," Stephen asserts.St. John's University's online programs, however, follow the same schedule as traditional classes. "They are identical except in the form of instruction and the greater use of e-mail and telephone for communication," explains Jefferey Olson, the school's associate vice president for online learning and services. "Deadlines for applications are also identical."
The story is the same as the traditional admission process: there are applications, requirements, and deadlines to complete. Keep that in mind next time somebody accuses you of not being a 'real' college student.
(Photo Source: college admissions essays)
Mar 22nd, 2006
A huge obstacle to online education is the lack of funding available to students. Unlike with traditional education, the grants and scholarships are just not there.
But perhaps that is about to change.
Congress has officially approved the 50-50- rules, which means that as long as a college has at least 50% of its classes in the traditional format, it can also receive financial aid for its students taking online courses.
For millions of college students, an unexpected floodgate of opportunity has been kicked open by Congress. History may record this event as the catalyst for a significant societal shift — the great education equalizer. Because now the inner city high school graduate, the single at-home mom, the physically-challenged career aspirant, and the struggling entry-level employee can move up the economic ladder with an online education enabled by government monies.
This heralds a change in education, with the opportunity for online degrees increasing for so many more students.
What do you think? IS this a triumph, or a possible lead to a reduction in the traditional values of education?
Mar 20th, 2006
So many schools are now using iPods as learning devices, the innovation no longer qualifies as news. Though it was first deemed revolutionary when colleges began offering lectures for students to download on the 'musical' devices, the trend grew so fast that it seemed just about everyone was doing it.
But some schools are taking things further…and it may not be the schools you expect. How about a rural college nestled within the mountains of Georgia?
Students at Georgia College & State University can use their iPods for much more than class lectures now: they can also download movies cited on the syllabus, enjoy podcasts of frequently asked questions, and benefit from having the correct pronunciations of vocabulary words in foreign language courses immediately available. And still, the innovators are just getting started.
"The more you free up your classroom for discussion, the more efficient you are," said Dorothy Leland, the school's president.
[On the other hand]: While iPods can be useful tools for reviewing coursework, some critics argue donning a pair of earphones is not the same as actively engaging with material in a classroom setting.
"Learning is through interaction, discussion, critical questioning and challenging of assumptions," said Donna Qualters, director of the Center for Effective Teaching at Northeastern University in Boston. "Those cannot be duplicated on an iPod – you have to be there to experience that learning."
The seemingly uber-traditional GCSU has led the way in developing methods to integrate iPod technology into college curriculums. These "iDreamers" are working to cram as much as the college experience as possible into these tiny portable devices. Well, what do you expect from a university with a professor known as "the Podfather?"
What do you think? Are these innovations improving the quality of education, as the iDreamers claim? Or does technology interfere with traditional values? Would you want to take, or teach, a course where students used iPods as a primary tool?
(Photo Source: McMaster University)
Mar 14th, 2006
The Web may seem like a place to engage in intimate conversations, but many people forget that it's an open book for whoever cares to look in it.
Often, this can lead to negative repercussions, such as the loss of privacy, or even stalking. But sometimes, it may offer fodder to achieve justice.
Almost immediately after three college students were recently arrested for setting fires to nine churches in Alabama, law enforcement began perusing the arsonists' online communications. These online conversations were later used in prosecution of the students.
"We now have law enforcement who are using Facebook postings to prosecute students," Aftab said. "Schools have prevented kids from enrolling or expelled students because of postings. It can prevent them from getting jobs because of their postings.
"You are dealing with kids in college who are bright enough to know the difference, but they don't get it," Aftab said. "If they are in a computer room typing things in with their friends, they think those are the only kids who are going to see it. It's open to tens of millions of people."
It seems as if invading online 'privacy' could be construed as a positive action in this instance, but is any invasion a warning sign? Should students be so free to share personal information with friends, and by association, with unknown visitors who may be lurking nearby?
Mar 9th, 2006
It seems like everybody's doing it these days: participating in online college courses.
The convenience is absolutely tempting, but many students find the format surprisingly hard to master, often because of a lack of self-discipline or the lack of professor interaction.
It sounds like the perfect way to finally complete your once-embarked-upon-studies, or add that graduate or executive needed to advance your career, doesn't it? But how much do you really know about online learning? More importantly, is it right for you?
Ask yourself some questions that will help you decide if online education is right for you, in this article.
Mar 7th, 2006
A new bill in Congress paves the way for the online education boom: colleges are no longer required to hold at least half their classes on campus in order to receive approval for federal student aid.
This hearkens unlimited opportunities for development.
The provision is just one sign of how an industry that once had a dubious reputation has gained new influence, with well-connected friends in the government and many Congressional Republicans sympathetic to their entrepreneurial ethic.
Supporters of the bill praise the innovative views of online educators. Detractors fear that this will cause a rise in for-profit diploma mills.
What do you think? Is this a victory, or a sign of danger to come?
(Photo Source: Swarthmore College)
Mar 2nd, 2006
Lakehead University has prohibited wireless Internet access on campus because the university president fears that "electromagnetic forces could pose a risk to students' health."
There's one you don't hear every day.
University president Fred Gilbert insists the policy will not change, and points out that researchers are unsure what effect electromagnetic forces may have on the human body.
Many health professionals and students do not agree, and the university has suffered a barrage of complaints and insults regarding the decision.
What do you think? Is this a case of an individual simply trying to protect students, or is it an example of ignorance that needs to be educated?