Jul 31st, 2006
All business have their share of scammers and swindlers, and online education is no exception. Recently, people lacking in ethics have targeted the ever-growing industry as a source of dirty lucre:
BC Tutors claims to offer online tuition to school students across Australia, but owes thousands of dollars, according to the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC).
The regulator warned ABC Tutors was associated with a Queensland company Tutormaster. Both businesses have the same director and secretary, Salvador Paje.
In a statement, ASIC said it appeared Paje had fled to the Philippines.
Unfortunately, the convenience of online degrees brings the danger of anonymity along with it. Please always be sure to research any company or online college before investing your time or money. For the complete story on Paje, please visit
Jul 31st, 2006
Blackboard, the powerhouse software used in bazillions of universities to design, implement, and instruct online courses, has been awarded a patent for a yet unnamed "Internet-based technology."
The patent covers technology relating to certain systems and methods involved in offering online education, including course-management and enterprise e-learning systems.
Blackboard (NASDAQ: BBBB) says patents corresponding to this new U.S. patent have been issued in Australia, new zealand and Singapore. Patents are also pending in the European Union, China, Japan, Canada, India, Israel, Mexico, South Korea, Hong Kong and Brazil.
Worldwide, the company says it has more than 30 patents issued and pending.
With millions of people utilizing Blackboard's products, it seems online education will continue to grow.
You can explore Blackboard's many products and services here.
(Image Source: Patent Ease)
Jul 31st, 2006
There's no denying that higher education–especially online higher education–is a business. And like all businesses, sometimes the competition gets intense.
Industry giant Blackboard is now involved in a lawsuit with Desire2Learn Inc. Blackboard claims that Desire2Learn Inc has "breached patent number 6,988,138 – " 'Internet Based Education Support System and Methods'. "
This has caused quite a stir in the online education community, and many industry professionals feel that this lawsuit foretells future problems. You can read more about this story here and here.
Jul 26th, 2006
Doctors, nutritionists, natural healers, psychologists…these sources tell us, again and again, that a balanced life is the key to physical and emotional health. Of course, in this rush everywhere, high stress world, we often ignore that advice.
But if you're looking for a way to finally make it happen, online learning can help. Research shows that choosing an online degree option, rather than an on-campus 'traditional' route, helps lead to a more balanced life. And who doesn't want that?
While the full-time, campus-based MBA is still popular, there is a growing recognition that not every student is willing to leave both home and workplace for anything between 12 months and two years.
As a result the Distance Learning MBA, whereby candidates can either study completely remotely or combine face-to-face tuition with home-based work, has become a tempting option.
Thanks to the internet and its ability to allow students and academics to work online in virtual classrooms, distance learning students can now choose from a range of options.
Are you searching for balance in your life? If you are already an online student, has it helped you with this goal?
(Image Source: Ad Mats)
Jul 25th, 2006
It can't be denied: a College Degree greatly improves career and earning potential.
But so many people have been forced to leave college before completing a degree, or did not receive the opportunity to go to college at a 'traditional' time. All hail online learning.
For thousands of students every year, online college degrees offer a chance to improve their lives, one keystroke at a time.
OK, so getting a bachelor's degree doesn't happen instantly, but you know that your educational investment is worth the effort. And, with the availability of online degree programs, which offer flexibility and convenience to round out your recommitment to that lifelong goal, saying you don't have the time isn't a viable excuse.
"I always knew I would have to finish my degree in order to move my career forward, but I wasn't quite sure how," says the project manager for IT Lab, an IT outsourcing company in London.
Watson is on to something when you consider that in 2002, average earnings for those with a bachelor's degree was $51,194, compared to $27,280 for high school graduates.
He'll keep plugging ahead on a part-time basis, and he hopes to finish his degree this November. "It feels good because I know that I'm finally moving forward again," he says. "My social life has definitely taken a hit, but it's worth it." Besides, Watson says he's able to fill some of the socializing void with the virtual friendships he's made through his classes.
"It's a perfect solution for people like me who want to finish their degree but can't commit to specific times due to travel or location issues."
This article provides quite a few good points, as well as motivation to 'go back' to school and get the degree you've always wanted. Be sure to check it out if you need some reassurance.
If you're already participating in an online program, what gave you the motivation to go for it?
Jul 20th, 2006
Online software demonstrations are a very effective way to show customers how to use a product's features and functionality. futureLab, a Swiss company, discovered the power of online software demos for purposes of getting new subscribers to its online photo management service, Snapmania.com. What tool did they turn to for the online demos? Camtasia Studio, by TechSmith.
This case study explains how Camtasia Studio has helped drive consumer adoption of Snapmania.com:
Over the course of a year, futureLAB conducted a beta test of snapmania.com with 500 users. It became clear that software demonstrations would be the most effective way to show customers how to use the product's features and functionality. Usability testing showed that consumers needed help immediately due largely to the fact that the products user interface is going far beyond anything one would expect to be possible within a browser window. The challenge presented by the product's unique look and feel was compounded by the fact that snapmania is an interactive web-application offering drag and drop support, double clicking, drop down menus etc. that allows users to be very effective and creative to obtain a desired result rather than forcing customers through a traditional, step-by-step approach usually seen in online applications.
futureLAB wanted the software demonstrations to be online and on-demand for maximum efficiency and convenience. Content on CDs can become outdated very quickly, and customers are more likely to click on a software demo than load a CD and search for the relevant content.
The demonstrations would serve as the first formal introduction consumers would have to snapmania, and would also be used as an online marketing and pre-sales tool. By watching the short software demonstration, customers could see, hear, and actually experience the product. Since snapmania is an online application, customers don't receive written documentation, which is costly to produce and typically goes unread. Therefore, the some of the many video demonstrations are designed to act as a user's manual and first-level tech support. These videos are accessible through the application's online help system.
* * *
After testing nearly a dozen software programs, futureLAB chose Camtasia Studio by TechSmith. Camtasia Studio is the first screen-recording application that combines all the benefits of video and Flash. Camtasia Studio records screen activity in real time — every mouse click, hue changes, fade-in and keystroke — and the resulting video is crystal clear. The video includes the narrator's voice and even picture-in-picture, if the narrator wants to be seen on the screen. Users can edit the video, adding callouts, highlights, transitions, title clips, and much more. They can also record their narration after the screen recording or even add background music. Camtasia Studio is the only screen-recording software that allows users to publish their software demonstration in the most popular streaming media formats (AVI, WMV, RM and WOV) as well as Flash (SWF and FLV), providing maximum publishing options.
Go here to read the full case study. If you would like to see an example of the Snapmania.com online demo using Camtasia Studio (in German), go here.
This post is sponsored by TechSmith, makers of Camtasia Studio. Visit http://techsmith.com/camtasia.asp for more information.
Jul 18th, 2006
Accredited-Online-Colleges.com recently announced
additions of new online colleges and universities to its site. Students can find a huge diversity of courses and degrees at this catch-all site.
Read on for the newest offerings: (More information can be found
3D Training Institute – The 3D Training Institute teaches via the Internet with a live instructor online. Based on a student's skill level, a teacher covers the 3D Project Based Course or the 3D Foundation Workshop. 3d animation classes are taught by some of the best in the industry who possess years of real world experience and/or are currently working in the 3D animation industry.
Deaconess College of Nursing – Students who want to combine traditional educational values with a flexible learning experience choose the Deaconess College of Nursing. Founded in 1889, the Deaconess College of Nursing has been molding nursing professionals for over 100 years and offers an online Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree.
Grantham University – Grantham's online education program helps busy professionals enhance their professional skills or earn a degree for the first time. Students can complete an associates, bachelors, or masters degree online and can choose from programs such as Information Management, MBA, Project Management, Business, Criminal Justice, Engineering and Information Systems.
FMU Online – FMU online programs give students the best of both worlds: a quality education on their own time. And with so many online degree programs to choose from such as Business, Accounting, Criminal Justice and IT, students can reach their educational goals while balancing their professional and personal lives.
Jul 18th, 2006
Hybrid: the word usually brings to mind pictures of environmentally-friendly vehicles. But for many professors and students, 'hybrid' classes have been fairly commonplace for the last five years.
I've taken them and I've taught them. Depending on how you look at it, hybrid classes, which blend together both traditional and online elements, are either the best of both worlds, or a failure to commit fully to one pedagogy.
They continue to grow in popularity along with the entire online education movement, and many students who are daunted by the prospect of taking a fully online class may benefit from the more gradual introduction a hybrid course offers.
Here is an excellent article detailing how both teachers and students can get the most out of this type of class. Of primary importance is to fully utilize both components, and not neglect either the 'traditional' or 'technological' opportunities in favor of the other.
What were your experiences with hybrid courses? Do you prefer 'one way or the other,' or do you like the combination?
(Photo Source: Human Descent)
Jul 18th, 2006
One of the biggest fears of students new to online learning (and the biggest fear of some employers) is whether or not an online college can be 'trusted.'
Could it be a diploma mill? What if the institution isn't accredited, and all that hard work and money is wasted? Never fear; GetEducated.com has a nifty little tool for making sure your online college is up to snuff. The Diploma Mill Police, found here, will let you know all the facts, after you enter some brief information. The Get Educated site has all sort of nifty information, including 'Top 10' lists of online degree programs, so after you're done playing detective, be sure to check out the rest of the site.
Jul 18th, 2006
A student graduates from Florida State University with honors. Where's the news in that, you may be asking. Certainly an accomplishment, but not exceedingly rare. Perhaps not in a traditional setting, but in this case, the student earned his degree completely online.
Aaron Shumaker, 24, is not only the first person in 15 years to graduate with honors from FSU's Panama Campus, he's the first ever to earn an honor's degree online. It took Shumaker three years to complete the computer science degree.
Shumaker decided to take his computer science classes online so he could accept a full-time position as a data analyst without interrupting his education. FSU currently offers three bachelor's degrees and 17 master's degrees entirely online.
While taking classes over the Internet is an option for students who are self-motivated, adding the demands of FSU's Honors Program makes Shumaker's record unique.
"An undergraduate honors thesis is equivalent to work at the graduate level," Cottle said.
"These students are driven to want to be world-class."
As if that weren't impressive enough, the hard-working student has already been offered–and has accepted–a job as a lead programmer in the College of Engineering.
It's wonderful to see students able to earn 'honor' degrees online now; maybe this will brighten the shadows left by all those degree mills.