Archive for June, 2007

Choose an Online Degree That Attracts Employers

Jun 29th, 2007
Choose an Online Degree That Attracts Employers

If you're trying to decide which online degree to earn, you'll want to take a look at a new Yahoo Education article. Here's what they have to say about earning a degree in a profitable industry:

"While jobs are drying up in some industries, in other fields the shortage of qualified workers is forcing employers to go to great lengths to attract personnel. These perks may take the form of signing bonuses, employer-reimbursed job training, or very competitive salaries. As a job-seeker in these professions you could have your pick of employers, and what could be better than being able to choose from (and even negotiate among) several job offers?"

The top five fields include: computer science engineer, paralegal, accountant, occupational therapist, and post-secondary teacher. I'd never suggest choosing a profession simply because of its earning potential. (It's worth it to do what you love, even if employers aren't beating down your door). But, if you're still undecided about what to major in, the Yahoo list just may spark some interest. For the final five fields and advice on the degrees needed for each occupation check out: Top 10 Jobs Where Employers Come Looking for You.

Online Welding Classes?

Jun 28th, 2007
Online Welding Classes?

Some classes are practically perfect for online instruction. Others, such as online driver's education courses for teenagers, can be challenging. I think online welding courses fall into the second category. A recent article from the ohio state University newspaper discusses the school's online welding course:

"The course is part of a master's program in welding engineering offered entirely online. Lippold said students throughout the country – from Alaska to Florida – are enrolled.

The students do not have any hands-on welding instruction, which can be tricky online. Instead, they learn about different kinds of metals and different welding issues with those metals. They also learn how to identify problems in the welds and how to correct those problems, Lippold said."

While an online student can certainly learn a lot about welding in virtual format, there's a big difference between reading about welding and actually welding. Even multimedia components, such as streaming videos, aren't the same as in-person demonstrations and student participation. Is it possible to virtually teach subjects such as driver's education and welding effectively? I'm not sure.

For more on Ohio State University's online welding class check out: Students Can Learn to Weld in Underwear.

Free Videos from Columbia University

Jun 27th, 2007
Free Videos from Columbia University

According to Columbia Library News, Google has forked over a hefty amount to fund educational videos from Columbia University. Here's the details from the library's article:

"Google has awarded Columbia University Digital Knowledge Ventures (DKV) a $50,450 grant to support preparation and submission of video content from Columbia for the Google Video site.

DKV will prepare up to 54 hours of new content, as well as convert 38 hours of mpeg2 content for the Google Video site. Lectures, interviews, and course content covering such diverse areas of science, economy, history and world affairs will be featured."

So, get ready for an important addition to the growing collection of free course material available online. For more information check out Google Funds Columbia's Digital Knowledge Ventures. Happy learning.

New Media Literacies

Jun 26th, 2007
New Media Literacies

Can you figure out how to use a new software program? Can you find what you want online using your "Google-fu"? Are you showing your children how to use computers…or are they showing you? A new article by Henry Jenkins highlights the importance of obtaining what he calls "new media literacies." Here's a blurb:

"A growing body of scholarship suggests potential benefits of these emergent forms of participatory culture, including opportunities for peer-to-peer learning, a changed attitude towards intellectual property, the diversification of cultural expression, the development of skills valued in the modern workplace, and a more empowered conception of citizenship. Access to this participatory culture functions as a new form of the hidden curriculum, shaping which kids will succeed and which will be left behind as they enter schools and workplaces."

Clearly, developing new media skills is important for school children. But, what about adult learners who grew up before the personal computer was a household staple? Many older online learners need extra assistance to develop the skills that will put them ahead in the workplace. In most professions primary skills just don't cut it anymore. Just about everyone needs to develop technological skills that will help them communicate with colleagues and find information online.

To read the rest of Jenkin's article check out: What Wikipedia Can Teach Us About the New Media Literacies.

Consolidate Those Student Loans – Interest Rates Rising July 1

Jun 25th, 2007
Consolidate Those Student Loans - Interest Rates Rising July 1

If you have Student Loans from your online or traditional studies, now's the time to consolidate. Interest rates will be going up July 1st.

To hear more about student loan consolidation, check out a recent streaming NPR segment: The Color of Money.

You may also be interested in: How to Convince Your Employer to Pay for Your Education, Types of Financial Aid.

Web 2.0 for Students

Jun 24th, 2007

Recently, I've written quite a few posts about web 2.0 for online teachers and course creators. But, how can online students take advantage of web 2.0 tools? A recent Read / WriteWeb article discusses this question. Here's what the author has to say:

"I went to a school that utilized a Virtual Learning Environment called WebCT (since absorbed by the Blackboard company), and it really wasn't very fun to use. Note taking meant writing on paper, study groups meant face-to-face meetings, and if you were struggling through Shakespeare, your best bet was to turn to the library, not the Internet.

When I was in college most of the tools in this round up didn't exist. It was truly the dark ages of education! Well, okay, it was a just a few years ago, but just in this decade, and especially in the last few years, a handful of tools to make school life easier have appeared."

There are dozens of useful tools online students can take advantage of – whether or not their virtual classrooms embrace 2.0 technology. For a list of some of the most helpful tools check out Web 2.0 Backpack: Web Apps for Students.

Everything You Need to Know About e-Learning 2.0

Jun 22nd, 2007
Everything You Need to Know About e-Learning 2.0

What's the difference between traditional e-learning and "e-learning 2.0"? How do teachers create a functional 2.0 learning community? Read/Write Web recently published the best summary and examples of e-learning 2.0 I've read to date. Here's how they explain the differences between the traditional and new forms of e-learning:

"…the traditional approach to e-learning has been to employ the use of a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE), software that is often cumbersome and expensive – and which tends to be structured around courses, timetables, and testing. That is an approach that is too often driven by the needs of the institution rather than the individual learner. In contrast, e-learning 2.0 (as coined by Stephen Downes ) takes a 'small pieces, loosely joined' approach that combines the use of discrete but complementary tools and web services – such as blogs, wikis, and other social software – to support the creation of ad-hoc learning communities."

To read the rest of the summary and learn about websites that help online teachers create learning communities check out e-Learning 2.0: All You Need to Know.

What Holds You Back from Learning Effectively?

Jun 21st, 2007
What Holds You Back from Learning Effectively?

A new Lifehack article discusses the seven "deadly mindsets" that keep people from learning effectively. Number four on the list is the fear that others are smarter than you. I can relate to this fear. My first couple months of graduate school were nerve-wracking as I sat across from peers I was sure were brighter, more knowledgeable, and more accomplished. Fortunately, as I got to know the other students, I realized that it wasn't a competition…we were all just trying to do our personal best. Worrying about how I compare was holding me back from exploring my talents and excelling in my own personal strengths. Here's what Lifehack has to say about fear number four:

"The truth is there is always somebody better than you are. And the only way you will have an edge is through endless and continuous learning. It is your battle, not a battle with others."

To read about how to defeat this and the other six ineffective viewpoints check out 7 Deadly Mindsets That Hold You Back From Learning Effectively.

Multimedia Learning in Online Classes

Jun 20th, 2007
Multimedia Learning in Online Classes

The effective use of technology is essential for students learning with the assistance of multimedia programs. I recently published an article on About.com about this topic. Here's a blurb:

"A growing number of Online Universities offer multimedia learning components such as chat rooms, collaborative projects, and web conferencing. These multimedia components can help online students effectively master the subject matter. But, multimedia learning also has a downside: inexperienced students can easily become distracted with the platform instead of the subject. It's easy to waste time chatting on course message boards or tuning out a podcast lecture."

To find out more about the effective use of multimedia learning check out: Multimedia Learning in Online Classes.

Make the Most of Your Local Libraries

Jun 19th, 2007
Make the Most of Your Local Libraries

Online learners tend to be net savvy…but, even the most technologically proficient student needs to use a traditional library now and then. From printed academic journals to niche works from the 1800s, millions of research volumes have yet to be scanned and cataloged by Google Books.

To make the most of print literature, check out the new article from Lifehacker: 13 Book Hacks for the Library Crowd. Here's a blurb:

"Most of us spend a lot of time in the virtual world these days, but that doesn't mean we can't appreciate a good book every now and then. From your local library to the classroom to the bookstore, there are a lot of tools available to help you save time and money when it comes to the bound world of information."

Additionally, learn how to access your local libraries online in their article, Get the Most of Your Local Library – Online. You'll learn how to find local libraries, reserve materials, and contact librarians via the net.

If you've never learned how to properly navigate through a physical library (don't be ashamed, many schools never quite teach this), take a quick read through a Straight dope library article. In just a couple minutes, you'll easily learn the basics of the Dewey Decimal system used in most public libraries and the Library of Congress Classification system used in most academic libraries.

Happy reading.