Jan 30th, 2008
The Economist recently released a list of the top 10 distance learning MBA programs. Here's a blurb from their report:
"The University of Florida's Warrington School of Business tops the Economist Intelligence Unit's ranking of distance-learning MBA programmes. Florida's students are especially impressed with the quality of the school's distance-learning materials, the programme's value for money and their sense of connection to the school. Spain's IE Business School ranks second, with Britain's Warwick University third.
Distance-learning MBAs are becoming an increasingly important sector of business education, allowing students from around the world to earn degrees from top-quality schools without having to change jobs or move abroad-often at a fraction of the cost of a full-time programme. For these very reasons they are also becoming more popular with employers."
Two of the top ten online MBA programs are American schools. They include: The University of Florida's Warrington School of Business and the thunderbird School of Business Management. Take a look at the article for a link to the complete report.
Jan 29th, 2008
Over the past year, I've been amassing a list of free online public schools for K-12 students. Finally, the complete state-by-state list of free schools is available over on About.com. Here's what's included:
"Most states offer some type of online public school courses to resident students. Some states offer full online high school diploma programs, while others offer a limited number of virtual courses.
This…list of online public school programs includes state-wide online schools, online charter schools, and online private schools that receive government funding for in-state students."
If you have a school-aged child, check it out. If you are under 21, you may also qualify to complete your high school diploma at one of these online schools for free.
Jan 25th, 2008
Online public school students in Wisconsin have been fighting to keep the state's virtual schools open for many months now. After the courts stopped funding to the state's largest online school (Wisconsin Virtual Academy) in December, families have been worried that more schools will follow. Consider this recent account of the ongoing debate:
"Hundreds of students and their parents begged Wisconsin lawmakers Wednesday to take quick action to keep their virtual charter schools open. Students, parents and superintendents who operate the schools said state law must be changed or a dozen of the schools that enroll 3,000 students could be forced to close as early as next school year… They are popular with families who want their students to learn from home, but they are opposed by teachers' unions and critics who complain they drain money from traditional public schools."
Wisconsin has more online K-12 public schools than most states. However, its students are now worried about their future. Hopefully, lawmakers will give the online programs a break. States need to make sure that online schools meet standards and give students a high-quality education. However, it is ridiculous to ban online schools because they cannot follow antiquated regulations designed for traditional school programs.
Jan 24th, 2008
Every year, more online Christian schools open. There are now hundreds of online Christian colleges and high school programs. And the market doesn't seem to be waning.
In addition to wanting flexible scheduling, many online Christian students are seeking a teachers that share their religious beliefs and and a learning environment with like-minded peers.
If you're interested in finding an online Christian school, take a look at BakersGuide.com. They list several hundred virtual schools designed for Christians, as well as a large selection of seminary programs. Their directory was recently updated with new programs for both undergraduate and graduate students.
Jan 23rd, 2008
We've been waiting for quality online college statistics for a long time. Finally, several online colleges have formed a coalition dedicated to sharing program statistics with the general public. The Wired Campus explains:
"[The coalition] is expected to develop a Web site, which will open next year, to publish data from the coalition-called the Presidents' Forum-that show students' graduation rates, what training the institutions provide, and how successful graduates are in their careers, among other things."
Not every online college is a member of the group. However, a a good number of popular programs have signed-on, including American Public University System, Capella University, Charter Oak State College, excelsior College, Fielding Graduate University, Franklin University, Kaplan University, Regis University, Rio Salado College, Southwestern College, Western Governors University, and Union Institute & University.
Jan 22nd, 2008
The United States is currently facing a nursing shortage and some educators believe that online education is the solution to this problem. The News Observer reports:
"While the cause of the nursing shortage has been linked to an aging and disaffected population leaving the practice, a more fundamental cause may be the lack of nurse educators, according to David Hopkins, Ph.D., chief learning officer of distance learning provider Rue Education. These educators are unable to serve the growing wait lists of qualified nursing student applicants. In 2005, schools of nursing, colleges and universities turned away nearly 180,000 qualified applicants, due largely to the educator shortage.
"Given the growing need, we need to find more creative ways to educate the next generation of nurses," Hopkins says. "Many individuals lack the time and financial resources for traditional campus programs and are looking for more flexible options, better suited to their lives." He adds that alternatives like distance learning programs are helping to unburden the university system."
Like many hands-on sciences, nursing is a difficult subject to teach over the internet. However, new "virtual world" technologies make it possible for students to simulate the in-class learning experience. Some blended learning programs even combine traditional classroom time with online courses, making it convenient for students to study nursing on their own time while still having face-to-face interaction with teachers.
Jan 18th, 2008
When choosing an online college, it's always a good idea to take a look at the school's retention rates. A high retention rate often reflects student satisfaction, while a low rate is generally a bad sign. Open Education Database explains:
"A college's retention rate reflects the student body's overall interest in what's being offered by the college. This one figure can explain many factors that compose the attractiveness of a college, including the administration's competence, the quality of its teaching staff, the quality of the curriculum, the willingness of its students, and the perceived value of what is being taught."
Unfortunately, there still isn't a single place where you can find all online college retention rates compared. However, the Open Education Database is off to a good start with their list comparing several popular online colleges. Check it out to see how your online school compares.
Jan 17th, 2008
Here's a subject I've never seen taught online before: nuclear engineering. A consortium of twelve universities is now offering online nuclear engineering classes to interested students. Here's a blurb from the program website:
"Are you an undergraduate student at a Big 12 university? Do you think having a basic understanding of nuclear science will make you more attractive to future employers? Would you like to graduate with some nuclear science coursework on your transcript? If so, the Big 12 Nuclear Engineering Consortium was created for you!
In response to the increasing employer demand for employees with some nuclear training, the Big 12 Consortium offers students access to nuclear engineering courses. The courses are delivered via the Internet by the Big 12 universities that have nuclear engineering programs."
Participating schools include Kansas State, the Universities of Missouri at Columbia, Texas at Austin, and Texas A&M University at College Station.
Jan 16th, 2008
Your first week in an online class can be daunting. Without the traditional classroom structure, many students wonder how to get started on the right foot.
If you're trying to make the most of your first online class, check out my About.com article: 10 Most Important Things You Can Do During Your First Week in an Online Class.
The tips will help you become a successful student, right from the start. Here's the first suggestion:
"Determine if you're in over your head. Take a look at the course requirements and your personal schedule – then, decide if you can really handle the workload. Can you balance the course work with your family and career? Are the required assignments at your level? Are you really dedicated to finishing the online course? Too many distance learning students enroll in online courses and drop out after a month or so. Don't blemish your record with an "F" or a "W." If you decide to dropout before your online school's withdrawal deadline, you can usually get a full or partial refund of your tuition, as well as a clean record."
Jan 15th, 2008
Dallas News readers recently posted their opinions about online learning in public schools on the Sound Off section of the website. As always, it's interesting to read the various views people have in regards to new technology. Here's a sample:
In Favor of Online Learning: " Having been a computer professional, I believe that online education fills a significant need in our society. Many children, for various reasons, cannot either excel or even keep up in a classroom environment, but would excel in a self-actuated environment. -John Rafferty, Dallas"
Against Online Learning: " Assignments, reminders or special comments the teacher forgot to make in class can be sent to a student's computer, but the impersonal computer is not an adequate substitute for the interaction between students and between the teacher and students in a classroom. -Marvin J. Noble, Dallas"
Take a look at the Sound Off page to enjoy the rest of the discussion.