Friday, October 26, 2012

Advance Your Career With Distance Education

Picture this: there's an exciting new role at your workplace, and you think you're perfect for the job. You work hard to land the position, only to find out the guy in the next cubicle has bagged it. When you dig deeper, you realize the one thing that separates you two is the additional degree he has. And that's when you start to regret thinking you were too busy to go back to school to get that advanced degree, which could have put you on the road to corporate success.
Doesn't paint a pretty picture, does it? But the good news is that it doesn't have to stay that way. You can easily set your house in order by getting an advanced degree through distance education.
Advancing careers with distance education and other non-traditional means has become quite commonplace these days, and there are many factors that contribute to the growing popularity of these programs. Distance education makes sense for full-time professionals, because it allows them to study without taking time off work. Because of the flexible nature of distance education, most people are able to strike a balance between their jobs and schoolwork.
Plus, there is a growing acceptance and integration of distance learning programs into the mainstream education system, because of the drastic improvements in the quality of the course structure as well as content of these programs. Distance learning programs have undergone a massive overhaul thanks to the technological revolution. High-quality e-books and CD-ROMs that can be accessed at the click of the mouse have replaced poorly-printed study material sent to students by postal mail, plus online collaboration, chats, email, and more have made it easy to communicate with instructors and fellow students.
What to Look For
If you think you've had it with doing the same job year after year, distance education might be your ticket to new opportunities. But before you take the plunge into this unique pool of knowledge, there are some things you should consider.
Needless to say, accreditation is at the top of the list of things to check for before throwing yourself into a distance learning institution. Not only is accreditation proof of the quality of an institution's education, it is also a good indicator of how your degree will be received in the business world.
Another very important factor when selecting a distance education program is its relevance to your goals. It's important that you understand why you're pursuing this degree. Is it to move ahead in your current job, or to acquire a completely new set of skills for a fresh start? Look for a program that has the breadth of courses and programs you need.
You also need to keep an eye on your budget. Any type of college degree-whether it's distance learning or a classroom-based degree-is not going to be easy on your pocket. You may have to dip into your savings or take out a student loan. But if you select a university that participates in Title IV Federal Aid programs and/or offers its own in-house grants and scholarships, you will have more options for financing your education if you qualify.
How Does It Work?
That distance education doesn't require you to sit in a classroom is a well-known fact. What's probably not common knowledge is that even within distance education, there are different course formats offering varying degrees of flexibility.
Synchronous distance education, for example, needs all students to connect to their computers at the same time for pre-scheduled lectures, seminars, video conferencing, etc. The idea is to get everyone together, even if they're not under the same roof, for an interactive session on a regular basis.
Asynchronous distance learning programs provide unparalleled flexibility, as students are generally free to complete their coursework anytime they like. However, students in asynchronous distance programs may also be required to listen in on recorded lectures, participate in webinars, etc.
Both types of programs make liberal use of the Internet through emails, live chats, online discussion forums, and more. In fact, distance learning students may even be asked to submit their assignments and take exams online.
Is It Right For You?
Distance education provides a uniquely flexible opportunity for professionals to earn the advanced college education they thought could not fit into their busy work and life schedules. Before you choose a program, make sure you think about your goals, research your opportunities, and select the program that fits your needs.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Current Trends in Today's Educational System

The chosen path for many people always started with a successful high school education, leading onto three or four years in a University, and then a safe career inside a multi-national corporation. This pathway may of disappeared in the late 1990's, but education still remains a priority for most career minded people. What are the current trends in today's educational system?
1. The Growth in Vocational Training
Our labor markets have become extremely competitive, and flexible, leading to a need to continuously re-train, and develop new skills. The traditional and on-line vocational educational industry has become the main provider of education- since leaving college has only become one step in the continuous personal development we need in the 21st Century.
2. Online Universities Outgrowing Traditional Universities
In the United States over 60% of new students study online, instead of in a traditional university. Internationally, private and on-line Universities have boomed, because of the flexibility of the degree programs they offer, and the savings compared to studying in a traditional university.
Government cutbacks and increased student debts compared to decreasing salaries in many countries, have also eroded the popularity of studying in a traditional college. This trend should continue as the link between student debts and potential earnings increases- leading millions of people to seek a more affordable and viable option to attending College for several years.
3. Self- Education
In the distant past, information was limited to the books we could get access to, the newspapers we could buy, and the amount of TV channels we could watch. Previous generations may of been less knowledgeable than the internet generation, because it simply took so long to discover the information, we can find at a click of a mouse.
Today, we can own our own library of ebooks, read a hundred if not a thousand opinions on a subject, and link to real people experiencing an event, rather than listen to the opinions of a single TV news channel.
Our knowledge society has led to a "self- educated" generation, who could discover and train themselves, or even create off-line and on-line skill sharing groups. This phenomenal growth in self education, is bridging the gap between a cost cutting state run educational sector, and a new generation who need more specialized skills to thrive in today;s societies.
As the internet grows more affordable, and continues a recentness expansion into the developing World. Education should become more global, and based on the need for millions of people to re-train, learn new skills and find an affordable College education.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Lack of Education Contributes to Crime

As more and more low-income families move into neighborhoods that once catered to the middle or upper class, one must be on the lookout for his own personal safety and report any criminal activity going on in their surroundings. Crime is everywhere in these neighborhoods where kids find too much time on their hands after school hours or after the school year lets out.
What also contributes to the crime rate in such places? Is it just the lack of money for low income families? Sometimes, crime can be attributed to the lack of education on the part of the perpetrator or their families.
It is a statistical fact that the crime rate is inversely proportional to the education level of the culprit. Kids who grow up in families that do not stress the importance of getting an education are more likely to be living out on the streets, doing drugs, joining gangs, or ending up in prison.
Sometimes parents who raise such kids were raised in similar conditions when they were youngsters. Nothing has changed. An education should be foremost on parents' minds when rearing their kids. In fact, an education is the key out of poverty. As the old saying goes, "The way out of the gutter is with a book and not a basketball."
Kids who do not have a good education in school are more likely to have difficulty with finding jobs, getting into college, or staying out of trouble with the law. Many times they have family issues that are attributed to the loss of a parent at a young age due to a death or an incarceration.
Kids from single-parent homes run that risk of growing up as an "at-risk" child. This is due to the fact that the parent must work to provide food and shelter for the child, and the absence of the other parent fails to provide leadership and guidance for a growing mind. A parent who is incarcerated will definitely not be around to guide the child to getting good grades in school.
What kind of message does an incarcerated parent send to a child? Is it okay to be dumb and stupid and end up in prison like their daddy? Like father, like son. Right? Is it okay to skip school and join a gang like their daddy once did?
The truth of the matter is that kids who drop out of school will face hardship in their lives as they grow older. Lack of education on their part means lack of money to support a family. Lack of money translates into robbing a bank or convenience store.
We hear in the news every day a robbery that occurs in our city or elsewhere. Or perhaps a shooting on the part of the perpetrator that caused an innocent life come to an abrupt halt.
What are kids doing nowadays? How can we prevent our own kids from becoming troubled kids? For one, a parent must be a good role model and stress the importance of a good education. That means the parents must take an active role in their child's education by monitoring how much television the child is allowed to watch and taking charge of knowing the kinds of friends that his child associates with. Furthermore, this means maintaining communication with his teachers at school and looking over his report card regularly.
A child with poor academic performance may indicate something wrong at school. Perhaps he does not like school due to external influences; i.e. bullying, difficult teachers, taunting by other students, or peer pressure.
It is better to catch the child's problem as early as possible before it comes to the point that the child is truant from school, or worse, acts out his frustration that is reflected in another Virginia Tech-like massacre.
A child should like his studies and should show interest in his schoolwork. He should be taught that good grades will help him get a good education so that he can get a good paying job and be a productive member of society after he graduates.
Teach your child that involvement in gangs, violence, drugs, and/or extortion will not get him anywhere but prison. Once a person ends up doing life in prison, there IS no second chance. There is no freedom for him. There is no TV, no video games, no music, nothing! Not even a chance to get an education behind bars. If there is school in prison, the education is very limited.
If you are raising a child, question your child as to what is going on in school if he/she displays academic difficulty. Spend some quality time with him/her. Help them with their homework if possible. Remember, you are not just his/her friend, you are their parents. You are the first role model that a child looks toward from infancy. So be a good one and teach him/her what is right by staying in school.
There is a story in Austin, Texas a few years ago. It involved a troubled 17-year-old kid, Manuel Cortez, a high school dropout, who went out with his friends in a stolen car one sunny afternoon, and shot another student, Christopher Briseno, whom he did not even know because Briseno allegedly was teasing the sister of Manuel's friend. Manuel Cortez is now serving life in prison because he made a stupid decision. Now families of the victim and the perpetrator are suffering two losses from society. All for what? Because Mr. Cortez chose to drop out of school and associate with gangs and/or violence? He chose to give up the possibility of an education so that he can run around gang banging? Or did he not have the proper support and guidance from his parents?

Friday, October 5, 2012

Top 10 Books on Online Education, Diploma Mills and More

Let's face it - as potential online students, it is not uncommon for us to turn to our favorite online site for research and news. A quick search in Google or Yahoo will almost immediately bring up information on what we are looking for without us having to do too much work. The speed and convenience of the internet is what has revolutionized business and eduction today.
However, despite the overwhelming use of the internet today, many people still enjoy researching and gathering information from more traditional, off-line sources. The ability to sit with a book and a cup of coffee is something that many enjoy on a daily basis.
With that in mind, listed below are our top 10 list of books discussing distance education and online degrees. This list comes from a search of Amazon.com and includes books that have been rated highly with their popular "star" system. Although these books do not provide an exhaustive overview of the online education system, we hope to provide a glimpse of what information is available in the "off-line" world.
  1. Virtual Education: Cases in Learning & Teaching Technologies by Fawzi Albalooshi
  2. Dollars, Distance, And Online Education: The New Economics of College Teaching And Learning (American Council on Education Oryx Press Series on Higher Education) by Martin J. Finkelstein, Carol Frances, Frank I. Jewett, and Bernhard W. Scholz
  3. Bears' Guide to Earning Degrees by Distance Learning by John Bear, Mariah Bear M.A., Mariah P. Bear, and Tom C. Head
  4. Bears' Guide to College Degrees by Mail & Internet: 100 Accredited Schools That Offer Bachelor's, Master's, Doctorates, and Law Degrees by Distance Learning (College Degrees by Mail and Internet) by John Bear and Mariah P. Bear
  5. Earn Your Degree Online and Get Good Grades: Tips For Success in Online Courses from an Online Education Faculty Expert by Russell C Kick
  6. The Complete Idiot's Guide To Getting Your MBA Online by George Lorenzo
  7. Declining by Degrees: Higher Education at Risk by Richard H. Hersh, John Merrow, and Tom Wolfe
  8. How To Be a Successful Online Student by Sara Dulaney Gilbert
  9. A Classroom of One: How Online Learning is Changing our Schools and Colleges by Gene I. Maeroff
  10. Degree Mills: The Billion-dollar Industry That Has Sold Over A Million Fake Diplomas by Allen Ezell and John Bear
While most of the books that made our list are focused on higher education, it is important to note that online education is beginning to make a significant impact on high school and home school education as well. In fact, there are already full-time, diploma-granting online public high schools in existence today such as Insight School of Washington State.
As the internet and technology continues to change the face of our education system, it will be imperative that students and parents alike learn the intricacies of online education. Whether you prefer to do research online or off-line, one thing is clear. There is an abundance of information available to you today. You must learn learn to use it to your advantage.