Distance Learning: Getting a Degree on a Budget

One thing that remains constant regarding higher education is its cost: Degree programs cost money, and while those costs vary quite a bit depending on the location, reputation, and faculty of the program in question, the fact is people go into immense amounts of debt every day for the privilege of earning an advanced degree. Whether or not that investment pays off will take some time to determine for each individual student, but one things has changed: Distance Learning has made it possible to earn advanced degrees much more cheaply.

Everything Costs

Student loan debt is become a crisis in the United States. Not only are interest rates high and going higher, student loan debt is not allowed to be cleared during the bankruptcy process. Currently there is about $1 trillion in student loan debt being carried in the U.S. alone, making many worry that a crisis – or a crash – is inevitable.

Tuition is the main number tossed about when the costs of higher education are discussed, but while it may be the single largest cost involved with a degree program, it isn’t the only cost. Whether or not a distance learning program for a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree has a lower tuition or not, there are still some significant savings to had when you pursue a distance or online degree program, making distance learning a smart choice for those on a budget.

Distance Learning Cost Advantages

There are several areas where distance learning can be much less expensive than traditional degree programs:

  • Housing. Distance or online programs allow the student to stay in their current living situation, without taking on the additional costs of housing rental.
  • Books & Supplies. Although some distance programs do require the mandatory purchase of texts and other materials, many do not, or offer the texts for free as digital downloads.
  • Work Simultaneously. The ability to hold a job while pursuing your studies can keep students from falling into debt because of a lack of income.

Additionally, the non-physical nature of distance learning programs means that prospective students can “shop around” for a program they can afford. Degree programs in different areas of the country may be priced significantly differently due to the different infrastructure costs in their geographic location. Although there may be differences in perceived prestige associated with different programs, on some level as long as the program is accredited the lower cost of the degree will have no impact on its utility as a career advancer or ladder to higher overall lifetime wages. Combined with the possible incidental savings discussed above, the possibility that a degree acquired via distance learning might be significantly cheaper is very good.

While distance learning programs can incur significant costs, when the total package of attending the program are considered most distance programs are found to be significantly cheaper than traditional programs. As the competition for jobs grows more and more fierce, the cost of a degree may become a significant factor in the coming years.

Seagull Launches JRC ECDIS Training Module

Maritime training provider Seagull announced a recover of an apparatus specific training procession for Japan Radio Co Ltd (JRC)’s ECDIS systems.

Developed in tighten team-work with JRC, one of a world’s heading ECDIS manufacturers, this latest further to Seagull’s endless library of eLearning modules is designed to yield navigators with apparatus specific familiarisation training for a JRC ECDIS (JAN- 701B, JAN-901B, JAN-2000, JAN-901M and JAN-701).

Targeting rug officers, a new march will concede shipowners and operators with JRC ECDIS on house their ships to accommodate a recently introduced regulatory requirement for apparatus specific training in further to general ECDIS training.

Seagull has grown a stretch training course, entirely authorized by JRC, consisting of eLearning procession 4014 and a specific procession involving a JRC ECDIS. Course topics embody switching on and environment adult a JRC ECDIS correctly; confirming that a ECDIS is in entirely operational status; and accessing a menu complement and man-machine interface. In further a march will sight navigators in how to use a JRC ECDIS many effectively to devise a thoroughfare and how to manipulate charts and other information.

Once a seafarer has successfully finished a stretch march Seagull will emanate him/her with a march diploma saying that JRC apparatus specific training authorized by a manufacturer has been undertaken.

Roger Ringstad, Managing Director, Seagull AS, says: “One of a biggest hurdles confronting boat owners and operators is a need for both general and apparatus specific ECDIS training to approve with a STCW Manila Amendments. Companies might have several opposite systems in their swift and seafarers will have to have finished a right training any time they join a boat in that fleet. The some-more systems a association has a some-more training courses they will have to provide.”

Seagull believes a new march will offer a series of advantages to owners and operators that use JRC ECDIS. Mr Ringstad points out: “Seafarers can take this march possibly on house a boat or in a shipping association bureau ashore. Consequently there is a good understanding of coherence as a training can be carried out during a time and place that is many convenient.”

“Our apparatus specific training courses equivocate a need for companies to send organisation for classroom-based training supposing by a manufacturer,” says Mr Ringstad. “There is usually singular space on such courses and therefore some companies infrequently have to wait utterly a prolonged time before space becomes available. By regulating eLearning there is no need to book, enabling shipping companies to respond fast to rising training needs. There are also advantages in terms of cost, as they do not have to compensate for seafarers to transport to attend classroom training courses.”

The apparatus specific training for JRC ECDIS is accessible now.

Siena Heights recognizes graduates from all sites

Siena Heights University awarded degrees to more than 1,100 graduates from all of its campuses on Saturday.

The university, which is based in Adrian, recognized associate’s, bachelor’s and master’s degree recipients from its main campus, its six satellites and its distance learning program during Saturday afternoon’s commencement. It was the first time students from across the entire Siena Heights system were represented at a single commencement ceremony. About 475 graduates were present.

Honorary degrees were awarded to Mary Spencer and her husband, the late Sash Spencer, both longtime benefactors of Siena Heights. The school’s new athletic complex is named for the Spencers, and Mary Spencer has donated $5 million toward the construction of a new student center.

“I envision Siena Heights as a sparkling jewel of education in the Midwest,” Spencer said. “Long may it shine.”

Siena Heights President Sister Peg Albert reminded the graduates of the words of St. Catherine of Siena, the university’s patroness, who said “Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.”

“You are who you should be,” she said. “You are the graduates of SHU. You are gifted people who have so much to offer to our world. You can set the world on fire by searching for the truth and being lifelong learners, by creating community wherever you go, by praying and being faithful to your god, and by being of service to your brothers and sisters who are in the greatest need.

“You, through the mission of Siena, are called to go out and work for truth and justice by living competent, purposeful and ethical lives.”

UK Seeks Wikipedia's Help to Post Research Online

The British government has asked Wikipedia’s founder, Jimmy Wales, to help it make taxpayer-funded academic research more widely available online.

Currently, most research is published in academic journals that are expensive to gain access to.

The government asked Mr. Wales to help develop ways of storing and distributing publicly funded research data and articles online, David Willetts, the universities and science minister, said. — (AP)

Harvard and M.I.T. create online-course partnership

Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology announced a new nonprofit partnership, known as edX
, to offer free online courses from both universities.

Harvard’s involvement follows M.I.T.’s announcement in December that it was starting an open online learning project to be known as MITx
. Its first course, Circuits and Electronics, began in March, enrolling about 120,000 students, about 10,000 of whom made it through the recent midterm exam. EdX courses will offer a certificate but will carry no credit.

Harvard and M.I.T. are not the only elite universities planning to offer an array of massively open online courses, or MOOCs, as they are known. Stanford, Princeton, the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Michigan recently announced their partnership with a new for-profit company, Coursera, with $16 million in venture capital.

EdX, which is expected to offer its first five courses this autumn, will be overseen by a nonprofit organization in Cambridge, Massachusetts, governed equally by the two universities, each of which has committed $30 million to the project. — TAMAR LEWIN

Japanese universities asked to increase study abroad

The Japanese Education Ministry is encouraging universities to increase the number of students studying abroad.

The ministry said last month that it would fund 40 Japanese universities to start study-abroad programs. The selected schools will receive ¥120 million to ¥260 million, or $1.4 million to $3.1 million, per year for five years. Universities will be chosen based on their plans to promote overseas study, implement English classes, hire foreign teachers and establish credit transfers with foreign universities.

This project is the latest bid by Japan to reverse the decrease in Japanese students studying abroad per year. This figure has dropped from its peak of 82,945 in 2004 to 59,923 in 2009, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. — REBECCA APPEL

Tutoring company is sued and accused of false billing

U.S. prosecutors have filed a lawsuit against the Princeton Review, accusing the test-preparation company of fraudulently claiming reimbursement for tutoring services that they said it never delivered to hundreds of underprivileged New York City children.

In the suit, brought against the company and a former supervisor, Ana Azocar, the government said the company submitted false claims between 2006 and 2010 for tutoring services under a government-financed program.

A spokeswoman for Princeton Review, Denise DesChenes, said that Ms. Azocar no longer worked for the company and that the management was “working closely with the U.S. attorney’s office to resolve this matter expeditiously.” — JENNIFER PRESTON

Occupy Detroit has a home base for learning, organizing

With its comfy sofas, kitchen and sunlit windows, the brick building at 5900 Michigan Ave. in Detroit that opened this year could pass for a spacious café.

But a banner high on the wall that reads “We are the 99%” signifies this is a different type of place, one that’s become the center for activists in metro Detroit. After leaving their encampment in Grand Circus Park in November, Occupy Detroit has found a new home in the heart of southwest Detroit.

Across the street from a grocery store, the two-floor 12,000-square-foot building with a tall ceiling was refurbished by activists and is a striking symbol of the movement’s attempts to establish a solid base in the region for its activities. “OCCUPY,” it reads on the windowpanes outside.

“We want to bring power back to the people,” said Jessica Dawl, 26, a Hamtramck resident.

The movement is being supported by several unions. And a Ferndale roofer — outraged by what he says is the excessive power of money in politics — donated the building for at least this year.

Over the past few months, the center has become a meeting place for a wide range of groups: On a recent Wednesday afternoon, a new group that plants trees in Detroit sat around a table for its weekly meeting, while across the roomy first floor was a reading circle of elderly activists studying political books. The center also has daily yoga and aikido classes, giving the place the feel of a community center.

Technically, Occupy Detroit is not a group; spokespeople say it is a democratic movement that “is non-horizontal, non-hierarchical,” said Hans Barbe, 27, of Grosse Pointe Park. “We shy away from the word ‘organization.’ “

But there is a core group that’s at most Occupy meetings: young activists in their 20s and 30s who are fed up with current economic and political systems that they say failed their generation. They have become a free-floating assembly that supports various causes — such as advocating for immigrants, fighting budget cuts that affect poor people and protesting school closures.

Labor organizations are helping out. The AFL-CIO set up a bank account for Occupy Detroit to help the group receive donations. Workers from plumbing and electrical unions donated their time and money to spruce up the place — putting in new toilets and bathrooms. And some unions donated money to the movement.

But while Occupy Detroit is focused on political activity, activists want to help bring diverse groups together, too. The grand opening on a Saturday last month drew hundreds and raised $1,800 at an ox roast — the ox symbolizing what they see as the inordinate influence of Wall Street and corporations on American life. They’re concerned about growing income inequality as well.

This year, Occupy has been active in supporting protests against bank foreclosures on Detroit homes, GE during its shareholder meeting last month at the Renaissance Center, and the state’s consent agreement with the City of Detroit. This summer, activists plan to increase the pressure on banks to help people stay in their homes, and they want to move homeless people into foreclosed properties that are abandoned.

Chanting “Whose streets? Our streets,” protesters with the movement marched up Woodward Avenue in downtown Detroit on Tuesday in their most visible activity since their encampment last fall in Grand Circus Park. With supporters in immigrant, labor and environmental groups, the crowd walked to the park for a rally, followed by a celebration. Activists who are part of Occupy Detroit range from liberals to Communists to even anarchists. The loose structure means that “getting people to work together is quite a feat,” Barbe said. But on Tuesday, the groups appeared to work together well.

Their idealism is what drew Marc Hesse, 52, who donated the headquarters. Hesse is with Detroit Cornice and Slate, a fourth-generation roofing company in Ferndale that his family has run since the late 19th Century. The company is a union shop, and Hesse says he’s noticing how it’s increasingly difficult for young metro Detroiters to find work at good wages.

“Kids today don’t have the opportunity that they had before,” Hesse said.

What also helped spark Hesse’s involvement was the controversy over billionaire Manuel (Matty) Moroun’s Gateway Project at the Ambassador Bridge in Detroit. Hesse, who owns an apartment building in Delray near the bridge, said Moroun’s delays and changes decimated the neighborhood. Hesse said Moroun’s influence is an example of the negative role of big money in America’s political system.

“He destroyed that community,” Hesse said.

Last year, Hesse visited the Occupy Detroit encampment to talk with the activists and came away impressed.

“I don’t see any politicians doing what these kids are doing,” Hesse said. “They are sincere people who are frustrated. I wanted to help them.”

And so Hesse let Occupy Detroit use the building he owns on Michigan Avenue. He had thought about making it into a coffee shop, but some vandalism deterred those plans. At first, the activists used the tall building as a storage facility for all the food and other items they collected during the encampment.

This year, they cleaned up the place and turned it into a brightly colored and inviting space. On a corner wall is a huge banner they had at the encampment that quotes the preamble to the U.S. Constitution: “We, the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union.”

Hesse says he intends to let Occupy Detroit stay through at least this year, if not longer.

“Our representative democracy isn’t working anymore,” he said.

At Tuesday’s rally, union leaders were at Grand Circus Park to show their support.

“We’re all in this together to support the 99%,” said Chris Michalakis, president of the metro Detroit AFL-CIO. “It’s good to see our friends in the Occupy movement support workers’ rights. We all got to help each other and fight back.”

With the presidential election this year, some see the Occupy movement as a way to help mobilize for the Democrats. But many within the Occupy movement are turned off by traditional politics and so aren’t really focused on the election cycle, Barbe said.

So far, Occupy Detroit has had generally cordial relations with Detroit police. In stark contrast to other cities, police did not arrest Occupy protesters, though two rows of officers lined up in Grand Circus Park on Tuesday night threatening to arrest some protesters who wanted to camp out. In coming months, there might be tensions as some plan to help homeless people live in abandoned homes.

But for now, the focus is on creating networks out of a range of organizations. Sarah Coffey, 38, of Detroit, who works for a law firm, said the movement wants to “put the community at the center of our struggle.”

Contact Niraj Warikoo: 313-223-4792 or nwarikoo@freepress.com

Intergraph(R) Webinar on May 8th to Provide Overview of CADWorx & Analysis …


HOUSTON, TX, May 04, 2012 (MARKETWIRE via COMTEX) —
Intergraph will host a webinar on May 8, 2012 that will provide an
overview of training courses and networking events during CADWorx
Analysis University 2012 (CAU2012), scheduled for September 24-25,
2012 in Houston, Texas USA.

CAU 2012 will feature advanced training, interactive technical labs,
and interactions with product developers regarding Integraph CADWorx
Plant Design Suite for intelligent 3D design, CAESAR II for pipe
stress analysis, and PV Elite for vessel and exchanger analysis.
There will also be discussions on how Intergraph CADWorx integrates
with Intergraph CAESAR II for pipe stress analysis and PV Elite for
vessel and exchanger analysis, allowing designers and engineers to
share information seamlessly in a collaborative work environment,
enhancing productivity for all stakeholders.

For information and a link to register the CAU2012 webinar, visit

http://coade.typepad.com/coadeinsider/2012/04/cau2012-september-24-25-save-the-date-.html .
For information on CAU 2012, visit
http://www.cau2012.com/ .

For more information on Intergraph CADWorx, visit

http://www.intergraph.com/products/ppm/cadworx/ . For information on
Intergraph analysis products visit

http://www.intergraph.com/ppm/analysis.aspx .

About Intergraph CADWorx Analysis Solutions
The Intergraph CADWorx
Analysis Solutions (CAS) products allow design and engineering to
share relevant information seamlessly, thereby maintaining accuracy
and improving efficiency. They include CADWorx Plant Design Suite for
AutoCAD(R)-based intelligent plant design modeling, process
schematics and automatic production of plant design deliverables;
CADWorx DraftPro for intelligent 2D design and layout; CAESAR II, the
world’s most widely used pipe stress analysis software; PV Elite for
vessel and exchanger design and analysis; and TANK for the design and
analysis of oil storage tanks. For information on Intergraph CAS,
visit
www.coade.com .

Intergraph, the Intergraph logo, CADWorx, CAESAR II and PV Elite are
registered trademarks, and TANK is a trademark of Intergraph
Corporation. Other brands and product names are trademarks of their
respective owners. Copyright 2011 Intergraph Corp. All rights
reserved.



        
        Contacts
        Gary Carson
        +1.713.668.8550
        Email Contact
        Vornel Walker
        +1.281.890.4566
        
        
        


SOURCE: Intergraph



 
http://www2.marketwire.com/mw/emailprcntct?id=B4A1784C0E354DD8            


Copyright 2012 Marketwire, Inc., All rights reserved.

Georgia colleges try to ease path from combat to degree

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Just like hundreds of other graduates, Andrea Muresan wore a cap and gown to Friday’s commencement for Georgia Perimeter College.

Jason Alfaro holds the diploma of his sister U.S. Army specialist Andrea Muresan (on the TV monitor) as he speaks to her from Afghanistan after she received her diploma from Georgia Perimeter College at the Georgia Perimeter College Clarkston campus Friday afternoon in Clarkston, Ga., May 4, 2012.

Jason Getz, jgetz@ajc.com

Jason Alfaro holds the diploma of his sister U.S. Army specialist Andrea Muresan (on the TV monitor) as he speaks to her from Afghanistan after she received her diploma from Georgia Perimeter College at the Georgia Perimeter College Clarkston campus Friday afternoon in Clarkston, Ga., May 4, 2012.


Unlike the other students, Muresan is stationed in Afghanistan and participated in the ceremony via Skype.

The 22-year-old specialist in the U.S. Army Reserve was two classes shy of earning a diploma when she was deployed in December. Instead of her withdrawing from school or postponing graduation, the college worked with her so she could take her final courses online and finish her associate degree in criminal justice on time.

While Muresan’s case is an extreme example, her solution would have been unlikely a few years ago. The University System of Georgia has spent the past couple of years trying to make campuses more welcoming to the state’s growing veteran and military population.

That includes expanding online courses and opening centers to help these students with everything from registering for classes to understanding GI Bill benefits.

Georgia has a strong military connection, with 11 active duty bases, six Air National Guard units and more than 90 National Guard armories, according to a report from the university system. About 10,000 members of the military — including active duty personnel, reservists and veterans – are enrolled in one of the system’s 35 colleges, said Jon Sizemore, interim assistant vice chancellor for distance education.

Colleges are using online courses to reach these students, Sizemore said. The system currently offers more than 5,000 online course sections and about 230 online degree programs.

Chancellor Hank Huckaby appointed a task force to review the system’s online programs, and suggestions on how to improve the offerings are expected this summer. These courses benefit all students, not just military learners and other nontraditional students.

Professor John Siler was teaching Muresan in a criminal justice class this past fall when she learned of her deployment. She had known she would be deployed but expected it to happen in June.

Muresan feared she would fall behind in school and didn’t know how she’d earn a degree. Siler suggested she take her last two courses — anthropology and corrections — online. They had only two weeks to line everything up, and while Siler said it “was a bureaucratic nightmare for a while” everyone came together to help Muresan.

Finding time for the classes was a challenge, Muresan said. She works 12 hours a day, with no days off, at a mail distribution center in Afghanistan.

“Coming to the room late at night, and falling asleep while reading and forcing myself to stay up all night to study was challenging,” Muresan wrote in an email. “But I kept telling myself, a few months and I’ll have my diploma. I had pictured my diploma in my mind, and every time I felt like giving up, I just pushed myself a little more.”

Georgia Perimeter allows students in Muresan’s situation to either continue while deployed or leave and re-enroll without any penalty, said Mark Eister, director of the school’s Military Outreach Center.

About a dozen university system colleges have these centers, which provide a one-stop location for services, including academics, advising and financial aid. The two most common questions students have are how to enroll and how to receive their GI Bill benefits, Eister said.

Concern over those benefits led President Barack Obama to sign an executive order last month at Fort Stewart.

The executive order calls for the term “GI Bill” to be trademarked so it will be easier for the government to find those who deceptively use it to target veterans. It requires colleges who participate in the program to explain how much debt students will acquire to earn their degree and it makes it easier for students who believe they were cheated to file complaints.

While the order will apply to all colleges, analysts said it was aimed at the for-profit sector, where some colleges heavily market military families.

Studies estimate that 70 percent of Georgia veterans use GI Bill benefits. The amount students receive can vary, with some entitled to $4,500 a year in tuition assistance, Eister said.

In response to the expected surge in new students, the university system started the Soldiers 2 Scholars program in 2010 to make colleges more welcoming.

At the same time, more students in general are taking online courses. Enrollment in the classes grew by 21 percent from fall 2010 to fall 2011, according to preliminary reports. Of the nearly 318,000 students enrolled this past fall, more than 50,000 took one or more online courses and 16,000 took all their classes online, early data shows.

Muresan isn’t sure whether she’ll take more online classes. She’s scheduled to return to Georgia in about 75 days. She hopes to earn a bachelor’s degree from Georgia State University and become a U.S. marshall.  Her dream job is to work for the FBI.

“I know it may seem like I want much out of life,” Muresan said. “But, honestly, I always accomplished everything I put my mind to, and I know I will continue accomplishing everything I want out of life.”

Meet Andrea Muresan

Age: 22

Major: Criminal justice.

Hometown: Born in Romania and now lives in Lawrenceville.

Career goal: Become a U.S. marshall and ultimately work for the FBI.

Military background: Joined the U.S. Army Reserve in 2009 because she wanted to be part of something “honorable and challenging.”

Hobbies: Boxing. Started when she was 14 and hopes to compete in the Olympics one day.

Virtual learning to reach more students

More Nova Scotia students will be able to log on to long-distance learning in the next couple of years.

Nova Scotia Virtual School will offer about 800 positions in September, and up to 1,500 the year after, Education Minister Ramona Jennex announced Friday.

In the current school year, about 500 students from 58 high schools chose from 22 courses, according to the Education Department. There will be 46 courses offered next school year.

Jennex said the expansion will cost $1.7 million, which covers items like hiring a French immersion teacher, buying equipment and providing technical support.

The expansion was part of an education strategy released in February.

At a news conference in Halifax on Friday morning, high-school students in Iona and Lockeport and a teacher in Sydney joined Jennex via video conference to talk about the virtual school.

Visual arts teacher Carol Lee Boutilier said she conferences with students each week to go through lessons, and they can access other lessons on a website.

She provided a glimpse of a lesson on principles of design. The cover of a document appeared on the screen, and an online student analyzed the use of contrast, using a highlighter to make her points.

Another student, Jennifer Kressebuch of Lockeport Regional High, then rearranged information on a business card to improve its presentation.

The students said they also take regular classes with other students and a teacher in front of the classroom, but the online work is a nice change.

Jennex said the online courses are a way to deal with declining enrolment that reduces course offerings at smaller schools. Courses range from advanced chemistry and pre-calculus to fitness leadership and tourism.

Brooks: Higher education faces wave of online courses

Online education is not new. The University of Phoenix started its online degree program in 1989. Four million college students took at least one online class during the fall of 2007.

But, over the past few months, something has changed. The elite, pace-setting universities have embraced the Internet. Not long ago, online courses were interesting experiments. Now online activity is at the core of how these schools envision their futures.

This week, Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology committed $60 million to offer free online courses from both universities. Two Stanford professors, Andrew Ng and Daphne Koller, have formed a company, Coursera, which offers interactive courses in the humanities, social sciences, mathematics and engineering. Their partners include Stanford, Michigan, Penn and Princeton. Many other elite universities, including Yale and Carnegie Mellon, are moving aggressively online. President John Hennessy of Stanford summed up the emerging view in an article by Ken Auletta in The New Yorker, “There’s a tsunami coming.”

What happened to the newspaper and magazine business is about to happen to higher education: a rescrambling around the Web.

Many of us view the coming change with trepidation. Will online learning diminish the face-to-face community that is the heart of the college experience? Will fast online browsing replace deep reading? If a few star professors can lecture to millions, what happens to the rest of the faculty? Will academic standards be as rigorous? What happens to the students who don’t have enough intrinsic motivation to stay glued to their laptop hour after hour? How much communication is lost when you are not actually in a room with a passionate teacher and students?

The doubts are justified, but there are more reasons to feel optimistic. In the first place, online learning will give millions of students access to the world’s best teachers. Research into online learning suggests that it is roughly as effective as classroom learning. It’s easier to tailor a learning experience to an individual student’s pace and preferences. Online learning seems especially useful in language and remedial education.

The most important and paradoxical fact shaping the future of online learning is this: A brain is not a computer. We are not blank hard drives waiting to be filled with data. People learn from people they love and remember the things that arouse emotion. If you think about how learning actually happens, you can discern many different processes. There is absorbing information. There is reflecting upon information as you reread it and think about it. There is scrambling information as you test it in discussion or try to mesh it with contradictory information. Finally there is synthesis, as you try to organize what you have learned into an argument or a paper.

Online education mostly helps students with Step 1. As Richard A. DeMillo of Georgia Tech has argued, it turns transmitting knowledge into a commodity that is cheap and globally available. But it also compels colleges to focus on the rest of the learning process, which is where the real value lies. In an online world, colleges have to think hard about how they are going to take communication, which comes over the Web, and turn it into learning, which is a complex social and emotional process.

In a blended online world, a local professor could select not only the reading material, but do so from an array of different lecturers, who would provide different perspectives from around the world. The local professor would do more tutoring and conversing and less lecturing. Clayton Christensen of Harvard Business School notes it will be easier to break academic silos, combining calculus and chemistry lectures or literature and history presentations in a single course.

The early Web radically democratized culture, but now in the media and elsewhere you’re seeing a flight to quality. The best U.S. colleges should be able to establish a magnetic authoritative presence online.

My guess is it will be easier to be a terrible university on the wide-open Web, but it will also be possible for the most committed schools and students to be better than ever.

 

Brooks is a columnist for The New York Times.

Youngster stays on top of courses with e-learning solutions

A student has succeeded in education through distance learning online, despite moving home and leaving the traditional classroom setting behind.

Wauwatosa Now reports Anna Anhalt used virtual learning environments full-time, while working part-time at a confectionary in Waukesha and travelling between her divorced parents’ houses.

She has now completed e-learning courses in Honours US Government, Advance Placement Literature and Environmental Science, but is currently working on the final part of Environmental Sciences and Life Skills.

After completing her high school education with these online training tools, the pupil is considering going to college to study business.

She left the classroom in January and began using online learning solutions because this academic practice fit in with her busy lifestyle and both her mother and father believe the decision was a good one.

Mum Laurie Jewell, who is the curriculum coordinator and dean of students for a charter school in Milwaukee, told the publication she was initially a “little concerned about her taking all online courses”.

“Having seen her achieve, I don’t have any concerns now,” she added.

Father David Anhalt praised the winter vacation period embedded in the online training tools, noting the virtual learning environment “gives us flexibility to spend time together”.

Ms Anhalt explained she had not missed going to her old educational facility.

“I never dreamed I could do this, but when I asked about it for my senior year, I was excited to find out that I could do it now,” she told the news source.

Ms Anhalt has even used e-learning to study from overseas territories, travelling to London in February with her father and staying on top of her academia during this timeframe.

According to the US’ National Education Association, computers and emerging information technology innovations are sparking fundamental alterations to the ways people learn and teach.

The previously impenetrable barriers of space and time are falling down, with modern advances enabling educators and students to engage in new opportunities and choices for education, it declared.

Now, virtually every academic institution can use the internet and individual facilities are increasingly using online learning to boost their provisions, the public body noted.

04 May 2012