Thursday, June 30, 2011

Online discussions best practices: How to increase quality while keeping your workload in check

When it comes to online discussion forums, there's often a fine line between providing high-quality education and imposing an unmanageable workload on students and instructors.

On one hand, online discussion forums are a fundamental and valuable part of many online courses for their ability to foster student-to-student and student-to-instructor engagement.

On the other hand, they can easily comprise half of a course's workload. Overly demanding sessions can discourage students and instructors, while under-performing sessions might not deliver on course objectives.

This makes it crucial to design, develop, and run online discussion forums so that they balance educational quality and workload for students and instructors alike.

University of Minnesota study finds new benefits of preschool education

Education is a life-long pursuit that for many of us formally begins with preschool. It's often the foundation that helps form a child's independence, social skill development, sense of curiosity, and desire to learn.

The importance of preschool is one reason why I'm so proud of our Post University Early Childhood Associate Degree Program and Child Studies Bachelor Degree Program.

Preschool is now an accepted crucial step in a person's educational journey. In fact, the benefits of preschool can last well into adulthood, finds a new study by University of Minnesota researchers.

Ex Post Facto

Creative Commons License
Post University cartoon by Dave Blazek is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Monday, June 27, 2011

5 ways SMBs can maximize their technology ROI: Tips from the 2011 CT Business Expo

Thousands of business professionals gathered at the Connecticut Convention Center for the 2011 Connecticut Business Expo. This year, the CT Business Expo offered 28 educational business seminars hosted by industry experts and elites.

I was asked to moderate a discussion called "Leveraging Your Unused Technology -- Getting the Most Out of What You Have."

The discussion panelists included Dave Rubino, Managing Director of AFG; and Bill Abram, founder and President of Pragmatix.

Dave has more than 20 years of experience teaching Fortune 1000 companies how to maximize their technology ROI. He specializes in process design and technology strategy.

Bill founded Pragmatix 19 years ago and now works with Fortune 500 companies and small businesses to provide technology solutions that improve business processes and performance.

Our seminar focused on teaching small- and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) how to get the most out of their technology investments. We covered the gamut, discussing what technologies are best for your business, how to overcome training challenges, and what to do with technology that's no longer needed. We also covered the “technology lifespan” -- how to choose, train, use, and discard technology most efficiently through its lifetime.

Dave and Bill shared some great advice. Many of their points resonated with me personally as a businessman and avid tech user. While most of their insights and tips were aimed at SMB owners, I found that much of their advice applied to any person investing in technology. I thought I'd share some of their biggest takeaways here. I hope you find these useful in your current and future technology initiatives.

To invest or not to invest?

Companies invest money either to make money or to save money. Therefore, it is imperative to identify the business functions of any piece of technology before purchasing it. Consider the short- and long-term business impact by looking for investments that can either generate or save money. Business owners typically look at an IT investment as invested overhead, but IT should contribute to the bottom line, taking each purchase out of the spend category and making it a real investment.

Friday, June 17, 2011

5 ways to turn up the heat on an eco-friendly summer

Summer doldrums don't exist when it comes to being environmentally friendly. In fact, energy conservation and general sustainability is most necessary during the summer because energy use if often very high.

Many of us at Post University are excited to do our part. The Post University Sustainability Committee, co-chaired by Sarah Wentworth, is dedicated to identifying and implementing actions and policies that will help Post University become a greener community.

The committee is comprised of faculty, (including myself), staff, and students who care about the earth. Our diligence helped renew student awareness, such as with the installation of Post's new campus recycling program.

By informing students of their responsibilities to the earth, and showing them how easy it is to recycle, the Sustainability Committee has increased student recycling to new heights on campus.

Another way that our Sustainability Committee keeps environmental education in the forefront is by sponsoring a yearly Earth Day festival. In April, we invited students and the Waterbury community to attend the Third Annual Earth Day festival on our campus.

In attendance was Danbury native Alicia Ghio, the creator, producer, and host of the Web series The Natural Princess. She created a video on her blog, Local Food Rocks, with highlights from our Earth Day festival.

There are a number of lessons from the Earth Day activities that we can continue to learn from this summer. With that, I give you five ways to celebrate the lessons of Post University's Earth Day festival all summer long.

1. Calculate your ecological footprint. One of the things I have learned from teaching introductory environmental science courses at Post University is that many of us are unaware of how unsustainable our lifestyles actually are. In order to voluntarily make a lifestyle change that benefits the earth, we often need to see in black and white that a change is necessary.

Friday, June 10, 2011

How one Hispanic family overcame financial obstacles to get a college education

Saida Luciano-Ross is a 49-year-old, full-time working professional. Like many of our working adult students, Saida has three children, two of whom are in college. Going back to school herself is probably one of the last things you'd think she'd be able to do, especially at a time when tuition continues to rise and taking classes while balancing work and family sounds unwieldy.

But guess again. Saida is making it happen! She earned her bachelor's degree in business administration last May through Post University's Accelerated Degree Program, and is now working towards her MBA, also from Post University.

She was able to afford to complete her bachelor's degree thanks to a Pell Grant she received. And now that she's a Post University employee, she's taking advantage of the university's substantial tuition reimbursement program to earn her MBA. (She's our Evaluation and Matriculation Coordinator.)

Getting to the Belmont Stakes one hoof at a time

Joining Post University equine students for some trimming!
Twelve of the U.S.'s elite Thoroughbreds will race this weekend at the 2011 Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park in New York. Each of them has earned this right with the help of a team of skilled professionals who have worked together to raise, train, and condition them for this final leg of the Triple Crown.

The horse is a natural-born, gifted athlete. But the elite Thoroughbred racehorse is a wonder in itself. While this animal is bred and born for speed, it still takes a team of skilled professionals to turn it into a stakes-winning competitor.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Preventing addiction: The roles parents, teachers, and employers play

It's been well-documented that adolescence is a crucial time for drug abuse education to prevent addiction. That's why the majority of addiction prevention programs are centered on children and teens. But the most effective addiction prevention programs involve family, school, employers, and community members for long-term success.

LoveToKnow's Jodee Redmond recently turned to me to discuss methods of addiction prevention. During the interview, we talked about the importance of prevention programs in school as well as the workplace, and the need for community involvement with these programs. I also discussed the best methods to teach children about the dangers of addiction.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Equine careers: How high school seniors can find their footing

Oh, you know it when you hear it. The big question dreaded by nearly every high school senior who dreams of a life in the equine industry. "So what are you planning to do next?"

You hate it because there's no good answer. And with graduation right around the corner, you probably hate it even more because you're hearing it practically every day. Your parents and teachers say "follow your passion," but they also say "choose a job with flexibility" and "choose a job with security." And what the heck is "upward mobility" anyway??

You and your fellow barn rats (a.k.a., horse-oriented youth) have as many different interests, motivations, preferences, and aptitudes as any other group of people. What you share is a love of the genus Equus (horses, donkeys, zebras).

You're lucky though, because anything you can do in the big world, you can do in the horse world. Think about different types of businesses -- design, manufacturing, sales, service, or professional. They all exist in the equine industry, and companies come in almost any size, from one person to hundreds. This is good because you're likely to find a personal niche (a what? It's a job that is totally yours).