Friday, September 30, 2011

Adult learners forging new paths in higher education

Numerous studies continue to show the rise in the number of working adults going to college. Journalist and university journalism professor Larry Atkins rolled up several of them in a recent Huffington Post article.
  • Between 1995 and 2006, the enrollment of students over age 25 rose by 13 percent, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).
  • In 2007, more than 40 percent of U.S. college students were over age 25, also according to the NCES.
  • Approximately 5 million, or 25 percent, of college students nationwide are over age 30, according to 2010 U.S. Department of Education statistics.
I also dug through NCES's statistics myself, and found that between 2000 and 2009, the enrollment of students 25 and over increased by 43 percent.

The trend of working adults going to college is not new -- it's clearly been showing steady growth over the past decade or so, and is on track to continue at this healthy clip. However, Larry made a good point in his article that I wanted to discuss further.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The harm in classifying students as digital natives

The terms "digital immigrant" and "digital native" have been used to classify the so-called generational divide between individuals who were born before and after the digital technology boom.

Digital immigrants are considered those who were not born into the digital world, and learned and adopted these technologies later in life. Digital natives are today's student generation -- those who've grown up with computers, the Internet, social media, video games, cell phones, and so on.

Many think that because students are growing up immersed in these technologies, they automatically know how to use them. I've seen some educators assume their students know how to create spreadsheets, conduct complex Internet searches, blog, and interact on Twitter, for instance, simply based on the year they were born.

But the fact of the matter is, many students don't "just know" how to use these technologies. Innate digital literacy is a myth. Digital literacy is not innate. It's learned -- no matter what your age -- just like reading, writing, arithmetic, economics, history, psychology, and any other subject matter. We are all digital immigrants.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

What to look for in an online MBA program and where to find it

Not long ago we posted our podcast interview with Jean Fredrick, Director of Marketing for Sloan Consortium (also known as Sloan-C). The organization is one of the leading bodies studying the trends in online learning, and how higher education institutions are effectively creating quality online learning environments for their adult learners.

Jean has the inside track on online education in the U.S., including what to look for, what to avoid, schools that excel in online degree programs, and school that do not. Jean recently used her expertise to find an online MBA program for herself. And to our great pleasure, she decided upon Post University's Online MBA program. She'll be graduating in May 2012.

We talked with Jean about all of these topics during our interview, which you can now read through in the transcript here. Get Jean's take on:
  • What she looked for in an online MBA degree program
  • How to get the most out of your online MBA education
  • Why any working adult can earn their degree online
Thanks again Jean for sharing your insights!

Janelle: Hi, everyone. Janelle Kozyra here for a Post University podcast. Today, I am joined by Jean Fredrick. Jean, welcome to the podcast. How are you?

Jean: Thank you. I'm great, Janelle.

Janelle: So Jean, why don't you start off by introducing us to you a little bit. Tell us, where do you live and what you do?

Monday, September 19, 2011

This contest is no joke!

We've been posting cartoons on our blog that poke fun at the quirks of college life. They're the work of Dave Blazek, the cartoonist behind "Loose Parts." Remember the comic strip "Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist?" That's Dave's work as well. He's also done stand-up comedy and has won more than 130 creative advertising awards.

Dave is a great judge of what's funny and what's not. And that's exactly why we've asked him to judge the ultimate challenge of wit. We're inviting YOU to come up with the best caption for one of Dave's cartoons.

If Dave decides that your caption is the funniest of all, you can win an autographed reprint of Dave's cartoon with your winning caption, a custom T-shirt printed with the cartoon and your winning caption, and a $25 Amazon gift card.

Dave's done half the work by drawing this cartoon. Now it's up to you to finish it by adding the funniest caption you can think of. Here's the cartoon:

Take a good look. What do you see? Who's saying what? What's happening here? What's the punch line? Can you come up with a joke that will make our readers laugh out loud?

At stake are two SERIOUS prize packages -- not to mention bragging rights!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

How to recharge your career through higher education: Be a learner, not just a knower

Staying relevant in your workplace and career has always been necessary in the American job market.

But in today's fierce and rapidly changing global job market, you need to go beyond just staying relevant, and instead prove yourself to be a necessary pillar in the continued success of your organization.

To do so, you have to be as knowledgeable as possible of the people and trends shaping your industry, and well-versed in the latest technologies, policies, procedures and competitive pressures that are driving change in your field.

Indeed, continued training and higher education are fundamental to this knowledge and skill development, and can go a long way in helping you light up your creativity and productivity. They also can be key factors in your ability to recharge your career and ensure ongoing reward and enjoyment in what you do.

By recharging your career through higher education, you will have the necessary tools to continually reinvent yourself based on changes in the marketplace and in your own career goals. Here's my guide for powering up your career through higher education.

Opportunities for Career Change

The nature of work and the workplace is changing rapidly. The career many professionals entered five, 10, or 20 years ago almost certainly has changed over the years. In some cases, it might not even exist anymore due to technological advances. Consider how much librarians' jobs have changed, for instance.

College admissions officers tell all: Do's and dont's of application essays, financial aid, early decision, and more

Many high school students try to think like a college admissions officer when beginning the admissions process. What are the admissions officers looking for in my essay? What will make me stand out from the crowd?

If you're trying to get inside the heads of college admissions officers, you've come to the right place. Amanda Greene recently wrote an article for Woman's Day, sharing advice for teens from college admissions officers around the country. I was one of the admissions officers she talked to for her article, and she included several of my insights.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Hold up, wait a minute, let Post University put some spirit in it!

When I first joined the Post University team in 2005, we had an enrollment of about 60 Accelerated Degree Program students. I've been privileged to play an integral role in the program's surge to more than 7,500 students strong today.

We've also seen growth on our main campus. Last week, we welcomed the largest-ever group of students to our main campus for the start of the fall semester.

Welcoming so many new team members to the Post University family and watching the changes on campus as a result of the $5.1 million in renovations adds to the list of reasons it's so exciting to be a part of Post University today!

I think I speak for the entire team when I say that there's never been a more appropriate time to share in some good old-fashioned school spirit and get the 2011-2012 year off to a strong start!

And that's exactly what we've been doing since last Thursday, when we kicked off our 2011 Spirit Week to celebrate the dedicated faculty and staff that work hard to support our students and sustain Post University's reputation as a great place to work.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Welcome back to all our students!

Every summer seems to fly by faster than the one before it. I hope you enjoyed the warm weather and had an opportunity to refresh, recharge, and have some fun.

I'm delighted to report that this fall marks the largest enrollment in Post University's history. Our main campus is home to more than 800 traditional college students and we now have more than 7,500 students taking classes through our online Accelerated Degree Programs.

Although I've been a part of the Post University community for more than seven years as Chancellor and CEO, I'm looking forward to taking an even more hands-on and visible role in helping students achieve their personal and professional goals through higher education as the University's new president.

I take the investment you're making in your education personally, and want to be sure we're doing everything we can to support you throughout your years at Post University. After all, you shouldn't be the only one making an investment in your education.

Widening skills gap is risking the American worker's global leadership position

Watch your step -- there's a widening gap between the skills demanded by today's employers and our educational system. That's what Mitch Rosin recently wrote about in the Huffington Post. He's the Director, Adult Learning and Workforce Initiatives at McGraw-Hill School Education Group.

"Currently, the U.S. is the only highly developed democracy where young adults are less educated than the previous generation, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicates that more than 18 million adults without a high school credential are in the labor force today. In short, worker supply is grossly deficient to employer demand," Mitch writes.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Why we need to make higher education more accessible to working adults

Some of you might know I earned my master's degree as a working adult. Getting the degree was never an "if" for me. It was always a "how and when." And I think for many working adults who want to go back to school to earn a college degree, the how and when are the two biggest factors they're wrestling with.

How do I balance my work and family obligations with my education? How will I have time for family and friends? How will I meet all of my personal, professional, and social obligations? How will I pay for my degree? The questions and conundrums are all too familiar.

But I believe the answers go beyond just doing it and saving money. Educational institutions have a crucial role to play. They should be held to a greater standard to put quality higher education within reach of more working adults and lifelong learners.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

3 more tips SMBs can learn about technology rollouts from their HR department

You just never know where you're going to get the next great idea and how it will come to life. My latest idea came together after moderating the educational seminar "Leveraging Your Unused Technology -- Getting the Most Out of What You Have" at the 2011 Connecticut Business Expo in June. The big idea that sprung to life lives at the intersection of human resources and technology: It is the idea of hiring technology like you hire people.

Last month, I talked to InformationWeek's Kevin Casey about how this approach applies to small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs). He penned two articles based on our conversation, "4 People Lessons To Smooth SMB Tech Rollouts" and "Three Ways To Manage Underperforming Technology."

Most recently, the editors of Federal Computer Week invited me to contribute an article on this subject as well. It was published last week, and you can slide over to their site now to read it. In it, I break down my step-by-step method of hiring technology like you hire people.

Since the space was limited to 600 words (I could easily go on for 6,000!), I wanted to throw out a few bonus pointers that didn't make it in the article to give you some more meat on the bone.

Here are are three more tips SMBs can borrow from the HR discipline about improving technology rollouts:

1. Assemble a cross-functional focus group. Business leaders use focus groups to gain employee and customer insights on important issues before making investment decisions. This is especially true when change is expensive or impacts many functions -- as is usually the case with technology implementations.

Technology acquisition and rollout is ideally suited for this because several types of expertise and skill sets are required at various points in the process. This is where SMBs can learn from larger corporations.