Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Sebastian Thrun pilots free online university with open enrollment

Sebastian Thrun, Research Professor of Computer Science at Stanford University and a Google Fellow, has turned a lot of heads lately. He's left his tenured teaching position and founded Udacity, an online university that's offering free classes to anyone interested in taking them. So far, he and his growing team of colleagues are offering two classes online -- "Building a Search Engine" and "Programming a Robotic Car."

The germ of Prof. Thrun's start-up was planted last year, when he and his co-instructor, Peter Norvig, Google's Director of Research, made the bold move to offer their "Introduction to Artificial Intelligence" course online to all students -- Stanford and non-Stanford.

It proved to be a good one. The online artificial intelligence course drew 160,000 students from around the world, including those already taking the course in-person. Students were attracted to the online course's videos, which helped them better absorb the material at their own pace.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Congratulations to Dr. O. Alton Barron, our new board of trustees chairman

Dr. O. Alton Barron
I wanted to extend congratulations to Post University's new board of trustees chairman, Dr. O. Alton Barron. Our board unanimously chose him to take the helm, succeeding Mark Jennings, who will remain on the board as a member.

Dr. Barron has been on our board since 2005, and has since been actively involved in our Finance and Operations, and Student Life and Athletics Committees. One of Dr. Barron's first official duties as chairman will be to lead our next board meeting on March 1.

We issued a press release announcing Dr. Barron's new position as board of trustees chairman, which I'll turn your attention to for more details on what he'll be doing and where we're planning to take the university from here.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Columbia University's Teachers College invites Post University to present on the future of education

EdLab is a research, design, and development unit
at Teachers College at Columbia University
Post University's approach to online higher education has caught the attention of Columbia University's Teachers College EdLab.

EdLab is dedicated to research, design, and development efforts that seek to improve educational services. EdLab Product Manager Joann Agnitti described EdLab as a start-up organization within an academic institution that focuses on educational technologies, including informal, self-directed learning tools. Each week, the EdLab invites faculty, staff, and students to a discussion about current issues in higher education.

Yesterday, Frank Mulgrew, President of the Online Education Institute (OEI) of Post University, led an EdLab session in the free-form, collaborative EdLab space within Columbia's Gottesman Libraries center in New York. He opened with a little history about the University, explaining that the school was founded in 1890 as the Mattoon Shorthand School. He talked about how it's since evolved over the past 120+ years into a NEASC-accredited, traditional four-year University located in Waterbury, Conn., and is the largest provider of fully online higher education in the state.

The folks at EdLab were particularly interested in Post University's approach to providing online higher education. Frank explained that the University's initial intent was to incorporate the services and experiences of its online adult learners with those of its traditional campus-based students. However, it quickly became apparent that this was not practical because the two groups of students had very different needs. OEI was formed to consolidate all the services needed to support the University's growing population of online and hybrid students.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

6 activities to improve children's language development

Most children learn how to listen, speak, read, and write from birth through grade three. They typically begin to use literacy as a learning tool in the middle to the end of third grade. Children who are reading and writing "on grade level" by the end of third grade are expected to be successful students.

But over my years of working in the field of early childhood education, I have seen many young children who are not engaged in enough meaningful conversations with the adults in their lives. They're entering school with smaller vocabularies than in the past.

This has been found to impact children later in life. Children who are not fluent readers by fourth grade are more likely to struggle with reading in adulthood. In fact, a study by The Annie E. Casey Foundation found students who don't read proficiently by third grade are four times more likely to leave school without a diploma when compared to proficient readers.

Parents can do more to improve their children's language development -- and it starts at birth. Language development is most profound during a child's first three years of life. It's a crucial time to expose children to words and books as often as possible.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

A recipe for success after getting your MBA degree

So you got your MBA degree. You've spent countless hours learning the principles of business administration and management. You've created a business plan or other proposal that you think will have legs. Now what?

If you're like most MBA graduates, you got your MBA degree because you want to advance your career, start your own business, or position yourself to earn a better salary. Now that you have the education under your belt, how do you start turning these goals into reality?

You might be feeling overwhelmed right now. Or you might have a clear picture in your head as to what your next move will be. No matter where you're at, though, there are a few pointers you should keep with you as a compass for guiding you to success after completing your MBA degree (or any degree, really).

I got to thinking about these pointers a couple of months ago. The holidays are always a good time to reflect on the conversations I've had with students and faculty, and use them as a guide for future curriculum and course design. In the midst of my thoughts, an idea struck me.

There are many ingredients that I believe go into having a successful future after completing your MBA degree. I started jotting these ingredients down, and before I knew it, I had essentially come up with a recipe for success upon completing an MBA degree. Looking it over, I thought that this recipe would actually apply after completing almost any graduate degree as well.

Then I thought, how can I share this with graduates to help guide them to their goals after earning their degree? I showed the recipe to some others at Post University, and we came up with the idea of turning it into an infographic that graduates can share, bookmark, print out, and hang up to remind themselves of how they can be successful now that they've completed their higher education.

So, that's just what we did. We've created the infographic below to give you a recipe for success after getting your MBA or other graduate degree.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Big reveal: Our latest cartoon caption contest winner!

When we ran our most recent cartoon caption contest, we promised there would be some fun prizes up for grabs. Well, those prizes are about to be grabbed, because we've selected the winner!

We mulled over the responses you submitted to complete a cartoon drawn by our contributing cartoonist, Dave Blazek, mastermind behind the "Loose Parts" cartoon strip. We whittled them down to the top three that made us laugh the most. Then we polled our team to see which one got the most votes. We had a clear winner. This caption really stuck out as witty, clever, and creative -- just what we were looking for!

The winner of our cartoon caption contest is Chris Kales! We've added his caption into the cartoon. Take a look!

We've already contacted Chris to tell him the good news. This was his reaction when he found out he won:

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Help for conquering the fear of change and the unknown in your career

Many people fear change and the unknown. They don't like to step outside of their comfort zone, whether they're fully satisfied in that position or not. And it's no different when it comes to their career. Some think that because they don't know what's going to happen to them, they shouldn't make a move to get a better job or switch careers to follow their passion. They don't want to take a risk.

Me with Toure Diggs, Post University MBA Class of '10
It's important to remember you don't have to know what's going to happen to you in your career. You should find what you love, and do it. And if that take two, three, four, or more tries, well, that's part of the journey.

One of our graduates, Toure Diggs, is on his third try now. He graduated from Post University's Online MBA Degree Program in 2010. He sent us a note about how he's doing today, and it made me think, here's someone who's dealt with change head on, and look where it's taken him today. I wanted to share it with you as some advice for overcoming the fear of change and the unknown in your career.

My MBA story is probably a bit different than others, because I really always gravitated towards social work. It's what my undergraduate degree was in at Post University in Waterbury, Conn., a small 120-year-old institution which was a perfect on-campus experience for me. After graduation in the 90s, I launched into a career in social work.

In the mid-2000s, I was inspired to further my education because I needed to expand my options in life as my family was growing and my own hunger to grow as a person increased. While working with my current employer, Continuum of Care, I realized I needed a master's degree to further my career.

Although I have a genuine love and care for people, I love business and entrepreneurship just as much. I struggled with which degree to pursue -- a master's in social work (MSW) or a master's in business administration (MBA) -- because I spent 15 years in social work and was currently working in the social work field. I also have a lot of experience in real estate, and I am an entrepreneur at heart, but felt I needed some formal education in business.

Monday, February 13, 2012

What you should know about your personality to get the perfect job, get along better with your colleagues, and negotiate the best salary

You'll be working with a range of people and personalities in almost any job you'll have in your lifetime. Some you'll get along with better than others. That's just the nature of most work environments. But one key way to be successful in your career is to know your personality, know how to understand others' personalities, and learn how to interact with people who are different from you so you can work together effectively.

That was the big take away from the first session of our new Management Development program. We kicked it off the other week to help train and cultivate our growing number of managers to ensure we can continue to manage university growth while staying focused on serving our students.

Our guest of honor for our first training session was Shoya Zichy, internationally recognized author and speaker on team building and leadership. (You might remember we recommended one of her books, "Career Match," on our blog.) Shoya is known for her energetic, entertaining seminars, and she did not disappoint.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Super Bowl XLVI: Lessons to be learned, part II

An estimated 177 million viewers -- or more than 56 percent of the current U.S. population -- watched at least six minutes of Super Bowl XLVI. That staggering statistic should set aside any doubt about the popularity of football ... and what a huge moneymaker it is for all parties involved.

While the Giants were celebrating and the Patriots were recovering on Super Bowl Monday, the Post University Sport Management Club gathered to share some research on just how big this event is from an economic standpoint. Through a series of impressive presentations during the inaugural "Post University Super Bowl Seminar," the club and its faculty advisors discussed The Big Game's impact at both the national and local levels.

Here are a few facts that demonstrate the scope of the Super Bowl from a financial point of view:
  • Every player of the winning team received an $88,000 bonus. The "losers" got $44,000. That's more than $8,500,000 above and beyond player salaries.
  • Estimates of income generated within the host city of Indianapolis range from $200 million to $500 million, depending on who you talk to. The NFL likes to quote the higher number.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Great grandmother earns bachelor's degree at 63

Priscilla Santiago is probably not what you'd call a traditional student. She was 59 when she got her GED. Following that she earned her associate's degree at Housatonic Community College. And this past May, she completed her bachelor's degree in human services at Post University -- 63 years young, with her husband, three children, seven grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren looking on.

The other week we posted our podcast interview with Priscilla, where she talked about why she went to college at a late age. Today, we have the transcript for you. Read on for the story of how Priscilla was able to jump start her life with education, what kept her going through the tough times, whether she has any regrets, and her words of inspiration and advice to help other working adults go back to school if it's in their dreams.

Janelle: Hi, everyone. Janelle Kozyra here for a Post University podcast. Today we are joined by perhaps one of Post's oldest students, and we say that will all admiration of her commitment to education and lifelong learning. We're here with Priscilla Santiago, who graduated last year from Post at the age of 63.
Priscilla, it's a pleasure to have you on with us.

Priscilla: Thank you. It's a pleasure to be on with you.

Janelle: So tell us a little bit about yourself just to get our readers familiar with you a little bit. Where do you live and where are you from?

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

5 tips for learning a second language - even if you think you can't

Learning a second language is no easy task. It's difficult enough learning the rudiments of your own language -- its structures, its grammar, its meanings. Why go through the same horrors again to learn a second language?

Well, learning a second language also isn't as difficult as some might think. Although the ideal learning method varies among individuals, taking classes in the foreign tongue can help speed fluency. This is largely because you are immersed in the language, which helps you absorb the words, sounds, and speaking rhythms.

(Left to right) Post University ESL students Camille Midiere,
Francisco Sastre, Yangting Wu, Shenghao Ye
Some of Post University's English as a Second Language (ESL) students in our English Language Institute (ELI) showed us how they're coming along with their mastery of English when they gave their final speaking presentations at our "International Forum."

We hold our International Forum every semester as a capstone project of the program. Students enrolled in ELC 110, otherwise known as Discussion Seminar, engage in 14 weeks of reading about, writing on, and discussing various topics ranging from leadership to education to pop culture. At the end of the semester, they each make a formal presentation to the Post University academic community about their home countries on a topic of their choice.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Why educators should embrace social media in the classroom

The jury is still out on whether social media should be used in the classroom to foster education and enrich learning. Advocates typically cite students' ability to become digitally fluent and hone their technical skills. Critics often say social media is a distraction and safety risk, inviting inappropriate material into the learning environment.

Karen Lederer broke down some of the major pros and cons of bringing social media into the classroom in a recent Campus Technology article. When I read it, I was nodding in agreement to all of the pros she listed. I'm in the camp that social media has a valuable place in the classroom, and should be incorporated into our schools. I summed up why in the comment I left for Karen (which you can read if you scroll to the end of her piece).

In addition to those pluses, I think there are several other major benefits to using social media in education, namely:

1. Students gain digital literacy. Fluency in social media and social networking are key skills that students must have to be prepared for a career in the 21st century. A few years ago, social media skills were a key asset that could help job seekers stand out from other candidates. Now employers across a variety of industries are increasingly requiring social media skills. And some employers are using social media to find talent. It is incumbent upon us as educators to help arm students with the skills and abilities they need to be successful in their career and life goals. Helping them hone their digital literacy skills is a crucial component to that preparation.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Super Bowl XLVI: Lessons to be learned

One of the most exciting aspects of working in a university setting is seeing how events of national importance affect us here campus. Super Bowl weekend is a perfect example. With Connecticut being so geographically close to the home stadiums of both Big Game contenders, the students, faculty, and staff of Post University are definitely caught up in the pregame hoopla.

Given that Post University is an environment of educators and learners, it's particularly exciting when opportunities to teach come in unexpected packages. After the game, after someone utters the now famous line, "I'm going to Disney World!" on national TV, the lessons will begin.

Deron Grabel, Academic Program Manager for Post University's Sport Management program, and Tom Abbott, Academic Program Manager for the Business Administration Program, are teaming up to lead students through a post-game analysis of the business side of the Super Bowl. The university's inaugural "Super Bowl Seminar," to be held Monday, Feb. 6, will bring together students and faculty members of the Sport Management and Business Administration programs to discuss the dollars and cents of America's biggest sporting event of the year.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

5 reasons I chose Post University

We recently received a letter from a student in Post University's Early Childhood Education program, Whitney Burt. She wrote about why she decided to attend Post University. It was a quite a lengthy note, but the things she said crystallized why many of our students tell us they chose to attend our school. So rather than post Whitney's note in its entirety, we pulled out the five reasons she said Post University was the right choice for her to give you the quick takeaways. Here's what she said.

1. Faculty and staff are your biggest cheerleaders. They root for your success and support you in your educational and career goals. Post University's instructors are sensitive and understanding, and take a personal interest in your life outside of being a student. After all, they too balance a full life outside of their work at Post. They've helped me believe I can be successful.

2. Post University faculty and staff are always available. I can talk to my advisor at literally the drop of a dime through email or phone calls. I'm able to get through to the financial aid department just as easily, and the staff there has been beyond helpful in showing me how I can pay for school and budget my student loans. (They also didn't expect me to pay an astronomical amount for school upfront and out-of-pocket.) My professors are understanding and flexible, too, and are easily reachable through phone and email.