Thursday, March 29, 2012

Where do you stand on Facebooking with students?

FRIEND OR FOE: New arguments arise in the debate
on Facebooking with students
It's a hotly debated topic, and for obvious reasons. At one end of the spectrum, it can be argued that Facebooking with students blurs the line of appropriate student-instructor relationships. At the opposite end, it can be argued that Facebook helps foster student-instructor relationships and can be used to support educational programs.

The latest story I've come across on the topic is this Huffington Post article by Emily Wall, Assistant Professor at the University of Alaska Southeast. She nearly "always says yes" when her students friend request her on Facebook. Her reason: It helps her get to know her students on a personal level, understand where they're at in life, and get clued into the highs and lows they're going through. This, she writes, "makes it easier for me to teach them."

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The call for a higher order of higher education

Why higher education needs to evolve to meet the demand for more flexible delivery models

Industry research continues to show that active learning and deep engagement in a subject matter helps students retain more knowledge and develop stronger skills than traditional lecture-based instruction. Researchers have demonstrated this across myriad fields of study, including medical science, pharmaceuticals, mathematics, engineering, leadership, and veterinary science, just to name a few.

Yet, the lecture remains the mainstay in higher education. While lectures have a role to play in education, the growing demand for more flexible delivery models is turning traditional education on its head.

Many students -- adult learners in particular -- are seeking more interactive ways to build their knowledge and skills so that they can apply what they learn in class today to their careers tomorrow. This has been evident in all the interviews we've done with our adult learners, including those who have shared their stories on our blog.

And many employers are seeking job candidates with not only hard skills, but soft skills that are better acquired in an interactive learning environment. The ability to collaborate, create, and communicate and think critically top the list of soft skill employers are seeking, according to a new survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE).

The development of these skills, especially among today's fastest growing segment of learners -- adult learners -- can be particularly well addressed in a carefully crafted online learning environment. Tools such as online discussion boards can provide increased and ongoing engagement among instructors and students that simply can't be achieved in a lecture. Other elements, such as real-time knowledge discovery and the ability to apply learning in real time, give adult learners practical knowledge they can immediately use in their careers.

Although online education has become mainstream -- fully 77 percent of colleges offer online degree program courses -- many programs are not providing the level of interaction, engagement, and motivation most students seek. I still see courses where the instruction is mainly comprised of online presentations that students read through or taped lectures that students watch and then take a quiz at the end. This is hardly an interactive or engaging model.

Higher education needs to evolve so that it's squarely rooted in student-instructor engagement, and encourages ongoing interaction among peers. Here are the elements I see comprising this new education model. We're also planning to unfold this topic more in Post University's upcoming Online Learning Conference 2012, which you can register for now.

Asynchronous discussions. We should get away from a "pass the baton" approach, and move toward asynchronous discussions where students can contribute their thoughts at any time. Online discussion boards are well-suited for this, because students from different parts of the professional spectrum can add feedback, relate personal experiences, debate ideas, share advice, and post resources when it fits their daily schedule. This cannot happen in a typical lecture because you only have a window of time for discussion, after which students disperse, work on their projects, hand them in, and receive a grade. Online discussion boards, however, can foster ongoing conversation and collaboration, keeping students continually involved in the learning process, and often taking them far beyond the materials at hand.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Education futurist Steve Hargadon to keynote Post University's Online Learning Conference 2012

TAP THE FUTURE OF EDUCATION: Attend Post University's
Online Learning Conference 2012 on April 20
In our efforts to make higher education institutions better, we sometimes focus on fixing the broken parts from the past, rather than starting with a fresh slate upon which we can create and innovate for the future. We have the ability to go beyond just amending and patching what's not working anymore, and instead make a whole new education world.

Many education thought leaders -- including futurist Steve Hargadon -- believe that the new world is online education. Steve, in fact, was one of the first to recognize the value that social networking could add to education, and has since become one of the industry's preeminent voices for technology, education, and learning. His Future of Education interview series (which Post University's online Master of Education degree program students all subscribe to) has been a catalyst for sharing these ideas with the world.

STEVE HARGADON: Keynote speaker
for our Online Learning Conference 2012
That's why we couldn't think of anyone more fitting to keynote Post University's Online Learning Conference 2012 than Steve. This year's conference theme is "Shaping the Future: Driving Innovation in Online Higher Education." Steve's keynote address will fittingly focus on "The Future of Education."

We're holding the conference on Friday, April 20 at The Mattatuck Museum in Waterbury, Conn. We hope you'll join us. You can register for the conference online. But don't wait to sign up. We're expecting a large turnout this year, and we're accepting registrants on a first-come-first-serve basis.

Our Online Learning Conference 2012 will be an opportunity for anyone in higher education to hear leading professors and instructors share some of their latest online learning research and strategies. The one-day event will feature 12 breakout sessions, including:
We're planning to announce the rest of the speakers on our blog soon. In the meantime, we've posted the basic agenda at the bottom of this post so you can keep it handy.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

What it's really like to work in the human services field

FELICIA SCOTT: The Post University
graduate has taken human services to heart
Felicia Scott has been busy this week doing what she does best -- volunteering and helping other people. Yesterday she pitched in at the Austin Music Awards, which benefits the SIMS Foundation, an organization that helps Austin musicians and their families cope with addiction.

But that's just one of a long list of ways Felicia has been living out the principles of human services. The last time we talked to her, about a year ago, Felicia had just gotten back from a 10-day trip to El Salvador where she helped build a community center and a garden to support impoverished people.

She also was working to complete her drug and alcohol counseling certificate from Post University, after earning her online master of science in human services degree with a concentration in clinical counseling from Post University.

We caught up with Felicia to see what she's been doing over the past year, and where her master's degree in human services and career have taken her. Read on for the interview our blogger, Janelle, had with her to see where she is now.

I especially encourage you to read our interview if you're interested in the area of human services, because I think Felicia is the epitome of the type of person it takes to do well in this field. Find out from Felicia what it's really like to work in human services, the personal qualities you need to succeed in this field, and the opportunities and rewards that are open to you when you make human services your life's mission.

Janelle: Do you know what has been going on with the community center that you helped build in El Salvador since you were there last January?

Felicia: I do, actually. I did not get to take the trip this year, although many other people did and got great news. The crops that we planted last year are now flourishing and are feeding that small community that we worked in. They've built more houses in January 2012, and now they're able to provide fresh water, which was not there when I went to visit.

Janelle: Do you know how many people are using the community center now?

Felicia: At this point, I believe about 200. Many of the children there are not allowed to go to school unless they have a certain amount of money, which many don't have. So the community center is being used for school as well, and just family activities and picnics and different things on the weekend.

Janelle: Are you planning to return to El Salvador any time soon?

Monday, March 12, 2012

How an adult learner made his education make sense for his career

We posted our podcast interview with Post University student Carlos Nunes on our blog the other week. He'll be graduating from Post University's Online Master of Science in Human Services program this May. Per our usual schedule, here's the transcript of our interview if you've been watching out for it.

Read on for Carlos' story of why he went back to school as an adult, how he rediscovered his passion to become a college professor, and how he's making his career dream a reality as he prepares to enter the University of Hartford's doctoral program. "There's no age limit for learning," as Carlos says, nor is there an age limit to achieving your life goals.

Janelle: Greetings, everyone. Janelle Kozyra here for another Post University podcast. Today we are joined by Carlos Nunes, who is a graduate of Post's master's in human services degree program. Carlos, it's good to have you with us today.

Carlos: Well, thank you for having me.

Janelle: So when did you graduate with your master's degree in human services?

Carlos: Well, I'm actually graduating this coming May. I'm actually walking this coming May. I finished all my academics and I'm just waiting for the great moment.

Janelle: Great. So we want to capture your story about where you were before Post came into your life, the impact that Post has made on your life, and where you're going next. So can you tell us about where you were living and working before you got your masters degree from Post?

Friday, March 9, 2012

Post University students and faculty in the news

Post University's students and faculty have caught the media's attention over the past couple months. Here's a look at what's been going on around our university, and some of the advice we've been sharing with the education and business communities.

Huffington Post features Post University grad Priscilla Santiago
"Going To College At 63: 'You're Never Too Old To Live Your Dream.'" The story of Post University graduate Priscilla Santiago caught the attention of Huffington Post's Laura Rowley. Laura interviewed Priscilla about how she reinvented her life after a personal trauma, and earned her bachelor's degree from Post University at 63. Read her story in her own words on Huffington Post, and flip back to our interview with Priscilla for more details on her experience at Post University.

"Face to Face." Management Today's Chris Petersen penned a piece about why it's increasingly crucial for managers to be effective interviewers to find the best candidates for their open positions. He included tips from our Vice President of ADP Enrollment Management, Veronica Montalvo. For the insights, click over to Management Today's home page, find the Winter 2012 issue at the very bottom, and scroll to Page 8.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Back to college at my age, with a job and family?

We recently had a chat with Carlos Nunes for our blog. Carlos is like many adult learners. He has a family. He has a job. In fact, he already has a degree, too -- a master's in theology. But when he wanted to make a career change into human services, Carlos realized his theology background wouldn't help him much. Carlos needed a master's degree in human services, including education in drug and alcohol counseling.

He assumed getting his second college degree would be challenging at his age. An adult taking college courses? How would he fit in? He'd also have to juggle work and family with studying and exams. How would he keep up?