California Bill Brings Online College One Step Closer

In California, public college students are used to waiting to try to register for popular or required courses. But if a newly introduced state bill passes, those students may soon be able to take classes online rather than waiting in line.

The bill, introduced by California Senate President Pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento), would allow students at public colleges to take web-based “massive open online courses” (MOOCs) for academic credit in place of certain courses necessary for degree completion if spots are not available in on-campus sections of those courses. Credit would be awarded based on recommendations by the American Council on Education. While faculty panels would have the chance to review online courses and choose appropriate replacements for particular over-registered classes, schools would no longer be able to withhold credit altogether from students seeking online alternatives.

The bill addresses a statewide problem of over-registration for introductory courses in core subjects, particularly at the community college level. The state’s community college system has been sandwiched between budget cuts on one side and increasing demand for higher education on the other. As a result, last fall, three quarters of California’s 112 community colleges were forced to turn students away. The schools’ waitlists averaged 7,000 students. Even those students who are able to matriculate still often find themselves unable to register for the classes they need to graduate or to continue their studies. They must sometimes spend additional semesters in school, simply waiting for spots to open in the required classes.

The online replacement courses promoted by the bill would be offered by third-party providers, some of which are profit-seeking businesses, including Udacity, Straighterline, EdX and Coursera. The program would be paired with an existing statewide effort to promote the use of free, open-source textbooks, according to a press release from the 20 Million Minds Foundation, a California non-profit that focuses on reducing textbook costs. (1)

Using online resources to fill the course gap makes a lot of sense. Allowing students to study introductory-level material in virtual classrooms can keep them on the path to graduation, while freeing up classroom space and time for more advanced classes.

On the surface, allowing online programs to pick up the slack in introductory-level instruction may seem like a professor’s dream. My guess, however, is that instructors and administrators at California’s public colleges will not be pleased. In fact, if it were not for resistance from within academia, there would be no need for the bill, because students would already be able to take courses online for credit.

The reason students need the bill to pass before they can click “Enroll” is accreditation; so far, very few online programs have received it. The college accreditation process, which is run by private organizations dominated by academics and administrators, serves to entrench existing institutions at the expense of competitors that could prove more cost-effective. Rather than applying objective, outcome-based standards, the accreditors, who are mostly affiliated with traditional schools, judge potential newcomers based on whether they adhere to established methods. This automatically blocks innovation and has kept most online programs out of the accredited club.

By withholding accreditation, the powers that be in academia have effectively prevented newer online programs from being able to compete for students. Most students need to prove that their degrees are from accredited schools before those degrees are considered legitimate. Accreditation is also used to determine federal financial aid eligibility. While accredited colleges could choose to grant academic credits to students who complete courses through non-accredited online programs, few do. This is why students wait to get into in-person classes at accredited schools, despite the availability of online programs capable of delivering the same knowledge and skills.

While university faculty and administrators maintain control over the accreditation system, financial pressure will ultimately make change unavoidable. The ever-higher tuition bills and ever-larger student debt that are the byproducts of the current academic arrangement simply cannot be sustained for much longer.

The California bill is a sign that those financial pressures are having an effect. The arrangement proposed in the bill effectively overrides the accrediting agencies by forcing public schools to lend the strength of their own accreditation to high-caliber online classes. This sort of legislative jerry-rigging may not be sufficient in the long run, but at least it is a step in the right direction, bringing us closer to the day when students can choose from a multitude of accredited programs that are online, on-campus or a combination of the two.

The share of high school graduates who go on to college has risen from 45 percent in 1959 to 70 percent in 2009. In that half-century span, employers who once might have accepted candidates with only a high school diploma now use college degrees as their hiring standard. Yet we continue to rely on academic models that were developed when only a minority of students pursued higher education. It is no wonder that those systems are being overwhelmed. We owe it to students to ensure that the educational infrastructure is repaired before it breaks beneath them. If colleges themselves can’t or won’t do this, then lawmakers, particularly at the state level, will need to step in.

If the California bill succeeds, it will offer a valuable lesson to the rest of the country. I hope educators are paying attention.

Source:

1) Yahoo! News, “New California Legislation to Provide MOOC Courses Full Academic Credit”

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The Many Benefits of Attending Yale University

Yale University is one of the most famous schools in the United States, with a long history of service and an alumni list that reads like a “Who’s Who” of successful people.

Yale University is the fulfillment of a European vision of intellectual freedom that is aimed at the service of the community and country. It has championed over history and survived the most destructive calamities such as the American Revolution. Since then, the university has continually grown and progressed to a center for high quality education that is recognized by the global community.

The university is considered one of the oldest institution of higher education in the US. It was founded in 1701 and is a proud member of the prestigious Ivy League.

Degree and Non-degree programs

Yale University is a gateway for higher education. Students may opt to concentrate in any of the following fields:

1. Architecture

2. Art

3. Biomedical Science

4. British Studies

5. Comparative Literature

6. Computer Science and Psychology

7. Dermatology

8. Drama

9. European Studies

10. Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

11. Immunobiology

12. Latin American and Iberian Studies

A list of other major and minor courses from A-Z is found at the Yale .edu website.

Admission

Direct admission is applied at Yale University wherein the interested applicant applies directly at the college or school he or she wishes to obtain a degree in. Undergraduates fall under the jurisdiction of Yale College while graduate students must secure application forms either from the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences or one of the various professional schools listed below:

· School of Art

· School of architecture

· School of drama

· Faculty of Engineering

· Divinity School

· School of Forestry & Environmental Studies

· School of Public Health

· School of Medicine

· School of Management

· School of Nursing

· School of Music

· Law School

· Institute of Sacred Music

If you can gain admission to Yale University you will be among some of the top scholars in the nation.

Drone Career Opportunities and Training Courses

When you were buying your very first drone, did you have any idea that these aerial vehicles would become so popular and useful that full-bodied training courses and study modules would be made available to public through university and college degree programs? Well, there are a good number of colleges in the USA that are already offering drone training to thousands of students. Of course, drone engineering is a full-fledged discipline because there are so many types of unmanned aerial vehicles now available throughout the world ranging from simple just-for-fun drones to combat flying vehicles housing missiles and other payload and military surveillance drones. Next is the category of drone pilots that need robust training as well as certification in order to become skilled, reliable and expert pilots of these aerial vehicles. In the years to come, the drone industry is only expected to grow and therefore more study modules need to be added to the pool for producing highly skilled drone experts in various fields.

Career Opportunities for Drone Experts

Students who decide to pursue a degree in drone education have a number of career paths to take. Some of these include;

· Military drone pilot

· Disaster control and relief

· Agriculture

· Search and rescue

· Traffic control and reporting

· Package delivery

· Filming and cinematography

· Aerial photography

· Seismic study and storm chasing

· Engineering and computer studies

· Drone consultancy and training

· Drone insurance

· Security

· Firefighter

There can be many other fields where drone applications are being recognized throughout the world. Since the concept is relatively new and still in its infancy, there is a horde of opportunities for fresh graduates of drone training programs. With the growing number of people who wish to take these courses, there is also a need for more teachers and instructors who will be paid huge amounts of money for transferring their skills to the next generation of drone experts.

How to Apply

If you are interested in one of the degree programs or certifications in drone training, you first need to do a little research on various colleges that are currently offering study programs in this field. There are online degree programs as well, which you can easily take while sitting in the comfort of your home. The application procedure is just like applying for any other degree program; you need to fill out an application form and submit it to the concerned department along with required documents and a covering letter to show your interest in a particular college.

Before you decide to apply, determine whether you want to learn to build drones or to fly them. These are the two basic categories that exist when it comes to drone training or education. Some of the degree programs offered by colleges in this discipline include;

· Bachelor of Science in Unmanned Aircraft Systems Science

· Master of Science in Unmanned and Autonomous Systems Engineering

· Master’s in Unmanned Systems

· Bachelor of Science in Professional Aviation Flight Technology

· Bachelor or Master of Science in Aviation Management

There are many other disciplines as well; the complete details can be obtained from an official college website. Some universities are also offering a post-baccalaureate certificate in UAS technology and application to students who come with an IB background. This is yet another factor that shows the future direction of drone training because IB is the current standard of education in most countries.

Some minor courses in aviation and drone applications are also offered to students who are currently enrolled into computer science or electronics engineering disciplines. These courses can help them change their area of study later on if they have decided to become a drone expert. There are tons of research opportunities for these students who can even opt for a doctoral degree in drone education.

Courses Offered in Drone Training

When you choose any of the above-mentioned degree programs, the most common subjects or courses you need to pass include design and construction of unmanned aerial vehicles, UAS structure, flight path management, aerodynamics, industrial robots, private pilot theory, principles of flights, human factors of drones, payloads and sensors, communications and data acquisition, advanced aerial vehicles, military intelligence, information security, and so on. As you can see these are complete modules and require years of training to master. The degree programs are therefore planned over 4 years for Bachelors and 2 years for Master’s degree.

Since the future of aviation largely depends on the success and effectiveness of today’s drones, there are golden opportunities for those who decide to take drone courses today. If you are interested in this area, you can also enter as an entrepreneur to offer your unique and useful services to those who want to benefit from this wonderful technology.

Many people are turning to aerial photography as their means of making a living. If you hold a certification or diploma in aerial photography, you have improved chances of gaining clients and being successful in this field. Moreover, such a course or training program helps to polish your skills and teach you how to take full advantage of a drone meant just for photography and videography. You may also apply for a post in filming or cinematography where you capture and edit videos or help with the marketing campaign of a company through your exclusive photographs and videos captured and recorded using a high-tech drone.

Drones or aerial vehicles controlled by a remote pilot are expensive machines. They are not just meant for having fun and taking part in drone racing but have applications in very sensitive departments, such as military surveillance for intelligent data acquisition and real-time streaming of the battlefield to take important decisions. Moreover, drones are now being employed to minimize the impact of natural disasters and to inspect the health of crops in agriculture. There is a need for highly skilled and experienced drone pilots in all these fields so that maximum benefits could be achieved and the risks associated with unmanned flight could be reduced. Drone training comes into play when all these requirements are analyzed and therefore many colleges and universities are now offering special degree programs in this field.

Online Learning Skills You Need To Master If You Want To Blitz Your Degree

Online learning is now one of the fastest industries that are taking on the World Wide Web today. With all of its benefits and advantages, many people are now turning to the internet for their educational needs. Online learning, also known as e-learning and distance learning, is the type of education where a person studies through the use of a computer and an internet connection where he or she can access learning materials sent over a certain distance from an educator. This is especially very advantageous for many people because it breaks the barrier of distance. In addition to this, it is a more affordable mode of learning.

It is very important to develop online learning skills for you to truly succeed in this endeavor. Many students fail in their online learning because they commit the mistake of putting little emphasis on their study. They lack the proper motivation and self-discipline, which is vital in finishing the entire course.

The first skill that online learners must possess is effective time management. This is crucial because of the very flexible time online learning could offer which is often taken for granted. It is very important to set aside adequate time schedule and have the will power to stick on it. This includes assigning specific time of the day and week for finishing assignments, projects, reading and reviewing notes.

Interpersonal skills are another key factor to consider when taking an online course. One thing that is very challenging with online learning is that there is limited time for personal social interaction because learning is mostly done online. Communicating with fellow students helps you to learn from them as the same time, they learn from you. Furthermore, it is vital that you make enough conversation with your professor to give feedbacks about your expectation and comment about the class.

Always apply what you learned in any way as possible. This is the most effective way to retain what your lessons and thereby, improving your overall academic performance. It is an established fact that we learn by doing. You can do this by yourself in your day-to-day life or you can collaborate with your online classmates to wield a stronger bond.

Finally, you should have the proper mindset and attitude. Online learning could be stressful or overwhelming at times just like other mode of learning but there are many ways that you can still enjoy what you are doing. Just keep your eyes to your ultimate goal and realize that your sacrifices will eventually pay off.

Distance Education Degrees

Distance education or distance learning is a field of education that focuses on the teaching methods delivered using technology and instructional design systems. Distance education degrees are also referred to as correspondence courses. These programs make use of computer-based training to educate students. The University of South Africa has been offering distance education courses since 1946. The Open University in the United Kingdom founded in 1969, is the largest distance education university. There are many private and public, non-profit and for-profit institutions offering courses and degree programs through distance education.

The programs designed are concise and well structured, so as to make the subject matter easily understandable. All forms of technology like radio, television, audio-video conferencing, computer-aided instruction and on-line learning are used. Some institutes may also provide the study-material in hard copy or soft-copy as per systems. There are also student counseling services available. Distance programs are designed for all age groups. There is no age criteria for admission to any program. In most cases, anyone who has a high school diploma can enroll. Renowned universities are usually accredited with a license to carry distance education programs. Typically, the programs have a flexible degree programs, and have examination centers all over the country. The Internet is used as a medium for conducting on-line tests in many cases.

Accredited colleges and universities offer these distance learning degree programs in accounting, paralegal, healthcare, business management, engineering, electronics, computer science, marketing and hospitality management. Programs in associate and diploma studies in subjects as varied as criminal justice, industrial engineering technology, computer Repair, computer specialist, veterinary technician, floral design, medical coding and billing are also offered in the distance education system.

Top Online College Courses to Select Out Best Career Option

Getting some form of top level education has become a pre-requisite to getting many jobs in this economically challenged day and age. Almost everyone is scrambling for a place in a college or university in a bid to pursue a course of their dreams or to enhance their chances of a promotion. For those who cannot secure a place in a any of these institutions, that internet comes in handy. There are many courses being offered by online colleges and it is up to you to choose one of your choices.

There are some top online courses that you can choose from. These courses are classified into categories that include:

o Arts and humanities

o Business

o Computer Training and Information technology

o Education

o Health Sciences and Nursing

o Science and Engineering

o Social Sciences

o Law Studies

o Vocational Training

Some of the top courses from these categories that are offered online include medical related courses, paralegal studies, nursing, homeland security, electrical engineering, business studies, accounting, teaching, architecture, aeronautical engineering, liberal arts, communications, Journalism, software engineering, web design, public relations and human resource management. You can get all the information about all these and more online courses from the web.

You need to be very cautious with how you select an online college to pursue a course that is being offered by the purported college. Online fraudsters are on the increase and are having a field day conning unsuspecting victims of their hard earned cash. Before you apply for an online course or degree program, you need to verify the credibility of the college or university first. Make sure that it is fully certified before you give in any information about yourself.

As the demand of more and more jobs increases, so does the need to get some sort of higher education. Everyone wants to have a better chance of getting that precious job, and so it is common to see people going to great lengths in making their education background better.

What It Means to Be a Modern Online Educator

Traditional college instruction is part of a well-established tradition that has remained fairly unchanged over time. Becoming an instructor in this environment has meant conformity to teaching standards that have also remained fairly unchanged. A college professor is associated with someone who is a subject matter expert, likely to achieve a position with tenure, and have dual roles as an instructor and researcher. It is expected that they will be published authors of scholarly journal articles that have been peer-reviewed and contributed knowledge to their field. While this form of education and instructor still exists, there is another academic institution that has also been established and it is an online college and university.

For a modern form of online education you will not likely find any positions that are labeled professor. Most online universities hire adjuncts and many refer to their instructors as facilitators. Some universities expect their instructors to complete annual professional development requirements but rarely does that include publishing peer-reviewed journal articles. What is needed now more than ever is a new category of educator, one who meets the needs of students who participate in this modern form of education. Now is also the time for online universities to embrace this new form of instructors, those who can be called a Modern Educator.

From Traditional to Online Teaching

The traditional format for educating students is the lecture-driven class. The instructor delivers information to students and they must demonstrate what they have learned through various assessments. They know that their instructor or professor is an expert in the particular subject area for their class. This method of instruction is the same style that is used in primary education and it is teacher-centered. As technology has brought new possibilities for the field of education a new format developed – online courses and online degrees. At first traditional educators taught these courses but over time that has changed, especially as adjuncts filled a majority of the instructional roles. Now with online degree programs and online schools having been fully established in the education field, a new type of educator was also emerging.

Evolution to Modern Teaching

With the growth of online learning came the need for hiring a large volume of instructors. Some online universities have classes that begin weekly and others offer courses starting monthly. Hiring adjuncts was the answer and the majority of jobs teaching undergraduate students have been filled by instructors holding a master’s degree in the subject field they were teaching. Over time the number of instructors qualified to teach online has grown substantially and now many adjunct positions require a doctorate degree. What has contributed to the increased pool of available online instructors is the fluctuation in enrollment numbers, the limited number of full-time online instructor positions, and the increase in degree specializations – especially those related to online teaching. There are also many online schools that offer online teaching specializations and those students who complete their master’s degree are added to the pool. It is estimated that at present there are nearly two million adjunct online instructors teaching online courses.

The requirements for teaching online also may include continuing education. Most online universities require some form of annual professional development. Those universities generally offer workshops and training courses as a means of fulfilling this requirement. Publishing scholarly journals can be used to help meet the professional development requirements but most schools do not require it. These modern teachers are also different from a college professor by the manner in which they are allowed to present themselves in the classroom. An online instructor is often called a facilitator and rarely is this position referred to as a professor – although some instructors will refer to themselves as a professor to establish their position in the learning process. Many online universities tell their instructors to use their first name as a means of creating a casual and approachable image – even if the instructor has a doctorate degree.

An Example of a Modern Educator

Within the field of online education there is a significant difference among educator types. There are those with a master’s degree who can teach undergraduate courses and there are those with doctorate degrees who can teach both undergraduate and graduate students. For those schools that offer doctoral degree programs, an expectation for instructors to be published in a manner similar to that of a college professor may still be in place. But there is a need for a new standard. If traditional methods of learning do not apply to online education, then traditional instructor qualifications should also not apply to online educators. Now is the time for a new instructional category, one that is referred to as a Modern Educator.

My work as an educator has evolved from traditional college teaching to that of online teaching and now I have become a Modern Educator. Instead of spending months (or possibly longer) trying to become published in a scholarly journal, I publish online articles. Instead of my work being available only to those who have access to and read scholarly journals, I now have an opportunity to reach a broader audience. My work is available as soon as I write and publish it, and more importantly – I understand how to use social media. I am connected to an international basis of educators, universities, and students through the use of social media.

Through social media it is possible to share ideas and resources, along with online articles, blog posts, and other intellectual contributions. This also applies to transformation of the publishing process. Instead of waiting to find a publisher and go through the traditional publishing route, I have self-published e-books. This has allowed me to become highly engaged in the field of education and it has redefined what it means to be a college instructor. Becoming a Modern Educator indicates what online instructors should be involved with and online schools developing as a requirement for their professional development.

Steps to Becoming a Modern Educator

Whether you have a master’s degree or doctorate degree, if you teach online courses you need professional development. But this should be more than taking a workshop – it needs to involve making an intellectual contribution. In addition, the work of a Modern Educator also needs to be involved in some form of social or professional networking. Here are some steps you can take and strategies you can use to become a Modern Educator.

#1. Write a Blog – This provides a platform to share your expertise and summarize your knowledge. As you continue to conduct research for your areas of professional interest and you can include what you have learned through your blog posts. There are numerous free resources that will allow you to create and share your blog, such as Word Press.

#2. Write Online Articles – Instead of taking the time required to write and submit articles to scholarly journals, which can always be an option for you, find a resource that allows you to publish online articles. The articles you write, which are based upon your knowledge and experience, will allow you to reach a broader audience, refine your writing skills, and establish yourself as a subject matter expert. I utilize Ezine Articles, which is an article marketing database.

#3. Use Social Networking – Every online educator needs to learn how to establish their presence via technology. It only makes sense that if you work in a technology-enabled environment you should also know how to be engaged in online communities. LinkedIn provides a means of professional networking, finding groups that match your interest, and even finding online jobs. Twitter can connect you to an international base of educators, students, and universities – providing a place to share resources.

#4. Develop a Website -If you find that you are highly ambitious and want to develop more than a blog you could also build your own website. This would be a place for you to house resources that you have created, which could be shared with educators and students. There are free webhosting services available and others that charge a small fee.

#5. Write E-Books – The field of publishing has changed and now authors are taking back control by making their books available in an e-book format. Kindle and Nook devices are the most popular devices. Kobo is another device that is gaining popularity because it can be used on mobile devices such as Blackberry. You will likely need to hire someone to format the book, sign up for an account to distribute your e-book, and once it is ready you can have it available in a relatively short amount of time.

Maintaining a Modern Educator Status

A Modern Educator is someone who does more than teach online classes. They are active in the field of education and their chosen subject matter. They know how to teach using technological tools and engage in a virtual community of other educators through social media. The Modern Educator is also conducting research and making intellectual contributions through technological means. The work they publish is done through technologically-enabled resources and made immediately available for their intended audience. They know how to use social media to promote their work and share resources with other educators and students.

It is time now for the Modern Educator mentality to become the standard for online learning. Instruction has adapted in format from traditional to online, and so too must the instructor. It is also important that online schools and hiring specialists recognize the new Modern Educator. This is someone who has likely taught for several institutions because of fluctuating enrollments and staff changes; however, what matters most is their ongoing professional development and intellectual contributions. The most desirable candidate for an online teaching position is someone with more than extensive work as an online educator. It is someone who can also utilize technological tools as a means of publishing their work and connecting with other educators. A Modern Educator is the new college professor and the one most prepared for teaching through the use of technology.

The Benefits Of Online Education

The idea of online education was scoffed at not so many years ago. But these days both educational institutions and prospective students are taking online education seriously.

The first universities to offer accredited online degrees began appearing back in the 1990s. More often than not, these groundbreaking schools were looked down upon by the “academic elite,” and considered to be somehow “shady” or disreputable. But a lot has certainly changed since then, and these days even the most prestigious Ivy League universities are offering online classes, and sometimes, a complete online curriculum for distance learning.

If you’ve wondered how online education works, or if it would be a good alternative for you, read on to get a sense of the online learning experience and what it means to be a “virtual student.”

Obviously the biggest difference between online education and attending an actual university is that it is not necessary to be in any particular location to study. This means that much of the social aspect of going to college is removed from the online education experience. But depending on your point of view, this could actually be a very good thing. It makes it possible to bypass a lot of the peer pressure and “popularity contests” that many college cultures have become inundated with.

If you are an older student — and by older, I mean over 24 — you will probably find much of the petty jostling for popularity and status to be a real turnoff anyway. That’s why online education can be a great option for returning students, or those who are a little more mature.

One of the biggest questions prospective students have about online education is how the virtual classroom actually works. While there are similarities between the virtual classrooms used in online education, and the brick and mortar classrooms of a traditional university, there are striking differences as well.

For example, if you attend a physical campus you will enter the classroom and attend a certain course at a certain time that will be designated to last between one and three hours on average. The instructor of the course will likely lecture for the majority of this time, but there may also be some student participation. At the end of the class the instructor may assign homework or inform students of upcoming quizzes.

But in a virtual classroom the structure is much more open, and there is a far greater degree of flexibility in the lesson plans. For example, normally you may log into your virtual class at any time, where you will listen, read and watch videos covering the course material. As a general rule, you may take as much time as you like to go over the material and complete any assignments given. While your course instructor will normally be available to ask questions via real-time online chat, e-mail or instant messaging, they will not monitor your progress or concern themselves with your work habits.

This means that with online education the student has far greater responsibility for their own learning. No one will babysit you, or ensure that you are doing the required work; it is simply presented to you, and you are expected to be responsible for completing assignments and reviewing the information.

This kind of freedom and flexibility fits many people perfectly, but others — especially younger students — may crave the structure of traditional campus learning. If your time is important to you, and you are motivated enough to be responsible for yourself, online education could be a perfect fit for you.

Sports Management Degree to Learn Organizing Sports Events

Many institutions of higher learning are offering Sports Management courses to their students. Organization is a skill that is learnt from birth. However you can perfect it through a formal education. Well managed sporting events are what draw people’s interest in those particular sports.

The sports management degree programmes offered in many colleges and universities are meant to help you unique sporting events’ organization skills. Many of these sources go by different names, but the underlying basics are the same. For instance, Sarlem University offers a Sports Management course under the faculty of Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. In Ashford University, they offer a BA degree in Sports and Recreation Management. The Grand Canyon University has a Sports Management option in their Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree program.

These sports management courses equip you with general management and leadership skills. They also help you learn how to plan and develop sales and marketing strategies for a particular sporting event. You also learn much about advertising and event promotion, facility management, public relations, recruitment, coaching practices and sports administration. Some of the courses also give you an overview of the legal aspects of certain sports as well as basic health and safety measures for a sports team.

You have to have a passion for sports in order to excel in these sports organization and management courses. You must also be involved in a certain sport or two in order to have a practical understanding of the course.

If you can not find the sports management course being offered in a campus near you, you can look up some online institutions that offer the same degree. Make sure that the online institutions that you are planning to apply to be fully accredited. This will save you from losing money and vital information to internet conmen. The Columbia Southern University also offers a similar concentration course in their BS in Business administration program.

Making Online Education Attractive

All over the world, the numbers of people in school at the different levels takes pyramidal shape. There are huge numbers at the elementary, but as they progress, the numbers decrease, leaving just a few in higher education. In the United States, some 65 million students were expected to enroll from K to K12 in the fall of 2015. In the same period, it was expected that 20.2 million would be attending Colleges and Universities. It is estimated that 25% of fresh high school students in the U.S.A are not able to graduate. For fresh students who enter colleges or universities 1 out of 3 are likely not make it to second year. This dropout out rate hinders national development, because many people do not receive the full training they need to be functional in society. National development would be hugely fostered, if more adults receive education, in order that they become functional in society.

I am not saying that all adults who were not fully educated are not playing important roles in society. There are very prominent individuals in society who dropped out of school at some level. Bill Gate, Mark Zuckerberg, Oprah Winfrey, for example, at some point dropped out of school. Though this list is not exhaustive, the number of people who dropped out of school or decided not to gain higher education and yet became successful are relatively few. For the majority who dropped out or discontinued education, and could not become successful in their careers, it was because they lacked the knowledge they needed to develop their potential. If you check the history of those who in spite of dropping out or discontinuing schooling have become successful, you would find that appeared to have found their life’s purpose and so pursued those goals and, more importantly, they received some kind of education later.

Education as we all know is a life-long activity. At any point in time, whether you dropped out of school or got honors at your graduation, you would need education. The school dropout who has found himself a vocation or gained employment needs education so he/she can be more productive, the dropout who has realized the need to school but has ‘grown past school going age’ and desires to school obviously needs education, managers as well as employees need further education in order to keep pace with today’s rapidly changing world and gain increased wages and status respectively. Somehow, the traditional education dependent society we have created for ourselves and considers the ‘best’, limits our quest for continuing education. For many people, formal education ended the day they dropped out or graduated from High School, College or University, even though, technology makes it possible for us to sit in our houses and still get quality education.

When technology – computers and internet connectivity – replaced physical classrooms and made it possible to study by distance in real time, it appeared the issue of continuous education for everyone, including the dropout and the working class have been solved. It appeared, and still does, that now the teacher need not leave his students, apply for study-leave or leave of absence to pursue further education. It appeared the fifty-year-old woman who dropped out of school several years ago could now school from home and it appeared the father could learn what his daughter is learning at College using the same device he uses to call her. That is what it appeared. Those who dropped out of school due to issues of finance and have not since had a breakthrough would not benefit, and those who have the money would not want to put their money into a certificate employers and academicians alike would frown upon. So little appear to have changed for these two groups of people, though online Colleges and Universities abound.

Two prime issues are to blame. First, online education is too expensive for the target group of learners and second, there is the perception that online Colleges and Universities do not provide holistic education like the traditional Colleges and Universities. As indicated by Ed Vosganian – founder and CEO of College Funding 123, the cost of on-campus University for undergraduate is estimated at 42,000 dollars while for the same group it cost around 21,000 dollars for online universities. By comparison we would say that it cost far less to study via online. But we need not lose sight of those who mostly enroll in online University. It is those in the middle and lower classes who opt for online universities. They include; the employee who has sacrificed pleasure for higher qualification in return for better wages, the unemployed who wants to gain employable skills, the dropout who wants to get back to school in the hope that there will be a brighter future, and the people living in the remote part of the world, especially in the developing world, who don’t even have the money to pay fees and so would have to learn and work simultaneously. To these 21,000 dollars is money so huge, it is very difficult to raise. There are people of the higher income class who enroll in online universities, but online learning is not popular among these due to low prestige and the myths associated with online education. The online institutions will tell you, they would not put anything on your certificate to show that you received a non-traditional education. This kind of advert speaks of how society values online education. Online education is considered a cheap way of getting ‘watered down’ education. Online Colleges and Universities were until recently considered diploma mills. This perception still exists, though empirical evidence tells us there is no disparity in quality of students from traditional Colleges and Universities on one hand and online Colleges and Universities on the other. The online Universities and Colleges are doing their best to make online learning prestigious and bring down study cost, but they cannot do it alone. With government intervention online learning can become prestigious and lower and middle class friendly.

Government should provide a national framework for online education, subsidize accreditation, and grant scholarships and student loans for students in online Colleges and Universities. A national framework to guide the operations of all online colleges and universities should be instituted by the state, through the Department of Education or the relevant government agency. This framework, which would be descriptive and not prescriptive in nature would describe, for example, the minimum courses to be taken at a given level, and the general mode of operation of online universities and colleges without prescribing specific courses or mode of operation. Accreditation is not just laborious for online Colleges and Universities; it is also expensive. This cost is passed to students, souring up program fees. If the government decides to absorb half the cost of accreditation, though there is no guarantee the program fees will be halved, the program fee would be reduced somehow. Lastly, most of the students who opt for online colleges and universities do not receive scholarships and student loans from the state. Those who receive something do not get huge scholarships and student loans like their counterparts in traditional Colleges and Universities. Government should make scholarships and students loans available to students of online Colleges and Universities just as it does for students in traditional Colleges and Universities.

The ramifications of these interventions would definitely be awesome. Providing a national framework for online education would take away the false negative perception people have about online learning. Many think online learning is easy and also the number of credits taken are far less than those taken in traditional learning settings. This thinking exists because there are some poorly designed online courses in which certificate are awarded after just a couple of assignments have been submitted. Such practices can be stopped, when a national framework is developed and operationalized. A national framework will give credibility to online learning, because a national standard for online would have to be adhered to and so no online college or university can just sell certificate. Subsidizing Accreditation will yield three results. The most obvious is that, it would reduce program fees because amount to pass to the students would be less. Subsidizing accreditation fees would encourage online Colleges and Universities to seek accreditation from accrediting bodies recognize by the Department of Education or the appropriate state agency. Even though accreditation is not compulsory in some parts of the world, like the united states, some occupation that require state licensing would not accept degree from non-accredited Colleges and University. Prospective online learners are, usually, worried about whether the can easily work with their certificates. Government intervention would remove this worry and remove the negative perception people have about online education as well. Government interventions in the form of scholarship and loans would ease the financial burden and make it possible for those who hitherto would not be able to school to do so. In sum, government intervention would go a long way to produce an enlightened society by permitting many people to receive higher education.

There are many people wanting to get higher education through online Colleges and Universities so they gain knowledge and skills, or enhance their knowledge and skills but cannot do because of either the cost or the uncertainty of the acceptability of the certificate. Government intervention in the form of national framework for online universities and colleges, subsidizing accreditation cost and providing scholarships and student loans would open the door for those who want to study from home. Government intervention can give the assurance that online learning is as good as traditional college or university learning, and that their certificate would be accepted jobs that require state licensing. It would ease the pressure on facilities in traditional Colleges and Universities, produce the well-educated citizenry needed for national development and convert the current pyramidal shape into a ‘near’ cylinder.

REFERENCE

Ed Vosganian (n.d.). The Real Price of Online College. Retrieved from http://www.affordablecollegesonline.org/financial-aid/online-college-degree-cost/.