Accredited Online College and University Programs

It is not unusual to grow indifferent toward your job. Lack of stimulating work, low pay, and limited growth potential within an organization are all excellent reasons to seek out a way to make a change. The best way to realize your full potential is to receive a college education. One of the best, and most convenient, ways to achieve this is by receiving a college education online. This innovative and exciting method of professional development is an ideal option if you are looking for a promotion, or if you are looking for a new career entirely. An education through an accredited online college or University program is your ticket to professional success.

There are many advantages of choosing to receive your education through an accredited online college or university. Studying for a college education online allows you to achieve your educational and professional goals at your own pace, whether you want to get a 2-year Associate’s degree, a 4-year Bachelor’s degree, or take an accelerated course program to receive a professional certificate. There is no need to live near or commute to a college when all classes can be attended and all work submitted online. Attending school online is a great option for those who might have uncertainties about going to college as an older student or returning after many years. Studying for a college education online can be an easy way to ease into the routine of class work and projects, and can reduce the stress of feeling the need to fit in with younger students. Further, course availability is often convenient for those who work full time or care for a family. Often, colleges offer evening and weekend classes.

There is an online college education available for just about every professional and academic discipline out there. Fields of study include Business, Social Sciences, Humanities, Education, Nursing, Liberal Arts, Fine Arts, and various Healthcare programs. These are but a few of the subjects in which you can earn a college education by choosing an online program. Many online programs are delivered through colleges and Universities accredited by the U.S. Department of Education. Accreditation is an important credential to look for when choosing an online program if you have prior college credits you wish to transfer. Accredited institutions are also more readily recognized and accepted by employers and professional organizations.

You might be concerned about affording an education through an accredited online college or University. You have options. Often, financial aid is available to students in the form of grants, loans, even scholarships. Also, many employers are willing to pay for part or all of an employee’s tuition and fees. Investing in an employee’s future reaps benefits for everyone involved.

The misconception of receiving your education from an accredited online college or University is that the experience might not be as enriching or legitimate as attending campus-based courses at a traditional college or University. This just isn’t the case. Programs offered online present the same opportunities for group work, independent study, and interpersonal communications as their traditional counterparts. While it is true that being an online student requires a certain amount of self-discipline and organization, receiving your college education online will probably help to facilitate the learning process as well as develop your time management and self-motivation skills. With the prevalence of the Internet and advancements such as teleconferencing in both education and the business world today, it is possible to come away from the experience not only with a college education and your dream career, but also with greater knowledge and comfort with technology.

Receiving your education through an accredited online college or University is a valuable, convenient, and flexible way to broaden your career opportunities, and have the career you have always dreamt about.

Be Smart About Higher Education: Why Are You Going Nowhere, Anywhere, Or Somewhere?

Where are you going in life and in the pursuit of higher education and why? Twentieth century writer Mark Twain said, “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” Life is great as it moves along with good things happening, but what happens when (not if) the tragedies come along? What is it that enables some people to get through tough circumstances while others breakdown?

The answers to the last two questions revolve around two different aspects of the word why. Mark Twain used why in the context of a person’s existence. Seeking why we were born is smart because it opens all kinds of purposeful engagement in life that directly or indirectly involves benefitting others.

In contrast, repeatedly asking why an unexplainable tragedy occurs, a person emotionally ends up going nowhere. The brain tries to answer all the questions asked of it. Asking the brain to answer the unanswerable is comparable to a computer crashing. When given a problem that the computer has insufficient capacity to handle, it goes into what’s known as a freeze. Sustained freezing of the brain is not smart.

When a computer crashes, all that’s necessary is to reboot. Restoration of the human psyche is not that simple. Asking why to unsolvable questions has some PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) characteristics at one end of a spectrum of psychological conditions. Sudden or prolonged seemingly unresolvable trauma coupled with unanswerable questions can bring about serious emotional issues like PTSD.

Another outcome with those same traumatic experiences is the less publicized PTG (post-traumatic growth) that has the opposite effect. Instead of the traumatic experience resulting in a disorder, the person has an emotional fortification that serves to help in future challenges. Whether one develops PTSD or PTG is not a judgment of character since everyone has a breaking point, but a person can develop skills and focus on an attitude that hinders PTSD and promotes PTG.

Nietzsche stated, “He who has a why to live can deal with almost any how.” Viktor Frankl observed this concept personally in Nazi prison camps where people underwent horrific conditions. Many died, no one thrived, but a number survived by focusing on a desirable somewhere which in most cases was home. Viktor observed, “Those who cannot see an ultimate goal in life for existence, end up not having a life.”

Having a meaningful why in the pursuit of higher education is smart. Students knowing why they exist can answer the question why not just going anywhere to school is important. Knowing why higher education is advantageous leads to a more enriched experience because it makes sense. The perspective for the seemingly most boring marketing course for an engineering major can change. When the engineering major understands that marketable features included in the designing of a product radically improve sales, the course becomes relevant.

Knowing why a particular university and major are chosen enables the student to work through the most difficult challenges of academia and the accompanying circumstances – homesickness, peer pressure, and character building. When encountering any challenge, knowing why enables a person to generate the creativity necessary to figure out how. In contrast, without a clear vision and purpose, students can feel like Sisyphus, the Greek character who continuously rolled a stone up the same hill only for it to roll back down to the same place to do all over again.

College or any form of higher education does not last forever, but can be prolonged literally and figuratively due to lack of purpose and knowing why it is more than just getting a job. The majority of students are taking an average of six years to complete four-year degree programs. Others that finish within the four year window crawl to the finish line only to get a job totally unrelated to a major that cost many thousands of dollars.

The frustration of Sisyphus going nowhere does not need to prevail for those in academia. Mark Twain’s reference to that most important day of finding out why we’re born is within the grasp of students. The higher education experience can be fun and fulfilling, but it requires being smart about it.

Be Smart About Higher Education: 5 Steps to Determine When and How You Begin Change

Change can involve excitement and looked at as a great opportunity or be scary and as the worst thing that can happen. Whether it is a good or bad experience is contingent on a person’s attitude. Regardless of how it is experienced, normalizing change is the pathway to a fulfilled life.

A baby’s first steps are shaky, but eventually result in a flop. Moving from middle school to high school for the first time is something to look forward to, but upper classmen can be intimidating. Leaving home to go to college means freedom and independence, but also the potential for homesickness, intimidation with arrogant professors, and hard-to-get-along-with roommates. Day one on the first real job is the start of a new chapter in life, but feeling totally stupid is common.

The aforementioned experiences are a common pathway for students pursuing higher education. Real change begins by making difficult choices. After getting to high school, will the student respond appropriately or react negatively to bullies and gossipers? Are the challenges of pursuing higher education leaned into rather than avoided or denied? Does the fear of asking questions and false pride dictate how the new job goes?

Tough choices continue as life goes on. Mel Robbins, author of The 5 Second Rule attributes that personally coming out of bankruptcy and heavy drinking began with a process of counting backwards 5-4-3-2-1 to launch out of bed in the morning. The story is mainly about a desperate need for change of direction in her life by ignoring feelings and making a commitment to act on improving. Mel claims the seemingly insignificant process of counting 5-4-3-2-1 and launching out of bed instead of hitting the snooze button began the road to recovery that led to being one of the top speakers in the world.

The key to Mel’s success is being smart about what needs done and taking the action to do it by not giving in to what feels comfortable. Another bad guy is analysis paralysis that involves too much thinking eventually resulting in talking yourself out of doing anything. Although the research varies, many would agree it takes at least 21 days to create a habit. The time leading up to creating a habit is hard because change is a challenge! Failed New Year’s resolutions are ongoing proof.

An accompanying bad guy to analysis paralysis is cognitive distortion. Cognitive distortions are simply ways the mind convinces itself of something that isn’t really true. The inaccurate thoughts reinforce negative thinking. The tricky part is, a rationale is built around the false ideas. Following are some common distortions people use:

Pessimism – amplifying the negative while filtering out the positive.

Helplessness – feeling helpless over what happens in life.

Overgeneralization – basing an opinion on a single piece of evidence.

Blaming – “it’s not my fault, you don’t understand.”

Emotional reasoning – feelings are automatically indicative of what is true.

Attempts to change are unlikely with dominant cognitive distortions. That’s why The 5 Second Rule is so effective in completing a predetermined decision. The only thing to think about is repeating the 5 second count down to take action. Distortions based on feelings or over thinking are to be ignored.

Answering five questions serves as additional help in determining when and how to change:

Where are you? Take an honest and objective look at your status right now physically, emotionally, relationally, mentally (academically), spiritually, and financially.

Where are you going and why? Write down dreams and get a vision and purpose to stay focused.

Who are you? Know every person is talented, gifted, and destined for great things. The hardest person to convince of that is you.

What are you doing that matters? Pay it forward.

When and how are you going to start the changes needed to be smart about higher education and live a life that matters?

Begin using The 5 Second Rule: 5-4-3-2-1, start answering these questions now!

How to ‘Pin Down’ Busy Higher Education Students

Student participation is inextricably linked to most educational research and those related to various aspects of teaching and learning. This may involve a single student or many, depending on research focus and intent.

Advantages to using students in research may include the fact that they are easily accessed especially if you are the teacher and are using your students as research participants. There are a number of students in an educational institution, therefore, the opportunity to engage in relatively large-scale research projects. Researching with students in one own class or educational institution facilitate easy follow-up sessions. Students also bring varied perspectives and are from varied backgrounds which could potentially lead to rich data.

Despite these advantages, one key challenge is ‘pinning them down’. By this I mean, not just getting their consent and promise to participate as interviewees or respondents, but their actual involvement. During the data collection phrase utilizing students has participants there are 4 strategies I employ in the pinning down process.

Pinning down strategy 1: Link data collection to scheduled lessons.

A key feature of this strategy involves incorporating interviews or questionnaire distribution and completion during lessons that I teach. I also solicit the help of colleagues to do the same at a convenient time during their teaching/lectures. In using this strategy I plan interviews before or after students’ scheduled lectures. This is especially useful when employing a focus group data collection method. I have found that students getting ready for, or leaving a lesson are in ‘learning mode’ and seem mentally ready to answer research-related questions. It is also important to keep these sessions within the advertised length.

Pinning down strategy 2: Link data collection with students’ availability.

Find out from potential student participants, what time is convenient and schedule the interview as appropriate. This strategy is most important if they are not in your class and also decreases the drop-out or ‘no show’ rate. This, however, must be accompanied by timely reminders. After setting and agreeing the date and time send a reminder a week or few days before the actual event. Use emails, texts, calls, social media (as appropriate).

Pinning down strategy 3: Use an alternate format.

Given the pervasive nature of the internet and online environments and students use of these, the use of an alternate format e.g. survey monkey, or ones built-in the University’s Learning Management System or Virtual Learning Environment is a sure way of getting their actual engagement in the research, not just a promise to do so.

Pinning down strategy 4: Reward participation.

Some students participants like to know ‘what’s in this for them’ so strategy number 4 is to offer an incentive, for example, a gift certificate (if appropriate). However in some of my studies using student participant they were willing to participate as long as I gave clear information about the time commitment and some freely gave of their time because they were contributing to a bit of research that they value.

Newman’s The Idea of a University

Newman’s The Idea of a University advocates his ideas of university education seeking to guard against obscureantism in education. It deals with the basic principles concerning the site of the university, the aim of university education, the qualifications of the university teachers, and the ideals of liberal education. Newman also defines knowledge and differentiates between mere learning and knowledge.

The basic themes of Newman’s approach to present the idea of a university are well known:

• Knowledge is an end in itself, to be pursued for its own sake and not for some utilitarian value.

• The university is, first and foremost, a community of scholars, teachers and students devoted to the pursuit of truth.

• The core of the curriculum is the humanities which represent the highest attainment of cultivated minds.

From a number of alternative formulations of the same idea given by Newman, we have selected his following statement to define the university. The University, Newman says,

“… is the place to which a thousand schools make contributions; in which the intellect may safely range and speculate, sure to find its equal in some antagonist activity, and its judge in the tribunal of truth. It is a place where inquiry is pushed forward and discoveries verified and perfected, and rashness rendered innocuous, and error exposed, by the collision of mind with mind, and knowledge with knowledge.”

Newman does not define university in a narrow sense. Education in a university is not specific but general. “a University is not a birthplace of poets or of immortal authors, of founder of schools, leaders of colonies or conquerors of nations.” A university provides opportunity to acquire knowledge of different branches. In a university, students, prffessors and experts of varied discilpines assemble together and exchange their views, and thus acquire ‘knowledge’.

Knowledge which is a pursuit of university is, according to Newman, a unified whole. It consists of all branches of Knowledge, as Newman says,

“I have said that all branches of knowledge are connected together, because the subject-matter of knowledge is intimately united in itself, as being the acts and the work of the Creator.” (v) However, Newman differentiates between knowledge and mere learning. A single branch of knowledge is a mere learning. Thus, “all Knowledge is a whole and the separate Sciences parts of one”. Knowledge can be compared to tree with a number of branches. Different branches of knowledge are of equal importance, “They complete, correct, balance each other.”

The university education is “Liberal”. Newman says that “the end of University Education,…[is]… the Liberal or Philosophical Knowledge… which…has a very tangible, real, and sufficient end, though the end cannot be divided from that knowledge itself.”

There are two methods of Education-philosophical and mechanical. Mechanical education gives preference to instruction, and aims at immediate outcome of the process. Its scope is narrow.

On the contrary, Philosophical education, which is much broader, denotes liberal education which Newman advocates for. It is not characteresid by physical instruction rather by the exercise of reason, mind and inner faculty, by the cultivation of intellect. Thus by liberal education Newman means the ethical sense or education or the moral vision needed for a person’s private, social, national and intellectual life. The function of university education, Newman points out, is to produce a group of people who are literate and cultured, to produce gentlemen who are full of common sense and who can master any situation. Newman’s notions about University Education or Liberal Education are anti-utilitarian. His approach is fundamentally against the Utilitarian view that education or anything must have a a sort of ‘utility’ or usefulness in pragmatic value that is it must have market value. Thus by the term Knowledge, Newman, in an anti-utiliterian way, means something abstrract, something intangible, something intellectul. As Newman says,

” When I speak of knowlwdge, I mean something intellectual, something which grasps what it perceives through senses;…”

However, Newman does not altogether deny the necessity of mechanical education. He says,

“Let me not to deny the necessity, or to decry the benefit, of such attention to what is particular and pratical, as belongs to the useful and mechanical arts;” In presenting the liberal education, Newman argues that religion and science can not come into conflict, unless they are misrepresented or misunderstood. The aim of liberal education is to make a gentleman, not a Christian as Mill says, “Liberal education makes not the Christian, not the Catholic, but the gentleman. ” However, a Christian would be so much better than if he was gentleman also, because all the fields of human investigation are to be unified by the organizing concepts of theology, which is a science of its own kind.

The university teacher, according to Newman, should be “eloquent, and is a missionary and a preacher” who will display ” his science in its most complete and most winning form”, and who will have “the zeal of enthusiasm” lighting up love in the “breasts of his hearers”. If we observe the background of Newman’s presenting the essay, we see that the word “Idea” has been used in the sense of “ideal”. The model which he urged on his Dublin audience, seeking their support, particularly financial, for the creation of a new Catholic university in Dublin, was that of the unreformed Oxford in which he had spent his formative years. Actually, one may claim, his was a Platonic ideal, divorced from practice.

John Henry Newman, (21 February 1801 – 11 August 1890) was a Roman Catholic priest and Cardinal who converted to Roman Catholicism from Anglicanism. Therefore, it was no doubt that theology was at the core of his thinking and writing: the study of theology gets place at the core of his university curriculum. Newman’s vast bulk of theological writing is studied today by only the most esoteric of scholars. However, his great work, The Idea of a University, has stood the test of time.

Now in order to conclude the essay we will mention two contrasting quotes. Samuel Johnson once said:

“A writer is judged by his worst work when he is alive and by his best work when he is dead.”

In contrast, Shakespeare had Mark Anthony say:

“The evil that men do lives after them; The good is oft interred with their bones.”

Newman is lucky that, in his case, it was Johnson who proved to be right, because after his death, even nowadays, The Idea of a University is being regarded as a plea for liberal education.