Monthly Archives: April 2016
If you’re thinking of pursuing an online degree, there are some basic facts you should know first. Online colleges are more popular than ever, growing at a rate of almost 10% annually. There is a wide variety of quality programs out there, both from private and public institutions. There is also a diverse range of styles, schedules and methods of delivery.
In fact, there are now thousands of programs to choose from in the United States. The options can seem overwhelming, but if you break down your criteria it becomes easier to know what you’re looking for.
Below are some important facts about online degrees you should keep in mind.
Online education used to have a stigma as being of lower quality than traditional college. But a lot has changed, and in a very short time. These days, online degrees are widely recognized by other institutions of higher education and almost all major employers.
But it must be from a school that is properly accredited. Other schools and employers will not recognize a degree from a non-accredited school. Even worse, claiming a fraudulent degree on your resume is a crime in most states.
Make sure your school is properly accredited, preferably by a regional association. Some schools are accredited by the Distance Education and Training Council. Degrees from these schools are recognized by more employers, but you may have trouble transferring credits to other colleges and universities.
If you’re still in doubt, go online and verify the accrediting association with the U.S. Department of Education. They publish a list of approved accreditation boards.
In 2008, Congress passed the College Opportunity and Affordability Act, which has helped to regulate the industry. If an online college accepts federal funds, it must verify the identity of all the students it has enrolled. This has cut down on the fraud that used to threaten the reputation of the online education industry.
You might think that just because a course is delivered online it is easier or somehow less academically rigorous. The truth is, online programs follow the same guidelines and curriculum as traditional ones. Most students end up with comparable learning experiences.
A major study by the U.S. Department of Education in 2009 concluded, “On average, students in online learning conditions performed modestly better than those receiving face-to-face instruction.”
Where online students run into trouble is with personal discipline and motivation. In general, an online course is going to offer you more freedom and less structure. Some students thrive in this environment, while others struggle to stay on top of the workload.
Regardless of what kind of student you are, there is most likely an online program out there that fits your needs.
The range of options in online education is more diverse than in traditional college. Technology allows for classes to be delivered in an increasingly large number of mediums, including multi-media presentations. The real challenge is finding an online program that complements your strengths as a student.
You can take classes that are more hands-off, allowing you to work at your own pace. For some students, this is the ideal environment. Others quickly discover that they rely on the structure and discipline of an organized class. If this sounds like you, look for an online program that has regular deadlines and a consistent schedule.
Are you a visual learner, meaning you absorb information better through images? If so, look for online programs that cater to this style, using more text- and graphic-based techniques. Maybe you are more of an auditory learner, who can listen to a lecture online or through a subscribed podcast. Either way, there are thousands of good choices for either type of student.
Many people think that online colleges only offer low-level degrees, such as associate’s degrees or professional certificates. But these days you can enroll online and earn bachelor’s and master’s degrees as well as PhD’s.
Online education used to be the domain of small, private for-profit schools, but these days everyone is in the game. Most major universities, public and private, now offer extensive online programs that are compatible with their traditional degree programs.
One of the driving forces behind the explosion in online education is affordability. Most online schools have lower tuition than comparable colleges and universities. You’re still paying good money to be trained by an experienced teacher in a specialized field, but you save in so many other areas.
You can earn your degree from home, eliminating extra housing and transportation costs. You will still need to buy textbooks and, in some cases, specialized software. But these costs should be considerably less than in traditional college. Instead, much of your texts will be delivered online and paper-free.
Gifted education, also referred to as Gifted and Talented Education (GATE), is a term that encompasses the methodologies, procedures, practices and theories employed in the education of gifted or talented children. However, there is no universally agreed upon definition of what exactly it means to be gifted. So how we define the term “gifted” as it relates to children? The jury is still out. Some educators define giftedness in terms of IQ. Others in terms of academic performance. How giftedness is measured and defined may vary within a given state, district, or individual school.
In Identifying Gifted Children: A Practical Guide, authored by Susan K. Johnsen, a professor in the Department of Educational Psychology at Baylor University, she explains that generally gifted children exhibit the potential for higher than normal performance in areas of intellectual, creative, artistic, academic and leadership capacity, and in order to fully develop their talents and capabilities require educational and non-curricular activities not provided in a traditional school setting.
The National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC), a U.S. based organization, defines giftedness in children in terms of reasoning and learning ability. Specifically, the association classifies children as gifted if they demonstrate exceptional levels of aptitude or competence in one or more structured areas of academic activity such as mathematics, music, language, etc; or in a set of sensorimotor skills such as dance, athletics, art, etc. The NAGC suggests that giftedness can be evident in children who perform exceptionally well on academic and skills oriented performance tests or as the ability to learn and assimilate information more rapidly than other children their age. As gifted child grow and develop their giftedness is characterized by high levels of achievement and motivation.
While definitions vary, most states have adopted a definition similar to that used by the State of Texas which defines “gifted and talented student” as a child that demonstrates the ability to perform at a relatively high level of accomplishment, with respect to intellectual, academic, creative, leadership or artistic capability, when compared with other children of the same age, experience level and background.
While IQ is useful for identifying academically capable students, most experts agree that assessment of giftedness should be based on a variety of measures of capability and potential rather than relying on just one. Measures for assessing giftedness should include academic, creative, artistic, and leadership performance; capability and potential; and overall performance relative to other students.
Unlike special education that is regulated by the federal government, gifted education is addressed at the state or district level. Consequently, federal education funds are not directly allocated to gifted education. Funding for gifted education programs is determined in large part by the availability of funds on a state or district level.
How gifted education is addressed varies from state to state. The state department of education for each individual state independently determines what resources, if any, will be allocated to funding education initiatives for the gifted as a function of public education. Each state must also determine how they’ll define and identify gifted students and how resource will be allocated among students. Not all states considered gifted education a mandatory service within the public education system. However, even with states that do not consider gifted education mandatory, individual school districts located within the state still have the right and ability to set up special academic programs to support gifted education.
Homeschooling (also referred to as home based learning), is an educational process where parents or tutors teach children at home, instead of having them formally educated in a public or provide school setting. Homeschooling was very common years ago before the implementation of mandatory school attendance legislation. Today, homeschooling is not as common as it was in the past – but it is growing in popularity.
Homeschooling is permitted in most states and jurisdictions if parents are uncomfortable enrolling their children in public schools. Many parents favor homeschooling their children since they have control of the rigor of the curriculum, can be assured their children are in a safe environment during the day, and can provide moral and religious instruction not permitted within the public school system. Many parents living in remote or rural The primary reasons parents give for homeschooling their children are (1) dissatisfaction with the quality of education provided in local schools and (2) a desire to be more involved in their children’s education and development. Homeschooling parents are not only dissatisfied with the quality of education provided by local schools, they are concerned about bullying, school environment and schools’ inability to cater to the special needs and individual aptitudes of their children.
Homeschooling is particularly popular among families that live in rural areas isolated from others, those living abroad, and for families whose job or lifestyle requires frequent travel. Student actors, athletes and musicians are also frequently homeschooled by either parents or professional tutors in order to accomodate their regular practice and training routines. While homeschooling was on the decline for many decades, it’s experienced a recent upsurge in popularity. For children ages of 5 through 17 living in the United States, homeschooling increased from 1.7% in 2000 to nearly 3% in 2007 (Nces.ed.gov. 01-16-2014).
A growing number of parents are also turning to homeschooling as a form of supplemental education for their children. Supplemental education programs are often offered through correspondence schools or umbrella schools which provide a federally approved curriculum, often available in an online format. However, in states and districts where homeschooling is legal, parents will often adopt a curriculum-free approach to teaching their children which does not rely on approved curriculum or standardarized learning. This form of schooling is sometimes referred to as unschooling. Unschooling emphasizes a less structured learning environment where the interests of students and parents drive the learning style and curriculum.regions, or in foreign countries, opt to homeschool their children.