|What Can Stop Kids From Dropping Out
By: David L. Kirp, NY Times
BY ALYSSA SELLORS
11 Of The Best Study Apps to make your campus life more fun
Are you a fresher who has just started their first at the university? Or it could be that you’re on your second year, third year, with quite some years ahead? Well, whatever the case, the truth of the matter is that being a student can be tough. All over a sudden, you find yourself faced with all the responsibilities that come with being a young adult; being in charge of your time management, finances, studies, social life and so on so forth. In this day and age where most students boast of iPhones, iPads, tablets, and a plethora of other hand held devices, each student has an opportunity to make the most out of it. With these hand held devices, comes numerous study Apps that a student can use to make their campus and college life more bearable, even fun, while also ensuring that you’re studying hard and smart.
Below, I have compiled a list of some of the best study Apps that no student can afford to miss. They include apps to enhance your studies as well as your time management;
Do you have all the above-mentioned Apps on your phone? Or are there some other important ones that we have missed out? Please feel free to share.
About the Author: Alyssa Sellors has been teaching English and Journalism for seven years. Currently she works for a number of online publications as a freelance writer and contributor.
BY DAVID GUTIERREZ
Being a college student is tough, especially from the financial standpoint. Even if you forget student loans that weigh down many people for years after, merely maintaining a decent lifestyle during college is hard when you cannot have a full-time job. Here are a few tips on how you can decrease your living expenses without sacrificing too much.
If you’ve never had to budget your money before, it is going to be hard. But you have to learn this art if you want your student loan to last long enough to get you to the end of your education. Make sure your spending is only limited to things you really need. Avoid impulse purchases. Have a certain limit on your spending and do your best not to exceed it. Get a personal finance app to make organizing your funds easier.
A freshly manufactured car immediately loses about forty percent of its price after being sold the first time, which means that if you know your way around, you can get some pretty extreme bargains. However, buying used cars is an art in and of itself, and it is just easy to buy a piece of scrap that will fall apart the first time you sit behind the wheel. So, if you want to avoid nasty surprises, it pays to look through a few specialized resources prior to committing to anything.
Students get an enormous number of discounts on all things imaginable, from clothes and food to cinema and concert tickets. You could easily get an Amazon promo code online before you buy for instance. However, it doesn’t mean you should go on a spending spree just to enjoy your discounts while they last – on the contrary, they should serve as a topping to other wise spending habits. Only buy things you are really going to use, and look for retailers that make special offers for students.
Many things can catch a top dollar on eBay, and used textbooks can be exchanged for a gift card at Amazon. Whenever you feel that a thing is just sitting around eighty percent of the time and you are unlikely to use it ever again, try to sell it to somebody who needs it more than you. It will simultaneously help you to raise some money and get rid of unnecessary stuff that does nothing but distract your from really important things.
Constant visits to McDonald’s and donut shops may not seem like a costly affair, but they do add up – not only to your waistline, but to your expenses as well. Cooking your own food is healthier, less expensive and much less time-consuming than trying to get rid of all these extra calories later on. Or, if you really hate cooking, use a college meal plan.
Cutting your expenses is much easier than it may seem. Human’s ability to invent new things to waste money on is unlimited – but it also means that you can safely eliminate more than half of your current
The converging trends of falling state investment, rising tuition and stagnant incomes have finally pushed higher education out of the grasp of low- and middle-income Americans, even at community colleges, a new report contends.
The Topic: College affordability
Why It Matters: As policymakers try to increase college-going, the cost has finally exceeded the grasp of low- and middle-income Americans
College is less affordable now, when adjusted for inflation, than it was before the economic downturn, student financial aid no longer is enough to fill the gap, and low- and middle-income families already are having trouble making ends meet just to cover living expenses, the report said.
“If you’re making $10,000 to $30,000 a year, and you need 10 percent to 15 percent of family income to attend community college, it’s just not going to happen,” said Joni Finney, director of the Institute for Research on Higher Education at the University of Pennsylvania and coauthor of the study.
The cost of living in general and of college in particular has increased for many low- and middle-income families while wages have largely stagnated over the past few decades, and per-student state investment in public education continues to lag pre-recession levels, the report said.
Even at community colleges, most full-time, low-income students would need to work more than 20 hours a week to afford their educations—a workload experts say makes it all but impossible for them to successfully complete a degree.
The result is that far fewer low- and middle-income students will enroll in college at a time when the country has set a goal of producing more degree-holders to stay competitive with international economic rivals.
While policy leaders “talk passionately about wanting to level the playing field,” their funding commitments haven’t aligned with the goal of helping needy students, the study said. “Unless we make college affordable for people of all financial means, opportunity through higher education will be a false promise.”
Unlike other attempts to analyze college affordability, the report—a joint effort of the Higher Education Policy Institute, Vanderbilt University and the University of Pennsylvania—examined tuition and cost-of-living expenses, and compared those to the typical state and federal aid given to students who aren’t well off.
Between 2008 and 2013, the last period for which the information is available, 15 states lowered the full-time cost of attending community college. Four-year public universities became more affordable in six states.
But affordability across all types of colleges and universities declined in 45 states.
Families of students at four-year public universities and colleges in high-population states including Illinois, New Jersey and Pennsylvania now pay the equivalent of 35 percent or more of their annual incomes to afford school. In Massachusetts and Virginia, the family of a typical student is charged the equivalent of 32 percent of its annual income.
Attending community colleges in many states accounts for around a fifth of students’ family incomes, on average.
Typical college expenses in 12 states are low enough so that community-college students could afford the cost of attendance by working 20 hours or less: Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, Utah, Virginia and West Virginia.
“Where you grow up can determine your opportunities for higher education,” the authors write. “College costs, available aid, and institutional options vary dramatically by state, sometimes within the same region.”
Low-income and middle-class families are feeling the financial squeeze even before contending with tuition.
Federal data show that annual expenses already exceed annual incomes of families earning less than $50,000. Even households earning between $50,000 and $69,000 spend an average of 87 percent of their wages on typical purchases, making it hard to save for college.
“This has been happening slowly, over time, since the early 1990s,” Finney said in an interview. “When the state abdicates responsibility for public policies related to affordability, it disproportionately hurts low- and middle-income families.”
How to fix this is another question, particularly as universities warn of even deeper financial problems.
“Absent any kind of state and federal policy interventions, these trends will only escalate,” Finney said.
And while some states, such as Tennessee and California, have worked to keep tuition low—especially for community college students—tuition consumes only a third of what students have to pay. Fees, books, supplies, food, and housing add substantially to that.
Meanwhile, higher-income families have come to enjoy increased proportions of states’ financial aid.
While the amount of need-based state financial aid for students at four-year public universities and colleges has barely budged between 1996 and 2012, state financial aid for high-income students at those institutions jumped 450 percent, the report said.
BY JANE HURST
Today, your classes may be set in a traditional classroom, with old-fashioned desks and maybe even a blackboard. But, that is about to come to an end. The future of classrooms is here, and it is only going to get better and better. Modern classrooms come complete with new design concepts, better accessibility, more mobility, and teachers are getting to know their students more so they can better help them to achieve greatness in their studies. Let’s take a look at how classrooms are changing for the better.
One of the biggest changes in classrooms is that they are now often divided into special zones. A practical classroom will have a zone for group gatherings, such as meetings, and the spaces will be a lot more flexible. Professors can get creative with spaces by setting up areas for students working alone, in pairs, and in groups. Today’s educators are coming to realize that comfort is important when learning, and many classrooms incorporate sofas, beanbag chairs, etc., which can be found at thrift stores for next to nothing. Furniture can be arranged to create nooks, where you will find bookshelves, study areas, etc.
There was a time when a student in a wheelchair couldn’t get into a classroom. Today’s classrooms are made with accessibility in mind. The classrooms are designed to ensure that all learners get the most out of their experience. If any of your students need better accessibility for any classes, don’t hesitate to ask them for feedback to find out exactly what they need. Then, you can come up with a way to accommodate them. Talk to the administration and ask to have bulletin boards, whiteboards, hooks, etc. lowered to accommodate everyone.
Today’s student doesn’t necessarily sit in one spot for hours on end. Modern education is all about mobility, and thanks to the Internet, there is no end to how mobile one’s studies can be. Some students thrive in a traditional classroom environment, but there are many who do not. Set up classrooms in a way that students can get up and move around while still being able to take in everything going on in the class. There are many devices and apps that make this easier, and you can have them use blogging apps (WordPress and EduBlogs), math practice apps, and more, all from their mobile devices so they aren’t stuck in their chairs all day. You can even create educational blogs with your own special logo (with the help of free Shopify Logo Maker) and design.
At one time, it was expected that students showed their instructors respect, but reciprocation was never necessary. That has changed. Today, instructors need to be respectful of their students. Each one has different needs, and some do better in their studies than others. Rather than being disrespectful of those who have difficulties, get to know them better, and find out what it will take to help them make it to graduation. As they grow, you will find that you will be growing as well.
Rather than giving students assignments and expect them to be creative, find ways to inspire their creativity so it is always there, and they don’t have to turn it on and off. There are many ways that you can do this. You can create an inspiration zone that students can use at any time. Teach them the characteristics of creativity, from risk taking to learning how to deal with failure to keeping at it, and help them learn how to apply these characteristics to their own work.
Jane Hurst has been working in education for over 5 years as a teacher. She loves sharing her knowledge with students, is fascinated about edtech and loves reading, a lot. Follow Jane on Twitter!
By Robert Parmer
While virtual reality has been around for decades, new visions for a virtual world are now becoming realistic. The term virtual reality was coined by Jaron Lanier in the 1980’s, although other terms for describing the concept such as “artificial reality,” and “virtual worlds” have existed previously.
Virtual reality involves a couple of main components: an immersive headset that blocks out the real world to an extent, and an interface such as a computer or smartphone. The view from within a VR headset is stereoscopic, meaning it features a left and right screen–one for each eye. Headsets are more affordable than ever, with quality VR gear already going for less than $100.
Odds are that virtual reality isn’t immediately what you think of in regards to higher education. However, it’s becoming more relevant than ever.
Online learning has certainly changed the scope of education in recent years, allowing students to partake in distance learning–a modern phenomenon. It’s now possible for people to work when and where they want to. But what if it were possible to learn in an immersive classroom environment, without ever having to actually step foot into a classroom?
Online learning has been viewed as a double-edged sword by many students, especially those who desire engaging, face-to-face contact with their professors. With the use of virtual reality, virtual classrooms are becoming increasingly more feasible for students. This means that the days of emailing a question to a profession and patiently awaiting a response are over.
Without leaving the comfort their bedrooms and pajamas, students will be able attend classes as an avatar: a slightly simulated version of themselves. What sets this apart from typical distance learning is that virtual classrooms aren’t limited by webcams. Students will be able to virtually raise their hands to ask questions, take part in more hands-on virtual experiments, and even walk around a simulated classroom if they choose.
Most people are familiar with VR and its applications to video games, but it’s by no means limited to gaming applications. The fact stands: people’s interest have been truly sparked by virtual reality, and it’s becoming more and more popular. The industry is expected to be worth $30 billion by 2020.
Virtual reality will be extremely relevant to hands-on 3D models that could very well replace the cliche frog dissection experiment forever. This will save resources and will prove to be much less wasteful.
For example, envision a virtual woodworking shop. When learning the ropes of woodworking, there’s obviously going to be a lot of associated waste and danger. It’s a byproduct of error and coming to understand the detailed processes that make up the job. Imagine if while learning how to create beautifully crafted pieces of furniture, a carpenter could opt out of using real materials until they were well-versed in foundational techniques.
Now take that concept and adapt it to a medical student. Rather than working with cadavers and other expensive or difficult-to-access educational tools, simulated alternatives through VR will be much less wasteful and easier to attain.
A graphic by Knewton tilted The Gamification of Education defines gamification as “the use of game design elements in non-game contexts.”
It also points out that “Game players regularly exhibit persistence, attention to detail, and problem solving, all behaviors that ideally would be regularly demonstrated in school.”
While video games are considered by many to be a waste of time, new ways of engraining gamification into learning challenges the idea that all video games turn brains to mush. Gamification is the concept of using video games as an educational tool. It can be incentive-based, or simply introduce ideas that are being studied through video games.
This approach resonates well with many students. It creates an enjoyable, atmospheric learning environment. Learning through gaming feels less forced and more enjoyable to many students.
Simulated “Field Trips”
The distance that separates college students from visiting the most captivating places in the world is no longer a pitfall for students and their finances. Google Cardboard is a very inexpensive way for college students to experience VR for the first time. With a price tag of less than $20 and a design that is economic and simple to use, Google Cardboard turns any smartphone into a virtual reality interface.
Traveling is expensive, that much is certain. By using VR for virtual touring, simple smartphone rigs can be turned into immersive headsets that allow students to take part in advanced tours and intricate virtual trips. Imagine if an archeology students could take part in a virtual dig, or if someone studying wildlife conservation efforts was able to see affected areas without ever leaving their home.
The next few years are a pivotal timeframe for virtual reality, as it will continue to rapidly expand. This short amount of time will tell; as VR continues to integrate itself into our education and our everyday lives.
Robert Parmer is a freelance web writer and student of Boise State University. Outside of writing and reading adamantly he enjoys creating and recording music, caring for his pet cat, and commuting by bicycle whenever possible. Follow him on Twitter @robparmer
Fernanda Zamudio-Suaréz, Chronicle Of Higher Education
Many colleges are now gearing up for one of the most stressful times of the year. No, not March Madness, but final exams. Over the years, The Chronicle has published reams of advice on how to improve, conduct, and cope with this all-important moment in the academic calendar.
From abolishing finals to combating cheating, here are highlights from our most popular finals-themed advice columns as well as perspectives shared by seasoned instructors:
Instead of having students scramble to finish a final exam and then bolt out the door, faculty members should end the semester with a memorable learning experience — an epic finale, Anthony Crider, an associate professor of physics at Elon University, wrote last year. Unlike a test, a “finale” can spark discussion and reflection afterward.
“This is exactly how a semester of learning should end,” Mr. Crider wrote. “Or, more to the point, this is how learning should not end.”
Mr. Crider detailed how he had scrapped his final for a day of applied research. Students did not have to write an accompanying essay, just apply what they had learned in the course. Here are some of his tips on handcrafting a finale:
Lower the stakes: Finales should account for about 10 percent or less of a student’s final grade, Mr. Crider said. That reduces pressure on both professors and students during an often experimental event.
Collaborate: Let students think aloud and work with one another, and listen in.
Shroud it in mystery: Intrigue students by not revealing the exam’s format.
Skeptical about the idea’s transferability? A teaching fellow in theology and religious studies at the Catholic University of America was inspired by Mr. Crider’s essay to stage a heresy trial, an ecumenical council, and a monastic chartering for an epic finale in his course on the early history of Christianity. Students were assigned to groups before the finale and prepared for the different historical situations.
“If I wanted academic content to come down to earth and apply to my students’ lives, playing games seemed the best way to do it,” Andrew Jacob Cuff wrote. “Maybe it’s time for you to give it a try, too.”
Want to stop suspected cheaters? Give students the ultimate plot twist before the final exam and assign their seats.
A study by economists found that when students’ seats were assigned on the day of a final exam, cheating was reduced drastically. The study also allowed researchers to conclude that at least a tenth of students had cheated on the midterm. The researchers observed 1.1 more shared incorrect answers when students could choose who they sat next to than when their seating was assigned.
With assigned seating and three more proctors, researchers found no signs of cheating in the final.
When one professor announced there would be no final exam, hands shot up to ask the obvious question: “Do we still have to come to class?”
While it’s easy to snap at students who ask about class attendance, wrote Raymond DiSanza, an assistant professor of English at Suffolk County Community College, in New York, faculty members should encourage students to want to come to class, not feel forced to.
Mr. DiSanza advised professors to turn their frustration to motivation: a challenge to get students so excited about the material that they want to show up.
“Or, maybe most important,” he wrote, “you can do everything in your power to bring joy back to the classroom, to remind your students that what goes on in the classroom is about more than just the classroom, regardless of discipline.”
Finals are a rite of passage for college students. And while exams may not be the best way for students to learn, they are still educationally valuable, said Henry L. Roediger III, a psychology professor at Washington University in St. Louis.
“I really worry about courses that don’t have them, to be honest,” he said. “More and more, faculty are not having exams. Well, that means their students are not reviewing the course material they taught them that semester.”
He added: “As long as you have an exam that asks deep, meaningful questions, questions that make people interrelate and integrate things across the course, they’re not just a measurement instrument, but they are a very important learning instrument.”
To the extent that information learned in a course is worth retaining, Mr. Roediger said, finals are worth the pain.
While studying for exams is a sign of academic responsibility, it’s also a form of instrumentalism, of achieving a goal, wrote David Jaffee, a sociology professor at the University of North Florida. Instead of urging students to study for an exam simply to pass a class, he said, professors should tell students to study for the sake of learning and understanding.
By repeating the phrase “study for exams” and administering such a test, he said, faculty members encourage the view that every academic action is a means to an end.
Long after the blue books are handed in and final grades are posted, one thing still haunts current and former students — the exam dream.
Most such dreams follow the same mold: A nervous student arrives ill-prepared for an exam or to turn in a final paper, and panic ensues.
In a country plagued by tests, the dream is common. One scholar offered this explanation to The Chronicle’s Eric Hoover: Tests are many students’ first school experience, and those memories are natural early fears that manifest themselves years later, when threats are gone.
From college presidents to real-estate agents, many people experience the nightmare when the cramming is long past.
BY MELISSA BURNS
We all sometimes get into situations when we need a certain (sometimes considerable) sum of money, and need it soon. Students, as people who usually don’t have a stable and dependable source of income and have to dedicate most of their time to studies, are especially prone to this.
So how does one get out of such a pinch? Are there legal ways of laying your hands on some cash when you have nowhere to borrow from and don’t have time to earn it? There certainly are, and we are going to tell about them.
Look around. We all have stuff that is just lying around collecting dust, not getting used. You may keep it for sentimental reasons or because you hope it will come in handy one of these days, but truth is, if you don’t use something for a year, there are nine chances out of ten that you aren’t going to use it ever. Selling such things on eBay will provide you with much-needed extra cash and free up your living space and your life for new things.
For students who are often already weighed down by considerable college debts, getting a loan may really sound like a bad idea. However, it is all a matter of perspective – if you have no alternatives, another couple of thousands added to your debt doesn’t matter much – and it can alleviate your current problems. The trick about installment loans is to find a loan company with reasonable conditions and go for it. There are many firms that are ready to give you a substantial loan even if you already have bad credit – if you take your time and look carefully, you are certain to find something.
There are numerous ways to make extra money from TV – ways you either have no idea about, or simply never seriously considered. One of them is registering with a dependable extra agency and looking for casting ads. You don’t have to do virtually anything but to stay or walk around, and are paid extremely well (especially for this kind of job) – sometimes more than $100 for a single day.
Yes, saving money is very much akin to making them. Take a careful look at your lifestyle and ask yourself what things you can do without – if you are really thorough, you will find a lot of ways to decrease your current spending without sacrificing anything substantial. It may not be as flashy as many ‘get rich fast’ schemes, but at the end of the month, it can easily leave you with a humble but very appreciable additional sum of money.
If you really need money and if you stop limiting your imagination, you will be amazed how many ways of earning extra cash are just lying around, waiting to be used. Just don’t be shy, and you will certainly find ways to raise enough.
Melissa Burns graduated from the faculty of Journalism of Iowa State University in 2008. Nowadays she is an entrepreneur and independent journalist. Her sphere of interests includes startups, information technologies and how these ones may be implemented.
– See more at: http://collegepuzzle.stanford.edu/?p=5191#sthash.LFA7qbcy.dpuf
BY JANE HURST
Obviously, if you are going to college, you want to get great grades and move on to a wonderful career. But, getting those great grades is often a lot easier said than done. For some students, it comes very easily, and it seems like they never have to crack open a book to make straight A’s. For others, it is a constant struggle to maintain a C average. But, you don’t have to struggle to get the good grades you want. What you do need to do is find ways to study more effectively. Here are some suggestions.
Jane Hurst has been working in education for over 5 years as a teacher. She loves sharing her knowledge with students, is fascinated about edtech and loves reading, a lot. Follow Jane on Twitter!
Since the last significant release of the survey, faculty members at Princeton University and Wellesley College, among other institutions, have debated ways to limit grade inflation, despite criticism from some students who welcome the high averages. But the new study says these efforts have not been typical. The new data, by Stuart Rojstaczer, a former Duke University professor, and Christopher Healy, a Furman University professor, will appear today on the websiteGradeInflation.com, which will also have data for some of the individual colleges participating in the study.
The findings are based on an analysis of colleges that collectively enroll about one million students, with a wide range of competitiveness in admissions represented among the institutions. Key findings:
Here are some of the graphics being released today, appearing here via permission of GradeInflation.com, which show the various trends for grade point averages at four-year colleges and universities, grade distribution at four-year colleges and universities, and grade distributions at community colleges:
The trends highlighted in the new study do not represent dramatic shifts but are continuation of trends that Rojstaczer and many others bemoan.
He believes the idea of “student as consumer” has encouraged colleges to accept high grades and to effectively encourage faculty members to award high grades.
“University leadership nationwide promoted the student-as-consumer idea,” he said. “It’s been a disastrous change. We need leaders who have a backbone and put education first.”
Rojstaczer said he thinks the only real solution is for a public federal database to release information — for all colleges — similar to what he has been doing with a representative sample, but still a minority of all colleges. “Right now most universities and colleges are hiding their grades. They’re too embarrassed to show them,” he said. “As they say, sunlight is the best disinfectant.”
Not all scholars of grading and higher education share Rojstaczer’s views, although most agree that grade inflation is real.
A 2013 study published in Educational Researcher, “Is the Sky Falling? Grade Inflation and the Signaling Power of Grades” (abstract available here), argued that a better way to measure grade inflation is to look at the “signaling” power of grades for employment (landing prestigious jobs and higher salaries). To the extent the relationship between earning high grades and doing better after college is unchanged — and that’s what the study found — the “value” of grades can be presumed to have held its ground, not eroded.
Debra Humphreys, senior vice president for academic planning and public engagement at the Association of American Colleges and Universities, said she looks at lots of data to suggest “an underperformance problem,” which raises the question of why grades continue to go up. AAC&U is one of the leaders of the VALUE Project, which aims to have faculty members compare standards for various programs with the goal of common, faculty-driven expectations about learning outcomes. Humphreys said agreement on learning outcomes and assessment is important because so much of what goes on in grading is “so individual.”
“It remains largely a solo act, with no shared program standards for what counts as excellent, good, average or inadequate work,” she said. “So faculty have no firm foundation to stand on when they go against the trend and assign lower grades.”
Community College Students and Faculty Members
In his analysis, Rojstaczer notes that community colleges have some characteristics that might make them as prone to grade inflation as are four-year institutions (and he considers community college grades high, too, even if they aren’t still rising). For example, he notes that many community college leaders embrace the student-as-consumer idea just as do four-year college presidents. And community colleges rely on adjunct instructors, many of whom lack the job security to be confident in being a tough grader, since students tend to favor easier graders in reviews.
Rojstaczer thinks that, to understand grade inflation, one needs to look at the student body at two-year colleges, which he characterizes as less spoiled than those at four-year institutions. “One factor may be that tuition is low at these schools, so students don’t feel quite so entitled,” he writes. “Another factor may be that community college students come, on average, from less wealthy homes, so students don’t feel quite so entitled.”
Thomas Bailey, George and Abby O’Neill Professor of Economics and Education and director of the Community College Research Center at Teachers College, Columbia University, agreed via email that he also thinks tuition and student expectations may play a role.
“I would imagine that four-year colleges are more likely to compete on the basis of grades than community colleges,” he said. “Most community college students go to the closest college, so they don’t shop around as much, so there would be less chance that they would benefit from a reputation of high grades. In terms of the notion of entitlement, it might be that students who pay more would feel more willing to demand some sort of accommodation. I believe that among four-year colleges, grade inflation is higher for privates, who charge more, than it is for publics.”