Archive for December, 2017

California’s Evolving Policy Context for Post-Secondary Learning in the 21st Century

December 8th, 2017

Michael Kirst is Professor Emeritus of Education and Business Administration at Stanford University. In 2011, Kirst became the President of the California State Board Of Education for the second time. Professor Kirst was a member of the California State Board of Education (1975/1982) and its president from 1977 to 1981. Before joining the Stanford University faculty, Dr. Kirst held several positions with the federal government, including Staff Director of the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Manpower, Employment and Poverty, and Director of Program Planning and Evaluation for the Bureau of Elementary and Secondary Education in the U.S. Office of Education (now the U.S. Department of Education). In this talk, Michael looks at these points…

1. California lacks the public postsecondary capacity to satisfy the current workforce and future need for 4 year college degrees, and the increasing number of K-12 students who meet entrance qualifications.
2. Data about the ecology of postsecondary entities providing lifelong learning is badly lacking. We found 350 providers in the San Francisco Bay Area, but only about a third were in federal data bases.
3. The California Master Plan For Higher Education, approved in 1960, is not designed to meet the current or future workforce needs of the state, and has no strategy to meet the needs of students 25-55 years old, or integrate a complex private postsecondary education sector.

Deciphering the Beautiful Language of Shakespeare

December 8th, 2017

BY MIKKIE MILLS

William Shakespeare’s works play an integral role in the development of the English language. For example, the word “swag” and the phrase “Your flesh and blood” would not exist if it were not for Shakespeare. Therefore, the majority of high school and college students are forced to read at least one of Shakespeare’s works at some point during their secondary and/or post-secondary education. However, most students get so flustered with answering their challenging Romeo and Juliet study guide questions that they never appreciate the true beauty of Shakespeare; therefore, reading a Shakespearean work is probably one of the most dreaded English assignments. If students took the time to decipher the language of Shakespeare, they would have an entirely different perspective of Shakespeare.

Methods to Understanding Shakespeare

Read it aloud

Many people are auditory learners without even realizing it. Reading and hearing are two completely different ways to synthesize information, especially when it comes to reading an entire story or play. Hearing a story aloud significantly increases people’s comprehension than strictly reading a story. After all, people hear and listen more than they read and decipher.

Merely reading Shakespeare will most likely feel like reading hieroglyphics for most people. However, reading Shakespeare aloud will help a person hear the beauty of the language and increase the likelihood he or she will catch on to what is being said. While it may feel like the person is reciting gibberish at first, he or she will almost definitely catch on at some point because he or she will be hearing what is being said aloud.

 

  • Understand the concept of inverted sentences

The motif of Shakespeare that tends to perplex people is the inverted sentences. The sentences in Shakespeare’s works do not follow our modern sentence format of the subject before the verb. Rather, the verb comes before the subject in Shakespeare’s inverted sentences. For example, the line from Romeo and Juliet “Never a day was seen so black as this” means “A day as black as this was never seen”. It may take students a while to get used to the arrangement of these words. However, it is very easy for their brains to fill in the gaps when it comes to this inverted sentence order, so it should not be long before it starts to flow easier to them.

 

  • Value the punctuation, figurative language, and allusions

People perceive written text via top-down processing, which means people perceive written text by recognition, not by the individual letters and punctuation. However, reading Shakespeare requires people to use bottom-up processing, which means they must take into account each punctuation mark and word.

When people read modern text, they tend to ignore the punctuation and only focus on the words. In order to accurately decipher Shakespeare, honoring the punctuation marks is necessary because every comma, period, exclamation point, etc. contributes valuable meaning to what is being said. When people read the end of a line, they tend to pause. However, people should not pause at the end of reading a line unless the punctuation signals for them to do.

The figurative language and allusions are another aspect of Shakespeare’s works that perplex people because many of the similes, metaphors, and allusions are not applicable to today’s world. People should highly-anticipate figurative in every line because it is more prevalent in Shakespeare’s works than most other works. When they run across figurative language, they should take the time to try to understand it.

 

  • Read the modern version in conjunction with the traditional version

There are modern versions of almost every Shakespearean work available. These modern versions may also contain notes to guide students to guide their understanding. However, these should not be read in place of the traditional version; they should be read next to the traditional version because exposure to the actual language of Shakespeare is essential for full understanding and there may be test questions or class discussions on the wording lines that are in the traditional version.

There is No Reason to Fear Shakespeare

Most students dread reading Shakespeare because of the unintelligible language. However, reading and comprehending a Shakespeare play is not impossible. Being able to read and comprehend a Shakespeare play requires a bit more work. If you take the appropriate measures when reading Shakespeare, you will be able to at least comprehend the major points. The extra work will be worth it when you give insight in class discussions, achieve high assessment grades, and possibly grow to enjoy a classic tale.

Mikkie is a freelance writer from Chicago. She has a passion for advanced learning, reading, and health and fitness. She is also a mother of two who loves sharing her ideas on education, learning, health, fitness and yoga. When she’s not writing, she’s chasing the little ones around or can be found at the local climbing gym or doing yoga.

 

 

 

 

4 Time Saving Tips for Very Busy College Students

December 7th, 2017

By: Susan Parker

College is where everything happens so fast and you barely have enough time to work according to your organized schedule. It becomes even harder if you have a part-time job that’s very demanding and leaves you with little or no time for classes or assignments.

However, the secret of being a successful college student is knowing how to manage your time while creating a balance between your work, school activities, spending time with family and friends and also taking care of yourself.

Below are 4 time-saving tips that will help you avoid frustration and stress, become more productive and also have the time of your life at college.

  1. Write out your plans

Sometimes we go off track with our daily activities simply because we didn’t plan it out from the beginning. To manage your time effectively, write down your plans for the next day from the previous night. This will help you plan how to move and the amount of time to be spent on the activities.

Doing this will ensure everything goes as planned and you have enough time to take care of your college activities without any hindrance.

  1. Avoid multi-tasking

As a college student, you believe you’re up to the task of multi-tasking effectively and getting the desired result, I mean you do it all the time, you’re watching the TV and also cooking, doing your project work and also chatting with your social media pals, etc. So it couldn’t possibly be a big deal, yea?

However, it is better to do things one at a time, for more effective results, than multi-tasking. Multi-tasking divides your attention into different places and you’re barely even organized enough to see the tasks through. You then create a mess of everything and have to start over – this time, doing it one by one like you should have from the onset.

The commonest form of multi-tasking among college students is the act of listening to music while trying to assimilate the content of their college textbooks – how laughable.

Although some students claim to only be able to assimilate when there’s music in the background, but honestly, often times than not, the music or your friends being around will only create bigger distractions for you and at the end of the day. You find that you were only browsing through the book and you had nothing stick to your memory.

  1. Stay tidy

We all know how untidy college students can be. Sometimes it’s almost as if being tidy is a taboo. They have their books in different corners of the room and used cutleries under the study table.

If you don’t stay tidy, you will spend a good amount of time looking for your belongings and panicking when you need them or even losing some small but valuable possessions like your diamonds or gold ring. It is advisable that you put your properties right where they belong as soon as you’re through with each. Put your dirty clothes in the laundry basket, your custom printed reusable bags in the store or kitchen, etc.

This will keep you from looking around for them and help you stay on track with your schedule. With time it becomes impossible for you to lose anything – except you have a roommate of course.

  1. Take breaks

Working non-stop is unadvisable. Your body will eventually breakdown and you’ll be left with no choice but to be on bed rest – time saving indeed.

To truly save time as a busy college student, relax once in a while. Give your body the chance to recuperate from all that stress of shuffling between class work and your part-time job.

Reward yourself with a night or two by hanging out with your favorite people, listening to your favorite artist’s new music or even sleeping all through. Doing this will keep you healthy and away from the hospital bed – giving you just enough time to carry on with your normal activities.

 Susan Parker is a writer and tech geek. She volunteers for local environmental conservation programs and writes stories online about things that inspire her.

Making the Case for Active, Hands-On Learning in Higher Education  

December 6th, 2017

BY DAVID GUTIERREZ

 While there’s something to be said for quickly absorbing information and spitting it back out in order to pass a test or class, there are plenty of scenarios where you actually need a firm grasp on concepts so you can use them after graduation. In these cases, it pays to take an active approach to learning.

The Value of Active Learning

 Are you familiar with Bloom’s Taxonomy of Educational Objectives? Developed in the mid 20th century by Benjamin Bloom and a handful of other collaborators, this framework contains six main categories in a pyramid.

Over time, the categories have been slightly modified to account for changes in learning. Today, Bloom’s Taxonomy looks like this: Create, Evaluate, Analyze, Apply, Understand, Remember.

 Active learning taps into the upper portions of Bloom’s Taxonomy and requires that students do more than just remember and understand content. It forces students to apply, analyze, evaluate, and create. According to several studies, the specific benefits include:

 Increased critical thinking and problem-solving, as well as more positive attitudes towards learning (when compared to lecture-based delivery).

 Enhanced enthusiasm for learning in both students and teachers.

 Development of superior interpersonal skills.

 Easier real-world implementation of knowledge

 Today, many leading institutions and educational organizations are using active learning and enjoying profound results. For example, Rush Medical College in Chicago is using active learning to improve memory retention and better prepare students for the real world. They recently redesigned their curriculum and increased their focus on group discussions and hands-on simulations.

Active learning is extremely popular in health and science because of how the human brain responds to hands-on learning.

“When students have a physical experience moving the wheels, they are more likely to activate sensory and motor areas of the brain when they are later thinking about the science concepts they learned about,” author and professor Sian Beilock explains. “These sensory and motor-related brain areas are known to be important for our ability to make sense of forces, angles and trajectories.”

The value of active learning is acknowledged by contemporary colleges. They gladly take on the responsibility of encouraging it. Some, like the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine, make this type of studying mandatory.

Under these conditions, it’s the duty of college to establish an environment in which students can implement this learning technique. They accomplish this by using different methods, like:

Organizing debates to promote critical thinking.

Providing students with case-based exercises to teach them how to apply theoretical knowledge in real world.

Assigning group projects to promote collaboration and help students develop communication skills.

Setting up peer-to-peer discussions during which students can learn to evaluate the work of others.

 How to Become a Better Active Learner

 Active learning is clearly beneficial. The question is, how do you ditch passivity and become an active learner? It’s not easy to do, but here are a few suggestions to help you make some progress.

 

  1. Form Study Groups

 One of the best things you can do for yourself and your classmates is to form study groups. With these groups, you get a chance to work together to understand content and curriculum.

 

  1. Try Hands-On Tools

 If you were studying to be a pilot, do you think you’d learn more from reading books and taking tests or spending time in a flight simulator? If you were studying to become a doctor, do you think you’d learn more from flipping through notecards or getting hands-on experience with a cadaver?

The more hands-on tools you can use, the better off you’ll be in terms of actually understanding and remembering the content. Keep an eye out for these hands-on tools.

 

  1. Develop Your Own Lectures

 It’s easy to sit in class, listen to a lecture, and think that you grasp a concept. But when it comes time to actually write an essay or complete a project, you freeze up and realize you don’t. One hands-on activity you should try is developing your own lectures based on the content. It forces you to actually come to terms with what you’re learning.

 

Appeal to Your Learning Style

 Each individual has a unique learning style that’s most comfortable for them. As a student, it’s important that you identify the learning style that best fits your personality and needs. As you evaluate different styles, you’ll likely come to the conclusion that active learning is the most beneficial.

Respect this fact and discover ways to integrate more active learning into your study time.

 

David Gutierrez has worked in the field of web design since 2005. Right now he started learning Java in order to get second occupation. His professional interests defined major topics of his articles. David writes about new web design software, recently discovered professional tricks and also monitors the latest updates of the web development.

 

Going to College in a Europe Schengen country – Things to Know

December 5th, 2017

BY LINDA ANDERSON

Going to college is certainly an exciting prospect, a new life chapter opening up for you. If you have decided to choose one of the Schengen countries for your university experience, the process of going to college becomes a bit more complex. Schengen refers to the zone of Europe that is known to be passport-free, being probably the most extensive free travel area across the globe. The Schengen area consists of 26 European countries, including Austria, Belgium, and Sweden. As a US citizen, there are certain legal procedures you will need to follow if you desire to study in a Schengen country. If you are not quite familiar with the topic, and don’t want to face nay inconveniences, reading these few details might help you out.

Apply for a visa early

Obtain a Visa is of course necessary, if you want to go study in a European country. Because there are certain things that need to be done, and a few complex steps to take, make sure to handle your visa application with enough time in advance, perhaps even before applying for college. You can find out all the details you need about Schengen visa for Green card holders just by searching on the internet, considering there are so many informative websites available. However, make sure you have all documents and paperwork in order and do everything by the book, to make the process as fast and inconvenience-free as possible.

Choose your country with care

Making your decision based solely on the university that has caught your interest for can be a wrong move to make. Although the university might be prestigious and might provide you with the degree possibilities you are interested in, you will need to consider the fact that you will be living in that country for quite a long period of time, so other things need to be thought through as well. Research the topic and find out if the Schengen country you are thinking of is the most welcoming for US students or if the lifestyle it provides would suit you well.

Make sure you can obtain a degree equivalence

If after the completion of your studies you plan on returning to the United States, knowing your major is valid in your country is an essential aspect.  In some situations, degrees obtained in Europe are not valid in the US, which can lead to inconveniences in terms of career choices. Regardless if you are interested in majoring in a medical flied or any other option, research the degree equivalence with care before going off to a Schengen country to study. You probably don’t want to put all your effort into your studies, and after a few years to discover you are not being able to pursue a career in your own country due to degree differences.

As you can see, there are several relevant details that need to bet thought through if you have chosen a university that is located in a Schengen country. To make sure things go as planned, and you are enable to start your studies abroad in a pleasant manner, make sure to take into account these few tips. From applying for a Schengen visa as early as possible to making sure your degree will be US valid, each one of these steps can needs to be considered. Start college on the right foot and handle these things with care.

By line for Linda Anderson

I’m a writer and musician residing in Boise, ID in the United States, although I spent a small amount of time (about three years) living in the UK growing up, due to my father’s occupation. I graduated from the College of Idaho with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business and a focus in marketing in 2014.

How to Gain Work Experience While Studying in College

December 4th, 2017

BY KATE LARSON

 

Working while studying is a time honoured student tradition. By balancing work and studies, not only will you prepare yourself to enter the industry you’ve picked to learn about, but you will also pick up crucial skills such as time management and delegation.

Whether you’re studying to become a field engineer or an events planner, there’s no doubt your career will benefit if you start working early. Working while studying puts you a step ahead of everyone else in class and allows you to make the most of your limited time at college. Here are some of the best ways to gain experience while you’re still studying:

 Freelance or Part-Time

Online forums or platforms can help you connect to employers willing to take you on as a freelancer. Field Engineer, for example, connects large multinational companies with voice and VMWare engineers across the world. Platforms like this can help you gain experience on the field while you study.

On campus

Perhaps the easiest way to gain work experience is to simply start working on campus. Job boards are your best friend if you want to seek employment on campus. Also, try to reach out to people in your faculty and see if they have projects they need some help with. It doesn’t matter how much you get paid for these roles as long as you get the experience you need.

 Undergraduate Research

Assisting your professor on a research project is, perhaps, the most prestigious way to gain industry experience. Associating your name with a research paper and a reputed professor is a great way to gain a foothold in your chosen industry. Gaining access to these research teams, however, can be tricky. Research assistant positions are rarely advertised on college job boards. You may have to look for research teams yourself and ask the professor if they need any help. Professors usually have limited funds for their research, so you may have to convince them you’re worth bringing on board.

Volunteer Opportunities

If you’re not in need of cash, unpaid volunteer work could be the fastest and most reliable way to gain industry experience. Look for volunteer opportunities that are recurrent, easy to do, and closely associated to your major.

Internships

Working with a big company could put you on the path to a great career within that organization. Organizations like Year-in-industry (Yini) provide students opportunities to join big firms and take an active role in an ongoing project for a year. Look into your state’s internship program to see what’s available for your industry.

Independent Projects

Independent projects aren’t for everyone because they take a lot more effort and initiative than internships and volunteering. However, if you have the drive to start and see a project to the end and believe you have the entrepreneurial gene in you, this may be the best way to gain experience doing something you love. Your future employer will be thrilled to know you’re capable of working independently and deliver results on your own.
Regardless of what you’re studying, spending some time doing work within your industry is a great way to get ahead of the competition and build a stronger career than everyone else in your class.

Kate Larson is a college student and aspiring blogger, who has a strong interest in the environment and personal well-being. She enjoys travelling and reading, as well as writing novels.

 

 

 

Three Advantages of Taking an Introductory  Coding Course

December 1st, 2017

BY ANTON LUCANUS

These days, a basic level of computer literacy is required if you’re going to be prepared for the current job market. These skills are becoming more and more required, and even in non-technical jobs you’ll need them to remain competitive. Today almost every task or system in a business is being run, tracked, supported and improved by computers. The more proficiency you have in this area – the more attractive you’ll be to a prospective employer.

There is some merit to making basic coding or computer programming courses a requirement in today’s college curriculum. Until then, you can give yourself a leg up by acquiring this knowledge voluntarily, adding it to your repertoire to help provide you with an edge over other candidates. The advantages for doing so are threefold: you’ll be able to converse intelligently about programming terms, you’ll be introduced to the field of programming (in case you find you’d like to learn more) and you’ll be more capable when using website builders to design a site.

Advantage #1: Speak About the Topic Intelligently

When interviewing for a job once you graduate, it’s important that you can speak intelligently about relevant topics. Even if you aren’t applying to be a professional programmer, if you can demonstrate at least a familiarity with this area it can highlight your technical expertise, showing employers that you’re knowledgeable and computer literate. This is especially true at a small company, where management may be looking for a candidate with multiple skill sets. Proving your flexibility and skills across varying disciplines can allow you to wear several different hats – and your ability to fill more than a single role can significantly increase your value.

Advantage #2:  Determine Your Level of Interest

College isn’t just about mastering a single small area of focus – it’s also a time for you to explore a variety of different fields of study to see what sparks your interest. While many people go through this process in high school (or even sooner), you may still not be sure what you’d like to major in. Taking a general or introductory course on computer programming could help you determine your level of interest in the subject, and spark a passion you might otherwise have never known existed.

This could lead you to pursue this course of study as a full-time career, rather than just a single course taken to add to your general knowledge.

Advantage #3:  Use Website Building Programs More Capably

The final advantage of taking a coding course before you graduate is web design. It’s highly recommend today that college graduates have their own website to effectively brand themselves and present their skills to potential employers. A general knowledge of coding can help you become more capable with website building programs like those found built into services like Wix and WordPress. While these tend to feature a drag-and-drop interface that requires no coding experience, having at least a core competency when it comes to programming will improve your ability to spot and fix bugs within the code, and customize the sites design the way the professionals to.

Having a basic familiarity with coding will not only help you when using software – it will also help you identify the most powerful and efficient option for your purposes. There are many website builders available on the market today, the ability to assess the differences between them and the capabilities they provide could save you a lot of wasted time and headaches once you reach the design process.

Since every business from large to small needs a website to compete in the digital market, the ability to create one for your prospective employer is a distinct advantage.

Considering these three advantages alone, it’s surprising that more institutions of higher learning haven’t made basic coding a requirement in their curriculum. While this could change in the future, right now your best bet to landing your dream job is to take the initiative and enroll in a coding course to give yourself a competitive edge when you’re searching for employment after graduation.

Byline – Anton Lucanus is the Director of Neliti. During his college years, he maintained a perfect GPA, was published in a top cancer journal, and received many of his country’s most prestigious undergraduate scholarships. Anton writes for The College Puzzle as a means to share the lessons learnt throughout his degree and to guide current students to achieve personal and educational fulfilment during college life.