Archive for April, 2018

7 Ways College Students Can Protect their Data

April 30th, 2018

BY LORRAINE McKINNEY

If you are a student, chances are that you have your laptop with you pretty much all of the time. After all, you need it for classes, taking notes, doing research, doing homework, etc. Unfortunately, when you are using laptops and other mobile devices on unsecured networks, it can leave you vulnerable to cyber attacks, and you could end up compromising your data. 

 Every time we take measures to protect our data, a hacker comes up with a new way to steal it. So, how can you protect your data, and still be able to use your laptop around campus? Here are seven things that you can do right now to stay safe.

 

1. Be Careful About Downloads

It is never a good idea to download any free software. While it may seem tempting, this software may be loaded with malicious code, and you could end up with malware, ransomware, or other cyber threats. If you are not sure whether or not a specific software is safe to download, it is best to err on the side of caution and leave it alone.

 2. Use the Cloud

Look for various cloud backup solutions for your data storage. You still have to be prudent when using the cloud, but it is a great way to back up and protect your data. Since you will not be storing it on your own computer, your data cannot be accessed if your files were to be hacked. Your data will be kept safe by an offsite provider, so your files will not be compromised.

 3. Don’t Send Sensitive Information

If you need to send any sensitive information via email or online messages, wait until you know for certain that you are using a secured network. Email and online messages are not overly secure at the best of times, and even worse when you are using a network that thousands of others are also using.

 4. Don’t Use External Flash Drives

USB flash drives are convenient, but they are not secure. It is easy for these drives to be loaded with malware, or to have been reformatted with firmware that has been tampered with. Unless you are absolutely certain that the drive has not been tampered with in any way, it is best to avoid using it for sending any important or private data.

 5. Install all Available Updates

Most operating systems send out regular updates and security patches. For instance, Microsoft sends updates on the second Tuesday of each month. Apple updates aren’t as frequent, but they are frequent enough to help keep your data secure. By installing the updates regularly, you are ensuring that your system has the latest security features.

 6. Keep Your Laptop Locked

If you have to leave the area where you are working, even for a couple of minutes, make sure that your computer is locked. This isn’t going to protect your data from external hacker, but it will ensure that no one who is around can go and peek into your files. You don’t want anyone to end up stealing your work and taking credit for it.

 7. Install Anti-Malware Protection

You never know where malware is going to pop up, so the best way to avoid it is by installing anti-malware protection on your computer. Malware, or malicious software, is created to damage a computer without your knowledge or consent, and includes viruses, worms, Trojan horses, spyware, and more. It can be just about anywhere, including emails, websites, etc. An anti-virus protection program will help to eliminate this threat.

 Lorraine McKinney is an academic tutor and e learning specialist.

Ways to Survive Sophomore Year

April 27th, 2018

BY MELISSA BURNS

 Entering your sophomore can be very daunting, but it’s actually an essential part of the process of becoming a full-fledged undergrad. Whereas being a freshman is about getting your first whiff of higher education, becoming a sophomore is about finally adjusting to this whole new world you are in.

But for many students, the second year of being in college is a critical point where they can choose whether to soldier on, or do a 360 degree turn from what lies ahead. For some reason, a lot of students are possessed by the idea that their sophomore year is where things get rather serious. Freshman year still had the remnants of high school linger in one’s, but the process of becoming a sophomore is where students finally molt away whatever attachments they still have for their previous alma maters.

Unless you are someone who doesn’t worry about changes, the transition can get pretty drastic and perplexing. Then again, you can always apply the following tips to make the whole process less hectic than it actually is.

Learn from last year

As a freshman, you might have had experienced a few awkward moments when you first entered the gates of your university. Bringing them up isn’t actually the best way to move on. But you can still learn from all these experiences to make sure you won’t repeat them in your second year.

Was there ever a cringe-worthy moment you wanted to get rid of? Instead of forgetting about it, you should be able to analyze the situation objectively so as to get a good idea on what to improve for your second year in college. If ever there was this one moment you wouldn’t want to  forgive yourself for, see to it that you won’t repeat the same mistake.

Exercise frugality

Being in college means breaking free from the your parents’ chain of command. But while it may seem like a teenager’s dream come true, being in college is obviously a training ground that you have to go through in order to become a full-fledged adult. Aside from the fact that it gives you a taste of what it feels like to be a professional, college is also where you get to become more financially wise.

With that said, it is essential for students to become more mindful of what they could spend. We all heard of undergrads who live off of instant ramen every day, but the thing is, such situations actually happen. Entering your sophomore year means making smarter financial decisions, like purchasing coupons from sites like Gogoshopper.com and taking up freelance jobs.

Aside from these basic financial hacks, you might also want to develop an idea for a business model. This might sound like something management students should do, but it also applies to anyone who wants to build a money-making idea. You can’t be like Mark Zuckerberg, but as long as you have an authentic idea to share, expect people to pitch in. Besides, sophomore year doesn’t have the same difficulty that later years possess, so you should be able to use what free time you have in order to develop your startup idea.

 Arm yourself

Sophomore year marks the beginning of when things get really hard. But it’s essential to make sure you are fully prepared for the heavy grind that awaits you in your Junior and Senior years. Sophomore year can get difficult in its own right, but the difficulty is essential in preparing you for an uphill battle. Take this time to develop a more focused mindset and build up your momentum.

Get social

Sophomore year is also that time in your life where  you get to meet new people – people who will help you out in the future. The dynamics of socialization in college is far different from that of high school, mostly because of the fact that college is more closer a microcosm of society as a whole. You will get to meet a diverse range of characters whose stories are as complicated as yours. What’s more, the way you connect with these characters determines what you would be like in the future as a professional within the more complex structures of the corporate world. Freshman year is more like your orientation into such a world. Sophomore year on the other hand is where you get to put theory into practice. In other words, it is where you get to come out of your shell and be more open towards other people. This will certainly lead to a more active social life later on. As you make more friends, you will understand the value of networking more and more.

Feel at home with your professors

You can be the best of friends with your highschool teachers, but the same level of intimacy doesn’t exactly apply to college professors – well, at least to some. There are many different types of teachers as there are students. You will get a dictator for your geology class or a staunch progressive in your humanities course. Whichever case, you as a sophomore could find an ally in anyone who basically determines whether you pass or not. Remember: in college, you’re the one who’s always looking for your teacher and not the other way around. With that said, cooperation is always the key, and it’s very important to emphasize the way you reach out to your professors.

 

Take part in extra academic activities

College isn’t all about studying. It is also a great way to explore your interests further. Higher education aims not only to uplift the intellectual capacity of an individual. It also allows individuals to be more cognizant of the things that they are capable of doing. If you’ve been a part of the varsity team before, chances are, you will be hand-picked for a place at the university’s sports formations. Coaches usually take their picks from freshman batches, but they also get to scout for sophomore talents. Aside from sports, your passion for the arts will also get noticed – that is if you put your work out there or take part in auditions for the theatre. Doing something else other than consuming ramen and studying will certainly make things a lot less dull.

Melissa Burns graduated from the faculty of Journalism of Iowa State University. Nowadays she is an entrepreneur and independent journalist. Follow her @melissaaburns or contact at burns.melissaa@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

4 Ways to Make the Most of Your College Years

April 26th, 2018

By Christopher Mercer

You’ve probably heard them say it. ‘Your college years are the best of your life’. And that’s easy for them to say. They always make those comments wearing the rose-tinted glasses of nostalgia and memory. A lot of people have a terrible time of it during college. They waste a lot of money, don’t learn anything and have more memories that they are ashamed of than they look back at fondly.

To say unequivocally that your college years are the best is to paint with a very broad brush. At the same time, your college years can be among your best, if you play your cards right. If you take the right attitude and approach the problems you’re going to face in the right way, then you can have a lot of fun, lay a great foundation for your future, and end up being one of those people talking about those good-old golden years with the many friends they still talk to from back then.

Obviously, that begs the question, ‘how do you do that?’ Well, here’s how:

Learn everything

Universities seem to suggest that wisdom is in books. That’s not true. There is a lot of knowledge in books and you do need knowledge to become wise (so don’t skip those classes). But wisdom also means applying that knowledge to the real world.

For that reason, make sure that you learn things. The best way to do so is to find ways to apply what you’ve learned in class. That means, finding some real world application for what you’re doing (or at least taking the time to see if you can imagine some real world application for what you’re doing).

The best way to apply what you’re learning is to find a job where you can directly start to apply that. So find something that’s related to what you want to do – even if it is just part time and even if you’re starting low down. The very act of seeing how the theory works in practice will mean that you’ll learn those lessons ten times better and remember them ten times longer.

It also means taking classes that are interesting. Interest is a hugely powerful emotion that doesn’t get even close to enough recognition in our world. It can keep you motivated and have you push through things that you otherwise wouldn’t be able to deal with.

For that reason, make sure that you don’t just take courses because you should, or because you have to, but simply because they’re interesting. Chances are, you’ll learn more from then than all of your other courses combined (and find some way to apply it to the life you’re living).

Meet lots of different people

Though your college and university might claim differently, the truth is that who we are doesn’t come from your professors but from the peers you hang out with. So, make sure that you hang out with lots people – preferably people from different walks of life, with different ideas, different perspectives and different beliefs.

In this way, you will really learn about people, the world and the lessons life is trying to teach you. You’ll not just learn ideas that support your position, but also learn why other people believe differently (and trust me, it’s not just because you’re right and their wrong). You’ll also learn valuable social skills, who to talk with anybody anywhere and finally have a huge number of people you can call on whatever you decide to do later on – be it on a personal, professional or other level.

Yeah alright, you’re saying, of course I want to meet people. The thing isn’t so much ‘do I want to’ as ‘how do I do it’? Well, here are some things to consider:

  • Mix things up. If you’re always going to the same places and doing the same things, then you’re only going to meet the people who go there and do that. If you want to meet different people and boost your luck, then you have to make sure you do different things. Say ‘yes’ as often as possible. Sure, I’ll try a cooking class, running a market stall on a Sunday morning or helping pick up litter. It might not sound like so much fun, but maybe I’ll be surprised. And if I’m not, then I’ll know and I’ll only have lost a few hours.
  • Invite others. If you’re going to do something, then invite other people. This is a great opportunity to meet new people and talk with them. The wacky context might just create a special bond. Even better, when you invite people many will reciprocate, which will give you more things that you can do.
  • Give people the benefit of the doubt. Assume people don’t mean to offend you or insult you. Similarly, if they don’t agree with you, don’t simply assume they’re idiots. Dudley Field Malone said, ‘I never in my life learned anything from a [person] who agreed with me’. That is only true, though, if you take the time to listen to way they think that.
  • Organize things (or make friends with people who do). Become somebody who creates dinner parties, invites somebody to speak or decides that it’s a good idea to go see a museum. Can’t do that? Then find somebody who does. It’s a lot more fun to hang out with people if you’re not always doing the same thing.
  • Reach out. Just because somebody hasn’t gotten in touch, doesn’t mean they suddenly hate you. They might just have been busy, something might have happened, or perhaps they’re embarrassed about something. So why wait for them to connect? Do it instead! A lot of people will appreciate it. Besides, friendships that last a life time aren’t built over night.
  • Sometimes you have to lose a number. Ultimately, you can’t blame the people you’re with for the mistakes you make, even if they’re the ones that pushed you into it. That was your choice for hanging out with them. So, if you don’t like the direction that the people you’re hanging out with are taking, choose a different path.

The hedonism

Of course, you’ll have a drink, go to a party and do some hedonistic things. There is nothing wrong with that – as long as that doesn’t become what it is all about. Why? Because if it becomes all consuming then when you do finally get bored with it, you won’t have very many other skills, life experiences and options to fall back on. And chances are, you will eventually want to do something else, because hedonism becomes boring after a while. Yeah, I know, hard to believe, right? You’ll never get tired of the parties!

But the rest of humanity begs to differ. You can be sure most of us enjoyed going on all night benders when we were younger. And you can be sure most of us got bored with it as we got older. There are a lot of reasons for that. In part it’s ‘been there, done that’. In part it’s that our chemistry changes and our priorities shift.

Bio: Chris Mercer is a writer, developer, and the founder of Citatior, the academic formatting tool chosen by students around the world. Chris is also passionate about outdoor sports, running, and lifting weights. He believes that anything worth doing is worth passion.

 

 

Keeping Your Mind from Wandering: Concentration And Focus

April 25th, 2018

BY SYLVIA KOHL

We are all able to concentrate – sometimes, on some things. Usually when we are engrossed in something really interesting. Unfortunately, many things we have to do as a part of education cannot be characterized as such – we all are familiar with the experience of our mind constantly wandering away from a lecture, an essay or a textbook. And it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that the ability to maintain concentration for prolonged periods of time is a crucial skill that can be extremely useful both during your studies and throughout your life. Fortunately, there are ways of improving it.

1.    Try out Meditation

Meditation isn’t just a spiritual practice but an excellent tool for training your ability to concentrate. Set your timer for 5 minutes, sit in a comfortable position, close your eyes and try to empty your mind, focus on your breathing completely. The thoughts will immediately flow back into the emptiness; it is only natural – don’t worry about it, just register it and return to breathing. If you feel an urge to change the position you sit in, again, just record it and don’t move. The goal here is not to learn how to empty your mind but to condition yourself to recording distractions for what they are and returning your mind to its initial course.

2.    Allow Yourself to Unwind

Maintaining concentration requires willpower, and willpower is, according to a number of psychologists, a limited resource. The more you exercise it, the less there is to go around. It will replenish after a period of rest, but if you are constantly stressed out and spend most of your time studying, your reserves will slowly but steadily dry out until a mere night’s sleep won’t be enough to keep your mind from wandering the next day.

That’s why you should allow yourself to unwind for more extended periods of time. When you go for a vacation, really go. Put studying aside for a while and change your everyday routine. Anything will do as long as you really let yourself rest – a trip to Bryce Canyon, a hiking tour, a week at the seaside, or whatever you associate with rest.

3.    Set Aside Time for Distractions

Set aside a period of time every day you intend to dedicate to thinking about your distractions. When you notice that something distracts you from your work, take a couple of seconds to write down what this distraction is about and remind yourself that you have a period of time specifically dedicated to thinking about such things. When the time comes, and you take a look at your list of distracting thoughts, you will most likely decide they are not worth wasting your time on – the only allure they have is that they are a pretext for taking time off work.

4.    Condition Yourself to Ignore Distractions

It is natural for us to glance in the direction of moving objects and unexpected sounds, it comes from the primitive part of our brain responsible for looking out for potential dangers. Therefore, training yourself not to automatically take a look every time we hear a door opening, somebody coughing, or a person moving nearby teaches you to maintain control over your unconscious urges of other types as well. After maintaining this practice for a while, you will notice that you can keep concentration for longer and are less tempted to be distracted.

The ability to keep yourself focused on the task at hand is incredibly important at all stages of life – honing it early on will be a significant advantage in anything you do.

Sylvia Kohl is an IT teacher with more than 8 years of professional experience. Her main spheres of interest are e-education and she convinced that learning process doesn’t stop after years in school and university.

 

Why Business Programs Are Good Option for Many Students

April 24th, 2018

BY KARI OAKLEY

 Going to college is a practical necessity today for anyone that would like to earn professional success. When you are in college, one of the biggest choices that you will have to make is choosing your major and degree path. One great option to consider pursuing is a degree in business. There are several reasons in particular why you should consider a degree in business.

Develop Communication Skills

One reason why you should pursue a degree in business is that you will get to develop better communication skills. Having good communication skills is extremely valuable in any professional situation. When you are earning your degree, you will spend a lot of time learning how to verbally express your thoughts in a professional manner and in a way that will receive respect from your peers. You will also spend time working on public speaking projects to ensure you are able to be poised in any environment in which you need to speak in front of others.

Learn to Work in Groups

Over the past few decades, more and more jobs have started focusing on having a collaborative work environment in which people work in teams on projects together. This trend is bound to continue in the future due to the benefits it provides to an organization. Today, many business school programs in colleges across the country focus on working together in small groups and teams to complete school projects. This will give you experience that will be necessary when working in a professional environment.

Good Job Prospects

One of the main reasons why people go to college today is to get a job that will provide them with a good career path and strong compensation. One of the best educational paths that someone should pursue when looking to earn a higher income is a degree in business. There are many different great jobs in finance, banking, insurance, and a variety of other business fields that will provide a great entry level salary and plenty of career potential for recent business graduates.

Customer Relationship Management

When you are earning your degree in business you will also learn how to build and maintain relationships with customers. Part of the degree path will include teaching you how to build solid professional relationships with customers. Since having good and reliable customers is a requirement for any business to be successful, this is a very transferable skill that can help you in any business. For example, with enhanced retail customer relationship management skills you will be able to ensure you receive a lot of repeat customers, which will be great for your business.

Accounting and Finance

Even if you do not want to pursue a career in accounting and finance, learning the basics of these functions is extremely important and could benefit you a number of different ways. Accounting and finance are very important professional rules that are also skills that all people should understand and develop for their personal lives. Those that earn a business degree will learn the basics of accounting and finance, which could help them better manage their personal finances and personal investments in the future.

Management Skills

No matter what type of career or job you choose to pursue in the future, being a good manager and leader will always help you to develop professional success and do well in the future. When you earn a degree in business, part of your education will focus on business management. This will include teaching you the core philosophy and strategies that go into managing groups of people and getting them to work hard for the good of the organization.

In conclusion, choosing the right degree is very important for anyone that is in college. One great degree path to consider is a degree in business. This educational path will provide you with a variety of different educational focuses that will benefit you for your entire career.

Byline:

Kari Oakley is a fitness trainer from Kenosha Wisconsin. She now lives in downtown Chicago, and loves to get out. She is a big fan of anything adventure, and loves getting a workout in the outdoors.

 

6 Ways to Keep Up with College Deadlines

April 23rd, 2018

BY ALLIE SHAW

We all know that familiar feeling of dread: a rapidly approaching deadline can be extremely panic-inducing, especially when you’ve left a big assignment to the last minute. Procrastination is an issue that almost everyone has to conquer. Luckily, you have lots of ways to circumvent your tendency to push off a deadline.

The Procrastination Problem

Missing a deadline is often linked to procrastination, and the roots of procrastination can show you how to avoid the cycle of delaying your work on a project. Procrastination can stem from depression, anxiety, and a lack of self-compassion. In other words, our fear of failure drives us to try to feel better temporarily by seeking a distraction or working on another task. Missing a deadline can reinforce these anxieties by introducing shame and guilt, making it even harder to meet your next one.

Being kind to yourself and avoiding feelings of blame or self-doubt is a good first step for any procrastinator, but breaking the chain of missed deadlines requires a conscious and organized effort to work smarter. Follow these six steps on your next big project, and you can skip the panic and stress of a missed deadline completely.

 

  1. Deadlines Are Our Friends

If your deadline is stressing you out, it may help to reframe it as a tool to finish your work and achieve your goals. Deadlines give us the opportunity to plan our work schedule and space out projects over time. Thinking about your deadline as a planning tool can help put you feel in control of the associated anxiety.

 

  1. Write Out a Schedule

A single large deadline at the end of a project can make it difficult to space out your workload and track your progress. Building a schedule of smaller deadlines for distinct parts of the project helps structure your time and prevents a last-minute crunch.

You can build in time for other activities, like going to the gym or cleaning your space, to help contribute to the positive feeling of control. Once you have your schedule written down, don’t forget to cross off tasks as you go along – the satisfaction of another completed part of your assignment will help motivate you as you go along.

 

  1. Break Down the Assignment

Breaking a large project down into smaller individual tasks can make your deadline feel much more manageable. For instance, you can separate a big paper like a research project into basic tasks, such as conducting research, working on an outline, developing a first draft, and revising or editing. Don’t fall victim to the planning fallacy; many tasks take longer than expected, so build in lots of extra time for unexpected delays.

 

  1. Set Smaller Benchmarks

Working toward smaller goals can help satisfy your craving for gratification and accomplishment. When pursuing a smaller task like writing an outline, set a goal for yourself that is quickly achievable to keep yourself moving. A simple goal, like “Write down five topic sentences,” can spur progress that keeps you on track toward completing the larger project.

It’s also helpful to articulate your goals as specifically as possible. Vague goals like “revise the paper” can still seem pretty scary – an even more specific benchmark like “look for spelling errors in the first two pages” can simplify your writing process.

 

  1. Have the Right Workspace and Tools

When you’re sitting down to work on a task, a cluttered desk and an open browser tab can pull your focus away from your work. Avoiding distractions takes a bit of mental discipline, but you can make things easier for yourself by turning off your smartphone, clearing your workspace, and using an add-on that blocks distracting sites like Facebook.

Also, make sure you have all the materials and tools you need to work effectively. Invest in a reliable internet connection so you can hit that 11:55 p.m. deadline without a worry, and look for student discounts for things like Microsoft Office applications rather than struggle with third-party alternatives.

 

  1. Go Easy on Yourself

Like anything else, beating procrastination takes practice. Don’t let a single missed goal derail your entire project. Remind yourself that any minor issues along the way aren’t insurmountable; you can always start fresh and keep working toward your goal. Don’t expect perfection from your work, either. A first draft should be rough and imperfect, and having a foundation for revision helps set you on a path toward completion.

Conclusion

Successfully managing deadlines is as much about your mindset as it is about your process. Through positive reinforcement and the accomplishment of small goals, you can find the energy and willpower you need to persevere. The next time a big deadline looms on your horizon, you’ll have the confidence you need to work productively and meet your objective.

By Allie Shaw

Allie Shaw graduated from the University of Utah with a degree in communications and public relations. She is an expert in all things technology and lifestyle and is a freelance writer for multiple publications.

 

 

 

 

 

5 Things to Never Say When E-mailing a Professor

April 20th, 2018

By: Susan Parker

Communicating with faculty is an integral part of your learning experience at college. Apart from interacting with them to get a better understanding of course material, you’re also supposed to get familiar with connecting with senior figures in a formal setting, which would definitely help you in the outside world.

As with any other form of social interaction, your approach to issues and general attitude when communicating are very crucial determinants of how willing people will be to help you. And one thing that’s certain is that you’ll need your professors’ help at various points in time. Whether it’s with course material or with other academic pursuits like being your references, you really want to be on their good sides.

Email is likely the most common way you’ll be communicating with them, so it’s also the way you’ll make or break your relationship. Here are 5 tips on what to avoid when emailing your professors to be sure you’ll not leave a negative impression:

  1. “I didn’t do well on your test/exam. Can I retake it?”

One of the fundamental ethical points of being a professor is the obligation to give all members of the class an equal chance to do well. If the professor agrees to give you another test, then she would be duty bound to do the same for everyone in the class or everyone who asks for the same thing. The answer will always be ‘no’ so instead of asking that, it’s better to explain the reasons why you didn’t do well and ask them for help in rectifying those issues in any other tests or exams if it has to do with your understanding of the course material or something else that they can assist with.

  1. “I was too busy to meet the deadline. Can I have an extension?”

This is similar to the first one in that it involves the professor giving you an unfair advantage over other students.

“Telling a superior – whether that’s your boss at work or your college professor – that you were too busy to do your duty is offensive,” said Michael Corkery, President of Pool Guard USA. “It reflects poorly on you as a student to fail to do assignments for a professor’s class and then claim it’s because you were ‘busy’. They are busy themselves, and the other students like you who submitted on time were certainly also busy. If they can keep up with their duties, so should you.”

Unless there is a genuine emergency like sickness, this request is likely to be denied every time, and even when you have a genuine reason, it’s best to get in touch with them as early as possible before the deadline.

  1. “Get back to me soon.”

When asking for anything from your professor, you must keep it at the back of your mind that apart from what you say, how you say it is also very important, and can determine what kind of response you get and if you’ll get one at all. It’s okay to indicate that there’s a time element in your request, but it’s definitely not fine to sound demanding and pushy. Instead, take the approach of being polite and thankful. For instance, instead of the sentence above, you could say “Please advise me at your convenience,” after letting them know if there’s a time factor.

  1. “Professor X taught this course this other way”

Every professor has their own style of teaching, and they probably only settled into it after many years of trying different approaches. If you have a piece of advice you’d like to offer regarding their approach, then you should do it politely, but merely saying that someone else does things another way would mean nothing and probably just annoy them. Ultimately, it’s a matter of tack, and if you feel you have to reference another professor, do it by referring to particular stats or elements in their classes, like how more people participated in the lectures.

  1. “I didn’t know we had anything due in this course.”

There is no better way to acquire the title of “unserious student” than saying this to your professor. As a college student, you’re expected to be able to keep track of your courses and know when an assignment is due. Most professors make verbal announcements in class and even send emails, so saying this only makes it loud and clear to the professor that you have not been following the course or that you’ve been skipping classes.

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

Traveling the World while Studying Full-Time

April 19th, 2018

BY DAVID GUITIERREZ

Studying full-time while traveling the world may sound a wee bit unrealistic – and it actually was so just a little while ago. However, times are changing, and many colleges today offer flexible opportunities for those not willing to stay in one place. In other words, if you do want to travel, college is not an obstacle anymore.

However, in order to make it work, you have to apply certain efforts and be ready to use your time to maximum efficiency. Let’s take a look at some specifics.

1.    Choose the Course That Ties in with Your Traveling

Or at least one that you are truly interested in. Students have the hard time doing all the assignments for their courses even when they stay in one place with nothing extraordinary distracting them – imagine reading up on a course that bores you out of your mind while visiting all sorts of new and exciting places. It is only going to breed frustration and exasperation.

The ideal solution would be to choose something that can go hand in hand with your traveling: e.g., an East Asian studies degree you will be able to supplement with the first-hand experience of this region or an archeology degree you can take while traveling to actual archeological sites.

2.    Prepare the Necessary Documents

Depending on the countries you intend to visit, you may need specific documents and permits, and obtaining some of them may take quite some time. It means that you have to plan ahead, find out the requirements and obtain the necessary papers beforehand. For example, if you intend to visit Canada, you should submit Canada ETA application early enough to be sure it is going to be ready by the time you head in this direction. Other countries may need visas, visitors’ permits, and other documents, so do the same for them.

3.    Get Really Good at Planning

To make study-travel combo work, you should possess the outstanding discipline and be ready to plan your movements carefully according to the demands of your course. For example, it isn’t the best of ideas to go for a week-long action-packed trip when you have a crucial assignment to complete – but if you foresee it and make sure your itinerary reflects what you are doing for your course, it is entirely doable. If, however, this degree of planning ahead is beyond you, then combining traveling and studies is not for you.

4.    Establish a Routine

Traveling is distracting, there is no going around it. If you let yourself get sidetracked by every new fascinating place you visit, you can very soon find yourself buried deep under unfinished assignments with no realistic way of completing them all. A viable way out is to establish a once-and-for-all routine for your college-related activities. Set aside certain hours every day to go over your assignments and stick to them no matter how much you want to go and do something else. It will take some getting used to but will become automatic in the long run.

5.    Get Reliable Tools

You should have an opportunity to connect with your online learning platform whenever you want, which means that a sturdy smartphone capable of providing Internet connection via tethering and a laptop with wireless connection capability are crucial. As you won’t always have a power outlet nearby, both devices should have good battery life. Spare batteries will also come in handy, as well as a set of international adapters for all your gadgets.

Traveling while studying for a degree may sound like a crazy idea, but with the right planning and enough determination it is not just doable, but fun as well!

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.

 

AERA Distinguished Public Service Award (2017) Lecture

April 18th, 2018

Public Policy Impact of Education Research : A 54 Year Career Perspective

The use and impact of education research by policymakers has been of high interest and concern for over a half century. There is some empirical data and commentary that is both positive and negative about whether there is much policy impact from high quality research. It does not help that there has been exponential production of questionable advocacy research funded by special interests and foundations that is disseminated through a variety of digital sources and platforms.

This speech resulting from the Lifetime AERA public service award is different from the usual way these concerns are addressed . The author is both an educational researcher as a Stanford Professor since 1969 ,and policymaker for 54 years starting with the Johnson Administration in 1964 , the US Senate in 1967, and concluding with 15 years on the California State Board of Education (most as President)over a 43 year span. Consequently, a personal perspective is provided of some theories, concepts , and data concerning the policy impact from independent and objective education policy research. The personal component focusses upon why and how particular research studies guided and influenced the substantial overhaul of Ca state policy from 2010 to 2018 while the author was President of the State Board, and an adviser to Governor Jerry Brown. The California analysis is historical because the author was a state policymaker in Governor Brown’s first 2 terms from 1975-1983 as well as using research in federal policymaking 1964-1969.

The objectives of the speech are both to highlight particularly incisive and useful research to overhaul the policies of the largest state, and to reflect on which theories/concepts of research diffusion and use are most applicable to the recent Ca situation. The data is anchored in a study of a state where its enrollment exceeds that of the 22 smallest states, and a majority of the 6.4 million students is Hispanic, and only 25% white. Useful research is demonstrated in various phases of the state policy cycle beginning with problem recognition and concluding with evaluation of implemented policy.The paper is relevant to grounded theory that is a form of qualitative research designs. Lincoln and Denzin (2005) viewed qualitative research as a practice of examining studied subjects in natural settings and then transforming and making sense of the studied phenomenon.

The speech begins with various theories of how education research does and does not influence policy beginning with a 1965 federal government vision similar to agricultural extension agents and federal labs. It covers such approaches as design based implementation research, implementation science, positive deviance, networked improvement communities, and Carol Weiss theories of research diffusion through knowledge creep and percolation. The authors own experience is utilized from a perspective of co- founder for Policy Analysis for CA Education in 1983-2004 at Stanford , UC Berkeley, andUSC that focused on research generation and dissemination for improving Ca state ed policy.

The speech then moves to an overview of systemic state reform beginning in 2011 in California that demonstrates the use of particular research undergirding the distinctive Ca way to improve state education policy. This part demonstrates that independent and objective research can make a huge difference in what policy a state designs and implements over a 8 year period with a rising tide of revenue, a united and sustained political coalition, and a number of big research based ideas. This section will discuss a wide array of policies including new curriculum, teacher development, finance, and linkages to postsecondary education. The speech concludes with several 2018 positive state policy outcomes (graduation, test scores etc) that may be related to state policy change.

Transportation At College: What Can Work For You  

April 18th, 2018

 

BY MIKKIE MILLS

Attending college for the first time can require a lot of planning. One aspect to consider is how you will get around once you get on campus. Cost, campus size, class schedule, and safety are all important factors in this decision. Here are a few options for getting around once you get to the college of your choice.

Driving

Driving may be a logical option for you if you attend a large university or have a class schedule that is spread out among many different buildings. If you choose to take a car to school, there are several things to think about. First, you will want to make sure Freshman or first year students are permitted to drive. Some schools have rules prohibiting this for space reasons. You will also want to check on the cost to purchase a parking permit. Make sure that your permit is valid at each building you will need to park. If you are attending school out of state, you will want to make sure your insurance is valid in that state. Auto insurance quotes can give you an idea what it will cost to keep your car updated while in school.

Campus Transport

Many large campuses offer campus transportation in the form of shuttles. This is convenient for many students who do not wish to bring a vehicle to school. The major benefit of this is that it is usually much cheaper than parking and maintaining a car. The downside of this arrangement is that you will have to plan your day around the shuttle schedule to make sure you can get to where you are going on time. This may not work if you have only a few minutes between classes. It may also require you to give up precious sleep to meet your shuttle early. It is also worth talking to some current students at the university that you hope to attend. They will be able to tell you the reliability of the shuttle schedules and give you additional tips for getting around.

Walking and Bike Riding

This method of transportation is always popular for college students. First of all, it is basically free and extremely convenient. Nearly every campus has bicycle racks for storage. It may also help you keep off that freshman weight.However, this may not be an option during severe weather months. It also generally takes time to get around large campuses, so you will have to plan for this as well. The main aspect to consider with walking or riding a bike is safety. You may not want to walk or ride alone after dark or in remote areas. You may also not want to cross any extremely busy highways or interstates. When you visit the campus, look around to check what bike trails and lanes are available. Watch out for students riding or walking. Chances are, if you do not see much pedestrian traffic, there is a great chance that students have assessed that mode of transportation as being slightly unreasonable. Feel free to talk to students that you see walking or riding as well. They can be your best resource for planning.

Getting around your campus can be easy. Since there are usually multiple options, it may mean that you use more than one method. If you know that you will have to utilize campus transportation, your academic advisor can help you plan classes with enough time to get from place to place. Students that already attend the university or college can help shed light on various transportation issues on your campus. Usually residence life services can advise you on your ability to park your own car. Campus security can help you assess if walking in certain areas is safe. There is no one solution, but you will find that a little bit of planning and knowledge will make getting around easy.

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.