Posts published in April, 2019

CSM Software and Cloud Infrastructure for Educational Institutions and Students

By Leslie Wilder


In this digital era when every little information is now available on the Internet, the role that websites play is far beyond measurable terms. There is not a single industry that has been left untouched by the wave of the digital revolution. Educational institutions and their students are no exceptions.

For most educational institutions, the primary and most crucial mode of communication and marketing today is via their websites. Since students and aspiring candidates of higher educational establishments primarily search for details online, the complexities also keep growing for these websites. It, therefore, becomes extremely vital to support such online establishments with a robust system for managing  data.

Digital data, both structured and unstructured, is being generated at exponential levels today. But with the help of an advanced content management technology that supports dynamic website content, it becomes easier for educational organizations and students to keep this data organized.

The purpose of this article is to review some content management platforms suitable activities and online publications, and to suggest what is the best approach to host and use them on the cloud.

Best practices in hosting educational CMS

In theory, each company that offers Linux or Windows based web hosting service should be able to provide a decent hosted environment for educational and learning management systems reviewed below. However, there are few important things to consider.

  1. Does the company you are about to host your educational website, CMS and IT infrastructure with has its own Cloud infrastructure? It is recommended to avoid hosting educational platform with any of the major clouds. Large commercial cloud infrastructure is expensive and charge a lot for data transfer. The best practice for hosting an educational website on the cloud is to approach any small or medium size service providers and to send them a list of technical requirements.
  2. Always Compare Cloud services based on the resources they offer and most importantly on the technical support level included in the services. The so-called “Major Clouds” (AWS, Microsoft Azure and others) charge their customers for technical support, which is quite unfair considering the high prices of their Cloud infrastructure service fees. On the contrary, the smaller and medium sized Clouds usually provide technical support to their customers for free and charge only for any client-side Management services.
  3. Consider using a Managed Cloud Hosting service. If someone offers “Server less Computing”, simply disregard the offering. Serverless Computing is phony term used by marketers to describe a “Managed Hosting” or “Managed Cloud computing service”. Using Managed Cloud Hosting service worth’s as the infrastructure provide which take responsibility on securing and managing the educational infrastructure, which lowers the management effort for the organization.


Moodle has been around for almost two decades. The first release came in 2002. This comes to say that Moodle is very mature software, suitable for creating a whole educational ecosystem. It is an Open source CMS used by more than one hundred thousand educational and learning websites, 10 thousand of them in the U.S. Moodle is very well documented, which makes the system setup and management easy. Most web hosting providers offer the CMS as standard installation.

Chamilo E-learning system

The community behind Chamilo is related to the educational or the human resources sectors. It is an Open Source CMS launched in 2009. The mail features of this educational CMS are: Courses, users and training cycles; social network for learning; SCORM 1.2 compatibility and authoring tool; LTI 1.1 support; multi-institutions mode; time-controlled exams; international characters (UTF-8); automated generation of certificates; tracking of users progress; competence based training (CBT) integrated with Mozilla Open Badges; multiple time zones and more.

It offers third party implementations and links well with Joomla, Drupal, OpenID secure authentication framework and Oracle. Like Moodle it can be self-hosted on own Private or Public Cloud Server, which means that there is no vendor lock-in.


This is another content management system that can be used for online collaboration and learning platform. Like those above it is also released under the GPL open-source license. Claroline allows educational organizations to create and administer courses and collaboration spaces over the web. Claroline is a software with a European origin and its main website is in French. It can be installed on Windows, macOS or Linux kind bare-metal server. If anyone wants to use it in virtualized environment it should be installed on Windows or Linux server as Apply macOS officially does not support installation on Virtualized environments. A suitable Europe Cloud Server solution for Claroline is HCE, a service that features High Availability (HA) by default. In short High Availability is an IT functionality which reboots automatically the server in case of OS failure or a failure of the underlying physical host. i is an excellent feature that minimizes any interruption of the educational and learning services.

Claroline has the following functionality: write a course description; publish documents in any format (text, PDF, HTML, video and more); administer public or private forums; create learning paths (compatible with SCORM); create groups of users; compose exercises (compatible with IMS / QTI standard 2); structure an agenda with tasks and deadlines; post notifications (also by email); propose home work to make online; view statistics of attendance and completion exercises; use the wiki to write collaborative documents.

The main interface of Clarolinein in French, but this should not discourage the English-speaking institutions as the CMS is good.


I like the Dokeo’s website and how they present their educational online software platform. However, the effort that Dokeos team made results in a $250/month license for “Training Centers” and $385/month price of the “Corporate” license, as listed on their website. Those licenses apply for groups from 1 to 50 users. Any educational or learning institution which has one thousand uses of the system should be prepared to pay $2300/month for the “Training” license and $1700/month for the “Corporate” one.

Dokeos is obviously a commercial project. For commerce purposes it is integrated with Shopify, a hosted commercial e-commerce software, which starts selling licenses at $29/month for a license with limited functionality.

Considering the high cost of Dokeos licenses compared to other Open Source CMS, the Dokeos is obviously not a preferred web-based system for educational activities. Still, its worth’s to be examined by any well-funded organizations.


eFront has been established as Moodle alternative. It has been launched in 2001, which means it has been around for almost two decades. eFront runs Linux and Microsoft Windows. In order for the software work properly the hosted environment needs to support PHP 5.1+ and MySQL 5+.

eFront has a community edition distributed as Open Source software and three commercial editions which offer more advanced features for educational institutions and enterprises. Paid versions come with full source code but only the community edition uses an OSI accepted license.

From web development point of view, a very good feature of eFront its native HTML5 editor. The community editions features the following functionality: user management; lessons, courses, curriculum and categories management; files management; exam builders; assignments builders; communication tools (forum, chat, calendar, glossary); progress tracking; authentication methods; enrollment methods; certifications; reports generators; extensibility via modules; payments integration through PayPal; social tools such as lesson & system history, user wall, user status and Facebook interconnection; customizable notification system through email; availability of different design patterns.

The eFront license commercial license for up to 1000 user’s costs $750/month, which makes it more affordable than Dokeos.

It worths taking the time to compare all those the content management systems created for learning and educational purposes. Planning the process of growing your organization’s online based educational activities is very important as it will help you to take control over the short term and long-term IT infrastructure costs.


Leslie Wilder a creative writer & blogger, who is residing in Nashville the capital of U.S. state of Tennessee, I’m also a self-proclaimed happiness junkie, and someone you would generally consider confident and well balanced.


6 Outstanding Study Abroad Programs


As you are getting ready for your semester and figuring out what classes to take, you should consider a study abroad program. These programs offer you an experience of a lifetime. You can experience a different culture and learn a new language. There are many opportunities out there with study abroad programs. Here are six great study abroad programs that you can take part in.


  1. IES Abroad Siena Summer – This program takes you to Italy for cuisine classes. Sienna is a small town located in the Tuscany region of Italy. You can immerse yourself in the food and culture of this medieval city. There are gelato laboratories, vineyards, restaurants, and dairies available to help you immerse yourself in Tuscan food. If you are lucky, you can travel to Sienna in July to witness the Palio. It is a famous horse race that takes place at the Piazza del Campo and has roots in the Middle Ages. So travel to Tuscan and enjoy the food and atmosphere of a wonderful city.
  2. CIS (China International Summer) Program – The CIS program is located in Shanghai, China and it is focused on academic research. Every summer, the program invites a large group of renowned professors from top universities around the world to lead research projects. When you are not involved with research or your classes, you can explore country and the unique cultural experience it has to offer. This is a one-month long program available to high school and college students taught in English. One class even created and launched a remote sensing satellite from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center. If you are interested in spending a summer in research in a unique setting, this is the program for you.
  3. USAC France: Lyon – This study abroad program takes you to France, specifically Lyon to study Art history, French language, and Francophone studies. This is a yearlong in-depth language arts program where you will earn credits for French and additional studies. You can enjoy a weekend skiing on the Alps or enjoy Bourgogne. You can tour Provence and visit the Mediterranean coast. You will enjoy the food and atmosphere of Lyon while you study French and other classes.
  4. College Year in Athens – Imagine yourself on the island of Greece. You could be living there for a year with this program. You can focus on East Mediterranean and European studies while enjoying the culture of Athens. Field trips and other travels to parts of Europe and Greece are included in your tuition. If you are interested in Athens and want to submerge yourself in Ancient Greek history or foreign languages, this is the program for you.
  5. ISA Study Abroad in Sevilla, Spain – You can study abroad in the fourth largest city in Spain. There are various courses and lengths of time you can spend in Sevilla. Sevilla is a modern city with traditional highlights. It is easy to get around by bike or metro. You will be surrounded by flamenco dancing and tapas bars as you study in Sevilla. You can spend time biking along the Guadalquivir River taking in the sights and sounds of Sevilla. The largest Semana Santa celebration takes place in Sevilla which includes 12-hour long processions during Holy Week. They also celebrate Feria de Abril which is a festival with food and traditional dance. Come celebrate with the locals while earning some college credits.
  6. Uppsala International Summer Session – This is a summer abroad program that takes place in Sweden. Your courses will range from two to nine weeks. You will learn the Swedish language, history, and culture. You can wander around the botanical gardens and visit the iconic gothic cathedral in Uppsala. You can find prehistoric burial mounds in Old Uppsala and fantastic food and museums throughout the city. You will enjoy your intensive language study program over the summer in Uppsala.



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.



Sleep enhances studying – ensuring better sleep habits 

By Emma Bonney

College life has its ups and downs, and the increased number of study responsibilities might be currently stressing you out. You should know that your ability to study effectively could be influenced by your sleep habits. If you are currently not prioritizing an appropriate sleeping schedule, or you are dealing with other inconveniences that prevent you from resting peacefully, your academic performance will soon have to suffer as well. To ensure better sleep and thus enhance your study results, consider the following aspects:

Get a mattress of higher quality

If you are currently sleeping in a bed that is less qualitative, your sleep will also be affected. A mattress that isn’t designed with quality in mind will not allow you to rest as comfortably as you desire, so replacing it with a better alternative is recommended here. Students that stay in dorm rooms usually deal with this type of problem, so if you are one of them, you shod be taking matters into your own hands. Deciding when to buy a bed is easy is you are constantly dealing with restless nights due to mattress discomfort.

Create an optimal sleep schedule

Meeting up with friends late at night, going to parties and studying throughout the night before an important exam are habits that numerous students have become used to in college. However, this sort of behavior and imbalanced sleep schedule is doing more harm to your study abilities and performance than you would imagine. You are advised to come up with a sleep schedule and try your best to stick to it. While you could make a few compromises from time to time, during the weekend, through the rest of the week, going to bed at reasonable hours is a must.

Limit your caffeine consumption

Your inability to fall asleep easily or an agitated sleep might be triggered by your caffeine consumption. Avoid drinking coffee at night, and limit your intake throughout the entire day as well. A morning coffee is probably sufficient to keep you energized, and reduced consumption might be the solution to your issues in this department.

Light control

Light control is another important aspect that needs to be mentioned here. A bright room will not only prevent you from falling asleep easily, but can affect your sleep quality in general, so make sure the lights are turned out when you go to bed, and try your best to make the area as dark as possible. New shades on your windows might be needed, or even unplugging certain appliances before bed.

Your acidic performance during college years can be influenced by a wide variety of factors, and your sleep quality is one of them. Without optimal habits in this department, studying will seem more difficult than it should, and your abilities to obtain great marks on your exams can be affected. If you are currently dealing with problems here, the pointers suggested in this article can help you obtain an improvement. Better sleep will result in better study results, so give these ideas some thought.

A bit about myself:

Emma Bonney is a successful blogger whose articles aim to help readers with self-development, Women’s Empowerment, Education, entrepreneurship and content management.

Life Hacks for New And Recent College Students of the 21st Century


 The day has come. You are off to college for the start of what will very likely be the most exciting – and possibly challenging – years of your life. Between balancing your finances, juggling classes and figuring out how to handle real-life relationships, your college days will offer you more than just a few learning opportunities. But don’t be daunted by what lies ahead, simply be prepared. Here are a few simple life hacks for the 21st century student who wants to be do just this…

Get Organised

 With the approximate 1.2 billion apps available for download in the App store today, it surely comes as no surprise that there are a tonne of apps dedicated purely to helping students get themselves organised. The intuitive homework planner Studious, for example, invites students to populate the app with information about their classes, times, professors and locations, as well as homework and exam information, and the app reminds students of important dates and classes just in time. There is also Scribd, an app which allows students to find hundreds of thousands if not millions of relevant documents, books and papers to help with their studies; and StudyChecker, which records your daily, weekly, monthly breaks and studies to generate personal study statistics and helps you to divide your studying breaks up evenly for each subject or exam.

Though not designed specifically for students, Any.Do is another gamechanger for students seeking to organize themselves more efficiently. This app helps users create the ultimate ‘to-do’ list, then synchronizes it with all devices so that the planner can be accessed from anywhere. Students can mark tasks as complete, set themselves reminders, and all tasks are synced with Google calendar meaning students can get a visual impression of what their upcoming week looks like.

You will be surprised when realize how much time can be saved with such organization and daily schedule planning. Just imagine how that you will finally have a time for dancing lessons, foreign languages, book clubs or even join life support classes. Everything that you ever wanted but always postponing due to the constant good old “I have no time” issue.

Quit Being Distracted

 The old-fashioned approach would simply be to switch off your phone and not listen to music while studying. In this day and age where studying and completing homework typically involves having multiple tabs open in front of you at once, something a little more hardcore is required to deter students from the temptations of social media and other binge-worthy internet sites. There are a handful of apps which allow you to block distracting websites for a chosen period of time, meaning that until that time lapses you cannot access those sites under any circumstance. This is an absolute gamechanger for college students, who typically struggle to go more than 20 minutes without checking their social media accounts…

Quit Cramming

 Is your go-to approach to studying last-minute cramming? Energizing yourself with late night coffees, sweets and red bull in order to make the most of those final opportunities to study? Well, it turns out that can actually be having a detrimental effect on your ability to retain that information. The BBC reported that planning more effective, spaced out study time is in fact more effective for 90 per cent of students, despite the fact that 72 per cent of students would argue otherwise. This is because, contrary to our metacognitive instincts, the trade-off between sleep and study just isn’t worth it. UCLA researchers have confirmed that regardless of how much a student studies in one day, if that student sacrifices sleep time in order to study, he or she is likely to have academic problems as a result the following day.

Focus on the Font

 Avoid easy-to-read fonts such as Arial Black when creating your study notes, since it has been proven that information presented in more difficult-to-read fonts is retained much better by students on average. In one study carried out at Princeton University, subjects were given 90 seconds to memorize information before given a 15-minute break as a distraction. When tested on the content of the information studied after the break, those who had read in an easy-to-read font (Arial pure black) answered 72.8 per cent of the answers correctly, compared to 86.5 per cent of those who had studied the material in hard-to-read fonts (a smaller Comic Sans MS font or Bondoni MT in a lighter shade).

Get App-Savvy

 Beyond those apps that can help you to self-organize your life, there are also subject specific apps that can help make your life easier. If you are studying to become a video editor or need to edit your own videos for class projects, for example, there are a whole heap of video editing programs that will allow you to work on becoming the next Michael Khan.

For those studying sports and exercise science, you have your pick of fitness apps including Yo-Yo Test, Beep Test, VERT – for testing vertical jump measurements – and Photo Finish Timer, which doesn’t really require explaining. For artists in the making, there are apps besides Pinterest that will inspire creativity in budding artists, including Procreate, Artnear, TypeDrawing and Sketchbook Pro, to name a few. Have a browse of the App store today and get yourself set up with any apps that might make your studies that little bit easier…

Learn to Love Coffee

            This legal drug is a must for every college student – some may even tout it as their life support, unable to function without it. Coffee is the elixir which keeps many students going. There is no other substitute which is able to give you that caffeine buzz to kick start your morning and keep you focused when you need the late nights.

Between its ability to fuel you through long studious days after sleepless nights of revelling and its longstanding reputation as offering the ultimate excuse to network and meet potential new employers and mentors, you really ought to hone your love of this bitter beverage before starting University. It’s also waaaaay more affordable than food, meaning coffee is the cheapest breakfast going around. (Disclaimer: Eating a healthy breakfast is important too, I am simply a realist and aware of one’s typical University budget).

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 guide current students to achieve personal and academic goals





What to Consider When Choosing A Major


Deciding on a major is a major step in your academic career and life. The major you’re in will determine what classes you need to take, who you interact with, and potentially even what job you end up getting later in life. While there are countless factors you should consider throughout the process, here are some of the most important questions you should ask yourself.

What Do You Enjoy?

One of the first questions to ask, whether or not you enjoy certain topics is a key factor in whether you will be successful in that major. Even if you are very talented at biochemistry (or any other major, for that matter), if it’s not something you’re interested in, it probably isn’t for you. On the other hand, being truly interested in a topic will probably help you accomplish things beyond your comfort zone.

What Are You Good At?

That being said, you should keep in mind what you have a natural talent for or greater experience with in order to boost your chances of success. If you feel like a major might be the perfect choice for you, but you have no experience with it, consider taking a couple of courses first to decide whether or not you really do like it or are even capable of performing well in that subject. Picking a major requires balancing between what your favorite subjects are and which ones you are skilled in.

Who’s Willing to Help You?

Another factor to take into consideration is whether or not you’ll be able to network well with other people in your subject. Ideally, you’ll already have people you know studying or working in your chosen field of study. If not, figure out ways to meet new people who study the same subject. Attend clubs, activities, reach out to people through phone calls or emails. Being able to work well with other people in your chosen field of study is a major determinant of success.

What School Are You Attending?

If you’re already in college, you should select a major that your school specializes in, if at all possible. Students in different majors at the same university can have completely different experiences. Access online ratings, ratings provided by news sources, and communicate with students directly to find out what majors are popular, well-organized, or have high graduate success rates at your university.

What Are the Professors and Students Like?

Get to know your campus and the people on it. Each major will have a particular feel that will attract certain types of people. While not all of the people have to be (or even should be) the same, make sure the people within the major are the kind of people with whom you’d enjoy learning. Look for people and professors who share similar skills and values as you. Also, look for majors where you might be able to contribute a unique perspective. Some professors appreciate this, and others do not, and much of this depends on your subject of study.

What Are Your Plans After College?

Majors are about learning and enjoyment, but they should have a purpose. Where do you want the major to take you? Decide whether you want to go to graduate school or start working in your field right away. Some majors are better after you’ve completed a graduate degree while others may lead to employment. If you’re on the fence about whether or not you’d like to go to graduate school, keep in mind that you can work and complete a masters program online. Although majors tend to be more flexible now than in the past, pick a major that leads to a job that you can imagine yourself enjoying long-term.


Despite the fact that there are many things to consider when picking a major, don’t let it psych you out. As you take classes at your university, you will begin to discover what works for you. Also, remember that your major is important but won’t necessarily determine the rest of your life.

Byline:  Brett Clawson is a writer and entrepreneur with a degree in Business Management. He enjoys researching emerging business trends and sharing their impact on business and the industry as a whole. He believes that the best way to influence others and share his knowledge with the world is through his writing.



College Tours: What High School Students Want

By Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed

Walking backward on tours doesn’t impress anyone anymore. How can colleges make an impact? And how can colleges outside California attract Californians?

LOS ANGELES — Remember how at one point it was kind of cool when a guide on a college tour walked backward? That day is gone, said four counselors last week at a session at the annual meeting of the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers. The problem is that everyone does it, so it doesn’t stand out to any student (or parent) anymore, at least after visiting a second college with such guides.

The counselors were gathered to provide insights into what high school students (in this case from California high schools with high college-going rates) want when they are interacting with college admissions officers. The counselors acknowledged that students are fickle.

“Our business is designed around the predictability of 18-year-olds,” said Jeff Morrow of Oaks Christian School, who added that 18-year-olds are anything but predictable. But that said, they shared what they are hearing about student reactions.

While students are over being impressed by guides walking backward, they pay a lot of attention to the guides themselves, and college officials were urged to pay close attention to the quality of tours. Several counselors said that when they are being debriefed by students about their college trips, students will reference the name of the guide before the name of the college — and connecting with that person seems to be something high school students expect. This may be unfair to colleges, but institutions need to know that they are being judged by their tour guides, the counselors said.

Students want the information they receive to be customized and not just a general pitch, the counselors said. They criticized those colleges that send out representatives to high schools who just give the same talk over and over again.

“Sometimes the college just dives in to the general spiel” without customizing by asking students what they want to know about, said Casey Rowley, a counselor at Beverly Hills High School.

Colleges that are prestigious “assume that students will know things that they don’t know,” said Rebecca Heller of the Viewpoint School. While students may know that a given college is prestigious, they may not know much more, she said.

Morrow said that college recruiters frequently fail to meet the needs of all of the students who come to their visits. Morrow’s school opens these visits to sophomores, juniors and seniors — who are at very different stages of their college searches, and college representatives don’t seem aware of this all the time, he said. The sophomores “don’t always know what to ask,” so a college rep needs to provide some structure.

While the counselors were critical of some of the visits their high schools receive, they all said that they see better interactions in these small group meetings than at college fairs, where applicants and college reps are engaged in something that resembles speed dating.

“Everyone ends up looking the same. The brochures are all the same,” said Evelyn Alexander of Magellan College Counseling.

Several questions from the audience (primarily made up of college admissions officials) indicated that they agreed that there was relatively little value in many college fairs. But they said that they feel obliged to be there, especially if colleges with which they compete for students will be present.


How to Start a Student Blog in College

By Linda Anderson


College is going to be one of the most exciting periods in your life and sharing your experience with others can help create a community between students everywhere. More and more students turn to blogging to share their college experience, give or get advice about particular fields of interest. Starting an online blog can have tremendous benefits for both your social and academic life. Plus, it can easily turn into a source of income if your content is relevant and your visitors number grow. Below are some tips to help you get started with documenting your college experience online.

Pick You Blog Name and Decide on Your Content

Before anything else, you should decide on your blog name. Think of what your content is going to be about and choose a name that is simple, yet eye-catching and related to your content. If you don’t have any ideas, it can be as simple as your name or nickname. Keep in mind that your blog name is how people will remember your website, so make sure it represents you. When choosing your content, think about the things you like to talk about the most. Is it going to be a blog about student life in general, about how you are preparing for a certain job or simply about the everyday life of a young adult? When you have your main topic decided, it will be easier to understand your readers and deliver quality content for them.

Come Up with Something New

In order for your blog to have success, you will need to come up with something new or interesting for your readers. Think about your own experience and start from there. If you are in your last years in college, think about what you wished you knew when you were a freshman. How to come with homesickness, effective study tips for exams, activities students can get involved in are all good topics for the first posts. If your college has lots of foreign students, try writing a few posts in their main language also. You can either accept guest posts from them, or look online for translation services. This will gain you more foreign visitors and help spread the word about your blog.

Keep a Posting Schedule

While in the beginning it is ok to write whenever you get the time, after a while it is recommended you start working out a schedule to keep your readers interested. Posting at least four times a week is the best way to make sure your readers check your website constantly. If you have some sort of theme for your posts, try uploading on the same day every week. For example, if you like to post about social activities, schedule a day at the end of the week to post about what happened on campus that week and what are the upcoming events of the next week.

Promote Your Blog

There is no point in going to the trouble of setting up a blog is nobody is going to hear about it. Use social media to promote your blog, by linking it to your accounts. Ask people to share your posts or contact other bloggers for collaborations. There are multiple tools that can help you attract visitors and increase traffic, so take some time to do your research and take advantage of them.

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.


Help For Substance Abuse And Mental Health At College


A growing number of students seem to battle mental struggles than ever before. While many students reach for professional help in their struggles, most of them seem to take the issue into their own hands. This leads to major health and safety concerns, as many rely on illicit substances or alcohol to overcome their anxiety and depression, sometimes even more severe mental struggles. Substance abuse and mental struggles seem to be interconnected in all cases and college students aren’t an exception. Below is more information on the topic as well as some tips for diagnosing the issue in time.

The link between substance abuse and mental health issues

It has been observed that most students that use illicit substances or show alcohol-related issues tend to have mental concerns associated. When people choose not to treat their mental health problems, their substance abuse symptoms tend to aggravate. The same goes for drug and alcohol abuse, when the abuse problem takes over the student’s life the mental problems tend to accentuate. Co-occurring of mental health problems and substance abuse are more common in college students than many people want to believe. Studies show that around 40% of college students are dealing with mental disorders combined with substance abuse.

Do mental health problems cause substance abuse or the other way around?

Mental health issues and substance abuse are closely linked, but it does not mean that one directly causes the other. However, most of the times substance abuse is a way of dealing with the symptoms of a mental health disorder. The persons who are experiencing symptoms of an undiagnosed mental health problem use alcohol and drugs to cope with them and to change their mood, even if it is for a short period. The bad news is that if young people abuse substances, they can experience side effects that lead to a boost of the symptoms they have initially experienced.

In addition, substance abuse can increase the possibility of experiencing mental health problems. Most of the times the environment, and the interplay of genetics are the causes of mental disorders. If you are at risk of developing a mental health problem, consuming drugs and alcohol can push you over the edge.

How can you recognise the symptoms of mental disorders and co-occurring substance abuse?

Students find difficult to determine themselves if they are experiencing a substance abuse problem and a co-occurring mental disorder. It takes time and research to understand what a substance abuse problem is and what is a mental health issue. Once diagnosed the solution is simple, you need to enter rehab. Students should check their insurance for rehab to see what services it covers. Your priority should be to get the most of your insurance benefits so to access professional treatment for your mental health and addiction.

Coming back to the signs that tell you that you have a co-occurring disorder:

  • You are using alcohol or drugs to cope with unpleasant feelings of memories
  • You feel anxious or depressed when you are sober
  • You have a history of abuse or unresolved trauma
  • You have noticed a connection between your substance use and your mental state, for example, you get anxious when you use drugs.

A bit about myself:

Emma Bonney is a successful blogger whose articles aim to help readers with self-development, Women’s Empowerment, Education, entrepreneurship and content management.

How to Become a Professor and Inspire Other College Students


Do you have that one professor you always think of? Maybe you wrote him or her a “thank you” card upon graduation. Maybe they inspired you to chase after your dreams or pushed you into the career you now love. Fantastic instructors have a way of sticking with students throughout their whole life.

If you’ve been inspired like that in the past, you may want to become a noteworthy professor yourself. But what does that entail? How can you become a source of inspiration for countless young learners? Today, we’ll discuss how to do just that.

How to Start a Career as a College Professor

In order to be a full-time professor in a college or university (as opposed to an adjunct professor), you’ll need a doctoral degree in the teaching field of your choice. While you may find a random teaching job at a college that has lower requirements, having a Ph.D. is the norm.

Doctoral programs can take up to seven years to complete, and you’ll have to have a bachelor’s degree as well as a master’s degree to get accepted. However, there are some Ph.D. programs that will accept you with just a bachelor’s degree and require you to get a master’s degree during the program.

Qualities of a Great College Professor

Many effective college professors share some of these outstanding qualities:


  • Adaptability: As a college professor, you’re going to have a heavy workload, and you’ll get overwhelmed at times. You’ll also be thrown into projects that you know little about – on top of being an educator, you may have to be a fundraiser, volunteer, or mentor. The best professors are open to new challenges and are highly adaptable.
  • Resourcefulness: Being able to handle a lot of pressure also requires being resourceful. It’s likely that the college you work for will have a lot of resources that you can tap into. Be the type of professor who actively seeks out these resources and finds new, helpful ways to handle challenges.
  • Goal-Oriented: In order to be a stellar professor, you have to continue working toward your goal, no matter how much you’re asked to do or how unprepared you are. And that goal should always be focused on providing students with an excellent education.


At the end of the day, your college or university exists for the students. Everything you do should be to better serve them.

How to Stand Out in the Field

Even if you have a Ph.D. from a fantastic school, don’t assume you’ll get a great job upon graduation. There are a number of things you can do to help you stand out in the field and beat the competition:


  • Sign Up for a Job Shadow: To get a better feel for the job, ask one or two of your professors if you can shadow them for a couple of days. What you picture may be a lot different from the reality, and the experience will give you a better idea of whether this is the right route for you.
  • Gain Teaching Experience: During your time as a graduate student, talk to your professors about the opportunity to lead a class or instruct students. In some courses, you’ll be required to do this, but other times you may have to volunteer.
  • Apply for a Teaching Assistant Role: Some colleges hire teaching assistants. In this position, you’ll help the professor with tasks like preparing assignments, leading class discussions, and grading papers.
  • Participate in Internships: As a college professor, part of your job is going to be conducting research. A lot of job applicants are going to have teaching experience, but not many will have researching experience. Seek out internships with professors who will let you assist with research.

Sometimes, these opportunities will be requirements of the program. Other times, you’ll have to take the initiative to gain your own experience. The latter is especially true if you’re going into an emerging field, like becoming a public health professor, one of the top 5 public health jobs. You’ll have the challenge of finding unique ways to stand out in a new field.

How to Be an Inspirational College Professor

There are good college professors, and then there are great professors — the ones that you remember your whole life and who have impacted your future. If you want to be an inspirational, memorable professor, here’s what you’ll need to do:


  • Treat Your Students as Friends: That doesn’t mean go out to the bar with them at night; it just means to treat them like your peers and not like children. Tell them about your life, share stories they’ll find motivating or amusing, and show interest in how they’re doing beyond school work.
  • Stray From the Norm: The most inspiring college professors do something different. Yes, you can dress up in crazy costumes to help drive teaching lessons home, but even something as simple as walking around the classroom instead of staying behind a podium or desk is a big difference from most professors. Be humorous and lighthearted. Be flexible when it comes to what students can do in class and be open-minded to new opinions, even if you don’t share them.
  • Expect Normalcy: The best college professors — the ones who students respect and pay attention to — understand when a student is simply having a human moment. If you end up scolding them for over-sleeping one morning, the only takeaway from the semester will be that you were nasty to them.

There’s no one way to be a great professor, and even the most-loved professors have their off days. Nobody’s perfect. Continually strive to be better and to treat your students the way you wanted to be treated in college.

If you tell your college professors that you’re thinking of following in their footsteps, be prepared for an onslaught of advice. While you don’t want to ignore their advice (they have, after all, experienced the career in ways that you haven’t), you don’t need to take every single thing they say as gospel. Every professor is going to have a unique experience, and yours will depend on specifics like the type of university that hires you and the subject you teach.

Bio: Jori Hamilton is a writer from the Northwest who is passionate about education and social justice issues. You can follow her on Twitter @HamiltonJori


6 Best Soft Skills to Highlight In A Job Interview

Jane Hurst

When you are going into an interview you normally practice questions and answers related to your formal education, job history, and skills. This is a part of the interview. Nowadays employers are looking for more than your education and formal job experience. They are looking for soft skills. Here are the six best soft skills to highlight in an interview.


  1. Time management – Showing your future employer that you are capable of time management is a great way to help you land the job. Employers are looking for employees that can get their work done without stress and on time. Demonstrating great time management skills in your interview will be a plus to the hiring manager. You will want to stress time organization and delegation of tasks.
  2. Communication – The best candidate for any position is one who is able to communicate with others in general speaking and writing. You need to show that you have both interpersonal communication skills and small group communication skills. You need to be able to get your ideas across in both writing and in person. Be able to be concise and direct. Do not ramble when you are answering your interview questions.
  3. Positivity – When you are being interviewed you want to show a positive attitude. Show the interviewer that you are someone they want working with them by creating a positive image of yourself and your past experiences. Be sure to smile during the interview and stress how your positivity helped other coworkers at your previous job. You do not want to come across as boring during your interview. Smile and let them know you have a positive outlook on life.
  4. Adaptability – People who are able to adapt to different situations are more likely to be hired. While you may be asked about this during your interview, you can also demonstrate adaptability in your resume. You can use online resume examples to show how to incorporate adaptability into your resume. You can talk about a time you had to do multiple tasks which had the same deadline. You can also show how many different jobs you were expected to take care of at one of your other positions. Being adaptable in today’s world is a soft skill that will be influential in your hiring decision.
  5. Conflict resolution – Being able to handle conflict in the workplace is a skill that employers are looking for. If you have handled conflict in a previous job, let the interviewer know what happened and how you dealt with the conflict. Employers want you to be able to deal with conflict in the workplace. Let them know you are mature enough to handle conflict at work.
  6. Teamwork – You need to be able to work well with others to get a job in today’s market. Right now the workforce is compiled of many different people with a multitude of backgrounds. Being able to work with people will be a bonus when it comes time for the interviewer to make a hiring decision. The goal of a business is to work together to create a product that their customers need. The only way to reach this goal is though teamwork.

Soft skills are more important now in businesses. If you have the degree or the experience but lack soft skills you will not have as good a chance at being hired. Let the interviewer know that you are part of the team and you will work your best with others to produce whatever the employer wants. The more flexible you are the better your chances of getting a job.


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.