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Why get a College Education?

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This is a question that many young people (and perhaps a few adults) have asked themselves. They look at the cost of college, the commitment in terms of time, and they consider the debt to the bank that they will have after graduating. And then they think of all those famous people who didn’t go to college or who dropped out. John D. Rockefeller, Simon Cowell, Abraham Lincoln, Michael J. Fox, Sean Connery and Walt Disney all have in common that they never went to college, and yet they all became incredibly successful in what they did. So why bother with college or community college?

One of the simplest answers is that I am certain that all the above people mentioned advised their children to go to college. Just because a person triumphed against the odds without a college education doesn’t mean that they are anti the idea of college. They are more than likely smart enough to realize the importance of education and the advantages that it brings.

Learning more than a subject

When you go to college or community college you learn far more than information about a particular subject; you learn mental skills that employers will value. You learn to gist ideas, to understand the principles of an argument, you learn to debate, you learn to analyze. With these skills you are equipped to deal with information. That is vital in the present age of information that we now live in.

Going to college you also learn to get on with people. For those who live away from home it is a time to learn how to be independent. You learn to manage your own finances, to do your own grocery shopping and to cook your own food. If you share accommodation with others you learn how to cooperate and to be diplomatic at times.

Entering the right circles

Those who go to college get to meet other people in higher education. Some of these people will go on to hold important positions in society. Innumerable people who attended college have benefitted from the friendships they have made at college. These contacts serve them well later on.

In Britain the Bullingdon Club and in America the Skull and Bones Club have been elite clubs for college students that have produced many Prime Ministers and Presidents. I’m not saying that if you go to Yale or Oxford you will end up leading your country but it is no accident that these leaders got where they did. They had the help of the contacts they made at college.

College is fun

This last point is important. For those who think studying is a drag, it should be remembered that most college students remember the great times they had college. They remember the parties, the foolish pranks, the love affairs, the politics, the way that life seemed fuller, richer and full of possibility.

Compare that to how many young and unemployed people feel who don’t get a college education.

Really, you should enroll. Community college is a good way to get on the educational ladder if money and/or academic ability is an issue.

Considering a Community College Education?

You’ve decided that you want to follow your university studies then you are most likely full of questions concerning majors and degrees. The disparity is that faculty refers to an institute of college education which offers a degree while universities also offer graduate levels such as PhDs and Master degrees. Colleges refer to Community Colleges, which offer and permit pupils to take classes that are general before proceeding to 4 year universities and colleges. Bachelor degrees are 4 year levels that focus on 1 or 2 academic fields. Bachelor degrees are often divided in two groups: B.A. And Bachelor’s degree.

B.A. covers the arts and most of the degrees classified as the humanities, while Bachelor’s degrees concentrate on business, engineering, technology and science subjects amounts usually focus on arts and humanities fields. To be able to acquire a bachelor degree, you must select a major. There is A major the discipline that you want to study. A minor is an academic discipline you’ll be able to study in addition. Colleges and universities in america offer a wide selection of minors and majors you may pick. Probably the most crucial differences in between the US college education system and people from other nations is that students in the United States must take a wide range of courses as well as their major courses.

Although college libraries are an important part of life, you should also consider the technology resources in assessing a college or University.   It’s important to visit the college if you can, instead of relying on those glossy sales videos or brochures which most distribute.

Students will need to study English, Math, Science, Social Studies and Humanities no matter their major and minor subjects. Master degree levels are levels, which last more than 2 years as a minimum. Several pupils change the minds about the career after graduating and go on to receive a master’s degree from the arena of their choice. Many liberal arts graduates select to go for a Master of Business Administration following a few years of experience in the business world, and some mathematics and engineering graduates select to go for master levels in pedagogy after acquiring a passion for that the education world.

Master degrees not only enable you to change careers, they also provide you many benefits including more field experience, a wider professional network, credibility and improved and more job opportunities.  There’s certainly a better chance of getting the very best jobs with a good masters degree.  Although many people do work their way up and indeed some of the top media executives in places like the BBC and large national newspapers don’t have this level of formal education.

PhD and doctoral degrees prepare pupils for careers in research and academia. Put simply, these degrees basically concentrate on preparing college professors and professional researchers. Students generally attend classes for the first few years and concentrate on preparing the thesis for the remaining years. A master degree isn’t a requirement of the PhD, but a lot of universities prefer students who’ve completed graduate studies in their field.

Novel Ways for Boosting Literacy and Numeracy

When we think of traditional measures of boosting the levels of literacy to a given group, all too often we tend to imagine classrooms full of willing students eager to improve their life skills.  In many instances, particular in the less developed world this is often the case – where education is seen as a luxury, students are likely to seize the opportunities when given.

But this situation doesn’t fit all circumstances and improving the general level of literacy often requires more options.  In the UK at the moment, the Arts Council of Wales is proposing a very similar argument in response to pressures on their budgets.  They have produced a report demonstrating how the arts can be a powerful enabler in driving up standards of literacy especially in deprived communities.

It is certainly true that in times of austerity, art and the creative areas tend to get neglected.  However this isn’t the first report which has suggested that teaching in and using the arts can drive up academic standards all across the curriculum.   It’s important for students to develop creative skills that can benefit them in other academic areas.  It is a vital part of development and a skill that is just as useful to scientists as it is to musicians and artists.

It doesn’t need to be expensive either, arts is accessible throughout many different mediums. The internet has opened up tremendous possibilities including in the study of art such as drama, music and literature.  The world’s best galleries and museums are all accessible online to some extent.  Same for the media – you can access UK Television through proxies anywhere in the world – the BBC is well known for producing quality art programmes.

It is obviously tempting to tackle literacy and numeracy directly however other areas of study can bring huge benefits in these areas.  Reducing costs is obviously necessary in many schools and colleges but that doesn’t mean we should reduce choice.

Further Reading:

Accessing BBC and UK TV using Proxies – http://www.iplayerabroad.com/using-a-proxy-to-watch-the-bbc/

Is Technology a Danger to Literacy?

How often do you write nowdays?  I don’t mean type an email or send an SMS message, but actually write something down with pen and paper. If you’re anything like me, then not very often – in fact last week when I was forced to write out a long shopping list using pen and paper I started to get writers cramp very quickly indeed!!

Computers and technology in general, have started to change the way we do things. Our children probably write far less than we do, although as adults we almost certainly type more than we write.

There are other areas that our lifestyles are starting to remove from our lives.  I don’t know if there’s been any studies but I always wonder if we even talk less to each other.  Certainly I make far less phone calls than I used to, a quick SMS has usually replaced the brief chat.

In fact slowly, technology is changing more aspects of our lives.   I wonder how many of us get our news in the same way as we did a decade ago.  I was an avid newspaper reader yet know I buy perhaps one a month.  The internet has virtually everything online somewhere,  and if you have the ability like this online IP changer to avoid the various blocks and filters then there’s even more choice!

Will this affect our overall levels of literacy? There are concerns that perhaps penmanship may be affected, how many people will be attracted to the beautiful art of calligraphy in these push button days.  If you see the way our children spell on forums and message boards that may be a cause for concern,

In fact most electronic devices will often correct our poor spelling almost automatically.  Corrective text or whatever it is called will soon ensure that even the most hopeless speller will be word perfect – does that mean they can spell now or simply that it doesn’t really matter.   The concerns are likely to be restricted to the older generations, the youngsters who have grown up with this way of life are unlikely to be concerned.  However there has to be some worries that future generations may have some literacy problems if they become over dependent on technology.

Just as the appearance of calculators on every device has certainly impacted our mental arithmetical skills, letting computers corrector take control of our spelling has certain implications. Or perhaps I’m just worrying for no reason about technology. After all it enables me to watch my favorite British TV in the US without travelling across the Atlantic, and is currently helping me to learn Spanish through an application on my iPad!

 

Everyday Research Changes Lives

There is no doubt there can be a certain glamour to being a scientist, but that very much depends on where and what you research.  For every scientist appearing on the media every week in CERN there’s thousands of others quietly going about their own research.

Due no doubt partly to the media people are apt to think of scientists as busy trying to push the boundaries of our knowledge by doing such things as accelerating sub-atomic particles around a big tunnel in Switzerland or searching for microbes in the Arctic Circle. When the average person imagines a scientific genius he or she normally thinks of Einstein. Often we think the great minds are mavericks like Tesla that were misunderstood and ridiculed during their lives.

This is all partly true. However, the majority of research in engineering and science is not about radical new paradigms and ways of doing things. Rather it is about improving on existing systems; on finding new sources for resources; of making resources go farther.

Science is now reaching our TV screens more than ever and media companies are latching on to this.  Many of the BBC’s most successful programmes are based on science and technology and most of them sell well after broadcast too.  It’s worth checking out their site regularly and you can even access the BBC when abroad just follow this advice.

One such example is the case of the electrical motor. With Edison’s DC current it was found that a drive shaft would not do a 360 degree rotation because current had to be turned on and off around the casing of the shaft to create the right electromagentic conditions for movement. The solution was braided copper brushes that made contact as the drive shaft rotated thus transferring current.

It was found that the solution could be greatly improved by using carbon blocks instead. Graphite has a higher electrical resistance and allows for a more regular transference of power as the shaft rotates. Although not brush like anymore these pieces of carbon were still called ’brushes’.

Much work has been done using different compositions of graphite in carbon brushes. Also in adding metalic elements to the carbon brushes. These varying compositions all affect the performance of different types of engine. Thus, today we are able to manufacture carbon brushes that fit a multitude of engines. Research is now underway to make liquid metal brushes.

It is important that scientists and engineers work on improving our exisiting technologies as well as trying to build completely new types of technology. Perhaps, the media needs to do more in changing stereotypes to address this dual need.

Further research

News Item – BBC Block VPN Connection.

Community College can be a Path to Success

Sometimes people get stuck in a rut especially with education.  It’s so easy to follow the crowd and tread the familiar path along to University colleges.  Of course, there’s a little more prestige but with that lots more expense. More importantly, often the strict academic courses do little to provide their students with skills to enter the world of work.  Your degree in Italian Romantic Poetry could be incredibly difficult and rewarding but what does it offer a potential employer?

 

Can there be a community college in your region? If that’s the case, you might not understand exactly how blessed you’re. Not only are community schools a wonderful place to begin your school instruction and prepare for transfer to a college, they’re excellent resources for the ones that are looking to boost their own skills and knowledge of work and business interests.

The selection of courses and range of topics available in the community college level provide something of use to nearly anyone. And anyone who thinks that the quality of learning accessible is anything less than topnotch should take a second look.  Also thanks to some impressive investment in the community college network, there are some great facilities available too.  I have sat in a state of the art computer lab watching lectures broadcast from Oxford University in England using a proxy set up to the UK.

With attention being piled on 4-year universities since the brass ring for all those in pursuit of a university education, community schools are becoming a bad rap. Apart from being a place for working professionals and other non-academics to brush up or gain needed knowledge to compete effectively, community schools, as an instance, are responsible for turning out several nursing professionals in the united states.

Instead of programs at universities in which the proportion of teachers to pupils is less positive, the nursing applications in many of states’ community schools are equally, if not more, ambitious.

Bilingual pupils per educator also frequently means a larger quantity of direct clinical experience for nursing students. More hands on experience, even in a two-year associates program can signify a nursing professional more experienced in patient care than a graduate of a 4-year bachelor’s program.

This not to say that a Bachelor’s degree isn’t needed as it usually is for all but administrative positions. The point is that, the value of those initial couple of decades of training at the community college level, is often taken for granted.

Having teachers that are focused on teaching is another highly valuable benefit to starting out in a two-year community program. Taking nothing away from teachers and professors at the university level, there’s a benefit to a student whose teacher isn’t dividing time between teaching, publishing and research. When focused on the student’s achievement exclusively, the extra attention can’t help but benefit the student.

For college bound students who did not do as well in high school as they could have, community college may be a pivotal transition in their college career. The exact same can be said for people who have taken a lengthy sabbatical from upper learning. Classes in giant lecture halls filled with 400 pupils do not exist. Neither does the extremely limited number of teacher/student interaction that’s the norm at many universities.

For the ones that choose not to continue past the two-year associates program, they have the extra plus of those 2 decades and the improved earning potential provided over those with no college experience. And it’s interesting to remember that studies have revealed that people who have completed an associates program at community college and then gone on to a 4-year college are more likely to finish those four decades successfully than a student who went directly to a university.

For those considering an initial stint at a community college, there are some considerations if you’re planning on later attending a bachelor’s program. Make confident the school you anticipate transferring to accepts transfer credits for the particular courses you will take at the 2-year school. Speaking with both the university and a counselor at the community college should help iron out such particulars.

Not every necessary course will be available at each community college. And a few courses aren’t offered every semester or quarter. Plan well in advance to prevent the need to make up classes later.

As wonderful as the chance of community college is (or university for that matter), a student only gets out of it what they put in. However, for people who have the desire to learn, the value is good.

David Sinclair

The Great Value Offered by Community Colleges

Over the years community colleges have had something of a bad press, however things are starting to change.  Just like many college systems in Europe, the Community College system is offering a real alternative to the traditional University college route.

Community schools are increasing in number and enlarging their dimensions in an attempt to accommodate more pupils. As stated by the U.S. Department of Education, there are more than three million new pupils enrolled in universities and college each year in the USA alone.  You can see these figures reported in many different locations, however it was recently cited on a BBC documentary in the UK.  You can catch the documentary on the BBC iPLayer if you’re quick – here’s a link to a free trial.

That’s a good indication for schooling, but it’s also a large drain on the machine and is currently turning into a credit difficulty with these new student loans being accepted every year.

How can a community school help you attain your objectives? It’s very easy if you examine the class of a normal student in the present college system. Community schools usually cost less than a country college, and of course a private college. The majority of the classes a student takes in their initial couple of years in most schools are introduction degree classes.

It might not matter where they’re accepted, so why don’t you take them in a community college near home and save the cash for after years at a state school or college.  You can spend that money on other things, most people enjoy Netflix for instance.

Some Benefits of Community Colleges:

1. Complete year tuition and fees is averaging around $3,000 per year as of 2011. Compare this to the normal state school at $6,500 and private schools at $ 30,000 plus annually. Obtaining a few years of courses for under the price of a single year at a state school provides great price. Just be certain your course credits can be transferred to the state or private school you’re interested in.

2. If you’re not certain of your preferred career path or college major, a community college can give you the essential time to explore new courses and careers. Additionally, it permits a student to earn the adjustment to college studying and campus life while keeping costs at a minimum.

3. Community colleges now offer a great collection of athletic programs, some with athletic facilities that are far better than many small private colleges. Their theater, art, intramural activities and school clubs are expanding every year and rival many state universities for diversity.

4. Community colleges are currently offering campus housing since they’re finding their students are no longer just commuting to school, they might be coming from throughout the state. And while commuter students remain the majority on community college campuses, live in students are growing rapidly.

5. Commuting to a neighborhood school can spend less. Many students realize that they enjoy the campus life, but prefer to sleep in their very own bed and revel in the family cooking. For these students the community college is an excellent stepping stone on their way to a four-year college as soon as they finish their initial couple of decades.

6. Upon graduation from their community college, most student have some choices. They finally have a two-year degree or an associates degree in some thing. They could opt to go straight to a four-year college and transfer their credits. This would permit them to enter as a junior and finish their bachelors degree at a private or state school.

7. With their associated degree in hand, they may opt to go into the workforce and see what career opportunities develop. Many students have taken this course and found a wonderful career that enabled them to make a fantastic living and potentially take extra courses during the night or using the financial aid of the firm they work for. They can then graduate with their bachelors degree while earning a paycheck and gaining some valuable job experience.

Summary:

Unfortunately, too many students enter a costly private or state university with no clue what they’re trying for, other than they were told they “had to go to college”. Maybe they weren’t mature enough to handle it or were just “burned out” after high school. Some end up figuring it out as they go, but a lot of these students just party and go wild until either they drop out or get kicked out.

At $3,000 per year, it’s costly and unfortunate. But at $30,000 per year it’s painful lesson for both the student and their parents. A community college provides an affordable means to help these students make their adjustments. They get a feel for what to expect and learn the ropes as they go, but they do it without going heavily into debt or costing their family a bundle.

Technology Aids Language Learning

When I went to school, language learning could be a pretty dull affair.  Much of it was repetition, the phrase ‘ecoutez et repeatez’ is still etched in my mind some three decades later. The technique may be effective but it’s unlikely to inspire children to learn a foreign language. It’s unfortunate as numerous studies show that learning a foreign language is also beneficial to all other areas of learning helping to develop the brain. There are some much more interesting ways to learn languages now using multimedia and the internet for example.

There are some wonderful interactive DVDs around which can help you learn pretty much any language under the sun. They are easy to use and useful because you can even include pronunciation guides to help with mastering the language. Many commercial courses are available which encompass hundreds of different languages not just the usual French and German which are normally covered. If the internet is available there are even more options.

Many of the Worlds best Universities have started to put their college courses online, including many language departments. You can even register and get feedback although if using the free options this is likely to be fairly limited. The chance to study different languages which may be not supported in your local colleges though is an exciting prospect. However even if you use traditional books and audio course there are ways you can supplement your learning using the internet.

For example, most large media stations across the world broadcast over the internet and it’s a perfect way to hear your language spoken by native speakers. For example for anyone learning Italian, should check out some of the Italian TV stations like RAI. You can access them from anywhere in the world – although this video shows the method required for watching RAI Player abroad –

So instead of watching dry vocabulary films and clips, you can actually hear Italian being dubbed onto the latest soap or an episode of the Simpsons. There are many English Language shows which are dubbed and you can even watch English spoken with Italian subtitles to help you read through as well. The method works with all different media sites and whatever language you’re learning you can usually find a large media site or TV show broadcasting in that language. You have to just ensure that any VPN service you use has a server in the country you require.

Educational Dilemma – Is Censorship OK?

It’s a difficult problem facing most educational centers who allow access to the internet – how much should be restricted?   In an ideal world of course it would be great to basically allow unfettered access but unfortunately some students (and teachers) would be bound to abuse this situation.  Fortunately most methods now allow a fairly granular set of policies to be applied to a college or school internet connection.

The basis of most filtering technologies are white lists and black lists.  These contain sites which should always be allowed through and those on the black lists which will always be blocked.   Groups of sites can be applied to these filters – for example you can put all pornography sites in the black list so that they can never be accessed.  You should also include the sites which can be used to bypass the filters in the black list – such as ninja proxy and VPN sites used commonly for access media sites like BBC iPlayer in France.  It is essential you block these sites or installing the filter is pointless.

Alongside the technology should also be a set of procedures and policies.  Arguably the most  important is the ‘Acceptable Use Policy’ which tells all users of the network what they can and can’t do.  There is no need to be too specific in this document otherwise it could get rather large.   The document should however clearly state what is not acceptable when using the educational network.   It is also important to state that all activities are logged by the owners – which in itself should deter inappropriate use.

With these basic restrictions in place, there is no real need to implement any heavy handed censorship policies.  In fact these can sometimes be counter productive with users either not using the network or discovering ways to bypass any filters you implement.  If a network is heavily filtered it will create extra support requests when legitimate sites are blocked by accident

Further Reading: – http://www.uktv-online.com/bbc-iplayer-on-the-ipad-abroad/

Useful Tips on Starting Your First Research Project

It ought to be the rewarding and most satisfying piece of work – a student’s first research project. More times than not, yet; preparation, carrying out and writing up research, be it job, dissertation or a thesis becomes a wellspring of great anxiety and worry for a lot of pupils.

Within my ability as a research manager, especially bearing this particular at heart I put the following guidance notes for my pupils, which I trust you may find of some use.
Getting Started

Often the primary thing you will be requested to do would be to submit, or in minimum think about putting together a job/research proposition. Any general thoughts at this point, you have will likely be too obscure or overly comprehensive.

The great thing about putting together a project or research proposal so shortly to the method is that it’s going to make you refine your thoughts earlier as opposed to after. What follows, was made to get you considering the crucial phases that were first in the research procedure.

Phase 1: Developing a focus in just a broad area of interest.

This phase of the research procedure presumes you have an overall research notion at heart. I can not emphasise because it actually will discover finally you do and how easily your research goes.

That practicality and values should be considered in developing your focus of inquest recall.

Another good thing about narrowing your focus is when running your literature review you will possess a structured search strategy in place. It may seem obvious but having a definite idea about what to search for will save you energy plus precious time.

Most subject areas may have an established system of research, unless you happen to be studying something exceptional. In such instances you must familiarise yourself with the conventional/classic studies in the area, in addition to the research that is most up to date.   Obviously libraries are going to be essential but the internet is also a valuable source of information.  Using web sites is ok, but they should always be properly cited and you should ensure they are accurate. Often it’s useful to invest in a VPN system which can give you access to sites that are only available in specific countries.  A useful example is that you can only access BBC iPlayer from Ireland in this way, hiding your real location from the BBC web servers.

The primary strategy to show and keep your focus of inquiry will be to develop suitable research questions or hypotheses. There are not any hard and fast rules about what makes up a great research question/hypothesis. However, there is a practical guideline that you will be able to offer an obvious justification for the question/prediction being modeled.

Basically you have warrant each research question/hypothesis in turn’s inclusion and to take it. By The Way, you need to be able to offer the same reasoning for the research).

Developing research questions that are clear-cut and easy doesn’t mean you can’t undertake research that is advanced. You’ll learn should you be to the correct path if you answer these queries, and can ask yourself.

  • What am I expecting to investigate in the length of my research?
  • What’s the thinking behind the research questions/hypotheses of my study?
  • Am I able to get an extensive range of background stuff?
  • Can it be comparatively uncomplicated to gain access to my target public?
  • Am I on ethically safe ground?

The very best guidance I can provide you in the initial phases is to remember to get it right before you begin. keep it straightforward and be realistic. Recall research is a procedure, and you may be evaluated how good that procedure is undertaken by you.

Further Reading@

Smart DNS Proxy, Using the Internet for Research, Professor Williams.

 

Heading for the East

It used to be the call in the USA for young men to head West to seek fortune and adventure.  However these days they may be better advised to be heading in the opposite direction i.e. East.  The simple explanation is that economic power is slowly shifting and the powerhouses of China, Taiwan and South Korea are attracting many talented individuals.

However it can be difficult to work in such a different environment.  I was reading an article on the BBC website the other day explaining how a second year University student managed to offend the CEO on his second day of work.

“I was sitting next to the chief executive and it was a fish dinner and I took my favourite part of the fish, which is the cheek,” he says. “It turned out this is reserved for people of high rank and standing – and being an intern I needed to eat from near the rear of the fish and the bits with more bones. “I had to apologise to her the next day once one of my colleagues had pointed out what I had done, and make it clear I wasn’t questioning her authority,” he reveals.

An innocent indiscretion but it does illustrate the problems and cultural barriers that people face from the West doing business in China.  We are of course used to the flow of students who travel from the East especially to the United Kingdom and US colleges and universities.  Although it is merely a trickle so far in the other direction – studying or working in China is starting to look very impressive on any CV.

There are lots of resources to help learn the basics of tradition and etiquette in China.  You can also use proxies to access Chinese TV channels that exist online (may be blocked without a Chinese IP address).  Check the language and culture information pages on the BBC website, there are some great shows on China on the Iplayer as well at the moment.  If you’re outside the UK and can’t access this website illustrates how to watch the Iplayer abroad.  A Proxy or VPN service is well worth investing in if you travel to China to work as there are so many sites blocked and filtered by the infamous Great Firewall of China.

It’s also extremely useful for other entertainment, check out this residential VPN service which is needed if you want to access the media giant from China.