Friday, July 29, 2011

Today is

System Administrator Appreciation Day. I know I appreciate mine, especially after the hours she recently spent on my pc.  From Techland.

Hug Your IT Person

While it may not be all that well known here in the U.S., apparently it's a big deal in Russia, "where SysAdmin Day has evolved into an outdoor festival," Kekatos told Networkworld. He warns that not everyone's on board with the holiday, though, saying, "Every now and then I'll receive an email from someone saying, '[expletive] you, do your job, that's what you get a salary for, if don't like it, find a different job.'"

Looks like UM will have an off-campus center

Where Lambuth used to be.  Holding classes there this fall seems a bit ambitious, though.  From The Commercial Appeal.

The Tennessee Higher Education Commission staff is recommending approval of the acquisition of the Lambuth University campus in Jackson for use as a branch of the University of Memphis.

The recommendation now goes to the THEC board for expected approval at its summer quarterly meeting Thursday, then to a specially called meeting of the Tennessee Board of Regents on Friday.

The THEC evaluation and the approval of both higher education governing boards are required steps outlined in the state budget amendment that appropriates $5 million this year and another $6 million over the next three years to help subsidize U of M operating expenses on the Lambuth campus while enrollment gradually builds.
The steps under way in Nashville are part of a final round of state and local governmental approvals for the acquisition of the Lambuth campus in central Jackson. The Jackson City Council will vote Aug. 2 and the Madison County Commission on Aug. 4 on their parts of the deal.
Following two to three years of financial problems and declining enrollment, Lambuth closed June 30 after graduating its last class in May and several weeks of summer school. Its board of directors voted June 30 to accept a $7.9 million proposal by a coalition of local entities in Jackson to acquire the campus for transfer to the state for a U of M branch. Lambuth had $10.4 million in debt and the board voted to file a Chapter 11 bankruptcy to settle its remaining $2.5 million in obligations....

U of M officials insist they will be able to hold classes on the Lambuth campus during the upcoming fall semester, although it is likely to take some time before a full complement of university programs exist there. U of M, which already offers classes on the Jackson State Community College campus, wants to focus initially on nursing and business programs on the Lambuth campus.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Over 1300 at our Early Childhood Conference

More than 1,300 educators, parents, and community members will attend the 51st Annual Early Childhood Conference, hosted by East Tennessee State University’s Center of Excellence in Early Childhood Learning and Development and the Office of Professional Development. The event will be held July 28-30 at the Millennium Centre. A variety of programs and events will be held, including presentations such as “Rock, Rhyme, Write, and Read” by Dr. Jean Feldman; “Facilitating Toddler Self-Regulation and Problem Solving: Powerful Strategies and Promising Practices” by Dr. Lissy Gloeckler; and “Forming a Firm Foundation with Foldables®” by award-winning educator Nancy Wisker.

In addition, Ellen Galinsky, author of more than 40 books, including Mind in the Making: The Seven Essential Life Skills Every Child Needs and also the President/Co-Founder of Families and Work Institute, will give a keynote talk on Thursday, July 28, from 7-9 p.m., that answers the question: How can families and teachers give kids the life skills they need to cope in our multitasking, multimedia, modern world? The lecture is open to parents, educators, and members of the community. The first 200 participants will receive a copy of the book Mind in the Making.

Tennessee using the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation grant to spur colllege completion

The APSU app is pretty slick, and I've heard their provost sing its praises. One of its uses is help students choose which course among electives he or she should take by predicting the letter grade for each option--based on the student's previous course work and other factors. I'm sure it can predict success much better than a human advisor.

As far as the prior learning piece--meh. Our nontradtional degree programs here have had options for earning credit for prior learning for over 20 years.  It hasn't proven to be a recruiting too nor widely popular. 

To read The Tenured Radical's slant on this news release, visit her blog: Who Needs A Faculty Advisor When You Can Have An Adaptive Advising Tool?

More Tennessee undergrads may get a robo-nudge
Haslam announced Monday that the state will use a $1 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to extend an Austin Peay State University program that uses computer programs to predict students’ grades and help select their classes to three other campuses.

Haslam said Tennessee also hopes to award college credit for professional experience and to set up organizations that will advise state colleges on ways to improve graduation rates.

“Everybody that goes to a public college is subsidized,” Haslam said. “Our responsibility is to help make certain people realize there is some urgency to complete.”

The award from Gates-affiliated Complete College America is enough to pay for designing the programs, Haslam said. But to keep them going, additional funding will have to be found — most likely in the state budget.

One program has already been rolled out at Austin Peay. The Clarksville university has been using software to suggest course offerings to students based on their past grades and requirements for their majors.

The Haslam administration hopes to roll out similar programs at three more Tennessee universities. None has agreed to do so yet, but the program eventually will supplement in-person guidance within a state university system in which there are about 400 students for each advisor, officials said.

“A lot of students come to school and they know they want to major in something,” said Haslam, “but they don’t have the foresight and the planning to know what all is required to get to that end goal.”

The other two programs are still in development.

In one program, the state will development a “prior learning assessment” policy so that older students can earn credit for their job experiences, speeding their path to graduation. In the second program, the state will establish three “completion academies” to help schools improve graduation rates.

The first of these academies will be attached to Middle Tennessee State University, state officials said. The locations of the other two have not been established.

God help me I do love Top 10 lists

I'm sure there's more than ten, but this is a start.  Here's half of 's list.  Read the rest at BNET. And while I take my iPhone with me to the bathroom, I keep it my pocket are rarely use it.  Of course, when I'm in the bathroom, that's when my office phone rings...

10 Things You Should Never Do at Work
  1. Say or write anything you wouldn’t want plastered on the Yahoo home page, or in the hands of the SEC, FTC, DOJ, or IRS. You have zero expectation of privacy at work and should therefore assume that anything and everything is being recorded for all eternity and will come back to haunt you at the worst possible time. That includes emails, phone calls, even hallway or parking lot conversations.
  2. Over-apologize. We all make mistakes and it’s always good to fess up, but in business, you can go too far and actually make matters worse. If it’s a minor issue, just a quick “sorry about that” is fine. If it’s a big screw-up, apologize in private, face-to-face. Look the guy in the eye, say your piece, and be done with it. If you want confirmation, then ask, “Are we good now?” Don’t grovel, make promises you can’t keep, or anything else. Just man-up and leave it alone.
  3. Take your smartphone to the bathroom. Hopeless addiction to smartphones, needing to stay connected 24×7, and being constantly pressed for time, do not belong in a place where flushes can be heard on the other end of the line or, God forbid, the thing can drop into something wet, white, and porcelain. Leave it in your pocket and, if it rings, have the good sense not to answer.
  4. Cross swords with your boss, your boss’s boss, or any other boss. Too many of you just don’t get how civilization, organization, or the lack of either - which we affectionately call the jungle - works. You simply don’t square off with your boss or anyone in the chain of command. If you lose, you lose; if you win, you still lose. It’ll end badly and reflect badly on you no matter how it goes down. If you want to know how to deal with a bad boss, click the link.
  5. Go looking for trouble. If you’re in a bad mood or pissed off at somebody or something, walk it off or treat yourself to a nice greasy donut or something. If you go looking for trouble, however, I can almost guarantee you will find it and it won’t end well for you. Don’t pick fights, push buttons, or otherwise give anyone a hard time. It’s called acting out, it’s childish, and it’ll stunt your career, bigtime.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Washingon Monthly's community college ranking

Here's the top ten. Three of them are over the mountains in North Carolina.  Another four are in Minnesota.

Community College Rankings 2010 Washington Monthly

Saint Paul College (MN)
Hesston College (KS)
Carolinas College of Health Sciences (NC)
Mayland Community College (NC)
Itasca Community College (MN)
Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College
Leech Lake Tribal College (MN)
Alexandria Technical College (MN)
Southwestern Community College (NC)
Chippewa Valley Technical College (WI)

No public Tennessee college or university

Is on The Chronicle of Higher Education's Great Colleges to Work For in 2011.  Last year, as I recall, Walters State Community College made the list. Union University in Jackson, Tennessee was our only representative.  My buddies at Murray State University, however, should be happy.

List of All Colleges Recognized in Great Colleges 2011 - Great Colleges to Work For 2011
Union U.
Medium | 4 Year
Jackson, Tenn.

What Makes This College Great
Faculty and staff on the benefits committee at this faith-centered university suggest desirable add-ons to their plans. One benefit they already enjoy: free screenings at an annual health fair.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Smart phone etiquette

Farhad Manjoo and Emily Yoffe in Slate debate the question: Is it rude to keep your cell phone on the table during a night out with friends? Do you keep your iPhone in your pocket?

The date, please save

November 9-11, 2011
43rd Annual TACHE Conference
Park Vista Hotel
Gatlinburg, TN

Monday, July 25, 2011

New continuing educator

Oregon's Clark College names a new continuing education associate vice-president.  Sometimes these transplants from business and industry thrive at colleges.  Sometimes, not so much, as they struggle to understand the college culture. From

Clark College's new associate VP brings global experience, regional commitment
Kevin Kussman, a corporate leader in strategic planning and marketing, is the new Associate Vice President of Corporate & Continuing Education at Clark College.

Kussman came to Clark from Hewlett-Packard, where he served as manager/director of the Worldwide Imaging and Printing Group (IPG) Go-To-Market (GTM) Talent & Development organization. In that role, he led a global team that developed the talents of 6,800 employees who delivered $24 billion in revenue annually. Kussman’s group earned honors from the American Society of Training and Development (ASTD) and the ROI Institute, which supports best practices and expertise in measurement and evaluation. At Hewlett-Packard, Kussman also managed the European Consumer Sales Development Center and managed the mass merchant sales channel in the United States.
Kevin Kussman earned bachelor’s degrees in business administration and anthropology at the University of Washington. He continued his education at the University of Michigan, where he received a master’s degree in business administration (MBA).... 
Clark College Corporate & Continuing Education is the region's premier provider of classes, seminars, certificate programs and training opportunities, serving the residents and businesses of Southwest Washington. The department is dedicated to providing a variety of lifelong learning, personal enrichment and professional development training for individuals reentering the job world, moving up the corporate ladder or simply interested in acquiring a new skill.

Kussman succeeded Todd Oldham, who is now vice president for Economic Development and Innovative Workforce Services at Monroe Community College in Rochester, N.Y.

Community college students are more successful

When they take live classes.  Online courses were not associated with higher graduation rates.  The study suggests that improved course design and better trained teachers might help improve completion rates.  I doubt that these results would be any different for university students, however. From The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Community-College Students Perform Worse Online Than Face to Face
Community-college students enrolled in online courses fail and drop out more often than those whose coursework is classroom-based, according to a new study released by the Community College Research Center at the Teachers College at Columbia University.

The study, which followed the enrollment history of 51,000 community-college students in Washington State between 2004 and 2009, found an eight percentage-point gap in completion rates between traditional and online courses. Although students who enrolled in online courses tended to have stronger academic preparation and come from higher income brackets than the community-college population on the whole, researchers found that students who took online classes early in their college careers were more likely to drop out than those who took only face-to-face courses. Among students who took any courses online, those with the most Web-based credits were the least likely to graduate or transfer to a four-year institution.

"Online courses are a vital piece of the postsecondary puzzle," said Shanna S. Jaggars, co-author of the study. "There are a lot of nontraditional students who would find it very difficult to attend and complete college without the flexibility they offer, but at the same time colleges need to be careful to make sure these courses aren't just thrown together and that they are effectively serving students."

Tales of the non-traditional

This is no longer all that unusual.  We've had several military students complete their degrees while on active duty.  This tale is from

College Anytime, Anywhere -- Even in Afghanistan
For every great reason people have for returning to school to finish their college degrees, their busy lives seem to offer up a discouraging excuse. While adult students often have many more family and career responsibilities than their younger counterparts do, the good news is that even the busiest of people are finding success at going back to school -- and that includes men and women in the military.

As if going back to school weren't already overwhelming, a growing number of men and women are combining a degree program with active duty, sometimes stationed in places like the corners of Iraq and Afghanistan -- where it's difficult to envision there ever being a chalkboard, let alone an Internet connection. It wasn't easy for Sgt. Daniel Staggs of the U.S. Air Force, but his college degree is proof that it can be done. A recent Ashford University graduate who earned his bachelor's degree in social and criminal justice online while stationed in Afghanistan, Staggs says that it's all in the preparation.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Redneck retirement system

The lottery rebounds.  From The Tennessean.

Tennessee lottery takes in more than $1 billion
The Tennessee Education Lottery Corp. released record-breaking year-end results Monday with nearly $300 million going to education in the state this year.

The lottery also reports $1.19 billion in total sales, a 4.2 percent increase over the previous year.
Since ticket sales began in January 2004, the lottery has given $2.07 billion to education.
Total sales have reached $7.8 billion. 
Since lottery-funded education programs began, including the well-known HOPE Scholarship, they have been expanded to include 14 programs that include 11 scholarships and grants for Tennessee students seeking assistance with higher education. 
More than 100,000 students received awards to higher education institutions in the state during the past academic year alone, according to the Tennessee Student Assistance Corp., the agency that oversees lottery-funded programs.

Lottery funds are also used to support other education-related initiatives, such as after-school programs and an ongoing project to make schools more energy-efficient.

Take this job and shove it

While this story is centered on Missouri, the same concerns seem to trending nationwide.  The head lies uneasy, I'm afraid.  From

Does anyone want to be chancellor anymore?

Someone needs to hang a bunch of "help wanted" signs outside the offices of a half dozen or so local university presidents and chancellors.

Following a spate of vacancies — brought on by illness, change of heart, scandal and retirement — several of the region's top schools find themselves searching for leaders just as higher education struggles through one of the worst economic periods in recent history.

Insiders and search consultants say there's no reason to think this area is suffering more than others in terms of leadership loss. But they also say no one should be surprised to see campus chiefs bowing out — even those relatively new to the job.

In the best of times, these are demanding posts, requiring enormous time commitments. But today's presidents and chancellors also find themselves trying to balance tight budgets, while facing the scrutiny of parents, students, faculty, alumni and politicians.

"You build up a lot of antagonism after a few years. It gets harder and harder to deal with it," said Michael Baer, a search consultant with Washington-based Isaacson, Miller. "It's a much more difficult position than it used to be."

It's difficult to say how many schools nationwide are searching for new presidents. But there are reasons to believe the number is growing.

Best party schools

Campus Grotto reveals its expanded list of the nation's best party schools.  The only Tennessee institution is UT, which comes in last.  The old alma mater, Iowa, is ranked above it.  I'm not sure how scientific the selection process was, however...

Parties can be one of the best things about college. Many colleges don't like to be labeled as a party school, so here's what they don't want you to know. Rather than making a limited list of the Top 10 party schools, we have included all colleges that are the biggest partiers.

What are you complaining about?

You got your money?  Things like this are why at least one prominent continuing educator left Illinois (and the Midwest) for green pastures. That and the fact that providers turned down his state health insurance because they weren't sure that they would be paid...
From The News-Gazette

Parkland gets promised state money after 20 years
Parkland College has finally received money, $24 million, first promised to it 20 years ago to pay for projects that will allow it to register more students.

President Tom Ramage said capital appropriations of $15.44 million for the Student Services addition and $9.18 million for its already-started Applied Technology addition came through at the same time that Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon visited Thursday to hear from students, parents and staff at a roundtable.

"These requests go back about 20 years," Ramage said. "We had some of the money, but on these two projects, the state matches 75 percent of costs."

The Applied Technology addition is expected to be finished in the spring of 2012 and Student Services in December 2013.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

ETSU Centennial Celebration this afternoon

New signage across State of Franklin Street.  Speaking at the event were ETSU President Dr. Paul Stanton, ETSU COO Dr. Wilsie Bishop, and Johnson City Mayor Dr. Jeff Banyas (all pictured below).

It's so hot

You have to put water in the refrigerator to bring it to a boil.  Ba-doom Pshh.


After ditching ideas for bake sales and lemonade stands, LSU decides to generate funds through beer.  Do they have their beer goggles? From The Advocate.

LSU must grow and become more entrepreneurial as it reduces its reliance on state funding, LSU Chancellor Michael Martin said Tuesday.

Martin discussed “The Future of the Flagship” at LSU’s Breakfast to Business speaking series at Café Américain on Jefferson Highway.

“We have to reduce the dependency on state appropriations,” Martin said. In addition to increasing tuition, LSU is planning to brew its own beer, he said.

So I sent him to ask of the Owl if he's there

How to loosen a jar from the nose of a bear--Kenny Loggins, House at Pooh Corner.  I hope the other bears didn't make fun of him. From

Bear finally gets relief after 3 weeks with head in a jar
A black bear that spent three weeks roaming Cocke County with a large plastic jar stuck over its head has been released in the Cherokee National Forest 85 pounds lighter but otherwise unharmed.
The male bear's predicament was first reported June 28 when an employee of Newport Utilities spotted the bear near the Newport water plant. Wildlife officials believe the bear's head got stuck in the large plastic jar while it was foraging in garbage.
The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency responded the next day but could not locate the animal. Almost one week later, on July 4, wildlife officers responded to reports that the bear was back in the same area, but again the bear disappeared.

Over the next week and a half there were sporadic reports of a black bear wandering around the foothills of the Smokies with what appeared to be a space helmet on its head. On one occasion a wildlife officer even shot at the bear with a tranquilizer gun, only to see the dart sail over the animal's back.

Hmmm. I'm a little skeptical based on some ETSU research....

Website 101

Websites need constant attention.  Jeff Haden, writing in BNET, has some tips for your review.  I've listed the first one, which is crucial nowadays.

How to Avoid The 7 Deadly Website Sins BNET
1. Your website is anything but mobile-friendly. Almost 5 billion people have mobile phone subscriptions out of a population of approximately 7 billion people. Still think you don’t need a fast, well-designed, and efficient mobile-friendly site? Your customers do.

What me worry?

Good advice from Seth Godin.

What you should worry about
You''ve heard this question a lot. It's what a novice asks an expert. He's planning something or launching something and he wonders, "Should I worry about..."

Actually, it doesn't pay to worry about anything.

It might benefit you to pay attention to something or to learn about something, because that will help you make a better decision when then time comes.

If it's not something you can decide about, if it's not something you can avoid, then all you can do is worry. And what's the point of that?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Adult student college scholarships

Some financial help for adult students from AOL.comSome of these are career or job specific.

Six Grown-Up-Friendly College Scholarships
You're all grown up now, which means no one's giving you cash for doing your chores, minding your manners, or losing your teeth. But you're not completely on your own -- especially if you're going back to school. Check out these six grown-up-friendly scholarships that can help you make your own education dreams come true.

Win a free 2011 TACHE Conference registration

ACEware Systems, Inc. has generously offered to cover the cost of two conference registrations for the 2011 Tennessee Alliance for Continuing Higher Education Conference in Gatlinburg November 9-11, 2011.  


  1.  The individual is employed by a current TACHE member institution, and
  2.  The individual is a new CE Professional, and
  3.  The individual is a first time attendee at a TACHE annual conference.

How to Register for the Free 2011 TACHE Conference Registration:

  1.  Send an e-mail to Randy Wilson at
  2.  In the Subject Line, insert “TACHE Free Conference.”
  3.  In the text of the email, include your name, institution, e-mail, phone number, and number of months working in continuing education.
  4.  The deadline to register is September 15, 2011.

Two names will be drawn to receive a free 2011 TACHE conference registration valued at $159, compliments of ACEware Systems, Inc. Winners will be notified by September 30.

Tips for the rest of your family while you're at ACHE

Just because you're busy with the ACHE Annual Conference and Meeting doesn't mean the rest of your family can't have fun at nearby Disney World.  Here are some survival advice from CBS Money Watch.

Build in downtime: This seems counterintuitive, if you want to get the most for your money. But spending every waking hour riding rides and viewing attractions is a recipe for burnout and misery. Plan a morning off, or take an afternoon with a nap followed by a dip in the hotel pool. Be realistic about your family’s energy level in the heat, especially if you have young ‘uns and you’re hoping to see fireworks later.

Start each day early: Plan to arrive at your destination 30 minutes before the gates open. Have your tickets and be ready to go. Take the early-bird routine seriously, and enjoy the first hour without fighting the crowds.

Skip the meal plan: That’s according to Sehlinger and Vince, anyway. (Vince’s wife, however, thinks they got a good deal with the meal plan.) Sehlinger says there’s not enough flexibility with the meal plan, and kids’ choices are overly restrictive — even the pickiest tot can eat chicken fingers and French fries only so many times during a week. Or if you’re standing in line for a ride during lunch hour, and you end up eating lunch at 2:30, what do you do about the 6 p.m. dinner reservations you booked six months previously?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

It's so hot

That I saw two trees fighting over a dog.     Ba-doom Pshh.

How many part-time faculty are too many?

Miami Dade College may find out.  The well-know community college receives a warning from SACS.  From Michael Vasquez, writing in The Miami Herald. I'm not sure the quote by Barmak Nassirian helps MDC...

MDC not likely to lose accreditation, say experts
Is Miami Dade College — the nation’s largest community college — in danger of losing its accreditation following the recent warning by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools?

Almost impossible, according to higher education experts, who cite the school’s strong national reputation coupled with the fact that community colleges are rarely, if ever, stripped of their accreditation.

Still, MDC finds itself on the defensive following the association’s board of trustees warning that the school relies on too many part-time faculty to teach students. MDC has more than 1,000 part-time faculty; 664 are full-time.

MDC has six months to address the concerns of the board, which will meet in December to review the college’s standing. At that time, the association could maintain the “warning” status for up to two years or place the school on probation, which can ultimately lead to a loss of accreditation.

An association spokeswoman on Thursday declined comment.

MDC College President Eduardo Padrón was not made available for comment. But in a letter last month to the association, he said MDC was hiring more full-time faculty.

The warning represents the first-ever disciplinary action taken against the school by the board.

Despite the warning, experts expect MDC’s accreditation problems to be short-lived.

Barmak Nassirian of the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers even went so far as to say the accrediting body needs MDC’s membership more than the school does.

“Do you know who accredits Harvard? Does it matter?” Nassirian said. “Miami Dade, believe it or not, has that kind of superstar status.”

Norma Kent, a spokesperson for the American Association of Community Colleges, said she couldn’t comment on MDC’s situation, but said she could not recall a single community college losing accreditation in the past 16 years.

Other kinds of colleges have on occasion lost accreditation. Such a punishment can cripple a school as it renders it ineligible for federal grants and loans that many students rely on to finance their education. Students at unaccredited schools also have difficulty transferring their credits.

At MDC, the board found the school short of a “core requirement” that states “the number of faculty is adequate to support the mission of the institution and to ensure the integrity of its academic programs.”

There are no specific numbers or ratios in that rule, leaving the door open to debate over what constitutes an “adequate” number of full-time faculty.

Maybe he got life experience credit for being able to explain the infield fly rule

In something of a non-story, the new baseball coach at UT has a bachelor's degree from a diploma mill.  It's not like he's the new chancellor.  Or that a degree was required in his job description. From

Degree of scrutiny for Dave Serrano
Dave Serrano hasn't shied away from addressing the scrutiny of his academic credentials in the past, and he certainly wasn't planning to when he interviewed to become Tennessee's new baseball coach last month.

He said he had nothing to hide, and the members of UT's search committee felt the same way.

"I understand when you're working with higher education that it's going to be an issue," said Serrano, speaking with the News Sentinel during last week's baseball media opportunity at Lindsey Nelson Stadium. "I never tried to mask anything or hide anything."

As an assistant at Cal State Fullerton in 2003, Serrano obtained a bachelor's degree from The Trinity College and University. Classified by many as a "diploma mill," the institution is not accredited and will award the degrees for "life experience." According to its website, the The Trinity College and University is registered in Dover, Del., and based out of Spain.

Following a 2007 season in which he was named Baseball America's Coach of the Year for taking UC Irvine to the College World Series, Serrano emerged as a front-runner for the coaching vacancy at Oregon. Shortly after Serrano interviewed, a Eugene (Ore.) Register-Guard story raised questions about the validity of his degree.

After Oregon athletic director Pat Kilkenny told the newspaper he was "reviewing" Serrano's degree, Serrano, who also interviewed at UT during that time, withdrew his name from consideration and ultimately landed at Fullerton.

Serrano, who spent two years at Cerritos College and one at Fullerton as a player, said he was urged by his "superiors" at Fullerton to finish the work toward his degree. The Trinity College and University was "the way they felt he could do it."

Monday, July 18, 2011

Amazon announces Kindle textbook rental program

Just in time for fall classes, Amazon makes it easy to rent college textbooks.

  • Great savings: Save up to 80% off the list price of the print textbook
  • Pay only for the time you need: Choose a rental length between 30 and 360 days and pay only for the exact time you need a book. Extend your rental for as little as one day or convert to purchase
  • Rent once, read everywhere: Rent and read tens of thousands of textbooks on PC, Mac, Kindle, or your mobile device
  • Keep your annotations: Access your notes and highlights anytime, even after the rental expires, at

Night Class 101

Anastasia Salter, in The Chronicle of Higher Education blog, ProfHacker, lists some tips for teaching in off-hours.  Most of these students would be adults.

When Teaching Goes Past Your Bedtime
■ Adapt your entire schedule. One of the biggest challenges I found was the problem of being a night owl one day and in for an early morning meeting the next. The first suggestion in “The Geek’s Guide to Optimizing Sleep” is “Wake up at the same time every morning”—just sleeping in one day to compensate can do more harm than good.

■ Don’t skip dinner. My spring schedule had me teaching from 5:30 to 10:45 on Thursdays, with one fifteen minute break. By the end of it on nights I’d skipped dinner in favor of vending machine junk food, I was ravenous and facing a commute home and a refrigerator full of bad options.

■ Plan your class time. Assimilating a brand-new idea is hard under any circumstances—at 10pm, it’s even worse. The last part of class is a good time for strengthening skills, holding discussions, and building things, whatever that might mean in your discipline. Ending on lecture risks bringing on Charlie Brown Syndrome.

■ Schedule Variety. Remember in kindergarten when the teacher brought out hand-puppets or a game to draw a distracted class to a new activity? We all respond to novelty, and sometimes a change of pace can bring everyone back on track. Late night TV has often included variety shows–switching between types of delivery can bring the same results.

■ Save your aces. Your favorite topics? The book you most love? Put it at the worst time of the semester, when you know you’ll be just back from a conference or exhausted from midterm grading or overwhelmed with administrative responsibilities. That way, your enthusiasm for the topic will bolster you when energy is lowest.

■ Embrace the nighttime. If you can, let your students bring food to the class. Find the night owls among your students and draw on their energy in class discussions: for some of the people in your classroom, this is the best time of the day. Sometimes it’s good to call on your inner all-nighter pulling grad student–in moderation.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Continuing education job openings

Colleges and universities are hiring continuing educators.  Here are some current job postings from the Chronicle of Higher Education and

University of South Florida: Dean - University College

Thomas College: Assistant Academic Dean
University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point: Executive Director of Continuing Education
Tidewater Community College: Provost of Norfolk Campus
Georgia State University: Assistant Director, Executive Education
Montgomery College: WD&CE Program Director
Massachusetts Institute of Technology: Director, Executive Programs
Mount Olive College: Director of Evening College
Navarro College: Dean of Midlothian Campus

It's all about me

A University of Kentucky professor studies narcissism and Facebook users.  From

A Facebook page might tell more about its owner than people realize.

If you're a narcissist — a vain, self-promoting sort with illusions of undeserved grandeur — you're likely to show it in your Facebook profile, according to a new study conducted in part by University of Kentucky psychology professor Nathan DeWall.

The study shows that narcissists tend to display more self-promoting and sexy images, even as they use fewer first-person singular pronouns, such as "I" and "me." Some narcissists also use profane and aggressive words to call attention to themselves online.

The green effect of online learning

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Movin' on up

Forbes ranks the old hometown high.  From Kate Prahlad, writing in the Johnson City Press.

Johnson City has recently been ranked No. 28 on a Forbes list of the nation’s best small places for business and careers, a recognition local officials say is thrilling and well-deserved.

“We’re thrilled we’re moving up and we almost cracked the top 25,” said Robert Reynolds, CEO of the Washington County Economic Development Council. “It says a lot about the community and the leadership we have here. This validates a lot of things everybody in the community has been working on. It’s a great place to live and work, and we’re thrilled to be recognized by a national publication.”

Forbes lists metro Johnson City as having a population of 199,000, with major industries of education and health care. The metro area produces $7 billion annually, and has a median household income of $35,283, according to the magazine. The list uses metrics relating to job growth, business and living costs, educational attainment, quality of life issues, and college presence, among other factors, to determine the rankings.

In 2010, Johnson City ranked 35th on the list.

“We moved from 35th in 2010 to 28th for 2011, so we are making progress,” said Johnson City/Jonesborough/Washington County Chamber of Commerce CEO Gary Mabrey.

Mabrey said Johnson City has historically been ranked well in Forbes lists, including being in the top 10 small metro communities in 2006 and 2007, and currently ranking No. 22 on the list of cost of doing business.

Happy Bastille Day

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Continuing education genius

Sometimes a continuing education program is just a perfect blend of need, location, and imagination.  Add in this case--seasoning. All hail Central Carolina Community College from across the mountains!  From The Community College Times.

The nitty, gritty of being a BBQ judge
Earlier this month, Joan Haverson drove 200 miles to take part in a certified barbecue judging class at Central Carolina Community College (CCCC) in North Carolina.

She said the trip from Charlottesville, Va., was worth it.

“The class was well done, lively, interesting—and delicious,” she said.

Haverson and more than 50 others from North and South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Georgia, and Florida gathered at the college’s Harnett County Campus to learn how to judge barbecue and become Kansas City Barbeque Society (KCBS)-certified competition judges. Class members included competition barbecue and backyard cooks, as well as people who just love to eat barbecue.

Don Harwell, KCBS vice president and class instructor, shared his expertise on judging barbecue. KCBS is the official sanctioning body of barbecue cooking competitions and judges must be KCBS certified.

During the more than four-hour class, participants learned about the types of meats used in a competition, how they are cooked and presented for judging, the rules cooks and judges must follow, and how to judge the meat by KCBS standards.

Then came the fun part—sampling barbecued chicken, pork, ribs and brisket and judging them by KCBS standards. Class members then discussed the ratings they gave each entry, from 2 for inedible to 9 for excellent, based on appearance, taste, and tenderness. Actual KCBS judging sheets were used by the students to score each sample....

More people signed up than we anticipated because those from out of state found out about it from the national KCBS website,” said Len Royals, CCCC director of continuing education in Harnett County. “We had continuing education staff and helpers firing up the grills at 6 a.m. to cook all the meat for the class, but it was worth it. We will definitely be offering this class again.”

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

I love the Java Jive

And it loves me.  From The Body Odd and MSNBC.

For years we’ve been told that caffeinated coffee was bad for us. It’s unhealthy and addictive, doctors warned. But as vindication for all who stuck by their energizing elixir, a new study shows that guzzling caffeinated coffee may actually be good for our brains. In fact, it may help keep Alzheimer’s at bay.

The study, which was published early online in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, was in mice whose DNA had been tweaked to contain a human Alzheimer’s gene. Just like humans with familial Alzheimer’s, these mice become increasingly forgetful as they age.

Amazingly, the equivalent of four to five cups of caffeinated coffee every few days led to much improved memories in the Alzheimer’s mice, says study co-author Gary Arendash, a scientist at the Florida Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center in Tampa.

Upcoming classes

The Tennessee Small Business Development Center (TSBDC) at East Tennessee State University will offer potential entrepreneurs several training classes in July. Registration is required for all classes.

“So You Want to Start a Business” will be offered on Tuesday, July 19, from 9 a.m.-noon at the ETSU Innovation Laboratory in Johnson City. The free class covers the ways TSBDC can assist entrepreneurs and addresses preparation for the loan process, licensing requirements, and how to assess the market.

“Writing Your Business Plan” will be held on Thursday, July 21, from 9 a.m.-noon, at Innovation Lab. The workshop covers the components of a business plan, exercises to assist with the first steps, and information about free personal coaching. There is a $20 fee for the class.

For class enrollment and details about the location of the Johnson City site, contact Teresa Shipley of the TSBDC at (423) 439-8505 or To arrange special assistance for those with disabilities, use the same contact information.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Tales of the non-traditional

More news about continuing and adult education students.  From AOL Jobs.

U.S. Man Who Quit College in 1932 Graduates at 99
A man who dropped out of college just short of graduation in 1932 has earned his degree at age 99.

KTVZ-TV in Bend reports that Leo Plass, of Redmond, received his diploma a few days ago from Eastern Oregon University in La Grande.

Plass says that he was less than one semester away from graduating from what was then called Eastern Oregon Normal School and starting a career as a teacher.

But Plass says it was the Great Depression, and a teaching salary of $80 a month wouldn't cut it.