Thursday, February 28, 2013

In fact, just over half

Of first-time degree seeking students finished in six years. Twelve percent of those finished someplace other than where they started.  Students move around a lot. Here's a couple of other, rather unsurprising, findings related to adult students.

National Student Clearinghouse Research Center: Signature Report
In nearly every state, traditional-age students starting at four-year public institutions had higher six-year completion rates than adult learners. The smallest gap was in Arizona (1 percentage point) and the highest in Vermont (42 percentage points).  
In 13 states, over 75 percent of the exclusively part-time students at four-year public institutions had not received a credential and were not enrolled at the end of six years (compared to 70 percent nationally). 

Few finish in four

It's tough to finish college in four years unless you are a full-time student with financial or scholarship support.  It's especially tough if you are an adult student.  Or have adult responsibilities. Of my three kids, only one completed in four years.  From Time.

The Myth of the 4-Year College Degree
Another graduation ceremony has come and gone, and Chauncey Woodard is still a student at the University of Alabama. He came to UA in the spring of 2008 after some time in community college, expecting to spend, at most, four years at the school. After being forced to take a semester off in 2010 to save up more money for his education, he expects to graduate in August 2013 at the earliest. 
“For me to get my education, I either have to go deep in debt or drag it out like I’m doing now,” Woodard, a construction-engineering major, says. “You get to see a lot of people move on, and you’re still here. That kind of gets to you around graduation.” 
Woodard’s not alone in extending his university studies beyond a typical senior year. While undergraduate education is typically billed as a four-year experience, many students, particularly at public universities, actually take five, six or even more years to attain a degree. According to the Department of Education, fewer than 40% of students who enter college each year graduate within four years, while almost 60% of students graduate in six years. At public schools, less than a third of students graduate on time.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Early registration for ACHE South ends Saturday

ACHE South Conference
April 21-24, 2013

Destin, Florida
Partnering to Serve: Opportunities for All


Early registration ends March 2, 2013. REGISTER NOW!

Why should you attend? 
  • Hear the keynote speakers discuss SACS, State Authorization, and Educational Opportunities for Veterans
  • Network with colleagues to share ideas and best practices 
  • Gain knowledge from colleagues' presentations to advance educational offerings at your own institution
  • Enjoy Florida in Spring!  After a great conference day, enjoy evening sunsets over the water
For more information, please visit uwf.edu/ache

Business model aside

Infographic removed by blogger.

I've never understood the MOOC business model

Here's someone else with the same issue, but explained more elegantly than I.  From Valerie Strauss, writing in The Washington Post.

‘Irrational exuberance’ over MOOCs

Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan said in 1996 that the high-flying stock market was an instance of “irrational exuberance.” 
Nearly two decades later, were he so inclined  to inspect the swift expansion of elite universities into sponsoring Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs), he might have said pretty much the same thing. 
Certainly, there is “exuberance.”  The hype, the constant flow of words like “revolutionary,” “transformational,” speak to university officials becoming trumpeters for  expanding the reach of top-notch professors and brand-name institutions into every corner of the world where there is an Internet connection. The inspired hopes of university-based entrepreneurs to monetize these courses and bring in fresh dollars drives some professors to leave tenured positions and start new companies. The dream of pedagogically- riven faculty to use MOOCs to spread their expert knowledge to thousands of hungry students and, at the same time, enhance student-centered collaboration through networks where they come together to share ideas and help one another spurs professors to finally convert typical lecture courses into truly learner-centered experiences.  So there is exuberance. 
And “irrational?” The Harvards, MITs, Dukes, Berkeleys, and Stanfords of higher education  offer these free courses now to anyone in the world. They give certificates of completion to the few who end up completing MOOCs. But not for credit toward a degree. That is a lose-lose proposition for elite institutions. Even irrationality has its limits.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Although it would never seem like a good idea

To go on Facebook and complain about your boss, you do have some legal protection.  Just remember you may have some 'splainin' to do! From Jordan Weissmann, writing in The Atlantic.

A Quick Guide to Mocking Your Boss on Facebook Without Getting Fired
The right of workers to get together and moan about their bosses has been enshrined in U.S. law ever since 1935, when President Roosevelt signed the landmark National Labor Relations Act. The heart of the statute, known as Section 7, guarantees employees the right to organize, collectively bargain, and "engage in other concerted activities" for their "mutual aid and protection." That basically means you've got permission to whine about management at a bar without getting canned. 
These days, that right also extends to the (often whiny) free-for-all that is social media. In a series of reports and rulings this year, the National Labor Relations Board clarified that you are indeed entitled to log onto Facebook or Twitter and gripe about your employer without facing retribution. Of course, all rights have their limitations, and this one is no exception, as attorney Philip Gordon explained in an interview with Bloomberg Businessweek this week. Gordon relates the fascinating case of Knauz BMW, the moral of which is this: If you're determined to make fun of your company, keep your lacerating wit focused on stuff involving your actual job. 

Monday, February 25, 2013

Continuing education for nannies

More important than you might think.  From 4Nannies.com.

The Importance of Workshops and Conferences for Nannies
Ongoing education in any field is important, and most industries offer conferences, workshops and trainings to those within it. Until recently, there weren’t a whole lot of educational opportunities available for nannies to choose from, but that’s changing in our evolving profession. There are now a variety of local and national conferences and trainings that nannies can choose to attend, depending on your needs. As with any field, it’s important that nannies keep up to date with their education and skills trainings, not only so that they can be on the top of the applicant pool, but also so they can provide quality care to the children in their hands.

Underwear tips

For the 60 and over crowd.  A crowd I'm rapidly gaining eligibility in.  Tempus fugit. And I would never turn down sound underwear advice.  From Simon Doonan, writing in Slate.

Fashion over 60: Advice on underwear and other clothing for seniors.
This week, as I approach the big 6-0, I have been thinking a lot about Nudie and about the role of flamboyance in old age. As far as I am concerned, there are no limits on how show-bizzy or gangsta one’s outer garments might become. However, when it comes to undergarments I am still trying to find a path. Should I switch up from the Calvin Klein tighty-whities I have worn for as long as I can remember? Should I go conceptual avant-garde and snag some of Mitt’s mysterious Mormon encasements? What would Nudie have done? Might snakeskin thongs and banana-hammocks and bedazzled budgie-smugglers provide a more life-enhancing option? 
During my childhood, old people never wore groovy underwear. My grandpa wore thick, scratchy long-johns year-round and my granny wore monstrous prewar bloomers. Her undies were so allure-free and utilitarian that they would have made Bridget Jones’ gym knickers look like burlesque enticements from Frederick’s of Hollywood. 
Whence comes my gruesome familiarity with the undies of my grandparents? Truth be told, I was traumatized by them on a daily basis. A cursory glance at the washing line in our backyard revealed the truth about the foundation garments of our entire household. My sister and I were merciless in our critiques. My granny got sick of us mocking her billowing bloomers and sneakily started drying them in the airless attic. We responded by unpinning them and dropping them out of the top floor window onto the wearer’s befuddled head. 
Right before filing this column, I had a breakthrough of sorts. I located a company specializing in sassy humor undies for seniors. (Check out the Sexy Old Buzzard boxer briefs.) The styles are basic and chic, and the messages that adorn the garments are quite amusing. My one reservation is the type size. The current scale would send the average senior scrambling for those bifocals in order to read it. Not very romantic, right?


Thursday, February 21, 2013

Knoxville is one of the

Best places to retire with a modest income.  So is Columbia, South Carolina and Louisville, Kentucky. From U.S. News and World Report.

Best Places to Retire for Under $40,000
Knoxville, Tenn. 
The typical resident age 60 or older with a mortgage in Knoxville pays a median of $1,060 per month. For those without a mortgage, the median housing cost declines to just $347 monthly. And retiree renters pay a median of $625 per month. This city has a rich arts and music community as well as plenty of outdoor attractions, including 65 miles of greenway trails, more than 80 parks—among them the Ijams Nature Center—and is about an hour's drive from Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Knoxville is home to the University of Tennessee and the headquarters of Regal Entertainment Group, where senior citizens qualify for a small discount on movie tickets and AARP members can get deals on soft drink and popcorn combos.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Meanwhile, just over the mountains in North Carolina

AB-Tech is adding soft skills into their curriculum.  Like Woody Allen said, "Showing up is eighty percent of life."  While these attributes used to be common-sense work expectations, now they're skills to be taught.  Hmmmmm.  From Inside Higher Education.

Grading Personal Responsibility
Grades earned by many students at Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College will soon factor in “soft skills,” such as whether they show up for class on time or work well in groups. And next year the college will issue workplace readiness certificates alongside conventional credentials to recognize those skills. 
Located in Asheville, N.C., A-B Tech, as it is commonly known, has developed a template that helps faculty members determine how to incorporate eight primary workplace expectations into grading, including personal responsibility, interdependence and emotional intelligence. Soft skills should count for 8 to 10 percent of grades in courses that adopt those guidelines, college officials said. 
“We’re teaching our students to walk the walk,” said Jean B. Finley, an instructor of business computer technologies.

A photo essay on Appalachia

Most of these photos were taken in the 1960's in Eastern Kentucky, but they could have been from any of the mountain communities around here.

Appalachia, 1964 | LIFE in Appalachia: Photos From a ‘Valley of Poverty,’ 1964 | LIFE.com

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Save the date


2013 Conference on Adult Learner Enrollment Management
July 16-18, 2013
Boston, MA

The Conference on Adult Learner Enrollment Management (CALEM) is the only higher education conference dedicated to addressing the unique issues faced by higher education professionals responsible for recruiting, admitting, enrolling and retaining adult learners. From professional, graduate, and continuing education to distance, online and extended studies, the Conference on Adult Learner Enrollment Management provides research-based insight, proven methods, and demonstrated results to help leaders identify opportunities and take action for enrollment success.

For more information visit here.

I hate to admit it, but

I had to look up what a plenary speaker was. Sigh. Anyway, another example of how hot MOOCs are right now.

Conference on Excellence in Gateway Course Completion
April 14-16, 2013
Indianapolis, Indiana

Visit The John N. Gardner Institute Website for
Full details:

Plenary Speakers:  
Freeman A. Hrabowski, III, President, University of Maryland, Baltimore County
Katherine J. Denniston, Deputy Director, Division of Undergraduate Education, National Science Foundation

Featured Sessions:

MOOCs, Analytics, and Badges - Technology and Its Implications for Gateway Courses

Julie Little, Vice President, Teaching, Learning, and Professional Development, EDUCAUSE
George Mehaffy, Vice-President for Academic Leadership and Change, American Association of State Colleges and Universities

Transforming Remedial Education By Delivering it as a Co-Requisite with Gateway Courses
Stan Jones, President, Complete College America
Dr. Tristan Denley, Provost, Austin Peay University
Susan Gabriel, Associate Professor, Community College of Baltimore County - Essex
 
Pre-Conference Workshop:
 
Weighing Risk & Reward: Using Analytics to Move From Prediction to Intervention
Facilitated by John Fritz, Asst. VP for Instructional Technology and New Media at University of Maryland, Baltimore County

35 Concurrent Sessions: Visit this link for concurrent session titles.  Click here to register for the conference at the early bird rate. For more information about the conference, visit conferences@jngi.org. 

Monday, February 18, 2013

Our GRE Prep workshop still has space


Graduate Record Examination Test Preparation Workshop
Saturday, February 23, 2013

ETSU’s School of Graduate Studies and the School of Continuing Studies will offer a day-long workshop to assist prospective graduate school applicants to prepare for the Graduate Record Examination.
Participants in the workshop will receive coffee and a continental breakfast, lunch, five hours of instruction on the Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and Analytical Writing Measures of the GRE. They will also take three half-hour practice tests, receive scores for those tests along with advice on improving their scores.
Subjects covered in the workshop will include:
• Test-taking strategies for the new GRE
• Resources to prepare for the exam
• Score scales and timing for the three measures
• Reading comprehension questions
• Select-in-Passage questions
• Text completion questions
• Sentence equivalence questions
• Analyze an Issue essays
• Analyze an Argument essays
• Use of prompts in the analytical writing measure
•Quantitative Comparison: Greater than/less than, comparing the sizes of parts of geometric figures
• Algebra: Recognizing graphs of functions, evaluation of functions
• Geometry: Areas of regions, lengths of geometric figures, angles
• Data interpretation: Reading graphs, interpreting tables, bar graphs, pie charts
• Word problems: interpretations and strategies
The cost of the day-long workshop is $55.
Register here.

Top tenning while out of the office

Top 10 US travel destinations for 2013

Meanwhile, back in Iowa

Kirkwood Community College and the University of Iowa join forces with the community in a new type of off-campus center.  From The Gazette.

Kirkwood, University of Iowa forge new ground with joint facility | TheGazette
A planned joint building between Kirkwood Community College and the University of Iowa will bring together educators from the university, community college and kindergarten through 12th-grade levels, in a model that officials say is something completely different on the national scene. 
The Kirkwood Regional Center at the University of Iowa, expected to open in fall 2015 on the UI’s Oakdale campus in Coralville, will offer career academies and college-level courses to area high school students from at least six districts. That part of the center is similar to other Kirkwood regional center models. 
But one thing that sets this planned facility apart is the involvement of the UI, officials said. The university will bring its strengths and resources to the center, and be a part of the effort to really coordinate research and educational improvement across the K-12, community college and university lines, officials said. 
“We’re really plowing a lot of new ground in what we’re trying to do here,” said Jordan Cohen, the former UI vice president for research and economic development who is now a special associate to the provost. 
“We talk a lot about silos in education and how these entities often work separately. The most exciting thing about this, really, is this ability to connect what’s going on in K-12 with what the community colleges are already doing with what the university should be doing, to make it more of a continuum.”

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day

Valentines' Day is a multi-billion-dollar business. Find out where your money goes in today's GoFigure infographic.
Source:LiveScience

Happy Valentine's Day


The old English major in me

Loves stuff like this.  Many a master's thesis could come from these. By Emily Temple, writing in The Atlantic. 

Hogwarts Is in Your Head, Harry: Conspiracy Theories About Literature
Hogwarts was all in Harry Potter’s head. 
I stumbled across this one over at Cracked, where Karl Smallwood lays out the theory. Namely that Harry was an abused child who coped by escaping into a fantasy world, and turning all his real-life injuries into magical ones (Harry is sent to the infirmary six times over the series). This also, Smallwood notes, helps shore up all the plot holes inherent in Rowling’s world—that’s just Harry’s abused but growing mind trying to fit it all together.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Hey, I've been to all these towns

Except Salem.  I didn't know Key West was so creepy. From Away.com.

The Five Creepiest Towns in America | Away.com
Key West, Florida  
Once the richest city in North America, Key West was long a prime layover point for pirates terrorizing the Gulf of Mexico and looting the wrecked ships along the Florida reef. The island was remarkably isolated until a new railway linked it to the mainland in 1912. That meant years with buccaneers and rum-runners free to plunder as they liked, with local authorities only occasionally catching up with them. Executions were the only recourse for these savage souls, and bodies wound up in the local morgue, where now stands the allegedly haunted Captain Tony’s Saloon. The “hanging tree” outside made for a short distance to transport the bodies. 
Creepy Key West also got a bump from one of the island’s most legendary residents: Robert the Doll. Many claim this oversized doll is possessed, and spent nights pacing and throwing furniture around the room where he lived in the early 1900s. Drop by the Art and Historical Society to see him, and be ready for your hair to stand on end. Don’t forget a quick visit to Ernest Hemingway’s former abode, where some say you can still hear his typewriter ticking away.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Today is also Darwin Day

Phil Plait, writing in Slate, explains.

Darwin Day: Feb. 12, 2013 set to celebrate the creator of the idea of evolution.

If Charles Darwin were alive today, he’d be celebrating his 204th birthday. 
However, millions of years of evolution have prevented humans from living that long. Still, that doesn’t stop those of us who are alive today from celebrating the man and his work. 
Evolution is the basis for all modern biology. It is the central tenet, the organizing theme, the trunk from which all branches grow. It has changed considerably since the early days when Darwin (and his contemporary Alfred Russel Wallace) first proposed the idea that species change over time. They didn’t even have an idea behind the mechanism for it at the time, but that came eventually. We now have a far better understanding of genetics, and how random mutations can lead to gradual change for adaptation. 
For biology, Darwin is the founder in much the same way Newton or Galileo was for physics. Things have changed, improved, but the root idea is still there, and has grown—you might even say evolved—since. 
Because of this, there has been an informal movement over the years to declare February 12 as Darwin Day. I think that’s a fine idea. A lot of folks are taking the opportunity to throw various events, like art contests and biology lectures.

Taking a look at low producing programs

In Tennessee.  The Tennessean seems to suggest that this is something new, but we have always paid attention to the performance of our programs.  Two  programs at ETSU are running out of time...

College majors get close look from THEC
The Tennessee Higher Education Commission is looking closely at 34 college degree programs in the state that are not meeting their own performance benchmarks for graduates. 
The programs at state-funded colleges are among 52 that were approved in the past five years that are monitored by the commission for graduation and enrollment goals. 
“The vast majority of new programs are not meeting their benchmarks,” Mike Krause, an assistant executive director at the commission, said during the commission’s quarterly meeting.

Community college's biggest problem?

Math.  Remedial math, that is.  But one community college tries the personal touch. From HechingerEd.

The biggest problem facing U.S. community colleges? Remedial math
Nationwide, a majority of incoming community college students find themselves in remedial courses after taking placement exams that show they didn’t master the basics many years before — or that they’ve forgotten the basics. Math has long proven a greater stumbling block than English for most of these students. Miller quotes Kay McClenney, director of the Center for Community College Student Engagement at the University of Texas-Austin, as saying that remedial math “is without question the most significant problem facing American community colleges and maybe American higher education more broadly.” 
It is a problem so big, in fact, that it’s sometimes overlooked. In its immensity and obviousness, it falls victim to what could be called the “everybody-somebody-anybody-nobody mentality”: 
There’s an important job to be done, and everybody’s sure somebody’ll do it. Anybody can do it, but nobody does. Somebody gets angry because it’s everybody’s job. Everybody thought anybody could do it, but nobody realized everybody wouldn’t do it. Everybody blamed somebody when nobody did what anybody could’ve done. 
And so the problem continues and the costs mount. As Miller writes, the costs “can be calculated, not just in tuition dollars, but in degrees left unfinished and careers that never begin.”  
But Lansing Community College (LCC) — where over 5,000 students took a remedial math class last year — is determined to change this. According to Miller, LCC has “retooled a computer assisted self-study program meant to prepare students for that most basic remedial math course, adding a human being to the mix. Prior to the change, 3 percent of the students who used the program managed to place into Math 050. Since April, it has been 21 percent.”
And, in a move that might at first seem counterintuitive, LCC shut down its Math Lab. Miller explains: the Lab “let students work at their own pace with help from tutors. Barely half of them passed, which is why LCC closed the lab this summer and carried over the format into smaller classes taught by a single instructor. ‘Personal connections that students make with instructors are particularly important in developmental courses,’ [Kathy] Burgis [chair of the Math Department] said. ‘Ideally, those courses are about more than just the math. They’re about general transferable skills in going to college.’”

Thursday, February 7, 2013

ANTSHE call for proposals extended


The 20th Annual Conference on Adult Learners, scheduled for next week at MTSU in Murfreesboro, has been postponed until October.  Perhaps people didn't want to attend a conference on Valentine's Day.  Anyway, if you had planned to present or attend, a similar conference has extended its call for proposals until February 11 to accommodate you. The ANTSHE Conference will be held March 8-10 at Winston-Salem State University.  More information is below.

The Association for Non-Traditional Students in Higher Education (ANTSHE) invites academic professionals, administrators and nontraditional students/ leaders to submit proposals for presentations at the 2013 conference. The following areas have been identified as tracks for the 2013 ANTSHE Conference. The following primary tracks have been identified and each primary track has been broken down into the sub segments listed below.

Commuter and Adult Student Programming
•        Issues for Distance Learners
•        Commuters and Campus Involvement
•        Effective use of Career Services and Technology

Adult Learner Student Issues
•        Networking and Connecting with Nontraditional Peers
•        College Financing
•        Balancing Home, Work, and College
•        Managing College Stress

Academic Professionals Serving Adult Learners
•        Programming that connects Nontraditional/Commuter Students with Campus Life
•        Best Practices in Serving Adult Learners
•        Learning Support and Remediation for Adult Learners

Submit your proposal at the following link: ANTSHE Proposals

LERN getting into the credit business


The pressing need to provide more and better opportunities for students to earn academic credentials is creating a plethora of opportunities for continuing education units, including off campus, online, hybrid, accelerated, weekend, summer, prior learning, articulated credit and partnerships for credit and degree programs.
At the same time, continuing education units have unique strengths and expertise within the institution to serve adult, working and non-traditional students, including skills in customer service, adult learning, faster program development time, flexibility, creating learner-friendly environments, instructor training, budgeting, cost control, and marketing.

It's the healthiest state

In the whole USA. The top ones, of course, are not in the South.  From TODAY Health.

And the healthiest state in the U.S. is ...
Get Smart Like #1 Vermont
According to the report, Vermonters work their bodies and their brains--the state has one of the highest high school graduation rates in the country. 
What you can learn: People with more than a high school diploma live up to 7 years longer, says a Harvard Medical School study. But researchers credit the extra years to the idea that the more educated you are, the better access you have to health information. 
Instill Happiness Like #2 Hawaii 
Besides the obvious lure and health boosts of a sunny destination (vitamin D improves your mood) and an outdoorsy culture (surfing, hiking, and biking burn calories), Hawaii also ranked #1 for well-being in the 2012 Gallup Healthways Well-Being Index--a survey of more than 350,000 people. (Here's why Hawaiians are the The Happiest People in America.)

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

I think about this every time I fly

But I couldn't have stated my objection to baggage fees any better than Sanjoy Mahajan, writing in Freakonomics. Amen.

The Absurdity of U.S. Air Travel: Baggage Fees
Baggage fees brought U.S. airlines in 2011 a total of $3.4 billion. That amount is almost one-half of the industry’s 2011 profits of $7 billion. To double the airlines’ profits, the social benefit of which is highly unclear, society incurs many costs: 
  1. We spend time and effort schlepping luggage through the airport and the checkpoint security theater – a kind of demodernization where human (customer) labor replaces technology (conveyor belts and baggage trucks).
  2. TSA employees spend time scanning the luggage for water, baby formula, breast milk, and other dangerous substances.
  3. We take longer to board as we jostle for the few spots in packed overhead bins — or, finding no spot, we wriggle backward down the aisle to hand over the bag for gate checking.
  4. Airline employees spend time gate checking individual bags.
  5. Planes lose their scheduled takeoff slot because of the longer boarding time, thus increasing flight delays (unless turnaround times increase, which is also costly).
  6. Upon landing, in the rush to open the overhead bins, we risk heavy bags falling on our heads.

'Cause she can't shoot whiskey

Being comfortable in my masculinity, such as it is, I've been known to partake in a girlie drink every once in a while. And I don't care who knows it.  Slate presents a history of such drinks.

Girl drinks: For the Cosmoplitan’s 25th anniversary, a complete history of sweet cocktails for ladies.
Girl drinks, also known as chick drinks and girlie drinks, exist primarily to serve and to overserve persons eager to know the fun of catching a buzz while staying ignorant of the bliss of tasting liquor. This article represents an independent-study tool for readers seeking to refine this basic understanding along lines that are personally potationally meaningful. The key is to keep your definitions fluid but your taxonomy strict, remembering for instance that some so-called girl drinks are frat shooters in drag, and that others, if you listen closely to their accents, are androgynous tropical coolers transplanted to temperate latitudes. 
One popular girl-drink style—frou-frou and fructose—arrives on the taste buds with the subtle flair of Kool-Aid Man presenting a hostess gift. Take the Angry Feminist, please—a girl drink from the cocktail list at a bygone vegan restaurant in Manhattan. The Angry Feminist calls for tarragon-infused organic vodka, Bonny Doon raspberry wine, triple sec, orange juice, and a pineapple-wedge garnish. I presume the drink is angry that one of her closest culinary cousins, the Purple Hooter, is a favorite of Nevada brothel whores.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Today is National Pancake Day

IHOP Pancake Day

God help me, I do love Top Ten lists

It Takes a Village | Life in the Slow Lane: 10 Memorable TV Small Towns

Adult ed flourishing in Nevada

I know other states struggle to fund their programs.  From The Las Vegas Sun News.

Adult high schools put students back on a path to achievement
More than 20,000 people have enrolled at Clark County School District adult high schools this year. They come as 87-year-olds looking to prove they can earn their diploma and as 19-year-old dropouts. 
Robert Henry, CCSD’s director of adult education, said the average age a student returns to school is 24.5 years old. The primary reason many return is they can’t find work without a General Educational Development certificate or a high school diploma. 
The schools provide students a chance to earn either. They also offer trade classes such as auto mechanics and welding to help them find employment. 
Classes are organized more like tutoring sessions than lectures because each student has a different level of education. Classes are competency-based, meaning once students prove they understand the material, they earn the credits. Desert Rose principal Sandra Ransel said that means a student could graduate in a month or take years. 
Desert Rose English instructor Roy Addington teaches his class with a dry wit and one-on-one tutor sessions. Each student is given a syllabus and expected to work on assignments during class. Meanwhile Addington will sit down individually with each student to make sure the material is understood. 
The majority of his students are between 17 and 20 years old. Some were underachievers in high school; others dropped out because they became pregnant. Either way, it doesn’t matter to Addington. His goal is make sure they can write a three-paragraph paper with an introduction, a body and a conclusion. 
“I love this format; it’s very challenging,” Addington said. “Not just for them but for me.”

Monday, February 4, 2013

Top cities for men?

Boise, San Jose (California, not Illinois), and San Francisco top this list.  Our own Memphis is among the worst.  From Men's Health.

The Top Cities for Men
93. Columbia, SCHealth: FQuality of Life: D-Fitness: D-
94. Cleveland, OHHealth: D-Quality of Life: FFitness: D
95. Memphis, TNHealth: FQuality of Life: D-Fitness: F
96. St. Louis, MOHealth: FQuality of Life: FFitness: D

Highlighting got me through grad school

Now I learn it's a waste of time.  From Time.

Best and Worst Learning Strategies: Why Highlighting is a Waste of Time
Highlighting and underlining led the authors’ list of ineffective learning strategies. Although they are common practices, studies show they offer no benefit beyond simply reading the text. Some research even indicates that highlighting can get in the way of learning; because it draws attention to individual facts, it may hamper the process of making connections and drawing inferences. Nearly as bad is the practice of rereading, a common exercise that is much less effective than some of the better techniques you can use. Lastly, summarizing, or writing down the main points contained in a text, can be helpful for those who are skilled at it, but again, there are far better ways to spend your study time. Highlighting, underlining, rereading and summarizing were all rated by the authors as being of “low utility.”