Showing posts from February, 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 u…

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 VeteransNetwork with colleagues to share ideas and best practices Gain knowledge from colleagues' presentations to advance educational offerings at your own institutionEnjoy Florida in Spring!  After a great conference day, enjoy evening sunsets over the waterFor more information, please visit

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 companie…

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 reportsandrulings this year, the National Labor Relations Board clarified that you are indeed entitled to log onto Facebook or…

Continuing education for nannies

More important than you might think.  From

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 a…

Infographic Friday

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Infographic Friday

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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.

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 …

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 |

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, …

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…

Top tenning while out of the office


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…

Infographic Friday

Infographic removed by blogger.

Happy Valentine's Day


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.

Hey, I've been to all these towns

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

The Five Creepiest Towns in America |
Key West, FloridaOnce 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 …

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 chan…

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, a…

God help me, I do love Top Ten lists

According to the National Council on Teacher Quality

Tennessee does a better job than most in preparing teachers.  Although a B- is not where we'd like to be.  Most of the states surrounding us received Cs and Ds.


Tennessee OVERALL B- 2012 Report 2011 Report

Infographic Friday

Check out our data visualization blog.

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 Camp…

LERN getting into the credit business

LERN C.E. and Credit Institute 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 VermontAccording 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 HawaiiBesides 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.)

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: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).TSA employees spend time scanning the luggage for water, baby formula, breast milk, and other dangerous substances.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.Airline employees spend time gate checking individual bags.Planes lose their…

'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—a…

Today is National Pancake Day

God help me, I do love Top Ten lists

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 princi…

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: D95. Memphis, TNHealth: FQuality of Life: D-Fitness: F96. 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.”

Infographic Friday