This post was written by Erin Palmer, a writer for Bisk Education which was founded byNathan Bisk in 1971. Bisk works with universities such as Villanova University, a leading institution that offers online certificate programs.
For the most recent generation of college students, technology is a way of life. Having grown up with the internet and the evolution of mobile devices, today’s students live a life integrated with technology. With the growing popularity of online programs and social networks, many older professionals are also engaging in technology in order to help advance their careers.
Colleges are competing for both traditional and online students. As a result, educational programs are enhancing the use of technology to offer multimedia presentation, video lectures, class blogs, podcasts and other useful applications that were unavailable or underdeveloped just a generation ago.
Students as Consumers; Professors as Mentors
Students are beginning to shop for the best value for tuition dollars. Offering a course that is also videotaped and catalogued for easy reference, available for podcast and includes a blog or other interactive message board for additional assistance appeals to students at all levels. If a student can set a course of study and pick and choose topics necessary for a particular field, then professors transition into a mentoring role, placing students in the driver seat of a more individualized education. For returning students who have had extensive knowledge through professional development, flexibility is a strong selling point.
Programs that allow testing for introductory or pre-requisite credit, grant partial credit for professional proficiency and offer flexibility in subject areas are appealing to working professionals who seek specific courses of study within wider disciplines. Offering multiple course formats which are compatible with the technology most familiar to students not only makes the subject matter more appealing, but also makes good business sense for colleges and universities.
Expanding Collegial Networking
Offering courses in a variety of formats with blogs and message boards open by subject area allows for greater discussion across disciplines. Think of the incredible networking and problem-solving potential in setting up mentored educational experiences where international students can discuss topics such as sustainable campus innovation, engineering or infrastructure development via video chat and discussion boards across disciplines and countries.
In addition, students in business can extend the concept of a “classroom” into a network of action through local community projects, making a positive impact socially while gaining relevant real world experience. With courses arranged with technologies that make scheduling and pacing flexible, students can integrate the theory with the actions through community-based projects. College professors and community partners can form positive and powerful alliances with a virtual classroom and reference materials that are available from personal mobile devices anywhere a student happens to be working.
Educational Culture Reflects Societal Change
Since the days of Plato and Aristotle, education reflects society. Students are consumers and the best professors have always been keen mentors. With a student base that is more socially aware, connected and globally conscious than ever before, education will continue to evolve to meet the needs of the students who consume it.
In the coming years, the majority of professors reaching full professor tenure will have spent their entire lives with the internet. Online learning will have fully integrated into their lifelong intellectual and professional development. This evolution will bring additional classroom innovations as the technology continues to evolve alongside the intellectual applications of it. Through colleges of education and ongoing teacher development currently aimed at filling the gaps, K-12 classrooms will also become more consistently tech-based.
Education Will Evolve With Technology
The next generation of students, professionals and community leaders will emerge having utilized technology throughout their entire lives. Education will continue to evolve to reflect the needs of new students. The increasing tech-savvy of the new generation will promote further advances in technology, which will then be incorporated back into education. Technology’s impact on education will be a constant and ever-changing process.
Knowing what you want is important-really important.
Until you nail what you want, all of the meetings, all of the training, all of the long hours, all of the self-convincing will be an absolute waste of time. And you don't have time to waste. Don't be lulled into a false sense of security by your paycheck, retirement account or the applause of the audience.
The ditches are full of people that could never committ to what they really wanted.
Many think that preparing begins after opportunity knocks, even those gurus that say preparation should start well before. In a time where things are changing rapidly and many disruptions have begun without the average person knowing, it's a dangerous game to put off preparation. So what say you? When should preparation begin?
It begins now. The age of predictability is over.
I've failed many times. More than I care to remember. One thing is clear though, even after I've wondered why bothering was worth it, all of my preparation was not wasted. The key ingredient in embracing opportunities is the preparation. It's like smelling salts for your senses so that you can see all the opportunities flowing around and through you everyday.
It will hurt and you will have to fight your fears. This is after all the why in preparation.
I'm an optimist, a dreamer, more than I should be some have said. As I spend more time on this planet, one thing is for sure, there is a point in time when it's too late to change.
This doesn't make me a pessimist. We're all in the dye-casting business. Slowly.
Think of all of your small and large decisions over life's road. Each one creating permanence. Rather daunting I know, but the beauty of it is we have been given the freedom and responsibility to decide whether we go ahead or go back. Very few of us will ever have a gun to our head demanding we ignore our physical health or to tell that little lie that will tilt things in our favor.
We've read of the those coming to the end of their days regretting much of what was before. The sober reality that no matter what they say or do, nothing can be altered. Funny thing how our culture is great at taking in information, while doing nothing with it. Any time you encounter someone whose story is entering the final act should make you review deeply your own course. The desire for distractions and easy paths will disconnect your best intentions every time.
Here are some things to be very careful with as you seek to make your life regret-free:
Maybe there is more to add here. But one thing is certain, there is a time when it's too late to change. Count your days and you'll get a better understanding.
The following clip, Seasons on the Terrace, comes from the Central Park Conservancy. I could swear I was walking in my father's footsteps.
Brief and beautiful.
Where do you find yourself in the early part of 2012? I realize we're in the infancy of the year, but as I've noted before, things can take shape quickly. Are you at a crossroads?
Crossroads are very much like earthquakes. As with the earthquake, much is shaken, rattled and removed. The elements are good and bad, happy and sad, danger and opportunity. This can be vexing in a culture where we often only want the good stuff, or so we think.
Maybe this is the year to re-define.
The crossroads of 2012 will certainly look different to you than for me. But one thing is certain, your response to it will be the difference-maker. You carry a responsibility that is inescapable. This is a good thing.
I've been walking this planet long enough to know that most things in life are unexpected. I also don't believe in accidents when it comes to the fundamental movement of our life story. Call me a fool or heretic, but many who are wiser than me have aaid the same.
So when you get the call out of the blue (so you think) don't freak out. It's all a part of the plan. It might hurt you deeply or leave you with much excitement, but just breathe and go where the road is leading.
All of this comes with a warning. If you have been goofing around with your life and not managing it, then an unexpected call or seemingly random accident will wreck you. That's my disclaimer.
Here's to the unexpected events and accidents.
About right now you've probably been bombarded with marketing and advertising messages around losing wieght, starting a business or how to find more work-life balance. This is after all the reality of the new year 2012. All of those ideas I mentioned could be the right thing for you. But before you take the dive, ask yourself the following:
Do I know where I am going and what it will really mean when I get there?
Remember, marketers can sometimes be like our current crop of politicians. They feel compelled to say things motivated by a desire to take something from you…your money more directly. Parting with your hard-earned cash is inevitably a part of the process, but beware of any message that is contrary to reality. For example, not every woman was meant to be a size 4. And very few goals are supposed to be easy-really
Go and find out where you want to be. Once that's done, don't let go because it will be your compass.