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  • drdianehamilton 10:27 am on July 11, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Distance education, , , , , , MOOCs, , Work Life Balance   

    Online Classes Offer Balance 

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    Online classes offer a variety of advantages for working adults who have enough on their plate without adding the stress of finding time for an education.  Probably the hardest part of attending a traditional university, for me, was finding time to fit it into my schedule.  I worked the traditional workday and then I had to make it to three-hour class four nights a week.  This was brutal because by the time I drove home and got to bed, it was close to midnight.  I would have to get up at 6 am and start all over again.  Thankfully I was in my early 20s at the time.  I honesty do not think I could handle that sort of schedule now.

    Traditional courses took at least four hours out of my day (to just attend class).  Then I had an hour or two of homework each day that I had to squeeze in either before midnight or on my lunch breaks.  At minimum, I probably spent at least five hours a day dealing with school-related issues.  In online classes, since there are no lectures, and there is no driving and parking, etc., I probably spent about two hours a day.  When you are a working adult with family responsibilities, saving three hours a day is huge.

    Traditional schools may be a great thing for people who have the time and money to afford them. Unfortunately many people do not have that luxury. Some students will have to obtain financial help whether they attend traditional or online courses.  The advantage of online courses is that students have more time to work to pay for the loans.

    I have read many articles about the value of a traditional education versus an online education.  Many of them have been written by professors who work in brick and mortar classrooms. I understand their perspective.  There may be some wonderful things to be learned at a traditional university.  The problem is that it is not that simple.  In today’s society, traditional roles have changed. Women may have much more responsibilities outside of the home.  The stress of raising a family, working, and trying to squeeze in time for education may make the choice of a traditional college a poor option.

    It is not appropriate to make blanket statements about all online courses based on limited experience. I have worked for many different online universities. They are not all the same.  Some offer a better education.  Comparing MOOCs to traditional online courses is like comparing apples to oranges.  The same is true about comparing unaccredited universities with accredited universities.

    Accredited online courses offer people a quality education and a life.  I do not believe that sitting in a lecture hall adds that much to the learning experience.  All of the driving, parking and sitting in class, took away precious time that I believe did not add to my educational experience.  All it did was stress me out and leave less time for others. Thankfully I finished my traditional education before my children were born.  Once I had a family, distance education became an option and opened up incredible opportunities for me.  It is interesting that traditional universities now offer more online courses.  The same institutions that had “issues” with online education now provide it.  The good news is that everyone is waking up and realizing that online education offers the best of all worlds for those who want it.

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    • Shawn Dragonaire 4:33 pm on July 11, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      I completely agree with your perspective on this specific topic. I have also been taking notice of more traditional non-profit colleges and universities starting to offer online course and gradually expanding into full programs. Thanks for sharing with us and it will be most interesting to observe how online degree programs start to become the accepted norm in public and private traditional colleges/universities within the next 5+ years.

  • drdianehamilton 5:34 am on June 18, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Distance education, , , , , , Master's degree, ,   

    What to Expect in Online Doctorate Degree Courses 

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    As a doctoral chair, it is my responsibility to help guide students through their doctoral dissertation process.  In order to receive a doctorate through online courses, there is a series of courses that students take prior to the time they begin writing the proposal for their dissertation.  Each online program varies to some degree.  Based on the two programs I have either taken or taught, I can say that they were pretty similar.  The following is what students might expect from an online doctoral program.

    Students must first complete a series of online courses that address their field of study. For example, I received a degree that is titled: Doctor of Philosophy in Business Administration with a Specialization in Management.  That means that those initial courses included a specific focus on business management.  Some students may combine their Master’s with their Doctorate.  Assuming that students have already taken the thirty or so credits required for a Master’s degree, there may be another 10 or 15 courses required in the field of specialization. In this case, it would be to study business management.  These courses are not that different from taking graduate-level classes.

    After finishing those courses, students begin taking courses that are more specific to the proposal and final dissertation.  It is difficult to state how many courses may be required at this point. Some students require fewer courses than others based on how much work they complete within the scheduled time for each course.  I have had some students make it through the dissertation in the process by taking only three dissertation courses.  Others may take a dozen or more courses to finish.  It depends upon how much students have done on their own prior to beginning the doctoral courses, how quickly they work, and the type of research they do.

    The steps in the doctoral process include writing the proposal (which describes how the study will be performed, aka chapters 1-3 of the final dissertation), obtaining proposal approval, doing the research, writing the final dissertation (updating Chapters 1-3 and writing Chapters 4-5), obtaining approval for the dissertation, defending the dissertation in an oral presentation, and finally having the doctoral chair, doctoral committee, and dean give a final seal of approval.

    The hardest part generally seems to be writing the proposal or the first three chapters.  This is difficult because students have to learn how to write in a very specific and scholarly way.  There are templates that may provide helpful information regarding alignment, content requirements, and formatting.   Students work very closely with their chair during this time.  Students must also have at least two committee members.  Some schools, like the one I attended, required an additional outside member to review the dissertation.  All members of the committee must have a doctorate.

    Students usually work strictly with the chair until Chapters 1-3 are ready to submit. At that point, the committee looks at the work to give input and make suggestions.  After all adjustments are made, the proposal goes through several stages of approval.  Students may need to submit more than once if there are changes requested. This is commonly the case.  Once the proposal is approved, students can perform the study, and eventually write the last two chapters that describe the results.  This final document goes through the chair and committee approval process again, and eventually must meet with the dean’s approval.  The last step is for students to defend the dissertation in an oral presentation.  Usually that is the easiest part of the process because students know their study inside and out by that time.  It takes some students just a few years to go through the process.  Others take much longer. Some never finish.  It is a very difficult process.  However, in the end, it is worth it.

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  • drdianehamilton 6:03 am on November 21, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Distance education, , , Essays, , , , ,   

    How to Get an A in Your College Courses 

    Some of the top reasons that students don’t pass courses, based on my experience as a professor, is that they do not read the requirements for the classes or they don’t turn in material on time.  If a student really wants to receive an “A”, there are some important things that they must do to achieve this.  The following list will help students improve their grades:

    1. Follow Instructions – Read the instructor’s materials for assignment requirements.   Print out a copy of the syllabus and any instructions on the first day of class. Some may post a rubric or a spreadsheet that lists the requirements and the number of possible points allocated for each part of the assignment.  Before turning in your assignment, go down the list of requirements and be sure that you have included all of them.
    2. Cite Correctly – It is best to paraphrase rather than to include large blocks of directly quoted material in your writing.  Some professors will not allow any direct quotations. An example of paraphrasing is:  Hamilton (2011) stated that paraphrasing was important.  An example of a direct quote is:  “It is better to paraphrase.” (Hamilton, 2011). 
    3. Submit Original Work – Schools have a tool called TurnItIn to check for plagiarism.  Be sure to run your paper through that system (or whatever plagiarism tool the school uses) before submitting papers, to ensure that your work is your own.  You can be sure professors will check it if you do not.  Keep in mind that citing incorrectly can be viewed as plagiarism. Plagiarism is grounds for being expelled.
    4. Write in APA – Professors can be very picky about formatting in APA.  Most schools use this formatting as compared to MLA or some other format.  Click here for some of the most important links to help with APA.  When writing in APA, students will need to have their paper include double-spacing, indented paragraphs, proper header information, proper page numbering, proper title and reference page, etc.
    5. Meet Discussion Requirements – Online colleges have specific writing and posting requirements for classroom discussions.  Students often disregard the minimum word count or the fact that the instructor requested cited materials.  It is not uncommon for a discussion question to require 150-500 word responses.  These responses may also require paraphrased information to show research to back up any points that the student makes. Students may also be required to respond to their fellow classmates’ postings as well.  There are usually minimum word count requirements for these responses as well. Discussions should be written in a formal manner.  Sentence and paragraph structure should be the same as if a student was writing an essay.  Simply agreeing with a fellow classmate’s points will not count for credit.
    6. Include Strong Sentences and Paragraphs – It is important to write correctly and in a formal manner in online discussions as well as in formal papers.  In higher-level courses, first person should not be used.  Unless it is an opinion paper and the professor has allowed it, do not refer to yourself in your writing.  Don’t write in run-on sentences.  Sentences vary in length but should average around 20 words.  Keep sentences between around 12-25 words.  Paragraphs should also contain complete information.  A paragraph should include between 4-8 sentences.  Remember to include an introduction and conclusion paragraph. 
    7. Plan Ahead – Many students post late due to not being prepared.  There may be an occasional emergency but in general most issues with late postings could be avoided.  Write papers early and back them up somewhere other than your main computer.  Some students send themselves a copy of their homework so that it is saved on their email server.  Computer issues are not considered a valid excuse for late assignments.
    8. Use Scholarly Sources – Professors often require that students include peer-reviewed scholarly journals as sources for their papers. To find out more about peer-reviewed journals, click here.  Students often confuse citations and references.  It is not correct to simply list a reference without having a corresponding citation.  For help with citations and references, click here.
    9. Never Copy and Paste – Students often try to copy and paste information into their papers.  Not only can this be plagiarism if not cited correctly, it can cause havoc with formatting. 
    10. Always Read Instructor Feedback – I see students submit the same mistakes every week because they will not read the feedback on their papers.  If a professor has taken the time to read your paper and give helpful advice, it is important to incorporate those suggestions into future assignments. 

    For additional help, see The Top Ten Most Common Writing Mistakes and The Top Ten Sources for Help with APA.

     
    • Matt 6:13 pm on April 15, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks for the tips on how to get an A on a college paper. I think there are definitely some amazingly easy tips to overall success in college that can be easily overlooked such as simply showing up for class, and especially keeping up with your syllabus so that nothing catches you off guard. “How to get an A in College” has some good tips about that.

  • drdianehamilton 2:48 pm on February 16, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Distance education, , , , , , , , ,   

    How to Respond Effectively in Online Discussions 

    Online college students often find that they are required to answer discussion questions in class.  With the popularity of texting and the lack of formality used when writing an email, many students are lacking the necessary skills to write an appropriate posting. 

    Online schools often require that postings are substantive.  In other words, the postings should be substantial and have sufficient content to answer questions in depth.  Students may be given guidelines or a minimum word count to guide them.  However, when responding to fellow students’ postings, there are usually not specific word count requirements.  Therefore, it is important for students to respond in a way that is not merely showing their agreement or disagreement with what is being discussed. 

    A good rule of thumb is to support what the student has said with at least one sentence. That doesn’t mean the student has to agree with the statement; they just have to support the fact that the student has made their point. 

    Then after supporting them, the student can disagree or agree with the topic at hand.  They should include several more sentences explaining their position on the topic.  They could give examples and cite sources.  

    A good way to end the discussion would be with a question that is either addressed to the original student or one that could be addressed to the class in order to bring more participants into the discussion.  

    It is extremely important that students write in complete sentences, use correct grammar, check spelling and punctuate correctly.  For additional help with writing skills, please check out the following links:

    Can Spell Check Make Things Worse?

    Top 15 Writing and Grammar Mistakes

    15 Ways to Improve Writing Skills

    10 Common Writing Mistakes

    Can Texting Damage Writing Skills?

     
  • drdianehamilton 3:06 pm on January 3, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Distance education, , , , , , , ,   

    Employers Embracing Online Education 

    How do employers view online degrees?

    Online degrees are often in the news.  When I first began teaching online, there were far fewer schools offering an online education.  This led to some negative interpretations when employers were considering applicants with an online education.  

    Thankfully it is 2011 and people are waking up! In today’s AOLjobs.com article, the author noted, “While online degrees were once largely seen as being second-rate, recent studies have reported that employers are not only more open to, but are even showing a favorable sentiment toward candidates with online degrees these days. Besides the increase in reputation these programs are experiencing, online degrees have also become so popular, that if employers were to disregard candidates with such degrees, they’d also be disqualifying a significant portion of the work force.”

    How popular is online learning? According to Campustechhnology.com, “Nearly 12 million post-secondary students in the United States take some or all of their classes online right now. But this will skyrocket to more than 22 million in the next five years.”  

    With the growth of the Internet, the ease of accessibility to computers and the flexibility that the online environment affords students, online learning has become more popular than ever. The advantages of not having to buy gas to get to class, not having find a car park or pay for parking, and being able to attend class at any time of the day or night have all contributed to its popularity.

    A large percentage of students who are studying online are working on their associates, but there are baccalaureate, master, and doctoral programs available online as well. Much of the growth that has occurred in online learning has happened since 1999. With the recent changes in the economy, online classes have seen a surge in enrollment. “Bad economic times have often been good for education, either because decreased availability of good jobs encourages more people to seek education instead, or because those currently employed seek to improve their chances for advancement by pursuing their education” (Sloan, 2008).

    There is no mistaking the popularity of online education. Even Bill Gates praised online learning in his 2010 Annual Letter stating, “A lot of people, including me, think this is the next place where the internet will surprise people in how it can improve things.”

    If you are thinking about going back to school in 2011, check out some of the following articles for more advice:

     
  • drdianehamilton 5:13 pm on December 15, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Distance education, , , , , ,   

    Career Mistakes: Are They Really Mistakes? 

     

    When considering a career move, people often find themselves paralyzed, worrying about making a mistake, causing career-suicide.  Most of us have probably made some choices that may not have worked out the way we intended.  However, looking back, much of what we learn through our mistakes actually may be excellent learning experiences that help us with our next job. 

    In Ross Hamilton’s 1951 book For Humans Only, he wrote the following line:  We extract from life just what we give it . . . so with each mistake replace the divot.  You don’t have to be a golfer to grasp his point.  If we make mistakes in our life, we need to make amends and move forward.  In case you hadn’t guessed, this line came from my father.  He felt that we shouldn’t dwell too much on past mistakes. 

    You can’t change decisions you’ve made previously but you can do your best to take what you have learned and grow from those experiences.  Even if you have a job that doesn’t last very long, you might make some excellent contacts that could help you with the next position.  Those contacts may open doors that you may not have even considered. 

    If you over-analyze every decision you’ve ever made, you’ll drive yourself crazy.  It may be best to look at disappointing career choices as learning experiences and realize that they may very well lead to something better down the road.  Lamenting over the past or over things which you have no control, is a time waster.

    Instead, look forward to the choices you have now.  It can be helpful to write down the foreseeable pros and cons of any choice.  This will help you visualize opportunities and threats associated with each alternative.

    If you feel trapped in a career that you chose when you were young, it may be time to change.  Perhaps the degree you were interested in when you were in your 20s no longer fits with your passion.  You may need to consider going back to school to update your skills.  It’s OK to admit that your interests have changed.  

    With the new year around the corner, many people are thinking about making a fresh start with their careers and their lives.  What can you do differently to make this year better than last year?  To truly be successful, having goals is important.  I often recommend that people do a personal SWOT analysis to help them realize what they have to offer and what they need to work on.  If you have never look at your own strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, I suggest doing so as part of your plan to improve your new year.  To find out more about a personal SWOT, click here.

    Additional Resources:

     
    • reflectozone 8:36 pm on December 15, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Hi there,

      I have been reading your posts for a while now. This one resonates with me because I am in the process of delving into previously uncharted waters of a career change. While it is so exciting, past mistakes can be debilitating to progress. Your father is a smart guy.

      Thanks again.
      Reflecto from http://www.reflectozone.wordpress.com

  • drdianehamilton 1:50 pm on December 4, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Admissions essay, , Distance education, , , , , , , , Unigo, , WSJ   

    Wall Street Journal Partners with Unigo to Create a Site that Offers Potential College Students Some Sound Advice 

     

    The Wall Street Journal has teamed up with Unigo’s student correspondents from more than 2000 colleges across America to produce a site they call WSJ on Campus.  If you are not familiar with Unigo, you can watch a video that explains what they do by clicking here.  Their system helps student match their interests and values with appropriate universities.  Their offer help to prospective students by providing reviews written by past students regarding the schools they have attended.  This information is used to help prospective students decide which school is best for them.

    If you to go to WSJ On Campus, you will find that they offer the following information about getting prepared for college:

    • What matters when choosing a school
    • What it will really be like when you get to college
    • The perfect school for you
    • Are Ivy schools are really worth it
    • How to master the admissions essay
    • How to deal with school’s turning your requests for admission down
    • How to prepare for the SAT
    • What to do if you can’t go to your first choice school

    They also offer the following information about what to expect once you get there:

    • How to choose the right classes
    • How to choose the right major
    • Who earns the most money
    • How to handle doing the assignments
    • Understanding academics
    • How to succeed in your Freshman year
    • How to get an A on your papers
    • How to use textbooks on your iPhone

     

    I tried searching by online, online colleges, distance learning and other terms but found no information about online education on the site.  I even typed in some of the top online universities to see if they would come up and there was nothing.  It appears this site is very helpful if you are considering going to a traditional college but not so helpful if you want to use it to choose an online university.  Even if you do decide to attend an online college or university, you can learn a lot from their articles about how to be a successful student.

    For more information about being a successful online student, click here.

     
  • drdianehamilton 2:07 pm on November 19, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: After 40, , , Change Later in Life, Choices, , Distance education, , Fear of Success, , , , , Make More Money, , , Opportunity, Passion, , , , ,   

    Leverage Personal Qualities that Reinvent Your Career and Job Search with a Guide Book to Making More Money Doing What You Love 

    New York, NY 11/19/2010 01:08 PM GMT (TransWorldNews)

     

    DESCRIPTION: Industry changes, job loss and work dissatisfaction has forced people to reinvent their careers. Finding a job that encompasses what you love, and embarks on personality strengths, is the ultimate goal in Dr. Diane Hamilton’s newest book, HOW TO REINVENT YOUR CAREER: MAKE MONEY DOING WHAT YOU LOVE (October 2010; $16.95)

     

    Dr. Hamilton remained in the same company for 20 years until she found the power to leave and reinvent her career.   She now does what she loves as an author, guest speaker and professor. Reinventing herself 10 times during her career, Dr. Hamilton used her personality preferences and experience to seek the career of her dreams.  Readers of this guide will learn to identify their own personalities, to reinvent their careers, using life lessons as practical solutions. 

    Many people, over age 40 who are seeking new careers find that they are in unfamiliar territory.  Many are displaced after being in one career or role for a long time.  The job market has changed and so has job-seeking.  Dr. Hamilton urges readers to take advantage of self-promotion and social networking through sites like LinkedIn. Some job seekers have been in the same field for decades and can maximize their potential career skills by seeking continuing education with free university content through iTunes-U.  Dr. Hamilton highly recommends mastering the guidelines for today’s interviewing styles at The Business School Edge.  Guided by a passion for your dream career, these outlets can effectively leverage the advantage of experience by increasing visibility within the job market.

    Admittedly loving typing and administrative work, Dr. Hamilton took what she truly enjoyed and applied that to her dream job possibilities. Personality tests like and Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and DISC are effective tools for new career seekers to use to point out jobs that may be a good fit for their personality preferences.  In many cases, new employment seekers are unhappy with their current position, may desire a better job, but are unsure where to look for new opportunities.  Each person can facilitate their career search through career analysis and take advantage of their job preferences to land their dream job.

    Many job seekers looking to reinvent their careers are in positions others may regard as the “perfect job.”  How many times does someone start a job for reasons that are fleeting and wind-up in familiar unhappy, Sunday Night Blues territory?  What people must realize is, “that perhaps a perfect job for someone else may not be a perfect job for them,” says Hamilton.  Many fear leaving jobs they may not like because they may feel trapped or fear giving up certain benefits. This attempt at trying to escape the golden handcuffs is a courageous one.  With effort, readers will tap into their personality strengths, leverage the availability of online resources and face the fear of success to ultimately reinvent their careers and make more money doing what they love.

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
    Dr. Diane Hamilton has a doctorate in business management.  She currently teaches bachelor-, master-, and doctoral-level courses for six online universities.  She has written several books including The Online Student’s User Manual: Everything You Need to Know to be a Successful Online College Student, It’s Not You It’s Your Personality:  Surviving and Thriving in the Modern Workplace and her latest HOW TO REINVENT YOUR CAREER: MAKE MONEY DOING WHAT YOU LOVE.  To find out more about her writing, visit her website or blog.

    PR Contact:
    Rebecca Crowley, RTC Publicity
    646-619-1178 
    rebecca@rtcpublicity.com
    ###

     
  • drdianehamilton 12:39 pm on November 13, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Distance education, , , , , , , Mark Rush, , , , , , University of Florida,   

    How Online Learning Compares to Traditional . . . Continuing the Debate 

    The New York Times recently reported, “An analysis of 99 studies by the federal Department of Education concluded last year that online instruction, on average, was more effective than face-to-face learning by a modest amount.”

    However, in this same article, they noted that not all results have shown this to be true.  Mark Rush of the University of Florida’s researched students who watched lectures online vs. traditional students who attended regular live in person lectures. Their study showed more online students let the lectures pile up and got behind.  To find out more about this study, check out the New York Times Article.  

    While I find this to be an interesting study, almost none of the online classes I teach include recorded lectures.  Therefore I don’t find this data to be representative of the online experience that I have witnessed in my over 5 years of teaching for many different online universities.

    Although many people find the lecture experience a big part of education, not everyone finds this to be the most effective way to learn.  When I attended a traditional college, I personally did not enjoy having to sit through long lectures.  Perhaps that is why I was drawn to online learning later. 

    I am more inclined to look at the 99 studies from the Federal Department of Education than one study that looks specifically at how well students keep up with watching lectures in determining the effectiveness of online learning. I personally think that people are drawn to the type of education that fits their needs.  For those that enjoy long lectures, traditional universities may be the best optino for them. For those who don’t, online has a lot to offer.

    For those considering taking an online education, check out:  The Online Student’s User Manual:  Everything You Need to Know to be a Succcessful Online Student.

    Recommended Articles:

    How Employers View an Online Education

    Online Schools using Skype, Tinychat, Video Conferencing, Wiki and Other Technology

    How are Online Degrees Perceived

     
  • drdianehamilton 9:46 pm on October 22, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Distance education, , , , , elearners, , , Perception, ,   

    How Employers View an Online Education 

    In the book The Online Student’s User Manual, I wrote quite a bit about online universities, their perception by employers and how they compare to traditional universities. Check out the following article from elearners.com that gives some interesting statistics about employer’s perception of online education, also see my previous posting about some of these results by clicking here.

    How do employers view online degrees?

    How do potential employers view online courses and degrees? How are job candidates viewed based on their academic credentials, online or traditional? Under what circumstances are online degrees viewed as a “non-issue” or an asset for job applicants?

    These were some of the questions posed in Hiring Practices and Attitudes: Traditional vs. Online Degree Credentials, research undertaken by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and commissioned by eLearners.com, a web resource of EducationDynamics, which connects prospective students with online degrees. And as with a number of similar studies undertaken over the past ten years, the results reflect an interesting and transitioning set of assumptions among hiring managers about the value of online degrees and degree-holders.

    See the key findings as an infographic!

    To read the rest of the article click here:  elearners.com
     
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