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I had to opportunity to interview Martin “Marty” Zwilling this week. Marty has an impressive background. He is a former executive with IBM. He has served on multiple advisory boards. He currently works as an author and consultant. His company, Startup Professionals, is dedicated to helping new entrepreneurs succeed. He gave some great insight regarding some of the toughest issues facing new entrepreneurs. The following is our six-part interview. Click on the link below the picture. Scroll to next video with the arrow at the bottom after watching each one.
My job has taught me that a lot of people struggle with grammar and spelling. My first sentence brought to mind one of the most common spelling errors. Many of my students type “a lot” as one word, which is incorrect. There is no such word as “alot”. If spelling is not hard enough, grammar is just as tricky because some things that are correct, do not sound correct. I know I tend to say things incorrectly just to sound like everyone else. For example, people might look at you funny if you correctly stated, “that is she” instead of incorrectly stated “that is her”.
Here are some of the most common mistakes I run into when grading papers:
• It is not correct to state: in regards; it should be: in regard
• It is not correct to state: between you and I; it should be: between you and me
• It is not correct to state: me and Bob went; it should be: Bob and I went
• It is not correct to state: please contact myself; it should be: please contact me
• It is not correct to state: it has been a good year for Bob and I; it should be: it has been a good year for Bob and me.
We are all guilty of making grammatically incorrect statements. I often find things that I have written where I have made mistakes. One mistake I recently noticed was that I incorrectly referred to CEO as an acronym. That is incorrect. It is an abbreviation. It is only an acronym if the letters may be used as a word as in the example of RADAR.
I was always taught never to end sentences with a preposition. I have seen several debates regarding rules like this one. Some incorrectly written things become so common that they change the rules.
With all of the confusion, where can you find help with grammar? Even the most educated people make mistakes. I believe a good editor can help. I am a fan of Edit911.com. I am also a big fan of the Grammar Girl website. Another website that may be particularly helpful is Grammarly. There are also some wonderful books, which include:
• The Bugaboo Review: A Lighthearted Guide to Exterminating Confusion about Words, Spelling and Grammar by Sue Sommer.
• Between You and I: A Little Book of Bad English by James Cochrane.
• Eats, Shoots, & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation by Lynne Truss.
• Have Some Fun with Some Common Grammar Mistakes
• Euphemisms, Metaphors, Clichés, Oxymorons, and More
• What is a Backronym or a Bacronym?
• Anthropomorphisms: When Not to Use Them
• Top 100 Vocabulary Words Adult Should Know
• APA and Writing Help Page
I am often asked to give my opinion regarding online education versus traditional education. Because it is such a popular topic, I decided to conduct some research to determine how online instructors’ perceive online versus traditional degrees. The following is an abstract from my most recent study published in the Journal for Online Doctoral Education.
“Due to the growth of online courses and universities, the quality and benefits of distance education warrant
scholarly attention. Previous researchers have focused on students’, employers’, and traditional professors’
perspectives of online courses. Although adjunct professors teach the majority of online courses, few
researchers have explored their opinions of online education compared to traditional, face-to-face education.
Also lacking is information about online instructors’ perceptions of the online teaching position. The purpose
of this report was to present online adjunct faculty members’ perceptions of online education in relation to
traditional education. Sixty-eight adjunct faculty members who were recruited through LinkedIn voluntarily
completed an instrument that was developed for this purpose. Given that this report represents an initial
attempt to understand this phenomenon, preliminary results are reported as descriptive statistics. Overall,
the online adjunct faculty members held favorable opinions of online education and believed that others did
as well. Although they reported grading similarly in online courses as in traditional courses, the online
adjunct faculty members reported that students thought that online professors graded more easily.
Limitations and recommendations for future research are discussed.”
To read the entire study, please click the following link: Adjunct Faculty Members’ Perceptions of Online Education Compared to Traditional Education
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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MOOCs have drawn attention to the different requirements of online vs. traditional teaching jobs. I recently watched Dr. Dani Babb’s Udemy presentation titled How to Make Money Teaching as an Online Professor. She said something that I thought was interesting. She had worked as a traditional professor prior to becoming an online professor. When she discussed the job requirements of an online professor, she mentioned that online professors have to deal with students who expect a lot more interaction in the online environment than the traditional one. This is very true. This is also something that I do not think gets enough attention in the media.
There are plenty of articles about how wonderful traditional schools are compared to online schools. However, it has been my experience that online schools provide students with far more access to their professors. This has increased the amount of responsibilities required of online professors. Online professors must:
- Help students learn to think critically
- Guide students through a maze of information
- Help students learn critical information in a shorter amount of time
- Encourage students to form opinions and debate topics
- Provide tools for lifelong learning
While the demands placed on online professors have increased, they may feel like they are being under-valued by the press. Students expect more value. Students want skills that lead to immediate job improvements. This has put pressure on educators. However, this kind of pressure is good because it creates a dialogue for how to improve the online experience.