Straight Talk: February 1, 2012
Straight Talk: The StraighterLine e-Newsletter Issue #29, February 1, 2012
Edited by Jeffrey Lee Simons
In this issue…
- New Courses Now Live: General Physics I and General Physics I with Lab
- StraighterLine Reports: Understanding Federal Financial Aid and the FAFSA
- Save More on Our New Business Course Bundle
- Best of The StraighterLine Blog
- Online Education in The News
- The Latest from CEO Corner: Higher Education Doesn’t Have a Cost Problem. It Has a Price Problem
New Science Courses Now Live: General Physics I and General Physics I with Lab
Great news for any budding Isaac Newtons or Albert Einsteins reading this: two days ago, two new courses went live: General Physics I and General Physics I with Lab. Both have been reviewed and recommended by the American Council on Education’s (ACE) Credit Recommendation Service. So now, thanks to StraighterLine, you can now take advantage of low cost intro courses in Chemistry, Biology, Psychology, Anatomy and Physiology I and II, and Pharmacology I and II. Stay tuned: General Physics II is on the event horizon!
Understanding Federal Financial Aid and the FAFSA
By Beth Dumbauld
Even though StraighterLine courses are so affordable we don’t accept Federal Financial Aid, we know that for many of you, your next steps are going to require lining up as much financial aid as possible. And that’s why Beth Dumbauld prepared this StraighterLine Report on understanding the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA. It’s filled with checklists of the information you need to complete the form, tips for getting the most bang for your buck, and critical deadlines you must know about. We suggest you read the report: it could be your ticket to getting the money you need to continue your education. Read Full Report
Save More on Our New Business Course Bundle
Jump-start your business degree with the StraighterLine Business Course Bundle. It’s $255 worth of courses for only $199 – a savings of 25% off regular price when you buy all four courses together!
- Introduction to Business
- Business Communications
- Accounting I
- Economics I: Macroeconomics
Best of all, no matter what type of business degree you pursue, from Accounting to an MBA, you’ll need to take these courses someplace. And since our course credits transfer to any of our partner colleges or through the ACE Credit service to over 1200 colleges and universities in the US, why not save yourself both time and money and take them from StraighterLine?
Best of The StraighterLine Blog
Unusual Sources of Financial Aid
Did you know that there’s a website where you can search for scholarships and summer and year-round programs in Australia, Germany, Israel, Japan and more? Or a site featuring scholarships if you’re a student from the Middle East or Africa and want to study here? Or that if you’re a woman, there are lots of scholarships just for you? In fact, there are quite a few sites that you may never have heard of where you may be able to find your next scholarship. Where can you find them? Right here, in this post from the StraighterLine blog. Read Full Post
Job Hunting? Here’s How to Make the Most of Your Online Learning Experience
It turns out that companies like to hire candidates who have shown the ambition to get ahead that taking online courses represents. In fact, in this very helpful and informative post by Barry Lenson, Barry quotes an executive who does a lot of recruiting for a major financial institution in New York: “I really like to hire job candidates who show that they haven’t taken the easy route to earning a college degree. When I talk to a recent college grad who overcame some obstacles and worked hard, I am more likely to hire that candidate than a graduate who had an easy time of it.” So how can you turn your online experience into your next job? Read the Full Post to find out.
Look if You Dare! Huge Cache of College Trivia Discovered
This is not your typical blog post. If it were, would it tell you that Emory students call themselves Emeroids and Duke students call themselves Dukies? Or that Brandeis has an annual Liquid Latex party where students get naked and cover themselves and each other with latex? No, this blog post is about a treasure trove of trivia that will keep you clicking around for hours and hours. Still not convinced? What if we told you something you didn’t know about Adam Sandler, Ashton Kutcher, Brad Pitt, Jimmy Buffet and Madonna? We thought that would get your attention… Read Full Post
Online Education in The News
Educational disruption and the expansion of online higher learning were all over the news the last few weeks, and we’re proud to report that StraighterLine and some of our educational partners and partner schools were at the center of the stories.
A Student-Centered Future for Higher Ed
The Huffington Post, Jeff Selingo, 1/26/12
Taking their cue from Sheryl Sandberg, the chief operating officer of Facebook who envisions a future in which industries are disrupted and rebuilt with people at the center, the Huffington Post takes a look at potential disruptions in higher education. And readers of this newsletter will not be surprised that they single out two alternatives already in play: The Khan Academy, about whom we’ve frequently written, and us, StraighterLine. They go on to discuss the recent announcement of MIT’s online MITx and Stanford University’s expansion of their online courses, both of which we’ve reported on here.
The article, like the Wall St. Journal article below, looks at the heart of the disruption: credentials: “But unless traditional colleges figure out a way to incorporate the new players and their ideas, such as MIT did recently, the innovators will figure out a way around the credentialing hurdle that will be acceptable to students, parents, and, most important, employers. And when they do, a part of the higher-ed market will be disrupted and rebuilt with students at the center.” Read Full Article
Alternative Certification and ‘Colorblind Racism’
The Wall St. Journal, James Taranto, 1/26/12
According to The Wall St. Journal, there is a new development in the higher education marketplace that threatens to undermine the monopoly on certification currently held by colleges and universities: “If someone could offer a less expensive job-hunting license--one that assessed an entry-level job-seeker's worth to a prospective employer at least as accurately as a college degree does--then the demand for college would plummet, as young adults could realize the same gains from a much smaller investment.” And where might this alternative come from? The article, quoting economist Richard Vedder, suggests: “The announcement of agreements between Burck Smith's StraighterLine and the Education Testing Service (ETS) and the Council on Aid to Education (CAE) to provide competency test materials to students online is potentially very important...”
The agreements concern StraighterLine’s plan to offer two tests provided by ETS and CAE: iSkills, "measures the ability of a student to navigate and critically evaluate information from digital technology." And the Critical Learning Assessment, or CLA, "assesses critical learning and writing skills through use of cognitively challenging problems… Students can tell employers, 'I did very well on the CLA and iSkills test, strong predictors of future positive work performance,' and, implicitly 'you can hire me for less than you pay college graduates who score less well on these tests.'”
Taranto continues, “…it would drive college costs down and force cost-cutting and downsizing within the higher-ed industry. So you can expect the industry to fight hard against it.” One way he predicts they’ll attack the Critical Learning Assessment is to say that they have a racially disparate impact along the lines of the “Colorblind racism” argument developed in academia and utterly rejected as absurd by the Wall St. Journal in this article. Read Full Article
(By the way, StraighterLine already offers one way for you to get college credit for your previous life and work experience with the Prior Learning Assessment.)
Top Lawmaker Pushes for Online Only University
The Miami Herald (Tampa Bay Times), Kim Wilmath, 1/19/12
The speaker-designate of the Florida House of Representatives, Republican Representative Will Weatherford, has proposed that Florida develop an all-online-only University as part of their state university system. And when Weatherford was asked by the system’s board of Governors if he had a system in mind, the Herald reports “Not really, he said. Maybe something like the all-online Western Governors University…” but bigger and broader, perhaps as a public-private partnership.” Read Full Article
The Latest from CEO Corner: Higher Education Doesn’t Have a Cost Problem. It Has a Price Problem
The following is an excerpt from Burck’s latest blog post, Higher Education Doesn’t Have a Cost Problem. It Has a Price Problem:
When asked for suggestions to reduce college costs, the innovations extolled by colleges are Course Redesign – a proven way to reduce the cost of delivery of high enrollment classes while improving student outcomes — the promotion of free content through open courseware initiatives and greater use of online learning. The problem is that, even if every college in the country adopted Course Redesign principles (which, frankly, it’s a crime if they haven’t done so already), used open courseware, and offered a full list of online courses, the price of college would be untouched. What’s more, I’ll lay dollars to donuts that higher education tuition would continue to rise unabated. Here’s why…
You can read the full post in CEO Corner.