Straight Talk: March 14, 2012
Straight Talk: The StraighterLine e-Newsletter Issue #32, March 14, 2012
Edited by Jeffrey Lee Simons
In this issue…
- New Partner School: Strayer University
- Download Your Free E-Book: How To Go Back To College
- StraighterLine Reports: How to Earn a Semester Off in College Using AP Credits
- Best of The StraighterLine Blog
- Online Education in The News
Announcing Our Newest Partner School: Strayer University
Hot off the presses: our newest regionally accredited partner school, Strayer University, is so new we don’t even have a Partner Page for them on the website yet. Not that Strayer University is new: they’ve been focused on educating working adults for 115 years! But we do have a Strayer University course equivalency page up on the site already, so please check it out.
Strayer University has been helping working adults continue their education to advance their careers since 1892. The average age of a Strayer University student is 34, and virtually all of them are working full time while continuing their education. When you enroll at Strayer University, you’ll join more than 60,000 students from across the United States and around the world who attend classes at one of 92 convenient campus locations or take classes online. Strayer University is also a member of Service members Opportunity Colleges (SOC) and participates in Associate’s and Bachelor’s degree programs for active duty military personnel.
Download Your Free E-Book: How To Go Back To College
As many of you know, or are about to find out, going back to college as an adult learner isn’t easy. You’ve got to figure out how to fit school in with the rest of your responsibilities, and how to pay for it. But we think this free 44-page guide can make going back to school a little easier. A $24.99 value, this guide will help you choose the right school and program for you, get credit for your life experience, get the most financial aid, and save money while you get your degree. Download your free guide now.
StraighterLine Reports: How to Earn a Semester Off in College Using AP Credits
By Beth Dumbauld
Who wouldn’t want to skip an entire semester in college by placing out of them with AP credits? At the same time, taking an AP course in high school and not doing well in the course can hurt your chances for getting into college in the first place. And besides, the course doesn’t give you college credits – it’s the AP test you take that counts. Plus, not everyone can get into an AP course due to grades or availability. Luckily for you, Beth Dumbauld’s report on “How to Earn a Semester Off in College Using AP Credits” provides you with all the answers you need to ace the AP and save a semester’s worth of college tuition and fees. Read Full Report
Best of The StraighterLine Blog
What Are the Fastest Growing AP Tests . . . and what does that tell us about American education?
If you were to guess which were the fastest growing AP tests, what would you say? Would “Human Geography” make the list? Which is growing faster, “Chinese Language and Culture” or “Japanese Language and Culture”? Will more students take “Macroeconomics”, “Microeconomics”, or “Environmental Science”, and which is growing quicker? Barry Lenson takes a look at a new survey of trends in AP Test-Taking. Perhaps the most surprising figure of all, though, is how much money the College Board will make administering just the top 10 AP tests this year: $116,849,700.00. Read Full Post
The “Lecture Fail” Project Finds that Most College Lectures are Mind-Numbing and Dull
If you’ve ever had to sit through a college lecture course, those overcrowded, underwhelming intro courses that are required at most schools, the results of the “Lecture Fail” project will come as no surprise. In fact, watching the videos of students sharing their critiques on “The Chronicle of Higher Education” is infinitely more enjoyable. You can even fire up your webcam and add a video of your own. In addition to answering the question of why lectures aren’t working, Barry Lenson offers up an alternative we know you’ll be interested in. Anything to get out of History 101... Read Full Post
Let StraighterLine Be Your Path from Home Schooling to a Church-Affiliated College
If you’re a high school student who has been schooled at home in a religious environment, you could be facing some important questions about college just now. First and foremost, what is the right college for you? In his latest blog post, Barry Lenson takes a look at how StraighterLine, and our partner schools that are founded on religious beliefs, may be the answer you’re seeking: Concordia University Chicago, Nazarene Bible College, and The University of the Incarnate Word. Read Full Post
Online Education in The News
The cries for change in higher education are growing louder, and the mainstream media is beginning to join the chorus. In this issue, we offer up three articles from The Chicago Tribune, The New Republic and The New York Times that are so eloquent, informative and persuasive that we highly urge you to read them if you want to know what the future of higher education, especially online education, will look like.
The Higher Education Monopoly is Crumbling As We Speak
The New Republic, Kevin Carey, 3/13/12
In perhaps the clearest, most concise explanation of the growing revolution in higher education, Kevin Carey applies the theories of disruptive innovation developed by Harvard business school professor Clayton Christensen to higher education. But rather than limit the comparison between traditional and online classes, as has been done, Mr. Carey focuses on the product of higher education: diplomas and credentials.
He looks at a series of developments we have chronicled here: first, the announcement that Stanford University would allow students who took their free, online Artificial Intelligence courses to take a proctored midterm and final, and, if they did well, receive a certificate attesting to their achievement. This was followed by the announcement by MIT that their free MITx online courses would also allow students to take exams, and receive a certificate if they passed.
Next, Mr. Carey reports, “Then, in January, the online higher education company StraighterLine announced that, starting this year, its students would be able to take skills and literacy tests developed by ETS, the maker of the SAT, and from the non-profit Council for Aid to Education, whose well-known Collegiate Learning Assessment of higher-order critical thinking and communication skills is used by hundreds of colleges and universities. Those who do well on the exams will get a certificate saying so. The following week, the Stanford professors announced the creation of an independent for-profit company called Udacity, backed by Silicon Valley venture capital, that will offer the same computer science classes that proved so popular, and, again, certificates to those who pass exams. What all of these new ventures have in common is that they are outside of the existing system of college credits and degrees.”
We would do Mr. Carey’s article a disservice if we summarized more of it here. It is a watershed article, and we highly recommend you read the rest of it yourself. Read Full Article
A GED for college?
Chicago Tribune, Clarence Page, 3/11/12
Noting that the high school diploma is no longer the gateway to the middle class, and that growing numbers of college graduates are filling traditionally middle class jobs, Chicago Tribune columnist Clarence Page asks, “Could millions of college dropouts get a second chance through a GED-style equivalent of a college diploma?” After a brief look at the current discussion about college by politicians like Rick Santorum and President Obama, Mr. Page then turns to his old economics professor, Richard Vedder, for some insight. Vedder, who is also the director of the Center for College Affordability and Productivity, sees a disconnect between the cost of college and the needs of the job market, but he also sees hope on the horizon.
According to Mr. Page, “Vedder is encouraged by recent agreements between the Education Testing Service, which operates the famed SAT test for the College Board, and the Council for Aid to Education to provide competency test materials to students online through StraighterLine, an online education firm. The challenge is to persuade college-accreditation organizations and the business community that collegiate certification can be as reliable as the 70-year-old GED, which certifies high school equivalencies.” Finally, Mr. Page concludes, “At a time when economic success is increasingly defined by educational achievement beyond high school, future generations need as many alternatives as we can offer.” We couldn’t agree more, and we urge you to read Mr. Page’s column. Read Full Article
Beyond the College Degree, Online Educational Badges
The New York Times, Tamar Lewin, 3/4/12
When The New York Times starts asking questions like “What’s so special about a diploma?” and quoting university professors who ask “Who needs a university anymore?” you know the times they are a changing.
In her “Education” column, Tamar Lewin suggests, “With the advent of Massive Open Online Courses and other online programs offering informal credentials, the race is on for alternative forms of certification that would be widely accepted by employers.” She discusses MITx, Stanford, and Udacity, and looks at the efforts by Mozilla and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation to develop an open system of online educational “badges” to certify skills learned. Ms. Lewin also references the fact that Microsoft has long offered their own certificates for trained computer technicians.
The article quotes David Wiley, a professor at Brigham Young University who is an expert on Massive Open Online Courses who says, “Employers look at degrees because it’s a quick way to evaluate all 300 people who apply for a job. But as soon as there’s some other mechanism that can play that role as well as a degree, the jig is up on the monopoly of degrees.” Read Full Article