Friday, December 11, 2015

Get Educated About Your Options & Resources

Adult Education and Distance Learner's Resource Center TELECOMMUTE TO COLLEGE by Vicky Phillips Adult Education & Distance Learner's Resource Center Jan Gee, a single mother of two pre-schoolers, tried twice to finish her associate degree at a local college. Frustrated with long commutes, canceled classes, childcare costs, and the red tape required to register for classes, Jan opted last year to telecommute to college. She enrolled in an associate in computer science program offered through the Electronic University Network (EUN). Two nights a week Jan "goes" to class in an electronic conference hall, where she hears a lecture and discusses issues with her classmates. After class, she downloads her new lessons and research materials from the online library. Next fall, Jan will graduate from Rogers State College, her associate degree in hand, her sanity intact. Jan is not alone. Adults, ages 35-45, are the fastest growing group of college learners. To advance or consolidate their careers, an estimated five million adults complete some form of distance learning each year. An estimated 30,000 adults, equipped with computers and modems, hitched rides on the Information Superhighway to accredited college campuses in 1993. Electronic Universities The Electronic University Network (EUN) , headquartered in California, was created in the early 1980's by Dr. Steve Eskow and Sarah Blackmun to help working adults conquer time and space. All courses are offered via the Internet. Degrees include associates in arts, business, and computer science from Rogers State College. Brevard Community College, in Florida, offers a host of associate degrees in technical and liberal arts areas. A unique counseling service helps working adults locate the best distance colleges or training programs for their career needs. Herriot-Watt University, a Royal Charter University in Scotland, offers a master's in business administration through the EUN. Specially developed software packages let students work on their lessons on laptops, then send assignments from the nearest phone jack or mail box. Herriot-Watt's unique selling point? Like many European programs, a bachelor's degree in business is not required to begin the program. City University of Seattle started as a one-room experiment in adult education in the 1970s. Today it is one of the largest distance learning programs in the world. Learners connect to City University through mail, fax, and modem. Bachelor degrees run the gamut from the humanities and film studies to telecommunications management. City also offers several MBA's and graduate certificate programs in management. JEC College Connection (formerly known as Mind Extension University) is the brainchild of Glenn Jones, who had a vision of using cable TV to provide an accessible university system. He purchased his first cable system in the late 1960's by borrowing against his Volkswagen. JEC College Connection has grown by leaps since then. America's first completely free-standing virtual university, the International University, a project of JEC, received candidacy status for regional accreditation in the spring of 1997. JEC students without cable access can rent videotapes of lectures. Some programs offer electronic mail and Internet conferencing options also. Ten colleges offer degrees via JEC's network. Try Regis College for an undergraduate business degree. Social science undergraduate degrees come from Kansas State University or Washington State University. Animal Sciences and Management is offered through Kansas State University. A Master in Educational Technology and Leadership can be earned via George Washington University. A bachelor's in nursing is offered from California State University, Dominguez Hills. International University offers a unique master's in business communication. Best Buys for Career Changers Career changers should consider earning distance learning certificates. Certificates consist of about ten courses, all related to one's career field. If you've never been to college, earning a certificate can give your resume an entry-level edge. If you have a college degree, but your major was in music, and you now seek work in accounting, a certificate can quickly convey your respecialization. The University of California Extension offers certificates in business by home-study, using mail, fax, video, and electronic mail options for computer science and programming courses. Awards can be earned in individualized business areas, or accounting (Certified Public Accountancy), real estate, database management, economics, systems analysis, and human resources management. Got the Experience, Need the Degree? The number of employees with a college degree has skyrocketed from 6% in the 1950's to 27% today. Competition is keen. If you have career expertise, consider documenting it for college credit. Over half of all colleges recognize that what an adult learner knows is more important than where she or he learned it. These colleges let adults document career experience for credit or take special challenge exams to "test out" of key subjects. Donald Borowitz dropped out of college in the early 1980's and went to work as a computer operator. He rose in the ranks to become a senior management analyst. But his career climb stopped abruptly in the early 1990's. Times had changed. Legions of new college students with graduate degrees were lining up for Donald's job. When Donald was laid off he wasn't surprised that many employers wouldn't talk to him without a college degree. He was surprised that he could earn the last year two-years of his bachelor degree through documentation of his work experience. Donald received credit for what he already knew through a career portfolio assessment program offered through Thomas Edison State College of New Jersey . Thomas Edison State College places no limit on the number of credits students can earn through life credits or challenge exams. They offer 47 academic majors and limited online courses through a program called CALL (Computer Assisted Lifelong Learning). Shop Around for Best Buys Over 100 regionally accredited colleges offer low-residency or no-residency undergraduate distance degrees. Associate (two-year) or bachelor (four-year) degrees are available in most subjects. While telecommuting programs are in the minority, many colleges use video and fax to enhance instruction. Graduate degrees and career credentials are available from over one hundred and thirty universities. Degrees can often be individualized to earn unusual majors like multi-cultural studies or museum management. If you have career expertise, shop around for the best deal. Most undergraduate distance programs accept documented experience for college credit, but many, like City University, limit it to 30 credits or one year of academic study. The cost of documenting life/work credits varies tremendously. Thomas Edison State is very reasonable at $25 per credit for non-New Jersey residents. Tuition costs vary as widely as programs. Check with your employer about tuition assistance. Though many companies offer tuition reimbursement plans, only about 5% of employees take advantage of this benefit. Remember - if your employer or career requires a degree, your undergraduate educational expenses may be tax deductible. Program Directory City University 800-422-4898 Email: Electronic University Network 800-22-LEARN Email: JEC College Connection 800-777-6463 Email: Thomas Edison State College 609-984-1150 Email: University of California Extension 510-642-4124 Email: *all links were known to be valid at press time. (C) 1995, 1996, 1997 by Vicky Phillips . All rights reserved. An original version of this article appeared in the "California Job Journal." Links to and this article are welcome. Please notify the Adult Education & Distance Learner's Resource Center if a link is established. Vicky Phillips is an adult learning and career change specialist who designed America's first online consulting center for distance learners for the Electronic University Network on America Online. She is the President of Lifelong Learning, a company the specializes in authoring learning materials for adults. General Inquiries: Webmaster: geteducated! HomePage home Copyright © 1996 - 1999, Adult Education and Distance Learner's Resource Center Last Modified: August 02, 1998


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