Archive for June, 2012

Even celebrities are turning to online learning!

Despite his successful film career as an actor and producer that includes two Oscar nominations, 41-year-old Mark Wahlberg has admitted he regrets dropping out of high school his freshman year.

Well, Kerry Tondorf, headmaster of Boston’s Snowden International High School in Copley Square, wrote to Wahlberg, telling him of a program the school offers to allow students to complete their high school educations online.

As reported in the Boston Globe, Wahlberg was excited about the opportunity. Said Tondorf, “He called me the next day, and he seemed very excited and serious about the opportunity.”

Snowden International High School in Copley Square was known as Copley Square High School when Wahlberg dropped out to give showbiz a try. Over 25 years later, he’s already enrolled in the online program to complete his high school education and has even signed up for his first class. The program allows students to study and complete classes at their own pace, just as long as they log in at least once a week.

Read about it here.


Ever wonder what it’s like to be the instructor of an online class? This TIME article follows teacher Jane Good, of Colorado. Good is one of 11 full-time teachers in Colorado’s three-year-old 21st Century Virtual Academy, an online school of about 750 students that is part of the state’s largest school district, the JeffCo Public Schools. She teaches full-time and part-time students in seventh- and eighth-grade science, ninth-grade Earth science and 10th-grade biology.

You can also click here to read about a CW instructor’s experience teaching an online class from Italy!

In recent years, Twitter has become a main form of communication, including in the field of education. A recent post on offers up 33 Twitter Tips to Enhance Your Academic Research. It’s definitely worth a read if you’re looking ways to add to your arsenal of web-savvy learning skills.


Last month, the Boston Globe published  a piece entitled “Findings give boost to online classes: Method effective, study concludes.” Readers wrote in to express their opinions and concerns.

One particular letter to the editor, by Marilyn Paterno, speaks to some of the misconceptions expressed by other readers about online education while also highlighting the commitment, rigor, and value of this mode of education.

For example, in response to concerns about the online experience leading to reduced engagement amongst students, she wrote, “Everyone was required to contribute … [and] there was no way to slump in the chair and avoid notice.” In essence, you cannot be passive or hide in an online class and only shine on the day of the exam or final presentation.

Whether online or face-to-face, students are expected to accomplish the same learning outcomes—the difference being the mode of delivery. They have to be active learners and be able to work autonomously, manage their time efficiently and work within set deadlines.

At the College of Westchester, we offer an enriching, engaging online experience. To learn more, visit the College of Westchester online.

Before you turn it in…

CW colleague Paul Gugliemella recently shared an ECampusNews piece about plagiarism among college students – worth a read. CW uses Turnitin,  a tool for students and faculty to check for plagiarism, syntax, spelling, grammar, and formatting.  It is a powerful resource which is available to staff and students though our LMS.  If you haven’t already tried it consider becoming familiar with Turnitin. The Turnitin company has amassed and regularly updates a huge catalog of materials that they run papers and student work against to detect potentially plagiarized student work. Many teachers and students have found it helpful. Visit Turnitin online to learn more!

Teaching with Text Messages

Texting in the classroom is usually thought of as counterproductive, but the use of text messages as a teaching tool is gaining popularity in educational settings across the country. According to the College Students and Technology report from the Pew Internet and American Life Project, in 2010, 82% of all adults and 96% of undergraduate students surveyed had the devices. Similarly, last year’s ECAR National Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology found that “almost all students (93%) use text messaging as a communication tool.” ECAR also found that students’ smartphone use in academic settings includes texting other students about coursework (61%) and texting professors (19%).

You can read more here about teaching with text messages.