Archive for August, 2012

Twitter Chats for Recent Grads

The Savvy Intern recently shared a list of useful twitter chats for recent college grads. Topics range from  job hunting to healthy living, grad school, and productivity. Participating in scheduled chats offers an opportunity to exchange information in real time versus waiting on a response.

You can heck it out the list here!


Meet Carrie Ann Phelps


In June, the College of Westchester welcomed Carrie Ann Phelps, the new Assistant Dean of Student Services.

Carrie originally grew up in Vestal, NY, outside of Binghamton, and now lives in Brooklyn. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from SUNY Brockport, a Master’s Degree in Secondary School Counseling, and a Master’s Degree in Secondary School Administration from the University of Scranton. Currently she is working on a Doctoral Degree as a student in the EdD program in Organizational Leadership at Pepperdine University, a hybrid program where she takes classes online most of the time and travels to Los Angeles twice a semester. She feels it helps her relate better to our online students!


Carrie’s last job was at New York University where she began as a financial aid counselor before being promoted to manager, and then finally asked to oversee student financial services. Carrie tries to find time to read for fun; she enjoys Stephen King books and watching sports when she can, especially the NY Rangers.


When asked about her experience so far at CW, Carrie says, “I’ve really been enjoying my time here. Even though it has only been a few months, everyone has been very welcoming and friendly. I see the CW Way in action all the time.”


She adds, “I’m also finding the online division to be such a great option we offer. Online degree options just work better for some students, for a variety of reasons. CW and the students benefit from the additional flexibility we offer, and I see that concern for our student success in every area of the online division. I think we’re all seeing the rise in online coursework and I am proud to be a part of the College’s efforts in this area.”

Yes, College is Worth It

Recently, TIME magazine ran an article called, “One More Time: Yes, College Is Worth It,” discussing a study showing that despite the plight of unemployed college graduates, a degree still holds its value. Though the article focuses mainly on traditional colleges, the same could be said for online colleges. An education is a valuable tool that can be used to get ahead in life.

Check out the College of Westchester for more info on online and in-the-classroom education opportunities.

Inside Higher Ed recently ran an essay called “The Bitter Reality of MOOConomics” by Carlo Salerno.

The piece begins by exploring the notion that students choose colleges because colleges provide a good education and help students obtain career goals. Writes Salerno, “They seek to earn a credential that they can successfully leverage in a labor market.” In turn, colleges are selective about which students they accept because graduates and their success are a reflection on them. “Who gets in matters a great deal to these schools,” the author explains, “because it helps them control quality and head off the adverse effects of unqualified students either dropping out or performing poorly in career positions”

It is assumed in the article that MOOC/Coursera founders from Stanford are looking to address the ills of high cost of college education by providing a new method of instruction that relies not only on instructors, but on the peer experience. MOOCs allow anyone to take a course and are not selective, so, according to Salerno, this creates a dichotomy between MOOC admission and college goals

One example used to compare MOOCs (aka Massive Open Online Courses) to a real college experience is the difference between learning from a history professor in a real college as versus watching the History Channel in order to become an expert on history —most of us just won’t do it, and it isn’t won’t hold up as a legitimate credential —even though learning can take place everywhere. Says Salerno, “There has to be a specific reason that people would be willing to spend tens of thousands of dollars and several years of their life to get it from one particular source like a college….I’m simply not going to get a job as a high-school history teacher with ‘television watching’ as the core of my resume, even if I both learned and retained far more information than I ever could have in a series of college history classes.”

Salerno goes on to say that “Stanford was perfectly in the right for clarifying that the letters of completion professors wrote on behalf of students who finished the MOOCs were NOT a certification” from the University.

The article also likens MOOCs to a rudimentary Ford Model T by stating that it is not quite yet road ready, but it is not going away, and it is revolutionary.  “Still, what our elite higher education institutions have produced in the MOOC looks and feels like one of Ford Motor Company’s futuristic concept cars – something that provides a vision for how tomorrow might look, or which includes niche features that may be built into near-term models, but in its current form is simply not road-ready.”  Even though this is a criticism, it is a significant statement.

One of the biggest questions, according to Salerno, is whether colleges can accept some prior learning-type credit or credentials without watering down or even nullifying their institutions’ quality.

Says the College of Westchester’s Mary Beth Del Balzo, LCSW, “Even though there is some concern about protection of the educational system, especially at elite colleges such as the Ivies, other colleges are positioning themselves to begin to provide post-course testing to certify that someone actually did complete courses satisfactorily.” She adds, “All articles, whether from the New York Times, Inside Higher Ed, or the hundreds of others that have already given Coursera press, have one thing in common: They all say that while not perfect, that MOOCs are not going away, that they are revolutionary, and they could eventually profoundly affect how we help students earn their degrees.”

You can read the full essay here.

A recent study by The Learning House, Inc. and Aslanian Market Research looked at online students—who they are, where they live in relation to their school, and other traits.

One of the main findings of the study was that 80 percent of online students live within 100 miles of a campus or service center of their institution.

Other finds include:

  • People of all ages take online courses, but 40 percent are under 30, and 20 percent are 25.
  • About two-thirds of online students attend not-for-profit institutions.  Students who enroll in not-for-profit and for-profit institutions share similar key demographics and preferences in regard to field of study, desired credentials, goals and motivation to pursue online education.
  • Although the large majority of online students enroll in degree programs, certificates attract 20 percent of the market.

You can read more about the study here.