Campus Living Choices

Decisions, decisions, decisions. Getting the most from your college experience is all about choices. One that will have the most impact on your time at college is deciding what living arrangements will work best for you. Live at home and commute? Off-campus apartment? On-campus residence hall? The majority of college students choose the dorms, especially as freshmen and sophomores, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that’s your best choice. Naturally, finances play a big part in the final decision, but there are a number of other considerations you should take into account before you pick on-campus living. It depends on how you tend to look at things:

Friendly companionship or lack of privacy? In the dorms, there will be plenty of opportunities to make new friends. It’s a great way to get to know who’s who and what’s what, and one of the best cures for homesickness. The down side is you can’t just turn it all off if you’d like some privacy. You may discover that when opportunity knocks, it doesn’t stop knocking, even when you just want some peace and quiet. And if you’re not a really sound sleeper, things can get pretty loud at 2 a.m. on the weekends.

Welcome simplicity or restricted opportunities? Living in a dorm is much simpler than living in an apartment. No monthly bills, no worries about groceries or cooking, no cleaning chores other than your bed and your desk. The flip side, of course, is that your dorm room can seem a bit cramped. Entertaining friends can be a struggle, especially if your roommate has the same idea at the same time. What’s more, many dorms require students to leave for holiday and term breaks and for the summer. This can be a huge pain, especially if you’re an out-of-state student.

Convenience or confinement? Leaving your dorm room at 9:45 to make a 10 a.m. class is no problem. Walk wherever you want to go and forget high gas prices, lack of parking, and bus schedules. Some dorm rooms even come with free cable, high speed Internet access, and other perks. On the other hand, the comfortable convenience of the  campus  can seem confining at times. Also, most dorm contracts require that you purchase a  campus  meal plan. That translates into a lot of cafeteria meals that may not be always to your liking, and you may have to pay for a certain number of meals even if you don’t eat all of them.

Interpersonal skill building or social-life overload? Dorm life is a quick way to get a ton of “extra credit” in interpersonal relationships. It’s a total-immersion course in learning how to get along with your roommate and the people roaming the halls. For that very reason, it can also be a bit – or a bunch – overwhelming, depending on the personalities involved. You may have to deal so much drama you feel like you’ve declared a second major. And even if that freaky guy down the hall does turn out to be the next Bill Gates, there may be some people you just prefer not to get to know.

Getting Ready For Campus

When preparing for your first year in college, you have to start to plan what classes you are going to take. There are a lot of options to choose from. There are history classes that focus completely on King Richard’s pilgrimage during the crusades, classes that focus completely on African American poets, or classes to explore a variety of world religions. Spending some time with an advisor discussing your options for classes may make it easier to make a concrete schedule for your first semester or quarter.

Another preparation you need to focus on is figuring out your living situation. A lot of schools have some sort of requirements about living on campus. At some schools you will be required to live in a residence hall or dormitory for the first or possibly first two years. If you are required to live in a dorm, you will probably be paired up with a roommate as well. You and your roommate will want to be in contact to figure out who is going purchase what for the room. Also the school should send a list with what items are allowed in your dorm room and what items are not. Most dorms will allow a mini-fridge and a microwave. However, coffee pots and hot plates are usually prohibited from the rooms. It is important to make sure you and your roommate discuss who is going to bring what to prevent you two from having duplicate appliances.

A fun part of preparing to move into your dorm room is decorating your room. Lots of stores carry special merchandise specifically for dormitories. One thing you have to make sure you look for is sheets that are going to fit the beds in dorm rooms. They will sell sheets called twin extra-long which will fit the beds in dorms. Once you get your sheets you can get the rest of your bedding and begin the color theme for your room. One thing to remember is that whatever you plan on doing to the room will have to be undone by the time you move back out. If you put up poster on the wall, using a little whiteout or toothpaste will cover up the holes from thumbtacks when you move out.

Once you get on campus, you can visit the school bookstore to get your textbooks. However, it may save you some money to look into trying to find those books from a discount book website before you get on campus. The only problem with ordering books online is that it can sometimes be a hassle, especially if the books are out of stock or get lost in the mail. Also, purchasing items like folders, paper, notebooks, pens, pencils, highlighters, and index cards are going to be cheaper at a grocery store than at the bookstore on campus. There may be extra expenses like special calculators or a device called a clicker that certain classes may require you to purchase; however you may not find out about that until the first day of classes.

Gaining an Online Education in Transportation

A large amount of work goes into the process of successfully delivering products. The field of transportation is a multidisciplinary industry that allows students to step into a plethora of careers. Gaining an online education in transportation can be done at multiple degree levels and concentrations.

With the field of transportation being so diverse in its study options, students can find a program and a concentration that’s right for their career goals. Online undergraduate degree programs train students to take on entry-level and basic managerial positions inside the industry. Graduate degree study trains students at an advanced level that allow students to become upper-level managers and industry analysts. Education program options include:

  • Associate’s Degrees
  • Bachelor’s Degrees
  • Master’s Degrees
  • Graduate Certificates

Students can complete concentrated learning programs in rail, plane, water, or truck transportation.

Students that are working through an associate’s degree program gain a general overview of transportation. Most degree programs incorporate logistics into career training, which approximately last two years. The transportation of goods and the guarantee of delivery are two main areas studied at this level of education. The logistics component of education teaches students to use computer programs to track and maintain the different supply routes of their company. Common issues covered inside a program include inventory management, record keeping, global supply chain, and cost. Students should expect to take general education courses their first year of school. Logistics and transportation management courses are heavily focused on within the second year of schooling. Students that graduate an online training program can enter careers as inventory control, warehouse packaging, and logistics documentation assistants.

Bachelor degree programs allow students to choose an area of concentration while they examine the foundational aspects of the field. Airline, freight, operation, and transportation organization are some possible areas of concentration that students can complete. Students that concentrate on transportation organization will focus on a particular method, such as truck transportation, and learn about areas such as strategic logistics planning and data analysis. Before concentration courses are taken students must complete core bachelor’s degree courses. Students learn about overall subjects addressed on the job. Productivity, informational flow, and procurement are specific areas explored inside a bachelor’s degree program. Online programs typically include an internship course. This hands-on training method takes place at the end of education. For example, students in a maritime transportation program could work with a seaport to accomplish their internship. Further study has students learning how to step into leadership roles.

Master’s degree programs dive into multiple topics that provide education in engineering, economics, and planning. The goal of training is to teach students an advanced understanding of the procedures used to design transportation systems. Main core objectives include learning about security, safety, and reliability of transportation. Education is an all inclusive approach, meaning that students learn management skills that can be applied to various parts of the industry. Graduates can continue learning inside a graduate certificate program if desired.

Accredited online transportation degree programs can be completed at several levels allowing students to choose an area right for them. The Distance Education and Training Council ( ) supplies full accreditation to programs that offer quality career preparation. Begin education in transportation by enrolling in an accredited online college.

DISCLAIMER: Above is a GENERIC OUTLINE and may or may not depict precise methods, courses and/or focuses related to ANY ONE specific school(s) that may or may not be advertised at

Copyright 2010 – All rights reserved by

College Campuses and the Need for Drug Testing

College years are a time for meeting new people, learning about the world, and having fun. Most students are serious about their studies and they know how to have fun without binge drinking, taking prescription drugs, or using illicit drugs. Data from the Harvard School of Public Health’s College Alcohol Study show that the numbers of those who drink heavily as well as those who do not drink have risen in recent years. The majority of students who fall in the middle of these two groups lowered in the amount of alcohol they consumed. Alcohol is not the only drug that college students are abusing. There has been a rise in the use of prescription drugs as well as illegal drugs among college students.

Alcohol abuse by this group has been a problem for many years. Fraternities and sororities are known for binge drinking and alcoholic games that take place starting on Thursday night and last through the weekend until Sunday morning. Research continues to show that athletes and first-year students, along with fraternity and sorority members are the heaviest drinkers on  campus . Women are beginning to drink more, and are catching up with male students in excess drinking.

Unfortunately, the small numbers of students who drink have a profound effect on those who do not drink. The Harvard study found that 60 percent of all college students had their sleep or study interrupted by a drunken student, while 48 percent took care of an intoxicated student. Other problems affect the non-drinking students as well. Some have been insulted, experienced unwanted sexual advances, and have had serious arguments with these drunken students. Fifteen percent of the students in the survey have had their property damaged as well. Students who drink heavily affect the entire college  campus .

There are also startling numbers of college students who use prescription drugs and other illicit drugs. Students are using prescription drugs to stay awake to cram for exams and to battle depression. Some athletes are using steroids to help them exceed in their sport, while others use the prescription drugs to simply get high. According to The Higher  Education  Center for Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse and Violence Prevention, prescription drug use “is a growing trend on most  campuses .”

The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) published a report in 1997 that found that almost half of the nation’s full-time college students binged on alcohol or drugs at least once a month. The study also found that “22.9 percent of students meet the medical definition for alcohol or drug abuse or dependence.”

These facts are shocking and disturbing. The U.S. Department of  Education’s  Higher  Education  Center recommends that  campus  administrators reinforce the Drug-Free Schools and  Campuses  Act by updating their written policy. Then, faculty and students need to be informed of the policy and penalties associated with it.  Campuses  are encouraged to inform parents of the current trends of alcohol and drug use and notify them if their young adult breaks the rules. The Department of Education also recommends that colleges “increase detection methods.” Drug testing college students by random drug testing would surely reduce the numbers of students who are using alcohol and drugs. All college administrators and faculty should encourage a drug testing program on their  campuses .

How To Impress Employers With Your Online College Education

Landing a great job often starts with having a good college education. But you may be surprised to learn that you don’t have to attend a traditional brick and mortar college or university to succeed in the career world. An online education is now considered equal, if not superior, in quality to an on-campus degree.

Many students earning an online education are full-time employees who are looking to advance their careers. By informing their employers that they’re enrolled in an online program, that will make a favorable impression on their employers, and will often result in career advancement while still in school.

Studying at an online college can be just as exciting, fun and diverse an experience as at any other college setting. There are now thousands of online colleges that offer you both undergraduate and graduate educations to prepare you for the workforce. Online colleges offer bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degrees in the humanities, social sciences, and physical sciences. You can study full-time, or part-time at an online college right from the comfort of your own home using your PC or laptop. Online college education is done by taking online courses in any discipline you could imagine. Whatever your job goals are, you can take one or more online courses to get properly trained so you can qualify for any particular job out there. You can take an online course in interior design, chemistry, psychology or mathematics. Or you can take an online course in business, nursing, marketing, painting, or music theory. Engaging in online college education can be one of the most rewarding experiences you can possibly have.

While you won’t have that specific physical interaction like on-campus college programs, taking online college courses at online schools will indeed allow you to socially interact with other students and professors in a virtual environment. Online college courses can be just as difficult and rigorous as campus-based courses. Don’t think there will be any shortcuts simply because you’re studying at an online school. These online schools realize that the reason you’re studying is to prepare you for your career aspirations and goals, so the coursework and degree programs have to be highly disciplined. You need to learn to be a responsible individual when you’re studying at an online school. Your professors will demand that of you, since in the real business and corporate world, you’ll be faced with daily tasks that are also very demanding, and require a high level of dedication, tenacity, and discipline.

When you finally earn your online degree, you will have to start the interview process with human resource managers at various companies where you’re applying for work. You’ll be expected to deliver a stellar resume, and on that resume you should be proud that you studied at or earned your degree at an online college. Don’t ever feel that it’s an inferior degree because it’s not. The quality standards at online colleges are just as high as at campus-based colleges, and the very best ones also have the highest accreditation standards. With such an education, you can grow confident that you’ve learned every bit as much as at a traditional college where you would have to attend classes every day. With such an education, feel confident that you will indeed be sufficiently impressing the people you interview with because they will know for certain just how demanding and rigorous it was for you to have earned college credit in an online environment.

If you’re thinking of going back to school to either earn your degree or start a new career, then studying in an online setting should be at the very top of your list. You will be able to save on travel costs, and you can work and study at your own schedule at whatever hours you wish. You won’t have to worry about having to try to find a spot in the campus parking lot. And employers will highly respect you when they see your resume. They will instantly realize just how hard it was to have earned your bachelor’s, master’s or doctorate. And even if you didn’t earn a degree, just noting that you studied at a prestigious, fully accredited college or university online will without question boost your employment credibility profile. You really can’t go wrong by studying online in the eyes of a prospective employer. Such an education will make you one of the top employment candidates for most any position, simply due to the great strength and credibility of having studied in an online environment.

The Alabama Department of Youth Services School District

In 1973, the state of Alabama established The Alabama Department of Youth Services. Its task is to create a comprehensive program that will guide delinquent youths of the state to rehabilitation. The school district was created in 1983. Thus, the Alabama Department of Youth Services became The Alabama Department of Youth Services School District. Under this new department, all educational programs created by the old department will be under its supervision. As a result, three delinquent youth institutions were absorbed by the new department. These are the Alabama Boys Industrial School at Birmingham and in Mt. Meigs, and the Alabama State Training School for Girls.

Vision and Mission of Alabama’s DYS

The Alabama Department of Youth Services School District (DYS) envisions that success can be experienced through the help of an environment educational and promote good values such as life long learning, community, family and good character. In order to achieve this vision, they need to prepare and equip the youth/students through discipline and proper formal education.

Beliefs of Alabama’s DYS

The DYS further believes that, everybody in the community must help participate in creating a better environment, be fair and just, treat others with respect, be responsible, be patient and understanding, admit own mistakes, develop self-esteem, and the learning environment must be orderly, safe as well as secure. These beliefs act as their foundation in helping the delinquent youths become a better person and be prepared for the real world.

Programs of DYS

Aside from values education, other programs include skills development. It is through skills development programs that these delinquent youths are profiting. The DYS understands that some of these youth offenders do not have the access to proper and formal education. As a response, they designed programs that will enhance the skills of a student so that when she/he finishes the program, she/he will have job opportunities.

Some of the created programs were specialized by institutions and some runs generally. The programs run by these institutions are majorly categorized into two: short term and long term programs. Youth offenders are evaluated and a proper program is given. The program continuously runs until such time that the student is ready to go back and start a new life.

Facilities of DYS

Today, the DYS supervises more than three facilities. The following facilities are: Autauga Campus, Chalkville Campus, Mobile Group Home, Mt. Meigs Campus, Thomasville Campus and Vacca Campus. Each institution caters to different types of youth offenders.

Chalkville Campus is located at P.O. Box 9486, Birmingham, Alabama. Their main focus is to help rehabilitate girls usually from 12-18 years old. Some of their programs include, physical education, sex education, campus service projects, general education (GED) preparation, group counseling, drug and alcohol education. They also provide social skills training, value clarification, assertiveness training and medical services. Recently, the Chemical Addiction Program (CAP) was created to strengthen alcohol and drug rehabilitation.

Mt. Meigs Campus is located at P.O. Box 66, 1000 Industrial School Road, Mt. Meigs, Alabama. The campus has 13 dormitories that can hold a total number of 312 delinquent youths. They admit children of up to 21 years old. The campus offers programs that focus on medical, vocational and academic education, psychological services, chronic behavior, assessment as well as treatment for sex offenders and the CAP.

Thomasville Campus is located at P.O. Box 695, 2109 Bashi Road Building 509 Thomasville, Alabama. This campus specializes in offering short term programs for delinquent youths. The programs usually run up to 28 days. The student can be released from the service once he finishes the program.

To Study or Not to Study: Campus Vs Online Universities

Oh, it seems you’ve stumbled onto another fascinating edition of To Study or Not to Study. This series is designed to inform the reader about the various study programs that exist and the pros and cons of each. The goal is to help people who struggle to pick a major or career – which can be a problem for many high school graduates and adults alike. Today we talk about the differences between on-campus classes vs. online classes.

There is no question that the idea of taking classes online appeals to almost everyone. Studying at home just seems simpler and much more comfortable. If that is the case though, why are the vast majority of students enrolled in classes on campus rather than pursing their degrees online? Why is not everyone going to online classes if it’s so much easier? Many people ask themselves that exact question, generally because they are skeptical about learning without being in an actual classroom. Some also wonder if an online degree holds the same weight with a degree earned on campus.

The simple answer is that online classes aren’t easier than campus classes. When an employer is looking at your resume, how you got your degree will not matter. What school you obtained it from is another matter, and can have an impact on an employer’s impression of your skills. Online and campus classes have the same programs, they just use different methods to complete them. Let’s take a structured look at the benefits of these two teaching methods.

Campus Summary

There are definitely more colleges offering campus classes than online, this is the classic and traditional method of learning. So naturally, more people are enrolled in these types of programs. A group of students work in classroom together and are taught by a professor. Although home schooling exists as well, most people graduate from elementary and high school using this method.

The major advantage to campus learning is actual human contact. Many people think that nothing can replace a face to face discourse and interaction with a teacher. A teacher who is present physically can help with any problems you might have with your education. If you do not understand a topic, you discuss it and have it explained by different teachers in different ways until you do. Because of the inherent structure of traditional academic programs, college campuses attract the best professors. Many professors are motivated by the possibility of tenure, which virtually ensures them steady jobs throughout their careers.

Campus learning also offers the priceless benefit of a network of students attending class with you. You get the opportunity to socialize and learn from them; friends made in this environment can help you if you’re struggling with your class work, and even if you’re feeling disheartened. Graduates of campus-based degree programs spend hours working with their classmates in group exercises, discussions, and role-playing sessions. Most students even go to college and university for the fraternities, sororities and sporting events. This network in your field of study starts out social, but translates to a reliable contact list once you’re all on the job market.

Online Summary

Online or Distance Learning has grown tremendously over recent years. Studies now show that 1 out of 3 universities offer courses online. Of course, there are limitations to the courses offered. Most technical programs cannot be studied with this method. Programs in business, information technology, and healthcare management are popular choices for online degrees. Many online classes now use video learning, using an actual professor for teaching, as opposed to just reading the course material.

One of the greatest advantages of online schooling is that it’s cheaper than attending campus classes; studying online enables you to cut costs and save a lot of money. First of all, you don’t pay for transportation at all since you hardly have to leave the house. Second, since you don’t need to live on or near a college campus, you save on housing and other costs associated with living expenses. Third, you pay virtually nothing for textbooks and other studying tools. These costs do seem small on their own, but put together, they can add up considerably.

It accommodates your schedule; online education is very convenient. Since you’re not confined to a classroom, YOU’RE the one who decides when and where YOU want to study. You can even schedule your studying around your work or social schedule, and you decide exactly at what speed you’d like to go over the material. You have 24/7 access, so even if you have forgotten about the spoken material in the classroom, you can read and re-read lectures, discussions, explanations and comments any time you need. Many online schools even offer live tutoring with experienced teachers whenever they need.

These different points will help you to choose the method that’s right for you. If you’re still unsure, let’s summarize. If you thrive in working with a group and need teacher attention, campus learning may be best for you. But, if you can see yourself budgeting your time and prioritizing your education with existing commitments, than you should really consider an online program in your future.

The "McDonald’s-ization" of Education

McDonald’s is astoundingly successful at purveying inexpensive fast food of consistently high quality.  They have achieved this primarily through standardization and quality control. If you purchase an “Egg McMuffin,” or a “Big Mac” at an outlet in Seattle, or Milwaukee, Chicago or Miami, it will be almost exactly the same.

Standardization is increasingly making in-roads into education.  Once the realm of diversity (of opinion, thought, approach, teaching technique, classroom styles, etc.) and independence (academic freedom), the higher education classroom is being transformed into a “product” type delivery system.  The “products” in this case are the concepts, lesson plans, group exercises, assignments, etc. – indeed, the education itself.

The intent of this transformation is to provide a “standard” high quality student classroom experience  within disciplines, and across institutions.  With the student being the customer (consumer) of the educational delivery system, we want to make sure he or she is getting the highest possible quality product, and the key to this is “quality control” and standardization.

Instead of the after-the-fact quality control offered through instructor “evaluations,” ” classroom observations,” and the like, the approach introduces a far more intrusive and directive model.  Lesson Plans, indeed, entire courses and curricula are loaded into pre-packaged modules, on thumb drives (USB) or onto computers, or servers. 

As in the fast food business, manufacturing, or other product producing sectors, the product creation and delivery process is developed to gain the efficiency and effectiveness obtained in industry.


Just like McDonald’s where the customer can expect to enjoy a standard, high quality product, served in a clean, well-designed environment, the student consumer can expect convenient delivery of the educational product, for his consumption, and enjoyment – “satisfaction guaranteed.”


First, a product team is assembled.  In this case it consists of academic experts, curriculum designers, course writers, technology experts, product representatives, trainers, content specialists, etc.  The product development process is based on outcome objectives, i.e., “what do we want the student to know?,” “what should he learn during this course?” and “how do we measure that?”  This “beginning at the end” philosophy is crucial.  It keeps the spotlight on the product, promotes quality, and ultimately, “customer satisfaction.”


Gen Y students have different expectations from their predecessors, and are less likely to indulge obsolete or dated instructional methods and techniques.  They demand to be engaged.  

Instructors are partially selected on their ability to “entertain” as well as “inform.”  They are expected to be animated, humorous, engaging, and entertaining.  They are expected to convey knowledge in convenient, enjoyable, and satisfying, bites.


The more standardized the process becomes, the less latitude for the educator, the more prescribed the content, exercises and learning activities are, the more the business managers of the career and “for profit” colleges like it. This concept may, however, benefit the student as it concentrates on a quality, standardized, classroom experience.  


Once the instructor has mastered the technology, the whole instructional process is easier under this model.  Everything is pre-packaged.  No messy development of lesson plans – they’re already done – and done well.  No thinking about creative learning activities and approaches –  they’re already there.  You could almost do it in your sleep!  (if it wasn’t for the requirement to be animated and entertaining.)  


Students in this new education model will be immersed in technology throughout their degree program.  This is the world of today, and the future.  They will participate and interact with SMARTboards, laptops, WiFi, simulations, business games, remote “clickers,” interactive learning, real-world relevant projects, presentations, etc.  It’s designed to match their learning styles and attention spans  It is preeminently designed to prepare them for their careers. Although many students are “comfortable” with technology, fewer are proficient, and fewer yet have an in-depth understanding. The curriculum should help them become more proficient and better prepared for the technology demands of the future business environment. The intensely technological nature of the classroom experience also addresses the various learning styles.  The auditory learner will have voice, music, and noise.  The visual learner will enjoy the videos, powerpoints, and other visuals.  The kinesthetic learner will appreciate the hands on components, especially the SMARTboard.  

Student satisfaction is, of course, a primary objective.  Education, especially for-profit education, exists to serve the student, while running a business.  And, through serving and satisfying the student, ultimately the student will stay in school, graduate, and learn valuable knowledge and skills in the process.  These graduates will benefit the business community, and society at large.  An advanced society like ours is critically dependent on an educated and productive populous.  


What do employers want and need?  The link to employer requirements is a vital one.  Businesses need educated workers.  They require technologically adroit employees who can meet the demands of a rapidly changing technological environment and a highly competitive situation.

Ours is a productive society.  Businesses spend billions of dollars training and re-training their employees.  “Business Ready” graduates will be more productive from day one and employers will appreciate this.


Purists would argue that the more traditional approaches are preferable, and that academic freedom is being infringed upon.  They would say that instructors should be hired based on their knowledge, quality of education, expertise, research history and contributions to their field.  They would undoubtedly prefer to see pure “academicians” and “scholars” in the classroom.  However, there is room for an interesting debate here.  Is it about the instructor or the student?  Obviously, we understand that it’s about both, but whose needs take precedence?  The answer has to be – THE STUDENT!  After all, the whole educational system is in place to meet the needs of the student, and ultimately, society.  

Instructors with real-world, practical experience and without techno-phobia will be more adaptable to this new format, and perhaps better equipped to relate to the student.


In education there is always room for a broad range of opinions and approaches. Let’s try this new one.  It works in business – why not education?  This is probably why Career Colleges are embracing the approach much more readily than their mainstream counterparts. The “for-profit” Career Colleges are definitely  the forefront of this initiative, and “early adopters.” 

We all know that “quality ” is an issue in education.  Graduates with virtually identical credentials can have vastly different skills, knowledge, and abilities.  This is, and always has been a concern. This standardized, quality-assured model addresses that issue.

Sure, this educational model is controversial, as it should be!  But the end result may very well be that students have a reasonably similar experience, learn comparable skills, and become better “fits” within the business world.  Employers can be better assured and confident that graduates have the knowledge and skill base they require to be successful contributors.  They will probably, at some point, wish to be full participants in the curriculum development process.  In the globally competitive market, this might just be what is needed.

When we’re teaching Business we must be business-minded.  Let’s transfer those “best practices” from the business world to academia, keep our students involved, and better prepare them for their future careers.  And, the lessons to be learned from places like McDonald’s may be more applicable to education than we might have ever imagined. 

Copyright ©, 2009, Dr. Ben A. Carlsen, MBA. All Rights Reserved Worldwide for all Media. You may reprint this article in your ezine, newsletter, newspaper, magazine, website, etc. as long as you leave all of the links active, do not edit the article in any way, leave my name and bio box intact, and you follow all of the EzineArticles Terms of Service for Publishers.

Allied Health Education Trends – The Changing Landscape Behind the Scenes

With more than 500,000 jobs added since the start of the recession, it’s no surprise that allied health fields are forecasted to remain a key source of job growth. Jobs in inpatient and outpatient settings and nurse care facilities will be in high demand and the healthcare support industry (such as medical technicians, physician’s assistants and physical therapist assistants) are slated to experience 48% growth.

Involved with the delivery of health or related services, workers in allied health care fields include a cluster of health professions encompassing as many as 200 health careers. There are 5 million allied health care providers in the United States who work in more than 80 different professions representing approximately 60% of all health care providers. Yet, that number is no match to the number of allied health care workers that are needed to meet current and future needs in America.

Highly regarded as experts in their field, allied health professions fall into two broad categories – technicians (assistants) and therapists/technologists. With education requirements and curriculum varying depending on the chosen field, academic prerequisites range from less than two years for technicians to a more intensive educational process for therapists and technologists that include acquiring procedural skills. With such explosive growth in allied health care career options and so many diverse fields from which to choose, it’s no wonder students preparing for their future are seeking opportunities in allied health fields.

Yet, with more than 5 million current allied health professions in the U.S. and more on the horizon, careful examination of the educational development and environment of emerging students identifies areas of needed improvement to meet the diverse needs of this ever-changing landscape.

A New Path of Education – Trends Affecting Allied Health Education

With student enrollment in allied health education programs gaining momentum, major advancements in technology coupled with shifts in education audiences, learner profiles, campus cultures, campus design and faculty development have spawned a new wave of trends that are dramatically affecting where and how allied health students learn. Understanding the dynamics of allied health trends begins by taking a brief look at a few of the societal and economic factors that have affected the educational landscape as a whole.

Economic Trends:

* With the economy in a recession, the nations’ workforce is being challenged to learn new skills or explore advanced training options.

* The U.S. Labor Department estimates that with the current economic climate, nearly 40% of the workforce will change jobs every year. As a result, the demand for short, accelerated educational programs is on the rise.

* With retirement being delayed until later in life, a “new age” of workers has emerged into the job market creating an older generation of students.

Societal Trends:

* Adult learners are the fastest growing segment in higher education. Approximately 42% of all students in both private and public institutions are age 25 or older.

* This highly competitive learning market allows educational institutions to specialize in meeting particular niches in the market.

* The number of minority learners is increasing.

* More women continue to enter the workforce – 57% of students are women.

Student / Enrollment Trends:

* Students are seeking educational programs that meet their individual demographics, schedule and learning style.

* More students are requiring flexibility in the educational structure to allow more time for other areas of responsibility.

* Students are attending multiple schools to attain degrees – 77% of all students graduating with a baccalaureate degree have attended two or more institutions.

Academic Trends:

* According to the Chronicle of High Education, traditional college campuses are declining as for-profit institutions grow and public and private institutions continue to emerge.

* Instruction is moving more toward diversified learner-centered versus self-directed, traditional classroom instruction.

* Educational partnerships are increasing as institutions share technology and information with other colleges, universities and companies to deliver cooperative educational programs.

* Emphasis is shifting from degrees to competency as employers place more importance on knowledge, performance and skills.

Technology Trends:

* Technology competency is becoming a requirement.

* Immense growth in Internet and technological devices.

* Institutional instruction will involve more computerized programs.

* Colleges will be required to offer the best technological equipment to remain competitive.

Classroom Environment Trends:

* Classroom environments are being designed to mirror real-life career settings.

* Flexible classroom settings geared for multi-instructional learning.

* Color, lighting, acoustics, furniture and design capitalize on comfortable learner-centered environments.

The Application of Knowledge – A Move Toward Lifelong Learning Concepts

To meet the ever-changing educational needs of students entering allied health fields, classrooms, curricula and teaching philosophies are becoming more responsive to the diverse settings in which varied populations are served. Educators and administrators are seeking educational environments that engage and connect students with their learning space to capitalize and foster knowledge, growth and learning.

Flexible Classrooms and Lab Space:

Adaptable learning environments that provide versatility to shift from classroom to lab space and the flexibility for plenty of future growth are the driving force behind allied health classrooms of the future. Modern allied health classrooms will provide flexible, multi-functional, comfortable classroom environments that encourage a sense of community, essentially inviting the students and instructors to work together and interrelate. Studies reflect that students are better able to actively process information when sensory, stimulation, information exchange and application opportunities are available. Flexible classroom spaces encourage students to share what they know and build on this shared base.

Student Areas:

Connecting students with the “center of gravity” core spaces for studying and socializing further enhances the new wave of allied health campuses. Flexible student areas that foster circulation, interaction, collaboration and learning enhance various learning styles and further reinforce students’ abilities to harmoniously blend learning with discovery and collaboration.

Integrating Advanced Technology:

The use of technology in the classroom plays a vital role in how students learn and the long-term effect of knowledge gained. When students are using technology as an educational tool they are in an active role rather than a passive role in a typical teacher-led lesson. The integration of advanced technology in an allied health classroom allows students to actively engage in generating, obtaining manipulating or displaying information. Through this process, students become empowered to define their goals, make decisions and evaluate their progress. Coupled with student applied technology, classrooms are being equipped with state-of-the-art equipment and tools to prepare students for the transition from classroom to career.

Lecture / Laboratory and Classroom Models:

High Performing Buildings: As allied health programs shift to incorporate collaborative, interdisciplinary classrooms and clinical experiences that mirror real-life settings, students are empowered to move beyond mastery of skill to lifelong learning concepts. By creating classroom models that take students directly into their chosen field and allow them to “step into” their chosen career in a classroom setting, students are essentially provided a “business internship” that prepares them for their careers far beyond traditional text book curriculum. Bridging the gap between textbook knowledge and the application of “real world” experiences is the foundation of the new allied health classrooms settings.

Each school day 50 million children and 6 million adults enter our schools nationwide; each of whom is directly affected by the physical environment. And, while most people have heard about the benefits of sustainable design from an energy savings standpoint, few truly understand the benefits gained from a student performance perspective. High performance schools have several distinct advantages:

* Higher Test Scores. Studies are confirming the relationship between a school’s physical condition and student performance. Factors such as increased day light, indoor thermal comfort and indoor air quality will enhance learning which equates to improved test results.

* Increased Average Daily Attendance. Indoor air quality plays a vital role in the health of students. By controlling sources of contaminants, providing adequate ventilation and preventing moisture – all designed to reduce sources of health problems and inhibit the spread of airborne infections – students and teachers will experience fewer sick days, especially for those suffering from respiratory or asthma problems.

* Reduced Operating Costs. High performance schools are specifically designed, using life-cycle cost methods, to minimize long-term costs of facility ownership. Using less energy and water than standard schools, means lower operating costs. Savings can then be redirected to supplement other budgets such as computers, books, classrooms and salaries.

* Increased Teacher Satisfaction and Retention. Designed to be pleasant and effective places to work and learn, high performance classrooms are visually pleasing, provide the appropriate thermal comfort and capitalize on effective acoustics for teaching. A positive and inviting place to work and learn improves overall satisfaction for teachers and sets the foundation for improved learning and retention of students.

* Reduced Environmental Impact. High performance buildings are specifically designed to have low environmental impact. They are energy and water efficient, use durable, non-toxic materials that are high in recycled content and they use non-polluting renewable energy to the greatest extent possible.

In short, we have an obligation to equip our students to do the hard work ahead of them.

A Vision for the Future

With the rapidly changing landscape of education as whole, taking on the challenge of designing multi-functional educational facilities means more than just designing a building. From technology to curriculums, campus structure to classroom environments, those involved in the planning, design and construction must be dedicated to providing solutions that meet the distinct needs of today’s students.

A Shifting Higher Education Market

New trends, learning platforms and enrollment numbers trigger boom in online education

Higher education is in the midst of a revolution. Students have direct control of their education as online learning rapidly replaces the traditional classroom learning environment. From enhanced educational access to flexible course schedules, adult learners flock to this new learning platform to earn a college education on their own terms. The statistics illustrate a growing trend away from the classroom and toward online education.

Breaking Down Online Education by the Numbers

In the early stages of distance learning, traditional colleges and universities often avoided this emerging learning platform. However, once enrollment numbers proved online education’s lasting presence and profitability, traditional colleges and universities soon began to migrate many of their degree programs to this remote platform.

The numbers in distance learning show growth throughout the higher education market. The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), an organization designed to collect and analyze data related to education, has measured the growth of online education over the past decade. According to an NCES study, the number of students enrolled in at least one online college course increased from 1.1 million to 12.2 million between 2002 and 2006.The Ambient Institute, a research firm, projects the number of students enrolled in at least one online course will grow to 22 million in the next five years. The Ambient Institute predicts a large increase in students who choose to earn their college degree completely online, estimating that 3.55 million students will soon take all of their college courses online.

The most jarring data, however, compares online growth rates to the decline of traditional on-campus enrollment. Data collected by the Ambient Institute predicts the number of students who take all of their courses on campus will drop to 5.14 million by 2014. The Sloan Consortium suggests the growth of online education far exceeds the growth of higher education overall. Perhaps this explains why 65.5 percent of all chief academic officers surveyed in a Sloan Consortium poll reported “online education is critical to the long-term strategy” of higher education institutions. Online education has the power to reach students outside of the traditional college demographic, which opens up career opportunities to a new group of professionals.

A New Age in Higher Education

Enrollment in online degree programs at colleges and universities across the country has exploded, necessitating more resources for this remote learning platform. However, while higher education administrators value enrollment numbers because they equate to revenue, online students place more concern on the quality of education offered online. Most online courses, like those at King College, mirror their on-campus counterparts and are facilitated by experienced professionals who believe in the power of online learning. This acceptance of online learning continues to grow among academics. The Sloan Consortium reported that 67 percent of academic leaders rated online education as the same or superior to face-to-face learning – a 10 percent increase since the first report published in 2003.

New technology and resources continue to broaden and advance the scope of online learning. From enhanced communication forums to the use of blended programs to utilize both online and on-campus resources, colleges and universities increasingly integrate online learning into their course offerings to provide students with a full range of higher education choices.