April 24, 2013
David Hoftiezer, Director of Admissions
By David Hoftiezer
Director of Admissions
Every day, I talk to adults who contact Thomas Edison State College about coming back to college.
One of the most important things I tell them is that they can finish their degree without sacrificing their personal and professional responsibilities, but they have to be willing to do the work. It is not easy, but it is doable.
Many adults run their own businesses, supervise employees, raise children and manage personal or corporate finances and still find time to come back to college and finish their degree. If you are a busy adult who is thinking about coming back to college, my best advice is to be thoughtful about your needs before selecting an institution.
Today, there are many options designed for adult learners that go way beyond online courses and taking classes at night or on weekends. First and foremost, academic integrity, quality and flexibility are key items that any college or university should have.
First, I suggest you determine whether the school you are considering is accredited. The academic quality of any institution is directly tied to its accreditation, which is an independent review of a school’s educational programs to determine that the education provided is of uniform and sound quality. An institution that has earned accreditation ensures that it has met established standards of quality determined by the organization granting the accreditation.
The most recognized and accepted type of accreditation in the United States is regional accreditation. There are six geographic regions of the United States with an agency that regionally accredits college and university higher education programs:
For more information about institutional quality and accreditation, visit the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity website.
In addition, it is important to determine how a school offers its academic programs.
Next, remember that you have different needs today than you had when you were a fresh-faced teen who just graduated from high school. You may have earned college credits at another institution or acquired college-level knowledge can be applied as college credit toward a degree. That said, it is important to consider:
The answers to these questions can serve as a guide to selecting a school that is a good match for the prospective adult student.
Got a question for Dave? Contact him at [email protected] or (609) 984-1164, ext. 3025.
April 12, 2013
Todd Siben, Assistant Director of Portfolio Assessment at Thomas Edison State College
By Todd Siben
Assistant Director of Portfolio Assessment
Attention writers, salespeople and creative types: I may have a method of earning college credit that fits your personality and skill set.
Students often ask, “Is portfolio assessment for me?” While we can answer that question, I want to turn that question around to help you determine, “Are you right for portfolio assessment?”
Portfolio assessment and prior learning assessment (PLA) may be the most nontraditional method of earning credit, even at nontraditional institutions. It is different than earning credit via a credit-by-exam program. So, what makes someone a good candidate for portfolio assessment?
My response to that question is based on years of observation. I’ve probably reviewed in excess of 100,000 portfolios in my years at Thomas Edison State College, and as a result I have some thoughts about the characteristics of people who are the most successful with utilizing the College’s Portfolio Assessment process in earning college credit. These include:
So, do any of these characteristics sound familiar?
If so, then perhaps there’s college credit already in your head that has yet to be documented and validated. The best way to find out is to talk to someone in the PLA office of your college or university!
At Thomas Edison State College, contact me at [email protected].
April 03, 2013
Emily Carone, Assistant Director, Center for the Assessment of Learning at Thomas Edison State College
by Emily Carone, Assistant Director,
Center for the Assessment of Learning at Thomas Edison State College
I work with TECEP®, the Thomas Edison State College Exam Program, which is the College's own credit-by-exam program, which I wrote about previously in this blog.
While I can't help you study, I can give you some practical advice to help you take tests. If you already have some prior knowledge in any of the subjects we offer, you might be interested in the study tips below. Naturally, these tips apply to all tests and credit-by-exam programs, including common ones like the College-Level Exam Program (CLEP) and our own TECEP®.
Best of all, you don't need to learn any complicated techniques, because most test-taking tips are not rocket science--they're plain old common sense.
So, here are four test-taking tips I hope you find helpful in preparing for your next exam.
Hope this is helpful and I'll be back again.
Until then, contact us at [email protected] or add your comment below if you would like to share your own tips with us.
March 15, 2013
Bernie Siben, CPSM '00
By Bernie Siben, CPSM '00
My brother sent me a resume from a recent college graduate who is the son of one of his colleagues, along with the following request: "Would you look at the resume and comment? Also, because you deal with engineers all over the country, do you have any thoughts about who is hiring, or where engineers are being sought? He’s open to a move.”
Because my brother has been a very good brother to me, I took a close look at the resume. While it has some good qualities, I believe it reflects what most schools think is important and not what the business world thinks is important. So here are my thoughts.
I don’t really have a feel for who is currently hiring engineers, but here is my suggestion to find job leads:
Job candidates should also become a member (if they aren't already) of the local chapter of a professional organization (for example, civil engineers should join the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)). The local chapter will have meetings at least monthly, for a nominal sum. At these meetings, there will be educational programs that can be added to a resume, as well as networking opportunities that might turn up job leads that have not yet been published anywhere.
A resume is your academic and professional biography. Since neither your academic experience nor your professional experience is the same as anyone else’s, your story shouldn’t be the same as anyone else’s. Use your resume to DISCUSS your experience rather than just LISTING names, dates and places. In your high school history class, you figured out that such a recitation was boring. It is no less boring for the HR or technical person reviewing your resume.
Write your cover letter as if you were writing your biography. After an introductory paragraph in which you identify yourself as a recent graduate and your interest in the position for which you are applying, talk about what made you embark on an engineering education. Talk about the specific engineering classes you really liked and why. Talk about the project you worked on during a summer internship, even if you hated it and it made you rethink your engineering specialty. Tell the reader things that will make him or her want to speak with you on the phone or, better still, in person.
It is unfortunate that many engineering schools don’t think it’s important for an engineer to know how to write. But it’s a fact that engineers write all the time. They write engineering reports to describe the components and challenges of a project, they write letters clients and jurisdictional agencies, they write text for permit applications, and they write hand-out materials for public meetings, hearings and other uses.
However, while a resume is in large part about the details of your academic and professional history, and details are where engineers generally excel, telling the story in an engaging and compelling manner is equally as important as the details you are relating.
Bernie Siben, CPSM, is owner and principal consultant of The Siben Consult, LLC, in Austin, TX, which provides strategic and marketing services to architectural, engineering, construction and environmental firms across the United States. Contact him at (559) 901-9596 or [email protected]
COMMENTSemil 4:28AM 04/30/13
January 29, 2013
Susan Gilbert, dean of the School of Business and Technology at Thomas Edison State College
Last month, The Chronicle of Higher Education contained a story about British universities offering massive open online courses (MOOCs). Just like at institutions such as MIT, Stanford, Harvard, Penn, Dartmouth, UC-Berkeley and many others, the best and brightest faculty of the UK will be offering academic courses with open access in an online format. I think this is very good news for Thomas Edison State College students.
It is not necessarily good news for all students, as it could eventually make the most popular faculty less available for ordinary classroom courses that accommodate 60 students rather than 60,000. It could also dissuade some individuals from attending college and achieving their goals of earning a degree. But for Thomas Edison State College students, it is a good thing. In fact, it is with great conviction and confidence that I state that MOOCs will be a widely used resource for Thomas Edison State College students over the next few years.
Unlike most other regionally accredited institutions, Thomas Edison State College serves adults exclusively. Our students are not seeking the typical “coming of age” life experience of going to college because they have already come of age. Our students are highly discerning regarding their classes, mentors and how they spend their time. Their standards are high, the bar they set for themselves is high and they will not tolerate us (or anyone) wasting their time. This is where MOOCs come in. As dean of the School of Business and Technology, I view the growth of MOOCs with great excitement because of the potential opportunities they bring to our students.
Last month, it was widely reported that Coursera, perhaps the best known provider of MOOCs, had surpassed 2 million students with over 200 online courses offered through partnerships with 33 institutions. I found this growth incredible. Here is a source of learning and academic content taught by some of the world’s best and most sought out instructors. Courses include foundations of business as well as highly unusual electives. Since I am an economist, I did a search for microeconomics courses at well-known MOOC sites and three offered courses in Microeconomics this fall. Here are three that I found:
These courses range from basic to advanced, are 10 weeks in length and are (currently) free. If you take any one of these courses and are able to pass, you should be able to pass an approved credit-by-exam program in microeconomics, which would award you 3 credits in undergraduate economics. Those credits could be applied to a degree or used to satisfy the economics prerequisite of our MBA program. This model offers an excellent way to earn the credits you need in the most efficient and economical ways possible.
We are taking this concept further. The Thomas Edison State College Foundation has recently awarded a grant to fund the development of a competency-based program that leverages MOOCs and other open resources and the College’s expertise in assessing prior learning to create new pathways for degree completion. Under the direction of the College’s Center for the Assessment of Learning, we plan to develop assessments for open courses and resources that appropriately map to our degree programs, so our students who complete these open courses can earn credit toward their degrees.
However, not everyone can learn working so independently. It takes discipline and motivation to keep up and proceed through the modules. These characteristics are exactly the factors that differentiate successful Thomas Edison State College students.
And this is why I think that MOOCs are great news for our students.
Featuring stories and information about Thomas Edison State College and going back to college as a busy adult.