What's Your Learning Style? [Quiz]

Posted Friday, June 27, 2014

Adult learners have different learning styles than most traditional college students. Understanding how you learn can help you study more effectively around your busy lifestyle and unique needs as a college student. So, do you know what your learning style is?

Adult learners have different learning styles than most traditional college students. Understanding how you learn can help you study more effectively around your busy lifestyle and unique needs as a college student. So, do you know what your learning style is?

Tags: Study Tips

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The Secret to Earning a Second Degree

Posted Wednesday, June 25, 2014

By Donald S. Cucuzzella, MA
 Assistant Director
School of Applied Science and Technology

Students have frequently contacted me about pursuing a second degree, whether it is a second associates or bachelor’s degree. Perhaps they want to gain new skills and broaden their knowledge in two different fields. Other times, students are looking to make a career change and have identified that a second bachelor’s degree can help them in that goal. It’s important to assess which situation best fits your academic and professional goals, and decide if a second degree, second area of study or graduate degree is a better choice for you.

If you are transferring in a large amount of college credits, it makes sense to get the most out of those credits. However, you must also meet all the requirements to earn any degree, which can significantly increase the amount of time and money you spend on its pursuit. So how do you know which academic avenue to take? Consider your options and the requirements:

Second Associate Degree
If you wish to earn a second associate degree at Thomas Edison State College, and have already earned one at the College or at another regionally accredited institution, you must complete a minimum of 12 additional credits beyond the date your most recent associate degree was completed. You must also satisfy all the requirements of the degree as indicated in the Thomas Edison State College Catalog.

Second Bachelor’s Degree
If you have earned a previous bachelor’s degree, and wish to pursue a second, you must complete a minimum of 24 additional credits in the area of study/core beyond the date your most recent bachelor’s degree was completed. You must also complete all the degree requirements indicated in the Thomas Edison State College Catalog.

If you have earned your first bachelor’s from the College, you must apply again for the second degree, however, your application fee is waived. Whether you earned your first bachelor’s degree at the College or at another institution, the application process still requires an academic evaluation of your transferred credit with room for at least 24 credits relative to your area of study.   

Two Areas of Study Within One Degree
Similar to declaring a double major, you are able to pursue a second area of study within your degree program. For example, you can complete a Bachelor of Arts in History and a Bachelor of Arts in English – you would only need to complete the Area of Study requirements as outlined in the program’s credit distribution guide – because your general education requirements would remain the same (as opposed to pursuing a second degree, where you would need to fulfill another set of general education requirements). No more than 9 credits that are used in the first area of study may be used for the second area of study. All related required credits for each area of study, as well as all degree requirements, must be met at the same time. To pursue this, all you have to do is contact your academic advisor, and it will be added to your degree plan.

Bachelor’s to Master’s Program
As a student at Thomas Edison State College, you are able to earn 9 graduate credits that will apply to both your bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree at the College. If you are serious about earning a master’s degree, this program gives you a 9-credit head start toward that goal. You can apply for the program if you are an enrolled undergraduate student with at least 60 undergraduate credits toward a bachelor’s degree at the College, a minimum 3.0 GPA and at least three years of degree program relevant experience. If admitted, you are eligible to take your first graduate course after you have completed 90 credits toward your undergraduate degree with an overall GPA of 3.0. Learn more about the Bachelor’s to Master’s Program here. 

So you can see, a student would have to complete an additional 24 credits at minimum to complete a second bachelor’s degree. For that reason, whenever students have asked for my advice on the subject, I have always suggested they pursue a Master’s degree. My experience has led me to believe that an employer would rather see a degree progression (i.e. Associate to Bachelor’s to Master’s) than two degrees at the same academic level. If you are willing to put the time and money into pursuing an additional 24 credits for a second bachelor’s, then I would consider it a better use of your resources to pursue a Master’s degree at 36 credits. However, sometimes it is a better move professionally to obtain a second degree. Whatever you choose, always discuss your degree changes, plans and options with your academic advisor. They are there to help you with whichever path you choose.

Tags: Career , Degree Programs , Transfer Credits

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7 Credit-by-Exam Myths BUSTED

Posted Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Even though credit-by-exams programs like TECEP®, CLEP and DSST have been around for years, students still have many misconceptions about them.  All I have to do is read the textbook and I’ll pass the exam, they say. I already know everything about the subject so I don’t have to study, they claim. 

But, for most students, these statements couldn’t be further from the truth. Just like any other test, credit-by-exam programs require preparation, including a study plan to familiarize yourself with the format, timing and possible essay requirements. So if you’ve already registered or ever plan to take a credit-by-exam and think it will be easy, then test-takers, consider these 7 busted myths your reality check:

Myth #1: I can prepare myself for my exam in one week.

Reality: Properly learning all the material of a 12-week course in less than one week is practically impossible for most people. There are textbooks to read, study guides to review and study aides to locate (and yes, you may need audio files, videos and computer software to study). You’ll also want to prepare for your exam by answering sample questions, and, if your exam requires an essay, spend additional preparation time reviewing those resources. A consistent study schedule will allow you to retain more information for a longer period of time and avoid a panicked cramming session the night before the test.

Myth #2: I only need to read the textbook, and I’m good to go.

Reality: A related course’s textbook is a good place to start, but you will likely need other materials to effectively study for your exam. These tests are equivalent to comprehensive, end-of-course exams, and not developed to reflect the content of one specific textbook. Start by reviewing the test description for that exam, which includes a list of topics, suggested study materials, information about the test format and sample test questions. Additional study resources might involve taking open courses, watching educational videos, reading lecture notes and more. Only then can you know what to expect and how to prepare. 

Myth #3: I don’t have to study; my background and experience proves I know it all.

Reality: While the credit-by-exam approach is testing you on knowledge already acquired through work experience or volunteer activities, there may be additional topics you didn’t know or have slipped your mind. To pass your exam, you may need more than experience and application-based knowledge; you will need to understand the theories, concepts and ideas behind the subject. Most importantly, if you don’t remember when you last took an actual test, then it is time to brush up on your test-taking skills.

Myth #4: Once I review the topic, I can cross it off my study guide and move on to the next one.

Reality: Taking this approach to studying may seem like the most logical choice, but in fact, may actually hurt how well you retain the information. Exams randomize the order of the questions reflected in your course guides and content, so jump around and study out of order. Learning the material in a sequence will impact your ability to recall the information when you take the test. Do not expect to remember the material well after only a single reading either; go over the material several times.

Myth #5: I’ll get credit for whatever exams I take and pass. 

Reality: While Thomas Edison State College offers enables students to use credit-by-exam to meet many degree requirements, it is still best to check with your academic advisor before registering for a test. This will ensure you avoid taking and paying for an exam that does not fit your degree, and you will want to find out about the credit awarding policy in advance so you can get the credits you deserve. You should also speak to your advisor to determine if an exam applies to your degree program, or if you have already taken and earned credit for a comparable course.

Myth #6: I don’t have to work that hard as if I was in a real course – it’s just a test, there aren’t any assignments or anything I have to worry about. 

Reality: Whether you are taking a course or considering an exam, both credit earning options require you to be both self-motivated and disciplined to pass. Since credit-by-exams do not offer the additional insight and engaging discussions you would commonly have with your peers and mentors in an online course, preparation and learning solely relies on you as the student and teacher. Discipline and self-direction are two crucial skills you will need to develop – and quickly – to succeed.

Myth #7: Credit-by-exams seem way too hard; I’m not going to bother.

Reality: Credit-by-exams are one of the most effective ways to earn credit for your prior learning; they help you accelerate the path to degree completion and save you the time and money of sitting through a course. While gathering all the test prep guides and resources to study may seem daunting at first, remember that you can focus on the material you need to learn in the manner that works best for you. If you are a visual learner, there are webinars and videos to help you understand the topics, or you can take the numerous practice exams available online to find out where you need to focus on for improvement.

What common credit-by-exam myths have you heard or experienced? Share them in the comments below and we will help set the record straight!


Tags: Credit by Exam , Study Tips , TECEP

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Want to Earn Prior Learning Assessment Credit for Interpersonal Communications? Read This First

Posted Thursday, June 12, 2014

By George Haber, Mentor, Heavin School of Arts and Sciences
and Todd Siben, Assistant Director of Portfolio Assessment


By the time most adults are in their 30’s, they have probably spent a good amount of time actively engaged in interpersonal communications. This could include:

• Personal interactions with teachers, clergy, family members
• Negotiating with real estate brokers, auto dealers and service technicians, insurance agents and customer service reps
• Participating in decision-making with co-workers, colleagues or members of community has made them adept communicators 

So, does experiencing these interactions mean that most adult students should be awarded prior learning assessment (PLA) credit for the College’s General Education course, Interpersonal Communications (COM-330)?

Quite honestly, no.

The Ideal Candidate

The ideal candidates for using PLA to earn credit for COM-330  are from occupations in which effective communications is part of their job responsibilities. People in such fields as human resources, health care administration, child care, social services, sales, customer relations, union activity and management are among those who would appear to be good candidates for demonstrating a high level of competency in communicating effectively with others. However, competence in interpersonal communication is NOT limited to people in these fields. 

Even for those who are practitioners or who have a good deal of “applied” knowledge, every PLA portfolio narrative must include a theoretical component.

The Quality Portfolio

PLA portfolios have two significant components: A narrative and a selection of evidence items. 

Your narrative should address the learning outcomes listed for the course you plan to challenge. You should clearly articulate college-level knowledge for various categories and skills that characterize strong interpersonal communication skills, such as: Listening, establishing a rapport, using non-verbal communications, demonstrating empathy and sympathy, competent use of interviewing techniques and speaking clearly.  The narrative should also reflect the activities in which you have participated that are directly relevant to interpersonal communications. This connection demonstrates that you’ve acquired knowledge that is comparable to the key principles in this course.  You should be able to show how you’ve successfully applied these concepts to real world situations. 

Finally, your narrative should refer to evidence including certificates for any courses, seminars or workshops you’ve attended that dealt with interpersonal communications along with the names of any books you’ve read, tapes or CDs you’ve heard on the subject. Note that if you cite books or tapes, you should insert an annotated bibliography that includes a brief paragraph of the value of the book or publication.  A simple “list” of books on communications will probably not suffice as “evidence” of your accomplishment in this area.

It’s fair to say that interpersonal communication tends to be “face to face” so communication by e-mail will not generally provide the substance we’re looking for.  Also, family dynamics has a role in interpersonal communication but tends to be a very small part of the topic. 

The Essential Elements

Theoretical grasp of the subject is more than just rhetoric, and should be reflected in your narrative. 

Most mentors prefer to focus on quality, not quantity.  Also, the more relevant anecdotal descriptions you include, the better they will be able to see that you understand the knowledge and how it applies. 

So, you’ve learned that even though you’ve lived for 30 or 40 years and have interacted with many people in a number of different settings, you may not necessarily be a candidate for PLA credit for COM-330. However, if you have the knowledge, a proper understanding of both theory and practice and the ability to demonstrate college-level knowledge of the course content and outcomes, there is real opportunity for you to earn general education course credit for COM-330 through PLA.






Tags: Prior Learning Assessment and Portfolio , Taking Courses

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Nobody Ever Told Me That: The Academic Evaluation

Posted Tuesday, June 10, 2014

When it comes to your academic evaluation, have you ever thought, “Hey, nobody ever told me that”? Your customized academic program evaluation is an invaluable planning tool that shows you where your previously earned credit (transfer, licenses/certifications) will fit into your degree, so you can see what courses you have left to take. It is organized into the different requirements needed to earn your degree (i.e. General Education, Area of Study, Free Electives), and as each requirement is fulfilled, the credit will appear with the corresponding grade.

But there’s more to it than that. Your academic evaluation requires planning and preparation:

• Print out and read your academic evaluation before you speak to your advisor. Jot down questions or comments, draw arrows, highlight – whatever works best for you to identify areas of concern or confusion so you can address them immediately and get the answers you need.
• Never conduct your advising appointments while driving. Not only are there far too many distractions on the road, but you will also not be able to see the websites, recommendations and resources your advisor will discuss as he or she explains the degree planning process. 
• Familiarize yourself with the codes and abbreviations on your academic evaluation. These codes indicate where credits have been applied and planned, pre-registered and in-progress, or if a course requirement has yet to be completed or selected.

By understanding your academic evaluation, you can make the right choices for completing your degree and planning ahead that are best for you.


Tags: Academic Credit , Academic Evaluation , Advising

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13 Apps For Your Inner-Business Mogul

Posted Thursday, June 05, 2014

Whether you’re a seasoned entrepreneur, starting an MBA program, collaborating on a group project or looking to develop stronger professional skills, having the right tools at your fingertips to effectively and efficiently conduct business will prepare you for whatever corporate curveballs are thrown your way. We’ve found 13 apps that are designed to help you monitor your finances, keep up with trends and conduct meetings with clients or classmates at a desk or on the go. Maybe these apps will bring out the inner-business mogul in you.

Forbes Magazine
This app is designed to help you stay up-to-date with the people, ideas and technologies that interest you. It is intended to help you track your portfolio and investments, monitor the market and, of course, read the lists of the most powerful people that influence industries around the world.

ScanBizCards Lite Business Card Scanner + Reader
Networking and business go hand-in-hand. From forming business relationships to setting up meetings, networking the right way can expand your business circle for optimal success. Next time you make an important business connection, scan their business card with the tap of a screen, and a new contact is created in your device instantly.

CareerBuilder for Employers
Finding the right employees can be a challenge. Reading resumes, arranging interviews and conducting searches can become time consuming. CareerBuilder for Employers allows you to view resumes and connect with candidates from virtually anywhere, through your existing CareerBuilder account.

LinkedIn has become the source for networking with the brightest and most talented professionals. Access the connections, jobs, news, updates and insights to remain productive and efficient on the go.

Printing, signing and returning documents is not only time-consuming – it can also be a headache. Easily sign and send documents electronically in just minutes to manage critical business transactions whether at home or on the road. Most importantly, DocuSign is safe, secure and legally binding.

Skype for iPhone
Call, see and message clients and associates around the world, with whatever device you choose. The app includes all the features of the desktop version, including file sharing and instant messaging. Conduct a meeting in real time with several colleagues, from the comfort of wherever you choose to be.

Invoice2go Plus
A bulky accounting program can make invoicing and reporting a tedious process, but the Invoice2go Plus app aims to remove those time-consuming and costly barriers. Invoice, evaluate estimates and submit purchase orders, all synched to the cloud for easy retrieval.

Inc. Magazine
Inc. Magazine has become a thought leader for entrepreneurs and small business owners to build and grow their companies. The app provides you the information, resources and strategies you need to lead your budding organization.

NYTimes - Breaking National & World News
Naturally, the New York Times is synonymous with award-winning journalism, and their iconic newspaper translates seamlessly to a digital app.  Read the latest news and cultural content from their 50 bureaus around the world, and receive breaking news notifications for events as soon as they occur.

The Bloomberg app offers comprehensive access to finance news, market data and portfolio tracking tools for your personal holdings in a detailed format that is most important to you. Listen to interviews with some of the world’s smartest names in business, and watch real-time video of the 24-hour financial news network, Bloomberg Television Live.

Join or schedule a meeting, presentation or lecture from any mobile device, directly from the app. Easily view and share reports, spreadsheets or documents for group assignments or client projects.

Access your photos, documents and videos from any device in the Dropbox cloud. Share your biggest and most critical business files instantly without the hassle of accessing a remote hard drive. And with a safe and secure encryption, you can work with your team and update key files like you’re using single computer.


What apps have you found useful as you conduct business on the go?

Tags: Business and Management , Career , Online Tools and Resources

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