Tips To Help You Pass Your Online Classes

Over the past few years we’ve seen a rise in popularity when it comes to taking college courses online. They’re great if you’re attending college later in life while working a full time job or raising children, and can also be useful when taking classes over winter and summer breaks. With the world being so heavily affected by COVID-19 this year, it’s possible that we may see a rise in students taking online college courses this coming semester. Some schools are even making all of their courses online for certain periods of the semester, such as the time between Thanksgiving and when the semester ends. Here are a few tips to help students pass their online classes.

Treat It Like An In Person Class

Just because you’re taking a class on your laptop from the comfort of your home doesn’t mean you should treat it any differently than a regular class. It can be difficult to get into a classroom mentality from home, but it’s important that you have the discipline to sit down and eliminate all outside distractions so you can get the work done and get it done on time. You have to “show up” to class just like you would if you went to a physical space for it. Remember that you’re paying for this class, just like you would a regular college course. Just because it’s an online class doesn’t mean it won’t be difficult or require your complete attention.

Eliminate Distractions

To build off of the previous point, it’s important that you eliminate all outside distractions. This can be especially difficult when learning from home. The first step is to establish your work space while learning from home. This space will be different for everybody. If things such as your television or kitchen easily distract you, be sure to set up in a room not near them so they don’t take you away from your work. If this is the first time you’ve taken an online course from home, you may not know what workspace is best for you. Be prepared for experimentation, as there may be some trial and error in the whole process. Just be sure to have a great Internet connection and you should be fine.

Participation is Key

One of the most difficult parts of learning from home is participation. Since you’re not in a classroom being lectured by a professor with your fellow classmates in the traditional sense, it can be easy to shut your brain off and just absorb the materials as opposed to actively asking questions and engaging in discussions about the content. Luckily, online classes typically have some type of forum aspect where the professor will ask questions as part of your assignments and everyone must engage. These forums can be a great way to get different perspectives on the content or make sure you fully understand the material you’re learning about.

This article was originally published on MarilynGardnerMilton.org

How COVID-19 Might Change Education

Since the novel corona virus began to affect American Society back in March, schools not only across the country but around the world were shut down in order to keep everyone at home in order to flatten the curve. Students have been forced to resume education via the internet from the comfort of their homes, and many parents have suddenly become first time teachers. This can be stressful for both the parents and the children, and no matter how you slice it, the children will likely fall behind. Educators have been talking about looking into rethinking the way we educate for a while now and this pandemic may be the perfect excuse to begin doing something about it. So how might COVID-19 affect how we approach education?

More Online Learning

Since most if not all school have now implemented some form of online learning, it stands to reason that once things go back to normal it will continue to be an invaluable tool. Most students will have laptops or access to computer hardware, making it possible to give their lessons to them if they’re ever able to not make it to school or if something akin to this pandemic were to happen again. Teachers will also begin to get used to these new tools and technologies they’ve been using, meaning they may want to continue to do so. They can even be used in the classroom themselves, as opposed to only when the students aren’t in class.

A Potential Shift To Competency Based Learning

Many education experts believe that shifting to competency based learning might be the best way to approach education after the pandemic. Competency learning allows students to learn at their own pace and is “personalized” for each individual, but it also atomizes learning and heavily depends on taking standardized tests. If this does happen, it seems it might be used to see which students move to the next grade given the school year being cut short due to the pandemic.

Homeschooling May Become More Popular

It’s possible that some parents and students may feel that homeschooling has worked in their favor, allowing them to bond together while learning in a comfortable environment. Many will become accustomed to learning from home, and many parents may want to continue educating their children. Unfortunately, this won’t happen to the bulk of families as many cannot afford or make the time to educate their children while also taking care of a home and working a full time job.

This article was originally published on MarilynGardnerMilton.org

Best Undergrad Majors for Aspiring Lawyers

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Many people dream of becoming a lawyer their entire life. A career in law can be quite lucrative and is a great way to help others in many different ways. When it comes to studying law, there are different paths one can take. A lot of students choose pre-law as their major in undergrad when they are aspiring to become a lawyer, but there are other studies that can be a benefit in law school and in your law career. 

Business

One of the best choices for aspiring lawyers in undergrad is a business major. Majoring in business offers skills ing leadership, project planning, communication, and management. For the students who have an interest in corporate law will find that classes in management and economics will give them much of the knowledge they need for their postgraduation career. When majoring in business as an aspiring lawyer, it’s important to have electives in humanities and liberal arts for analytical and critical thinking.

Criminal Justice

When studying criminal justice or criminology extensively in undergrad, an aspiring lawyer is given an education in the identification and explanation of criminal behavior patterns which is very valuable knowledge. Many lawyers who studied criminal justice have impeccable skills in critical thinking, investigations, as well as effective verbal and nonverbal communication. Having the foundational knowledge of crime and law, they will have a stronger career. 

English

Unbeknownst to most, English is a popular choice of major among aspiring lawyers. In fact, 3,549 law school applicants held a degree in English in 2016 and 2017 and 80% of applicants with this degree were admitted to at least one law school. A major in English mainly focuses on reading and writing, which helps aspiring lawyers develop excellent skills in processing written information quickly to create analytical opinions as well as arguments and positions. This is why so many students with an English degree are so successful in law school and beyond.

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Tips for Volunteering Overseas

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Helping your own community comes with its own benefits, but there is a whole world out there that needs help. There are parts of the world that are far much less fortunate than us and could greatly benefit from eager and dedicated volunteers. Taking the time to help others outside of your borders is a very rewarding and fulfilling experience. When choosing to volunteer overseas, there are a few tips you should follow:

Always Be Prepared

When heading abroad, it’s imperative to be as prepared as possible. Especially if this would be your first time traveling overseas, preparing for the trip is crucial. Make sure to do extensive research on the volunteer program, the destination, budgeting, transportation, projects, and more. Take the time to ask as many questions as you can and getting the answers you need before committing to the overseas volunteer program.

Consider Expenses

Volunteering abroad means traveling overseas to work for free. Some of these projects can take weeks or evens months of time and commitment. Before volunteering abroad, make sure it is something you can afford to do. You need to pay for the airfare, vaccinations, visas, and the charge for the placement in the program itself. This charge will usually cover food, room and board, training, local transport, insurance, and background checks.

Fight the Right Project

There are many different projects that a program will have. When volunteering overseas, consider the different skills that you have and what program would benefit the most from it. For example, if you have a passion or an educational background in animals, consider volunteering for wildlife projects. If you are looking to pursue a career in teaching, opt for a project teaching English to children. This makes sure that the project you are volunteering for will greatly benefit from you being a part of it.

Respect All Cultures

When traveling across the world, you will be introduced to an entirely different way of living. Most volunteer projects take place in third world countries and you will be faced with an entirely different culture. It’s important to remember that you are there to lend a helping hand, not to take charge of their lives. Be respectful of their ways of living and be humble. Not only will this lead to better help them and their community, but it will also be n incredible learning experience for you.

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The Best Careers in Higher Education

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For some students, working in high education is their dream career. A job in higher education can be a very rewarding and lucrative career choice. There are many paths to choose from to help students grow and develop in college or university. If you are looking to work in higher education, here are the best career options:

Academic Advisor 

One of the most important people in a college student’s life is their academic advisor. As an academic advisor, your job is to counsel students about their course selection, what they can major in, help resolve academic problems, and relationships with faculty. Academic advisors make sure students get their proper education and help them graduate on time. It is a job that requires a lot of organization and people skills but is very rewarding to help students succeed. 

Financial Services

It is no secret that college requires heavy finances. It numbers is your game, working in financial services at a college or university could be a great career choice for you. Those who work in the financial services at a university oversee the business functions of the college, set policies regarding financial transactions, maintain financial records, and ensure compliance with financial regulations. This is a detail-oriented job that requires a lot of math and problem-solving skills. 

Career Services

Many students struggle with wondering hat happens after college. Working in college services is a lot like being an academic advisor, except you would be advising for what happens after college. Working in career services would mean helping students find internships, develop job opportunities, create and edit resumes, practice interviewing, and much more. This is a great career choice if you enjoy working one on one with others and helping people to achieve their goals. 

A career in higher education much of the time means working with students, even if it’s not being a professor. Whether you’re aiding students or helping the university run smoothly, it is a wonderful career choice.

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Why Volunteering in College is Important

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Going to college marks a very important stage in a person’s life. It is the time when they grow from adolescence into adulthood while figuring out who they want to be in life. This is the time of new experiences and finding discoveries about oneself. This is why college is the best time to begin volunteering. 

Mental Health

It is not a secret that when attending college for the first time, students can often experience depression and anxiety. With the combination of being away from home for the first time and much more pressure of being on their own, it’s easy for students to fall into depression. It’s been found that students who participate in volunteer work were able to ward off depression. By volunteering on a semi-regular basis, students are able to lower their stress, increase their self-esteem, and feel much happier. 

 

Making Connections

Being away from home and out on their own, many students find it difficult to make new friends. Thankfully, volunteering offers many opportunities to make new friends and connections. Not only are students able to find others who have a passion for helping the community, but they can also build lasting relationships. Often times, volunteering can take place in the same location with the same people, which helps volunteers develop strong friendships. These friendships and connections may also help them career-wise after graduation. 

Improved Resume

Another way volunteering can help students after college is by boosting their resume. Many employers will see the same type of resume over and over again. When they see volunteering on a resume, especially at a young age, many employers are very impressed. It shows a student cares about their community and is driven.  Volunteering can also be viewed as an internship and an alternative way to build and develop professional skills. 

It’s important for college students to find a cause and give back to their community. Not only will they be helping people, but they will also be building themselves a better future. 

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Three Education Trends to Watch

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Technology is rapidly evolving, and subsequently, it has the power to transform different industries as well. Though schools and academia have not traditionally been the quickest to pick up on digital trends, that doesn’t mean that change isn’t happening. Today we’re exploring three education trends to watch. 

Artificial Intelligence

Businesses have been harnessing the power of artificial intelligence for its ability to rapidly process vast quantities of data and generate insights. Soon, the education sector can also be transformed with the adoption of this technology. Artificial intelligence is capable of performing tasks such as speech recognition, language translation, and decision-making. The best application for it so far is as a teaching tool, although supporters say that it may help to alleviate teacher shortages in the future. In the classroom, artificial intelligence is being used for personalized learning

Virtual Reality

According to education researcher Melissa Pelletier, “creative learning spaces play an important role in student engagement.” Virtual reality can do just that by creating immersive learning environments for students and help them to experience things like history, travel, and even STEM programs. Imagine virtual field trips through time and space that allow students a deeper and more personal understanding of the material. Products like Google Expeditions and various phone apps aim to make virtual reality affordable and accessible for all.  

Blockchain

Blockchain is a technology used to connect, house, and encrypt digital data. Through blockchain, the stored data is not centralized in any one location, making it publicly accessible, easily tracked, and very difficult to corrupt. As such, this has the potential to revolutionize the way that student and faculty records are stored, among a myriad of other possible applications.

Artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and blockchain the three digital trends at the top of our list for the 2019-2020 school year. What are some other trends in education that you think we should watch for in the coming year?  

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How to Find the Right Volunteer Opportunity for You

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Do you have a desire to make a difference in your community through volunteer work? Sometimes it can be difficult to know where to begin. Here are some tips to help you find volunteer opportunities that are perfect for your unique skills and interests:

  1. Consider what you’re passionate about.

Before getting started, figure out what you’re passionate about and what area of work you are most interested in. Consider your personal strengths, as well as the issues that are most important to you. After you become clear about what matters to you, choosing an opportunity will be easier.

  1. Consider your community’s needs.

Every community has different needs. Do some research about your area and try to discover what the most pressing problems are. Does your city have a high homeless population? If so, you can volunteer at a local shelter or food bank. Maybe you live near a children’s hospital and can offer your services there. Try to find an organization or an opportunity where you feel like you’re needed. 

  1. Start small.

As you begin volunteering with a new opportunity, it’s OK to start small. Work for a few hours at a time and see how it goes. See if your values align with the work that you’re doing. After you find the right organization, you can always increase your service as your schedule allows. Be careful to avoid over-committing yourself or you may quickly become burnt out. 

Did you know that there is a website dedicated to helping you find the perfect volunteer opportunity? It’s called Volunteer Match. You can start there, or even with a simple Google search like “volunteer opportunities in my area.” 

You may have to try a few different things before you find the perfect place for you. No matter what route you choose, you can expect your life to be enriched as you add value to the lives of others.

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3 Ways That Education is Changing

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Our world is rapidly changing, and, as a result, our education system is quickly transforming as well. Here are three of the ways that American education is changing:

1. Personalization

Schools in 2019 are making moves towards personalization. Whereas once students were all taught the same way, today we recognize that some people learn differently than others. We also know that, although learning differences exist, they are not necessarily a reflection of intelligence or potential. These realizations have resulted in a collective effort to ensure that all students are being taught in a way that gives them the best chance of success.

Large-scale education is difficult to personalize, but schools are making efforts nonetheless. Private and public schools often address personalization differently. In general, though, teachers can personalize learning by incorporating several learning styles into their lessons. For example, a Kindergarten teacher may be teaching about the life-cycle of a butterfly. He or she could read about it to their students, show them pictures or videos, or bring in caterpillars and allow the students to witness the life cycle for themselves. The teacher will know what learning styles they need to incorporate for their unique body of students, but using methods that like this covers multiple learning styles— allowing each student to learn in their own individual way.

2. Technology

Technology is rapidly changing and infiltrating our education systems. It’s not unusual to see students as young as elementary-age with IPads or other tablets. Video has become commonplace in the classroom and will likely be seen even more in the future.

Online and blended classrooms, which are a mix of online and face-to-face meetings, are also becoming popular in schools throughout the US. The inclusion of technology in education has made it more accessible. Knowledge is easier to obtain than ever. Technology has also “breaks down the walls” of traditional education by allowing students to “travel” anywhere in the world with the help of video.

3. Standards

In the early 2000s, each US state had its own educational standards. These standards, however, were not consistent across the country. In one state, high schoolers could be required to know certain things or demonstrate specific skills to graduate. Meanwhile,  the high school students in a neighboring state may have been able to graduate without the same knowledge or skills. These discrepancies led us to the system of education we now know as “Common Core.”

Forty-one states have adopted the Common Core state standards. CoreStandards.org defines the Common Core as “a set of high-quality academic standards in mathematics and English language arts/literacy (ELA).” These standards were put into effect in 2009 after state leaders pulled together to create high and consistent goals for all students in American classrooms.

Although personalization and standardization seem to be opposite in some ways, both are being pushed in today’s education. We want all of our students to have the same opportunities to learn and succeed, but we also understand that’s it is necessary to ensure that standards are met in our schools. Personalization and standardization can work together if they are appropriately balanced.

We can expect to see our education system continue to change with new technology breakthroughs, new learning discoveries, and as standards are proven to be effective (or ineffective). Who knows what education will look like 20 years from now? Only time will tell.

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Is Law School for Everyone?

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Law school is one of those life-altering decisions that many people face, whether it’s a decision in their early years or later on, as a second career choice. In either case, it’s a major commitment that must not be entered into lightly.

The Cost

Unless you are independently wealthy, be prepared to pay a lot of money to get your law degree. After paying for four years of undergraduate school, there are still another four years of law school to pay for, in addition to exam fees ranging upwards of $200. The honest truth is the better the law school, the higher the likelihood of a decent clerkship and job offer upon graduation.

The Time

Getting a law degree takes time. Although any type of undergraduate degree is accepted in order to apply for a law school degree, there are some that provide a better backdrop than others. Degrees in history, philosophy, criminal justice, and political science are the areas of focus that will give you the best head start in pursuing a law degree. In addition to requiring an undergraduate degree and real-world law experience, a law degree demands a passing Law School Admission Test (LSAT) grade before getting into grad school. This is a test that measures analytical thinking, critical reading, and verbal reasoning in order to determine whether you are eligible to attend law school. Once accepted, plan on at least another four years of schooling. If you are working at the same time, you should budget accordingly. In many cases, it takes longer than eight years to achieve combined undergrad and postgraduate studies.

The Actual Job

Unhappiness is so common in the law industry there are blogs, books, and counselors solely devoted to soothing the souls of former attorneys. The main areas of contention are stress and discourteousness among colleagues as well as clients. Some people ended up choosing the quickest job opportunity after graduation, not prioritizing the type of industry they are truly seeking. Some are stunned to learn they aren’t hired by their dream job immediately after graduation. Some only wanted to make money but lacked any passion at all for this industry. There is an element of empathy and compassion for the human race that must be in place in order to pursue the field of law. Otherwise, a growing resentment will cause nonstop stress and hatred towards not only coworkers but the clientele you are supposed to advocate for.

By definition, the nature of the judicial system is going to be adversarial. Having a tough outer shell is paramount if one is to succeed as an attorney, regardless of which side of the opposing counsel fence they base their career choices on.  

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