A Brief History of E-learning and Distance Education

E-learning is a very broad term. It is used to describe any type of learning environment that is computer enhanced. There are multiple technologies that can be employed in E-learning. It has become one of those types of words that are so general as to have lost some of its meaning. Distance learning is something that has evolved from Elearning. It is used to describe a learning environment that takes place away from the actual traditional classroom and campus.

E-learning began at just about the same time that a computer was developed that was practical for personal use. In fact, the concept and practice of distance learning predates the computer area by almost 100 years. In England, in 1840, shorthand classes were being offered by correspondence courses through the mail. The improvements to the postal service made this method of distance learning popular in the early part of the last century. This led to a large number of “through the mail” type of educational programs. The computer only made distance learning easy and better. Television, video recorders, and even radio have all made a contribution to distance learning.

E-learning and distance learning are not quite the same thing. The basic thing that distinguishes distance education is the physical separation of the student from the instructor and the class room. E-learning, however, became part of the classroom environment from the beginning. The early use of computers was geared to help the classroom instructor. Gradually, as more and more personal computers became available, the idea of online classes was explored by some pioneering Colleges and Universities. The early attempts at distance education were hampered by resistance from traditionalist within the education field.

Some invoked what they called the philosophy of education to demonstrate that the teacher was essential to the educational process. This resistance led to the early online degrees being considered inferior to traditionally obtained degrees. This prejudice extended to the personal departments of major employers. When choosing between two otherwise equally qualified applicants, preference was shown to the person holding the traditional degree. In recent years this has changed drastically. The improvements in E-learning technology and the ability to create virtual classrooms and a virtual learning environment (VLE) has gradually broken down the resistance. This process has been helped by the emergence of a new generation that was weaned on the computer. It would not be surprising if within another generation, the pendulum shifts completely and the online degree is the one that is respected and coveted.

5 Ways to Pay for Your Bar Exam Preparation Course!

As most of you know…

I am a recent graduate and of course I am studying for my bar exam this summer. I was fortunate to receive a full scholarship to take a BarBri course offered through my state “Bar Review School.” Now, it surprised me to know that when I mentioned this on Twitter, a lot of students were not aware that many Bar Prep companies offer financial assistance. Naturally, I am sure they don’t publicize this information because getting that $1200-$2000 from you is wayyy more pleasing.

Well, I will let the cat out of the bag! There are several ways to obtain financial assistance for a bar preparation course…

1) Campus Rep – The first and likely most obvious way is to become a campus representative for one of the major programs (KaplanPMBR or BarBri). Campus reps will have their course paid for or significantly reduced.

2) Procrastinate! – Another way is to forego all those hassling emails and “tabling” events they do throughout the school year, and wait till about April or May to sign up for a course. I know that reps for BarBri sent emails reducing the price of the class after the supposed “deadlines” had passed.

3) Check around and READ the fine print – As I mentioned above, I stumbled across a scholarship that was being sponsored by our state bar association and my law school. It wasn’t highly publicized and it was in one e-mail blast sent by our career development office during finals time when people were less than concerned about emails. Check with your law school and state bar association to see if they offer a reduced rate or even scholarships (generally a refund of the course fees) to take a review course that has been approved by them. Also, in the really small print on a lot of the ads and emails for these bar prep programs, they do state there is financial assistance available (payment plan or tuition reduction). *Themis Bar even ran a contest to blog your bar prep experience and get a free course!

4) Get a sponsor! – If you are part of the lucky few who have obtained employment or have interviews lined up prior to graduation, negotiate your deal to where your employer pays for you to take the bar exam and possibly a prep course. Or at least ask for some assistance! Closed mouths don’t get fed, and you know you’re worth it!

5) Take your school’s bar prep class – A lot of the lower-tier schools offer their own in-house bar review course. I took the one offered by my school and it was a major help in relieving some of my fear in taking the bar exam. I pushed myself and took the course seriously (even though it was pass/fail, and all you had to do was show up!) I knew my financial situation and that I was likely not going to be able to shell out the $1,200-1,600 for a bar prep class in my state. So if you can stay disciplined and do the work, I would definitely advise taking the bar prep class offered by your school and save yourself a few dollars!

Six Reasons Why Students Prefer Online Learning

Online learning has become a thing of the present. But why does everyone want to be a part of it? What’s so good about it anyway? Here are six reasons why students prefer online learning than learning in campus classrooms:

1. It gives you a flexible schedule.

Once you sign up for online studies, you will be given full freedom to choose what schedule to take. This helps you organize your daily activities at your convenience. This flexibility is also very beneficial for those students who have part-time jobs, a family member to look after, or other activities they should attend to that may get in the way with a traditional classroom setting.

2. It gives you the privilege to learn at your own pace.

Some online courses give you the opportunity to move to the next lesson as soon as you understand the topic at hand and complete the requirements. If you are a fast learner, you can cover a wider range of lessons at a shorter span of time. If you are the student who wants to linger on the topic, you are free to watch slides over and over again or concentrate only on those that need studying.

3. It makes student-teacher communication easier.

Believe it or not, enrolling in online learning programs will give you more time to talk with your professor. Instead of competing with other students in getting the teacher’s attention in class, you can just send him or her instant messages. Also, if the message is something you don’t want the entire class to hear, sending emails to your professor is best.

4. It allows you to learn despite health issues that may stand in the way with campus classes.

Those who haven’t been successful with the traditional school setting because of health issues will find online learning a good option as most of them leave the system due to excessive absences or tardiness. Those who are suffering from a sleeping disorder, hospitalized, or have disabilities can consider online learning.

5. It doesn’t require you to move even if your school is miles away.

Are you planning to enroll in a school on the other side of the world? With online learning programs, you can easily do that. You don’t have to go through the trouble of moving residence just to get the degree you’ve always wanted in the school you’ve always wanted.

6. It saves the money intended for gas and school supplies.

Since you’ll be taking classes at home, you won’t have to spend a single cent on gas to school. You’ll also save a couple of dollars on buying notebooks, papers and pens because everything “said” will be captured and recorded in the computer.

Are you now convinced to be one of the million students who go for online learning?

You CAN Further Your Education and Stay Healthy

Whether your car still has your high school graduation tassel hanging from the rearview mirror, or a bumper sticker on the back reading “Soccer Mom,” entering the world of higher education is exciting. In other words, you’re in for a ride regardless of your age or how long it’s been since you sat behind a desk other than the one in your office or cracked open a textbook other than your oldest son’s three-pound pre-calculus tome.

Unfortunately, higher education brings more than just excitement – it can also bring financial stress. Classes at colleges and universities these days are expensive, and an entire semester of them? Plus textbooks and other materials? Well, most students must rely on scholarships, grants, and loans to get by, especially if they plan to go the whole nine yards – the two to four years it takes to get a degree.

As if that weren’t enough, the cost of higher education isn’t the only thing that can bring financial stress. Regardless of your age, you need health insurance, and since many college and university students either work part-time jobs that don’t offer health insurance, or don’t work at all due to school schedules, finding affordable health insurance isn’t an easy task. But, it can be done.

Believe it or not, most colleges and universities care about their students’ health. Many of them offer low cost or free on-campus medical services. Some universities even provide health insurance plans for students working beyond the standard four-year bachelor’s degree.

However, these services may not be the solution if you have a family to insure, as well. One option is to use your school’s health services or insurance for yourself, and purchase health insurance for your family. This is cheaper than the next option, which is to just buy health insurance for the entire family.

Higher education is important to you; so is your health. Luckily, it’s possible to have both.

Online Colleges and Degrees – Are They Legitimate?

Many working adults who wish to go back to college but are not able to attend a local campus during the day are finding that an online college is the perfect solution. A person can work during the day and pursue their degree at night and on the weekends. But while all online colleges offer certifications or degrees in various fields, not all credits and degrees obtained online are the same. As a result, certain credits may not be transferable to other colleges, and that certification or degree that you worked so hard for may not be recognized by many employers.

The following is a list of things that you should investigate when considering enrolling in an online school:

Accreditation: All colleges, whether it’s online or a typical “brick and mortar” campus must be accredited in order for the credits obtained there to be transferable and their degrees recognized as legitimate. However, not all online colleges receive accreditation from the same organization. A nationally accredited college does not carry the same weight as a regionally accredited one. A college that is regionally accredited is the most highly regarded, and the credits and degrees earned at these schools will easily transfer to other colleges and be recognized. A college that is nationally accredited, on the other hand, is not as highly regarded, and the credits and degrees earned at it will probably have difficulty transferring and being accepted. To check what type of accreditation a college has, you can check the Council for Higher Education Accreditation website at http://www.chea.org.

Educational Support: Some online college students have found that after enrolling, they received little or no support from instructors or faculty. Thus, it would be a good idea to verify if and when your instructors and perhaps tutors will be available to answer your questions and help you succeed. Along with that, ask about the student-to-instructor ratio. The lower the number of students for an instructor, the more he or she will be able to give individualized attention.

Tuition: While many online college tuition costs are in line with local colleges, some charge tuitions that are considerably higher. Most colleges base tuition on credit hours, but some online colleges may charge additional fees, such as for the use of their software or servers. Inquire about all of the costs involved so that your bill is not a shock when it arrives. Additionally, many online colleges, just like brick and mortar colleges, will offer financial assistance, which could come in the form of student loans, grants, or scholarships. Investigate these options first, as they could greatly reduce your out-of-pocket expenses.

Job Placement Assistance: Most likely your purpose in going back to college is to ultimately get a better job, so ask the college about job placement assistance. They also should be willing to share with you their most recent job placement numbers.

Attending an online college will take a lot of effort and discipline on your part. But in the end, you want to be assured that all of the time and effort you put into your endeavors will be rewarded. As you can see, not all online colleges are equal. But by investigating the above mentioned factors, you can be confident that the online college you chose was the right one for you.