Category: Online Learning

Is your career on the right track?

Gustavo Siguenza never expected to be where he is today.

Gustavo Siguenza, Bachelor of Science, Project Management, 2019

A carpenter from Dorchester, Siguenza always wanted to go to college but never had the chance. “I didn’t finish high school,” he explains “which prevented me from going to college.” When the opportunity did present itself, however, Siguenza jumped at it.

At first, he tried attending a community college but had a bad experience. As an adult learner, Siguenza worried about fitting in and getting used to being back in a classroom. “I enrolled in community college to ease my fears,” he says.” But, actually, it did the opposite.” In the community college, he felt isolated and alone as he tried to navigate the college experience. “I almost gave up on pursuing a degree,” he says. Continue reading

stand out in a crowd with these skills

Last Friday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released its latest unemployment numbers. And the news is good. Again.

In October, the unemployment rate held steady at 3.7 percent, the lowest it’s been in nearly 50 years, as 250,000 new jobs were added. Wages were up as well by 3.1 percent, the largest year-over-year gain for hourly wages in over a decade according to the Wall Street Journal. With so many job openings, as well as job-seekers, now is the time to think about your skills and how to stand out in a crowd. Continue reading

Success: Do you have what it takes?

Some advice from one generation of leaders to the next

by Phil Hammond

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

You get up in the morning. Get in your car, call Uber, hop on the T or settle yourself in a home office. How do you do it? How do you motivate yourself to be successful in your chosen field? How do construction managers, facility directors and project managers operate effectively, successfully and cooperatively within project teams?

It is estimated that by 2020, 46 percent of the workforce in the US will be between the ages of 24 and 39. For baby boomers, like me, that means preparing to hand over leadership in the workplace to members of the millennial generation. For some, including some millennials, this raises an important question: are millennials ready to lead?  Josh Bersin, in Forbes Magazine, argues they are not.  Pointing to a recent study which showed 30 percent of millennials themselves felt they were not prepared for the responsibilities of leadership due to a lack of confidence managing employees and resolving conflicts, Bersin notes, “this generation isn’t developed for leadership now” (Bersin, 2013 ). Continue reading

When a degree isn’t enough

career services for adult learners

Most working adults cite “career advancement” as their primary reason for returning to school. Among online students, more than three quarters pursue programs for “career-focused” reasons (Magda, 2018).

But, sometimes having advanced skills and knowledge, and even a degree, isn’t enough to get you where you want to be. Working adults need help identifying new opportunities, building resumes, and preparing for interviews in a new field or industry.  In the following post, Janel Juba of Wentworth’s Center for Cooperative Education and Career Development shares some insights on what working adults can expect from career services:

At the Center for Cooperative Education and Career Development, we deliver the necessary resources to be effective in the workplace, provide essential job search strategies and teach students how to find jobs that align with their classroom knowledge, skills and interests. Our mission is to EQUIP students with the necessary tools to EVOLVE their skills and ultimately EXCEL in their industry. Continue reading

bird by bird: how to thrive, not merely survive, in the new academic year

black and white birds on a wire
Photo by Ridham Nagralawala on Unsplash
by Kelly Jenkins Lin

Author and speaker, Anne Lamott, tells the story of her ten-year-old brother who was trying to write a report on birds. Despite having nearly 3 months to work on it, he had put it off until the night before it was due. Close to tears, he sat at the family’s kitchen table surrounded by books and pencils and clean paper, overwhelmed by the enormity of the task. Then Lamott’s father sat down beside her brother, put his arm around his shoulders and said, “Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird” (Lamott, 1994).

For many adults, returning to school can feel like trying to write a report the night before it is due. On the threshold of a new academic year, surrounded by stacks of books and pencils and clean paper they feel overwhelmed by the enormity of what lies ahead and wonder how they will ever make it through. Below are five steps that will not only help students to survive, but to thrive, in the new academic year. Continue reading

Credit Where Credit is Due

Put Prior Learning Assessment to work for you

by Kelly Jenkins Lin

Rich Rago
Rich Rago, BSPM 13; MSFM 15

 This is the second in a two-part post about PLA. To read part I, click here: Part I

When Richard Rago decided to pursue a college degree, he had 10 years of work experience but no formal classroom education. He worried that might put him at a disadvantage until one of his professors pointed out that, thanks to his many years in the field, Rago knew more than most of his classmates. The professor then suggested Rago try to get credit for his on-the-job learning. He did and with the credit he earned Rago was able to opt out of 3 classes, or the equivalent of one semester. “It was definitely worth it,” he says. Continue reading

How Far Will You Go?

Man sitting at a desk in a classroom
Joe Masello, BSPM 2015

Joe Masello had a dream.

“My goal was to earn an associates degree,” he says, “but then I found out about the Project Management program at Wentworth and immediately transferred.” A graduate of Wentworth’s Master Electrician program, Joe knew he could count on a degree from Wentworth to help him achieve his dreams.

But he didn’t realize just how far it would take him. Continue reading

Let’s Be Honest: Why Does Online Learning Matter?

More and more, colleges and universities are moving away from traditional, classroom-based learning models to more convenient and affordable online offerings. According to a recent study, distance—or online—learning in the United States has seen a steady increase over the last 5 years, while on-campus class attendance has decreased by 6.4 percent. And given the advantages of online learning, for both students and colleges and universities, the trend is likely to continue.

To review the Babson Survey Research Group report, “Grade Increase: Tracking Distance Education in the United States” visit: https://www.onlinelearningsurvey.com/highered.html

What does that mean for students? In this post we will look at what online learning is, how it works and the benefits it offers learners and, in particular, part-time, working adults. Next week, we will look at whether or not online learning is right for you.

What is Online Learning?


Let’s face it; there is no formal definition of online learning. The evolving landscape of online learning is a contemporary form of e-learning where students engage with course content via the internet. Online learning offers meaningful learning experiences using a wide variety of teaching formats including fully online, in which all activities are online, hybrid/blended, combining online and classroom learning, asynchronous or self-paced learning, and synchronous, or real-time group learning (see chart).

Course content and learning activities are provided online through a Learning Management System (LMS) which is easily accessed by both instructors and students. Because online and hybrid courses are available via the internet, they are accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week and  provide opportunities for innovative and practical experiences where students can apply their knowledge and skills.

What are the benefits of online learning?

Whether students are engaged in group or self-paced activities, online or a combination of online and classroom instruction, new and often innovative learning experiences take place. Online learning allows students various ways to communicate and process information from a variety of sources including the internet, web resources, and the learning community created within the LMS.

There are numerous benefits to learning in an online environment:

    • Convenience: Students have the opportunity to learn from anywhere and at any time. Online course materials are easily accessed and can be downloaded from the LMS allowing students to create a schedule and select a location that fits their needs.

 

    • Confidence Participating in online courses can be less intimidating for some students than in a face-to-face environment. Students who may be shy are much more likely to participate in an online course environment. This produces a greater diversity of opinion and shared perspectives as well as creates an engaging student learning experience.

 

    • Credits: Today, many colleges and universities are accepting transfer credits for online courses. Depending on the program, students may be eligible to transfer in college credit and complete their online degree faster.

 

    • Cost Effective: Online learning is less expensive than traditional classroom-based courses. Students who work either full time or go to school part time would not have to take time off or waste time commuting to campus. This allows students to be committed to their learning without having to worry about missing a class.

 

    • Communication: Online learning makes is easier for students to reach out to their instructors with questions, support and feedback. Students can connect with their instructors in a variety of ways such as through online discussion forums, email, or by scheduling a web meeting or phone call.

 

    • Career focused: Employers are seeking more online learning opportunities to help employees develop new skills, provide new career paths for professional growth and advancement. Students would have the opportunity to take online courses that allows them to be remain competitive and improve their job performance.

 

Simply put, online learning is a win-win for everyone. For colleges and universities, it presents the opportunity to offer new and innovative learning experiences to more and more students. For students, and in particular, part-time students trying to balance work and family, it opens the door to the education and training they need to reach their personal and professional goals. And for employers, it provides a steady stream of well-trained and educated employees to fill much needed positions.

With all of that going for it, online learning is sure to continue to grow and will likely be the wave of the future in higher education.

 Next week, we will discuss ways to determine if an online learning environment is the right choice for you.

About the Author

Ke’Anna Skipwith is the Director of Online Learning in the College of Professional and Continuing Education at Wentworth Institute of Technology. She holds a MS in Learning Technologies from Drexel University and is pursuing her Ed.D at Northeastern University in Higher Education Administration. She is a member of EDUCAUSE and the University Professional and Continuing Education Association (UPCEA). Ke’Anna is also the co-author of the book: Best Practices in Engaging Online Learners Through Active and Experiential Learning Strategies (2017).