Archive for the 'Technology' Category

Not so Fast, E-Textbooks: The Battle Between Digital and Print

May. 20th 2013

The relationship between the field of education and our world’s growing technological connection, regardless of where you live: Vermont, Utah, South Dakota, Oregon, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, New Mexico, is extremely tight-knit: Students and educators everywhere turn more and more to technological advances in order to supplement and enhance educational methods. In recent years, the prevalence of technology in our society has brought us online learning opportunities, the use of in-class technology like smart boards and student computers, and a vast array of web-based resources for educators and students around the world. One piece of technology that has garnered many mixed reviews, however, is the e-textbook. On the one hand, e-books in general have seen tremendous growth since the presence of tablets and e-readers has become a fixture in society. According to user surveys, people who have tried reading e-books generally enjoy the experience. But at the same time, for students, who are usually the earliest adopters of technology, e-textbooks have been slow to catch on. Among students, many of them say they prefer the presence of a traditional textbook over an e-textbook; in fact, 70% say they find that they simply study more effectively when they have access to a traditional textbook over an e-reader or tablet. So what does the future look like for e-textbooks? The following infographic examines our complex relationship with the traditional textbook versus the e-textbook.

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E-Textbooks Infographic

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Forecasting Higher Education

Mar. 19th 2013

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The New Essay

Mar. 5th 2013

Any and every discussion about engaging Millennials in the classroom invariably includes technology no matter which state you’re talking about: Arizona, Delaware, or Illinois. As a generation raised almost entirely around the Internet, mobile phones, multimedia, and other relatively recent generations, their communication needs differ greatly from their predecessors. Innovative educators have seized upon these patterns and established creative strategies that deliver familiar material through brand new conduits.

Unsurprisingly, this also means shifts within the usual assignments, like the ubiquitous essay. Amazing tools allowing students to explore digital networks, video, audio, images, and other media mean even more chances to engage learners on a wide variety of levels. Rather than a straightforward sheet of text, they can now punctuate their points through visuals and sounds like never before. The fact that Digital Writing Month now exists should be a testament to these little evolutions.

Getting into College

Although dialogues involving alternative or multimedia essays tend to emphasize their classroom presence, they certainly have a place in other higher education sectors. Tufts University, delighted edtech enthusiasts in 2010 when they announced that applicants could now submit an optional one-minute video supplementing their more traditional admissions packets. Within the first year, thousands of aspirant enrollees posted their YouTube projects, hoping to show off what makes them appealing candidates. Because Millennials thrive in digital environments conducive to creative, innovative thinking, Tufts’ decision to embrace new media proved incredibly successful.

Texas Christian University’s approach still involves the very same principals celebrating imagination, offering up multimedia and low-tech options. Like Tufts, they haven’t exactly dumped the traditional essay entirely, rather experimenting with brand new formats. For the more tech-savvy applicants, they encourage short videos. For the not-so-tech-savvy — or students without access to the necessary equipment — TCU also provides an incredibly simple, effective alternative. Take an 8 1/2″ x 11″ sheet of paper and do anything with it. Anything. As long as it remains flat, fits in the envelope, and does not exceed the page’s boundaries, they accept the project.

Beyond creative thinking, the “new essay” for some schools look for collaboration skills. For example, Massachusetts school Olin College required its engineering applicants to participate in a one-day competitive event. Students break off into assigned teams and work together to design and build a tower to meet provided specifications. As they attempt the challenge, their ability to function alongside other people and while under pressure both get examined. Witnessing a potential students’ attitude, leadership acumen, and other social skills in person provides far more insight than letters of recommendation and personal essays ever could.

In the Classroom: Social Media and Crowdsourcing

Creative alternatives to the usual sitting down and writing to a prompt have almost always existed. Multimedia presentations, case studies, and other projects all find their ways onto the syllabi. Technology, however, provides even more opportunities for savvy teachers to reject the traditional essay. Blogging and social media especially pique the interest of educators looking for something different that simultaneously challenges and engages the digital native set.

According to the latest National Survey of Student Engagement findings, the most engaged freshmen routinely took advantage of Twitter, Facebook, and other social media sites. Twenty-eight percent plan tutoring meetings and/or group projects and 33% complete their assignments with these tools. A further 15% communicate with their professors and advisors through social media, with over half reporting that the discussions involved both parties.

With social media integrated so deeply into students’ lives, it makes perfect sense that teachers formulate some innovative lessons involving the tools. These assignments might happen alongside or in lieu of the more familiar structure. For example, in Boston, schools are using the Facebook Notes feature doubles as a medium for typing up essays and sharing them with a wide audience. They can also add links, videos, and images to help illustrate their main points. Unlike the traditional essay format, Facebook Notes also comes handily packaged with a comments sections, where friends (and, depending on the privacy settings, total strangers) can participate in the discussion and offer up their own opinions and advice.

Even if a classroom assignment requires turning in a more standard essay, crowdsourcing tactics using social media and other forums is also a possibility. The aforementioned Facebook Notes provides one option. reddit’s /r/proofreading subreddit overflows with high school and college students looking for advice on their admissions and classroom essays — for free. Active and reliable participants known as “Verified Proofreaders” are the most helpful in these situations, as they typically boast some degree of professional and/or academic experience.

In the Classroom: Blogging, Prezi, Slideshare, and Storify

Like Facebook, blogging also merges traditional long-form writing with interactive feedback and multimedia options. Unsurprisingly, many edtech-friendly professors require their students to write essay-style blog posts and launch in-depth discussions outside the rigid classroom walls. This might involve private works within Blackboard or Angel, visible only to classmates and instructors; some teachers might prefer Blogger, WordPress, Tumblr, or other options with public or private settings.

Where once the more tech-oriented classroom considered PowerPoint the apex of all that is presentation, the Internet offers up interactive, even collaborative options. Visual essays through Prezi and Slideshare create more engaging, innovative alternatives to the usual slideshow or written work. and allows up to 10 users can edit a project from anywhere with an Internet connection means more creative and editorial input, regardless of whether or not the projects are assigned to groups or individuals.

Before students get to the classroom, “Prezumes and Portfolios” might enhance college applications. This intrepid student seeking a spot at Oxbridge College took advantage of Prezi to organize a multimedia exploration of his qualifications, and searching the site reveals many more eager to impress their favorite institutions.

Slideshare’s interactivity integrates with Twitter, Facebook, and Youtube for multimedia presentations. Like blogs, presentations uploaded to Slideshare host comments sections for further discourse, meaning a much higher degree of interactivity than what the traditional essay involves.

Journalism students and professors alike embrace Storify for crowdsourcing, networking, and compiling final projects. Users act as digital curators to select the social media posts relevant to their writings, building informative works around the sources they verify. Part crowdsourcing, part blogging, part social media, the tool builds all the relevant journalism 2.0 skills far more effectively than perusing books and analyzing the findings in the old-style essay format. Assignments revolve around seeking trustworthy sources, researching what they have to say, and writing up features summarizing their findings. It’s real-world experience for the soon-to-be real-world reporters of the world.

In the Classroom: Mobile

The changing face of essays is also as simple as writing them up on a completely different platform. Ninety-seven percent of American college students own a mobile phone, and 79% also possess a portable computing device, like a laptop or a tablet such as the iPad. Of the 18-to-29-year-olds with smartphone access, 73% take advantage of them for more than just making phone calls. Educators at all academic levels now weave mobile devices into their coursework, turning students’ fascination with them into viable teaching strategies.

For college students who work on the go or must jot down inspiration right when it hits, well, there’s apps for that. iDevice users, for example, might outline a digital essay with iThoughts HD, bookmark digital resources with Instapaper or Evernote, write everything up in MyWritingSpot, and distribute it with Dropbox. But there exists a bevy of apps well beyond these, and ones available for more than just the iOS platform, and through experimentation, students can discover the apps that best fit their needs and are the most comfortable to use.

Not every student can afford smartphones, laptops, and tablet computers. In order to promote digital literacy and ensure far more equal classroom opportunities, some schools have started offering free iPads to all enrollees, like Seton Hill, a Catholic university in Greensburg, Pennsylvania, which takes it a step further by also adding a MacBook to its admissions packet. They plan to upgrade the technology as necessary. For the colleges and universities able to afford this undertaking, this means greater accessibility for students marginalized across economic lines. They don’t have to wring their hands over completing assignments involving technology they cannot purchase, freeing up mental and physical energy for tackling the work itself.

How to Succeed at Your “New Essay”

Some education experts believe this influx of new innovations might bring the traditional essay and doctoral dissertation closer to obsolescence. It might be a bit too soon to start picking out the coffin, but students these days should probably understand a few things about the technologies now infiltrating the academic writing process.

Video

  • Keep it short: Admissions counselors have little time to spare, even if a student might very well be the next Stanley Kubrick. Don’t go over a minute.
  • Be prepared and edit: U.S. News & World Report recommends video essay creators launch their projects with a solid plan and some room for flexibility. Gathering together all the necessary materials and scripts ahead of time saves you future migraines. And once the filming itself wraps, you should pay close attention to your editing. Turning in something sloppily produced will probably not impress anyone.
  • Follow instructions: If an assignment, optional or not, outlines criteria, meet all of it. Even though colleges and professors encourage creativity through video assignments, that doesn’t mean the possibilities are limitless, as the cliche goes.
  • Minimize distractions: Regardless of whether or not a video’s focus is on you or another subject entirely, you need to keep audio and visuals simple and streamlined. Note that oversights like leaving a television on in the background or failing to edit out a barking dog only sour an essay’s quality.
  • Be genuine: This advice applies to all aspects of academia, of course, but particularly on admissions videos and classroom projects. Trying too hard to impress, exaggerating, or flat-out lying compromises grades and your chances of getting into your favorite school. Honesty and sincerity are much, much easier, anyways.

Social Media

  • Never buy followers: You might think a fanbase of thousands will impress admissions counselors, but paying a service to inflate your Twitter or Facebook presence results in quite the opposite. Services like Twitter Counter make it extremely easy to track which accounts probably purchase fake followers. Build everything organically with accessible and interesting content and openly communicating with other users. Also delete those spam bots who pop in on occasion; a massive following of those never makes anyone look good, either.
  • Keep it professional: Admissions counselors know to check Google, Facebook, Twitter, and other sites for a candidate’s qualifications and suitability. Thirty-five percent admitted that negative social media discoveries led to a student’s rejection. Monitor all social media activity, set appropriate privacy settings, and run a search for your name and e-mail address to see what pops up. The extremely diligent applicants might want to set up Google Alerts for that last tip.
  • Keep private information private: Some contact information, like e-mail addresses, might be necessary for schools to contact you. But for your own safety, restrict publicly disclosing your home address, phone number, class schedule, license plates, and so forth.
  • Interact with schools and professors: Standing out safely and professionally as a candidate and as a student, to some, means spending time establishing digital relationships with colleges and professors. It also enables and encourages discussions to take place via Facebook Notes, Twitter, and other social media outlets used for essays these days.
  • Incorporate media: Punch up essays and applications and show off your technology savvy by posting videos, images, audio clips, and more alongside your text. This advice also applies to blogging and slide creation sites.

Blogging and Slides

  • Proofread: Just because the Internet’s general grasp of language is, to put it kindly, lacking, that doesn’t mean your blog posts and slides should follow suit. Proofread for spelling and grammar errors like you would a more traditionally-formatted essay.
  • Comment: Even if professors don’t include commenting as part of an assignment, commenting on classmates’ blogs open up discussions that might very well enlighten you further regarding the course materials.
  • Write thoughtful, informative content: You may only get your teacher and a couple of other students to read through what you have to say, but that doesn’t mean you should eschew producing quality material. It establishes your credibility and fosters engagement. And keep post lengths shorter; most blog visitors tend to stop paying attention before hitting the 1000-word mark.
  • Keep slide copy to a manageable length: Bombarding a slide leaves it looking cluttered and bores audiences. Say it simply (but effectively), add some sound or visuals, and move on to the next one.

Crowdsourcing

  • Be polite: Even if you wind up not using any of the information a friend, family member, or fellow Internet denizen provides, thank them. They took the time to help you, so you take the time to show some sincere gratitude.
  • Verify all information: You lose credibility if you crowdsource research and blindly include whatever you find. Journalist’s Toolbox lists some excellent online resources for checking and double-checking the facts.
  • Don’t spam inquiries: Spamming is a less-than-wonderful thing, so only ask in appropriate channels. Find forums dedicated to writing assistance, put out a general inquiry on Twitter or Facebook, or private message friends and family you know would help out.
  • Don’t plagiarize: If you elect to crowdsource opinions for an essay, remember to properly attribute any quotes to whomever spoke or wrote them. This advice also applies to citing other materials as well; schools know how to catch a plagiarist, so don’t think you’re clever enough to slip past them.
  • Don’t crowdsource the whole thing: If you ask for research help or opinions, don’t expect the same crowd to also proofread. Plus, crowdsourcing an entire project from beginning to end is kind of lazy.

Mobile

  • Review apps before downloading: Before downloading an application, especially one that costs money, see what professionals and fellow students recommend first. It’ll save time and probably a few dollars.
  • Make backups: Not every app automatically syncs with other devices for backup documents, so be sure to upload updated important writing files, photos, videos, and other media to a backup machine whenever possible. Just in case.
  • Be wary of eye strain and sore thumbs: If you’re piecing together an essay using a smartphone, take regular breaks to rest your eyes and thumbs; these issues crop up all too often in the digital era. No project is worth sacrificing your health over.
  • Use a bookmarking app: Instapaper and Evernote are the most common, but other apps offer up the ability to compile valuable links and media all in one place as well. They are incredibly valuable tools for students on the go, especially ones for whom inspiration always seems to strike at strange times.
  • Don’t write in text speak: You might be taking advantage of a mobile device, but your teacher will more than likely not find these linguistic shortcuts cute or clever. Write as if you would in any other medium.

Whether crowdsourcing proofreading, piecing together a journalistic feature through Storify, or harnessing an iPad for the entire research and writing process, the “new essay” stands poised to overtake its more traditional predecessor. Thanks to higher degrees of interactivity and the inclusion of multimedia, Millennials and later digital natives engage with content in some incredibly inventive ways. It stands to reason that many of these options will find permanent homes in higher education classrooms, if they haven’t already.

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How 3D Printing Will Revolutionize the Classroom

Feb. 19th 2013

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5 College Newspapers Giving up on Print

Dec. 28th 2012

In October 2012, Newsweek instigated a shockwave throughout the journalism community and mainstream readership alike with its announcement of a move to an all-digital format come January 2013 after almost 80 years as a magazine. The expected outcries of how this signifies the death of traditional print media followed. While it likely will not phase out entirely — books still exist even though .pdfs and other file formats exist — news outlets are undeniably adapting to the major technological shifting toward soaking up the latest stories online. Unsurprisingly, this trend certainly exists on college campuses as well, with student-run papers and other periodicals shifting to either all-digital or digital-first strategies. Not only does this move so often save money, it also addresses consumer demands for instant, on-the-go reads and a desire to always know what’s up as it happens.

  1. Red & Black:

    University of Georgia’s student-run newspaper launched in 1980, eventually growing into the largest of its type in the state. By 2011, Red & Black stunned students, faculty, and college journalists across the United States when it decided to only start printing weekly. Reporting daily, of course, but shifting the most recent news and views to its online media outlet instead. Known as Red & Black 2.0, the initiative marked one of the most significant moves from print to digital at the time, considering the paper’s clout and national popularity. Staff members considered the transition something positive rather than a slow, painful death march toward traditional journalism; they went so far as to declare themselves part of a “revolution,” after all. In fact, the ad revenue from the website, which always sells out space, manages to cover costs of the reduced printed editions since about 15,000 unique visitors hit them daily when school’s in session.

  2. The Daily Emerald:

    Somewhat notoriously, The Daily Emerald released its statement regarding cutbacks to twice a week and a bulkier digital presence the same day the legendary New Orleans Times-Picayune made similar announcements. It has served the University of Oregon community for over nine decades but received an ousting in favor of The Emerald Media Group. Monday and Thursday print editions still run, with updates on sports and other campus news early in the week, with arts and entertainment later. Beyond reporting, the new look for the old paper also includes a development lab focusing on web and mobile apps as well as marketing and advertising services. And with each new generation of incoming student journalists, familiarity with how to maneuver the Internet and cater to a digital audience only increases.

  3. The Daily Skiff:

    Texas Christian University just could not quit The Daily Skiff, which started running in 1902, but it wound up the Woody to the shiny new TCU 360’s Buzz Lightyear. It prints four days a week while class is in session, but beyond that, anyone wanting to know what’s going on with the campus and its student body is pushed more toward the student-run website. So while the newspaper itself never shifted to an all-digital format, the poor little Daily Skiff wound up shunted to the side in favor of something more in line with what today’s plugged-in audiences expect from their media outlets. TCU 360, as one can imagine from the name, covers happenings and opinions at the eponymous campus all the time, every time. Staff members actually post their stories here first before publication in the original newspaper — if at all.

  4. University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Post:

    University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Post, as a print publication, passed away in late 2012. However, it plans to pull a phoenix and arise anew from the newsprint-scented ashes in January 2013, assuming humanity doesn’t experience the Mayan apocalypse before then (it won’t). Although visitors can already read the paper online, the official launch will not happen until after the new year ticks. Even though the Post, as it’s now called by all the cool kids, began operations in 1956, few mourn its voyage to the great Gutenberg In The Sky. In fact, they seem to enthusiastically embrace this new path paved with zeroes and ones, believing the step just another major “life event” in the periodical’s history.

  5. The Western Herald:

    Like Texas Christian, Western Michigan University is slowly phasing out its traditional print paper in favor of something more virtual by letting everyone down gently using a “digital-first” strategy. This means the website breaks all the news and views first before the monthly newspaper hits campus stands. Social media in particular plays a role in shaping The Western Herald’s new direction, as they encourage Facebook and Twitter readers to participate in discussions of events and incidents as they unfold, for a more citizen journalism-oriented look at WMU. In addition, students, faculty, and staff can sign up for the Daily Buzz, an e-mail digest keeping them informed of any pressing stories and interesting or popular tidbits they might otherwise miss.

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Online Education: Non-Profits Fight Back?

Dec. 13th 2012

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50 Best Pinterest Boards for Student Vegetarians

Nov. 1st 2012


Although more and more schools offer dining options for students adhering to vegetarian and vegan diets (as in, dining options beyond “salad bar”), navigating a new environment with food restrictions still proves occasionally headache-inducing. But making snacks and meals at home means sticking with the lifestyle and resisting temptations to start noshing on tasty, fatty, salty bacon out of frustration. Pinterest lets that happen.

  1. Quick Vegetarian Recipes by Cooking Light:

    The good folks over at Cooking Light compile a wide range of tasty eats for time-crunched college vegetarians; best of all, most of them are pretty healthy, too!

  2. Raw Food Recipes by Tasha Johnson:

    For students sticking with a raw food diet exclusively or simply enjoying how they supplement more traditional vegetarian meals, this listing of some particularly delectable delights might yield something tantalizing.

  3. Recipes for a Vegetarian College Student by Emily Rose:

    Like the title states, this Pinterest board features vegetarian (and a couple of vegan) recipes especially curated for meat-averse students on a time and money budget.

  4. Everything Vegan by Gabrielle Rekully:

    College kids with an affinity for animal rights and a vegan lifestyle should head here for recipes, products, posters, infographics, quotes, and other media promoting the movement.

  5. For the Vegetarian: Recipes & Inspiration by fitsugar:

    Vegetarians, vegans, and raw foodists alike can browse fitsugar’s enthusiastic pinning featuring recipes, cookbook suggestions, product information, and a shirtless Ryan Gosling, because this is Pinterest.

  6. It’s Easy Being Green by Annie Kimberley:

    With 166 pins so far and counting, this repository for vegetarian and vegan dishes has plenty to offer a wide range of collegiate dietary, time, and fiscal needs.

  7. Raw Food by Veg Writing Momma:

    Moms who want to incorporate raw food snacks and dishes into their kids’ diets might want to browse this collection for stuff to make together.

  8. Quick Recipes (Vegetarian) by Lacy Jaudon:

    Compiled especially for students and student teachers, these recipes (and links to recipe collections!) work great when eating vegetarian with budget and time restraints.

  9. Foodie Fun-For Vegetarians! by Allison Rogers:

    This “college girl approved!” Pinterest board features a diverse array of vegetarian-themed recipes, with the occasional nutritional, serving, and spicing information rounding things out.

  10. Kale University by Suzanne Turner:

    Despite the title, Kale University doesn’t exclusively focus on the eponymous green; rather, the 906-pins-and-counting serves as a veritable library of all things vegan, vegetarian, raw foodism, health, and fitness.

  11. On the Road to Vegetarianism by Jamie Searcy:

    Pinners just now starting their vegetarian journey might find this collection of resources — mostly recipes, natch — exactly what they need to never miss meat again.

  12. Nutritious Vegan Spectacular by Melanie Glissman:

    Head here for both recipes and detailed information about everything the vegan lifestyle entails, particularly when it comes to the philosophies of animal rights.

  13. Quinoa and Bean Recipes by Valerie Tourangeau:

    Both ingredients cost comparatively little, especially when purchased in bulk, definitely making them ideal for cash-strapped college kids. Thankfully, the grain and legume alike are pretty versatile!

  14. Vegetarian by Recipe.com:

    With 64 pins and 15,734 hungry followers, this board proves a popular stopping point for vegetarians of different backgrounds.

  15. Vegan food and vegan living! by Violet Williams:

    Most of the content here revolves around recipes, but every once in a while an article slips in about how to keep the vegan lifestyle rather than keep cooking for it.

  16. YUMMY VEGETARIAN by Pirate Mom:

    Admit it. These might be “kid-friendly” vegetarian delights, but you know you want to give them a try, too, you naughty collegiate you.

  17. Easy Vegetarian by Heather Garrison:

    If your cooking skills could use some serious improving, this recipe collection makes for a great start to gaining confidence in the kitchen.

  18. Vegan Recipes & Websites by Julie Blankenship:

    Keep these resources on hand when searching for fabulous vegan-friendly eats when the usual stuff gets too boring and repetitive.

  19. JUICING VIDEOS by Sam Neylan:

    Juicing can be a great option for vegetarians, vegans, and their friendly omnivore roommates to go in on together, and these videos and recipes cover all the basics. The process isn’t inherently healthier than eating fruits and vegetables, of course, but it is tasty and breaks up texture monotony.

  20. That’s it Fruit – Vegan Finds by That’s It:

    Presented by That’s It Fruit Bars, this board features fun, fruity favorites and information about staying healthy and staying vegan.

  21. Vegan Fashion by Official PETA:

    No matter your opinion on PETA’s practices, their resource curating information about vegan-friendly clothing and accessories makes for an essential Pinterest pit stop for animal rights activists and supporters.

  22. Raw Food by Danika Carter @ Your Organic Life:

    Check out 180 (so far) mouth-watering recipes completely suitable for omnivorous, vegetarian, vegan, and raw food diets.

  23. Vegan Notebook by Chef Kathi – Canopy Rose Catering, Tallahassee:

    Chef Kathi pins up fancier fare than some college students might be comfortable attempting, but more adventurous types might want to give her vegan loves a go.

  24. Tasty Things – All Vegan, Always by Jo Kell:

    This pinner has more than 18 years of experience with a vegan diet and 1,641 recipes pinned to the Tasty Things board; if you can’t find something to make and eat here, then we’re afraid there’s not much we can do for you.

  25. vegetarian/vegan snacks by Krista Gene:

    Try some of these tasty vegetarian snacks between classes for a quick, healthy kick to keep you going until your next meal.

  26. vegetarian cooking and baking by taylor fiscus:

    Stop here and sate that sweet tooth (and savory tooth, but that’s not a thing that exists) with some fabulous vegetarian baked goods and casseroles.

  27. Gluten-Free MM Recipes by Meatless Monday:

    All of Meatless Monday’s boards are essential viewing, but for vegetarians who can’t process gluten, this one in particular stands out.

  28. Mindful eating by Lorraine Guptill:

    Rather than recipes, Lorraine Guptill provides inspirational quotes and images for college students giving up meat and other products for animal rights reasons.

  29. Vegetarian Cookbooks by Elizabeth:

    As you can probably guess from that title there, this Pinterest board features some vegetarian cookbooks students might want to pick up from the library for further reading.

  30. Juicing Juicing I LOVE Juicing by Jemma Morris:

    She really loves juicing, you guys, and the recipes here for smoothies and juices to add some variety to a vegetarian, vegan, and raw food diet attest to that fact. Some are not entirely friendly to the latter two lifestyles, but that’s why substitutes exist.

  31. Vegetarian Entrees by Kendra Nordgren:

    Whether hosting a dinner party or freezing for later in the week, the featured culinary centerpieces here will make even the most ardent carnivore start drooling.

  32. Vegan Condiments by Melanie Nettle-Kahl:

    Flavor up vegetarian, vegan, and raw food dishes and snacks with some of these delightful condiments – including mayo!

  33. Food Love: Raw Food Sweet by Stephanie Wills:

    Converting to a raw food, vegan, or vegetarian diet doesn’t have to mean giving up on enjoying rich, delectable desserts and sweet treats!

  34. Vegetarian Breakfast Ideas by Two Peas in a Blog:

    Start the day off decadent and meatless with some of these tasty meals, many of which yield enough food to save for later.

  35. yum * vegetarian sides, salads and snacks by Dawn Benedetto:

    When looking for quick vegetarian bites for home or out on the go, hit up this board for a diverse selection of ideas suitable for different tastes and kitchen acumens.

  36. Working on my veggie skills … by Na Lucia:

    Newcomers to the vegetarian lifestyle should check out this ever-growing collection of great snacks, meals, and more to keep on going.

  37. Not Hippy Vegetarian yummies! by Jamie Whitaker:

    College students living in cities with limited grocery access will especially appreciate this recipe collection highlighting largely easy-to-find ingredients.

  38. vegetarian and healthy choices by Madison Hall:

    A great general recipe board for vegetarians looking for recipes that won’t place them at such a high risk for cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.

  39. Healthy & Easy Vegetarian Recipes by Jessica Weasner:

    Since the pinner herself requests recipes that are inexpensive, and not above four servings as well, her board focusing on simple, healthy vegetarian food is absolutely perfect for college students!

  40. { Vegetarian } by Ashley Armstrong:

    Every recipe featured here is suitable for vegetarian, vegan, and raw food diets of varying budgets, skill levels, and time frames.

  41. Vegetarian by Jolene Oster:

    The woman behind this board specifically zeroes in on vegetarian dishes her college-aged son would enjoy.

  42. Raw food recipes and smoothies to energize by Lora Lyons:

    If there’s one thing higher ed students need, it’s energy. Whip up these snacks and smoothies for a jolt to stay active and alert throughout the day.

  43. Going Vegetaraian? by Donna Polk:

    Seeing as how Going Vegetarian? sports around 90 pins, chances are any young folks looking to begin their meatless (or animal product-less) journey might stumble across a few that keep them on the right track.

  44. Vegetarian Thanksgiving by Shannon:

    Whether heading home or sticking with the veggo co-op for the holiday, these recipes ensure no vegetarians, vegans, or raw foodists start staring wistfully at images of turkeys and hams.

  45. Freggie (fruit+veg) & gluten-free by Lily Reed:

    Vegetarians seeking a few good fruit and veggie dishes that don’t upset their gluten intolerance or allergy should consider this board an essential bookmark – even if they don’t use Pinterest on the reg.

  46. Fit&Vegetarian by Natalie Sullivan:

    Perfect for college students who converted to full vegetarianism in order to keep their circulatory systems as clean and healthy as possible.

  47. Vegetarian Variety by Sarah Helfgott:

    Critics often chide vegetarian diets as repetitive and bland. Critics are utterly, hopelessly wrong, as this library of gustatory greats proves.

  48. Raw, Vegan and Vegetarian Food by Heather Ballard:

    It’s a smorgasbord of tantalizing treats suitable for vegetarians, vegans, and raw foodists of all tastes and budgets, whether snacking on the go or celebrating a potluck with friends.

  49. Juicing by Rissa Webber:

    More juicing recipes for the on-the-go veggo college kid sharing the cost with a friend or lucky enough to carry around a little extra cash.

  50. Vegan/gluten free by Amanda Leiss:

    Like the title of this pinboard states, these recipes focus on vegan recipes suitable for students with gluten intolerance issues.

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41 Tips to Make the Most from Online Openware Courses

Oct. 18th 2012


Once, students had to pay a pretty penny to get access to Ivy League courses and top-tier educational resources. Those days are long gone, as there are now thousands of free online learning opportunities available from some of the biggest names in education and business in the world. As these resources have grown in number and the list of institutions providing them has become ever more prestigious, free online courses are gaining legitimacy with employers as a method of learning valuable job skills. While there’s still a long way to go in terms of acceptance, more and more employers are recognizing the value of cheap, effective educational programs that can keep employees up-to-date and engaged in their field without spending a dime. Whether you’re looking to online education for personal reasons or to get ahead in your career, use these tips to help you get more out of open courses and use what you learn to market yourself, improve your performance, and stand out on the job.

  1. Treat them like real classes.

    If you really want to take away a lot from a free online course, then don’t treat it any differently than you would a course you’ve paid to take. Regarding a free course as a lesser educational experience is a self-fulfilling prophecy, so instead of pushing coursework aside or failing to concentrate on it, give it your full attention. You’ll get much better results and learn some valuable time management skills in the process.

  2. Choose courses that have real-world applications.

    While learning just about anything is a noble pursuit, there are certainly some online courses that have more direct applications to your career and everyday life than others. When choosing courses, carefully select those which will offer you the best chance of learning things you can really use on the job or in your personal life.

  3. Take advantage of badges and certifications.

    To date, the majority of free opencourseware learning opportunities won’t garner students any kind of certification or credit for completing them, but that doesn’t mean things can’t change. A number of free learning sites are beginning to create ways for students to prove that they’ve satisfactorily completed a course, which can be an asset in a job hunt or on a resume.

  4. Pinpoint your learning gaps.

    Before you choose an online course, it’s smart to assess what you don’t know and what you’d like to learn more about, especially with regard to the things you do day in and day out at your job. Once you know where your biggest learning gaps lie, you can make more informed decisions about which online courses would serve you the best.

  5. Ask questions online.

    Open courses offer a lot to students, but they lack the support of faculty and the opportunity to ask questions in real time. While there’s no substitute for one-on-one interactions with professors, there may be others out there who can answer your questions and help you understand key concepts. Seek them out on professional forums or social sites that cater to education to get the support you need to keep making progress in your free courses.

  6. Do the reading.

    Reading assignments for courses, online or off, are rarely ever just suggestions; they’re requirements for the course and can play a big role in how much a student learns and takes away from the experience. Reading assignments can count for even more when you’re taking a course through open courseware, so don’t ignore them. Instead, make them a big part of your study and preparation.

  7. Supplement or prepare for a for-credit course.

    While open courses can be great, sometimes you need a certificate or diploma in order to advance in your career. That doesn’t mean that you have to give up on taking online courses, however. These courses can provide excellent support for traditional coursework, providing alternative perspectives, helping students brush up on concepts, and even offering additional reading material and media.

  8. Work with others.

    You may not get built-in classmates when you decide to take an open course, but that doesn’t mean you can find your own. Working through course materials with a learning buddy can help both of you get more out of the experience, stay motivated, and puzzles through the most difficult parts of the course.

  9. Bolster basic skills.

    While open courses can be useful for learning advanced skills, they’re also really great for helping improve basic skills that you use every day. Consider taking writing courses, basic math, communication, or even courses that teach fundamental computer skills. While they’re not as big-picture as other courses, you may find they get the most use on a daily basis out of these basic courses.

  10. Explore career alternatives.

    Been considering a career change? Open courses are a smart way to get a taste of what working in another field entails so you can decide if you really want to take the leap or if you’re better off staying where you are.

  11. Utilize open course career help.

    If you’re taking online courses as a way to get ahead in your career, then make sure that you take advantage of all of the opportunities afforded by the institutions offering the courses. For example, Udacity offers to hand out student resume to their partner companies at no cost. Depending on the type of work you’re interested in doing, that could be an asset in finding a job.

  12. Put your coursework on your resume.

    While it may not have garnered you a degree, there’s no reason not to include open courses on your resume in a section dedicated to training. It shows that you have a commitment to learning and are willing to put in extra work to get ahead.

  13. Collect examples of your work from the courses.

    Many online courses will help you to hone skills that you can use to produce work for a portfolio. Choose your best writing, apps, business plans, or computer programs to showcase in a portfolio you can show to prospective employers.

  14. Develop management and business skills.

    No matter what type of work you’re in, gaining skills and expertise in business and management are surefire ways to help yourself work up the ladder. It’s even better when you can work on these things for free with the help of open courses, so don’t miss out.

  15. Demonstrate what you’ve learned.

    One way to show your boss or a potential employer the value of open courses is to demonstrate what you’ve learned. Show off your new skills and don’t be afraid to share where you learned them.

  16. Be choosy.

    There are thousands of free courses out there to choose from, so you can afford to be choosy when selecting one (or more) to take. Evaluate the materials, the school that’s offering the course, and what it can teach you before diving in to ensure you get the best educational experience possible.

  17. Choose hot topics.

    Certain skills and knowledge sets are hot with employers right now, and luckily, there are more than a few open courses that tackle these subjects. Taking free courses in app programming, Spanish, social networking, green design, and educational technology can help give a wide range of careers a boost.

  18. Take your time.

    While you don’t want to be lazy when taking an open course, there’s also no reason to rush. The learn-at-your-own-pace model gives you plenty of time to go back and review lectures if you’re feeling lost or need to review key concepts before moving forward.

  19. Create notes you can use on the job.

    If you’re taking courses that apply directly to your current career, then it’s a smart idea to create some notes and resource guides for yourself during your coursework that can be used at work as references as you’re applying new skills. If they work well for you, share them with coworkers to give everyone in the office a boost.

  20. Find a real-world mentor.

    Taking online courses, whether you pay for them or enjoy open courseware, can be a bit of a solitary endeavor. It can be a big help to find someone you can talk to in person who can act as a mentor, guiding you through your lessons, answering questions, and helping you see new ways to apply your skills. Look for mentors through your work, professional associations, or even your alumni network.

  21. Contact the professor who created the materials.

    While you can’t reach out to the professor who created the course materials every time you have a question or concern (online courses aren’t supported in that way), it wouldn’t be out of line to email a professor if you’d like some ideas on how to learn more or would like to share some feedback on the course. These kinds of interactions can be beneficial to you and the professor and can really enrich the open courseware experience.

  22. Understand the pros and cons of free courses.

    When taking advantage of open courseware, it’s important to be honest with yourself about the pros and cons they entail. On one hand, they’re a great way to learn new things without shelling out big bucks. On the other, they won’t give you a degree or certification that other programs will, and for those who need a lot of guidance, they may not be a good match. Once you acknowledge those things, you can adjust your expectations for the course and what you’ll get from it.

  23. Seek out other lectures and resources.

    You can supplement your open courses with other online materials, including talks and online textbooks. Don’t be afraid to seek out additional material if you find something interesting or just need a little extra help.

  24. Find a source of motivation.

    Since you’ll be working on your own without a professor checking in on you or a bad grade looming over you, it can be hard to get motivated to push yourself in open courses. You simply have to find a source of motivation for yourself, whether that’s as simple as learning a new skill or something much bigger like pushing forward your career.

  25. Research the skills you need to get ahead in your field.

    Not sure which open course is right for you? Do a bit of research about trends in your fields, skills that are in demand, and what it takes to get ahead. Once you know where you want to go, you can choose online courses that support that goal.

  26. Take advantage of computer courses.

    There are few fields out there today where knowing about computers, from how to make a spreadsheet to building a website, isn’t a huge asset. If you’re not sure what to take, start with online computer courses and work from there.

  27. Share your experience with others.

    Skills you learn in an online course can make you a resource to others who work in your field, especially those who may be interested in learning the same skills. You can share what you’ve learned, help them find courses to take, and even act as a mentor for coworkers who are taking their own open courseware journeys. If that doesn’t make you look good to your boss, nothing will.

  28. Cater to your learning needs.

    We all have different likes and dislikes when it comes to learning that make things more interesting, boring, easy, or hard for us. Use your own learning preferences to make smart choices about what open courses you take. For instance, if you dislike reading-focused courses, offerings that are centered around lectures, media, and hands on activities might be best.

  29. Survey a class before beginning.

    Online courses may be free, but that doesn’t mean they don’t require a fairly serious investment. Your time is a valuable thing so to ensure that you’re not wasting it, review course materials before starting a class to make sure that the course is the appropriate level and covers material you’ll actually find interesting and useful.

  30. Log your progress.

    It’s easy to start feeling overwhelmed and frustrated by course material that’s challenging. Logging your progress can help to motivate and keep you on track, so keep a journal of your experiences as you go.

  31. Go through all of the course content.

    Think you can just skim over course content and rush through an open course? Not if you want to actually learn something. Open courses won’t offer much of anything if you don’t put in the effort to do readings, listen to lectures, and go through all, yes ALL, of the course content.

  32. Do your research.

    Not all free online education programs are created equal. Some are of higher quality and offer better educational experiences and resources than others. Before choosing what to focus your energies on, do a bit of research on which online experiences would offer you the best results.

  33. Identify a skill that will help you to stand out.

    In a sea of applicants, what will make you stand out? Sometimes, something as simple as speaking another language or knowing how to design a website can make you stand out from other potential candidates. Even better, open courses can help you to develop these skills if you choose them wisely.

  34. Emphasize the potential benefit versus the investment.

    Trying to sell the value of your open courseware education to your boss, coworkers, potential employer, or even yourself? The math is pretty simple, actually. Provided you’re learning something useful from the courses, open courseware is an amazing opportunity to quite literally get something for nothing.

  35. Use learning to enrich your own ideas.

    Have an amazing idea for a business? Developing a product that could revolutionize green energy? Open courses can help you to fill in the gaps in your knowledge of just how to do these things, from helping you to understand chemistry to showing you how to build a better business plan.

  36. Embrace anonymity.

    It’s not always bad to be anonymous. Anonymity in an open course can give you the confidence to take risks, ask questions, and review material in ways that you might not do in a traditional course. Since there’s no way to fail, there’s no real wrong way to learn, grow, or explore within the course. That’s incredibly empowering and can help you get a lot out of open courses.

  37. Spend time studying.

    Yes, you actually have to study, even if you’re not getting a grade. If the goal of taking an open course is to learn something new, then you do have to review materials, do readings, and even work on problem sets to make that happen.

  38. Make online learning daily habit.

    One of the easiest ways to ensure that you get the most out of an online courseware experience is to simply make online learning a part of your daily routine. Eventually, taking time out to study, listen to lectures, and do homework will feel like second nature to you.

  39. Refresh your degree.

    Just because you have a degree in a field doesn’t make you an expert in it for life. You have to keep updating your knowledge and learning about new trends, ideas, and opportunities, no matter what your profession. Open courses are pretty much a perfect way to do this, giving you a refresher in what you know and helping you stay abreast of the newest ideas in your field at the same time.

  40. Use online resources.

    There are a lot of online resources out there that can help support you as you take your open courses. They can chart your progress, help you store resources for reading, and even give you answers to questions when you have them. Make use of these supporting tools and you’re likely to stick with your open ed experience and to get more out of it.

  41. Be confident.

    Ultimately, the success of your online openware experience will depend on how confident you are in the open courseware model. If you don’t think you’ll learn much, you probably won’t. If you push yourself, acknowledge the limitations of the method, and use resources at your disposal, there’s no reason you can’t learn as much as you would through any other method.

Posted by Staff Writers | in Resources, Technology | No Comments »

How Today’s Tablets Stack Up For Students

Oct. 16th 2012

Tablet PCs are not for everyone. Most people are perfectly capable of making it through the day checking email, reading, and watching videos on their smartphone until they can make it home to their laptop. That being said, tablets were sent from on high for student life. They’re cheaper and easier to transport than laptops, yet they’re more substantial and full-featured than smartphones. Schools and colleges all over the country have taken note of tablets’ potential for enhancing the educational experience and many have begun to provide them for students. If your school has stiffed you but you still want a tablet, here’s a snapshot of what the market looks like right now for academic users.

Price

High school and younger students may have a bit more (of their parents’) money to work with when it comes to buying a tablet, but we’re assuming price is the top consideration for you cash-strapped college kids. Tablets have been known to sell for as little as $99, but as the saying goes, you get what you pay for. If you’re serious about getting a tablet, shell out a little more and invest in something decent.

At $159, the original Kindle Fire would be the bottom-dollar tablet for the “decent” category, although there are other Fires at price points up to $499. The $199 Nexus 7 by Google is another solid, inexpensive option, even at $249 for 16GB. The iPad 3s are a hit with reviewers but at a starting price of $499 (and a max of $829, depending on the amount of storage and cellular capability), they represent the high end of the market that may be out of reach for many students.

Bottom line: $600, including tax and extras, should be more than enough to bring home a tablet fit for a student.

Construction

Even though you’ll promise your parents you’ll take good care of your nice new tablet, we know students are tough on their stuff. A case is an absolute must, but some tablets are tougher than others. The industry standard for tough, scratch-resistant screens is Gorilla Glass, which is found on Kindle Fires, Acer Iconias, Samsung Galaxy Tabs, Asus Eee Pad Transformers, and a few others. The Fire is widely recognized for durability, although like all Gorilla Glass products, glare in the outdoors is an issue, so college students who want to use their tablet in the fresh air should take that into account.

As for weight, most tablets come in around 1.5 pounds, meaning students won’t even remember they’ve got one in their backpack. The inexpensive Nexus 7 has scored high marks for its overall build. At just .41 inches thick, 4.7 inches wide, and 12 ounces it’s small enough to slip into the back of your Levi’s. Of course, a small body means a small screen. On the other end of the size spectrum would be a tablet like the Asus Transformer Pad Infinity TF700, whose plush 10.1-inch screen adds to its 1.31 pound weight. Throw in the optional peripheral keyboard and the weight is still under 3 pounds.

Performance and Productivity

When it comes to operating systems, your main choices are Apple’s iOS, Google’s Android, and Windows. The iPad is your only option for the iOS, which excels on the strength of its famous app market, over-the-air updates, and connections with other Apple products via features like Apple TV and AirPrint. The big negative: no Flash support (although many developers are adjusting). Google Play, the Android app market, comes installed on a host of Android tablets and though it may get less coverage than iTunes, it has half a million apps and a better feedback system for reading other users’ reviews easily. The strengths of its OS are multitasking, customizability, and no-fuss third-party app compatibility. The Windows app store is currently a clear third, but the Windows 8 store with “Metro-style” apps could level the tablet playing field. You know what you’re getting with a Windows device: it may be lacking cutting-edge creative tools but is definitely a workhorse when it comes to office/classroom tools.

Seeing as this is for school, you don’t need a tablet that enables Playstation emulation or perfect video playback. Probably 75% of your school activity on a tablet will be reading, whether its textbooks, magazines, or Web articles, so there’s no need to pay just for extraordinary video quality. The Nexus 7 is roundly cited as the best value if reading is your main concern. At the under-$400 price range, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 and the Asus TF300 both have nice 10.1-inch displays and fast processors to pull up your files quickly.

Hardware

What you want under the hood will be dependent on how you’re going to use the tablet. If you’re a film student who is going to store film footage on it, you’ll need more storage, but some saved textbooks and projects don’t take up much hard drive space. Most tablets come in 16 or 32GB iterations, with the 32 costing $50 or $100 more. We touched on processor speeds, but anything that gets you 1Ghz to 1.6Ghz is fine. Do you really need your textbook to load that fast?

As you know if you’ve ever bought a laptop, battery life can be one of the most maddening parts of computer owner’s experience. Your tablet should be able to give you over eight hours of life; the Galaxy Tab 7.7, the iPad 2, the Nexus 7, and the Kindle Fire are all tablets that can pull off at least 10 hours.

If you’re going to be doing a lot of typing, tablets with optional keyboard docks like the Galaxy Tab or the Asus Eee make things a lot easier. With their USB ports, Windows tablets enable connecting with virtually any portable keyboard or mouse, but iPads require proprietary Apple peripherals. Of course, a good voice dictation app is always an option, as well.

Additional Features and Add-ons

It’s safe to assume that on an average day, you won’t have any academic use for built-in cameras, GPS, or Bluetooth. However, some extras come in handy and can be nice to have. An HDMI port, for example, enables connecting your tablet to a second monitor or screen for giving a presentation or just easier viewing. The Acer Iconia A100 has been out over a year (gasp!) but at $189 is a steal of a HDMI-equipped tablet. We haven’t mentioned Windows tablets yet, but all of them have at least one USB port and the forthcoming Windows 8 tablets will offer perks like microSD slots, Ethernet ports, swappable batteries, and Office Home & Student 2013.

Posted by Staff Writers | in Technology | No Comments »

The Health Hazards of Tablet Use

Oct. 10th 2012

 

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