Archive | Education Options

Lifelong Learning: In Marketing It’s A Must!

BLOG_LIFELONG_LEARNING.jpg-e1443659009795By Joyce Turner-Gionet

“On the Journey of Learning.”

I saw this tagline (above) on a big yellow school bus passing me on the highway through Toronto. It’s a beautiful line.

Learning is a journey. If we’re open to it and up for the adventure, it can be a tremendously satisfying lifelong learning journey, with plenty of personal benefits, besides the knowledge we gain.

…when’s the last time you went out of your way to learn something?

The kids have been back in school almost a month now, but what about the rest of us? Are we still on the journey of lifelong learning or did we hop off the bus somewhere en route? When’s the last time you learned something new? More precisely, when’s the last time you went out of your way to learn something?

I’m not talking strictly about job-related learning here, although that’s a wise pursuit that can pay off in spades. I’m also talking about lifelong learning for the sheer joy of it.

Some of us embrace learning? For others, it’s a chore! As kids, we naturally love to learn. Think of the number of times you’ve heard a child ask the question: “Why?” Why are there no more dinosaurs? How big is the tooth fairy, why can’t I see her and what does she do with all the teeth? Why are the neighbours’ kids allowed to stay up later than me? Why? Why? Why? Somewhere along the way, many of us lose this ravenous curiosity. Obviously, it’s not because we know everything. Mostly it’s because we get busy. Other, equally important things take up our time: our families, our friends, our jobs, our outside commitments, keeping up with the demands of the day-to-day, our health, even our worries. In our quiet times, learning something new is not often high on the priority list.

Many creative types embrace lifelong learning; it’s part of their nature…

If you’re from a family of learners, it helps. If, as a child, your curiosity was encouraged and your questions respected and answered, it sets you up to be eternally curious and lifelong learning follows naturally. Many creative types embrace lifelong learning; it’s part of their nature — they’re open to new experiences, they think outside of the box, they ask questions, they’re naturally curious.

If you work in the marketing field, you will fully appreciate just how critical it is for you to be open to lifelong learning. Take a year, 6 months or even a few weeks off and something changes, updates, evolves or a completely new social media platform arrives on the scene! Blink and you miss it! Look at the rapid evolution that has taken place in digital marketing alone. Once upon a time, in the olden days (ooh, maybe 5 years ago) digital marketing and social medi were considered specialist areas. Now ‘digital’ is a key element in any marketing and communications strategy. It’s our professional responsibility to keep ourselves up to date and relevant as much as we can in order to provide informed, educated guidance to our clients.

We’re never too old to learn and it’s never too late.

My father never touched a computer, but he read the paper, front to back, daily, until just before he died at 89. A world traveller as a young man, he continued to scour the atlas, look up facts in his beloved Pears’ Cyclopaedia and was always up for the challenge of a cryptic crossword. A few years ago, a good friend of mine was in the late stages of cancer. She too was a seasoned traveller and the most committed and eclectic lifelong learner I’ve ever met. She researched constantly for pleasure, taught herself a number of languages and like my dad, could hold an intelligent, thoughtful conversation on a great many subjects. She called me late one night from the palliative care ward in Sunnybrook Hospital: “I feel out of touch with the world. I need to research. Can you bring me a laptop.” That conversation has stayed with me; it remains inspirational. We’re never too old to learn and it’s never too late.

It’s not important what we learn. It’s not important how we learn because we all learn differently.

What’s important is that we continue to learn. It helps to surround yourself with people who like to learn. Lifelong learning is intensely, personally satisfying. It increases our confidence. It makes us more interesting as people; we become better conversationalists. It keeps us in touch with what’s going on in the world. It helps sharpen our thought process. Studies reveal that learning can keep us healthier; it can elevate our mood and make us happier and help stave off illness, particularly age-related illness like Alzheimer’s.

The greatest thinkers, people whose ideas change the world, embrace lifelong learning.

A little ‘lifelong learning’ inspiration:

“In times of change learners inherit the earth; while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.”
Eric Hoffer (American moral and social philosopher)

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.
Mahatma Gandhi (Leader of the Indian Independence movement)

“The best way of learning about anything is by doing.”
– Richard Branson (Humanitarian and founder of the Virgin Group. Interesting fact: Battled with dyslexia, a reading disability.)

“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.”
– Benjamin Franklin (A founding father of The United States of America; helped draft the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States.)

This one is a particularly interesting comment on learning: “It is what we know already that often prevents us from learning.”
– Claude Bernard (French physiologist, responsible for the concept of homeostasis.)

It’s the start of a new school year for the kids. What about the rest of us? What are we going to learn this year? I’m a foodie. On a personal level, I’ve promised myself I’ll learn more about herbs and spices and which ones work best with which foods!

Tell me what you’re learning. #SharedWisdom

This article was written by Joyce Turner-Gionet from Business2Community and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Posted in Education Options, Email Newsletter, Online Learning

Enriching the Online Learning Experience with ClearPath

clearpath-apu-amu-studentsBy Elizabeth Jones
Director, Academic Advising at American Public University

ClearPath is a student interface with interactive learning resources and communication tools designed to enrich student learning, connections, and aid in the achievement of academic and career goals. Over the past 18 months, various teams at the university have worked with the creator of the product, Fidelis Education, Inc., to build out tools and resources that will help our students and alumni accomplish their academic goals. We are pleased to share that all AMU and APU students and alumni now have access to join and connect through ClearPath!

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Posted in Ask an Advisor, Education Options, Email Newsletter

Thinking Big Picture When Navigating Through Your Degree

degree-ephiphanyBy Anna Sommer
Team Manager, Academic Advising at American Public University

Pursuing a degree involves balancing the ultimate goal, degree completion, with all of the small goals that contribute to it. There are three areas that all students need to keep in mind when trying to manage this balance: time, funding, and resources.

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Posted in Education Options, Email Newsletter, Online Learning

Student Profile: Using History to Educate Soldiers


American Military University Alumna, Kelli Oliver

Interview with AMU Alumna, Kelli Oliver

The following profile is the third in a series of student profiles of our students and alumni at the university.

Job title: Air Traffic Controller, U.S. Army

Degree earned: B.A. in History, 2011. Currently pursuing her M.A. in History at American Military University.

What have you been up to since earning your bachelor’s degree in history at AMU?

Since earning my bachelor’s degree in history, my life has changed exponentially! After much consideration, I decided to enlist in the United States Army in hopes of enriching the knowledge I had gained from completing my degree at AMU. I became an Air Traffic Controller and have loved every minute of it.

What led you to choose a master’s in history? Was it based on passion or a specific career goal?

There were many reasons that I decided to pursue my master’s in history through AMU. First and foremost, I have a passion for history and all that it entails. I believe that one cannot be too educated about the historical past or we may end up repeating some of the same mistakes. Secondly, I chose to obtain this degree because it would aid me on my journey to become a professor of history at the university level. This has always been a dream of mine; therefore, this degree is yet another stepping stone towards success in my future.

Tell us about your role as an air traffic controller for the U.S. Army.

As an air traffic controller in the Army, I have discovered a passion that I never knew existed. I have been trained to control radar and non-radar air traffic, manage aircraft separation, and apply enroute, ground and terminal approaches as well as perform visual, special and instrument flight rules. I have been trained in the air traffic control towers as well as in tactical air traffic control towers where we can be set up and controlling air traffic in under an hour. While it is a stressful job, it is also immensely rewarding.

How did your studies at American Military University prepare you for your success in your career?

While it may not seem that my studies at AMU have helped in my job in the Army, it actually has. I always strive to do my best in each class and have learned that the key to success is time management. I’ve taken that success component with me and turned it into an education opportunity for other Soldiers. I’m able to teach other Soldiers about the history of the 82nd Airborne Division, which I am a part of. Our division has been a part of most wars America has fought and it has proudly served all over the world. The Troopers of the 82nd Airborne Division are required to obtain the knowledge of these battles and their outcomes.

My studies, and my training in the Army have taught me to lead by example. It’s been my goal to show others that working hard and attending school while serving will pay off in the end.

Has education always been a priority? Has your life in the military created any road blocks?

Education has always been a high priority for me. My parents helped me to instill a great work ethic and I have been fortunate enough to have always known what I would like to do with my life. I feel like my drive and determination to be successful has allowed me to get the most out of my education here at AMU. Being active duty Army, it has been quite a bit tougher with graduate level coursework. With that being said, I have continuously reminded myself that I am blessed to have a university who understands the long hours, constant field and training missions, and deployments. My professors at AMU enable me to complete my coursework to the best of my ability while also performing my military duties.

What are your career goals and how do you intend to apply your knowledge of history?

Each history student has different aspirations with their history degree. For me, I intend to apply the knowledge I have gained through my two degrees and to impart that wisdom to other students of history in the future. My ultimate goal is to become a professor of history at the university level; preferably in the undergraduate spectrum.

What is one (or two) key pieces of advice you would pass on to someone new to online education?

For anyone considering online education, I would say that above all else, remember time management. Using your time wisely and planning accordingly can be the difference between an “A” and a “C”. Also, I would say to not become too stressed out or overwhelmed by any course load. The professors really work with our schedules as working adults.

What is your favorite thing about online learning?

My favorite thing about online learning, as a working adult, is that I have ample time to complete my assignments and still retain everything I learn. The other thing I really enjoy about online learning is that I still get to interact with other classmates each week. The discussion forums really add to the classes and make bouncing ideas off of each other so easy and helpful.

What do you like to do in your free time?

The thing I enjoy the most in my free time is spending time with my husband and two children. Whether we’re playing a board game, swimming in the pool or having family movie night, we enjoy being together. I also enjoy going to the gym, singing and dancing the night away.

Online education isn’t a one size fits all, but it’s a great opportunity for those looking to increase their knowledge in current areas of expertise, or to look at new avenues for growth. Our student profile series will give a face and personality to our dedicated online learners at the university. Interested in learning more about your online education options? Explore our schools and programs at AMU.

Posted in Education Options, Scholar's Desk

Tips for Low-Income Students to Cut College Costs

financial-aid-low-income-tipsBy Ryan Laspina
Senior Specialist, Red Flags and External Reviews at APUS

Access to a college education should not be based on how much money you have, but the harsh reality is that college can be extremely expensive. This reality can place many low-income students in high debt. While a student who earns a large income (or comes from a wealthy family) may be able to pay for their college costs up front, most students are not so lucky. There are ways for students to cut college costs, and some of the tips below can help students incur less debt throughout their college career.

  1. Spend plenty of time searching for scholarships, and apply for every single one.
    Even if you do not feel you are qualified, there is no harm in applying. Sure, this can be time consuming. But it is absolutely worth it. There are also grants, such as the Pell Grant, that are used specifically for low-income students. Take advantage of every scholarship and grant that you can. There are so many scholarships out there, and most students do not want to put in the time and effort to find them and apply for them.
  2. Research universities to see what will best fit your lifestyle.
    Online universities are an excellent way to pursue a college education while cutting out expenses and fees that come with traditional schools. For example, you will not have to pay for on-campus housing, on-campus food plans, or traveling back to forth to campus (for commuters).
  3. Look beyond tuition cost.
    Sure, the cost of tuition should be a major factor when determining which school you want to attend, but it should not be the be-all-end-all. There are many other factors to look at, such as financial aid availability, graduation rates (higher graduation rates shows that a college is successful in getting its students to graduate), prestige of the university, and cultural offerings.
  4. Cut down on unnecessary personal costs.
    If you want to be successful in college, you are going to have to make some sacrifices. Every penny you save helps, so if you can cut your personal spending by $100 a month, you could save enough to pay for an entire class each year. Spread that out over four years and you could save enough to pay for an entire semester’s worth of classes. As always, budgeting and making financially savvy decisions are the best way to cut down on personal costs.

Just because you are a low-income student does not mean that you cannot be successful in college while also accumulating a small amount of debt. There are many ways that a college student can cut down on their debt, and there are quite a few programs that cater to low-income students. Putting in the effort to find ways to cut costs is most of the battle!

Posted in Education Options, Email Newsletter, Financial Aid Tips

Social Engagement Options for the Online Learner


AMU mascot, Valor (left) and APU mascot, Jake (right).

Vlog with Cindy Aitken
Senior Manager, Community Engagement at American Public University

Balancing your lifelong goals with your work and family responsibilities means exploring every possibility, and online education provides an ideal solution for thousands of working adults worldwide. And while you’re using your computer or mobile device to interact daily in the virtual classroom, the fact is, the online learning model and feeling like you’re part of a tangible community aren’t mutually exclusive. In fact, when you join a quality online university, you become a part of a community of learners that may include your professor down the street to a classmate on the other side of the world.

At APU and AMU, there are a number of programs designed to keep students connected and engaged with their university community. In this vlog, Cindy shares her insights on the community events at the university, the Ambassador Program, university social channels, and she talks about school spirit in the online environment.

Posted in Education Options, Online Learning

How This Hackathon is Inspiring Students to Better Education

hackathon-2015By Matt Hunckler

HackingEDU is inspiring college students to hack their way to a better educational future. The organization’s inaugural Hackathon is coming up on October 23-25th at the San Mateo Event Center in San Francisco and is set to be the largest educational hackathon event in the world, bringing over 1,000 young and ambitious hackers from all over the country together to improve the landscape of higher education, while competing for over $100,000 in prizes.

Their aim: to change the world.

Starting a Movement

The Hackathon is the brainchild of founders Alex Cory, Kirill Satanovsky, and Jackie Chang, who were all part of the Google Summit during the summer of 2014. The summit tasked eleven students from various universities on the west coast to go back to their schools and put on small hacking events there. Cory, Satanovsky, and Chang knew this could be more than just a series of individual, isolated events. They envisioned something bigger, better, and world changing.

They decided to work together with the other ambassadors and put on one large event rather than several small ones, and thus the idea for HackingEDU was born.

Let’s face it, the higher education system in the United States has some flaws. It is slow to adapt to changes that are plainly needed. That’s why Cory, Satanovsky, and Chang banded together to form HackingEDU to organize the Hackathon; they realized they are part of the university system, as all three of them are either students or consult in the higher education environment, and they and others like them have as much right to make a difference as anyone else.

They saw that they and other students are in a unique position to make a direct difference, because they are currently involved in the system. Their motto became, “If not them, then who? If not now, then when?” Now was the time to make a difference as far as they were concerned, which is why the Hackathon was put together so quickly after the Google Summit that inspired it.

What Makes This Hackathon Different from Other, Similar Events Across the Country?

By bringing the brightest minds together from all of the major universities in California and other west coast states and the country, HackingEDU is creating the opportunity for these minds to change higher education for the better through the use of technology. While the Hackathon is geared toward college students and marketed for them, it is actually open for anyone to attend. Any person who has good ideas for how to use technology to improve the higher education system is welcome, which makes it different from other events that are for students only.

Another thing that sets the Hackathon apart is that it is completely free. The founders want passionate people participating, regardless of their financial status. It is unusual for events like these to be free, but HackingEDU’s founders have taken that idea and moved it a step forward, with not only admission being free, but with transportation from schools in California (and flights for a select few from outside the state), and even food being provided to participants at no charge.

The training day that gives participants opportunities to learn new technologies. It also allows participants the opporunity to gain direct experience with the technologies the event sponsors are using. This preparation lets participants be better prepared to demonstrate what they learned at the Hackathon when they present their ideas to leaders in the higher education community.

Hacking into the Future of Higher Education

As far as Cory, Satanovsky, and Chang are concerned, this is just the beginning for the HackingEDU Hackathon. The organization is building a dynamic community of people from all walks of life…students, education professionals and businesses…who are passionate about transforming higher education for the better. These are people who will continue working together into the future to bring their innovative ideas to life and make them a reality for the world of higher education in this country.

If you ask HackingEDU’s founders why growing the Hackathon is so important to them, they aren’t shy about sharing. They know higher education is our nation’s future, and they and a few other enterprising individuals want to make it the best it can be. Hackathon provides the platform for them to transform it in an environment where the best ideas can be incubated and implemented, benefiting generations of university students and instructors.

This article was written by Matt Hunckler from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Posted in Education Options, Email Newsletter

Do We Mistake Inaccessibility for Brilliance?

book-epiphany-literacyBy Zoe Heller
International New York Times

Some writers compose convoluted, hard-to-read sentences because they don’t have the chops to make simpler ones.

At school, we’re taught to approach difficult literature in a spirit of humility. When we encounter a word we don’t understand, or a snaky paragraph that we find hard to follow, we’re urged to hesitate before throwing up our hands and denouncing the language as willfully obscure. We’re told to take it on trust that the author has something interesting to say and that with enough persistence we can make his language surrender its meaning.

By and large, this is useful counsel. Without it, few adolescents would make it through “As I Lay Dying.” And none of us would ever make it through a Jorie Graham poem. Naturally, it doesn’t follow that all challenging, complicated literature will reward our effort. Some writers compose convoluted, hard-to-read sentences because they don’t have the chops to make simpler ones. Some use 10-cent words just to show that they know them. The reader who assumes that abstruse prose is clever prose, or that there is a reliable correlation between opacity and depth, is bound to waste a lot of time on writing that doesn’t deserve it. She is also liable to end up praising works that confound her, for fear of being revealed as a dimwit if she confesses her perplexity. (As a college student I would rather have died than admit how few of the jargon-filled sentences in Fredric Jameson’s “The Political Unconscious” I really understood.)

Still, I don’t see knee-jerk deference to phony cleverness being a very widespread problem in contemporary culture. On the contrary, in these focus-impaired times, we seem a lot less likely to overvalue abstruseness than to prematurely dismiss it as not worth the trouble. (The mission statement of the Baileys fiction prize actually specifies “accessibility” as one of the literary virtues it seeks to champion.) We like to think that we live in an emperor’s- new-clothes world — full of pretentious people lavishing praise on high-toned fakes. But we actually live in a sour-grapes world — full of people scoffing at what they can’t, or can’t be bothered to, reach.

Recently, when I read Christine Schutt’s short story “You Drive” with a graduate writing class, several of the students complained that they found the story baffling. They couldn’t make out the chronology of the events it described; they weren’t always sure which character was speaking; the story, they concluded, “didn’t work.” The fact that they had trouble following Ms. Schutt’s elliptical prose was not in itself a surprise. What did take me aback was their indignation — their certainty that the story’s difficulty was a needless imposition on readerly good will. It was as if any writing that didn’t welcome them in and offer them the literary equivalent of a divan had failed a crucial hospitality test.

My children bring very similar expectations to their reading. They routinely reject books that I recommend on the grounds that they are “too hard to get into,” and when I suggest that they try bearing with dull opening chapters, they smile at me in bemusement. To a 12-year-old girl with a television and a vast array of chatty Y.A. books pandering to lowest-common-denominator tween interests, the idea of bearing with anything much is ludicrously quaint.

Old people like me believe we are at a slight advantage when it comes to readerly perseverance, because we did our formative reading in an age before technology began destroying attention spans. (When I was growing up in 1970s England, there was no Y.A. anything and nothing on the telly but documentaries about sparrows.) But even we are not immune to the restlessness of the Internet era. Which explains why, when I lay down the other night to read “Imperium,” by Ryszard Kapuscinski, I somehow got waylaid and wound up reading my daughter’s copy of John Green’s “Paper Towns” instead.

This article was written by Zoe Heller from International New York Times and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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Posted in Education Options, Email Newsletter


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