Archive | Education Options

3 Tips for Researching Degrees like Cybersecurity

By J. Thompson
Contributor, Online Learning Tips

CybersecurityAccording to a Cybersecurity Awareness webinar sponsored by U.S. Department of Defense’s Center for Development of Security Excellence, “Each year, network intrusions aimed at our government and defense industries increase and become more sophisticated.” The magnitude of the threat is growing so fast that, “The global information grid—or ‘gig’—is probed millions of time a day.” From phishing expeditions conducted by criminals attempting to access our personal data to the recent enterprise cyber-attack that nabbed more than a billion usernames and passwords—our global economic systems and the stability of our daily lives are directly affected by the resiliency of our data systems and professionals setting the strategy. Naturally, cybersecurity is trending, but here are three tips to consider whether you’re studying a cybersecurity program now or considering an advanced degree in the field.

1. Ask yourself: Is it a growth discipline?

There’s no better emotional tail wind in your sails to get you through your studies than knowing you’ve made a sound choice by enrolling in a discipline that prepares you for a growth industry. For example, the U.S. Department of Labor projects 37 percent growth for information security analyst jobs by 2022 (Occupational Outlook Handbook: Job Outlook for Information Security Analysts, 2012–22). A degree never guarantees employment, but focusing your studies on specific industry skillsets can help your resume stand out in a competitive field.

2. Ask yourself: Does it relate to my current career?

It’s interesting to note that although cybersecurity is often IT-related—technology isn’t the only method for assuring security. More attention is placed on the management of technology rather than just on technical aptitude. That means policymakers, strategic planners, business leaders, learning and development trainers, law enforcement officials, and many others in a variety of industries require additional management skills as we increase our reliance on information systems. This includes health care, retail, education, business and many other sectors. So although you may not be an IT guru—cybersecurity entails multidisciplinary roles.

3. Ask yourself: Is cybersecurity training or education available?

Cyber threats and deterrent strategies to combat them are ever-evolving. In order to safeguard high-value systems—it requires forward-thinkers that can adapt quickly to changes in the industry. Some institutions of higher education are meeting the demand by offering programs specifically designed for cybersecurity professionals. A great way to give yourself a mental boost as you work through your studies is to pick a curriculum (including your electives) that ties specifically to your job duties. There’s nothing more academically invigorating than researching and tackling real-world problems, which you can later take and apply your research to your actual job.

Posted in Advance Your Career, Business, Education Options, Online Learning

College as a Long-Term Investment

college-investmentOne of the pitfalls that some college students face is that they start to treat their refund check as a second (or only) source of income. It is extremely important to be financially literate and understand that the misuse of a refund check can put you in a dangerous situation. To combat the tempting impulse of spending your refund check on non-college related items, think of your refund checks as a means to a greater end. The ultimate prize is not a check every semester; rather, it is a degree from the university you are attending. Continue Reading

Posted in Education Options, Email Newsletter, Financial Aid Tips, Online Learning

Overcoming the Shock of Being a New College Student

shock-online-student-survivalNew students often arrive with the idea that earning a bachelor’s degree will be relatively easy because they have already earned a high school diploma. Some new students view earning a college degree to be much the same as their high school experience. However, once in a college program, the student realizes the commitment needed for an online course and the student goes through a series of shocks about undergraduate education. The first shock is about how much work must be done; the second shock is about the quality required of the work.

The first shock is about the amount of work required. College work is more than just attendance. Professors are going to expect work on time, week after week for four long years. After the initial shock, of the quantity of reading and work, they realize that college needs to be a priority in their life.  A standard week for an online university student would be to read multiple articles or chapters in the book, respond to one discussion question, complete one assignment, and to make two to four substantial participation posts in the forums.

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Posted in Education Options, Online Learning

Making Connections in an Online Classroom

connecting-online-studentsBy Michelle Watts
Faculty Director at American Military University

The experience that you have as an online student depends on your own learning style and preferences. You can choose to limit your interactions with other students or you can become very connected to both classmates and the instructor. While neither approach is wrong, as an online instructor I have found that students who choose to interact have a richer education experience. Think contact, interaction and collaboration.

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Posted in Education Options, Online Learning

Tips for Writing a Scholarship Essay

scholarship-essay-tipsA scholarship is an excellent type of financial aid to apply for because the large majority of scholarships do not need to be paid back. Because of this, scholarships are not easy to acquire. There are many scholarships that are merit-based, meaning that your performance in the classroom or in the community plays a major part in who receives them. Some scholarships require the applicant to just fill out the application, but many scholarships require the applicant to write an essay about why they would be the best candidate to receive the scholarship. It can be an intimidating step that turns many applicants away, so even if you do not feel like writing an essay, it is always a good idea to try.

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Posted in Education Options, Email Newsletter, Financial Aid Tips

Monetizing MOOCs – When Is it Right to Switch to Self-Serving Classes?

MOOC-monetizingBy Dr. Patricia Campbell
Dean, Graduate Studies at American Public University

Over the past few years, there has been a great deal of discussion around whether MOOCs can become sustainable or even profitable. This post doesn’t set out to answer that specific question, but rather it explores why someone might want to pay for a MOOC. What can a student expect of a MOOC and is it really worth the time and/or money?

For starters, we know there are many free MOOCs out there. They constitute a risk free environment where people can explore a plethora of topics. One thing we know about MOOCs is that they tend to have very high dropout rates. This is probably to be expected. Someone can sign up for a MOOC with the best intention of completing it—especially if the topic is compelling. However with no monetary “skin in the game,” there is very little downside of not completing the course.

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Posted in Education Options, Online Learning, Scholar's Desk

Entrepreneurs in School? Why It's More Than a Business Degree

entre-degree-optionsBy Dr. Cassandra Shaw
Program Director, Entrepreneurship, at American Public University

According to the Department of Labor, “Entrepreneurship plays a vital role in the growth of the U.S. economy”. However, in order to do this the venture must succeed. Without proper planning and education many businesses fail within the first few years. The age at which companies begin to fail is about 4 years. Do you want to survive past that mark?

If you want to be an entrepreneur, rather than simply work in business then choosing a degree in entrepreneurship is the road to take. There are various types of entrepreneurship to consider, such as social, non-profit, international, small business, intrapreneur, vetrepreneur, inventrepreneur, serial, flexible, solopreneur, and techpreneur. The entrepreneurial world is wide- open and now is a great time to get started with your specialized degree.

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Posted in Education Options, Email Newsletter, Scholar's Desk

The Value (and Fun) of General Education Requirements

gen-ed-online-requirementsBy Angela Matthews
COLL100 Faculty at American Public University

As an undergraduate student, I virtually ignored the university’s general education requirements and just signed up for classes that sounded fun. My options were wide open since I hadn’t declared a major, and I wanted to make the most of the freedom. My general education could become whatever I felt like making it.

The elective options in my pre-college days had been remarkably limited by the size and budget of the small town school system I grew up in. My graduating class included only 30 students. Other students in bigger school systems had a much wider variety of electives; we didn’t even have an orchestra or theatre. There was no choir, no student newspaper, and no art beyond grade school.

Once I got to college, I felt like I needed to make up for lost time, so my freshmen and sophomore years included all of those subjects I had wanted to learn when I was young but didn’t. As soon as new course schedules were posted each semester, I would scroll through the entire list and pick out everything that sounded good.

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Posted in Education Options, Online Learning