Tag Archive | "education"

The Foster Experience: Education and Fatherhood

Foster_parenting_AMUeducationBy Jeffrey Webb
Online Learning Tips, Student Contributor

May is National Foster Care Month. This can be a great time for many to take a look at how online education can benefit degree seekers who are also working on becoming foster or adoptive parents. Here’s my story.

When I became a foster dad I was still working on my bachelor’s and finding life to be quite busy. When fatherhood found me, I was holding down a full-time job, training with the Texas State Guard, and pursuing my educational goals. Adding on to all of this, my wife Mary and I were also in training to become foster parents. In the state of Texas, as in many other states, there are quite a few hoops one has to jump through in order to get a foster care license.

The state mandates a certain number of training hours per year, which must be maintained on a rolling basis. Some courses must individually be current, such as first aid/CPR, psychotropic drug awareness, and sexual behavior awareness. Mary and I spent a lot of time in these classes. Then there was the fire inspection, and health inspection- both of which held our home to the standard of a daycare. We had to have a fire plan. There was childproofing on every power outlet, drawer and cabinet. A locked safebox for the fridge in case any foster children needed refrigerated medications. The list went on and on.

During this time, I knew it was going to be important for me to keep moving my education forward, so that I could better provide for the children with which we would be entrusted. I cannot articulate enough how important the resources of my own time management skills plus American Military University’s online course programs were. An online student has a certain amount of responsibility that must be maintained- but at the same time, not once since I became a father has an AMU professor failed to work with me if I had issues related to children, illness in the family, State Guard annual training or personal issues. If I had been taking brick and mortar classes, I would probably have even less hair than the meager stubble that stands between me and being Captain Picard for Halloween. And that reminds me- the adventure was quite interesting, and it taxed my wife, me and our sanity to the edge. All through it my school was flexible and understanding. Allow me to illustrate those times.

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The Whole University in Your Hands

APUS Mobile is Now Available

Whether you’re an American Military University or American Public University student, online learning just got more flexible with APUS Mobile—the newly released app that’s taking on-the-go learning to greater heights. As an innovator of online education, American Public University System’s app lets you seamlessly access your classroom using your iOS (Apple) or Android mobile phone or tablet. Imagine connecting with instructors and peers as you participate in chatroom conversations, view assignments, check grades and more—no matter where you live, work and learn.

“I can sum the app up in one sentence, you have your classroom and schoolwork in the palm of your hand,” said learner Amy Rager. Fellow student Matt Jordan agrees, “The app adds a level of freedom to online education—now you take your class with you everywhere.”

Get it on Google Play

Download & Use the APUS Mobile App Today

It’s available via your iOS mobile device on Apple’s App Store and Google Play for Android devices–and it’s provided at no cost. It’s easy to find by entering “apusmobile” (no spaces) in the search field of each store. Currently, the app is only available on iOS and Android devices. However, there may be future app versions for Blackberry and Winedows mobile devices.

Once you download the app, simply enter your student ID# and password during set up. Your information and student credentials are always secure—APUS encrypts all your personal details. Just remember, to access the online classroom and realize the app’s full capabilities, you must be an actively enrolled student. If you’re not enrolled, maybe it’s time to sign up for your next class so you can experience the benefits of on-the-go learning for yourself.

New Features

You can read announcements, respond to forums posts, view the syllabus, read lesson content, and check grades and assignment directions. The app also includes a consolidated message inbox. However, you will not be able to submit assignments or take quizzes or tests. Set your preferences (globally or by course tool) to receive mobile email notifications for your most important items like Messages, Announcements, Gradebook, and Forums. Subscribe to key topics in Forums and you’ll be notified automatically when there’s a new post.

Never Miss a Beat with Offline Mode

Thanks to our offline mode, you do not need a cellular signal or Wi-Fi connection to use the app. In fact, you can use the app anytime, anywhere and everything you do on your mobile device will be synchronized to your classroom once you are reconnected to the Internet.

For example, if you’re mobile device is in ‘airplane mode’ and you complete a classroom forum post at 9.00 p.m., if you leave ‘airplane mode’ hours later, your forum post will be synched-up to your online classroom and time-stamped with ‘9.00 p.m.’ This is helpful for classes with timed deadlines.

And, if you are in the middle of writing a forum post in a class on your mobile device and you lose connectivity, your work is always saved automatically. You can perform classwork on-the-go, and if you lose connectivity, your posts are saved and time-stamped. When you regain connectivity, the app auto-synchronizes and posts your content to the course, and also shows what was posted by your classmates or professor while you were offline.

What’s Next?

With the popularity of the initial rollout, APUS is already exploring new enhancements for future iterations that may include:

  • An enhancement of the app’s user interface for writing and replying to forum posts.
  • Support for enhanced message features including “reply to all,” “read all” and attachment support.
  • The ability to send messages directly from the roster page.
  • A version of the app for use on Amazon Fire tablets.
  • Access to your academic plan and ledger balance.

Look out for these and other feature advancements in the coming months.

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Lessons from Greek Tragedy: Baltimore, New York, and the Middle East

lessons-learned-from-greek-tragedyBy Mark Kelley, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Humanities, American Public University

My research the past few years has involved an analysis of literary texts in an attempt to explain the persistent struggle between forces of civilization—governance, community, familial and human bonds generally—and opposition to civilization—the discontented forces of violence, militarism, and mass destruction. We need only watch the news to observe this lethal clash in real-time on a global scale, from U.S. cities such as Baltimore and New York to the Middle East.

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What is a Successful Student Loan Borrower?

tips-for-successIt is easy to say that a successful student loan borrower is someone who uses their loans for educational purposes and then pays them back in full in due time. There is so much more that goes into that equation. A successful student loan borrower has numerous good habits that help them not only pay their loans back on time, but they also carry sound judgements through to other parts of their life. Below are some of the healthy habits that successful loan borrowers have in common.

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The Value of Peer-Reviewed Sources

presidential-scholarBy Judith A. Jablonski, PhD, MSLIS, MA
Senior Online Librarian at American Public University

College-level writing involves learning to do college-level research. Open web sources like Wikipedia, Ask.com, and Answers.com are not appropriate for college-level research.” [1]

The above is text from an APUS ENGL101 syllabus. You may be wondering, “Why isn’t it ok to use Wikipedia, Ask.com, and the like? And just what is meant by college- level writing and research?”

In What Is “College-Level” Writing? (2006) co-editor Patrick Sullivan of Manchester Community College listed the following characteristics of college-level writing.

  • A willingness to evaluate ideas and issues carefully.
  • Some skill at analysis and higher-level thinking.
  • The ability to shape and organize material effectively.
  • The ability to integrate some of the material from the read­ing skillfully.
  • The ability to follow the standard rules of grammar, punc­tuation, and spelling. [2]

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Loan Debt Scams: What You Should Know

debt-scamsIf you have completed your college education, there is a very good chance that you have at least some amount of student loan debt. Many students unfortunately have a large amount of loan debt, with some students incurring more than $100,000 throughout their college career. Having a large amount of student loan debt can make any student uncomfortable, and there are people out there that are trying to take advantage of this by ensnaring desperate college students in loan debt scams. If you have student loan debt, make sure you fully understand any “relief” that is offered to you.

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Should I Change My Program?

advising-changing-programBy Anna Sommer
Team Manager, Academic Advising at American Public University

For many people working towards a college degree centers around selecting the right degree program, taking the right courses, and learning the right skills or knowledge that will help you get the right job. The need to get it all right creates a lot of pressure and can lead you to second guessing your degree choice or send you into a cycle of changing your degree multiple times. If you are thinking about changing your program, here are two things to consider:

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Endangered Species Day 2015: How Our Online Students Can Get Involved

Southern White Rhinoceros pictured.

Southern White Rhinoceros pictured.

By Dr. Francesca Catalano
Faculty Director, School of STEM at American Public University

Recently, a post went viral on Facebook announcing that the black rhino was declared extinct. The black rhino has actually been extinct since 2011; it’s the white rhino that is at grave risk. Sadly, the last known white rhino male is under armed guard 24 hours a day to protect it from poachers looking to earn up to $75,000 for his horn.

Currently, 41,415 plant and animal species are designated endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (Endangered Earth). Of those, almost 40% of are listed as “endangered threatened with extinction.” (IBID). According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 1,578 of these are found in the United States. This is a worldwide problem that requires worldwide action and response.

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