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Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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Here over at the OnTheWebEd class room we are preparing for another year of classes, but we wanted to take the time to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. To those enjoying other holidays, please have a Happy Holiday as well.

Just a reminder, this is a good time to reflect on the classes remaining to that next degree, so check your transcripts during the break.

Please post your comments below or send me email using the Contact form.

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We Have Lost Our Minds!

The December 3rd, 2007 issue of Time has a small comment on the recently released Sesame Street DVD’s. The DVD’s are of some of the earlier episodes of the show. Here is the quote from Time.

Stay off the Street

Early episodes of SESAME STREET, recently out on DVD, come with a warning that the story lines may not suit the needs of todays preschool child. Some concerns? Cookie Monster eats too many cookies, and Oscar the Grouch is too grouchy. - People - TIME

This caught my attention, and in my opinion, it is related to eLearning. It is eLearning for Toddlers. Many toddlers get their first exposure to education through television shows like Sesame Street. They learn the basics of number and letter recognition, they learn counting, and they learn some important social interaction skills. Now, there are those, under the guise of Political Correctness, that have chosen to turn their misguided attention to this simple and effective educational media. This is nothing more than another form of censorship. It is misguided. Parents are the ones who must be responsible for raising children. For instilling values and purpose in their childs life. Parents must choose what schools their children attend, what foods they eat, and what shows they watch. Parents must step up an take responsibility for their children. Not committees of individuals that have no accountability.

While Time is simply stating what has happened, I am disheartened that they have not formed an opinion on the issue. Worse, I am saddened by the lack of concern this form of censorship has within our society. This is censorship of the worst kind. It is disguised as awareness to possible issues, but in reality it is the same as a warning label. Most people never read or comprehend the reasoning behind a warning label. They simply accept the label as being from some group They, that knows what They are talking about.

Think of the precedent being set. We are placing a warning label on product because it depicts fictional non-human characters eat excessive amounts of cookies and being too grouchy! Rather than parents telling their children that the behavior is inappropriate, or that Cookie Monster is similar to their uncle, or that Oscar is just like their cousin. They could use this opportunity to demonstrate the diversity of human behavior and discuss how not to behave and why (such as Cookie Monster is fat because of the cookies, and Oscar is lonely because of his grouchiness), they have labeled the show as inappropriate.

Think of this logic applied to other television shows, movies, or literature. Reruns of I Love Lucy and Leave it Beaver must now have a warning label about caricatures of women. All in the Family and The Jefferson must contain warning labels for racism. Casablanca, and just about every movie prior to the 1980s must have warning labels for smoking, drinking, and as you get earlier in the histories of movies, racism and sexism. Then there is literature. Nearly all of Shakespeare must have warnings for murder, rape, treason, deception, and more. The Greek tragedies could be labeled the same as Shakespeare, and perhaps even add the label depressing. After all, we would not want our children to lose hope because they read the story of Odysseus. Finally, there is any of the worlds bibles, religious tales, and traditions. They are permeated with the fallacies of man- (and woman-) kind.

This is the level of insanity to which our society has been reduced. After millions of years, parents no longer raise their children as they believe is best, but rather relinquish that responsibility unaccountable committees that can scare the rest of a society into a like-minded state. We have become lemmings.

Lastly, meet the villains in this sordid tale:

Cookie Monster Oscar The Grouch

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Search Local Libraries From Your Home

WorldCat.org allows you to search for books, music, videos, articles and more in your local libraries. In some cases you can even check out the book. This is yet another valuable tool for research that every student can use. WorldCat is easy to use, and is exceptionally fast.

WorldCat Searching for eLearningHere is an example of how to use it:

WorldCat Search FiltersI typed in elearning into the search box, and clicked Search. WorldCat returned 608 results in less than a tenth of second. I have included a picture of the first few entries, and an image of the options offered to refine your search. WorldCat offered me 5 high level ways to refine my elearning search. They were Author, Content, Format, Language, and Year. Under author WorldCat presented me with Microsoft Corporation, International Monetary Fund, European Commission, Bit Media E-learning Solution, and Lisa Keefe. Under content I was presented with Computer Science, Education, Business & Economics, Engineering & Technology, and Government Documents. Format listed the expected options of Book, Article, Internet Resource, Computer File, and Serials/Magazines/Newspapers. Language and Year were also as expected. In all groups, there was a Show more option. I highlight these options because they reflect the true power of WorldCat. It allows you to start your search from almost any angle, and pivot your way to what you are looking for. This is a research goldmine.

WorldCat eLearning Search ResultsSo now that you have your results, what do you do with it? I selected option 5, entitled Online Treasures - eLearning About Library 2.0. You can see by the results that it is an article by Janet L. Balas written in English and published originally in Computers in libraries, and it is in the ArticleFirst database. Clicking this item brings up a detail page with some more information, like the ISSN and OCLC numbers. Online Treasures - eLearning About Library 2.0More importantly to those doing research, it offers the ability to generate Citations, but clicking this will only bring up a page with entry cited in APA, Chicago, Harvard, MLA and Turabian styles. It does not allow for any modifications to citation. While this is useful, I still highly recommend you read my Zotero - The Next-Generation Research Tool post for a significantly better citation tool. The bottom of the page contains three tabs. The tabs select between Libraries, Details, and Reviews. There were no reviews at this time, and details provided me with links to be the first to add Notes and a Table of Contents for this item. The final tab, Libraries, is really where this tool pays off. It allows me to enter a location - I choose a zip code in Manhattan, NY (10012) - and it will return the libraries around that location with the article. It brought back 1708 libraries, the first being New York University and the last being Australian National University. I chose the closer location of New York University. This brought me to the library information page in a system called BobCat. It presented me with the location and the call number. The second option in BobCat presented me with the same information, plus the link for electronic access through New York Universities Proquest account. The results page also contained all the standard social site links for bookmarking to del.ico.us, digg, facebook, and more.

This tool represents yet another tool for students, or anyone doing any serious research, to quickly find the information they need and the location of that information. It works, and for the most part, works well. I recommend this tool, and believe you will find it a useful addition to your tool chest.

Visit [WorldCat.org] Search for books, music, videos, articles and more in libraries near you and tell us what you think.

Please post your comments below or send me email using the Contact form.

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Can You Write Exactly 100 Words?

Often college students are challenged to write papers that must of a certain length. It may be capped at 2 pages or must be no less than 10. Whichever way the restriction is applied, this is often the source of many complaints. Until recently I would have agreed. Then I discovered the 100 words web site. This site challenges you to write 100 words a day for an entire month. A mere 3000 or so words, divided across 100 days. I was able to do it with this post, only after many revisions. The question is can you do it?

Check out 100 Words, a Social Tasking Website and see if you have the control, and then tell us all about it.

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Zotero - The Next-Generation Research Tool

Zotero - The Next-Generation Research Tool

Those enrolled in online course work know all too well the amount of writing that needs to be done. I have been in many classes that have required a five page paper weekly, in addition to the discussion topics, research papers or term projects, and just imagine doing more than one at a time. It is very time consuming, and most often the two things that require the most time is the research and citations.

Thankfully, this problem has been addressed with Zotero. This fantastic plug-in for Firefox makes research a breeze. Combined with integration for Microsoft Word or Open Office, and this tool is an essential requirement for all students, especially the distance learner.

Here is what they have to say for themselves straight from the Zotero About page.

Zotero is an easy-to-use yet powerful research tool that helps you gather, organize, and analyze sources (citations, full texts, web pages, images, and other objects), and lets you share the results of your research in a variety of ways. An extension to the popular open-source web browser Firefox, Zotero includes the best parts of older reference manager software (like EndNote) the ability to store author, title, and publication fields and to export that information as formatted references and the best parts of modern software and web applications (like iTunes and del.icio.us), such as the ability to interact, tag, and search in advanced ways. Zotero integrates tightly with online resources; it can sense when users are viewing a book, article, or other object on the web, and on many major research and library sites find and automatically save the full reference information for the item in the correct fields. Since it lives in the web browser, it can effortlessly transmit information to, and receive information from, other web services and applications since it runs on ones personal computer, it can also communicate with software running there (such as Microsoft Word). And it can be used offline as well (e.g., on a plane, in an archive without WiFi).

The 1.0 release of Zotero already provides advanced functionality for gathering, organizing, and scanning ones research, as well as significant import/export capabilities (including integration with Word and an API for communication with any program or service on the web). In 2007, Zotero users will gain the ability to share and collaborate on their collections with other users through an exchange server, and receive recommendations and feeds of new resources that might be of interest to them. In short, over the next year Zotero will expand from an already helpful browser extension into a full-fledged tool for digital research and collaboration.

Zotero is a production of the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University. It is generously funded by the United States Institute of Museum and Library Services, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

Zotero in useHere is a screen shot (figure 1) of the Zotero web site being referenced. The bottom of the screen contains the Zotero bar, which is divided up in to a few distinct sections. On the far left top is the area that holds your collections. Mine has the default My Library collection. Each collection contains the references and all of the related information. You can even export your library into a number of formats (figure 2). You can add more collections if you want.

Just below the collections on the far left bottom is the tags display. This allows you to filter the libraries entries by any of the displayed tags.

The center display is the library view that contains all of your entries, filtered - of course. The list offers a few contextual menus items, such as Delete, and Export, but Create Bibliography item is the one the tool was built for. Here are a few examples:

First, here it is in Chicago Manual of Style (Note with Bibliography):

Zotero. Zotero - The Next-Generation Research Tool. http://www.zotero.org/ (accessed October 27, 2007).

Now we need it in Modern Language Association style:

Zotero - The Next-Generation Research Tool. Zotero. 27 October 2007 <http://www.zotero.org/>.

Perhaps we need it in IEEE style:

[1] Zotero - The Next-Generation Research Tool, Zotero,

They support even more styles, such as American Psychological Association and American Sociological Association. They can export to RTF, HTML, Clipboard, and right to the printer. This is only the beginning. Zotero also lets you attach notes, links, and screen shots of the web site to your library entries. This is all with the basic drag and drop support for web sites. Zotero also supports many other research entries (figure 3). In short, if you need to refer to it, Zotero will help you do it.

Now we finally come to the right side of the Zotero bar. This panel contains a series of tabs contextually linked to the selected entry in the library panel. The tabs are Info, Notes, Attachments, Tags, and Related. The Info tab is the one you will probably need the most as it contains all the bibliography information, and you will need to fill in what Zotero could not fill in for you, such as authors, and abstract.

That describes the main Zotero interface, but it does not do justice the abilities of this tool. The Word integration is smooth, and worked flawlessly for me with Word 2007. The toolbar buttons from left to right are Insert Citation, Edit Citation, Insert Bibliography, Edit Bibliography, Refresh, and Set Document Preferences. As with the Firefox plug-in, this worked flawlessly. I was not able to test this on Open Office, but I would expect it to be at the same level of quality as the Firefox plug-in and Word Add-In.

Lastly, I want to mention the price - NOTHING! This fantastic tool is free. I cannot express enough how useful this tool is for the online student. I strongly suggest it, and given the price, it is truly an unbeatable addition to every student suite of tools.

Please sure your experiences with Zotero, and I would appreciate any feedback on the Open Office integration.

Please post your comments below or send me email using the Contact form.

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College Navigator - The Easy Way To Find Your School

How many books and web sites have you poured through to try an find that short list of schools? If you are like most students, you have picked two of three of the 1000 page college guides, plus a handful of the specialized college guide books. Then you went online and spent countless hours searching the college web sites, the online guides, and any blog or forum you could find. If you were lucky, you might have even known a few people attending the schools in question and fired off a few emails. All this to just create your short list.

Thankfully, the U.S. Government has made a tool entitled College Navigator that is very useful for narrowing down your school choices. They have created the College Navigator. This tool is allows you to set a number of options, search on it, and get back a list of possible schools. You can then get detailed information on the school, and even add schools to a favorites collection to come back to later.

College Finder Search Box - Basic OptionsThe search options available are fairly extensive. The search box defaults to a basic mode that allows you to search by any combination of school name, state(s), zip code, majors, level of degree, and institution type. Fill in any or all the boxes and click . After a short pause, a list of matching schools shows up.

I decided to try the search for my own school, Champlain College, by selecting only a few fields. I selected Bachelor, 4-Year, and Distance Learning. That right, distance learning is a selectable option when you expand the search box. I clicked Show Results, and over 1,400 schools were returned. I found my school and selected it. That is when this tool got significantly more useful.

The results for my school contained a block of general information contained the campus address, phone number, and web site. It also included the awards information, student population, and other vital statistics - including a Google map of the campus location. Just below that is 10 expandable tabs of information labeled: General Information, Estimated Student Expenses (Before Aid), Financial Aid, Enrollment, Admissions, Retention/Graduation Rate, Programs/Majors, Varsity Sports Teams, Accreditation, and Campus Security.

While most of these labels are self-explanatory, Campus Security requires just a bit more clarification. This tab shows the Crime Statistics for 2003-2005 for my school. This is a fairly length list of crimes people have been arrested for, and criminal offenses on-campus.

The site also has a small link just below the Show Results button labeled Guide Me. Clicking this will result in a helpful floating arrow showing you where to type in your search criteria, and will subsequently walk you through the process of a search.

Overall this site provides a tremendous amount of detailed information and very is easy to navigate. The site user is the most user friendly college guide site I have ever used, and provides vastly more relevant information than any other site I have visited. Anyone seeking any college education, degree or not, online or not, should use this tool to help narrow down their choices or just find information about their selected school.

I would really like to know what you think. Give it a try at College Navigator - National Center for Education Statistics and let me know.

Please post your comments below or send me email using the Contact form.

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Do You Know Americas Best Colleges for 2008

Do you know which colleges are the best in America for 2008? No? Then U.S. News & World Report can help. They have published their annual rankings of colleges, and while I usually do not like many of the ranking lists that pollute the Internet, I do like what U.S. News does. They are very open about their methodology, and go to great lengths to demonstrate their objectivity.

Here are a few quotes from their F.A.Q. on the rankings:

Are the rankings objective and fair?
We do our utmost to make sure they are. Each schools rank (within its group of peer institutions) is based on the same set of quality measures. Furthermore, 75 percent of a schools ranking is based on a formula that uses objective measures of academic quality such as graduation rates. The remaining 25 percent is based on a peer assessment survey. U.S. News asks the president, provost, and dean of admissions at each school to rate the quality of the academic programs for schools in the same category, including their own. (Those unfamiliar with a particular school are asked to check a box labeled Donot know.) While peer assessments are subjective, they are also important a diploma from a distinguished college helps a graduate get good jobs and gain admission to top-notch graduate programs, just as a high schools reputation can help or harm an applicants chances of getting into a good college.

In brief, how does U.S. News rank colleges?

To rank colleges, U.S. News first places each school into categories based on mission (research university or liberal arts college) and, for universities offering a range of masters programs and colleges focusing on undergraduate education without a particular emphasis on the liberal arts, by location (North, South, Midwest, and West). Universities where there is a focus on research and that offer several doctoral programs are ranked separately from liberal arts colleges, and masters universities and baccalaureate colleges are compared against other schools in the same group and region. Second, we gather data from and about each school in 15 areas related to academic excellence. Each indicator is assigned a weight (expressed as a percentage) based on our judgments about which measures of quality matter most. Third, the colleges are ranked based on their composite weighted score. We publish the numeric rank of roughly the top half of schools in each of the 10 categories; the remaining schools are placed into the third and fourth tiers, listed alphabetically, based on their overall score in their category.

While no one should pick their college solely based on any ranking, information like this can be invaluable in helping to narrow down your choices. If you are in the market for a degree, try looking through these lists at USNews.com: Americas Best Colleges 2008.

Do you agree or disagree with the rankings listed by U.S. News - let us know.

Please post your comments below or send me email using the Contact form.

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School Profile: Golden Gate University

Contact Information

Golden Gate University
536 Mission Street
San Francisco, CA 94105-2968
Phone: (888) 874-CYBER (2923)
Fax: (415) 442-7807
Web: www.ggu.edu
 

Summary

Undergraduate Degree Programs

Graduate Degree Programs

Undergraduate Certificate Programs

  • Finance
  • Database and Technology Management
  • Information Technology

Graduate Certificate Programs

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The Complete Idiots Guide to Going Back to College

Going back to school after years away can be a traumatic experience. Many have often claimed that they feel like an idiot. So of course the Penguin Group had to rally to the rescue and publish The Complete Idiots Guide to Going Back to College (Complete Idiots Guide to) (Ph.D., Dolores A. Mize).

Dr. Mize presents an easy to follow series of steps to help just about anyone return to college. The book is broken down into five parts: Thinking Like a Student Again, Choosing the Right College, Paying for College, On-Campus Survival Skills, and Managing College, Work and Family. Each part has three of four chapters that focus on specific sub-topics. The books focus is geared towards the on-campus adult student, but most of the book applies to the online degree seeking student as well and chapter 7 is all about online learning options.
I found the book easy to read, and very much to the point. While Dr. Mize starts the book in much the same way any adult college book begins, with topics like matching your career with a degree and common fears, these do not detract from the overall value of the book. The chapters on financing your education, and managing your work, family, and school priorities are quite good. Anyone thinking about starting up school again, after a long break, will find something of use in this book. However, I must caution that the book is an introductory book. It is truly aimed at those looking to go back to school after a substantial absence. If you are already in school, and have a basic understanding of time management, school financing, and selecting your classes, then you may not find as much value in the book. In that case, you might be better served by one of the Bears Guides.

If you have read this book, I would really like to hear your opinions. Please post your comments below.

As always, anyone can post their comments below or send me email using the Contact form.

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The Viral Tags Train Keeps On Going

I have updated the Now Its The ViralTags Train post with all of the updates posted to the original Founders Cafe. If I missed you, please let me know. This is a large update relative to the others I have made, so it is possible I made a mistake or two.

Please post your comments below or send me email using the Contact form.

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