Thursday, August 31, 2006

Online education reaches more students...

Inside Higher Ed today reports on a new initiative at the University of Illinois to create an online division. There is some controversy about this as many academics see online teaching and learning as a less than desirable way to teach. I happen to know the President of Illinois, Joe White, who is featured on the Illinois homepage today, and he is a very thoughtful and visionary person. Joe was an associate Dean and later Dean of the Ross School of Business when I was an MBA student there.

After two experiences, I am convinced that Illinois is doing the right thing. My younger brother would not be going to college if he didn't have an online option. He is raising three young daughters and Phoenix online allows him to finally go back to school to get his degree. I have watched him take his classes and I know how much work he is doing and what he is learning in the process. It has been the right thing for him.

My second experience is first-hand, as I took a class at NCSU this past spring in Digital Marketing from Professor Michael Rappa. Dr. Rappa created this course several years ago as a way to create the most up-to-date course on the digital enterprise. There are no textbooks--all of the material is online. Last year, he taught one section in the classroom and one section online--I chose the online section as a way to make it fit into my other coursework at UNC. I loved the course so much that I plan to teach it when I graduate, either in person or online or both.

The world is changing and not everyone has the luxury of spending 4 years and $100,000 to go away to college. Online education can make it possible for more students to get a college degree.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Ethics & college students...

I'm a Teaching Assistant (TA) for an ethics class this semester. The professor asked them to write down the number one ethics issue for the past 10 years, as well as their top pick for most ethical person. Here are the results:

Ethical Issue
1) Abortion
2) Iraq/U.S. intervention in the middle east
3) Gay marriage and stem cell research (tied)

The most ethical person was wide-ranging from student's best friend to the Dali Lama.

Here the top three ethical people
1) Mom
2) Dad
3) Mother Theresa

If it makes Dads feel any better, Moms only won by one vote.

Monday, August 21, 2006

My first "pub"

I am still in shock. I just got word that the paper I wrote in Lois Boyton's public relations seminar last fall has been accepted for publication in the winter 2006 issue of the Public Relations Review. Lois is my dissertation chair and the world's best advisor.

No revisions, just acceptance. My husband warned me that the next one will be harder, but I'm just enjoying today.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Back to school with bifocals

At my house, we are getting ready to go back to school. My son starts 3rd grade next week,my daughter starts 6th grade and I start my last year of the PhD program. We went to Target the other day to get the supplies on their lists, and spent two hours making sure we had each and every spiral notebook, pen, ream of paper and D-ring notebook. It was exhausting.

They don't give us lists for the PhD program, especially when the last year consists of writing a dissertation, taking comps and working as a graduate assistant. But, I did get my surprise back-to-school supply yesterday: bifocals.

I'm 43 and I probably should have gotten them already. In all my studying, the pages have started to seem blurry to me. When I described this to the opthalmologist, she just laughed, "You are over 40. It's time for bifocals."

Man, do I feel old now. It almost makes you long for notebooks and pencils.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Don't put us in a box...

Ever since I had two children with my Indian-American husband, I've discovered the frustration of classifying people by "the box." My children and not white, yet they are also not Indian, so I have classified them as multi-racial whenever possible on school forms. My children understand their heritage; they knew their Indian grandfather (before he died), they eat Indian food in our home and their middle and last names are Indian. While we may not look like the typical Indian family, we are proud of our heritage. To be classified as merely "white" would lose something of the essence of who my children are.

An article in Inside Higher Ed reports that the Department of Education is finally catching up, allowing people to choose more than one box for their racial identity. "The system proposed by the department would for the first time allow students to pick multiple boxes, with colleges reporting all of those who checked multiple boxes in a new “two or more races” category."

How can we celebrate diversity if we have a limited number of boxes? While this new Dept of Education answer may not be the most clear way of understanding and appreciating people, it will at least give them an opportunity to express their pride in who they really are.

Friday, August 04, 2006

The job hunt continues...

I spent two days in San Francisco at AEJMC, the annual conference for academics in mass comm and I'm now in Chicago for two days at the AMA conference for academics in marketing--whew!--I am tired!

Most interviews in this setting are 15 minutes to a half-hour and vary in content. One teaching school started out by grilling me on my projected research stream and one research school spent quite awhile telling me that teaching was equally important to them as research. I know it is just a job pre-view, but exchanges like that have confused me about the distinction between teaching schools and research schools.

Maybe there shouldn't be such a strong distinction--maybe both students and faculty would be served with schools opting for a more balanced approach to research and teaching. After all, the price of education is going up--I can't believe that parents will sit by and continue to write large checks for schools where professors aren't interested in excellent teaching.

The learning continues...