It has been a long day and I need to get some rest for my busy house hunting day I have tomorrow...till the next post!! You all keep learning!!
It has been a long day and I need to get some rest for my busy house hunting day I have tomorrow...till the next post!! You all keep learning!!
Over this past year Granite State has streamlined its application process, significantly upgraded our Rochester NH college campus center and opened a new center at the Littleton NH college campus. Students are also gravitating to our online classes for adults and therefore we have significantly expanded are online offerings and currently offer every one of our degree programs fully online.
The world is moving very quickly and the needs of our students are changing just as quickly. While Granite State College continues to emphasize the quality of the student experience we are also paying increasing attention to the convenience factor that is integral to access.
Learning online at Granite State College is practical and functional for many adult learners taking adult college courses. It lends itself well to how adult learners learn best, under the unique conditions they often find themselves. Online learning is appealing from a practical lifestyle perspective but also from a theoretical and neuro-scientific perspective. Here are the top ten reasons to take online classes for college:
Easy to get started - You can get started learning online with a computer and Internet access. Computers are becoming more powerful, less expensive and more user-friendly. Internet service is widely available in many places. If owning your own computer or accessing the Internet from home is a problem, many public libraries offer free computer and Internet access. Be sure to check your school’s technical requirements for your computer before taking an online class.
Economical - No travel costs, no commuting, and no dormitory fees - just tuition and occasionally materials fees.
Accessible – As long as you have an Internet connection, you can access your online course. This is particularly appealing to parents of young children or students who travel often for their work.
Flexible –Unable to make a 9:00 AM Economics lecture on a college campus? Online classes are available 24 hours a day. You can learn online from your own home at a time that is convenient for you.
Effective – When you take online classes for adults, you can expect to learn important career building skills and abilities equal to, or better than, a traditional classroom setting. According to a 2010 evaluation of online learning conducted by the U.S. Department of Education, “Students in online conditions performed modestly better, on average, than those learning the same material through traditional face-to-face instruction.”
It gets better - Thanks to advances in technology, learning online continues to improve at an unprecedented rate. New technologies facilitate active engagement that allow adult learners to apply, integrate, implement, differentiate, and formulate new learning into experience generating activities. Technological advances also enhance learner connectedness, interaction and mutual support. Immersive learning environments and serious games are no longer distant concepts but rapidly becoming more common in online learning.
Challenging – Though there are deadlines and due dates, there are no class meeting times (although some online classes may require mandatory synchronous session), you are constantly working on your own resourcefulness and initiative to complete the coursework.
Time for Reflection – Unlike a face-to-face class where immediate responses are often required in class discussions, online discussion boards allow time for thoughtful reflection and critical thinking when interacting and responding on an online discussion board. This reflection time can facilitate metacognition – thinking about one’s own thinking or “the ability to monitor one’s current level of understanding and decide when it is not adequate” (How People Learn, 2000).
Your experience counts – Online learning facilitates the connection to past experience (cognitive activation) critical to the adult learning process. Raymond Wlodkowski author of “Enhancing Adult Motivation to Learn” explains it this way; “adults have had more time and seen the benefits and outcomes of a greater variety of experiences. Neurologically, their brains are more developed and capable of judging, planning, and making decisions about their experiences in a manner that is more integrated, stable, reflective, and future oriented.” Online learning interactive activities such as discussion boards, blogs and journals provide the opportunities to employ an adult’s “rich mosaic of experience” at deeper levels of learning as part of the learning experience.
Meaningful - You determine the meaning of the learning. “Most experts who have studied or participated in online learning communities share an approach to adult learners described as ‘constructivism.’ It is based on the premise that knowledge is constructed by adult learners as they filter new information through the prism of their own experience. It is quite different from the more traditional ‘objectivist’ idea of knowledge as a preexisting reality that teachers simply transmit by means of effective communication, and reinforce through practice and repetition. Constructivists expect adult learners to be active, reflective, and creative: managing their own learning process and often collaborating with each other to test new ideas and information by applying them to real problems and circumstances. Therefore, constructivists often describe their approach as student-centered rather than teacher-centered. Instructors facilitate learners’ progress rather than operating primarily as podium-based sages.” – Dr. Burgess Smith, Granite State College.
Like any other endeavor, learning online is what you make of it. Organization, discipline and hard work are all successful components to a positive online learning experience. As Judy Willis, MD, M.Ed. puts it: “The person who does the work LEARNS.”
Means, B, Toyama, Y, Murphy, R, Bakia, M, & Jones, K. (2010). Evaluation of Evidence-based Practices in Online Learning: A Meta-analysis and Review of Online Learning Studies . U.S. Department of Education, Office of Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development Policy and Program Studies Service.
How People Learn. (2000). Washington, D.C. National Research Council.
Wlodkowski , R. (2008). Enhancing Adult Motivation to Learn. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Smith, B. (2011, February). How We Learn Online [Web log message]. Retrieved from https://blackboard.granite.edu/
As many of you may know, Adult Financial Aid has been a hot topic in recent federal and state budget debates. These debates have left many of us wondering, “What is financial aid going to look like in the future?” I can’t speak for other schools, and I certainly do not profess to know exactly what is going to happen, but here are my thoughts and opinions on how Granite State College students may be affected.
With regard to State Financial aid, I believe we will see a cut to many of the grant and scholarship programs for New Hampshire. Governor Lynch proposed the elimination of the Post-Secondary Education Commission as a stand-alone agency. They are currently the ones administering the NH Incentive Grant. With the proposed elimination, it is unclear who, if anyone will be administering this program. There have been mentions of each state school receiving an allotment of funding to be used at the school level, but we have not received any official word as of yet.
We have been notified; however, that we will no longer have funding for the Unique Allocation Scholarship or the Unique Endowment fund. These funds will be re-directed to support public institutions of higher learning in New Hampshire.
In addition, Congress is still debating the proposed cuts to its budget as well. There have been talks of decreasing the annual Pell Grant allotment from $5550 (maximum annual award) to $4705 (maximum annual award). Senate is planning to vote on these proposed cuts this week, and if they are not passed, they will return to the drawing board until they can come to an agreement.
That being said, Granite State College is still able to fund the majority of our students using the Federal Aid Programs available to us. Because we are mainly an Adult and Continuing Education college and do not have the high costs of residential campuses, we will not be as heavily affected by these proposed cuts as some of the more traditional colleges in the area. We are confident that no matter what happens, we will have proper funding to assist our students.
There are, however, things students can do on their own to help supplement their educational expenses. Because we may have to use more Stafford loan money to cover the portion of charges typically covered by the State Grant Programs, Students should take a good, hard look at what they are borrowing. Students should keep a close eye on their outstanding loan debt by checking the National Student Loan Data System on a regular basis. This will allow them to track how much they have already borrowed and reconsider their borrowing habits. Another good tool to use is the financial aid loan payment calculator. This will give them an idea of what their monthly payment will look like once they have finished their program. These tools allow students to make informed choices as to how they want to spend their money and more importantly, what they can really afford.
Another option students should be aggressively pursuing is scholarships. It takes a little more leg work since most have an application and essay requirement, but with the cuts to many grant programs, this is another very feasible way to get free money for education.
Students can create a profile on a scholarship search engine which will then send them different scholarships that may be applicable to them. Another excellent scholarship resource for New Hampshire residents is the New Hampshire Charitable Fund. Specifically, the adult student aid program is designed for adults returning to school to upgrade skills for employment or career advancement. In addition, the statewide student aid program is designed for the traditional student in a four year baccalaureate program.
Keep in mind that not all scholarship opportunities are legit. Take a look at these Scholarship Tips to avoid being caught in the middle of a scam.
So as we move forward into the 2011-2012 financial aid award year, things are still very uncertain. Rest assured though, Granite State College will have aid to cover our students regardless of what happens with both the State and Federal governments.
I recently saw the above quote from my Granite State College Social Psychology textbook, "Social Psychology" by David G. Myers. There is something about this quote that really seems to resonate with me.
For many years, I believed that working hard would alone get me to the goals and ambitions that I had hoped for in my life. In many ways that is true, because without hard work, I probably wouldn't have gotten far. My choices were very much "I" choices and what "I" would do by my own steam. How much more fulfilling it has been to expand and be active in my community, being a volunteer in several organizations, and to continue my education. I find that college life has expanded my knowledge in many areas, has helped me to "think outside of the box," and has that advantage of being surrounded by many like-minded people who enjoy their degree choices. For me, that degree choice is a bachelor's in Behavioral Science. Granite State College's online adult learning courses has been my primary method of "attending" classes and has really proven to be much more fulfilling than I could have imagined. I'm on class discussion boards almost as much I'm on Facebook! :)
I also find that being in a course at Granite State College doesn't mean that I "go it alone," since there are so many helpful people that I meet up with as I pursue my educational ambitions. I will be continuing on to graduate studies after I complete my bachelor's in Behavioral Science in June. I've put in a lot of individual work that will help me to go quickly, but the quality of the journey is from working with others at Granite State College that has made all of the difference as to how far I will go.
Trying checking out some of the courses that are available at Granite State College and you'll see that together we'll go far!
Students enrolled in Early Childhood degree programs and Behavioral Science classes and degree programs have engaged in a discussion about what aspects of parenting are important. In Foster Parent Classes at Granite State College, the conversation is similar. Research tells us that parents who are accepting of their children, and encourage exploration, while providing stability and love can help children to develop into healthy adults.
It's certainly an interesting discussion to be a part of in our adult and continuing education classes here at Granite State College.
I slogged through the snow and cleaned about a foot of snow off the roof and windshield and back of the car, started it up and waited for the ice to melt. My hair was dripping frozen ice down my back and my feet were already wet and I hadn't even left the driveway.When I got to work I had to trudge through another 6 inches of snow because of course we hadn't been plowed out yet.
Finally, I was at my desk, a little warmer and dryer and I was doing my favorite thing - checking in new books. One of the first books I opened up was a new gardening book. It had bright colorful pictures, lots of flowers and vegetables in containers and raised beds and neatly tilled garden beds. I daydreamed about the vegetables and flowers I might grow this year, if spring ever comes!
I remembered last year when I planted a garden for the first time in about 20 years, I was inspired to take the Sustainable Gardening class offered as part of the adult continuing education programs at Granite State College. It was taught by Henry Homeyer from Cornish and I learned so much. I noticed that he will be teaching it again this spring, at the Lebanon NH college campus, this time - I think.
If you like to garden, or want to know more about sustainable gardening or just want to get closer to spring check out his class. It was great, we visited several vegetable and fruit farms in the early spring, planned our garden plots and started seeds inside - it gave us something green to watch as the last of the snow disappeared. And, if the snow is depressing you as much as it is me, I recommend stopping into your local library and checking out a few gardening books and start planning your own garden, or dreaming about it anyway, maybe you could sign up for the Sustainable Gardening class if it's been a while and you need a few pointers.
Keep the faith - spring is just around the corner - I think.
It’s that time of year again! It’s time to start thinking about filing the 2011-2012 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). For many, this can be an overwhelming process, so here are a few tips to help make your FAFSA filing experience less stressful.
- Many traditional schools require the FAFSA to be filed no later than March 1st. Granite State College, however, does not have a filing deadline since our institution provides Adult and Continuing Education classes with rolling admissions. This means that our students can apply for Financial Aid at any point during the year. We do strongly encourage our students to apply by May 1st if possible so they will be considered for any State Grants available. However, if students file after the priority filing date, they will still be considered for the federal aid programs including the Federal Pell Grant and the Stafford Loan Programs.
- Students must be enrolled at least Part Time to be eligible to receive federal financial aid. Each school determines what they consider to be Part Time Classes and for Granite State College, students are required to take at least four credits to be eligible for aid. This means that our students who want to Take College Classes Online or in one of our centers, but can only do one class per term are still eligible to receive Federal Financial Aid.
- For those students who recently got married, please be very careful when filing your new FAFSA. If you have not received confirmation from Social Security that your name has been updated in their system, you do not want to file your FAFSA using your married name. This will cause the FAFSA to reject. Always file your FAFSA using your legal name; this means the name that is listed on your Social Security card. Do not use abbreviations or nicknames either as this will cause the FAFSA to reject as well.
- If at the time you filed your previous year’s tax return you were married, but you are now separated or divorced, still use the joint income listed on the tax return when filing your FAFSA. The Office of Financial Aid can separate out your income to reflect a more accurate financial picture, but will need additional documentation to do so. You will be required to complete a Special Circumstance form. Once your documents are received, the Office of Financial Aid will review them and make any adjustments possible to the information listed on the FAFSA. It is required that the Office of Financial Aid makes these adjustments since any change to a student’s income must be fully documented for audit purposes.
- To be considered a veteran, you must have served on Active duty and must have been discharged under other than dishonorable conditions. If your service was only for training purposes such as the National Guard or Reserves, you are not considered a veteran for federal financial aid purposes.
- The number one mistake students make is leaving a field blank. All income questions must be completed. If the answer is zero or the questions do not apply to you, write in a zero. Do not use dashes or leave the question blank.
- If you have an unborn child who will be born before or during the award year (July 1 through June 30th) and that child will receive more than half of his or her support from you, you can count that child as a member of your household when answering the household and dependents questions on the FAFSA.
- Always remember to electronically sing your FAFSA with your PIN. The FAFSA will not be considered valid until your signature is applied.
For more tips and instructions, check out this FAFSA Video.
As always, please contact the Office of Financial Aid at Granite State College at 603-513-1392 with any questions or concerns. Happy Filing!
I realized that any time I end up talking about Granite State College, or any other Adult Education Degree Program, that I always relate it to my life. Granted, I tend to do this to get people excited/motivated through the knowledge that some random person gave herself a chance to change her life. But this one is for you, putting aside my life for comparison.
What got you to the point of reading these blogs? There is obviously something in you that wants to start, or continue with an accelerated undergraduate, or an accelerated degree program. There is something in you that has made you take those steps to search for these. Are you looking to start a program, or finish? Are you looking to improve your current job situation? Personal reasons?
It's very easy for me to say "you won't regret it!" - (and I know you won't), however it's really time that you took that next step to commit! There are so many excuses out there, many that are more than valid, but there are 5 reasons to do it to every 1 excuse. Want to test that theory? :)
I know I'm being very repetitive, but I'm curious: what is fueling your desire to be here? We all have something that inspires us to "take the plunge"; it's time for you to find your inner fire, and embrace it.
This semester was no different except that I was teaching at the Portsmouth NH college campus, where I have always taught at Rochester NH college campus. I entered the Portsmouth NH campus for the first time and was greeted by a work study student. She welcomed me, assuming that I was a student. She asked if I was ready to begin classes. I smiled and thought how much fun it would be to be taking one of the many continuing education classes at Granite State College. For a moment I envied the adults that come to do an Adult Education Certificate or an Adult Accelerated Degree Program. I love teaching the courses, but what fun to take one.
I felt so welcomed at Portsmouth and so excited about the new semester. So thank you for welcoming me to my "new" campus. Come and visit yourself and see all the course options Granite State has to offer.
We have many traditions in our family and one of them is to skate on Christmas Eve. We started it years ago and have done it ever since. We skated in TN, NH, FL and now SC. Well, as close to Christmas Eve as I could since I have moved to South Carolina. They don't seem to have the inside rinks open during Christmas Eve so as long as we do it during the holidays, we can all say "we skated." The four children are scattered all over the US these days so we try to call each other and tell each other when we are hitting the rink.
That event took place yesterday at the Pavilion in Taylor's, which is suburb of Greenville. My daughter and her fiance came as well as a fellow I have been dating and two girls from work. One friend brought her daughter along for the fun. It was the first time her daughter had skated and she took to her skates in no time and was out there enjoying herself just like the rest of us. Learning to skate? Is just like learning anything, it takes time and patience. Patience and determination is all it takes which is similar to learning in school. One has to be determined to do it, patience to keep going, and will to polish off the task at hand.
College is very much the same. Going back to school for me took lots of patience as I took adult college classes. I had wanted to go to school for years. I was busy being a mom to four kids, there was not much time for me. But, once I had made that decision, which was a hard decision to make. Once I had the determination to get my adult education degree, the rest was easy. I had a professor tell me once, "not to look at all the classes you have to take to get your adult college degree, but to take one class at a time, then move on to the next". Those words got me through college, one class at a time. Just like that little girl learning to skate, one slide at a time and before she knew it, she was doing it.
Standing with me is my oldest daughter Amber. Her and I just love to skate. My youngest daughter will get in just before Christmas and we will hit the ice after Christmas this year. It is a family thing we do and one of our traditions. School is another tradition that I am hoping they cherish along life's journey. Learning is such a part of my life and will continue to be so for as long as I live.
Learning doesn't stop at the classroom door. Some people consider their educational career to have been completed upon receiving their high school diploma; others equate learning with adult continuing education programs, and "pause" between courses. What I've found from taking my behavioral science classes, as well as the core and elective classes, is that the readings, discussions, and assignments throughout the terms have stirred my hunger for knowledge.
I've often filled the between-times trying to learn more about the subjects I've already learned, or trying to satisfy my curiosity about thoughts and ideas yet to be explored. A simple search for "behavioral science" on YouTube results in many videos illustrating the psychological concepts discussed in textbooks and classes. Another favorite site of mine is http://www.sciencedaily.com, which I've used extensively both in my classes and for my own interest.
One of the many benefits of being a recipient of adult higher education at Granite State College is that it has prepare my mind to be a lifelong learner, not only in the classroom or through the online adult programs, but in the great classroom of life.
There is knowledge waiting to be discovered everywhere. Whet your appetite and prime the pump at Granite State College.
At the same time, colleges and universities must learn to go beyond caring about students and ensure that their practices, systems, and policies are "student-centered." Which means that we anticipate student needs and align our practices, systems and policies in a way that enhances student success and minimizes student frustration.
Over the past several months we have taken steps at Granite State College to better align our practices, systems and policies with student needs and goals. For example, more than half of our students are now enrolled in online courses, so in order to better support our distance learning students we have recently added new online tutoring services. We are also introducing new self-service capabilities that allow students to better plan their programs of study. And we are focusing attention on course scheduling to ensure more rapid tracks to degree obtainment.
This student-centered focus will be core to Granite State College as we engage in a process of continuous improvement moving forward, and find new ways to serve the evolving needs of adult students throughout the state of New Hampshire and the region.
Claremont often gets a bad rap when it comes to education, but I like to hope that things are changing, for the better. We now have Granite State College located right on Pleasant Street, we have an active theater group not only at the Opera house, but also in the Middle School and High School. We are also in the process of setting up a branch of OLLI (The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute) in Claremont - if you aren't familiar with the program, check it out. OLLI is a program of enrichment classes for people over 50. There are many great classes on a variety of topics at little or no cost, all over the state.
Here I go again getting off topic - I finished my paper! Consequently, I should be done with my adult college classes, ready to walk down the final path in June with my brand new B.A. in Literature and Creative Writing, but somehow I'm still not ready. So for now I am going to continue to take classes; some history, some social studies, and maybe a couple of OLLI offerings. Just because I finished my first goal it doesn't mean I'm done learning. Education is a lifetime process and I intend to enjoy every minute of it!
Much to my surprise and delight, 15 students registered for my course. As is typical at GSC, the class is a rich and diverse mix of ages, from 18 to 50. I have been so impressed by the warm and supportive atmosphere that has developed in the class. I have always heard about the wonderful atmosphere in GSC courses, but it is exciting to experience it first hand.
When you think of continuing education degree programs, you wouldn't necessarily picture a studio art class like this one, with students of all ages sprawled around the room with drawing boards, the furious sound of quick sketching, the smell of fixative and markers in the air. Every Monday when I teach the class, I am struck by the wonderful diversity that Granite State offers, from online degrees to live college classes.
At Granite State College, adult continuing education includes those of us who are staff and faculty, not only students. We strive to develop new skills, expand our knowledge base and engage in professional development.
I'm excited by this experience because it gives me a new way to connect with my students, as well as allowing me to use a lifetime of accumulated knowledge in a new way. Even though this course is still in progress, I can't wait to do it again!
Packing up and delivering my daughter, Jess, to college. It was one of those 98 degree days, she had a car FULL of stuff, and she's on the third floor of her dorm (no elevator). Whew!
Assuring, and reassuring, Jess that her financial aid situation WILL work out. Even if her FA package changes a dozen times before the semester is half over! It will all be ok. (and it is!)
Talking Jess through her 'first-year' anxieties ... will she make any friends, will she and her roommate get along, will she be able to keep up with the other students??? (Yes, yes & yes!)
Bringing Jess home for an extended break when she got Mono. Mm-hmm ... Mono. Washing three weeks worth of her laundry & germ-ridden bedding. Nursing her back to health. Returning her to school with a month's supply of provisions - because "the food at school is terrible!"
Cheering Jess on with all the positive encouragement I can muster (You can too write that Psych paper by tomorrow noon! Honey, 'B' is a GOOD grade, not something to lament about! I'm sorry you're tired and your head hurts ... take a nap, drink gallons of water, take an ibuprofen if you need to ... and then study for your Italian exam.)
Cell phones & computers have made it possible to stay in CONSTANT communication with each other. Texting, Calling, Emailing, Facebook messaging ... there's no escape! I've barely had a chance to start missing my kid. But I do. Of course I do. There are certain things that cannot be conveyed in a text message.
There's nothing like the spontaneous discussions that spring forth when Jess bounds into my bedroom at midnight to enlighten me of her latest philosophical revelation. I miss my daughter's energy, her joi de vivre, the excitement that emanates from her very pores, when she is following the thread of an idea. I miss her pensive, deep-in-thought facial expression when she's reading a book or writing a paper. I miss Jess' light-up-a-room smile.
Fortunately, my daughter will be home over (aptly enough) Thanksgiving break, and I look forward to spending some face-to-face time with her. I think this is what people mean when they say they are enjoying the rewards of the hard work of parenting. Here's wishing all my classmates and colleagues at GSC's Claremont NH College a Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you each get to take a break from the hectic pace of work and school to count your blessings - mixed though they may be.
This has not been one of my best terms. I don't say that because my classes are difficult, or because I've been under the weight of heavy coursework. I say that because life threw me a curve ball at the end of summer, a sudden change of direction that I am still processing. Over the past few months, I have found my sense of focus and motivation challenged by these unexpected circumstances, and it has been all I can do to keep myself still moving forward toward my goal of earning my Bachelors Degree in Behavioral Science.
Today is my mother's birthday, she would have been 87 today. I never forget when my mother's birthday was, it saddens me in ways but also delights me for the women she was. She was a warm loving person who would do and do for others. Not a selfish bone in her body. She never knew I got my Adult College Degree back in September 2009 but I know she would have been so proud of me. My children and my grandchildren may follow my path as it is all part of ones legacy that we pass on. Continuing education degrees or learning how to have wonderful penmanship like Mr. Miskelly did, is life. One should never stop learning, I know I won't, love it!!
I went back to school for many reasons. One of those reasons was to be a good example for my children and my grandchildren. Just like my son learned how to sew from watching me, maybe he will continue his education like I did. Granite State College was a good foundation for my education and gave me the tools and smarts to carry on in today's working society. There are so many adult education services like the accelerated studies as well as online classes for adults; all are valuable recourse's to receive your adult education degree. I hope he goes to college to get his degree someday. It will only help him in his future and his development as a young adult in today society.
Life is all about learning, whether it be learning how to sew or learning that a college education is so valuable, it is all about learning. Studies show we should never let our minds get stagnate even in our senior years, so I will be learning for the rest of my life, at least that is the plan.