Female Career Choices That May Surprise You

Female Career Choices That May Surprise You

On the first day of work as a pharmaceutical representative in the 80’s, I was struck by the similarity of my newly-hired peers.  There were about 10 of us that started at the same time.  Nine out of 10 of us were women.  I hadn’t given much thought as to whether women dominated in the pharmaceutical business at that time.  However, sitting at that long table full of women, most of whom had business degrees, made me realize that things were changing for women and their career choices.

Since I currently teach for many different online universities, a recent article about women and their online degree choices caught my eye.  In the article 10 Majors That Are No longer Male-Dominated, the author pointed out, “Historically, women have dominated majors like education, English and psychology, while men were more likely to study engineering, computer science or math. Although this may ring true at some schools, it isn’t the standard at every traditional or online college. More than ever, college women are opting to study traditionally male-dominated majors and are breaking enrollment records while they’re at it. As the line between male- and female-dominated academic fields continues to fade, there will be less segregation in the job market and more opportunities for both sexes.”

The article lists the following online majors as currently female-dominant:

Computer Science

Business

Engineering

Agriculture

Biological Science

Construction Management

Fire Science

Criminal Justice

Information Technology

Sports Management

For more information about the increase in women majoring in each of these areas, click here to read the full article.

Top Universities Increasing Online Degrees Programs to Meet Needs of over 5 Million Learners

Arizona State University is just one of many major universities that have started to increase the number of online courses they offer.  Within the next decade, ASU expects that 25% of their students will be exclusively taking virtual classes.  ASU and other schools are keeping up with their learners’ desire to take online courses. 

The Sloan Consortium, also known as Sloan-C, is an institutional and professional organization integrating online education into mainstream education.   The consortium is committed to quality online education.  The Arizona Republic reported, “According to an annual Sloan Survey of Online Learning at 2,500 colleges and universities, 29 percent of students took at least one course online in fall 2009, up from nearly 12 percent in fall 2003.”

In a recent webinar I created and delivered for Sloan-C, there was strong interest by educators to learn how to deliver effective online courses. There is no mistaking the popularity of online education. Even Bill Gates praised online learning in his 2010 Annual Letter stating, “A lot of people, including me, think this is the next place where the internet will surprise people in how it can improve things.” According to a recent survey by the Sloan Consortium, more than 5.6 million students took an online class last fall, which translates to about 30 percent of college students.

The days of thinking that online education is somehow inferior is changing.  Arizona’s three main universities are all embracing online learning.  ASU is ramping up their online program. University of Arizona (U of A) has nearly 30 degree programs exclusively available online; many of these programs are graduate-level.  Northern Arizona University (NAU) has 63 exclusively online programs and anticipates a 10% growth increase per year.

Arizona universities are not the only major universities to get on board with online education. Some other very prominent universities that also offer online courses include:   

If you or someone you know is considering taking an online class, it is important to understand the terminology, the process and the tricks to being successful as an independent learner.  For help, check out:  The Online Student’s User Manual:  Everything You Need to Know to be a Successful Online Student

How to Respond Effectively in Online Discussions

Online college students often find that they are required to answer discussion questions in class.  With the popularity of texting and the lack of formality used when writing an email, many students are lacking the necessary skills to write an appropriate posting. 

Online schools often require that postings are substantive.  In other words, the postings should be substantial and have sufficient content to answer questions in depth.  Students may be given guidelines or a minimum word count to guide them.  However, when responding to fellow students’ postings, there are usually not specific word count requirements.  Therefore, it is important for students to respond in a way that is not merely showing their agreement or disagreement with what is being discussed. 

A good rule of thumb is to support what the student has said with at least one sentence. That doesn’t mean the student has to agree with the statement; they just have to support the fact that the student has made their point. 

Then after supporting them, the student can disagree or agree with the topic at hand.  They should include several more sentences explaining their position on the topic.  They could give examples and cite sources.  

A good way to end the discussion would be with a question that is either addressed to the original student or one that could be addressed to the class in order to bring more participants into the discussion.  

It is extremely important that students write in complete sentences, use correct grammar, check spelling and punctuate correctly.  For additional help with writing skills, please check out the following links:

Can Spell Check Make Things Worse?

Top 15 Writing and Grammar Mistakes

15 Ways to Improve Writing Skills

10 Common Writing Mistakes

Can Texting Damage Writing Skills?

50 Excellent Lectures for the Small Business Owner

Many are now just completing their MBA or considering starting their own small business. There is a great article from BSchool that includes 50 excellent lectures about entrepreneurship, practical tips, innovation, leadership, technology and the economy.  The courses come from sources like the University of California through UCTV.  The one I first watched was an hour long and had four accomplished entrepreneurs discuss the excitement and challenges of starting a business. It offered an insight into what to expect as a new entrepreneur and pitfalls to avoid.

These are excellent lectures. To see the complete article, go to BSchool’s link by clicking here.  Bschool.com is an online resource for MBA programs and top
online business schools. They provide thorough information on MBA subjects, specialty MBAs and business school rankings.

To see the the types of lectures, I have included an excerpt from the  bschool.com article:

Entrepreneurship

These lectures tackle topics in entrepreneurship, from appealing to the consumer to making great pitches.

  1. Entrepreneurs: Four entrepreneurs share their journeys to open a new business, and the talks inspire passion and excitement.
  2. Entrepreneurship and Society: This talk from UCTV is led by Tom Kemp, President and CEO of Centrify Corporation. He talks about what new ventures need in order to effectively appeal to the modern-day consumer.
  3. Women Entrepreneurs: Consider the differences between men and women as business leaders and owners.
  4. Presidential Summit on Entrepreneurship: President Obama gives a talk to an international audience on entrepreneurship and realizing the American dream.
  5. Entrepreneurs: Then and Now: Guy Kawasaki compares the foundation of entrepreneurial strategy during the late 1990s and what’s popular and effective now.
  6. Leadership and Entrepreneurship: This lecture from MIT World features three business leaders from completely different fields but who have relied on their instincts and bold ideas to get their ideas off the ground.
  7. Whatever it Takes to Stay in Business: Frank Levinson encourages entrepreneurs to lose their pride, just like a baby, in order to please their customers and stay in business, whatever it takes.
  8. New Media Entrepreneurship: This talk is from 2008 but still has valuable tips on developing a good, emotional, factual pitch and going for the gold in order to move up in business.
  9. Behaviors of Successful Business Owners: Ron Finkelstein from Akris, LLC shares how entrepreneurs can make more money and develop productive employees, all with an efficient use of time.
  10. David S. Rose on pitching to VCs: In this TED lecture, serial entrepreneur David S. Rose helps you to pitch and prove yourself to venture capitalists.

Practical Education

From management to marketing, here are lectures that give you new ideas to help you build your business.

  1. John Gerzema: The post-crisis consumer: Learn how to appeal to the post-recession consumer here.
  2. Team Process Leadership: James Seferis’ innovative philosophy on business leadership and success involves active participation from all team members.
  3. Finding Gold: Hiring the Best and the Brightest: Watch this lecture from UWTV to build an invaluable team that’s focused, motivated and cooperative.
  4. Customer Relationship Management: Former Amazon.com executive Bill Price weighs in on customer relationship management.
  5. Marketing a Start-up: Learn how to develop a smart marketing strategy before attempting to sell anything.
  6. The Case for Sustainability: Sustainability isn’t really an option for new business owners in today’s society: it’s a necessity. Here you’ll learn how to develop a sustainable, environmentally conscious business that’s also attractive to consumers.
  7. The Naked Corporation: Learn how to be a more transparent and honest business owner, in an age when positivity is just as important as profitability.
  8. Talk to an Angel: Crucial Connections to Early Stage Capital: This group from MIT helps entrepreneurs find the right investors when they’re first starting out.
  9. Joseph Pine on what customers want: Writer and consultant Joseph Pine gives tips on selling authenticity to modern consumers.
  10. Choosing people — the ultimate talent?: Look over the transcript from this lecture given at Gresham College to choose the right senior people so that you have less managing to do later.
  11. Challenges of Managing: Firing People: Gajus Worthington is a proponent of firing employees in order to produce a healthy, successful business. This 22-part lecture series offers tips for firing and recruiting.
  12. Business Ethics: These lectures given by top business executives and professors will clue you into integrity, corporate responsibility, and ethical leadership culture in the business world.
  13. No Sweat Speaking: Whether you need to work on giving pitches or improving upon your networking skills, this public speaking lecture will teach you how to tell a good story, make use of the audience, and relax before speaking.
  14. Chinese Business Culture for Business Travelers: If you plan on doing business in the East or recruiting from China, watch this lecture.

Innovation and Leadership

Learn how to effect change and inspire your workers here.

  1. Leadership in an Age of Uncertainty: James Parker and Barbara Stocking discuss strategies for energizing and motivating all employees of an organization, from the top down.
  2. Bringing Creativity into an Organization: Ignore the classic MBA management strategies if you want to really cultivate creativity in your workplace, argues Robert I. Sutton.
  3. Building the Next Generation Company: Innovation, Talent, Excellence: Lecturer John Chambers came out of the last recession with big profits, and in this speech, he explains how you can beat the recession, too.
  4. Seth Godin on standing out: Don’t bury your creative ideas because they seem outrageous: those are the ones worth nurturing.
  5. Howard Rheingold on collaboration: Learn how to work with team members around the world with technology, new media and open culture.
  6. Richard Branson’s life at 30,000 feet: Notable entrepreneur Richard Branson is interviewed about his larger than life ideas, his major struggles, and his motivations.
  7. A Policy on Leadership: If your business is struggling — or you want to prevent a fallout — watch this lecture to learn how to create a fact-based analytical organization and good management teams.
  8. Values-Based Leadership: Strive to be a leader with character, and you’ll end up inspiring your employees to work just as hard as you do.
  9. Innovative Leadership during Economic Crisis: Let this lecture help you to think outside the box, no matter what kind of crisis is getting in your way. You’ll learn how to be innovative in three areas: with customers, people, and products.
  10. How great leaders inspire action: Simon Sinek’s TED speech uses examples like Martin Luther King, Apple and the Wright brothers to explain how the mark of a great leader is his or her ability to inspire action and change.
  11. Composing a Career and Life: Get inspired to take a nonlinear path when obstacles are tossed into your plan.
  12. Derek Sivers: How to start a movement: Don’t settle for selling goods or services. Learn how to start a movement.
  13. The case for collaborative consumption: Rachel Botsman’s lecture focuses on our natural desire to share, and how collaborative consumption is a powerful economic force.
  14. Gerd Leonhard: Find out why ego doesn’t have a place in business anymore, and what that means for your business plan.
  15. Video Player The Power of Competition: How to Focus the World’s Brains on your Innovation Challenges: Conversely, Fiona Murray believes competition is healthy, too, and asks business owners to embrace it in order to add a jolt of energy to the enterprises.
  16. Nurturing a Vibrant Culture to Drive Innovation: Here’s another lecture on inspiring innovation in order to nurture a talented, unique team that drives your business.

Technology

Become a smarter user of technology so that social media and other tools end up working for you.

  1. Technology and the Recession: how new technology is changing the way we do business: Consider technology’s new role in business.
  2. Craig Mod: Publisher and developer Craig Mod discusses the changes coming for the book publishing industry, but as one commenter notes, the questions raised are relevant to all business ventures.
  3. Why social network mess can benefit your business: Euan Semple’s talk should convince you to get involved in social media, even though it’s always changing.

The Economy

Discover how to work with the economy, even in bad times.

  1. Shaped by Booms and Busts: How the Economy Impacts CEO Management Style: On your way to becoming a CEO, find out how to make room for economic changes.
  2. Video Player The Economic Meltdown: What Have We Learned, if Anything?: Paul Krugman delivers this lecture to MIT to help us learn from our mistakes.
  3. Alex Tabarrok on how ideas trump crises: Consider the notion that free trade has opened us to global collaboration and an idea-sharing culture.
  4. Hanna Rosin: New data on the rise of women: Get statistics on the rise of women in the workforce, and their newly appreciated value in the economy.
  5. The Resilient Enterprise: Overcoming Vulnerability for Competitive Advantage: Here you’ll learn why it’s important to organize your company so that it can withstand catastrophe, from an economic downturn to an event like 9/11.
  6. Making Globazliation Work for All: Watch this lecture to learn how to make use of globalization without succumbing to immoral practices, like using sweatshops.
  7. Business, Knowledge and Global Growth: You’ll learn about the true impact that MBAs and business schools have had on the economy.

Wall Street Journal Partners with Unigo to Create a Site that Offers Potential College Students Some Sound Advice

 

The Wall Street Journal has teamed up with Unigo’s student correspondents from more than 2000 colleges across America to produce a site they call WSJ on Campus.  If you are not familiar with Unigo, you can watch a video that explains what they do by clicking here.  Their system helps student match their interests and values with appropriate universities.  Their offer help to prospective students by providing reviews written by past students regarding the schools they have attended.  This information is used to help prospective students decide which school is best for them.

If you to go to WSJ On Campus, you will find that they offer the following information about getting prepared for college:

  • What matters when choosing a school
  • What it will really be like when you get to college
  • The perfect school for you
  • Are Ivy schools are really worth it
  • How to master the admissions essay
  • How to deal with school’s turning your requests for admission down
  • How to prepare for the SAT
  • What to do if you can’t go to your first choice school

They also offer the following information about what to expect once you get there:

  • How to choose the right classes
  • How to choose the right major
  • Who earns the most money
  • How to handle doing the assignments
  • Understanding academics
  • How to succeed in your Freshman year
  • How to get an A on your papers
  • How to use textbooks on your iPhone

 

I tried searching by online, online colleges, distance learning and other terms but found no information about online education on the site.  I even typed in some of the top online universities to see if they would come up and there was nothing.  It appears this site is very helpful if you are considering going to a traditional college but not so helpful if you want to use it to choose an online university.  Even if you do decide to attend an online college or university, you can learn a lot from their articles about how to be a successful student.

For more information about being a successful online student, click here.

Online Schools Using Skype, Tinychat, Video Conferencing, Wiki and Other Technologies

Recently one of the universities where I work sent me an email stating that they require that I have a Skype account.  I was curious to see if other schools were using Skype and did a little research.  I found an article which I found interesting from informationtechnologyschools.com.  In the article, they mention 10 ways to use Skype in the online classroom:

  1. Videoconferencing
  2. Tutoring
  3. Live Lectures
  4. Guest Lectures
  5. Global Projects
  6. Student Presentations
  7. Classroom Discussions
  8. Announcements
  9. Oral Examinations
  10. Virtual Field Trips

For the complete article, click here.

I can see that Skype would be extremely useful in synchronous classrooms.  Click here for another article about online learning using Skype from collegefinder.org.  I like that they are finding new and unusual technology uses for the classroom. Click here for an excellent article on 100 inspiring ways to use social media in the classroom from onlineuniversities.com.

I’ve seen that some schools are using TinychatPBworks.com claims, “Tinychat delivers dead simple video conferences without the extraneous ad-ons and inconvenience, making video conferencing an accessible, uncomplicated experience. It works on Windows, Mac and Linux; with Firefox, IE, Safari, and Chrome; and there is a version available for iPhones. You can have up to twelve people in a room with HQ video, protected by passwords and moderators, share your desktop with them, and your conferences can be recorded and embedded on your website.”  – Check out this tutorial on how to use Tinychat by clicking here.

When it comes to video conferencing, though, one of the advantages I see for online learning is that it can be completed in asynchronous format.  In other words, users can log on at any time of the day and not at a specific time.  As an instructor, I find this to be extremely helpful to me.  I do my best thinking at around 5:00 am and I doubt my students would want to log on for a lecture at that time.

Asynchronous video is still an excellent option for online courses. It may not have the interactive abilities that programs like Skype have, but it may also avoid some of the confusion and problems that come with understanding the technology as well.  There is also the blended learning option that some schools embrace.  Some schools have parts of the classes offered synchronously and parts asynchronously. 

There are tools for both types of learning.  There are advantages and disadvantages with both.  Chronical.com stated the following about synchronous online tools, “If using the “same time, different place” model of communication, some common barriers to implementation of synchronous tools are cost and bandwidth—not only cost and bandwidth on your end, as the individual teacher or the institution, but also to the students. This is especially true with conferencing systems; video/web conferencing requires equipment to deliver but also to receive. Although the benefits of real-time video conferencing are clear—it’s as near to a physical classroom environment as you can get—the software, hardware, and bandwidth necessary on both sides can be more cost-prohibitive than actually physically attending a class.”

That same article addressed asynchronous online tools, giving the following examples of technology that can be used in this asynchronous online setting:

  • Discussion boards: whether integrated into your online learning environment or not (such as Google Groups), well-managed discussion boards can produce incredibly rich conversations about topics at hand.
  • Blogs: my personal favorite, as not only are the students discussing with one another (and the instructor), but they’re learning something about writing for a wider audience whomay or may not be listening in.  The open nature of blogs also allows for communication between students in other classes at other institutions who are studying the same topics.  You might have to make “comments on blogs” count for a grade in order for some students to do it, but such is the nature of  the beast—those students probably wouldn’t talk in class, either.
  • Social Networking Site:  Facebook and Twitter can play important roles in your asynchronous communications strategy.  Facebook pages for a class can be the destination for up-to-date information about the course, without your students having to friend you (or even one another).  Twitter, and Twitter lists, can be useful sites of asynchronous discussion, although not in the threaded format that one is used to seeing in a discussion board setting.
  • E-mail/Listservs:  Some people consider mailing lists to be quaint relics of a previous technological age, but it’s hard to argue with the fact that they still work: an e-mail based discussion list does afford one the ability to carry on threaded discussions in a private environment, yet outside the confines of a managed system (for discussion boards).  In fact Google Groups (referenced above) is a threaded discussion board that can also take place via e-mail, putting a different twist on the typical concept of the listserv.

I personally often use my blog in my online classrooms.  I teach many courses where students are researching specific topics such as entrepreneurship, leadership, marketing, etc.  By adding links to my blog where I have written about many of these topics, it helps add content to the discussions.  I have not had students create their own blog as the above author mentions, although I like the idea, but I have taught classes using a wiki.

For those of you not familiar with what a wiki is, think of Wikipedia.  That is the ultimate wiki where information can be added to a site by multiple sources.  When classes are taught on a wiki, it is a bit more complicated as students need to write some code-like information.  It worked out well in the school where I taught it, because it was a technology-based school where students had more technology training.  One advantage of a wiki is for group-based projects.  In the course I taught, students were able to work together on one big project where they could all enter information onto the wiki.  The problem with any group project, wiki-based or not, is that you still have those students who do not participate as much as others.   

As with any technology, there will always be some obstacles to overcome.  However, I embrace technology and look forward to the next new product that helps increase student involvement and retention. For more information about online learning, check out my book:  The Online Student User’s Manual.

What is Udemy? Teach and Learn Online

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Ask Dr. Diane: First Time Online Student Questions

Ask Dr. Diane:  This week’s question is actually a compilation of several questions my “new to online learning” students have asked this week.

  1.  How much time does a student have to complete an online quiz?  This varies by school and by quiz.  In most of my courses, there is no time limit on taking the quiz.  However, many of the quizzes are set up so that you can only take them once.  If you get out of it, they often do not let you get back into it.  If you have technical difficulties, you might be able to call technical support and have them reset the quiz for you.
  2. How many discussion questions do I have to answer each week?  This also varies by school.  I have schools where I post one or two discussion questions each week that we get into a lot of depth discussing.  I have others were we have 5 questions.  Most schools require that you not only answer the initial question but that you also respond to some of your fellow classmates’ responses to that question. 
  3. How much time will I need to spend online each week?  This is a complicated question to answer.  Most of the classes I teach are asynchronous which means you can access the class during the hours of the day when it is most convenient for you. If a class is synchronous that would mean you would have to be online at a specific time.  In asynchronous classes, like the ones I teach, the majority of times students will spend will depend upon the course being taught.  It has been my experience that first-time 100 level courses require more reading than they do a lot of writing.  As you progress into master level courses, more research and writing will be required.  If you are reading more than writing, the time you spend online would depend upon whether your books were online books or regular books.  Even if they are online books, you could technically print them out.  I have some students say they spend about an hour a day online while others spend much more time.  A lot depends upon your learning style and that week’s assignments’ requirements.
  4. How are assignments submitted?  Each school uses a software program to have you access their classroom materials.  This software is called a platform.  The schools where I work use: OLS, Angel, eCollege and Blackboard.  The software for each school may differ to some extent, but in general, you will post answers to questions by responding in a way that is similar to responding to an email or a blog posting.  To upload assignments, it is very similar to uploading a file as you would if you were attaching it to an email. 

I answer a lot of these questions and more in my book:  The Online Student User’s Manual.

Top Questions New Online Students Ask

I need your help! I am developing some videos for YouTube where I will be answering some of my student’s questions.  I would like to hear from those who have questions that you would like answered about online college courses.  Many of my students have questions about participation, time requirements, how discussion questions work, how to stay on track, how online degrees compare to traditional degrees, etc.  Please email me by clicking here and  I will send you back a response and your questions may show up on YouTube!