Sunday, June 28, 2009

Making education more convenient - will it work for you in the real world?

Last week perhaps was one of the biggest steps made in the land of recognizing online degree graduates as people to be reckoned with in the working world. I happen to request google alerts from "Concord Law School," the "oldest" of the online law schools offered on the net at the young age of 10 years old. As an aside, yes, I am looking at this non-ABA, only California accredited law school as a possibility in the future for me to indulge in a legal education. It's online, and a quarter of the cost of a law school around the DC area, so yeah, I am looking at it. Anyway, the biggest 2 liners of the week for Concord Law School were these headlines: "Online Law School Grad Who Sued to Take Bar Gets His License," and "Concord Law School Team Competes in National Moot Court Finals."

First of the headlines, is a major break through, at least from the stand point that of the people in Massachusetts who could take the bar, it was only for ABA- accredited school graduates. However, Ross Mitchell of Newton, Mass, and graduate of the Los Angeles based Concord Law, had the courage in November of last year to stand in front of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts pro se and state his case that he should take the Massachusetts Bar, despite that he did not graduate from an ABA-accredited school. He won favor with the court, a 6 to 1 decision, and on June 22 of this year, he was admitted into the Massachusetts Bar. This was so earth shattering, that even the National Law Review picked up the story.

With regards to the second headline, two Concord students made it to the finals in the National Moot Court, which was held in Washington, DC. They beat out other universities, and were face-to-face to Stanford Law students at the American Constitution Society Annual Convention in Washington. 45 schools participated in this event, and to think that Concord was up against one of the toughest-curriculum law schools in the country is quite amazing!

Looking at these accomplishments with Concord students and graduates, is making me take a longer look about going to an online school. In today's world, everyone is so accustomed to the "brick and mortar" education. However, with the abundance of information and education online, it actually makes people rethink their lives and priorities and say "Hey, I can do this!" I know with the development of distance and online education, there is the need for the accreditation measures to make sure that these schools are legitimate and not something that is used as a marketing tool. Having a good education accessible to everyone who can afford it and can "get in" a school will help those who don't have the time, and yes, money, to attend a college of their choice and live on its campus. I mean, I definitely enjoyed my college experience, with the friendships that I developed over the years. I don't want the "brick and mortar" schools to go away. But logging on a computer anywhere in the world at 8:00 at night would be better than trying to get a baby sitter and beat traffic just to get that masters or law degree. Not many employers would think that kind of education is worth while. But it is a degree. However, I believe taking a distance course takes alot of self-discipline and desire to do it. After all, I am taking a paralegal course through distance education means. That is ALOT of self-discipline just to turn in assignments on time while looking for employment and raising my two girls.

I think the reputation of the online education, over time, will get better. As more Phoenix University and Concord Law graduates enter the workforce, more employers are going to have to look at those school names on resumes, and see that while these people were raising families and holding down jobs that they actually took the time to learn something. How convenient can an education be when all that an online graduate wanted to do was to get a better paying job so that his/her child can go to a "brick and mortar" school. That is the American dream, isn't it?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

A feeling of relief - now that summer is here

One big sign that summer is here, at least when looking at my children's schedules, is all the year-end programs that parents have to attend to show the work that our children accomplished. A couple of weeks ago, my oldest had her dance recital, under the theme of "Beauty and the Beast." There is nothing cuter than seeing young girls dressed in tutus. The performance, of the recital as a whole, was entertaining since there was various other dramas going on stage, and not just the dancing. One point during one of the routines with another group other than my daughters, had a child pushing and shoving other children. Ironically, it was during a routine called etiqutte and poise. Other than that, my daughter's performance was wonderful! She has such an interest and love for dancing, that we will be continuing it for her in the fall.

Besides all of the recitals, and year-end programs, it is a relief to parents to see it at an end. Even with my own projects, I just finished my final for the Parlegal I course. That is a relief in itself.

But as far as embarking on other things once the Sept-June projects are done, summer has its own set projects. There are the vacations, the swim lessons, soccer lessons and going to the pool more often. Actually, with all of these activities on the schedule (on top of my training for a marathon) these are more relaxing. I know the kids deserved that break from the norm. Once fall comes again, there will be a new exciting feeling, especially with my oldest starting kindergarten! The smell of new books and pencils will spark a new interest in learning. We will have to wait till August for that!

Monday, June 1, 2009

How come healthy foods are not more widely available?

I remember a few years ago that I wrote to Pillsbury and asked why they don't have whole wheat or whole grain varieties of their biscuits, rolls, pizza crust and even cookies. Whole grain is supposed to be the healthy option, right? And would it not be in their best interest of Pillsbury to better the lives of their customers colons by adding the needed fiber in their diets? Of course, who cannot resist those Grand cinnamon rolls or a flaky criossant. But if I want an unbleached version, shouldn't it be widely available?

This was just one of the issues I have with the mass-run companies that don't modify their products for the health of the consumer. McDonald's does not have whole wheat bread, neither does BK. Better yet, they don't even serve sirlon burgers, or fat free mayonaisse or how about those sweet potato BAKED fries! I know grease is what makes these places big on the list of appetizing places to eat, but for the sake of people's health, the baked version of the fries should be the norn, not the deep-calories fat invested ones. And a whole wheat bun should be topping the sirlion Big Mac, not a white-bleached infested bun!

Perhaps if these changes are made, the places would be afraid that they are going to lose customers. Somehow I doubt it because we are a fast-food nation. I view it is proliferating the customer base because it will add years to their lives.