All posts by adamvoyton

What Every Student Wants to Know: Why Are My Books So Expensive?

textbookblogWe sat down with Rich Knapp and Carmen Casanova from Wilmington University’s Campus Store to ask them about renting and purchasing textbooks and etextbooks. We asked them the question that most students ask – “Why are textbooks so expensive compared to non-educational books?”

Unlike non-educational books, textbooks go through a rigorous approval process. “Development and vetting of the product is the most expensive part of textbook development,” said Rich Knapp, Assistant Manager and Texbook Coordinator at the Campus Store.

Tenured professors are hired to write the book, while other professionals vet and correct the text. After that, a sales team markets and sells the book. “All of this happens before the publisher gets any revenue,” added Knapp. Mass market publishing requires much less up front investment.

Carmen Casanova, Manager of the Campus Store, wants Wilmington University students to know that the Campus Store is committed to giving students the best price possible for their books. “The Campus Store is owned and operated by Wilmington University, a non-profit institution,” she said.

Many higher education institutions have outsourced their bookstores to outside companies. “We’re here to provide a service to our students, not to make a profit,” said Casanova. “We work very hard to find the lower possible prices for our students.”

But there’s no denying that textbooks are a large expense in your education budget.

If textbooks are straining your budget, there are steps you can take to reduce the expense. Try renting your books, or consider ebooks, which can be up to 50% of the cost of printed books. And financial aid students may use their award to purchase books at the Campus Store after their tuition obligation is met.

Casanova and Knapp recognize that students also take advantage of Amazon’s competitive textbook pricing, but caution students that outside sources’ return policies may not be as generous as the Campus Store’s. Students also run the risk of ordering an outdated or wrong textbook.

Meet a Wildcat Co-op: Sergio C.

Sergio CSergio is a Behavioral Science major who expects to graduate next summer. After graduation, his goal is to join Delaware’s Probation and Parole department. Further down the road, he would like to join a local police department. Along his path toward achieving those goals, he obtained a co-op position at the Ferris School for Boys, a level 5 correctional/treatment facility for adjudicated males ages 13 to 18. He completed his co-op experience just this past summer.

I asked Sergio what made him decide to pursue a co-op position, to which he replied: “A situation at work motivated me to pursue the co-op program.  I’m a security guard at a local commercial building. One day, my supervisor and I responded to call regarding an intoxicated individual.  Long story short, we detained an intoxicated juvenile carrying an open container.  I felt bad for the child because he spilled his life story with us.  A month later, I received an email about an opportunity at Mowlds Cottage [a six-week transition program that follows a stay at Ferris School]. This opportunity allowed me to observe the rehabilitative process from the staff and juvenile point of view.”

When asked his favorite part of his co-op experience, he says: “My favorite part is hearing stories from each of the employee about their goals and motivations to work with at risk juveniles.  I spoke with the staff and I found the majority are passionate about helping the children to succeed.  The staff wants the children to leave the lock-down facility with better career and education skills, confidence and coping skills.”

Sergio says he recommends the co-op program to students with similar career goals and a passion to help children attain a better pathway in life.

What’s stopping you from building your future? Learn more about the Office of Cooperative Education at: http://www.wilmu.edu/coop or send an email to capcoop@wilmu.edu.

Student of the Block Fall Block 1 – Tim Czuk

Student of the Block Fall Block I 2014Tim lives and works on the West Coast. He earned a BSN from Washington State University in December 1999, and has been employed by a large urban hospital as an Oncology Certified Registered Nurse since 2000. Through progressive leadership roles, he currently acts as nurse manager for two inpatient oncology units. Despite no formal business education, in his spare time Tim also co-founded a microbrewery in 2010. Tim is a dedicated father to three children and spends many nights a week cheering from the sidelines.  To assist him in excelling in his current role and continued growth in his career, Tim chose to continue his education with an MBA concentrating in Health Care Administration. Wilmington University offered just the right balance of quality, flexibility, and affordability. Classes have been engaging and enlightening given his daily work role.  With all this, Tim still maintains a GPA of 4.0.  Please join me in congratulating Tim on being our featured student of Fall Block I!

Meet a Wildcat Co-op: Mat M.

2Mat Marshall - center of photo in glasses
Mat, seated at center, at a meeting held by Senator Carper of Delaware.

I had the opportunity to ask undergraduate Government and Public Policy major Mat M. a few questions about his experience as a co-op. He expects to graduate in May 2015, after which he would like to manage Democratic political campaigns in Delaware and beyond. Reading about the co-op program on our website helped Mat solidify his decision to transfer to Wilmington University.

Read on to find out how Mat is opening doors in his political career and enriching the value of his education through cooperative education.

Describe your co-op experience: where do you work and what do you do there?
I work for the U.S. Senate as Senator Carper’s Deputy New Castle County Director. I take meetings with constituent groups, staff the senator while he is in the county, and handle small business outreach.

I also work for Senator Carper’s campaign committee as its Political Director, where my duties range from fundraising and donor management to working with the Democratic Party to support its ticket in the 2014 election. Both jobs are being used for co-op credit.

Mat Marshall - second photo
Being on Senator Carper’s staff has opened many doors for Mat.

Do you feel co-op has helped you get closer to attaining your goals?
Absolutely. My experience with Senator Carper’s staff could never be replicated in a classroom. That’s not just because of the kind of work I have in my own portfolio. A huge part of the value in my experience has come from working with the colleagues, friends, and mentors I’ve found on Senator Carper’s staff. I work every day with people whose passion for public service, diversity of experience, and collective knowledge has taught me more in the past two years than I’ve learned at any time since I took an interest in politics. It’s important to get a college education for the contextual and foundational understanding of your work, but nothing will teach you to do a job better than doing a job.

What made you decide to pursue a co-op position?
I’ve been interested in politics and public service since an 8th grade internship with the City of Newark’s Parks and Recreation Department, and I’ve been steadily involved in campaigns and internships since then. By the time I transferred to Wilmington, I was Senator Carper’s driver and had been working with his team for about a year. It was just a matter of connecting the dots that I could use my work experience to earn credit.

What has been your favorite part(s) of your co-op experience?
Strictly speaking, my favorite part of the co-op is the fact that I get to go to work and earn credit at the same time. But the co-op has enhanced my work experience, because it pushes me to search for a deeper analysis in the work that I do.

Would you recommend the co-op program to other students? Why or why not?
Absolutely. Frankly, it would benefit every college student to round out their education with work experience. The co-op program not only allows you to advance your career by getting work experience before earning your degree, it also gives you a deeper understanding of everything you’ve learned up to that point, and a broader perspective on everything that you learn thereafter.

 

What’s stopping you from building your future? Learn more about the Office of Cooperative Education at: http://www.wilmu.edu/coop or send an email to capcoop@wilmu.edu.

 

Blackboard Organizations at Wilmington University

Orgs_collageWhen you attend Wilmington University as an online student, there’s no need to feel left out of campus life. Through Blackboard, you can join a campus club or organization and participate online. Simply log on to Blackboard, and click the organizations tab at the top of the page.

From the Green Team (an environmental service group open to students, faculty and staff) to the Legal Studies Student Group and the Digital Film Making Club, you’re probably going to find an organization that suits your interests. Is your hobby, passion, or major not on the Organizations list? Student Life has a procedure for new student groups – start by filling out this New Student Organization Request for Approval Form.

club advisors and student officers
Club Advisors and Student officers at Wilmington University

The first group online students will encounter is the Online Student Organization, in which all online students are automatically enrolled when they matriculate into Wilmington University. This group is a place for online students to network in a relaxed atmosphere and participate in online activities.

You may want to watch the overview video to get a feel for how organizations work in Blackboard. Many organizations are self-enrolled – you enroll yourself in the group, whereas other groups you may find you’re automatically a member, based on your major.

View the overview of Blackboard Organizations video here.

Online Student of the Block Summer 2 – John Repici

Student of the Block Summer Block II 2014John Repici lives in Burlington, New Jersey and is a graduate of Burlington County College. He chose Wilmington University in 2013 to continue his education because of the excellent price and convenience. This past Fall he was in four courses (first semester at Wilmington) and was fortunate enough to be on the Dean’s List for the semester. This summer John will be in his final five courses and is very proud to be the first individual in his family to earn a college degree. John is completing his Bachelor’s degree in just one academic year after transferring in his Associate’s degree. Immediately after graduating, he will continue at Wilmington for either an MSM or MBA with a marketing concentration. Congratulations John for being chosen as Summer Block II student of the block! Your accomplishments are impressive!

Tech Support and Online Students

techsupport cut outAt Wilmington University, ensuring that online students have the technical resources they need to be successful is a priority. We’ve instituted a number of support programs targeted toward technical support of our students, including:

  1. An online orientation course, DIS 095, with links and tools to technical support in the course.
  2. Blackboard How-to Videos
  3. Access to the University Information Center, which offers a toll free phone number for tech support.

And all matriculating students, online or on campus, with less than 15 credits must take FYE – First Year Experience, a seminar designed to introduce students to college level expectations and experiences. Kelly Clayton, Online Student Navigator at Wilmington University, says, “Part of FYE’s goal is to give the student an overview of the technology tools they need for success in Wilmington University’s online programs.”

Clayton says most tech questions that she fields are simple issues regarding web browsers and problems within specific courses, such as assignment submissions.

Students who need help with Microsoft software applications can visit Wilmington University’s Student Success Center – online. If you need to brush up on your Excel, PowerPoint or Word skills, you can view a video tutorial or check their calendar for online workshops: http://www.wilmu.edu/ssc/workandsems.aspx


Students needing technical support for Blackboard, WebCampus, email, or other technology systems, please contact The University Information Center (UIC):


 

 

Wilmington University’s First Steps Online

boston-gazette-18th-centuryOne of the earliest examples of distance learning was an advertisement for a short hand correspondence course that appeared in the Boston Gazette in 1728. (Wikipedia, Distance Education)

And almost 300 years later, Wilmington University offered its first online course. In the fall of 2007, a BBM 300 level class was given a trial run. The course wasn’t promoted, it was just quietly introduced. At the conclusion of the course, staff members were enlisted to call each student to get feedback.

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Image courtesy of ddpavumba/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Wilmington University has come a long way since then. After this trial period, we started promoting online programs in 2008. Our first programs offered fully online were Human Resource Management and Business Management.

Today, in the spring of 2014, Wilmington University offers over 80 online programs – undergraduate and graduate, concentrations, and certificates. These programs cover a huge range of subject matter, from behavioral science to computer security, sports management and health care administration. Even traditional degree programs include classes online.

Learn more about online learning on our web site: http://www.wilmu.edu/onlinelearning/index.aspx

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD): Online Students on the Front Lines

Bring Your Own Device(BYOD) is an industry and educational buzz phrase that’s been getting a lot of attention lately. Businesses and educational institutions have modified their rigid technological requirements in favor of a more relaxed acceptance of employees and students using their own technology in the workplace and classroom.

For online students, using your own technology is nothing new. And students that choose to attend classes completely online must rely completely on their own ability to manage technology.

an array of different technology: tablets, laptops, phones
What device do you bring to the table?

Faced with a dizzying array of technology tools, laptops to desktops, tablets and smartphones, how do online students decide which tools will work best for them?

Sometimes students don’t make any new choices, but simply use their home computing system without investing or changing technology when they enroll in an online course. And that’s fine.

Wilmington University’s recommendations for students interested in online education are very basic:

  • convenient internet access
  • email
  • online research capability
  • computing skills that include proficiency with Microsoft products, including Word and PowerPoint

Wilmington University also recommends the use of certain internet browsers.

For the student interested in buying new devices or software, your status as a Wilmington University student entitles you to educational discounts at Dell, Apple, and JourneyEd. Com. You can find student purchasing information on this page.

Is BYOD liberating or nerve wracking? When you are buying technology, do you consider your needs as an online student?

The Pen is Mightier than the Keyboard

study-notepadVstypingHow do you take notes these days? Can you type faster than you can write with pen and paper? If you’re using your laptop to type notes during lectures or meetings, you may want to rethink that practice. The Chronicle of Higher Education (http://chronicle.com/blogs/wiredcampus/taking-notes-by-hand-benefits-recall-researchers-find/51411) recently reported on a new study of note taking practices. This study shows that students have a much higher rate of knowledge retention and comprehension when handwriting notes rather than typing.

“When I type notes, I find that I’m not really listening and comprehending the information. It seems it goes in one ear and out the other while transcribing what the speaker is saying,” said Adam Voyton, Instructional Technology Project Specialist at Wilmington University’s Educational Technology Department.

There’s a scientific basis for Voyton’s impression. An experiment conducted by Jean-Luc Velay at the University of Marseille (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110119095458.htm) demonstrated that the brain uses different areas when writing longhand as opposed to typing. Writing by hand engages the sensorimotor memory part of our brain that helps us recognize letters.

The report in the Chronicle of Higher Education states that even though note taking on a computer results in more detailed transcribed notes, long hand note takers have more conceptual understanding of the material, and in some cases, even more factual recall.

But fans of technology shouldn’t despair. Instead of a pencil, why not break out a stylus pen and take notes on a tablet? You’ll have the best of both worlds – the advantage of notes taken electronically combined with the higher brain retentive action of long hand writing.

Meet Khushbu P., a Wildcat Co-op!

Khushbu P. is yet another Wilmington University student who is busy expanding her future through a co-op experience at SSD Technology Partners. A Computer and Network Security major, Khushbu desires to work in the information security field after graduation, in hopes of landing a position with a government agency. She feels her co-op experience has helped her get closer to attaining that goal because of the hands-on experience she is immersed in from day to day.

Obtaining this hands-on experience was the very reason Khushbu contacted Office of Cooperative Education director David Caffo about co-op opportunities. Her advice to other students who might be considering the co-op program? Take advantage of the free elective space in their programs. “Most students don’t use free electives to their benefit, and I thought the co-op program was a wonderful idea. It gives students the opportunity to see how the real world works, to get experience to put on their résumés, and this helps them land a job faster.”

What’s stopping you from building your future? Learn more about the Office of Cooperative Education at: http://www.wilmu.edu/coop or send an email to capcoop@wilmu.edu.

Meet Vienna O., a Wildcat Co-op!

Vienna, an undergraduate Information Systems Management major and Math minor, obtained a co-op position within Wilmington University’s Office of Institutional Research. When asked what prompted her to pursue a co-op position, Vienna cited her busy lifestyle: “I love being on the move and constantly doing something, so the co-op position seemed like the perfect solution.”

Vienna’s post-graduation goal is to obtain a full-time job working for Disney, and she feels her co-op experience has helped her toward attaining that goal because of the valuable workplace skills she has gained. Vienna says she has learned relevant computer skills, has become more detail-oriented, and has become a more confident and skilled communicator thanks to her co-op experience. Through her work as a co-op, Vienna feels she is a useful and helpful asset to the University. Wilmington University co-ops like Vienna contribute significant work to their organizations – work that is also relevant to their field of study and/or career focus.

When asked if she would recommend the co-op program to other students, Vienna says, “Absolutely! This experience has been so wonderful and I have gained so much. I hope that everyone else gets the chance to have a similar experience.”

What’s stopping you from building your future? Learn more about the Office of Cooperative Education at: http://www.wilmu.edu/coop or send an email to capcoop@wilmu.edu.

 

E-textbooks and Learning

Sallie’s Spin

drsreissmanA series of  conversations with Dr. Sallie Reissman, Senior Director of Online Learning and Educational Technology at Wilmington University, a leader in the field of online learning. Since 2000, she has guided Wilmington University as the institution first implemented online course work, leading to fully online courses in 2007 and then the fully online degree programs that Wilmington University offers today.                                               _______________________________________________________________________
Do you think electronic textbooks will eventually replace textbooks?

tabletvsbook

Dr. Reissman says, “Yes! There will probably always be printed fiction books, but textbooks will surely go completely digital sometime soon – just like newspapers and magazines. Textbooks have learning concepts that change often, particularly in scientific fields.”
Traditional textbooks are similar to old ‘static’ online courses, lacking in interactivity and student feedback.E-textbooks take learning further with interactive elements. Don’t know a word? You can instantly define it within an e-textbook. Plus, students can instantly test their comprehension of the material within some e-textbooks. Built in videos add to the experience and deepen learning.“Plus, e-books are green,” said Reissman, “so there’s no cost for printing. It’s faster to deliver the content to students, and easy to update the edition.”“However, the e-publishing industry is still evolving,” she said, “I would advise e-textbook publishers to include high quality learning objects and plug-ins to their textbooks.”Have you taken a class that used an e-textbook? What was your experience?

Meet Jennifer S., a Wildcat Co-op!

JenniferSJennifer is an undergraduate Marketing major who is currently in her senior year at Wilmington University. She heard about the co-op program from the instructor of her Consumer Behavior course, and decided to pursue a co-op position in order to gain relevant work experience for a career in marketing. “It was a good way to get my foot in the door,” Jennifer says.

Jennifer obtained a co-op position right here at WilmU, in the University Relations/Marketing department, and the experience has been very rewarding. Jennifer says, “I really like that this department includes me. I get invited to every meeting.” She has been developing her skills in advertising, particularly Google Analytics and Google AdWords. By promoting these valuable skills through the social networking site LinkedIn, potential employers have already reached out to Jennifer – and she has not even graduated yet! In addition, the co-op program’s flexibility has allowed to keep her two other jobs while attending school full-time.

Jennifer’s story is a great example of how a co-op position provides hands-on experience related to a student’s major field of study or career focus. Gaining practical on-the-job experience, developing confidence, gaining professional contacts, and testing applications of academic theories are just a few of the ways students can benefit from a co-op position.

What’s stopping you from building your future? Learn more about the Office of Cooperative Education at: http://www.wilmu.edu/coop or send an email to capcoop@wilmu.edu.

Introverts vs. Extroverts in Online Classrooms

 Sallie’s Spin

drsreissmanA series of  conversations with Dr.Sallie Reissman, Senior Director of Online Learning and Educational Technology at Wilmington University, a leader in the field of online learning. Since 2000, she has guided Wilmington University as the institution first implemented online course work, leading to fully online courses in 2007 and then the fully online degree programs that Wilmington University offers today.                                               _______________________________________________________________________

QUIET_paperback_High-Res_Jacket-194x300

Susan Cain’s latest book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts, has started a lot of people talking about the differences between introverts and extroverts and how they function in society. We asked Dr. Reissman who she thought would perform better in an online classroom, introverts or extroverts?

She said, “The beauty of online learning is it works for any type of person because of the variety of communication options. The student is in charge of their communication preferences.”

In face to face courses, extroverts can take over the conversation and introverts may not speak up. Introverts may feel shy, or they just prefer to take some time to think and plan their response. Extroverts like to talk through their thought process.

“Online learning allows both types of learners to participate fully,” said Dr. Reissman.

Extroverts can reply to a discussion board by recording themselves with a webcam and uploading their response to Kaltura (WilmU’s video building block within Blackboard). Introverts can write their thoughts down and take their time responding to the instructor. An introvert that has difficulty making eye contact might find an online video response ideal.

With an online classroom, the playing field is leveled to provide equal opportunities.

Giving students equal opportunities to learn is a key component of the set of principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL).

Sandra Bennett
Sandra Bennett

Sandra Bennett is an Instructional Designer for Online Learning at Wilmington University, and the winner of the 2013 Blackboard Catalyst Award – Exemplary Course. Her expertise in UDL has led her to encourage her students to try new methods of expression and action while she provides appropriate supports.

“I have found that in my online courses that it is best practice to offer many opportunities for alternate engagement, representation, and action,” said Bennett. “I have also made small adjustments to course materials and evaluation methods that have created tremendous benefits for my students and myself.”

By recognizing that students –  introverted and extroverted  –  come with many different kinds of knowledge, aptitudes, and needs, UDL breaks down barriers to learning that may have existed in a face to face classroom.

Are you an introvert or an extrovert? How does that affect your learning, online or in a traditional classroom?