All posts by pamelahuxtable

Online Student of the Block Fall 1 2016

Former Minor League Baseball Player named Wilmington University Online Student of the Block

Online student of the block fall 1 2016Tom Vessella has had an interesting path to becoming a Wilmington University Educational Leadership Doctoral student. Born and raised in Burbank, CA, he’s spent the last nine years playing professional minor league baseball. As he observes, “I have spent so much time on a baseball field that I could not see myself being anywhere else.” However, as Tom reflects, he notes that in his time as a professional athlete he’s “seen and experienced countless examples of what leadership can do to teams and individuals.”

Today, living back in his native Burbank, CA, Tom serves as the strength and assistant baseball coach at Hope International University. With an aim to one day oversee a collegiate athletic department, he enrolled in the Educational Leadership Doctoral Program (EDD) – Higher Education Concentration in January 2016. Asked why he chose Wilmington University, Tom says “I chose Wilmington University because of its flexibility and the possibility of combining my passions of baseball, education, and leadership.” Congratulations, Tom!

Don’t Get Held Hostage – How to Avoid a Ransomware Scam

The recent ransomware attack on a Los Angeles hospital sent a shock wave through the information security industry. (http://techcrunch.com/2016/02/17/la-hospital-servers-shut-down-by-ransomware/) Hopefully, the misfortune of Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center will serve as a warning for everyone that handles personal data, both institutions and individuals.

blog post graphic - cyber securityWhat is Ransomware?
Ransomware is a malicious form of computer hacking that locks a user out of their own computer or files. The user’s data is encrypted, and the hacker then sells the encryption key to the user, holding their data for ransom. These attacks are more sophisticated than the Nigerian prince phishing emails of the past (http://www.ic3.gov/preventiontips.aspx#item-12). A public service announcement from the FBI states that ransomware losses exceeded $18 million from April 2014 to June 2015.

Online students need to be especially careful. A ransomware hack right as a term paper is due or right before an online exam would be disastrous. And when an FBI expert advises end users to pay the ransom, (https://securityledger.com/2015/10/fbis-advice-on-cryptolocker-just-pay-the-ransom/) what is an end user supposed to do?

The good news is that protecting yourself is simple and straightforward.

Follow the basic rules when using email: don’t open or download attachments, especially from senders you don’t recognize. Dwight Robinson, Information Security Analyst at Wilmington University, also suggests that online students be careful not to open emails with embedded links, and pay attention to the fonts and also the grammatical errors in the email. Robinson says, “Invest in a good antivirus like Sophos, McAfee, Malwarebytes or Trend Micro. Invest in an external drive, so later you won’t have to pay.”

The other way to protect yourself: Backup, backup, and backup.
If you don’t have a backup routine established, now is the time to get started. Online students especially need to keep private backups, as Wilmington University online courses are periodically removed from the system (http://www.wilmu.edu/blackboard/students/studentfaq.aspx#Remove) Here are some recommendations for creating your own backup procedure:

Backup regularly. Set aside time and put the backup task onto your calendar.

Backup wisely. If you have many important documents that you edit regularly, back up the documents daily. A complete system backup can be done less frequently.

Mix up your backup technologies. A cloud backup is a great idea, but don’t stop there. Use an external hard drive, dvd, or flash drive to keep backups, too.

Mix up your backup location. If you are in a flood prone area, lose electricity on a regular basis, consider leaving a physical backup at a remote location. Backup your files to an external drive or media and leave a copy with a friend or parent.

Once you have a backup routine established, test it out. Double check that you can reboot or read the files on your backup.

Hopefully, you’ll never encounter ransomware and you’ll recognize a suspicious email when you receive one. But with a backup routine in place, you can protect your data, your time, and your hard earned money.

Dr. Mark Hufe, Wilmington University’s Director of Cyber Security, has additional tips on what you can do to protect your data, minimize vulnerabilities and ward off threats, both at work and at home.

hufescreen

Try Mindfulness

mindfulnessquoteWhat can mindfulness do for you as a student?
Mindfulness gets a lot of buzz lately, but what does it mean, really?When you are mindful, you are aware and present, focused and relaxed. For students, this quality can be especially important. If your attention is divided between family, home, work, and your studies, cultivating mindfulness can help you focus on the moment and whatever is immediately important, whether it is fixing dinner, attending a meeting at work, or preparing for a class project.

Incorporate some mindfulness practice in your life you’ll reap the benefits: improved focus, reduced stress, and increased productivity. And that’s not just talk. These benefits are measurable and have been seen in numerous scientific and medical studies.

In a study at Jefferson Medical College, medical students who participated in a mindfulness-based stress reduction seminar had significant reductions in their levels of anxiety and depression. (Steven Rosenzweig , Diane K. Reibel , Jeffrey M. Greeson , George C. Brainard & Mohammadreza Hojat (2003) Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Lowers Psychological Distress In Medical Students, Teaching and Learning in Medicine, 15:2, 88-92, DOI: 10.1207/S15328015TLM1502_03)(http://dx.doi.org/10.1207/S15328015TLM1502_03)

Another study published in the Journal of American College Health (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22686356) showed a correlation between higher levels of mindfulness and better overall health. In fact, “Dispositional mindfulness contributed to better physical health even after controlling for traditional health habits.”

So, how do you go about cultivating mindfulness?
When your mind is racing from one thing to another and you cannot focus, try this simple five senses exercise:
Close your eyes and listen to your own breath. Take 3 deep breaths. Then, consider each of your five senses.

  • What do you see?
  • What can you hear?
  • What can you feel?
  • What can you taste?
  • What can you smell?

To conclude the exercise, take a few more deep breaths. You’ll find this exercise calming and restorative, and a way to bring mindfulness into your day.

Deeper meditation practices also develop mindfulness. And it doesn’t have to be long – studies have shown that even a few minutes can have lasting effects. A quick search on YouTube will turn up guided meditation exercises of all different lengths. Or you can use a free app such as Relax Melodies or Calm to guide you in a meditation.

For a quick overview of meditation, take a look at the Beginner’s Guide to Meditation:

 

Mindfulness can impact your studies in a very positive way. It can reduce stress, increase focus, and improve productivity.

 

Online Student of the Block: Spring I 2016

Online student of the block Spring 1 2016Please join me in congratulating Mary Weber, chosen as our Spring Block I online student of the block! Mary lives in Delaware and graduated Magna Cum Laude from Del Tech last fall. She is an Elementary Education Major and currently has a 4.0 GPA. In her spare time, she works as a waitress. She enjoys shopping, reading, and spending time at the beach. Best of luck in your degree and congratulations!

Online Student of the Block: Dianna Petterle

Online student of the block Fall 1 2015Please join me in congratulating Dianna Petterle, chosen as our Fall Block I online student of the block!   Dianna lives in Northern California and is more than half-way through her program. She is a Behavioral Science major and currently works as a Project Manager for a healthcare company.  She loves to spend time with her five year old grandson and volunteers for her local library, leading story time for two head start preschool classes. Best of luck in your degree and congratulations!

Welcome Lauren Havens, Online Student Navigator

Because of the growth of our online student population at Wilmington University, we have added a second online navigator to further support students. The Online Learning Department welcomes Lauren Havens, who joins Kelly Clayton as an Online Student Navigator.

laurenhavensLauren has over seven years of counseling experience and Online Learning.  She began her career in the advertising and financial industries and, after attaining her Master’s Degree in Counseling, returned to college to counsel students in Career Development.  Lauren has had experience working in large and small organizations and enjoys helping students find their passion and fit that passion into their work.  Lauren also teaches online classes with Wilmington University and has helped design an online Capstone Class for seniors.

Kelly Clayton has pioneered the role of Online Student Navigator since 2012. “Having Lauren as a second navigator will enable us to implement initiatives that will further improve your online student experience,” Clayton said.

Many other institutions have a student navigator, helping students overcome obstacles to achievement. But Wilmington University recognizes that online students need support and navigation that differs from their face-to-face peers.

Online Student Navigators provide online students with personalized guidance for their online learning experience. From financial aid, scheduling, and classes, the Navigators are ready to assist you with any questions you may have.

Email:
navigator@wilmu.edu
Phone:
302-356-2454
Chat:
Chat with the Navigator

Putting SafeAssign to Work for You

Before digital research sources, people used to walk into a library to get sources which were physical books and journals. It was easier to draw boundaries between your own work and other people’s work. Now that everything is digital, it is sometimes harder to draw those boundaries. That’s where SafeAssign can help.

As an online student at Wilmington University, chances are you’ve used SafeAssign. Maybe you’ve submitted a SafeAssignment in a course, or perhaps your instructor has checked your work in a direct submission. Either way, if you think of SafeAssign as an annoying fact checker, peering over your shoulder, we want to change that. Wilmington University wants you to discover how you can put SafeAssign to work to your advantage.

 

How does it work?

SafeAssign scans a student’s work and compares it to both a local database based on work previously submitted to the university, and a larger web database. SafeAssign very quickly will show where academic sources need to be cited.

Sample report imageOnce an assignment has been processed through SafeAssign, you will see an originality report. If you’re curious about what SafeAssign Report looks like and how is it interpreted, click here to view a sample report.

It’s important to remember the following points when reading your report:

  • Common turns of phrase or clichés are often marked as plagiarism
  • A matching score does not necessarily indicate that you have plagiarized
  • A writing assignment with a research requirement will generate a higher score

When you edit after running your paper through SafeAssign, your score can help you identify areas of work. “When you’re writing papers using other people’s ideas, it’s best to paraphrase so the writing flows naturally and reads like your writing.” said Katherine Cottle, Chair of Literature & Humanities in the College of Arts & Sciences at Wilmington University. ”The ideas still need in-text citations, but paraphrasing rather than quoting really shows that you understand the material.”

If your paper has generated a high score, first check to make sure all quotes are cited correctly. That is, enclose quotes in quote marks with the source identified. Then review your paper, looking for opportunities to inject your own ideas and inferences into the text.

A good score goal for a research paper is less than 15% direct quotes, which shows that you have included supporting quotes and perhaps some common phrases, but the body of the paper is your original text. Remember, even if they are your words, if they are someone else’s ideas, you must cite the sentences and tell us where you got the information.

How do I use SafeAssign?

We’ve developed a tutorial video to explain how to submit assignments, plus a handout for students:

http://www.wilmu.edu/blackboard/toolsresources/documents/SafeAssign_Students_000.pdf

http://www.wilmu.edu/blackboard/toolsresources/safeassign.aspx

If your instructor does not use SafeAssign, you can use the Student Success Center Tutoring course within Blackboard to submit your paper online and view an originality report. Here are the instructions:

http://www.wilmu.edu/blackboard/toolsresources/safeassign_ssc.aspx

Academic integrity and original student work are cornerstones of Wilmington University’s approach to online learning. Academic integrity includes acknowledging the work and ideas of others, even if they are widely and readily available. Using SafeAssign can help you maintain your personal and academic integrity.

Online Student of the Block: Nadine Charles

Online student of the block summer 1 2015Summer Block 1 2015’s online student of the block is Nadine Charles. Nadine has been working for Christiana Care for 15 years as a Registered Nurse. She is thankful for the partnership between Wilmington University and Christiana Care which has helped facilitate her return to school. Nadine’s goal is to become a leader in her field and mentions that Online Learning at Wilmington University has given her the flexibility needed to continue her education. Nadine also appreciates the support of close family and friends along her journey. She is preparing for her final project and expects to graduate in the Fall of 2015. Great job Nadine!