Experiential Learning That Is Out of This World!

On September 28th, 2017, students in the SCI-304 Astronomy class at the New Castle Campus were given the opportunity to take their studies out of the classroom and into the real world. SCI-304 is a lecture-based science course that many students can take for elective credits and to satisfy their science requirements.

The problem with astronomy is that a lot of it is simply out of reach, literally. There is only so much you can see in the light-saturated area off of route 13, where the New Castle Campus sits.

As the adjunct instructor for the course, I sought to change that. I wanted the students to get to see the stars and learn about astronomy from people in the field. Mount Cuba Astronomical Observatory was the place to do this. Located in the Greenville, Delaware, the observatory houses a 0.6-meter telescope as well as a 4-inch refractor, two 10-inch Meade LX200s, and an 11-inch Celestron.

Mount Cuba telescope

One of the Mount Cuba telescopes. Photo credit: Mount Cuba.

First, we started with a great, short talk about the recent solar eclipse. Students saw a video similar to this taken of the full eclipse during totality, the point at which the moon completely covers the sun.

Then, students from Wilmington University were fortunate enough to get a behind-the-scenes look at the facility’s wonderful telescopes. They were able to look at the moon in crystal clear detail, thanks to a cloudless night.

Picture of a half-moon.

The moon as seen through a telescope at Mount Cuba. Photo credit: Stephen Scheib.

With the naked eye, they also saw the International Space Station zoom past in the night sky (it looked like a plane in regards to brightness, only without flashing lights).

Students were also able to view double-star systems and a globular cluster, a group of stars that orbit the center of a galaxy). They were also treated to a planetarium show, where zoomed-in images of galaxies, nebulae, and stars danced across the ceiling. Stars both young and old were shown in amazing detail not visible from human eyes alone.

Taking the learning outside of the classroom is a valuable experience for all students. Whether the course is an elective or a core program requirement, we should always aim to connect the information to real life experiences. The Mount Cuba Observatory is a hidden gem in northern Delaware that met this need perfectly. The small facility also hosts public and family nights throughout the year. Go outside and see the stars!

Meet a Wildcat Co-op: Krista F.

Krista F.Krista F. is a Communication major with a concentration in Integrated Marketing. She recently completed a co-op experience with Urban Bike Project, a local nonprofit. There, she helped with updating the organization’s website, posted news and announcements on their social media platforms, prepared brochures/business cards, and attended their events where she took photos to post on their website/social media sites. Read on to learn more about how Krista is making the most of her education here at WilmU.

What would you like to accomplish after you graduate?

I want get out of the financial field where I sit in an office all day, working 8-5. I plan to start work in my field where I can design, participate in marketing events and begin doing what I love!

Do you feel co-op has helped you get closer to attaining your goals?

Absolutely! I loved the hands-on experience, and feel even more confident that I chose the right career pathway. I feel that I gained experience with using social media platforms, building websites and writing for the public (experience that I didn’t have before this co-op experience).

What made you decide to pursue a co-op position?

I was so anxious to begin working in my field, but felt discouraged that many employers require 1-3 years experience in the field for entry level positions. When I saw Wilmington University’s emails that announce co-op positions, I jumped on the opportunity.

What has been your favorite part of your co-op experience?

My favorite part of the co-op experience was learning hands-on how to use the internet as a marketing tool, taking photos at the organization’s events to use in social media posts, and seeing the positive impact that my marketing efforts made for Urban Bike Project! It was a lot of fun!

Would you recommend the co-op program to other students?

Yes yes yes! Co-ops are a great way to give students that experience that they need to get their foot in the door.

What’s stopping you from building your future? Learn more about the Office of Cooperative Education at our website or by sending an email to capcoop@wilmu.edu.

COEL forms new Office of Work-Integrated Learning

Have you heard?  The newly-formed Office of Work-Integrated Learning (WIL) is your one-stop-shop when it comes to internships, co-ops, service learning, senior projects. WIL programs expand learning experiences through employment in a supervised, educational work environments related to your field of study or career focus. Check out our new website to learn more about our offerings!Wilmington University co-op student Kaitlin Mayhorn edits video in a classroom.

Wilmington University co-op student Kaitlin Mayhorn edits video in a classroom at the University, November 20, 2014. Tim Shaffer Photo

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!

Christian Broderick Shares his Experience of Volunteering at the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s Summer Camp

Christian Broderick, Instructional Technologist in the Online Learning and Educational Technology Department, recently volunteered at the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s Summer Camp in Leonardtown, MD. The MDA Summer Camp is a week

long camp for children ages 6 – 18 that have any of the variations of Muscular Dystrophy.  There are many different types of Muscular Dystrophy (https://www.mda.org/disease/list) and the way the disease affects the children is on a case by case basis.  This is why the MDA Summer Camps have one counselor for every single camper that comes to attend.


Christian shares a summary of his experience:

“This was the fifth year that I’ve been able to come and help and it was the second year I had my camper, Phil.  Throughout the week, it was my goal to help Phil and the other campers have an amazing week.  Camp is a place for these young boys and girls to be around people like them.  This is a place where they see other people in wheelchairs, this is a place where everything is accessible for them and it’s a place where we let them take risks.  Oftentimes, it’s hard for the parents or schools that these campers attend to try and do adventurous things, but we believe that part of our mission as counselors is to encourage them to try new things and experience activities they would not normally be able to do.  These activities include going out to the pier to go fishing, going for a swim in the pool, and being able to play basketball with an adjustable rim.  We even devised a way for the campers to be able to play Football.


This year was an important one for my camper Phil.  It was his final camp and he was “graduating.”  The final year of camp for these young men and women is an important milestone because most of them have been coming for years.  This normally coincides with them either leaving for college or entering their final year of high school.  It’s a time of reflection and a time to look forward to the future with the knowledge that they have a family in the MDA Summer Camp.  One of the graduates is going to be going to The College of Notre Dame down in Maryland and another is entering their final year of high school like Phil.  It’s our goal as counselors to do our best to help them transition by giving them experiences and tools through camp.


The MDA Summer Camp is a time for these young men and women to grow and it’s our job as counselors to try and keep up with them.  This is their week and we guide them the best that we can and keep them safe.  Then at the end of a long and joyous week, we see them off and wait another year until we start the whole experience over again.”


Join us in recognizing Christian and the other counselors for their commitment to making a lasting, positive impact on our community.

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.


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!

Meet a Wildcat Co-op: Joyce M.

Joyce M.Joyce M. is a current graduate student pursuing a Master of Science in Management (MSM) with a concentration in Human Resource Management.  She graduated summa cum laude from Wilmington University in May 2015 with a Bachelor of Science in Business Management. While pursuing her Bachelor’s degree, she completed a co-op experience at the University Relations department right here at WilmU. While there, she learned about organic and paid social media posts, digital advertising, Google AdWords, and Google Analytics. Upon graduation, she turned her co-op experience into a way to support herself while she continued on to pursue her MSM.  Read on to learn more about the co-op program in Joyce’s own words.

Do you feel co-op has helped you get closer to attaining your career goals?
One of the reasons that I decided to come to WilmU from the community college I attended was because of the professional-oriented degrees. I really wanted to do a marketing/social media internship my senior year to gain both experience and learn new things hands-on. My co-op helped me to apply a lot of what I learned in the classroom. Social media is everywhere and being familiar with it is an increasingly important skill set. I am more confident in my social media and marketing skills as a result of this experience.

What was your favorite part of your co-op experience?
My favorite part of my co-op experience was learning about Google AdWords. There is a lot of data that you can obtain from Google to help direct marketing campaigns and decide what type of advertisements to run. Having this data enables marketers and advertisers to make more informed decisions.

Would you recommend the co-op program to other students?
I would highly recommend that juniors or seniors do a co-op. I think that it is a great way to apply what you have learned and learn new skills on the job. The business landscape can change very quickly and learning new things and adapting to a constantly changing environment is imperative to a successful career. A co-op teaches you how to learn and adapt on the job.

What’s stopping you from building your future? Learn more about the Office of Cooperative Education at our website or by sending an email to capcoop@wilmu.edu.

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!

Meet a Wildcat Co-op: Phillip H.

I recently asked Communication major Phillip H. some questions about his co-op experience. Phillip will be graduating this semester with a Bachelor of Science in Communication with a concentration in Integrated Marketing Communication. As a part of his degree requirements, Phillip completed a co-op experience. Through co-op, students gain relevant work experience and apply academic theory to the professional world, all while earning academic credit. Read on to learn more about the reasons Phillip took advantage of this valuable WilmU program!

Phillip Headen Headshot Describe your co-op experience: where did you work, and what did you do there?

I worked at Vantage Labs, an educational technology company in New Hope, PA. I was assigned to the Digital Sports business unit, where I worked on marketing projects for their various web-based software products. This included working with the company’s customer resource management (CRM) system, Excel spreadsheets, research and analysis, strategizing and creating marketing campaigns, as well as contributing to product design and overall direction.

What would you like to accomplish after you graduate?

I would like to work in marketing for the time being, while I continue to convert my interest of web engineering into well-honed skills, so that I can eventually work in product development.

Do you feel co-op has helped you get closer to attaining your goals?

My co-op experience was very beneficial. Not only did it give me experience with contributing real work to an organization, it also helped me understand the little things about the business world that most people entering the workforce might ignore. Things such as HR, interoffice communication, and professional etiquette, are all important factors to understand and consider. I now know what things I want and don’t want in my career, so it is easier to narrow down my future goals.

What made you decide to pursue a co-op position?

I wanted a co-op position because I know how important it is to have work experience when you are entering the job market. In many instances it can also lead to a full-time position before you graduate.

What has been your favorite part of your co-op experience?

The best part of my job was getting to make real, sustainable contributions. My impact was one that I could immediately see, and will be beneficial for a long time whether I continue to work for the company or not.

Would you recommend the co-op program to other students? Why or why not?   

I would definitely recommend that all students try and participate in the co-op experience. The experience is very rewarding, and hopefully his or her position will allow them to do meaningful tasks. It will also standout on your resume to future employers.

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

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.

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:



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:


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!

Five Things You Didn’t Know About Co-op


Mat Marshall - second photo
Mat Marshall’s co-op position was on Senator Carper’s staff.

Think you know everything about co-op? Here are some surprising facts:

  1. Online students from a distance, not just those who live locally, can participate in Wilmington University’s co-op program. If you cultivate your own co-op experience where you live, our office can help you and your employer through that process.
  2. Transfer students: Do you have a co-op or internship at your current school? You can bring that relationship with you and turn it into a WilmU co-op experience!
  3. Employers say they make full-time job offers to 50% of their interns and co-op students upon graduation (California State University, East Bay).
  4. Students who completed co-ops have higher starting salaries upon graduation than non-co-op graduates (Eastern Kentucky University).
  5. Wilmington University requires co-ops to have a minimum GPA requirement of 2.5, but many employers request that co-ops have GPAs of 3.0 and higher. Keep those grades up by attending class regularly and seeking help when you need it! Did you know that WilmU offers free tutoring services to ALL students through the Student Success Center? Learn more here: wilmu.edu/ssc


To learn more about the co-op program, visit wilmu.edu/coop or contact capcoop@wilmu.edu.





Reading Online: Strategies for Success

Channin G., a WilmU student, studies from home.

In a previous blog post, The Pen is Mightier than the Keyboard (May 27, 2014), we discussed the differences between different styles of notetaking, coming to the conclusion that handwritten notetaking garners deeper understanding of course material than taking notes on an electronic device. What about reading? When you read online, whether it is on a laptop, phone, or tablet, is your comprehension less than than reading traditional texts printed on paper?

The jury is out. There are a number of research studies investigating how the brain processes information on a lit screen versus a static page. But it’s more than a physical issue of backlight, eye strain, and the contrast of type on a background.

The linear nature of the printed page, one idea flowing into another, is completely disrupted by online and interactive texts. Data is served in nodes, with hyperlinks redirecting the reader before the reader processes the entire text. Sometimes this is a benefit, and sometimes not.

Reading Text

Today’s students may find their ability to focus on a text is the biggest challenge. Hyperlinks, videos, and advertising all pull your eyes away from the primary text. There are a few tools available to help you focus.

  • Browser settings. When reading online, customize your browser settings to eliminate distractions. Bump up the text size, and turn off automatic image loading to minimize distractions.
  • Readability. Readability is a free mobile and web app that cleans up web pages for easier reading. With Readability, you must create an account, but you also have the option of saving articles to read later.
  • Printfriendly. Probably the simplest tool in this list. Simply navigate to Printfriendly, enter the URL of the site you would like to read, and the site gets cleaned up for printing. You can print or read this optimized document. There’s also a button you can add to your browser bookmarks bar for the quickest way to simplify a web page.

Eliminating Distractions

If you find reading online difficult because of distractions, you may want to try a time management technique. Here are a couple of easily implemented methods:

  • Pomodoro Technique: With this time management strategy, you budget your time into uninterruptible 25 minute segments that are marked by using a timer. After 25 minutes, you take a short break of 3-5 minutes. Requires just a timer.
  • Task/Reward: Are you distracted by social media? Or everytime you need to read online, you have an urge to make a cup of tea? Convert your distractions into rewards. Get that reading done – and reward yourself with whatever was distracting you.
  • Try the SQ3R method for reading. With each text you read, Survey the text for clues to important information. Then, turn all titles and subheads into Questions. Then, Read to find the answers, Recite your questions out loud, and finally, Review the reading for best recall.


Online Student of the Block – Spring I – Renee Hayes

Student of the Block Spring Block I 2015Renee is currently pursuing a B.S. in Business Management and has a 4.0 GPA. She was chosen as a recipient of the Annual Fund Scholarship and has successfully completed a 10 week Student Leadership Challenge at Wilmington University. Renee was also selected to become a Student Ambassador. As a student, Renee has had the opportunity to give back to her school and local community. She has become a certified volunteer income tax assistant so she can help low to moderate income families complete their taxes. Renee plans to operate a home based wedding planning business so she can provide the once in a lifetime chance for dream weddings to people of all economic backgrounds. Please join me in congratulating Renee!

Meet a Wildcat Co-op: Charlie C.

by Lauren Haas

charlie1If you’ve browsed the Wilmington University website recently, you have likely come across the professional work of undergraduate Web Information Systems major Charlie C. He is currently participating in the Co-op program as a Web Communications Assistant in the Web Communications Department right here at WilmU! Charlie plans to complete his Bachelor’s degree this summer, and after graduation, he plans to continue onto a WilmU Master’s degree.

In his role, Charlie handles content updates and design changes on the University website. He says, “The more experience I gain with the team, the more responsibility they give me.” This increased responsibility gives Charlie a feeling of accomplishment: “It shows that they trust me and have faith in my ability.”

Charlie reports to University Webmaster Chris Rubacky, who said: “Charlie was referred to us following the sudden loss of another web team member.  Fortunately for us, he was immediately able to fill this role due to his extensive knowledge in web design and development.  The entire Web Communications department is extremely thankful to have found Charlie through the Cooperative Education program here at Wilmington University.  He has become an indispensable member of our team.”

Charlie’s co-op experience has moved him closer to attaining his career goals. Prior his current position, he worked as a freelance designer, and was actively seeking opportunities to gain real-world experience in a corporate setting. “Through this program I have experienced a real team atmosphere. I sit in team meetings and help on important projects. Also, I am gaining experience in my own field by working with different programming languages.”

When asked if he would recommend the co-op program to other students, Charlie says there is no question: “I think it is an amazing and wonderful thing to offer students. You gain real world experience while earning credit. … Through the co-op program I am not an intern, but a part-time employee. In today’s [job] market, any competitive edge you have over another will help you, and this program does just that.”

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.

Open Source Materials and Textbooks

wikilogoIf you’re a student in the twenty-first century, you’ve probably wondered why professors even bother to require a textbook. After all, the amount of knowledge available online is astounding, abundant, and free. Why don’t academic professionals simply assign open source materials for the courses they teach?

Open Source originally started as a term used to refer to license-free software with freely shared and modified source code. Developers are able to share and collaborate on the software code. Now, the term is used widely to mean shareable data that is available for use, free from restrictive copyright or licensing. Sites such as Wikipedia or Khan Academy are great examples of open source in action.

So what’s wrong with using open source materials in the classroom?

On the internet, anyone is free to publish – and that’s both the beauty and the weakness of the internet. When you use a resource on the internet, it has not had the extensive vetting that a published academic work has had. Educational publishing has a complex system of peer review and cross checking for inconsistency and error.

Carefully chosen open source resources will undoubtedly be a part of the reference materials used in courses you take at Wilmington University. But an authoritative, scientific, and accurate textbook will still be the most reliable and solid choice for a course.

This blog is for Wilmington University students. It has information on student services, academic resources, and tips to help students achieve their educational goals.