Monday, August 29, 2011

Rural Schools Benefit from Teacher Prep Program

“I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited about a piece of paper in my life,” said Dan Hill, when he received his teaching certificate from the Arizona Department of Education last month.

The former business owner, who left a 30-year career in furniture retail, will now fulfill his longtime goal of being a teacher as he conducts classes in English, government, economics and journalism to students at The Globe Education Center High School in Globe, Arizona.

Dan Hill at the Globe Education Center.
Current data indicates that teachers are in demand nationwide, especially those with specialized skills who are willing to work in rural communities. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics website, “job prospects are best for teachers in high-demand fields, such as mathematics, science, and bilingual education, and in less desirable urban or rural school districts.”

Carol Moore, principal of The Globe Education Center, also confirmed these statistics. Moore said that high school science and special education are among the most sought after skills at the institution. She states that there is a shortage of such skills in rural areas like Globe where student enrollment has increased.

As principal of The Globe Education Center, Moore and her staff are constantly searching for qualified candidates like Hill with “the proper attitude,” who are willing to work in a rural community like Globe.

There are many advantages to working in a rural community. With a class size limited to 15 students, “You develop a strong bond with the kids,” Moore said, “it’s all about relationships with the kids.”

“The bottom line is: I do not believe I would be a certified, employed teacher already if it wasn’t for Rio Salado College,” said Hill listing Rio Salado’s online flexibility, faculty and student teaching program as factors that contributed to his academic success.  Hill completed Rio’s post-baccalaureate teacher preparation program: an online program which makes teacher preparation available for bachelor degree holders in areas with limited access to higher education.

Rio’s program was recently joined by The New York Times Knowledge Network (NYTKN). The new collaboration will give students added resources including access to The New York Times content repository. Students also gain the opportunity to network with other students from across the nation via blogs, wikis, forums, chats and private student groups. The collaboration is also designed to satisfy a growing need for educators in the nation.

“This is an innovative approach to teacher education, building a community of practitioners who are exceptionally prepared to respond to state and national needs for professionals with 21st century teaching skills,” said Felice Nudelman, executive director, education, The New York Times Company.

Hill said that there are advantages to working in a rural area, “I have a greater amount of autonomy, and the freedom to organize my class in as creative a way as I choose to.”

“I think a relationship with The New York Times brings Rio Salado’s program to a higher level,” said Hill regarding the collaboration. “I don’t think there was any better option to help me earn my teaching credentials than Rio Salado.”

Details about the program can be found at www.discoverteaching.net

About the Author
Jesse Woodbury is a public relations major at Arizona State University completing an internship in the office of institutional advancement at Rio Salado College. 

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Hidden Savings for College Students

It’s no secret that movie theaters, restaurants and museums give student discounts, but for those who know where to look, getting an education can also mean getting a great deal on all kinds of products and services. For incoming freshmen as well as lifelong learners, being a college student can mean significant savings on everything from software to sky diving lessons.

Journey Ed is an online retailer specializing in student software. The site offers huge savings for any verified student and pricing gets even better when accessed through partner institutions, such as Tempe-based Rio Salado College.

For example, Adobe Creative Suite 5.5 Design Premium which retails for $1899 on the Adobe website can be found for $360 when purchased through the Rio Salado bookstore.

According to Rio Salado adjunct faculty member Matt Freed, students in his digital animation class are often surprised by the value of student pricing.

“I don’t think people realize what a benefit the software discounts can be,” Freed said. “Flash by itself is about $700. For the same price you can get the entire Adobe suite and a college level course in digital animation. “

Computer hardware can also come at much lower prices for students. Apple and Microsoft both have exclusive deals for students with a verifiable .edu email address. With Apple education pricing on a new MacBook Pro and Microsoft’s offer of a free Xbox 360 4GB with the purchase of a qualifying Windows 7 computer, students on both platforms stand to save about $200.

Because many students leave home for college, quite a few travel websites and agencies specialize in providing affordable pricing to student travelers. StudentUniverse.com and StaTravel.com are both great resources for student pricing on flights and hotels.

Reliable ground transportation can also be a concern for college students. While discounted bus passes are a popular option, automobile manufacturers GM and Scion provide buying incentives to students who prefer to drive their own car. In some circumstances, cash back savings can be several thousand dollars. With auto insurance companies like Geico, State Farm or Allstate offering Good Student discounts, doing well in school can mean an additional savings of several hundred dollars a year.

Matthew Gunderson is a big fan of student discounts. “I’m not afraid to ask for a student discount even when there isn’t one advertised,” Gunderson said. “I’ve used my student ID to save money on movies, clothing, dinner...you name it. A lot of places will give a discount even if they don’t have a sign up that says so.”

Although full-time students who are out on their own for the first time and struggling to make the rent may be the inspiration for all of these discounts, anyone with a student ID can benefit from them.

Additional resources for those looking to make the most of their student status can be found at studentrate.com and studentbasecamp.us or for a yearly fee, students can join discount clubs like Student Advantage or Edhance which provide access to thousands of worldwide discounts.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Support Links for New and Returning Students

Although Rio Salado College offers 48 start dates a year, quite a few of the college’s students still adhere to traditional semesters. For many Rio Salado students starting classes this week, the following resources may come in handy.

Student Resources

Career Planning: Online self-serve career planning and in-person career counseling are both available.

Bookstore: Textbooks, supplies and Rio Salado College apparel. Text books rentals are also available.

Testing Centers: Learn about exam proctoring and testing guidelines, or find a testing location near you.

Tutoring: Tutoring is available in-person, over the phone, and online.

Social Resources

Rio Lounge: Rio’s exclusive online social network helps students build a connection to the Rio Salado College experience. Chat with fellow students, get updates on Rio Salado news and events, form a study group or post items for sale.

Rio on Facebook: Connecting students, parents, alumni, and faculty members with news and information of interest to the extended Rio Salado College community.

Rio on Twitter: Quick, timely updates on a variety of topics relevant to Rio Salado College.

Rio on YouTube: Browse through videos with titles ranging from The Rio Salado College Story and Sustainable Food Systems to How to Lose the Freshman 15 and Binary Hand Dance.

Library Resources

Online Library: Quick access to a variety of library resources.

Txt a Librarian, Ask a Librarian, Email the Library Staff: Help with research and library tools.

Online Writing Lab: Support for a variety of writing projects.

How Do I...? Video Series: How-to videos for a variety of library tools.

Ebooks: Rio Salado offers two general e-book collections and three reference collections.

Rio's Dual Enrollment Program Receives Reaccreditation

The National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships recently certified that Rio Salado College’s dual enrollment program complies with NACEP’s standards for best practices in concurrent enrollment program administration. The professional organization perpetuates early college options by promoting secondary and post-secondary collaborations. There are currently 66 institutions accredited by NACEP with Rio Salado as one of four to have been reaccredited this year under revised standards adopted in 2009.

“Rio Salado strives to be a leader in providing early college options to meet the needs of our students and our community. Rio Salado’s dual enrollment program continues to be the only NACEP accredited program in the state. The process is not easy, and the standards are high, but we feel this distinction is an important indicator of the quality and commitment we provide,” said Rio Salado College Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Vernon Smith.

NACEP’s standards promote the implementation of policies and practices to ensure that:


  • Students enrolled in concurrent enrollment courses are held to the same standards of achievement as students in on-campus courses.

  • Instructors teaching college courses through the concurrent enrollment program meet the academic requirements for faculty teaching in the sponsoring postsecondary institution and are provided discipline-specific professional development.

  • Concurrent enrollment programs display greater accountability through required impact studies, student surveys, and course and program evaluations.

“We’re proud to be NACEP accredited,” Rio Salado Director of Dual Enrollment EJ Anderson said. “It’s always nice to have a third party come in and reinforce that we are doing things the way they need to be done. Not only is it a pat on the back, but it lends credibility to the entire program which helps us better serve our students.”


Dual enrollment programs allow high school students to get a jump start on their college degree. Rio Salado dual enrollment courses are taught by high school teachers on-site at local high schools including Tempe, Dysart, Deer Valley, Phoenix, Chandler, Mesa and Paradise Valley.

Motivated students can save time and money by simultaneously earning high school and college credits. Dual enrollment courses are designed to teach both high school and college proficiencies, and the credits earned are transferable to any Rio Salado College university partner.
________

The National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships (NACEP) is the sole accrediting body for programs that provide opportunities for high school students to simultaneously earn high school and transcripted college credit for college courses taught by high school teachers at their high school.

Rio Salado College was founded in 1978 and serves one of the largest online enrollments nationwide. The college was recently recognized as one of eight highly productive institutions of higher education in the nation by McKinsey & Company. Rio Salado offers general education courses as well as a variety of degree and certificate programs with more than 62,000 students enrolled annually. It is also Arizona’s largest provider of Adult Basic Education.

The Maricopa Community College District is one of the largest community college districts in the nation and serves more than 250,000 students annually. It includes 10 colleges - Chandler-Gilbert Community College, Estrella Mountain Community College, GateWay Community College, Glendale Community College, Mesa Community College, Paradise Valley Community College, Phoenix College, Rio Salado College, Scottsdale Community College and South Mountain Community College. The District also includes the Maricopa Skill Center, SouthWest Skill Center, several satellite campuses and business/industry, technical and customized training institutes.

Media Contact:
Delynn Bodine, Rio Salado College
480.517.8205 (w)
delynn.bodine@riosalado.edu

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

New Early Childhood Certificate Programs Launched

Two new certificate programs are now available through the Rio Salado College Early Childhood and Human Development department.

The Certificate of Completion for Infant Toddler Development covers topics such as child health, physical milestones, and cognitive development, in addition to relationship building between adults and children, language acquisition and communication.

The Certificate of Completion in Family Childcare Management provides a foundation in early childhood care theories. Students will learn about the cognitive and physical development of the young child, health and safety guidelines, curriculum development and business procedures specific to family child care providers.

Rio Salado’s Early Childhood Education Program serves undergraduate students and provides professional development for early childhood practitioners. The program’s incremental design allows early childhood professionals to move progressively through their education making the most of their credits and time.

For more information on early childhood undergraduate or professional development opportunities, please visit www.riosalado.edu/earlychildhood.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Engaging Students Through Mobile Technology

Leveraging available technologies to make education more accessible and engaging is a hot topic among educators.

Rio Salado College eLearning design faculty chair Dr. Jennifer Freed, who spoke recently on integrating mobile devices into course content at the 2011 National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development Conference in Austin, Texas, has quite a few of her own ideas for how to effectively use technology in the classroom.

By taking the classroom into the real world, instructors can make mobile assignments relevant and useful.

"Use it to engage students. Make it more real and meaningful," Freed said. "Let’s not do it just for the sake of doing it."

According to Freed, when students can relate to the assignment and it makes sense, the experience is more genuine.

"As an example, if you’re teaching a sociology class and you’re looking for a concept in action in the real world, send the student to the mall with their mobile phone. If they see the concept in action, have them record it and make a podcast,” Freed said. “Have them explain what they see and what's going on and what the context is-- as it happens. Then they can upload the podcast and that's the assignment."

Freed also engages students by using an opt-in program called text Plus to provide students with updates and news information in real time. The program allows users to send text messages to multiple recipients without referencing a personal phone number.

"If you see something relevant on the news that you want to get out, you can send something like 'hey, check out 12 news right now!' or 'don’t forget your big assignment’s due on Wednesday.' Of course, you shouldn't overdo it. It's good for once in a while,” Freed said.

According to Freed, most students already have some form of a mobile device or smartphone and don't need to purchase extra equipment to complete mobile assignments. "Students today and the generation coming up grew up with this stuff. The devices are getting more powerful and less expensive. It’s a priority for students and for kids to get their cell phone, so most of them already have one."

Rio Salado eLearning design students who are interested in generating mobile content can take "Mobile Devices as Learning Tools (ELN116)" as an elective.

The course is completely devoted to mobile learning and by the end of the class, students will have written their own mobile application.

The course itself is mobile friendly and many students who elect to take ELN116 prefer to complete the coursework on a mobile device. Freed said, "Most of the students that have gone through it have done it on an iPad, Droid, or iPhone.”

Freed also said the college’s online learning platform, RioLearn renders well on a mobile browser and that she believes that the college is working toward a more mobile student experience.

"I'd love to see a proprietary mobile application like the one North Carolina State University is using," Freed said. "It would be great if we could do something like that and arrange it by program so that students could go in and see what the courses are for their program."

"Maybe include a checklist or news and events or a quick 'ask us' function that could send a text message to the department chair," Freed said. "That would be really cool."

Monday, August 1, 2011

Northern Arizona University Joins the Communiversity @ Surprise

Surprise, Ariz. – August 1, 2011 – The Communiversity @ Surprise is pleased to announce the addition of Northern Arizona University (NAU) as a partner in higher education. NAU’s presence at the Communiversity will complement existing programs by making available additional educational pathways for students seeking bachelor’s or master’s degrees.

“We are delighted to have NAU join the Communiversity,” said Dr. Chris Bustamante, president of Rio Salado College, host institution of the Communiversity in partnership with the City of Surprise. “NAU has a strong and valued reputation and this partnership strengthens our Communiversity program offerings and will provide additional higher education opportunities for students within the City of Surprise and in surrounding areas.”

The Communiversity @ Surprise is a unique civic and educational partnership dedicated to providing students with the opportunity to earn an associate to bachelor’s to a master’s degree from partnering institutions, all in one location.

“Joining the Communiversity partnership in Surprise is another example of how NAU reaches out to provide higher education pathways to underserved populations across the state,” said Fred Hurst, senior vice president for NAU-Extended Campuses. “We look forward to working with Rio Salado and the Communiversity partners to provide seamless programming that helps Surprise residents achieve their academic goals.”

Course offerings at the Communiversity are available in person, hybrid and online. Students can experience a savings in tuition by transferring 75-90 credits from a community college partner to a university partner.

“The Communiversity offers students an opportunity to enroll in up to 90 credits at community college pricing making it both a very affordable and convenient choice for students in Surprise and the surrounding area. We value the community college and university partners who make this possible, and know that NAU will add to the breadth, depth, and quality of the educational pathways,” said Dr. Jo Jorgenson, Dean of Instruction and Community Development at Rio Salado College.

This fall NAU will offer Bachelor of Science degree programs at the communiversity in:
• Career and Technical Education
• Interdisciplinary Studies-Technology Management
• Interdisciplinary Studies-Emergency Services Administration

Master’s programs include:
• Educational Leadership with a Principal Certification
• Administration of Leadership

Program offerings scheduled for fall 2012 are:
• Bachelor of Science or Art in Interdisciplinary Studies-Humanities
• RN to Bachelor of Science in Nursing
• Bachelor of Science Health Sciences in Allied Health
• Bachelor of Science Health Sciences in Medical Assisting

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The Communiversity @ Surprise is a partnership of the City of Surprise, three Maricopa Community Colleges: Rio Salado College, Glendale, Community College, Phoenix College, Ottawa University, Northern Arizona University and West-MEC. The communiversity opened in August of 2009 and is located at 15950 N. Civic Center Plaza in Surprise.

Northern Arizona University is a leader in statewide and online learning and continues to offer and create convenient degree programs that meet the state’s growing need for health professionals, teachers, business leaders, public administrators and more. In the past 20 years NAU has awarded more than 30,000 degrees to students in statewide degree programs, each reflective of the university’s solid reputation and ability to provide a personal touch. About 35 percent of NAU students now earn degrees online or in their communities.

Rio Salado College was founded in 1978 and serves one of the largest online enrollments nationwide. The college was recently recognized as one of eight highly productive institutions of higher education in the nation by McKinsey & Company. Rio Salado offers general education courses as well as a variety of degree and certificate programs with more than 62,000 students enrolled annually. It is also Arizona’s largest provider of Adult Basic Education.

The Maricopa Community College District is one of the largest community college districts in the nation and serves more than 250,000 students annually. It includes 10 colleges - Chandler-Gilbert Community College, Estrella Mountain Community College, GateWay Community College, Glendale Community College, Mesa Community College, Paradise Valley Community College, Phoenix College, Rio Salado College, Scottsdale Community College and South Mountain Community College. The District also includes the Maricopa Skill Center, SouthWest Skill Center, several satellite campuses and business/industry, technical and customized training institutes.

Media Contacts:
Delynn Bodine, Rio Salado College
480.517.8205 work 480.215.9456 cell
delynn.bodine@riosalado.edu

Diane Rechel, Northern Arizona University
928.523.0914
diane.rechel@nau.edu