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Redstone Arsenal CC 360 May Edition

We have come a long way, baby!

By Dr. Barbara Pounders, director, Columbia College-Redstone Arsenal

When Columbia College was established in 1851, the Postal Service was the primary mode of distance learning, in which higher education institutions could reach students on a global level by using a stamp and written correspondence. Columbia College should be applauded for keeping up with the constant influx of changing technology and allowing students to obtain a degree through a traditional university classroom setting or the virtual learning opportunities offered by online education.

I received my doctorate through a traditional classroom setting and often wondered if employers felt either online or traditional degrees were better or worse than the other. As early as 2007, Oklahoma State doctoral candidate Kathy Norene Seibold’s dissertation was centered on employers’ perceptions of online education. She found that job placement firms were advising clients not to disclose online degrees on resumes. This study found that the traditional degree was preferred by employers, but a hybrid of in-seat and online classes were gaining acceptability. There were many key studies around this time indicating that a traditional degree was the degree of choice from hiring authorities.

Fast forward to 2014. Renee M. Mandelbaum from Illinois State published a study in the International Journal of Information and Communication Technology Education finding that 50 percent of decision-makers strongly agree that an online degree or a traditional degree is irrelevant if the candidate has the necessary experience. Mandelbaum also found that the accreditation and reputation of the college granting the degree were also very important.

You, as a student at Columbia College-Redstone Arsenal, should be proud to be a part of a college that supports both online and in-seat, traditional learning. Columbia College is both regionally and nationally accredited. The difference is that a regionally accredited school is the most widely recognized type of college accreditation. It carries the highest prestige, and college credits are widely accepted in transfer. Regionally accredited schools provide both in-seat and online courses. National accreditation is not limited to a geographic area. Historically, these schools were more career and vocational schools. Usually, these schools are not “brick-and-mortar” locations, but offer only online or self-study courses. According to GetEducated.com, the average cost of a regionally accredited MBA program is $25, 869. However, students pay an average of $14,420 for an MBA at Columbia College.

I, for one, am proud to be a part of a college that prides itself on offering a quality undergraduate and graduate program, and proudly stands on being regionally accredited.

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Not too young, not too old

By Maria Haynie, Ready.Aim.Hire.

adults studying

The magic age for getting a degree doesn’t actually exist. However, students who consider themselves “nontraditional” are concerned about how their age will affect their experience in the classroom. Let’s break down this make-believe age barrier:

Imagine the fictional college freshman, a fresh-faced 18- or 19-year-old, walking through a historic, bricked campus while the changing red leaves softly fall from the stately trees overhead. The image is beautiful and certainly will be found at the main Columbia College campus and elsewhere across the nation each fall, but it only represents 3.4 percent of the whole student body at Columbia College.

While many evening and online students may consider themselves nontraditional students, the numbers show that the actual Columbia College tradition is about them. The majority of students, 56 percent, were between 30 and 65 years old in 2015. Our students are more likely to find a classmate to have much more life experience than a student who may still daydream about last spring’s prom. In fact, the student learning alongside you is 2.5 times more likely to be in their early 30s than around 20. It’s also likely you’ll have more than one classmate whose children are in high school, or perhaps has a grandchild or two.

The mix of ages in a learning community enriches the whole class with both mature and fresh perspectives. Many adult students share the common concerns about using technology or about getting the hang of school after being out of classrooms for a long time. The resources and technology used in our classes are designed to be user-friendly for all students: no higher education experience required to start.

At any age, going to college is no fairy tale. Earning a degree is hard work. But as an adult, older students have experience and responsibilities that can be resources and excellent motivation. You may have to use your imagination and get creative to fit school around your full and busy life, but the happy ending of graduation is attainable for any age of student.

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The pros and cons of summer courses

By Department of Student Success and Money Stacks

students taking summer classesTaking classes over the summer can be a big help when you’re pursuing a degree. At Columbia College, you can take up to 12 additional hours over the summer, which could knock off an entire semester of coursework! That lets you complete your schooling faster and lessens the financial load.

But how do you know if taking summer courses is right for you? Columbia College’s Department of Student Success and Money Stacks has some pros and cons you might want to consider when deciding whether to trade in your swim trunks for syllabi:

  • Keep up your momentum: If you had a good spring term and want to ride that wave into the summer, it might be a good idea to sign up for more classes so you can stay in an educational rhythm. If you’re a student that strives on structure and routine, you could benefit from forging ahead with your classes rather than taking the summer off.
  • Be mindful of burnout: If, on the other hand, you’re starting to experience some education fatigue, sitting the summer sessions out might be the best option. Summer can provide a great opportunity to recharge with family time, vacation or just straight-up relaxation away from a school setting.
  • Saving time can mean saving money: Getting done with school earlier could mean less interest on student loans to pay back. It also allows students an earlier gateway to the workforce or to looking for a promotion in their current jobs. But, along with these financial benefits, taking summer classes also necessitates some financial planning when it comes to allocating some of your funds and looking for additional scholarships of different ways to pay for the summer sessions.
  • Make time for fun: A Monster.com article on the subject cautions that taking year-round school could prohibit you from taking part in some of the extracurricular activities you enjoy. You have to find a good balance between enjoying the college experience and getting through it in a timely manner.

For more guidance on how to make the most of your Columbia College experience, you can contact the Department of Student Success at (573) 875-7860 or studentsuccess@ccis.edu.

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‘Handshake’ helps connect students with job opportunities

By Grossnickle Career Services Center

Grossnickle Career Services CenterStarting in July, Columbia College students will have a new way to connect with companies around the country who are offering enticing employment and internship opportunities.

The college is transitioning from CCNet, its previous career services software, to Handshake, a relatively new software that has been adopted by more than 160 colleges and boasts over 120,000 nationwide employers that have posted jobs through the service.

Students can upload their resumes, research companies, apply for opportunities and find out about career events through Handshake. The service allows students to connect with employers without the companies having to go through Columbia College in order for a student to access them. This makes for a powerful service that can help our students no matter what location they attend or what part of the country they’re searching.

An October article in The Chronicle of Higher Education explains it this way: “The company produces software that’s designed to replace the systems that colleges have long used to keep track of job postings and pass them along to students. For employers, it’s a way to easily mine talent and broaden the set of colleges where they send job and internship listings.”

Handshake is also very mobile-friendly and features an intuitive interface that will be easy to use. So students can utilize Handshake as frequently and simply as they do their social media applications on their phones!

For more advice on preparing for a career after college — or advancing in the field you’re in now — visit the Grossnickle Career Services Center webpage, call (573) 875-7425 or email careerservices@ccis.edu.

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Green Zone training provides support for student veterans

By Ousley Family Veterans Service Center

Soldier with flagStudent veterans across all branches of service understand that a “green zone” is a safe place in a combat zone. Did you know Columbia College also has a Green Zone?

What is Green Zone training, and what does it mean for you as a student veteran? The overall training objective is for faculty and staff to gain a basic knowledge and understanding of challenges faced by student veterans during their transition from the military to the college classroom. It also has the objective of providing resources available on campus and in the community to assist them. Faculty and staff members volunteer to attend training sessions providing information such as:

  • Identifying student veterans
  • Service components (active, guard, reserve)
  • Deployment cycles and impact on families
  • Traditional issues that student veterans face
  • Other information veterans want staff and faculty to know

The training concludes with faculty and staff interactively participating in scenarios to apply what they learned to typical situations with student veterans. New Green Zone team members receive a window cling or a decal to display on their office door or on their syllabi. This helps student veterans to identify trained faculty and staff members. When a student veteran has questions, or just wants to talk, they have a resource in any Green Zone team member who can understand their issues and concerns. Team members are available to listen and assist, and they can help with a referral to the appropriate services as needed.

Veterans Service is excited to announce that 234 staff and faculty members across the college have received Green Zone training, with additional training opportunities planned for the future. Columbia College Veterans Service and Green Zone team members are here to empower student veterans to make wise decisions about their educational goals.

To learn more, contact Veterans Service at (573) 875-7504 or ovc@ccis.edu.

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