Teen with medical issues receives surprise drive-thru birthday celebration - Clarksville Now

Teen with medical issues receives surprise drive-thru birthday celebration - Clarksville Now Teen with medical issues receives surprise drive-thru birthday celebration - Clarksville Now Posted: 23 Nov 2020 11:05 AM PST CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (CLARKSVILLENOW) – Even though it was cloudy and a little rainy Sunday that didn't dampen the spirits of the many people who turned out to wish Zachariah Vazquez a happy 13 th birthday. More than 30 vehicles with family and friends participated in the drive-by parade at his home on Barrywood Circle. That included members of the Clarksville Police Department, Clarksville Fire Rescue and Montgomery County Emergency Medical Services. Clarksville Mayor Joe Pitts and Cynthia Pitts were special guests in the parade with the mayor presenting Vazquez with a certificate of appointment as honorary mayor of the day for Clarksville. Vazquez said this was the best birthday

Ivy League universities offer free online courses amid Covid-19 lockdown - ThePrint

Ivy League universities offer free online courses amid Covid-19 lockdown - ThePrint

Ivy League universities offer free online courses amid Covid-19 lockdown - ThePrint

Posted: 13 Apr 2020 01:58 AM PDT

Princeton University | www.princeton.edu

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New Delhi: With classes suspended indefinitely in several countries due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Ivy League universities in US are offering over 450 free online courses.

The eight Ivy League universities — Harvard, Cornell, Brown, Columbia, Princeton, Dartmouth, Yale and the University of Pennsylvania — are among the most prestigious universities in the world and are highly selective about admissions.

In light of the lockdown, these universities are now offering free online courses on a variety of subjects including computer science, data science, programming, humanities, business, art and design, social sciences, health and medicine, engineering, education and teaching, mathematics, and personal development.

Mrinal Singh, an education consultant told ThePrint, "Some of these universities were offering free courses before the lockdown as well. However, in light of the circumstances the number of online courses being offered have increased. Additionally, some of them are also being offered free of cost now."

Also read: Online university exams a 'remote possibility' as UGC officials highlight host of concerns

Verified certificate after completion of course

These courses also vary in terms of duration. Harvard University is offering week-long courses as well as those that are 15 weeks long. Students can also choose the difficulty level — introductory, intermediate or advanced. These courses are available on edX, an online learning platform founded by Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Upon the completion of a course, the students are offered a 'verified certificate'.

Some courses offered by Harvard are 'Lessons from Ebola: Preventing the next pandemic', 'China and Communism', 'Hinduism through its scriptures' and 'Nonprofit Financial Stewardship Webinar: Introduction to Accounting and Financial Statements'.

Other courses on offer include — 'Machine Learning for Data Science and Analytics' by Columbia University, 'Moralities of Everyday Life' by Yale University, 'The Ethics of Eating' by Cornell University, 'Question Reality! Science, philosophy, and the search for meaning' by Dartmouth, 'Introduction to Financial Accounting' by University of Pennsylvania and 'Constitutional Interpretation' by Princeton University.

Also read: New academic calendar, vacations, how to conduct college exams — latest task for Modi govt

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For most universities, there's little point to the government's COVID-19 assistance package - The Conversation AU

Posted: 14 Apr 2020 06:33 PM PDT

COVID-19 has hit the higher education sector hard – with an up to A$4.6 billion estimated loss of revenue from international students.

The government will not compensate universities for international student losses. But on Easter Sunday Education Minister Dan Tehan announced limited financial assistance for higher education, aimed primarily at domestic students.

Under the plan, the government will guarantee funding for universities at their current levels of enrolment for the rest of 2020 – meaning if enrolments drop, the funding won't. It will also "slash" student fees for short, online courses in national priority areas such as nursing and IT.

Universities Australia says the package is a first step. This is true when it comes to the funding guarantee, but the premature policy on short courses is a wrong step.

Domestic student funding, in detail …

The university financial crisis was triggered by fewer-than-expected international students. But in some universities, weak domestic demand has exacerbated the problem.

The University of Sydney announced last week it had 5% fewer domestic students than it expected. Other universities, such as La Trobe in Victoria, have also revealed domestic student shortfalls.

Normally, universities lose money for enrolling fewer domestic students than they anticipated. Under the higher education funding legislation, total government payments for each year cannot exceed the number of students actually enrolled multiplied by the relevant discipline-based tuition subsidy. Usually, the fortnightly payments universities receive from the government are adjusted down if enrolments are lower than expected.

But under this plan, universities will receive their previously-expected 2020 funding amounts, probably based on levels announced in December 2019. This will require some legal changes the government will make during 2020.

Only a minority of universities are likely to be suffering from low domestic demand. But for these institutions this additional funding will be helpful.

HELP payments guaranteed, but have to be paid back

HELP student loan payments to universities on behalf of students - HECS-HELP for government-supported students, FEE-HELP for full-fee students - will also continue according to December 2019 forecasts, even if enrolments fall short of previous predictions.

If higher education providers - the private higher education sector as well as public universities using FEE-HELP - take advantage of this option, they will need to repay any excess HELP loans between 2022 and 2029.

As the funding legislation gives the government significant discretion in debt recovery this policy does not need any legal change.

Short courses with new certificates

The most newsworthy part of the Easter Sunday announcement was that the government would fund additional short courses at discount fees. These are aimed at people seeking new skills for the post-COVID-19 economy. Tehan said:

This plan will help Australians who have lost their job or are looking to retrain to use their time studying nursing, teaching, counselling, allied health or other areas considered national priorities.

These short courses will be up to four subjects already taught as part of an existing qualification. They can start from May 1, 2020 and must be finished by December 1, 2020.

The existing qualification could be anything from a higher education diploma to a masters degree by coursework, but it is likely universities would focus on graduate certificates and graduate diplomas, which usually take full-time students between six months and a year.

Students can continue on to the full course if it is longer than four subjects, but they will not get discount fees for subsequent subjects.

Read more: What should we do with 1 billion hours of time? Australia's COVID-19 opportunity

Students who finish six months of study will receive what the education department calls a "higher education certificate" and the minister has sometimes called a "diploma certificate".

Student contributions will be $1,250 for six months study in nursing, teaching, psychology, English, maths, foreign languages or agriculture. They will be $2,500 in allied and other health, IT, architecture and building, science engineering, medical science and environmental studies. In most cases, this is about half what students would normally be charged.

The government says these courses must be online and are only available to new students. There is a strong implication these courses will be restricted to workers displaced by the COVID-19 crisis.

This has legal problems

This idea faces significant legal obstacles.

The government has no current legal power to fund a "higher education certificate" or a "diploma certificate". So to facilitate funding, the government requires universities to enrol students in a course leading to an existing higher education qualification, even if the student has no plan to finish it.

Encouraging students to leave without a proper qualification goes against the legislation's policy intent.

Higher education providers have another potential legal problem. The rules around admitting students require course applicants have no "known limitations" that would impede completion. A university marketing made-up certificates that encourage early departure from courses that would otherwise lead to legally-recognised qualifications strikes me as recruiting students with a potential "known limitation".

Universities should check with the quality regulator before admitting students on this basis.

Read more: Without international students, Australia's universities will downsize – and some might collapse altogether

The government's other legal problem is it has no power to cut student contributions. Under the funding legislation, universities set student contributions up to the statutory maximum. So for the cost of the short courses to be "slashed", the government needs universities to charge less than usual.

Universities will receive the normal tuition subsidy for each student, so this may mean they can still make money from this program. Adding an additional student to an existing online course would usually cost them less than the total funding rate.

But agreeing to a lower student contribution sets a bad precedent, and undermines the program as a way of assisting financially-stricken universities.

Making matters worse, tuition subsidies for diploma certificate students would be offset against the 2020 funding guarantee amounts. Universities with fewer domestic students than expected in December 2019 should not participate in this program, and take the funding guarantee money instead.

There are existing short courses

The short course policy should be postponed. It isn't going to make a big financial difference to universities. We should think more carefully about whether funding short courses is necessary or desirable, and we should not lightly sanction policies that go against the intent of existing law. If the scheme is worth pursuing, it can be properly legislated later in the year.

If people want to sit out the COVID-19 recession at their study desk they have many options. There are no limits on student numbers in FEE-HELP funded postgraduate courses. There is also already a large market for online short courses. Many of these have the added advantage of costing less than $1,250 or $2,500.

Here Are Some Of The Best Online Learning Platforms Right Now - Forbes

Posted: 02 Apr 2020 12:00 AM PDT

Online learning used to be considered somewhat inferior, but the quality of online courses have come a long way since then. And now, in addition to traditional universities adding online courses to their offerings, tons of online platforms offer different takes on the new style of learning. The trick is finding the one that suits you and your educational needs.

To help get started, here are three of the best online learning platforms to check out, whether you're looking for one-off college courses or creative-specific options, or you want to earn a degree.

Best for the Average Learner: Udemy

Price: Varies and is priced per course

Advantage: Access over 150,000 courses (taught in over 65 languages) in a wide range of subjects

Udemy is a massive repository of online courses, with topics ranging widely on topics like development, business, finance, IT, office productivity, personal development, design, marketing, photography, health, music and teaching and academics.

The look and feel of Udemy's courses may vary, as lectures can include audio, video and text elements, as well as quizzes (though not all of those elements are required.) And each one is created and managed by the instructor. Students can, however, preview courses to make sure that those are in line with their expectations. You'd also be able to request a full refund within the first 30 days of purchase if you aren't satisfied. Once you pay, you'd get lifetime access to the course, and the platform gives students certificates of completion at the end.

The cost of each class can vary widely, with some in the $15 to $20 range and others costing upwards of $200. Due to Udemy's course-based pricing model, it may prove a better option for those who are interested in learning specific skills, rather than dipping their toe in many diverse fields.

Udemy is also available in app form, for both iPhones and Androids.

Best for Creatives: Skillshare

Price: $19 per month (or $99 if you go for the annual subscription)

Advantage: Quick hits of creativity from experts on a mobile-friendly platform

Skillshare offers video-based courses in areas like animation, design, illustration, lifestyle, photography, film, business and writing.

Skillshare courses are designed and taught by prominent artists, writers and other creatives. These typically consist of a series of short video lessons, with many of the courses themselves taking an hour or less to complete. That said, there are also "assigned" exercises and prompts that you can do to enhance the experience and practice what you've learned. You can even share projects based on the lessons with others who have taken the course. And since it's a membership-based platform, you'd be able to access all of the courses on the site.

If you go with annual billing, the cost of accessing this platform works out to $8.25 per month. The company also has pricing options for businesses, though there's no group discount if you were to opt for the "starter" plan, which costs $99 per user, per year. The best deal actually comes from the gift card option, which can shave $3 off the annual cost. Or, if you opt for a three-month gift card, you'd save $21, as compared to the monthly billing option. Or, if you're a student, you could save 50% off the cost of a premium membership by registering with a valid .edu address.

Skillshare also offers many free courses, if you're interested in seeing what their courses look like for yourself.

Best for Academics: Coursera

Price: Varies depending on the course and track, but starts at about $39 per course

Advantage: Access university courses at a discount and get industry-recognized credentials

Coursera is an online learning platform that can give students access to academic courses and can even lead to a University degree, for less than the typical cost of attending such courses or programs in person. Topics range widely, including subjects like arts and humanities, math and logic, I.T., languages and beyond.

The classes you'd find over 4,000 courses on this platform, from over 200 universities and companies, including Yale, Google and the University of Pennsylvania. There are several types of courses and programs offered: Regular courses, specializations (which focus on skills mastery), professional certificates (aimed at helping job-seekers rise above the rest), master track certificates (which include modules from masters programs) and online degrees from universities. The cost and time required to complete each type of course or program varies widely.

For example, a regular course may cost $39 and take four to six weeks to finish, while an online degree starts at $9,000 and can take one to four years to complete. Regardless, you'd get some sort of certificate at the end of your course or program, which can help you do things like find a job or earn a raise. The experience of the courses themselves might vary slightly as well, but in general, students can anticipate things like video lectures, self-paced quizzes, group forums and hands-on projects on the docket. And, like the other platforms on this list, Coursera is mobile-friendly, so you can learn from anywhere.

It's also worth noting that Coursera offers hundreds of free courses, which can also help prospective students get a feel for the platform.


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