6 Reasons to Pursue An MBA Degree Online - Big Easy Magazine

6 Reasons to Pursue An MBA Degree Online - Big Easy Magazine 6 Reasons to Pursue An MBA Degree Online - Big Easy Magazine Posted: 27 Nov 2020 09:28 AM PST The year 2020 has taken the world by storm with its constant influx of negative and life-changing news. Everything that was considered normal has been replaced with a new sense of reality where nothing is the same as it once was. From going out for errands to meeting your loved ones, everything is tainted with the fear of contracting a deadly virus. To counter these conditions, many business sectors have made adjustments and shifted online, including education. Universities worldwide have introduced online programs and courses that have made e-learning extremely easy and efficient. This even includes the veer so popular MBA.  To Be honest, an online MBA isn't a new concept. The program was available even before the pandemic. Nonetheless, there are more options available now, and he

What is a graduate certificate? - Comparison to master's degree - Business Insider - Business Insider

What is a graduate certificate? - Comparison to master's degree - Business Insider - Business Insider

What is a graduate certificate? - Comparison to master's degree - Business Insider - Business Insider

Posted: 16 Nov 2020 10:55 AM PST

When you buy through our links, we may earn money from our affiliate partners. Learn more.

GettyImages 1128908945
damircudic/Getty Images

As the pandemic continues, many people are wondering if graduate school is a good investment of time and money right now. While graduate degrees can provide chances to pivot to new careers, they also can take a few years to complete and charge high tuition, depending on the school and program.

While not the same as a master's degree, graduate certificates can sometimes be a more affordable option that requires less of a time commitment. Depending on the intended profession, they can help you learn new skills to transition into a different field — with official certification to show employers on LinkedIn or your resume — and some even have built-in portfolio assignments so you can exit the course with new samples of your work.

On some occasions, graduate certificates can double as college credits towards a related master's degree, since you technically completed graduate coursework. However, certificate credits are not automatically accepted by all schools — it varies on the university and program.

Here's everything you need to know about graduate certificates, how they compare to master's degrees, and some of the most popular graduate degree programs:

What's the difference between a graduate certificate and a degree?

Unlike finishing a full master's degree program, certificate program students take a few master's courses around a subject — like Sustainability and Development or Data Science — and receive a certificate of completion upon passing the program. 

Because certificates involve taking fewer classes (and don't usually have an admissions process), they're not considered the same as having a master's degree or PhD. However, they can help you stand out to prospective employers, especially if you're looking to transition into a different field and want to demonstrate that you learned the required skills. 

Most certificate programs, such as the ones offered through edX's MicroMasters, don't require a formal application process. If the course requires prerequisite knowledge, that information will usually be in the course description.

That being said, graduate certificate programs, such as Coursera's MasterTracks, can cap off after a certain number of applicants, so it's good to bookmark the enrollment date and sign up as soon as you can.

Graduate certificate programs can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000, depending on the school, program, and length. The price of a graduate certificate can be a fraction of the cost of traditional college degrees (including online ones).

Graduate certificate programs vary in length. Some, like MIT's Supply Chain Management MicroMasters, can take a little over a year. Others, like the University of Minnesota's UX Design MasterTrack, only take four months to complete.

Usually, no. Coursera and edX's graduate certificate offerings pick the classes for you and you have to pass all of them to get the certification.

There are exceptions, though. Harvard's extension school, for instance, lets you choose a few electives as part of your certificate. 

While graduate degree programs operate via GPAs, graduate certificates are often Pass/Fail. Coursera, for example, gives you a percentage grade on each assignment and then a final combined score. 

Depending on the program and size of your class, your written feedback on assignments might also be shorter and more brief than it would be in a graduate degree program.

Specific programs in the edX MicroMasters and Coursera MasterTrack series have different guidelines regarding college credits. Some might only accept the certificate classes as college credits if you pursue a degree in the same school and program you completed the certificate in; others provide a list of schools that will take the credits.

One upside to completing a certificate before continuing a degree in the same field is that the certificate credits are typically cheaper and can save you some money down the line.

It depends. Coursera MasterTracks don't currently offer financial assistance. And while edX lets you apply for financial aid for most of its programs, for MicroMasters, you'll have to audit each course first and apply for financial aid every time. 

If you're looking to save time and money, graduate certificates can be a great alternative to graduate degrees, especially if you're just looking to pick up some new skills, such as accounting or coding. Online certificate programs can also offer some flexibility in terms of scheduling and can help you decide if you want to pursue a full degree later. Here's a review of one of Coursera's MasterTrack programs.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

You can purchase syndication rights to this story here.

Disclosure: This post is brought to you by the Insider Reviews team. We highlight products and services you might find interesting. If you buy them, we get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners. We frequently receive products free of charge from manufacturers to test. This does not drive our decision as to whether or not a product is featured or recommended. We operate independently from our advertising sales team. We welcome your feedback. Email us at reviews@businessinsider.com.

After more than a year of enrolling students, Calbright College makes significant changes and learns from mistakes - EdSource

Posted: 17 Nov 2020 12:14 AM PST

Calbright College staff at Future LA in October 2019.

It's been a rocky year for California's first online community college since it first enrolled students.

But with a change in leadership, Calbright College is adjusting and learning from past mistakes by focusing on hiring more faculty, building a better relationship with the other 115 community colleges across the state and fixing the student experience.

"At Calbright, our team of faculty, staff and administrators are continuing our work and making critical adjustments around student experience," Calbright President Ajita Menon said during a Board of Trustees meeting Monday, as the board discussed the college's strategic vision. "There's been a continuous process since I started to really look at and analyze what was happening in the student experience."

Menon, who was selected in July as Calbright's president, said during the meeting they aren't just analyzing what happens to students in the three program pathways but making changes along the way.

Many of the changes the college has made address some criticisms that surfaced earlier this year. The college nearly faced elimination by the legislature over the summer, but survived. However, the state did cut $5 million in ongoing funds, down from $20 million a year.

As of Oct. 31, the college had 468 students enrolled, with 19 students completing one or more programs for a total of 22 certificates. The largest group of certificates — 11 of them — were awarded in informational technology, nine in cybersecurity and two in medical coding. Two students completed both the information technology and cybersecurity programs. The college enrolled its first students on Oct. 1, 2019.

Calbright, which is free to students, is different from other public community colleges in that students can start and finish each program on their own time and at their own pace. The college offers competency-based education, which assesses students based on the skills they learned and not the amount of time spent in a class.

One change Calbright officials made was to its entry-level course students were required to take before entering the classes for the three main programs. Calbright spokesman Taylor Huckaby, in an interview with EdSource, said the college was encouraged to change the entry-level course based on feedback they received from students and online consultants, saying the class took too long to complete and deterred them from achieving a certificate.

The entry-level course was designed to help students master math, reading and writing before focusing on their main programs in information technology, cybersecurity or medical coding. Now mastering those skills happens alongside the core courses, Huckaby said.

In January, the class will change again by including a job readiness component, he said. Students "will have many opportunities to attend webinars and ask-me-anything sessions with employers and industry experts to help them prepare for a job in their field of study," said Huckaby.

Calbright was envisioned as a free, online job training alternative to pricey for-profit programs. After it was first proposed, state officials specifically identified approximately 8 million "stranded workers" between 26 and 34, who were seeking credentials and training.

And much of Calbright's nearly 500-person student body falls within that target group. According to statistics from the college, nearly 65% of Calbright students have no degree, more than half are between 25 and 39 and just over half are men.

But how the college plans to connect these students with employers has changed over the past year. One thing college officials learned was that the approach to developing curriculum for specific jobs in specific industries doesn't work "in a post-Covid" reality, Huckaby said.

Working directly with employers wasn't happening quickly enough or on a large enough scale to benefit hundreds of students immediately, Huckaby said. Instead, the college aims to focus on building skills like digital literacy needed in retail and the gig economy sectors, which include companies that employ contract workers or freelancers like Instacart, Lyft, Uber and Etsy.

The college is meeting with workforce development boards in San Bernardino and increasing its outreach to the Inland Empire and Central Valley regions of the state to fix the gap connecting employers to potential employees, Huckaby said. (The college contracted with a marketing research firm, Sensis, to work with hiring managers and potential students to examine what regions needed the most help and could benefit from Calbright's programs.)

Calbright is also reshaping its relationship with the other community colleges and wants to be viewed more as their partner.

The college, for example, was criticized for not employing full-time instructors. So far, they have hired eight and recognized the newly-created Calbright Faculty Association, which is connected to the California Faculty Association — the union representing college and university faculty across the state.

Much of the opposition to the college's creation came from within the community college system and from its faculty union. Critics argued that Calbright duplicated what the other 115 colleges offered, and some said funding should be directed to online programming at those institutions.

But Menon has said she wants Calbright to be an innovation and research machine for the other colleges.

There is a difference between conventional online education, which the other community colleges have offered and continue to improve, and the online competency-based education (CBE) Calbright is building, Menon said Monday.

"We are aiming and working toward designing the best in class quality (competency-based education) work," she said. "The training and focus on adult learners are all quite new and distinctive."

Calbright faculty and staff are undergoing training with the Competency-Based Education Network, a national consortium of colleges and states that are developing new learning models that could be shared with other community colleges across the state.

Despite these changes, Calbright officials know that it will take time and improvement before it can compete with many of the larger nonprofit and for-profit online institutions that offer competency-based education and certificates.

Board President Tom Epstein, who also serves as president of the board of California Community Colleges, said Monday that there have been some "unrealistic expectations" heaped onto the college. "Our critics don't recognize this is a startup," he said. "We were given a seven-year startup period for a reason."

But the college recognizes, especially going into a tough budget year, that they can't take risks, and they have to be clear about what value they offer to the state and the community college system, Huckaby said.

"We're carefully moving forward with determination," he said. "The better data we can give out to the rest of the system … the more valuable this system will be."

EdSource's trusted, in-depth reporting has never mattered more.

With the coronavirus affecting every aspect of California's education, demand for EdSource's reporting has increased tremendously.

We can meet this demand, with help from readers like you.

From now through December 31, NewsMatch will match your one-time gift or your new monthly donation for 12 months.

Your contribution ensures that EdSource's content continues to be available for free – without a paywall or ads.

Make your donation today to DOUBLE your impact.

Share Article


Free online digital skills courses revive hope and careers for millions amid the pandemic - Stories - Microsoft

Posted: 16 Nov 2020 06:06 AM PST

Santa Lucia was already working on finding ways to make sure underserved people around the world could participate in the increasingly digital economy when the pandemic hit. The initial effort grew out of recognition that a third of the new jobs created in the U.S. in the past 25 years have been in occupations that didn't exist before, and that 1.1 billion jobs may be radically transformed by 2030. The pandemic's impact on the global workforce magnified the situation.

"COVID-19 was like pouring gasoline on the digital transformation, along with a great loss of jobs, so we knew we had to help displaced people immediately," Santa Lucia says.

In the U.S. alone, tens of millions of people have filed for unemployment benefits this year due to lost jobs during the pandemic, and most have been on assistance for six months or longer. The hardest hit have been people of color, those who lack college degrees, and low-wage workers who earn $50,000 or less a year, says Sonya Francis, the senior director of career navigation for Goodwill Industries International, a nonprofit that supports people in finding jobs.

"Many of these positions won't even exist post-COVID," Francis says. "In order to be considered employable and marketable, you have to have digital skills."

Man stands and gestures at screen while two men sit in chairs
"A graduate degree may be out of reach, but this training Microsoft is offering is really accessible," says Carlos Galeana (standing), the instructional tech trainer for Seattle Goodwill.

The organization serves many who have never used a computer, so it started focusing on entry level digital skills about three years ago. This year it partnered with Microsoft to provide advanced training, testing and certifications in Atlanta and San Francisco, as well as Seattle and Tacoma in Washington.

"There's a lot of excitement around particular Microsoft certifications because they're enhancing employability quicker," says Elizabeth McCombs, a project manager who works with Francis.

The pandemic proved a barrier to classes, since many Goodwill participants don't have access to devices or the internet, McCombs says. But the organization still allows a small number of students to learn at career centers and also is offering mobile labs now, with Goodwill staffers taking devices and training to students' homes.

"A graduate degree may be out of reach, but this training Microsoft is offering is really accessible," says Carlos Galeana, the instructional tech trainer for Seattle Goodwill. Since the courses are online, students can complete them without having to purchase or install software, he says.

The LinkedIn modules have proven particularly helpful in giving students the fundamentals of digital literacy and showing them how it relates to all jobs and careers, whether they want to be an entrepreneur or a barista, says Eileen Aparis, vice president of job training for Seattle Goodwill. The classes give students the confidence to find jobs in administrative positions, medical fields, data science, manufacturing and more, she says.

"This opportunity with Microsoft isn't just about being in IT or software or an app developer but to be successful in the workplace today," Aparis says, "and the workplace of the 21st century is all technology."

The program also is helping people who already have a firm grasp of technology and strong job skills, but want to make sure their career holds a promising future.

"Learning cloud computing is not a choice — it's a must," says Deepa Govindasamy. (Photo provided by Govindasamy)

Deepa Govindasamy, 36, followed her husband to Germany when his company transferred him there from India in 2018. After getting settled into her new country, Govindasamy wanted to return to her software-testing career, but she felt like something was missing as she looked for jobs. She'd studied civil engineering at university so only had on-the-job training in her chosen profession, and she knew there were things she needed to learn – especially cloud computing.

"Technology is growing and evolving so fast, I've seen it changing at warp speed, and the cloud is the future," Govindasamy says. "Learning cloud computing is not a choice — it's a must if you want to flourish in the IT industry."

She heard about the nonprofit ReDI School of Digital Integration at a tech talk she attended late last year, and in February — just as the pandemic was taking hold in Germany — she began a Microsoft Learn software development course with classes in Java, Microsoft Azure and more. She earned her first certification in July and then started a data science program that built on it, along with soft-skills classes such as managing a LinkedIn profile for networking.

"This was how my COVID pandemic lockdown was for me, so busy with so much learning," she laughs.

Govindasamy will be done with her training soon and plans to volunteer teach at ReDI while looking for a job, giving back to others what she's learned herself — just as those who taught her this year had done.

"Data science will be additional knowledge I'll be able to implement," she says. "It'll definitely help me out because software testing has evolved very much, and data is the heart of testing now. And now I can go a lot further in my career with these external certifications."

Woman stands amid a stack of red boxes
"More companies are aware that to survive, they need to attract more tech talent," says Anne Kjaer Bathel, who founded ReDI School of Digital Integration in Germany after meeting an Iraqi computer scientist without a computer at a refugee camp in Berlin in 2015. (Photo provided by ReDI)

ReDI School Chief Executive Officer Anne Kjaer Bathel founded the organization after a chance encounter in 2015 with a refugee in Berlin. The man was from Iraq and had a bachelor's degree in computer science, but he didn't have a computer in Germany and was afraid of losing ground in the fast-moving industry.

"You've heard the story about teaching a man to fish, well what does that story look like in a digital world?" Kjaer Bathel, herself an immigrant from Denmark, recalls pondering. "You need hardware, internet access, you need tech skills, soft skills, language, and a professional network to help open doors to the industry."

Students wearing masks sit in front of computers in a classroom
"We have seen with COVID-19 that the awareness of the need for digital skills isn't just in the tech industry but is for everything, to work remotely or do school," says ReDI CEO Anne Kjaer Bathel. (Photo of a ReDI classroom provided by ReDI)

Kjaer Bathel put up a post on her Facebook page and the next day had a couple dozen responses with people offering equipment, space, expertise and even cake, "because food always brings people together." Now ReDI — a shortening of "ready for digital integration" — relies on 500 volunteers from the tech and startup industries to provide free training to refugees, immigrants and marginalized Germans.

"More companies are aware that to survive, they need to attract more tech talent," Kjaer Bathel says. "And we have seen with COVID-19 that the awareness of the need for digital skills isn't just in the tech industry but is for everything, to work remotely or do school."

Germany is an accreditation-driven society, so ReDI's ability to provide free certification programs through Microsoft's skills initiative "ticks those boxes" and assures prospective employers that ReDI graduates will be able to perform, she says.

It's also motivational for students like Idlir Islamaj.

Islamaj, 34, grew up in Albania and followed his passion for technology to a master's degree in computer science and a job, but he didn't see many opportunities to advance or improve — and he wasn't making enough money to support a family. So when he read in 2018 that Germany was in need of IT experts, he and his wife decided to make the move.

Man wearing glasses
"I'm very motivated for the next certification" through ReDI School, says Idlir Islamaj. (Photo provided by Islamaj)

It wasn't easy to leave his seaside home and learn a new language near landlocked Munich, but Islamaj quickly found a position as a system administrator. He heard about ReDI last year and signed up for a Java course, having seen the need for it in creating different architecture. That led to an Azure certification program from Microsoft Learn that strengthened Islamaj's knowledge of the cloud.

Now he's a consultant for Beck et al, providing support to large global companies that use Microsoft 365 products.

"I feel really valued in what I do now, and I do my job with joy," says Islamaj, who now makes enough to not only support his family — he and his wife had a baby last year — but to take them on vacations as well. "I see that I grow every day professionally and mentally. I see a lot of opportunities. And I'm very motivated for the next certification as well."

Top photo: Lutendo Mabogo in front of Afrika Tikkun's learning center in Diepsloot, north of Johannesburg. (Photo by Roy Potterill)


Popular posts from this blog

Talk of the Towns: Feb. 6, 2020 - The Recorder

Baker Technical Institute launches Certified Medical Assistant program - Blue Mountain Eagle

For inbound college students — and universities — fall semester presents new choices and dilemmas - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette