Saturday, February 16, 2013

SPI High School Study Abroad Announces New Addition to the Team, Carrie Straub, Admissions & Program Advisor

SPI Study Abroad, a leading provider of quality summer study abroad programs for high school students, today announced the appointment of Carrie Straub as Admissions & Program Advisor.A study abroad veteran, Straub completed a year-long program at the University of Granada in Granada, Spain. She earned her degrees in both Spanish and International Studies at the University of Nebraska and now comes to SPI Study Abroad from Wells Fargo, where she served as the residing Service Manager.

After first completing a brief internship at SPI Study Abroad, Straub takes on a new role as the SPI Admissions & Program Advisor. She will apply her excellent customer service skills, leadership, and knowledge of Spain and international education that are relevant to the niche of high school study abroad.I have no doubt Carrie will thrive in her new position as our Program Advisor, helping both parents and students through the high school study abroad experience,” said Jeremy Goodwin SPI Executive Director. “Her expert customer service and communication skills with clients will play a vital role in helping them feel comfortable sending their teen on a summer immersion program.”

Personalized service is something that SPI Study Abroad takes pride in, making many efforts to ensure each family feels they are receiving the support they need, from enrollment, through pre-departure and during the summer programs abroad. Carrie’s addition to the team demonstrates that these practices continue, despite the company’s rapid growth and expansion each year.Word of mouth referrals are the key source for most high school study abroad enrollments,” said SPI Program Director Celeste Weary, “So establishing good relationships and communication with our participants and their families is instrumental to our success as a business. With the addition of Carrie to the SPI Study Abroad team, we’re ready for more growth!

“My study abroad experience in college was an absolute turning point in my life and shaped the person I am today in terms of my career, passions, and vision of the world,” said Straub. “My only regret is not having done it earlier in my studies! I’m thrilled to be a part of the SPI Study Abroad mission of offering high school language immersion and global leadership programs, helping students have a life-changing experience as it was for me.Carrie will be based at the SPI Study Abroad office in Austin, Texas to serve the company’s growing base of high school student participants, families, and alumni.To learn more about SPI High School Study Abroad and view complete summer program information for Spain, France, Italy, Costa Rica and China.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The fair offers students a chance to win a $2,000 study abroad scholarship

The 2013 Study Abroad Fair will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. today in the Prairie Room at the Bone Student Center.The fair offers students a chance to win a $2,000 study abroad scholarship, a drawing for five free $150 application fees and more information about more than 50 semester and summer programs. Students can speak with past participants, program faculty directors, program providers and study abroad advisors.

The Study Abroad program offers students more than 80 countries to choose ranging from England, Scotland and Ireland all the way to South Korea, Thailand and China.Anywhere students want to go, the program will make it happen,” Alex Ratcliff, ISU study abroad advisor, said.Ratcliff, who has been with the program for just over a year, sayidthere are many great advantages of studying abroad for every student at ISU.Especially with the economy, you need some way to set yourself apart, and studying abroad is a way to do that,” said Ratcliff.  “I’ve seen that as a person, it really builds character. I can’t tell you how many students start off being nervous, scared and anxious, but when they come back they look like a completely different person.”

Last year was the first year ISU held a spring and fall Study Abroad Fair for students. This year, the program is trying to build an interest in all other colleges within ISU by bringing in affiliates, outside companies, faculty directors and past participants to talk to students about their experiences.By going to the Study Abroad Fair, students gain a better experience and understanding for what the program is all about.There’s something to be said for personal interaction,” Ratcliff said.By having a past participant there that you can talk to who literally just got back from the program, they are not going to sugarcoat it. So they’re going to tell you both the positives and the negatives of their experience

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Free online courses offered by FIU

Florida International University is offering five online courses that anyone can take, for free.The courses, which make up FIU’s initial offering of “Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC),” include entrepreneurship, real estate and a class on project management in English and Spanish.Each course is a self-directed, condensed version of a college-level course and takes about eight hours to complete. Participants can watch a short video of the content of each course as described by the instructor before enrolling.

To sign up, visit Students can enroll and complete the course at their own pace. At the end of the course, participants have the option of receiving a certificate of completion. No college credit will be awarded, FIU said.Applied Real Estate: What you need to know about buying and selling residential real estate.Entrepreneurship and New Ventures: Geared to give students practical tools to help them rapidly assess the potential of a new business idea.Legal and Ethical Governance - A Roadmap for Florida's Public Officials and Employees: The course includes both theoretical and practical approaches to common ethical issues, with an emphasis on Florida law.Project Management Basics: Aimed at providing key concepts and techniques for successfully managing projects from planning to completion. It is offered in English and Spanish.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Courses aimed at those caring for people with mental illness

The first, starting Tuesday Jan. 8, will be “With Hope in Mind,” which is an eight-class weekly course for family members or caregivers of adults with mental illness. National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Sumner County will be offering two free mental health courses in January in Hendersonville.With Hope in Mind” provides the basic education and skill training needed to cope with the difficulties associated with caring for adult relatives who exhibit behaviors like anger, depression, mania, psychosis, paranoia and other symptoms of mental illness.

The second, starting, Thursday Jan. 10, will be Beginnings, which is a six-class weekly course for parents or caregivers of children with behavioral issues. “Beginnings” provides a wealth of information for primary care providers of a child or adolescent who struggles with depression, mania, delusions, inattentiveness and other difficult behaviors. The course covers a spectrum of brain disorders, such as bipolar disorder, depression, schizophrenia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder ADHD. The course is helpful for primary caregivers along with grandparents, aunts, uncles, respite care providers and foster parents.

Free courses, materials

The “With Hope In Mind” and “Beginnings” classes address these common illnesses along with many others. The courses will be taught by NAMI volunteers who have taken instructor training and have personal experience in caring for someone with a mental illness. These free workshops are sponsored by NAMI Sumner County and are supported in part by a grant from NAMI Tennessee and the Tennessee Dept. of Mental Health & Developmental Disabilities.Both classes take place 6 p.m. at the Hendersonville's Babb Center at 105 Music Village Blvd. on their respective days.

Common skills

Both acclaimed workshops will help participants understand the feelings of anger, frustration, guilt, and hopelessness that arise when trying to help someone struggling with a mental illness. They also outline coping skills for dealing with the cycles of mental illness. Participants will learn helpful skills such as problem management, communication and crisis planning while being offered practical and emotional support as they learn that they are not alone.One in five Tennesseans is affected by a mental illness such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety disorder or eating disorder.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Special computer education class for seniors

Senior Computer Associates is sponsoring a special class to help you learn how to email your grandchildren, browse the internet and send and receive digital photos. Join the computer age as over 1,000 Senior Citizens of our area have done through this program. A computer is provided free to graduates of this program, if needed.

Senior Computer Associates will sponsor this class to all residents 50 and older of Latrobe, Derry & Ligonier. This class will be held for 4 weeks. Classes will be held Mondays from 9:30 to 11:15 a.m. The cost is $20, 100% of which goes to the Latrobe Senior Center. Maximum class size – 6 students with an instructor and 2 coaches to assist you.The Latrobe Senior Center provides a hot breakfast and lunch for a minimal additional cost. Transportation is available through Veteran’s Cab at a minimal expense.The Latrobe Senior Center is located at Avenue C in Latrobe.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Harvard Law offering first free online course

The new phenomenon seen nowadays in higher education around the world is the online open courses, also known as MOOCs. So, what is MOOC?A MOOC is an open online course that can be pursued by the masses through Internet. In a MOOC, the course materials are uploaded by a University, college or institute through portals like edX, etc.These portals allow students from across the world to enrol into a course of their choice free of cost and access the course material of institutes like Harvard, Stanford, Princeton, University of British Columbia, and University of Melbourne, University of Toronto.

The good part is that while doing a particular course, students may be given assignments and exams to complete and at the end of the course certificates of course completion are also granted.So all those students who want to upgrade their skills into specific fields, this is probably what you can check out. Also, the courses available on MOOCs are plenty. Be it medicine, law, computer science, business and management, Business Administrationn and social sciences, everything is available and that too for free.It is estimated that close to 400 courses are available through MOOCs, and the lists are growing. Each course takes around 600 hours to convert to be online ready, and cost the university approx $45,000.

As per The Horizon Report of 2012, Higher Education Edition predicts how emerging technologies in education will have an impact in the next five years globally. People will increasingly expect to work, learn and study, at anytime and anywhere. MOOCs will allow this.In Kenya, there is rising access to the Internet owing to broadband technologies. The Internet is also becoming more affordable. The University of Melbourne in Australia signed up to Coursera in Septemb,er and in just over two months, it had more than 52,000 enrolment.Now the question arises, why are universities interested in sharing their courses with the world for free?Having their course material available to all, universities get to interact with students of caliber, who otherwise do not participate in such classes. Such an experience also opens up new theories, arguments and reasoning.Also, students are unable to make it into top institutions get to feel how things are taught in such institutes.

Monday, December 17, 2012

online courses are changing study

When the first movable-type printing press began churning out books in 1439, knowledge that belonged to an elite few flowed to masses of hungry learners.This year, something similar happened. Select courses taught at places like Stanford on subjects like physics were offered for free online, meaning that a level of education once available only to Ivy League-level college students is now an option in places like Pakistan, Ghana and Tibet.These courses, called Massive Open Online Courses make education cheaper and more accessible, but some say they have potential to undermine the current profit model.

"This transition to digital learning is as significant as when we first began to learn from books, said Karen Cator, director of the U.S. Office of Educational Technology. "Now we have a whole new opportunity to learn, with expert explanations, simulations and models of complex ideas. It's interesting and exciting, and it also needs continued research.Online classes have been around for decades, providing a convenient, if rather dull, learning environment for correspondence courses and basic education. MOOCs have much more going for them: the ability to turn a Harvard professor's best course into a global learning community via the Internet, usually at no cost to the learner.To get an idea of what a typical MOOC is like, the nine-week Introduction of Astronomy course available through the Coursera website at is a good place to start. The class is taught by Duke University physics professor Ronen Plesser, whose video course introduction paints a glowing picture of a splendorous universe. Tests and assignments are graded automatically, and the course workload takes six to eight hours per week. No college credit is given, but students can pay to get a certificate proving they completed the course.

In the past year, interest in MOOCs like this one have exploded. Upstart companies that provide the classes have seen dramatic growth. Coursera, one of them, has 2 million subscribers and partners with schools like Stanford, Princeton and Johns Hopkins Universities to provide content.MOOCs have been around for at least five years. One of the first people to create one was Utah State University professor David Wiley, who found a way to invite people all over the world to interact within a 2007 class he was teaching on the USU campus, via the Internet.In Canada, educational technologists David Cormier and Bryan Alexander hit upon a similar idea at around the same time, and christened their online learning community a "MOOC"  Massive Open Online Course in 2008. A buzzword was born, albeit one that sounds like a coughing cow when pronounced.

Wiley's first open online class adapted the community-driven idea behind open source software and applied it to educational content, creating a learning environment where everything happened online.You put so much work into building a course and getting it ready to offer, and you have this feeling that there are a lot of people in the world whose lives would be blessed if they had a chance to learn some of the things you are teaching," Wiley said. "It turns out to be very little extra effort to put it all online, and do it in such a way that anyone can participate.Endless replication of a good teacher's work creates tantalizing possibilities, said Cator: "Every teacher doesn't have to do the whole thing over themselves. We will have the best-of-the-best playlist of lectures and interactions, and we'll begin to understand which are most helpful for different kinds of students."