Tuesday, July 27, 2010

WSU Online joins Boeing ed fair

WSU Online Boeing     Washington State University has always had extensive connections with Boeing. A Google search for pages containing both Boeing and Washington State University brings more than 55,000 results.
    This June, Boeing gave WSU a $105,000 grant to increase mentoring for engineering and science students. This July, Boeing and WSU joined a team helping create create aviation biofuels. Last year, two top Boeing executives lent their expertise to a WSU Online marketing course.
    The most widely known connection may be that former Boeing Commercial Airplanes president Scott Carson is a WSU grad, and served on WSU’s Board of Regents.
    Now Boeing has invited WSU Online to participate in its first Virtual Education Fair, which runs from July 26-30, and offers the chance to reach more than 130,000 Boeing employees.
    You can see WSU Online’s virtual booth here.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Bookie Too offers text rentals

spider      You may want to keep that 20-pound Existential Economics textbook for your children. Or to kill spiders. But if you’re looking to save money and storage space, the Bookie Too is now offering textbook rentals.
     “It is much cheaper to rent than buy the book,” said textbook coordinator Rick Wayenberg.
     New rental books are being added daily, Wayenberg said. “We could perhaps run out of rentals on a title, so it is best if they order early,” he said.
     Because students must fill out forms, book rentals are available only online or in person, not by telephone. If students are ordering online, he said, the rental option will appear when available.
     “We typically would rent new books first, making used books available for sales,” Wayenberg said. “The rental fee is the same for new and used. If we were to run out or not have any new available, then used would be rented.”
     For more information, go to the Bookie’s rental page.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Who's the cutest baby ever? Gotta be her

photo West Side staffer and proud father Thomas Wilson just sent us this photo of Talia, born at 4:26 p.m. July 16 to Thomas and his wife, Naomi. Talia is 6 pounds,   2 ounces, and 18 inches.

“She’s a little thing,” Thomas said, “but she’s already pushing daddy around.”

We’ve started an office pool on Talia’s first words. So far, the smart money is on “Go Cougs!”

Student leaders get new advisor

Jason Mayburry     For the past three years, Jason Mayburry has helped WSU Online students with technical issues. Now he’s helping students help one another.
     Mayburry, formerly a Student Services program assistant, has a new job advising the online student government. He coordinates ASWSU Online’s in-person student activities, such as the Tacoma Rendezvous, the Hardwood Classic, parties and pre-graduation receptions. He also supervises the information technology assistants, who maintain course spaces in the Angel learning management system.
     “Christina Sturman created a well-oiled machine,” he said of his predecessor as ASWSU Online advisor. “We’re taking that same model and building on its strengths.”
     One upcoming change is a redesign of the ASWSU Online Web site, he said. “We want to make it more in line with on-campus program sites, while preserving elements that address the needs of online students.”
     Also in the works is a plan to offer University Recreation services to online students. More...     “We’re looking at things like providing access to online personal training and nutrition,” said student government President Larry Lawrence.
     More change is on the way. “We’ve got a crop of new senators coming in,” Mayburry said. “They’re ambitious and involved, and they’re going to start pushing the envelope.”
     Mayburry brings a special empathy to his new position. In 2006, he was working 30 hours a week at WSU Pullman’s writing center, helping raising two children, and finishing his English degree. He supplemented his on-campus studies with online courses and graduated in spring 2007. He was hired that fall by Student Services, where he was known for his genial manner, then promoted this summer.
     “Jason is doing a great job getting everything organized for the upcoming academic year,” Lawrence said. “We’re all glad to have him on board.”
     One challenge, Mayburry said, is that many students aren’t aware of the online student government, even though it was the nation’s first, controls hundreds of thousands of dollars in student money, and has established dozens of scholarships.
     “We need to be innovative and come up with fresh ways to let students know that there is a student government,” Mayburry said. “For example, any student can join a committee if they’re interested. But they don’t know those committees are out there, which is a huge hurdle.”
     Even if they do know, he said, online students are already busy with their education, families and jobs. So why should they want to join the student government?
     “It looks great on your resume,” Mayburry said. “But most importantly, you get a wealth of knowledge and experience. It introduces you to a whole new world of decision-making, and it’s a lot of fun.”

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Two new online grad certificates

     Washington State University is launching two new online graduate certificates this fall, one in early-childhood educational administration, and one in molecular biosciences.
      The 12-credit Early Childhood Leadership and Administration certificate addresses the national shortage of educational administrators in schools, preschools, and child care centers.
      “This certificate prepares students for leadership roles in a variety of organizations that aim to improve lives of young children and families,” said Patricia Pendry, assistant professor at the Department of Human Development.
      The online format makes it ideal for working professionals, students in other graduate programs, and educators seeking continuing education credits.
      “The courses focus on research, theory, and practice that will lead to deeper knowledge of learning and development, effective mentoring and supervision of teachers and support staff,” said Assistant Professor Jared Lisonbee.
      Prerequisites include a bachelor’s degree in a related field, one year experience in early childhood education programs, and a three-credit undergraduate course in child development. More...      The Molecular Biosciences graduate certificate prepares students for advancement in biotechnology, medical research, and interdisciplinary fields, such as biological chemistry and biological physics.
      “The certificate gives recent graduates an excellent additional credential, while helping those already in the field keep up with the latest research,” said Dr. Norah McCabe, clinical associate professor of molecular biosciences.
      Prerequisites include a bachelor’s degree in a related field. Advisors recommend that students have completed three undergraduate semesters of a combination of general biology, microbiology, cell biology, genetics, or molecular biology courses, and one semester each of organic chemistry, physics, biochemistry and calculus.
      The certificate requires three 3-credit core courses, and an elective. All of the certificates’ core courses can be also applied to the new 32-credit Professional Science Masters, which is being offered both online and on-campus this fall.
      “The interdisciplinary PSM combines science and non-science courses,” said McCabe, “so graduates can efficiently transition into the workplace.”

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Mentoring program gives students a boost

Jaylin, her husband, John, and their daughter, Kylee-Cathreen.
Did you know we have peer mentoring program? Here's an article from last December that explains how it works:

    Last winter, Jaylin Richman contacted a Distance Degree Programs mentor for advice about a course. She got a lot more.
    When Kendra Hayward wrote back, Jaylin ended up telling her everything. How her fiancĂ©, Army Sgt. First Class John Johnson, was serving his fourth tour in Iraq. How she was staying in West Richland, Washington, with her parents and her 3-year-old daughter, Kylee-Cathreen, until John returns to their home near Fort Hood, Texas. How she struggled to handle parenting duties while taking 20 credits a semester for a double major in criminal justice and psychology.
    “Kendra and I e-mail each other usually twice a week,” she said. “Kendra makes me feel like I’m doing everything necessary to succeed. She has been such an inspiration.” More...        A few months later, life got a lot better for Jaylin. In May, John returned from Iraq. Jaylin joined him in Texas, they got married on July 11, and have just purchased a house.
    But Jaylin still leans on Kendra. “She's been helping me get started with the fall semester,” Jaylin said. “I'm taking seven classes, instead of my usual six, and I've been a little overwhelmed. Kendra is helping me to cope.”
    Kendra’s empathy is based on experience. She graduated from DDP in 2005 with a social sciences degree. Now she’s helping about 20 students. “Basically, I give encouragement and tips on time management and handling stress,” she said. Kendra is also brushing up on her own time management skills: She’s earning a master’s at the University of Washington School of Nursing.
    Faculty/Student Services Coordinator Cheri Curtis, who runs the mentor program, said Kendra is the only mentor, but that could change if more students take advantage of the program. “The University motto is ‘World-Class, Face to Face,’” she said. “Maybe we can’t be face to face, but, through our mentors, we can be voice to voice.”
    The mentoring program is funded through the DDP’s student government. “Mentors share their insight on how to study effectively, where to get information, pitfalls to watch for,” said Debby Poris, president of the ASWSU-DDP. “And they give us reassurance that we are on the right track.”
    Janet Kendall, DDP’s director of academic programs, pointed out that the mentoring program is only one part of the online support network. “They say it takes a village,” she said. “We’re creating a virtual village with this mentoring program, the Virtual Mentors in the course space, academic advisors, student support services, and 24-hour technical help. We all care about the students and want to help them succeed.”
    Kendra, who lives near Mill Creek, Washington, uses e-mail and the telephone to reach out to students. She may soon get the chance, however, to meet one of her biggest fans in person.
    “Kendra doesn’t know it yet,” Jaylin said, “but she’ll be receiving a graduation invitation next spring!”
    For more information about the DDP’s mentoring program, go to aswsu-ddp.wsu.edu/mentor/mentee.asp.

-- Richard H. Miller/Center for Distance and Professional Education

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

4-year degree plan creates stir

WSU Online’s announcement last week that it would begin offering four-year degrees this fall has generated a lot of buzz from TV stations and newspapers across the state. Here’s just one example, from Good Morning Northwest.