Monday, November 29, 2010

Miss the Seattle party? Come to Pullman

IMG_9203     The band didn’t make it to Seattle. But the cheerleaders did, along with about 400 WSU students, staff and alumni who braved icy temperatures and snowy streets for last Tuesday’s party beforeharmeling (2) Cougars beat the Pilots in the Hardwood Classic basketball game.
     The event was organized in conjunction with WSU Online’s student government, and included dinner, an appearance by Butch T. Cougar and WSU basketball standout Daven Harmeling, right.
     WSU Online students, family and friends will soon have another chance to socialize, courtesy of AWSU Online.
     The student government is holding a precommencement reception from 5-7 p.m. Dec. 10 at Lewis Alumni Centre on the Pullman campus. For more information, go to the website.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Prof: ‘I’m not trying to torture people’

DSC_6274New online course on wines and vines requires a willingness to challenge your tastebuds. The story is in WSU Today.

Win an iPad from WSU

ipodcougar     Would you like to win an iPad? All you have to do is come up with a great name for WSU’s Student Information System, which we like to call SIS for short.
     Along with getting a shiny new iPad, you’ll also be leaving a lasting legacy at WSU as generations of staff, faculty and students refer to our computer system by the name that you came up with. But, don’t worry. You won’t be blamed for any glitches.
     The deadline to enter is Dec. 3. Rules and more information are on the website.

WSU to honor online student

sylviaSylvia Guzman, above, has been chosen as a highlight student for the December commencement. Guzman is the third consecutive online student to be honored, following Sandy Thomas and Debby Poris.
The 2009 article below describes Guzman’s journey from homeless migrant worker to speaking before a national Head Start conference in Washington, D.C.

A dozen preschoolers puff into plastic wands, shrieking as soap bubbles kite across the classroom.
“‘Honey I think there’s a rat on top of us.’ He told me, ‘No, it’s not. Go to sleep.’ Then he felt it."
     Sylvia Guzman, 29, sits cross-legged on the floor, next to a poster showing ways to calm down (put hand on tummy, take deep breaths). She reads aloud in Spanish: “There are three amigos.”
     She points to the book. The children flock around. She turns the page. “Four armadillos. How many armadillos? Let’s count them.” They count together – “Uno, dos, tres, cuatro” – as one boy stomps errant bubbles. “Look. Five cows,” she says. “What does a cow say?” Everyone moos in unison.
     Guzman, a Washington State University Online student, has worked at Early Head Start in Mt. Vernon, Washington, for four years. “I get paid to play all day,” she says. “I never want to go back to the fields. And I’m not. Never.” The fields are the farms of California, Oregon, and Washington where she picked oranges, grapes, lemons, olives, blueberries, cucumbers, apples, and strawberries.
     Sylvia started picking in central California at 13. She picked on weekends during the school year and all summer to help her parents, immigrants from Oaxaca, Mexico. “When my parents told me it was time to get another bin, I’d start crying,” she says.
More...     Her mother, Silviana, still works the fields. Her father, Guadalupe, died in 2000.
     At 18, Sylvia married Cornelio, a fellow Oaxacan she met in the fields. They became migrant workers, following the harvest up through Oregon and Washington, where their daughter, Angelica Avila, was born. (Karina came two years later, then Diego, who’s now 4.)
     The family lived in labor camps, in their cargo van, and in a livestock barn where they boiled water to shower in a plywood-covered feeding pen. One boss let them sleep in a corner of his rat-infested warehouse. “I was pregnant, and I would cry because I did not want to stay there,” Sylvia says. “I’m terrified of rats. In Mexico one night I felt something scratching on the blankets and I told my husband, ‘Honey I think there’s a rat on top of us.’ He told me, ‘No, it’s not. Go to sleep.’ Then he felt it and he flung off the blankets. And the rats in Mexico …” She holds her hands a foot apart.
     In 2001, Sylvia, Cornelio and their two young children were sharing a two-bedroom house with about 20 people in Burlington, Washington. Fed up with fieldwork, she walked across the street to a child-care center. “I asked for a job. I told the woman that I’d come here every day for a week and work for free.” She got the job, her first job in child care.
     She enrolled at Skagit Valley College, and graduated two years later with an associate’s degree. She wanted a bachelor’s degree in human development next and chose an online degree completion program so she could study while spending time with her family. In fall 2008, Sylvia was accepted in WSU’s online program.
     “The classes are very good,” says Sylvia, the first in her family to attend college. “I’m very glad I can work at my own pace and still have the teacher interaction when I need it.”
     Sylvia singles out her academic advisor for praise. “I love Chrisi Kincaid,” she says. “She’s been a real help. Every time I have a question, every time I can’t find a book, she’ll go to the bookstore and tell me, yes, that’s the one or no it’s not. She really goes out of her way.”
     Students like Sylvia make her job “very rewarding,” Chrisi says. “When I meet someone like Sylvia, who has overcome so many obstacles to obtain an education, I am compelled to do whatever I can to urge them on to success.”
     At Early Head Start, Sylvia teaches special needs and mainstream children, using Spanish, English and sign language. She also makes home visits to teach parenting skills – simple things, she says, such as how to obtain a driver’s license or use food banks. In October, she was selected to go to the national Head Start conference in Washington, D.C., where she gave two presentations, one about bilingual education, and one about her life.
     Sylvia plans to earn her bachelor’s degree by 2010, then get a master’s in bilingual education. “I am the way I am because of my life experience,” she says. “I don’t settle for minimum. I want more.”
     Parents begin arriving to pick up the preschoolers, who have howled with eight coyotes, hissed with nine snakes, meowed with 10 cats. None shows any sign of calming down. “Paku,” Sylvia says to the Russian-speaking boy, “Goodbye.”
     After the children leave, she sits in a tiny wooden chair and switches to Spanish: “Se aprende de los golpes de la vida.” It’s a Mexican saying, she explains. “You learn from the hardships of life.”

By Richard H. Miller/WSU Online

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Engineering program a boon for Boeing

eng-mba-rumsey-280     WSU's online master's program not only helps working engineers build management skills. It also pays off for their employers, such as Boeing. Read about the profitable interaction of classroom and company here.
     For more information on the Engineering Management Program, go to the website.

     Back in 2008, we talked to an enthusiastic engineering graduate as he visited campus to watch a football game and stock up on Coug gear. Here's the story, and below is a video in which we ask him to sing the fight song.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Cougs rock and roll at bowling party

     Students, friends, families and staff gathered in Pullman for dinner and bowling during this ASWSU Online-sponsored event.
     If you couldn't make it to Pullman, please join us in Seattle on Nov. 23 for a party before the Hardwood Classic basketball game. Along with a hosted dinner and play time with Butch T. Cougar, there will be a special appearance by the Cougar Alumni Band.
     For more information on ASWSU Online, including information on the special online student scholarships, please go to the website.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Virtual Mentor program wins first place

centss award (1)WSU Online’s Virtual Mentor program has won a first-place innovation award from the Center for Transforming Student Services. Instructional designer Rebecca Van de Vord, right, and Faculty/Student Services Coordinator Margy Fotopoulos run the program at WSU Online.
     Virtual Mentors are past and current WSU Online students who monitor online courses and who reach out to students to assist with non-content related issues, such as navigating the course space, mastering the technology, and building community. More...
   CENTSS praised the award winners for using “creative strategies, and fresh thinking to design, develop, implement, and maintain online student services that have produced measureable results.
     CENTSS is a partnership among the Western Cooperative for Educational Telecommunications, the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities, and Seward, Inc. It promotes best practices in student services online.
     To read what a Virtual Mentor has to say about her experiences, go to the Cyber Coug blog.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

New newsletter out; big party coming up

DSC_3008The latest Cyber Coug newsletter  is now online. You can get more information about ASWSU Online at the student government website, and you can see videos of past events on our video page.

While you're on the video page, be sure to check out all the food at the 2010 graduation party. If that whets your appetite, consider joining us for our Nov. 23 party at Key Arena in Seattle.

This should be a blast as we invite WSU Online students, friends and alumni to dine and mingle with other WSU alumni before the Hardwood Classic basketball game.

Scheduled to appear is the Cougar Alumni Band, and we're hoping for a performance by WSU cheerleaders!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Two pioneers in distance education retire

kendall oaks “If you look at the past 20 years, there’s probably a half dozen people who have changed the way universities deliver education in this country,” said Samuel H. Smith, president of WSU from 1985 to 2000. “Muriel is clearly one of the leaders of that group.”
See the story in WSU Today.