Online Courses: A Different Option for the Modern Student


(Articles published in Best


In the job world of the 21st century, a degree can seem like a prerequisite to starting a career. The degrees are requiring more and more schooling, and the competition drives students to search out bachelors, masters, and doctorate degrees. But many students don’t have the time, the resources, or the mobility to go to a campus and learn the way others can; their life, current job, family, or other life problems might require them to stay where they are, and only allows them certain, erratic times for study. This is where an online degree becomes invaluable. Studying online allows a student to complete their school when and where they want, with less money spent on living, travel, and supplies.


There are many different options out there, and so many students searching for online degrees, so it can be difficult to find a fit that’s right for a student and their life. These three articles from Best are a helpful resource for students trying to decide whether or not to pursue a degree online. For each of the following, some questions and concerns that you may be having are answered with this comprehensive list of the best options out there.

Look for an online degree for BACHELORS, MASTERS, DOCTORATE

Look for the 50 BEST ONLINE COLLEGES OF 2018

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5 Predictions for Education in 2015

5 Predictions for Education in 2015

January 26th 2015, Written by Michael Horn

What changes can we hope to see in education in 2015? One of Indigo’s top goals ranked #1 on the Forbes list, and we are certain it will create better academic and career opportunities for students across the world! 

It’s the new year and with it, hopes for new developments in education. Here are a few scattered predictions from around the world of education about what we might see.

1. Competency-based learning gains steam

Fueled by interest from hundreds of higher education institutions and the Department of Education, competency-based learning will gain steam. Coupled with online learning, as my colleague Michelle Weisehas written, it will constitute a disruptive force in higher education unlike any we’ve seen.

2. The rise of the LRM

The LRM—learning relationship management software—akin to a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system for sales—will rise as a new category to make online and blended learning, competency-based learning, and theunbundling of the university far more fruitful and productive for learners, educational institutions, and employers. The trend will grow fast in higher education this year, followed by corporate learning and then K–12 education in future years. The early leader is Fidelis Education (where, full disclosure, I’m on the board), and Motivis Learning, a spin-off from College for America, Southern New Hampshire’s online, competency-based institution, won’t be far behind.

Continue reading here…

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Higher Education: Mastery, Modularization, and the Workforce Revolution

Higher Education: Mastery, Modularization, and the Workforce Revolution

March 14th 2015, Written by Michelle R. Weise and Clayton M. Christensen

Developing job skills is just as important as learning grammar and science. In fact, it might be more important as a direct influence on post-grad success. This mini-book on the climate of job skills in higher education is the first step to getting informed about the discussion.

Download the full mini-book By Michelle R. Weise and Clayton M. Christensen

July 2014

The economic urgency around higher education is undeniable: the price of tuition has soared; student loan debt now exceeds $1 trillion and is greater than credit card debt; the dollars available from government sources for colleges are expected to shrink in the years to come; and the costs for traditional institutions to stay competitive continue to rise.

At the same time, more education does not necessarily lead to better outcomes. Employers are demanding more academic credentials for every kind of job yet are at the same time increasingly vocal about their dissatisfaction with the variance in quality of degree holders. The signaling effect of a college degree appears to be an imprecise encapsulation of one’s skills for the knowledge economy of the times. McKinsey analysts estimate that the number of skillsets needed in the workforce has increased rapidly from 178 in September 2009 to 924 in June 2012.

Students themselves are demanding more direct connections with employers: 87.9 percent of college freshmen cited getting a better job as a vital reason for pursuing a college degree in the 2012 University of California Los Angeles’ Higher Education Research Institute’s “American Freshman Survey”—approximately 17 percentage points higher than in the same survey question in 2006; a survey of the U.S. public by Gallup and the Lumina Foundation confirmed similarly high numbers. “Learning and work are becoming inseparable,” argued the authors of a report from the Institute for Public Policy Research, “indeed one could argue that this is precisely what it means to have a knowledge economy or a learning society. It follows that if work is becoming learning, then learning needs to become work—and universities need to become alive to the possibilities.”

Even the demographics of students seeking postsecondary education are shifting. The National Center for Education Statistics projects that by 2020, 42 percent of all college students will be 25 years of age or older. More working adults are becoming responsible for actively honing and developing new skills for the new technologies and jobs emerging on a day-to-day basis.

Despite these trends, few universities or colleges see the need to adapt to the surge in demand of skillsets in the workforce. 

Continue reading at:


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Related Article: Should Schools Teach Personally?

Related Article: Should Schools Teach Personally?

January 14th 2015, Written by Anna North

We love this article because it’s a balanced and powerful way to describe why Indigo is so important to schools and students.  

Self-control, curiosity, “grit” — these qualities may seem more personal than academic, but at some schools, they’re now part of the regular curriculum. Some researchers say personality could be even more important than intelligence when it comes to students’ success in school. But critics worry that the increasing focus on qualities like grit will distract policy makers from problems with schools.


In a 2014 paper, the Australian psychology professor Arthur E. Poropat cites research showing that both conscientiousness (which he defines as a tendency to be “diligent, dutiful and hardworking”) and openness (characterized by qualities like creativity and curiosity) are more highly correlated with student performance than intelligence is. And, he notes, ratings of students’ personalities by outside observers — teachers, for instance — are even more strongly linked with academic success than the way students rate themselves. The strength of the personality-performance link is good news, he writes, because “personality has been demonstrated to change over time to a far greater extent than intelligence.”

A number of researchers have been successful in improving students’ conscientiousness, Dr. Poropat said in an interview. One team, he said, found that when elementary-school students get training in “effortful control,” a trait similar to conscientiousness, “it not only improves the students’ performance at that point in their education, but also has follow-on effects a number of years afterward.” Another study found that a 16-week problem-solving training program could increase retirees’ levels of openness.

“We probably need to start rethinking our emphasis on intelligence,” he said. “This isn’t to say that we should throw intelligence out,” he cautioned, “but we need to pull back on thinking that this is the only game in town.”

Some already have. “Grit” — which the psychology professor Angela Duckworth of the University of Pennsylvania and her co-authors define in a 2007 paper as “perseverance and passion for long-term goals,” and which they see as overlapping in some ways with conscientiousness — has become part of the curriculum at a number of schools.

Mandy Benedix, who teaches a class on grit at Rogers Middle School in Pearland, Tex., said: “We know that these noncognitive traits can be taught. We also know that it is necessary for success. You look at anybody who has had long-term sustainable success, and every one of them exhibited at some point this grit, this tenacity to keep going.”

One result of the class, which includes lessons on people, like Malala Yousafzai, who have overcome significant challenges: Students “are now willing to do the hard thing instead of always running to what was easy.” Ms. Benedix also coordinates a districtwide grit initiative — since it began, she says, the number of high schoolers taking advanced-placement classes has increased significantly.

The KIPP network of charter schools emphasizes grit along with six other “character strengths,” including self-control and curiosity. Leyla Bravo-Willey, the assistant principal at KIPP Infinity Middle School in Harlem, said, “We talk a lot about them as being skills or strengths, not necessarily traits, because it’s not innate.”

“If a child happens to be very gritty but has trouble participating in class,” she added, “we still want them to develop that part of themselves.”

The focus on character, however, has encountered criticism. The education writer and speaker Alfie Kohn, for instance, argues that grit isn’t always helpful. In a Washington Post essay adapted from his new book, “The Myth of the Spoiled Child: Challenging the Conventional Wisdom About Children and Parenting,” he writes that dogged persistence isn’t the best approach to every situation: “Even if you don’t crash and burn by staying the course, you may not fare nearly as well as if you had stopped, reassessed and tried something else.”

And, he said in an interview, an emphasis on children’s personalities could take attention away from problems with their schools. “Social psychologists for decades have identified a tendency to overestimate how important personality characteristics, motivation, individual values and the like tend to be relative to the importance of the structural characteristics of a situation,” he said. “We tend to think people just need to try harder, or have a better attitude,” but “this tends to miss the boat. What really matters is various aspects of the system itself.”

Truly improving education in America will require “asking about the environment in which kids are placed, what kids are being asked to learn, how they’re being taught, what voice they have, if any, in the experience,” he said. “Every time we focus on personality variables, we are distracted again from addressing the systemic questions that matter.”

And in an essay at The New Republic, Jeffrey Aaron Snyder, an educational studies professor at Carleton College, contends that as currently espoused by KIPP, “character-based education is untethered from any conception of morality.” And, he says in an interview, he questions the value of looking at character traits outside a larger moral framework: “What’s the importance of teaching grit if you’re not teaching it in the context of civic education, the public good, social responsibility?” Teaching it without such context “becomes kind of a looking-out-for-number-one-type approach to education.”

As an example of a better way, he points to a school he came across in his research whose students started a community garden during World War I (gardening is also part of the curriculum at some schools today). Planting, growing and distributing food taught many of the same traits that character-education programshope to instill, he said, “but it’s all richly integrated into a task that has genuine purpose and that makes the students think beyond themselves.”

Ms. Bravo-Willey disputes the notion that character education at KIPP is hyperindividualistic. KIPP Infinity, she said, has students get together in groups to help one another with their academic goals, like getting to class on time or making the honor roll. “They work together to do that, because that sense of community is so critical.”

Though academic success is an important goal for KIPP, she said, it’s not the only thing: “We want to make kids that are great citizens for the world.”

And some say understanding personality can help teachers tailor instruction to fit students, or help students choose fields that match their preferences. Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, a professor of business psychology at University College London who has studied the relationship between personality and learning, is less interested in changing people’s personalities than in helping students find the right path for them. Rather than making everyone gritty in all circumstances, he said, “I think it will probably be more about helping people find what their interests are.”

“If you have no interest in classical music or no interest in starting your business,” he said, “I doubt that you will be very gritty or display a lot of passion and perseverance there.” But personality assessment could help people find areas where they might be more likely to persevere — it could “teach people what they’re naturally like, so they can make better choices.” And rather than changing their personalities completely, people might simply learn behaviors to help them better deal with their existing traits. For instance, he said, “if I know that I’m generally an introverted person and I don’t enjoy social events, I can teach myself four or five simple strategies to relate to other people.”

“I shouldn’t really aspire to be something completely different,” he said, “because that’s a very, very hard and counterproductive task.” And, he added, “We wouldn’t want to live in a world where everybody has the same personality.”

Ms. Benedix believes understanding students’ personalities could help her meet their needs. If she knows a child is introverted, for instance, she might not expect him or her to demonstrate knowledge by speaking up frequently in class. “Anytime you’re teaching any kid,” she said, “the more I know about their personality and how they learn best, the better I’m going to be able to reach them and deliver that.”

And Dr. Poropat said a knowledge of students’ personality traits “provides teachers with more guidance on what they should be doing in the classroom.” People with high levels of openness may learn differently from those in whom the trait is less prominent, he noted. “You can train the students who are low on openness to become more open and curious and so on, but also the teacher can adapt their way of learning to suit the students.”

“A good teacher makes a huge difference,” he said. “It’s not just what the student brings.”

See the full article here: 

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