eCornell partners with Destiny Solutions to further accelerate growth and streamline operations

A top online continuing education provider, eCornell delivers online professional and executive development programs to over 50,000 students worldwide in more than 200 countries. By partnering with Destiny Solutions, eCornell will transition from its homegrown enterprise system onto Destiny One, allowing the company to focus on the implementation of a strategic expansion plan, including curriculum development and corporate engagement.

“eCornell’s unique approach to eLearning requires sophisticated software to administer students and manage programs throughout the customer lifecycle,” said Rob Kingyens, Chief Technology Officer of eCornell. “By shifting away from our homegrown system and onto the Destiny One platform, we are able to focus our technology efforts on new product development and solutions that enhance the learning experience and engagement with our global customer base.”

eCornell eLearning combines the most effective elements of a world-class, Ivy League classroom with the flexibility of an online learning environment. eCornell courses—self-paced and 100 percent online—are “instructor-facilitated” and “cohort centric” helping guide participants in each course through challenging, real-world exercises with practical on-the-job application. Destiny One will allow staff to manage the scheduling and capacity of courses while providing students with rich, contextual portals and the tools to track their progress to certificate completion.

Destiny One will also support and streamline eCornell’s direct and online sales to both retail and corporate customers, which occur locally and through a network of international resellers. Furthermore, the solution will fully integrate with the organization’s financial, customer relationship, and learning management systems.

“eCornell is an award-winning leader in online professional certificates in a wide variety of business disciplines,” said Shaul Kuper, President and CEO of Destiny Solutions. “Destiny One will enable eCornell to reimagine its market potential and provide organizational agility to further accelerate growth and streamline operations.”

For more information on Destiny One, please visit: www.destinysolutions.com/product/destinyone-overview/

About Destiny Solutions

Destiny Solutions is the leading innovator of lifelong learning business solutions. Since 2001, Destiny Solutions has delivered breakthrough technology designed exclusively to meet the divergent needs of non-traditional higher education. Our flagship product, Destiny One™, is the only business solution that offers integrated constituent, enrollment and administrative management on a single software platform so educators can grow revenue, enhance student experience and success, and improve operational efficiency.

For more information, please visit: www.destinysolutions.com.

About eCornell

eCornell, a wholly owned subsidiary of Cornell University, provides many of the world’s leading organizations with online professional and executive development in the areas of leadership and management, human resources, financial management, healthcare and hospitality management. eCornell’s proven course development model and asynchronous instructor-led course delivery provide for engaging, rigorous and interactive learning. The company has delivered online courses to more than 50,000 students in more than 200 countries.

For more information please visit: www.ecornell.com

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Paper airline tickets, bound encyclopedias passe for new U.S. college students

Incoming U.S. college students have never seen a paper airline ticket, like to watch television on almost anything but a television and consider exposed bra straps a fashion statement, not a wardrobe malfunction, according to an annual list released on Tuesday, Reuters reports.

“This year’s entering college class of 2016 was born into cyberspace and they have therefore measured their output in the fundamental particles of life: bits, bytes, and bauds,” said humanities professor Tom McBride and public affairs director Ron Nief of Beloit College in Wisconsin, who have prepared the “Mindset” list since 1998.

The 75 items on the list are said to represent the cultural touchstones that have shaped the lives of students entering college this autumn, most of whom were born in 1994.

“They have come to political consciousness during a time of increasing doubts about America’s future, and are entering college bombarded by questions about jobs and the value of a college degree,” the pair wrote…

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College students: high in self-confidence but low in basic work skills

Today’s college students have been hit hard by the recession, but they exhibit a remarkable self-confidence that may outpace their skills for coping with the road that lies ahead, the Christian Science Monitor reports. This generation has its strengths, but independence and a clear sense of what’s expected in the working world are lacking, according to the new book “Generation on a Tightrope: A Portrait of Today’s College Students,” which draws on national surveys and visits to more than 30 campuses around the United States.

“They’re trying to precariously balance between their dreams and hopes for the future and the reality of diminished prospects,” says Arthur Levine, president of the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation and co-author with Diane Dean, an education professor at Illinois State University.

They may have trouble coping in a competitive economy because they “lack the ability to deal with adversity, or even imagine adversity,” Mr. Levine says. “Whenever they’ve gotten into trouble, their parents have been there to bail them out.”

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From STEM to STEAM: Science and art go hand-in-hand

In the wake of the recent recession, we have been consistently apprised of the pressing need to revitalize funding and education in STEM fields — science, technology, engineering, and math, Scientific American reports. Doing this, we are told, will spur innovation and put our country back on the road to prosperity. Renewing our focus on STEM is an unobjectionably worthwhile endeavor. Science and technology are the primary drivers of our world economy, and the United States is in the lead. But there is a growing group of advocates who believe that STEM is missing a key component one that is equally deserved of renewed attention, enthusiasm and funding. That component is the Arts. If these advocates have their way, STEM would become STEAM. Their proposition actually makes a lot of sense, and not just because the new acronym is easy on the ears. Though many see art and science as somewhat at odds, the fact is that they have long existed and developed collaboratively. This synergy was embodied in great thinkers like the legendary Leonardo Da Vinci and the renowned Chinese polymath Su Song. One of Carl Jung’s mythological archetypes was the artist-scientist, which represents builders, inventors, and dreamers…

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Search site matches students with online courses

SkilledUp helps students sift through hundreds of online course options.

With a little help from low-cost online courses and tutorials, Nick Gidwani watched two interns go from making $8 an hour to snagging six-figure jobs.

Gidwani, who launched a new site called SkilledUp.com on Aug. 21, said free and fee-based web-based classes that help employees show expertise in their field have long been undervalued by young people competing for jobs in the country’s slumping economy. SkilledUp, he said, would help workers find the proper online training with a no-hassle web search.

SkilledUp has 115 online education options available in its search engine – a number expected to grow by 10 every day in the coming weeks, including courses from Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) sites like Udacity and Coursera.

SkilledUp will also include little known, high quality web-based classes that charge about $30 a month, but aren’t immediately visible in a casual Google search. The website has positioned itself as a search engine for workers who see education as a means to a higher paycheck.

“If education doesn’t have [return on investment], it probably doesn’t deserve to be called education,” Gidwani said. “There are so many kids out there earning seven bucks an hour who can have a decent life in a short period of time. … And this is one way to achieve that.”

Earning an online credential or badge – showing an employer that you’ve mastered certain skills – can be the difference between working for near minimum wage right out of college, and earning a decent living, Gidwani said.

Even at companies run by people who aren’t familiar with online credential-based classes, completing a course can separate an applicant from the field.

“If someone is young and they took the initiative to learn something themselves, and it’s a skill that I value, that’s a key differentiator,” Gidwani said. “If someone has a badge, that is a shortcut for me to decide the person knows what they’re doing.”

With thousands of free and low-cost courses available, employees – including recent college graduates – have had a tough time finding online courses worth taking. Narrowing legitimate options, Gidwani said, is the only way to ensure students aren’t wasting their time or money on credential-based online classes.

In his earlier private sector work, Gidwani said two interns he hired at $12 an hour took a series of programming and marketing courses and cashed in with high-paying jobs just months later.

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New studies weigh college value, cost

The unemployment rate for all four-year graduates is 4.5 percent

Two new studies offer emphatic answers to much-discussed questions about higher education: Yes, a college degree is worth it, but yes, it’s the middle-class that’s getting particularly squeezed with student debt in the pursuit of one.

Both studies make persuasive cases, though each could be misunderstood without important context.

The first, released last week by the Lumina Foundation and Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce, seems to thoroughly demolish the idea that the Great Recession diminished the value of a college degree.

Yes, recent college grads have struggled more than usual to find jobs matching their training. But overall, even as unemployment was rising past 10 percent, the authors found the economy actually added 200,000 jobs for workers with a bachelor’s degree. Since the recovery began, it’s created 2 million more.

Just as there wasn’t really a recession, at least in terms of job creation, for those with college degrees, there hasn’t been a recovery for those without them. Nearly 6 million high-school-only jobs have been lost since the downturn began, and they are still declining even in the recovery.

That recovery may well never come if you have no college at all (though people with some college have done reasonably well of late).

“This is the clearest information that we have seen to date about the advantage of having college-level skills in the employment market,” said Lumina’s president and CEO Jamie Merisotis. “Since the recovery started two years ago we’ve seen a real acceleration. The gap between those with a college credential and those without one is growing.”

For more news about college costs, see:

Obama, GOP duel over rising college expenses

Open textbook publisher projects $1M in savings for students

Controlling Costs: News and advice to help campus leaders stem the rising cost of a college education

The unemployment rate for all four-year graduates is 4.5 percent. For recent graduates, it’s 6.8 percent. For recent graduates trying to work with only a high school diploma, it’s nearly 24 percent.

In construction and manufacturing, which accounted for two-thirds of all Great Recession job losses, virtually all of the hiring during the recovery has targeted people with bachelor’s or at least associate’s degrees.

Despite the hit those industries took, there are now about as many jobs in them as before the recession overall. But there are 15 percent fewer jobs for those with only high school in manufacturing, and 25 percent fewer in construction.

Overall, the number of jobs for people with at least some college is growing at a healthy 4 percent annually. But the growth rate for high school-only jobs is zero and those jobs remain 10 percent below their pre-recession levels.

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Obama: Ryan’s economic plan costly to education

Obama warned voters about Ryan’s plans to cut back on Pell Grants.

President Barack Obama is highlighting various sections of Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan’s sweeping budget proposals as he tries to paint the GOP ticket as too extreme for the nation. Next up in his analysis: education.

On Aug. 21, Obama plans to tell voters in sharply contested Ohio that Ryan’s budget proposal would cut $115 billion from the federal Education Department, remove 2 million children from Head Start programs, and cost 1 million college students their Pell Grants over the next decade. The line of criticism will be coupled with television ads.

Obama’s latest line of criticism was described by Democratic officials involved in the plan. The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the strategy before the president began executing it, which he planned to do at Capital University in Columbus and continue later in the day during a stop at a community college in Reno, Nev.

For his part, Ryan was set to make two stops in Pennsylvania: a morning rally at a steel company in Carnegie and an afternoon visit to the American Helicopter Museum and Education Center in West Chester.

He then was set to fly to Virginia, a state Obama won in 2008 but which is looking more difficult this time around.

The campaign said Ryan would focus on the Republican ticket’s plans for boosting small businesses. He also plans to address looming defense cuts, which are part of a deal brokered by Obama and congressional leaders of both parties.

It was designed to force a deficit agreement, but Congress was unable to come up with a compromise.

Ryan will tell voters that the Republican ticket plans to reverse the defense cuts and replace them with “common sense reforms,” though the campaign provided no details on what those would entail.

Obama said Aug. 20 he doesn’t believe Congress can reach a deal before the November elections that avoids the cuts in military spending, but is he is optimistic that the reductions won’t occur.

Romney, meanwhile, was set to raise campaign cash ahead of next week’s GOP convention, which will officially nominate him for the presidency.

Since Romney tapped Ryan as his running mate, Democrats have aggressively highlighted what Ryan’s budget would mean to Medicare. Ryan’s plan would allow those 55 and older to stay in the health care program for seniors as it is currently set up, but it also would offer private alternatives for younger workers. That has left some voters skittish.

Students and their parents are the next group Obama hopes to put on notice. The president started radio ads in New Hampshire that claim 21,000 college students in that state would have their Pell Grants cut by $800 each. Another ad tells Ohio voters that 356,000 students would have their Pell Grants cut.

Those estimates assume the cuts in Ryan’s budget are applied evenly across all programs starting in 2014—something Ryan aides say would not happen. His budget does not directly address Pell Grant funding, and his aides say the cuts would not take a one-size-fits-all approach.

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SAS, LSU launch analytics master’s degree

CARY, NC (Aug. 20, 2012) – Big data represents unprecedented opportunities for companies. Yet analysts – “data scientists” who extract useful information from data – remain in short supply. Having used SAS® Analytics in teaching and research for more than 30 years, LSU is now collaborating with SAS to launch a Master of Science in Analytics (MSA) to meet the growing demand for analytics professionals.

“There is great competition for talented individuals who combine data analysis expertise with practical business skills,” said Kenneth Koonce, dean of the LSU College of Agriculture, which houses the Department Experimental Statistics (EXST). “This degree puts LSU at the forefront of the effort to meet this critical workforce need.”

The new MSA program in the Department of Information Systems & Decision Sciences (ISDS) of the E. J. Ourso College of Business is a combined effort between ISDS and EXST. In a successful pilot during the 2011-2012 school year, all graduates found employment within weeks of graduation. Employers include major companies such as Amazon.com, Bank of America and SAS.

“Thanks to SAS we are off to a great start,” said Helmut Schneider, ISDS Department chair. “These highly skilled graduates will meet the increasing demand for analytics professionals among Fortune 500 companies, many of which will serve on our Industry Advisory Board.”

LSU’s program closely mirrors the Master of Science in Analytics at North Carolina State University, which worked with SAS to launch the nation’s first analytics master’s degree. All 38 graduates of NCSU’s 2012 class had job offers before completing the program; more than half received at least three. Ninety-two percent had positions graduation. LSU’s 2012-13 inaugural class has 20 students.

“Whether it’s government agencies uncovering fraud, retailers analyzing social media for customer sentiment, or pharmaceutical companies getting drugs to market faster, organizations are using analytics to uncover valuable information from massive amounts of data,” SAS CEO Jim Goodnight said. “LSU’s MSA students will apply cutting-edge SAS software to real-world data and challenges.”

Using advanced data management tools and applied statistical and operations research techniques, students will learn to analyze large, real-world data sets to improve return on investment, customer retention, fraud detection and decision making. The full-time program requires 36 credit hours taken from August to May.

Student teams work with leading companies and government organizations to solve real business problems in areas such as insurance, banking, health care, communications, e-commerce, law enforcement and marketing. They learn to stay focused on the bottom line, and build skills needed to effectively communicate solutions to upper management.

In addition to financial support, SAS experts have conducted onsite training and hosted LSU faculty at SAS’ Cary, NC headquarters. A SAS education expert serves on LSU’s Industry Advisory Board. LSU will have free access to SAS software and teaching materials through SAS OnDemand for Academics, as do all degree-granting institutions teaching with SAS software.

SAS, through its Global Academic Program, partners with universities around the world to create degree and joint certificate programs in analytics and related disciplines. SAS has more than three decades of experience working with education institutions, and SAS solutions are licensed and implemented at more than 3,000 educational institutions worldwide.

About LSU and ISDS

The Department of Information Systems & Decision Sciences at LSU’s E. J. Ourso College of Business combines teaching and research to create a rich learning experience for its students. Relationships with industry and state agencies enable the department to assist organizations with issues related to business analytics and business itelligence, as well as offer enhanced career opportunities for its graduates. Collaborative research efforts of its diverse faculty have resulted in major grants from the National Science Foundation and the state of Louisiana. For more information, visit www.business.lsu.edu/isds, call 225-578-2126, or email ISDS@lsu.edu.

About SAS

SAS is the leader in business analytics software and services, and the largest independent vendor in the business intelligence market. Through innovative solutions, SAS helps customers at more than 60,000 sites improve performance and deliver value by making better decisions faster. Since 1976 SAS has been giving customers around the world THE POWER TO KNOW®. SAS and all other SAS Institute Inc. product or service names are registered trademarks or trademarks of SAS Institute Inc. in the USA and other countries. ® indicates USA registration. Other brand and product names are trademarks of their respective companies. Copyright © 2012 SAS Institute Inc. All rights reserved.

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Free online course will rely on multiple sites

A group of online-learning ventures is collaborating on a new kind of free class to be offered this fall, known as a mechanical MOOC (for “massive open online course”), that will teach a computer-programming language by patching together existing resources from open-learning sites, the New York Times reports. Unlike courses already available online, the new class will not require a traditional instructor, or a large start-up investment. The new course, “A Gentle Introduction to Python,” will blend content from M.I.T.’s OpenCourseWare, instant-feedback exercises and quizzes from Codecademy, and study groups organized by OpenStudy, and will be coordinated through an e-mail list operated by Peer 2 Peer University.

“The MOOCs that have come out in the last six months are really incredible and have truly moved the needle for online learning, but they are based on very sophisticated central platforms and require significant resources to develop,” Philipp Schmidt, Peer 2 Peer University’s co-founder, said in a statement…

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Largest minority on campuses

Hispanic population growth and improved high school completion rates helped Latino young people become the largest minority group on college campuses and a fourth of the public school population last year, according to a Pew Hispanic report released Monday, the Associated Press reports. The center’s analysis of Census data shows more than 2 million Hispanics ages 18 to 24 were enrolled in college last year, making up a record 16.5 percent share of enrollments in that age group at two-year and four-year universities. Simultaneously, for the first time, one fourth of the pre-K through 12th grade population was Latino, the center said. The Hispanic share of the public school population had been inching up as the enrollments of children in pre-K and kindergarten reached one quarter Hispanic over the past six years…

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