Online education ‘convert’ honored for excellence in distance ed

Schafer said she has learned 'lots of little tricks' to capture her students' attention online.
Schafer said she has learned 'lots of little tricks' to capture her students' attention online.

Ruth Schafer thought she would miss the look of understanding register on a student’s face during her move from the traditional to the online classroom. But after being recognized as Missouri’s top distance educator, Schafer said the virtual setting made her find new ways to explain lessons in unmistakable detail.

Schafer, an adjunct English instructor at Drury University in Springfield, Mo., was awarded the Missouri Distance Learning Association’s (MoDLA) Educator of the Year award July 27 after five years of teaching composition fundamentals, expository writing, and business communications at the 3,500-student school.

Web-based teaching wasn’t Schafer’s first choice, but Drury officials told her that online courses were the only available position when she applied to the university in 2005.…Read More

Colleges click the ‘like’ button on social media classes

Drury University students can earn three credits if they complete the new Social Media Certification Program.
Drury University students can earn three credits if they complete the new Social Media Certification Program.

From public relations in social media to the potential marketing power of “mommy bloggers,” colleges and universities are offering graduate-level certificates focusing on the business side of Twitter, Facebook, and a host of other sites that draw Americans from every demographic.

Social media courses have sprung up on college campuses as social media web sites—once seen as a virtual playground for bored college students—have become central to marketing campaigns, branding items, and communication with customers, group members, and alumni, for example.

Drury University in Springfield, Mo., announced this month that it would join a handful of schools nationwide offering social media certificates geared for graduate students and business professionals hoping to learn the latest in Facebook and Twitter-based marketing and how search engine optimization can bring more web users to a company’s web site.…Read More