Blog & Multimedia Reviews

ARTICLE/MULTIMEDIA REVIEW

Posted February 24, 2013

Shejuti Paul’s opinion article “College students should choose sleep over cramming” in Kaleidoscope/Opinion was well-written and informative. And oh so true! I am in a constant state of sleep deprivation and I’m sure you other non-trads can relate too.

It contains some good statistics and a still photo. I would have liked to see some links in the story, especially to those great sources of stats! Interviewing one or more sources (e.g. experts) and quoting them would have lent the story even more credibility and a little more personality. But it was still a great article.

Read the article at http://studentmedia.uab.edu/2013/02/college-students-should-choose-sleep-over-cramming/

You can access Kaleidoscope’s main page at http://studentmedia.uab.edu/

ARTICLE/MULTIMEDIA REVIEW

Posted February 24, 2013

Mariana Simoes and Max Nilsen’s article “16 Great Startups College Students Are Working on Right Now” is upbeat and inspiring. No matter a student’s age, great ideas abound and we should take advantage of them. This article is about students who just dove in and pursued their dreams. I prefer to wait for graduation, but I admire these students’ initiative!

I tend to be guilty of thinking that, because I work and go to college full-time, that my life as a writer is, well, on hold. And it is, but, hey, it isn’t all bad. Those ideas are still percolating around in my overtaxed brain, and I’m making note of them, even if I’ve decided to wait to implement them. So that has to count!

This article is well-written and makes good use of multi-media. Good still photos and lots of helpful links were included. The only improvement I would suggest is getting more spontaneous shots (of the students doing what they love) to replace the posed ones. Oh yeah, and including video or audio. Hearing the students would make their stories more personal. Great job!

To read Mariana and Max’s story, go to http://www.businessinsider.com/best-college-startups-2013-2?op=1

Business Insider can be accessed at http://www.businessinsider.com/

BLOG REVIEW

Posted February 16, 2013

“The best place for college students to find a job,” a blog by Suzanne Lucas aka the Evil HR Lady, discusses how campus recruiting and career centers have evolved to better serve students needs. She explains that students majoring in fields where they are trained to do specific jobs are better served by traditional centers that post open positions. Conversely, students whose degrees can be applied a variety of ways may benefit more from learning the skills needed to get less obvious positions. For these positions, networking and obtaining experience is vital. Internships are particularly helpful.

This blog was informative and interesting with a touch of humor. Suzanne kept her blog short and linked to the full article, which was published on CBS News’ Money Watch.

The Evil HR Lady actually has vast archives of job-related advice and information for employed students and job-seekers alike. Her site, while packed, is packed with information (as opposed to advertisements). I will definitely be adding the Evil HR Lady to my Favorites!

To read Suzanne’s blog, go to http://evilhrlady.org/2013/02/the-best-place-for-college-students-to-find-a-job.html

More blogs by Suzanne can be found at http://evilhrlady.org/

BLOG REVIEW

Posted February 16, 2013

Steven Marks’ blog “Technology for Modern College Students” offers four tips on increasing efficiency through the use of available technology such as Smart Phones and E-Readers.

Many of us own and already use the technology Steven mentions but might not be using it to its fullest potential. If you are like me, perhaps you’ve been too busy to delve too deeply into the capabilities of today’s programs and gadgets. But taking a moment to learn how some of these resources and tools can be used for college will save you time – and possibly some aggravation – later on.

Whether you’re new to technology or need a reminder to use the gadgets you already have, Steven’s short, easy-to-read blog contains good advice to make college life a little bit easier. My only criticism is that 2 out of the 3 links provided in the blog itself led to disappointing destinations. Conduct your own research if you want to follow up on the tips Steven provides.

The site, AC Voice, is run by Amherst College students who write on a variety of topics. The site is well-organized, clutter-free and informative.

Steven’s blog can be found at http://acvoice.com/2013/02/05/technology-for-modern-college-students/

Visit http://acvoice.com/ to view more student blogs on AC Voice

ARTICLE/MULTIMEDIA REVIEW

Posted February 10, 2013

Steven Bell’s Library Journal article “Nontraditional Students Are The New Majority/From the Bell Tower” starts out discussing Williston State College in ND, which has seen a dramatic increase in non-traditional students over the past three years as a result of the region’s oil boom. Oil workers attend Williston to take safety courses and other training.

However, the article goes on to discuss national trends and statistics concerning non-traditional students, a population that is expected to increase substantially by 2019, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

Steven also references a New York Times special report that notes how educational institutions are preparing themselves for the expected surge of non-traditional students. He reminds colleges that non-traditional students have different challenges than their more traditional counterparts, especially in the area of retention.

In the remainder of the article, Steven shares information gleaned from a national report made to Congress and the Secretary of Education titled “Pathways to Success.”

This article was informative and contains helpful links to the National Center for Education Statistics, New York Times report and the Pathways to Success report. I’m a big fan of links in articles; they make it much easier for the reader to transition to sources used in the article and conduct additional research.

I’m not certain I would have chosen Williston State College as the lead over the results of the reports Steven mentions, but it did give the article a more personal touch. I wonder if he might not have two stories here, instead of one, though.

This was a print article and did not contain any still photos, audio or video. I noticed there were no quotes either. The inclusion of photos or other media and perhaps a quote or two would have given the article a little more personality.

Read Steven’s article at http://lj.libraryjournal.com/2012/03/opinion/nontraditional-students-are-the-new-majority-from-the-bell-tower/

BLOG REVIEW

Posted February 10, 2013

Tami DeLand’s “How to Take a Nontraditional Path to College” is an interesting blog profile about Tabatha Nentl, a middle-aged woman and mother who returns to college after 20 years to study interactive media and graphic design at Minnesota School of Business – St. Cloud.

I can relate to Tabatha (and not just because she shares my name!). She points out something I, too, noticed after I started attending college: Seemingly unrelated information from different classes is in fact connected. As you move your way through college, you start to see the patterns. It’s something I’ve really come to appreciate about higher education.

I also share Tabatha’s amazement over fellow students who don’t seem to understand that good grades are the result of hard work. They are not just handed out.

The profile is well written, just the right length, and contains many good quotes from Tabatha.

You can read Tami’s blog profile at http://blogs.msbcollege.edu/2012/12/31/how-to-take-a-nontraditional-path-to-college/

BLOG REVIEW

Re-posted (original post dated February 2, 2013)

In her blog, “Group Suggests Improvements in Aid System With an Eye to Completion and Nontraditional Students,” Becky Supiano reports that a coalition organized by HCM Strategists released a report entitled “The American Dream 2.0: How Financial Aid Can Help Improve College Access, Affordability, and Completion.” The report includes the coalition’s recommendations regarding simplifying the student aid system and dealing with the needs of non-traditional students in particular. The report also calls for more transparency in the student aid system and shared responsibility in completing college.

The blog is a brief summary of the report but contains several helpful links. My only suggestion would be to include a short bulleted list of highlights from the report itself to pique readers’ interest.

The report is informative and visually appealing. To view the blog and access a link to the report, visit
http://chronicle.com/blogs/headcount/group-suggests-improvements-to-aid-system-with-an-eye-to-nontraditional-students-completion/33639

ARTICLE/MULTIMEDIA REVIEW

Re-posted (original post dated February 2, 2013)

In the New York Times article, “A Million Strong: Helping them Through,” James Dao reports on active duty members of the armed forces and veterans who are working towards their higher education degrees in classrooms from Afghanistan to college campuses throughout the US.

This text-based article includes three still photographs and is packed with information on 1) efforts to overcome the challenges faced by active-duty military and veteran students; 2) efforts to collect more information regarding their retention and graduation rates; 3) concerns about federal funding for veteran education benefits; and 4) services and programs being set up across the country to help veterans succeed academically.

The article is very informative, albeit rather long at four pages. The inclusion of a video clip would have made it more visually appealing, which may have offset the length of the article. Video clips of military/veteran students discussing their academic experiences would have added a personal touch and underscored the importance of the subject matter.

All in all, a good story on the fastest-growing segment of non-traditional college students.

To view this article, visit the New York Times website at http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/03/education/edlife/the-complicated-world-of-higher-education-for-troops-and-veterans.html?pagewanted=1&_r=0&ref=education

BLOG REVIEW

Re-posted (original post dated January 26, 2013)

BetsyAnne’s blog post, “Are you deciding by yourself what classes to take?” cautions college students not to schedule classes without first consulting the available resources. She relates her own costly mistake on this subject and advises students to seek input from one or more college advisors before enrolling in classes.
The post, while short, conveys a useful message to the target audience. It is relevant, focused and written in a conversational tone.

The post would have been more effective if BetsyAnne had expanded on her personal experience by providing more details. Including personal information (but not too personal!) helps bloggers connect with their audiences.

The blog is, visually, very busy. It is packed with links, social media information and advertisements that I find somewhat distracting. On the bright side, BetsyAnne is a very active blogger and there is a nicely organized Archives available.

To view BetsyAnne’s post, visit http://non-traditional-students.blogspot.com/2013/01/are-you-deciding-by-yourself-what.html

The BetsyAnne Non-Traditional Student Blog, can be found at http://non-traditional-students.blogspot.com/

BLOG REVIEW

Re-posted (original post dated January 26, 2013)

In her blog post, “The social scene and the non-traditional student,” Christine, a 39 year-old student, recounts
an experience with a younger classmate whose attitude towards her changed after she revealed her age.

Christine’s blog post is well-written and contains content that is relevant to her target audience (non-traditional college students). Her writing is focused, interesting and lively with a touch of humor.

Even though the post is as relevant to the target audience now as it was in April of 2011, it is still rather outdated. Christine’s Archives show that she only posted ten times over a four-year period, ending with her last post, “The social scene and the non-traditional student.” A good blog needs to be updated frequently. Even if the information is still applicable, readers may be put off by the posting date or the fact that nothing has been posted recently. Worse yet, they may have trouble finding the blog during searches because of the apparent age of the post.

Another potential downside of having an inactive blog is the loss of audience participation/interaction. However, I noticed that Christine still responds to feedback from readers, so all is not lost! Thus encouraged,

I sent her a response letting her know that I would love to see more recent posts from her on the topic of non-traditional students.

To view Christine’s blog post, visit http://nontraditional.wordpress.com/2011/04/04/social-scene-non-traditional-students/

Other posts of interest to non-traditional students can be found on Christine’s blog site “Memoirs of a Non-Traditional Student” at http://nontraditional.wordpress.com/

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