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11 Best Colleges In America You Need To Know

11 Best Colleges In America You Need To Know

There are thousands of colleges in the United States. Each one has something different to offer prospective students, and each has successful graduates who speak with pride about their alma mater. However, there are a few schools that stand out because they provide an educational experience that is tailored to the needs of students who are seeking more than just a standard 4-year degree. Each college in this list stands out because it has something unique and original to offer.

Webster University: to Earn Your Degree While Studying Abroad

Webster Sign 1915

    The flagship campus of Webster University is located just outside of St. Louis, but the college has campuses on four continents. This makes it an ideal choice for students who want the experience of studying abroad while maintaining a continuity in their education. The Global Citizenship Program prepares undergraduates to work, compete, and contribute on the global stage.

    Bard College at Simons Rock: To Get a Jump Start on Your Dreams

    Bard College

      Every year, there are so many bright students who either drop out of high school, or who simply coast until graduation. Bard College at Simons Rock gives these students an alternative. The average incoming freshman is a young 16.5 years of age. Keep in mind though, that not every high school student can bypass their last two years of high school and head into this school. The students (also known as rockers) at Bard College must demonstrate a track record of being curious learners with serious academic goals. Once they do make the cut, there is no babying involved. Students are treated as capable adults who have something valuable to contribute.

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      Reed College: to Join an Alumni Class of Excellence

      Reed College

        Reed college is one of the most intellectually rigorous liberal arts colleges in America. Reed was the first college in the United States to add fine arts requirements to its liberal arts programs. Reed college alumni have gone on to win major international awards. It also has an impressive list of other accomplished graduates including:

        • Pulitzer Prize Winner Gary Snyder
        • Author Janet Fitch
        • Wikipedia Co-founder – Larry Sanger
        • Television Chef – Steven Raichlen
        • Apple Co-founder – Steve Jobs

        Bennington College: To Design Your Own Future

        Bennington College

          The founders of Bennington College believe that students are responsible for their own education. Because of this, the curriculum at Bennington is self directed. Each student works with an adviser to plan their education, and then evaluates their own progress and receives feedback from instructors on their achievements as well.

          Blackburn College: To Learn and be Debt Free

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            Every student at Blackburn College participates in a work program that allows them to gain work experience, and help offset the cost of their education. Not only is this work program nationally recognized, it is entirely run and staffed by Blackburn students. This is a great school for anybody who wants to reduce or limit their student debt. Students hold jobs on campus, at local businesses, with local law enforcement, and at nearby schools.

            Cornell College: To Tackle Higher Education One Class at a Time

            Cornell College

              Imagine attending college and being able to focus on one course at a time. Students who attend Cornell college are able to do just that. Because they are able to focus on one discipline at a time, students gain a much deeper understanding of the subject matter. Just 18 days after a student starts a class, they are finished and have earned their credits. In addition to this, all students adhere to the same time schedule. This gives each student plenty of time to spend with their peers and to participate in on and off campus activities.

              Earlham College: To Learn and Become a Better Person Through Quaker Values

              Earlham College

                Quakers believe in pacifism, activism, service, and that the pursuit of truth is a virtue. One of their mottos is that all truth is God’s truth. If you are interested in a global education that focuses on strong personal morality, peace, and equality, Earlham University might be the perfect choice. Students who graduate from Earlham are very active in the social justice movement, politics, and charitable works.

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                Green Mountain College: To Earn a Degree and Save the Planet

                Green Mountain College

                  Most colleges and universities have begun incorporating an earth friendly philosophy in their policies and classes over the last few years. Green Mountain College has been doing this for decades. In fact, the Princeton Review has voted this college the greenest in the nation. Students who attend this college, located in beautiful rural Vermont, can choose from a variety of majors. However, they will also be required to complete 37 hours of Environmental Liberal Arts coursework.

                  American University: To Become a Great Modern Day Journalist

                  American University

                    American University has become the school of choice for students who are interested in modern journalism. Students who attend the school of communication who wish to become journalists will learn about interactive journalism, take classes in social media, and attend workshops in investigative reporting. This excellent school combines the longstanding rules of ethical journalism while also embracing new technology and new communication media.

                    University of Washington: To Become a Great Healer

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                    University of Washington

                      Students who make the grade for admission into medical school have accomplished something that most of us never dream of. Students who get into the University of Washington’s School of Medicine have accomplished something even more amazing. They have been accepted into the nation’s top medical school program, and will have the opportunity to work with and learn from some of the brightest minds in the medical field.

                      Vanderbilt University: To Learn to Teach

                      Vanderbilt University

                        Students who long to teach future generations should take a look at this prestigious school in Nashville, TN. It is nationally recognized as one of the top schools for teachers. Students attending Vanderbilt to become teachers, school counselors, school administrators or educational policy makers attend the school’s Peabody college where they will work hand in hand with nationally renowned instructors.

                        Of course, you can skip going to college, but only if you are talented enough to master the skill of self-learning and can succeed in life without any assistance.

                        Featured photo credit: Dave Meier via picography.co

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                        Last Updated on November 5, 2019

                        5 Learning Management Systems (LMS) for Effective Learning

                        5 Learning Management Systems (LMS) for Effective Learning

                        Businesses rely on talent to generate and sell value. Without skilled people to create its products, manage its operations and execute its strategies, a business would inevitably fizzle out of the game and leave better-staffed competitors to take the field.

                        This is the reason why ambitious companies go great lengths to attract top talent,[1] shelling out millions of dollars in the process and bending traditional work policies just to bring highly skilled but demanding candidates into the fold.

                        Clearly, the contours of business are changing. But so are the demographics of work.

                        Millennials have become the dominant generation in the job market in terms of population, and some have already transitioned into leadership roles. Most millennials consider opportunity to learn and grow more important than overall compensation.[2]

                        Companies also today expect employees to come equipped with razor sharp business acumen.[3] Unfortunately, there is an alarming discrepancy between the actual skills businesses need and those currently possessed by job candidates.

                        To stay in the game, employers need to continually upgrade their training and skills development strategies to cover the entire employee lifecycle.

                        What are Learning Management Systems (LMS)?

                        Learning management systems are software-based solutions for authoring, presenting, consuming, storing, and tracking educational content and training materials. These systems aim to centralize all instructional content (e.g., lessons, training modules, instructional videos, presentation slides, worksheets, online quizzes, ebooks, takeaway notes, etc.) in one place.

                        LMS enable instructors to design and deliver learning experiences to students, with the added capability of evaluating the effectiveness of the instructional materials and grading the learning progress of students.

                        On the other side of the equation, learners use LMS to develop skills and acquire new knowledge virtually anytime and anywhere via the different channels and content formats made possible by digital technology.

                        Over the years, a wide range of features and technologies have been integrated into learning management systems to help enhance the experience of training designers, instructors, and learners. These include cloud and mobile technology, artificial intelligence, responsive design, scheduling, gamification, data analytics, and interoperability with other applications.

                        5 Best All-Purpose Learning Management Systems

                        There are dozens of LMS vendors catering to the general market or to specific segments such as K-12 learning, higher education, and corporate training.

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                        With so many options available, selecting the right LMS solution for your needs can be complicated and costly, especially when you end up adopting a platform that doesn’t exactly match your goals or requirements.

                        Short of conducting a comprehensive audit of your needs and finalizing a learning roadmap, the safest bet would be to adopt full-featured but affordable LMS solutions.

                        Based on user reviews, here are the 5 best LMS to help people gain knowledge, build skills, and achieve mastery:

                        1. Canvas Network

                        Launched by Instructure as an open source software in 2011, Canvas is an end-to-end cloud-based service originally engineered for the education sector.

                        Widely adopted for K-12 and Higher Ed learning, Canvas can be repurposed for anything that involves an instructor, a subject matter, and a student.

                        Used around the world by people of all ages and organizations of all types, Canvas arguably has the largest learning and support community in its class. It works on desktop computers, tablets and mobile phones.

                        To get a glimpse of the platform’s fresh interfaces, you can visit the Canvas Network, a learning community that provides educational and instructional materials created by colleges, universities, corporate businesses, independent course developers, and other knowledge-sharing entities around the world.

                        Hosting hundreds of interesting topics from data science to horticulture, the learning network also serves as evidence to the scope, capabilities, and popularity of the Canvas LMS platform.

                        Canvas is hosted on Amazon Web Services (AWS) infrastructure, which enhances the platform’s reliability, speed, scalability, and overall online performance.

                        Additionally, platform adopters enjoy a low-risk environment since cloud-based solutions require no hard stops for version updates, upgrades, or system migrations.

                        The Canvas website does not show a price matrix but says the service adopts a simple formula for computing fees: a one-time implementation fee and an annual subscription fee based on total number of users. It also promises free basic services for teachers who want to use the platform.

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                        In addition to Canvas, Instructure also offers Bridge (an LMS designed for corporate environments), Arc (a video platform for online learning), and Gauge (an assessment management system).

                        Check out this video if you want to learn more about Canvas Network:

                        2. Google Classroom

                        This free service from Google aims to improve the teaching and learning process using cloud technology, web apps, workflow simplification, and seamless communication between students and instructors.

                        Using Classroom, educators can easily create and schedule classes, distribute assignments, send feedback, and grade quizzes all in one place. By streamlining processes, Classroom helps teachers save time and organize classes more effectively. Both students and teachers can also work using any device anytime and anywhere.

                        Classroom works perfectly with other Google tools, having been launched initially as part of Google’s G Suite for Education. This LMS solution taps Google Drive for content storage and distribution, as well as Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides for the creation and sharing of instructional materials. Meanwhile it integrates Google Calendar for scheduling and Gmail for communication.

                        With G Suite, other communication channels such as chat messaging, video conferencing, and a dedicated website are enabled.

                        Easy to set up and manage, Google Classroom is free to use. One of my very first courses was actually hosted on Google Classroom.

                        Going beyond the classroom environment, Google offers G Suite Enterprise for Education for large institutions. This suite provides enhanced search and analytics capabilities as well as advanced tools for enterprise communications.

                        3. Moodle (Modular Object-Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment)

                        If budget and capability equally top your list of LMS adoption criteria, then Moodle might just fit the bill. Which is to say there’s none (i.e., bill).

                        Moodle is a free and open-source learning solution for distance education, workplace training, flipped classrooms, and other pedagogical environments.

                        It is also a full-featured LMS supported by a robust community and a thriving developer ecosystem. Not surprisingly, Moodle is used in more than 15 million courses by more than 130 million users in 230+ countries.

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                        Among other things, Moodle enables administrators and educators to create a dynamic and dedicated website to host organic, easily accessible, and highly customizable courses that can be experienced on desktops and mobile devices anytime and anywhere.

                        Moodle provides a personalized and intuitive dashboard as well as a host of collaboration tools for content designers, teachers, and learners. A universal calendar, an efficient file management system, an automatic notification system, multimedia integration, and a progress tracking tool all come with the package.

                        Check out this video if you want to learn more about Moodle:

                        4. Absorb

                        This platform recently bagged PC Magazine’s Editors’ Choice Award for Best LMS.

                        Co-designed and built by former course authors, Absorb takes learning experience to the next level. This turnkey LMS solution is responsive, full-featured, and highly customizable for maximum impact.

                        Course developers can orchestrate a wide range of experiences depending on audience or learning situation. In addition to surveys, polls, and e-commerce integration, Absorb supports formal online learning and certifications standards such as AICC, SCORM, and Tin Can.

                        The user interface can also be modified to match the learner’s location, group, or department, allowing for a different look and feel for customers, channel partners, management trainees, and newly hired employees.

                        Absorb supports all personal computing devices from desktops to mobile phones. There are also native or hybrid apps for iOS and Android.

                        The only possible drawback to the platform’s powerful feature set is its pricing. The service reportedly implements a flat, one-time setup fee depending on your business and training requirements. According to the site, any plan comes with a dedicated success team for your account.

                        Although small companies are welcome to try, midsize to enterprise-scale organizations are probably the best segment to readily adopt this LMS solution.

                        Take a look at some examples of Absorb in this video:

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                        5. Watershed Collaborative

                        Created by a group of educators, this nonprofit rethinks the priorities of an LMS, asserting that too many systems miss the most essential elements of what makes learning stick. They promise a better user experience – emphasizing Learning before Management and System.

                        Watershed aims to support an inquiry-based learning experience through an integrated mix of online and in-person learning strategies and interactions designed expressly for teams – including collaboration, reflection, and dialogue.

                        While Watershed was founded initially to serve the K-12 education market, the company has since expanded its scope to cater to all types of teachers and learners with its video-rich, state-of-the-art platform.

                        If you’re a mission-driven educator, content creator, institution, or business, this LMS may be the one for you.

                        Watershed specializes in assisting you with the instructional design of courses and provides content production services to ensure top-quality video assets with lasting value. Their LMS makes it easy for course creators to continuously update and tailor content to support small and large groups, while ensuring the technology and instructional strategy supports communities of learners.

                        Pricing varies based on products and services, but revenues support the nonprofit’s ability to make its platform and courses available at little or no cost for high-need educators and educational settings.

                        Honorable Mentions

                        There are dozens of LMS vendors in this growing market and the brands included in foregoing list are by no means the only viable options for companies or learning institutions looking to upgrade their learning infrastructure.

                        Many other excellent services are worth checking out. These include:

                        1. Docebo is an LMS designed for hyper-engaging students, employees, customers, and other learners. The system helps organizations identify and resolve competency gaps with strategic learning interventions.
                        2. Cornerstone OnDemand is a talent, training, and performance management solution offered as an SaaS (Software-as-a-Service). This service enables learners to create personalized playlists of instructional content.
                        3. Lessonly is an LMS solution that makes it easier to recall and reinforce whatever skills or knowledge you have learned through quizzes, coaching, and constant practice.
                        4. Skillsoft is an online training and corporate learning platform developed by a two-decade old and billion-dollar company with the same name.
                        5. D2L BrightSpace is a learning management system that has all the basics for delivering excellent, rich-media experiences for classroom or workplace training.

                        Conclusion

                        There are many ways to learn but some are more effective and meaningful than others. Whether you are a teacher looking to enhance classroom learning or an HR manager creating a long-term talent development plan for employees, the key to impactful learning is to understand and bridge the needs of learners, the goals of your institution, and the actual capabilities of the learning tools you are considering.

                        Note that using multiple LMS platforms is possible although not recommended. On the other hand, adopting other learning solutions beyond LMS (such as podcasts, mentoring, and onsite in-person workshops) may significantly improve learning outcomes. Always go for products and plugins that seamlessly integrate into your core LMS tool.

                        Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

                        Reference

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