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Archive for September, 2011

Is Using Groupon a Good Deal for Higher Ed?

September 26th, 2011 by CourseSmart

Most of us use Groupon for things like discounts on dining and spa treatments. Some of us even score on skydiving and horseback riding lessons. But have you ever considered saving on something like a college education or another big-ticket item?

One of the latest deals from Groupon, a daily deals site offering steep discounts on everything from food to concert tickets, is for college tuition. National Louis University in Chicago, IL offered a Groupon for a class in their graduate program. The class, which is an intro to teaching course, has a cost of $2,232 for the semester. The Groupon price for the class was $950 which is a 57% savings.

Anyone can buy a Groupon, however in order to score the class deal the purchaser/user must have or should be working toward a college degree. And while anyone with an undergraduate degree can take the course, it does not mean automatic enrollment in the graduate program at National Louis University. The 10-week, three-credit course counts towards a graduate education and is meant to introduce students to a career in teaching.

This deal for education is a first of its kind and is also a good test to see whether consumers will begin using sites like Groupon to make other big ticket purchases. Most purchases on Groupon are impulse buys, often on things people will never actually use, which is why items up for purchase are usually lower cost things such as meals and beauty services. This is also why a host of sites like Lifesta exist where people can sell their unused Groupons at face-value.

Groupon offerings for big ticket items have cropped up before, most notably when the company partnered with a car dealership in Michigan to offer $200 for a $500 voucher towards the purchase of a new or used car. When the Groupon didn’t garner enough customers for the deal to “tip,” the deadline was extended several additional days before being deemed a flop because not enough people made the purchase.

By the close date of the Groupon offering, National Louis University was able to “tip” the deal for their three-credit course class. However, it remains to be seen whether future deals like this will also be a success. Would you buy a Groupon for a discounted education?

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CourseSmart® Study Reveals Telling Link Between Communication and Study Preferences of High School and College Students to Future College Classroom Landscape

September 20th, 2011 by CourseSmart

CourseSmart®, the world’s largest provider of eTextbooks and digital course materials, released the results of a proprietary research study exploring the effects of technology dependency on learning preferences for today’s high school and college students. The CourseSmart-commissioned study, which was conducted by AMP Insights, the strategic planning and consumer insights group at AMP Agency, compared 503 current high school and 515 current college-aged students to understand their device and platform adoption rates as well as attitudes, stressors and preferences, offering a telling window into the current and future learning habits of students.

Among the findings, the study supports the idea that today’s tech savvy students want stimulating experiences and seek thought-provoking and interactive learning environments. Technology plays an integral role in providing students with an interactive classroom experience with 76 percent of high school students and 79 percent of college students claiming they would find it appealing if a college offered a classroom experience where they can ask professors questions in class through Twitter or another social networking site.

Personal preferences are not the only factors that play into how students view the growing role of technology inside the college classroom - the perceived popularity of and the costs associated with digital course materials are also important. The study finds that students are worried about the financial stresses of their college education at a younger age, with 13 percent of high school students claiming they began looking into financing their college education in junior high as opposed to 6 percent of college students who claim to have done the same. Financial fears could also deter conventional study habits, paving the way for increased usage of digital course materials: 63 percent of college students think eTextbooks are less expensive than traditional textbooks.

“As financial concerns affect students at earlier ages, the value and importance they place on a college education is at a new premium, especially when it comes to course materials and other associated items which they can control,” said CourseSmart Chief Marketing Officer Jill Ambrose. “Many students view eTextbooks as a money-saver, and are increasingly willing and more likely to invest in a tablet or other device that allows them to maximize their budget for the duration of their college experience.”

Unsurprisingly, the study also found that the majority (52 percent) of college students use an Android™-based smartphone or iPhone® device for which CourseSmart has free downloadable applications. In comparison, 31 percent of high school students use an Android-based smartphone or iPhone. Ownership of tablet computers among high school and college students is still relatively low compared to smartphone ownership; however, the percentage of students that own a tablet is still impressive: 20 percent of high school students have a tablet computer compared with 24 percent of college students who own them. While the majority of college students (68 percent) continue to only use hard copy textbooks, 65 percent of college students are open to the idea of using eTextbooks. High school students shared the same sentiment, with 64 percent being open to using eTextbooks.

“The gap between study preferences and habits between high school and college students is closing,” Ambrose continued. “High school students are increasingly open to and expecting the same types of interactive learning materials that college students have already been exposed to, and both groups are constantly looking ahead and embracing the future that is eTextbooks and digital course materials.”

CourseSmart will issue a formal white paper that captures full study findings this fall. To learn more about CourseSmart, including the latest company news and innovations, please visit: www.coursesmart.com.

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Parents: Don’t Be Your Student’s Biggest Facebook Stalker

September 2nd, 2011 by CourseSmart

Whether heading back to school as an upper classman or starting off as a freshman, transitioning into college used to come with a lot of freedom. Students spoke with their parents daily, or even weekly over the phone, sometimes sending emails back and forth and almost always limiting the amount of information they provided with their parents.

Times have since changed with the evolution of technology and now, much to some students’ dismay, parents have started keeping tabs on them via social networking sites. According to an info graphic from onlineschools.com, more than half of all parents have been using Facebook to spy on their teenage kids. Even still, of the roughly 150 million Facebook users, some 28 million of them are over the age of 45, reports Inside Facebook.

It’s easy for parents to want to keep tabs on their college-aged children via the social networking site but this can often hinder the child’s ability to make social connections and learn to live independently. With parents often a Facebook message away, it’s much easier for a child to go to them for help before first thinking of a solution to a problem on their own.

On the opposite end of the spectrum it’s easy for parents to snoop around on their child’s page, interjecting into otherwise “private” conversations or tagging their children in photographs without asking. What parents see as being helpful (shouldn’t you be studying instead of going to that party?), many college students see as being a nuisance, as is evidenced by a host of new websites such as “Oh Crap. My Parents Joined Facebook.”

A recent article posted by Mashable highlights several tips to help parents communicate with their children via Facebook without seeming overbearing.

1. Let your student set some ground rules: When a parent “friends” their child on Facebook, it’s up to the child to limit what mom and dad can and can’t see. Set some ground rules and discuss what your child feels is acceptable (commenting on a status update, versus tagging them in a photo, let’s say).

2. Respect your student’s space: It’s easy to want to jump into a conversation and call your child out on something they did. Instead, message them privately to spare everyone the embarrassment later.

3. Brach out from the usual platforms: Now, more than ever, there are more private ways of connecting with your child online. Skype now offers a group video feature which means mom, dad and other family members can all join in on a chat session with a child who is off at school.

4. Avoid over-communicating: Just because social networking keeps you connected to your children 24/7 doesn’t mean you always need to be reaching out to them. Going off to college is about growing up and learning to live independently from your parents.

Sure it’s nice to hear from mom and dad once-in-awhile, but when parents become too connected they might as well just pack up and move into their child’s dorm room too.

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