What do CUW Online and Mr. Rogers neighborhood have in common?

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Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood is still one of the most beloved and cherished children’s shows on television. It’s created a sense that anything was possible and encouraged us to dream big and stay curious about what life has to offer.

Well, we believe CUW online learning actually has a lot in common with Mister Rogers. Watch this short video to find out more.

Introducing our new One Year OLA!

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1-year-OLAWe so happy to announce that our Organizational Leadership and Administration Masters degree just got even better. Now, in just one year, you can earn your OLA and position yourself for upward mobility in a variety of fields. Whether your are an entrepreneur, employed by a large corporation, or just passionate about leadership, our new one year OLA is made for you.

At Concordia University, we want to honor your unique calling in life. Our programs are Christ centered and encourage leaders to bring meaningful values and strong ethics into their workplace.

Here are the details:

  • 33 total credits across one year
  • Classes take 6 weeks
  • All courses are 100% online
  • No GRE or GMAT required
  • Afterwords, choose from a variety of graduate business certificates for specialization in your industry.

Wondering if an OLA degree is right for you? Check out this blog and infographic.

And be sure to read more about our new one year OLA degree.

Online business education eGuide

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Not everyone has a clear idea of what educational path he or she wants to travel. Lucky for you, Concordia offers 100% online educational options including: single classes, certificates, undergraduate and graduate degrees, and custom options. We have put together a helpful business eGuide to better illustrate what programs and options Concordia has to offer. With a variety of class formats, exceptional student support, individual focus and more, you can easily find your niche by learning online with Concordia University Wisconsin.

Some of the questions the eGuide addresses:

  • What programs do we offer?
  • What classes will you take during your time at CUW?
  • What are the big differences between MBA and OLA?
  • What is an OSSA?
  • Who are some of our faculty members?
  • Where are your options for face-to-face education?

With a plethora of courses and programs to choose from, we have trained counselors to help you choose the appropriate program based on your interests and career path.

Be sure to download our eGuide today!

Making Work Meaningful

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Roughly speaking, we spend about 1/3 of our lives at work. That figure is based on the assumption that we work 8 hour days and 40 hour weeks. In a world where work and life are often anything but balanced, these figures are most likely generous. When you consider we spend another 1/3 sleeping, and that much of our free time is centered around preparing for work, many people feel like they have little to no time for what is truly meaningful to them.

While many may be perfectly happy with their career, not everyone is currently in their “dream job.” Not every plan for one’s life works out. In our culture we place a high value on achieving our goals, when, in reality, most people often end up in situations they never anticipated. We may end up in jobs where we do not clearly understand how we are doing anything meaningful to the world. Does this imply that all the hours of our lives spent earning a living are truly wasted?

As a Lutheran Christian organization, we cherish the concept of vocation. Vocation can often be understood as a “calling” from God on your life. This calling not only applies to pastors or missionaries, but to everyone, regardless of occupation. God ministers through us in every aspect of our life, no matter how mundane. Are you a father? A mother? A neighbor? A citizen? A co-worker? In all of these roles, God works through you as you love, serve and interact with others. This brings nobility and spiritual significance, to every portion of our daily human existence.

All this may sound well and good, but it can also be hard to practically understand and apply to your life. That is why, on March 19th, 2015, we are holding an event to help you “advance your career and discover your calling.” We will give practical tips and insights that impact you on two levels. First, they aim to genuinely help you be more successful in your current line of work. However, they also are centered on core concepts about the intrinsic vocational value of work. Or going, one step further, your absolute intrinsic value as a unique person created in God’s own image.

Please consider joining us at one of our thirteen learning centers, or online via webinar.

Should you pursue an MBA or OLA?

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(click to see full image)

Students often come to us knowing that they want to pursue some sort of graduate business degree. However, we often get the question, “How do I know if I should do your MBA or OLA program?” Our answer to that question is another question: “What motivates you?”

Are you fascinated by people? Are you inspired when your team comes together and accomplishes your goal? Do you love helping others grow? Or are you a “number” person? Maybe you are all about digging into the data and finding innovative solutions? Perhaps developing and executing on processes that contribute to company growth is what gets you up in the morning.

At Concordia University Wisconsin, we have 100% online programs for people on both sides of the fence. That’s why we’ve put together this handy infographic that breaks down the differences between our Masters of Business Administration and Masters of Science in Organizational Leadership Administration degrees.

Both of these graduate business degrees are powerful options for advancing your career. In fact, we offer a huge variety of concentrations within each degree. However, it really comes down to reflecting on your personality type and ultimate career goals.

Our admissions counselors are trained to help you ask these critical questions of yourself and ultimately end up in the perfect course of study. Reach out to us today and we can begin that conversation.

CUW is a leader in competency based education

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We are so proud to announce that Concordia University Wisconsin has been selected to join the Competency-Based Education Network (C-BEN), a national network of leading institutions in the area of competency based education. C-BEN is a Washington DC based organization, supported by the Lumina Foundation and managed by Public Agenda. As a member, we will be working collaboratively with 30 other colleges and universities to conduct ground breaking research that could dramatically alter the future of higher education.

You may already know about the option to earn digital badges that allow you to demonstrate skills as you progress through our Masters in Education – Educational Technology program. Picture this concept applied to other education offerings. You could truly make your education a life-long endeavor with a steady stream of affordable and marketable competency based options. Life long learning is a core driver of the Office of Continuing and Distance Education. We want to make education more accessible and more affordable to meet the demands of a changing world. Our partnership with C-BEN is a tremendous means to accomplish that goal.

New Concordia Promise partners

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CUW is offering a groundbreaking opportunity for students currently enrolled in either a Christian high school or homeschool. The Concordia Promise provides affordable “dual credit courses”  that allow students to take college courses for $50 per credit. Beyond that, if the student chooses to attend Concordia University of Wisconsin for an undergraduate degree, they receive a scholarship covering the cost of their dual credit classes. This means huge savings on overall cost of attendance for our students!

Please join us in welcoming the following schools and take a look at the other schools we are currently partnering with.

Martin Luther High School
Greendale, WI

Milwaukee Lutheran High School
Milwaukee, WI

Northeastern Wisconsin (N.E.W.) Lutheran High School
Green Bay, WI

Racine Lutheran High School
Racine, WI

Wolf River Lutheran High School
Cecil, WI

To learn more about the Concordia Promise, contact Kathryn.Baganz@cuw.edu.

How to Build Deep and Rewarding Relationships with Your Online Classmates

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How can three people take the same online course but finish with a completely different learning experience? The decisions, actions, beliefs and attitudes of each student shape a great deal of the overall experience in an online class (or any type of class). The design of the course and the actions of the teacher are important. However, the student’s contributions make all the difference between feeling disconnected and impersonal, or experiencing a deep sense of connection with others in the class. Here are seven tips you help you feel like that second student.

  1. Communicate Early and Often- Threaded discussions in online classes provide powerful communication benefits that are not available in real-time communication. You can revisit past conversations with ease. You can take your time to think and carefully craft your response to a discussion. You even have a document recorded of communications. Given these benefits, have you ever been in an online course where some classmates wait until the end of the week to start participating? That is like going to a face-to-face class and not saying a word until the last ten minutes of the session. All of a sudden, you spout out all of the ideas and comments that came to mind from different parts of the class. Doesn’t that miss the idea of a two-way conversation? The same thing happens in an online threaded discussion unless you do something to prevent it. Log in several times a week to comment, read, reflect, and comment further. You will help create a more vibrant and authentic conversation for everyone by being an active member of the community. You will show deeper interest and respect for your co-learners. You will learn more from others. You will allow others to learn from you.
  2. Be Really Curious- There is a time to speak and a time to listen.  Listening is how we show genuine interest in others. It is also how we learn from others. Imagine that you are on a first date, trying to be on your best behavior.  This means listening as much or more than talking. It means asking good and genuine questions. It means making it a priority to show the other person that you care about them and what they have to say. Take on this attitude in an online class and you will quickly build positive, maybe even long-lasting relationships with others.
  3. Look for and Reach out to Specific Individuals- As you go through a course, you will discover that you relate with the goals and interests of other people. You will also notice students with different perspectives or backgrounds. These are people you can learn from. Reach out to them. Send the classmate a private message. Share what you appreciate about their comments. Invite them to connect beyond the course (via Twitter, email, etc.). Explain that you hope to stay in contact, sharing ideas and learning from one another.
  4. Self-Organize Student Activities- You are not limited to the formal activities of a course.  Why not try to arrange an informal study group, a Google Hangout to touch base and further discuss ideas from the class, set up a Twitter hash tag to exchange ideas, create a forum outside the formal class, or create a way to explore a topic that is interesting but does not fit in the planned course discussions?  This will help you build a stronger sense of community and it parallels the sort of informal group meetings that happen at many face-to-face institutions.
  5. Encourage and Affirm- Online course discussions can get content-focused, which has benefits. It also has a downside. Some early studies about online communication in the workplace show that online collaboration was more task-oriented with fewer “relational” comments. One way to be relational and content-focused at the same time is to share words of encouragement and affirmation with co-learners. Share what you appreciated about their perspective, comments, examples, and illustrations. Let them know when and how their comments help you, and thank them for it. Go beyond “Great idea!” comments. Be specific and descriptive. Instead of telling them that an idea is helpful, explain why or how it is helpful. If you think they have an interesting perspective, tell them why you think it is interesting. Give details. Share anecdotes and stories as you encourage and affirm.
  6. Challenge and Question- On the flip side, we want to nurture a rigorous learning community. That means disagreeing, challenging and questioning in gentle and respectful ways. Much learning takes place as we contrast our understanding with that of others. These contrasts join us in a mutual pursuit of truth and more accurate understanding of the subject.
  7. Build Upon the Ideas of Others- In some online classes, comments seem like a disconnected collection of individual posts, often driven by the desire to craft a post that meets the instructor’s expectations and earns a high grade. While this is a reality in many online courses, do not let it prevent you from taking things a step further. Turn posts into a dynamic conversation. A great way to do this is to build upon the ideas of others. Take an idea that another shares and add a new example, illustration, or further explanation of the idea. As more people do this, we see progress and discovery through online discussion. We turn disjointed comments into a meaning group discussion.

There are many ways to be an active learner in an online course, but these seven give you simple starting points.  Try them out see how it goes. Consider it a social experiment. You will feel more connected to others. You will make the class a more vibrant and positive experience for everyone. You will also increase your chances of building deep and positive relationships that last beyond graduation.

5 Myths About Online Learning

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5mythsaboutonlinelearningI’ve been involved with online learning for twenty years. During that time, much has changed, but the same five myths persist.

1. Online learning is about technology.

Technology makes online learning possible, but that is not the focus. Online learning is about people. The reason we have online learning is because there are people who want or need to learn something new, but they need to do it in a way that fits with their other important callings and responsibilities in life. A working mom with three kids may sense a calling to move into leadership in a business, and the knowledge acquired through an MBA can help her do that. She is willing to work just as hard for that degree as someone in a traditional, face-to-face program, but the time she has available is nine p.m. to midnight (after the kids are in bed). Online learning allows universities to accommodate such needs, while maintaining the same high academic standards expected of all students. One exciting aspect of online learning is that this format of teaching and learning offers a way to honor the many callings in a person’s life, while promoting increased access and opportunity to high-quality college degrees.

2. Online learning is all online.

Unless the movie Tron becomes a reality, this isn’t possible, because the learner lives in a physical world. During online courses, some learning happens online, but well-designed online courses also invite students to engage with the world around them. This comes through talking about what they are learning with family, friends, and colleagues. It also happens through creative assignments that might require students to do interviews, observations at a business or the natural world, service learning, or dozens of other possible activities in the physical world. If this myth was a reality, fully-online courses don’t exist very often.

3. Students don’t learn as much online.

Now that online learning has been around for over twenty years, we have a body of research to help us address this myth. Look at resources like NoSignficantDifference.com, and you will find countless studies showing that there is frequently no significant difference between how much students learn from one delivery system to another. What matters is the quality of the course design, the commitment of the learner, and the mentoring of the teacher. When those are present, learning happens–whether it is face-to-face or online.

4. All online courses are the same.

We hear comments about online learning versus face-to-face learning, and we often treat online learning as if all online learning experiences are equal. We know that isn’t true for face-to-face courses. There are hundreds, even thousands, of ways to design and teach online courses. If one style or approach doesn’t work for you, don’t be too quick to rule out online learning; that would be like deciding to never walk into a school again, because you had one unpleasant teacher or course.

5. Online learning is impersonal.

It is unquestionable that the interaction with your teacher and classmates is different in an online class, but that doesn’t mean that it is impersonal. As many online learners will tell you, the communication and interaction with others can be rich, personal, and substantive online. It is true that online learning has different ways of communicating and interacting with other people. These differences are better than traditional classes in some ways and not as good in others. For example, when is the last time that you were in a face-to-face course where every student in the class contributed 500-1000 words of comments in a class discussion? That is common in an online course, but rare in a face-to-face class. At the same time, you can’t usually read the body language or nonverbal messages from others in the online class. That doesn’t mean that it is impersonal. It is just that you need to develop a different approach to building and maintaining relationships.

These five myths persist about online learning, but with your help we can dispel them. How can you help? You can start by sharing this article with others. You can go even further by inviting people to talk about these myths and by taking the time to get first-hand experience with the many different types of online learning. You might want to try a couple of massive open online courses, or sign up for one of Concordia’s many credit-based online courses. Or, if you are already taking online courses here or elsewhere, take the time to talk about your experiences with the people around you. In my own research, I find that online students often report having an academically challenging, meaningful, and personally rewarding experience.

Online Master’s in Teaching and Learning Program Ranked #1 in the State

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bb-m-curriculum-instructionThe University recently learned that its online Master’s in Teaching and Learning program (formerly Curriculum and Instruction) was ranked #1 in the state of Wisconsin and #20 nationally by Geteducated.com. Get Educated has done the research to find the best online degrees from accredited universities that won’t break the bank. CUW’s program has been labeled a “best buy” with a price tag that comes in below the national average.

“It is the goal of the Online Teaching and Learning program to provide customized educational opportunities for educators to further their professional development and study,” said Aimee Hickman, director of the program. “We highly value our students at CUW and it is an honor that CUW has been recognized for providing quality programming at an attainable and reasonable cost benefit to our students,” Hickman added.

To see the Get Educated write up and ranking for the CUW program, visit http://www.geteducated.com/profiles/show/online-degrees/concordia-university-wisconsin/school-of-education-graduate/42/1419/. To learn more specifics and inquire about the program, visit http://online.cuw.edu/programs/graduate/teaching-learning/