Virtual Education Comes Into Its Own

Virtual education is coming into its own in the United States. The technology behind the Internet is more robust than ever before, and generations of students who grew up with computers and easy Internet access find it perfectly ordinary to get their education the same way they keep in touch with their friends, and get so much other information.

The first online degrees in the United States were offered around 1995, but at that early stage few students were willing to consider that route. While remote computing and connectivity were developed in the 1960s, the Internet as we know it today was still in its infancy, and most Internet connections were made through dial-up services that were so slow, they could not be used efficiently for the types of information students need to advance their educations. Some students tried it but the graduation rates were low, and many employers did not take the degrees students could earn very seriously.

But it did not take a crystal ball for most educators to recognize virtual learning as the wave of the future. As students and educators alike began to understand that lectures could be recorded and stored online and available on demand, the boundaries of traditional classrooms were removed. When many institutions began to grade students solely classwork, the die was cast, and in the years since, online colleges have been able to perfect the idea of remote education with things like online discussion boards, chat programs, and e-books. Moreover, this method of learning has also been shown to be extremely profitable.

Gareth Pooleon is the K-12 Lead Principal at Oregon Connections Academy, a tuition-free, virtual public school in Oregon.

Graduate Schools

Graduate school represents a period of intensive study that even the most committed students can find difficult. Those students entering into graduate programs are usually serious about their studies and have a clear idea of their career path. Graduate programs tend to be competitive, and many schools do not have as many graduate programs to choose from as they do undergraduate programs.

Most graduate schools have established reputations in their field of study, and students vie for acceptance into their programs. Choosing between one grad school and another can be difficult, and complicated by life circumstances, like whether they are already working, or are married with children. The classes in graduate schools are smaller and more interactive, and professors treat their students like adults. It is not uncommon for students to be in their thirties and forties, or even older, and to be returning to school to enhance their education and improve their career prospects.

In some professional disciplines, such as the law or medicine, graduate degrees are absolutely essential, but many fields they are not. The graduate degrees might be nice to add to your resume, but not a must. But there is no doubt that in an increasingly competitive job marketplace, being able to list a Master's degree or a Ph.D. to your qualifications will help you stand out from the crowd.

Gareth Pooleon is the K-12 Lead Principal at the Oregon Connections Academy, an online school. He received his Master in Education from Western Oregon University in 1997, and his Standard Certification in Educational Administration from Portland State University in 2010.

Gareth Pooleon - Track and Field

When most people think of track and field they think of specific events: relay races and the javelin toss, the shot put and pole vaulting. It is an incredibly popular sport: there are, on average, more than seven and a half million high school athletes taking part in track and field in any given year.

The track events of track and field are those that take place on a track. Events include individuals running distances anywhere from sixty meters to ten thousand meters. They sometimes include hurdles or steeples, and teams that pass batons from one runner to the next. One of the best-known track events is the one hundred meter dash, and at the Olympic level, gold medal winners of this event are often considered, for a little while anyway, the fastest man or woman in the world. It is arguably the most prestigious and most popular of the running events in track and field.

The 1500 meter run is considered the premier middle distance race in track and field. The distance is just short of one mile, and is as much about endurance as it is about speed. Participants have to run around a standard track three and three quarter times to complete the 1500 meters.

On the field side of track and field, events include the shot put, in which competitors throw a heavy metal ball as far as they can. The long jumps and high jumps describe themselves in their name. There are combination events in track and field, like the decathlon, which is track and field's most challenging event and usually takes place over several days.

Gareth Pooleon is a veteran educator who lives and works in Oregon. He attended Bellingham High School in Washington State and was a three-time State track and field champion. He went on to Willamette University and the University of Oregon, and was an NCAA All American in Track and Field.