Online Colleges and Universities

There are many Online Colleges and Universities. Many are traditional schools that offer their courses on the web.

Because classes are offered through the Internet, they are typically more flexible with your current work or school schedule. They are often less expensive since they can have more students taking classes, but not have the overhead of having the students at the campus.

The website consolidates hunting for schools that have online programs along with particular courses offered. You can find out which schools have campuses in or near your town if you have a desire to mix online classes with the resources offered by being near a campus.

While I have never taken online courses, I have friends who have. Some courses require that you “attend” class like any other student by checking in with the teacher each day, while still allowing you to study at your own pace. Some require that you spend time in chat rooms with fellow students collaborating on projects.

Some of the schools listed at the site have very specific study programs such as Motorcycle Technology specializing in Ducati Motorcycles. You can also study for a specialty field related to your current position which may allow you to advance in your career. Most people won’t be able to take 4 years out of their life to go to school, but if you can take classes while still working your current job you can make significant career moves over time.

I have taken a writing course through correspondence before. Online courses are the correspondence schools of the present and future. Take some time to check out the Online Colleges and Universities to see what they have to offer you.

[This is a sponsored post.]

Cloud Gate

Me with the BeanToday we went to downtown Chicago to see the Shiny Bean, a.k.a., Cloud Gate. We were moving from the west side of Chicago to the south side today and took some time to visit Millennium Park. It was very cold with the temps in the low 20s. But that was a nice change from the even colder weather we have had the last few days.

The Bean was really neat. As stupid as it is to me that someone would spend time to make a stainless steel bean and that people would actually come to look at it, it was still very cool. The math and thought that went into creating a structure that reflects the skyline like the Shiny Bean does is pretty neat.

If you don’t know where Cloud Gate is, you can just type in Shiny Bean into the search field at Google Maps and it will show you where it is.

Term paper services

Have you ever heard of a term paper service that writes papers for you? I found one service that writes term papers where all you need to do is supply them with the topic of your paper, minimum number of references they need to cite, the number of pages and any other details on format or subject you want to include. They will then write the paper for you and deliver it via email in a few days.

The one that I came across starts at $12.95 a page and goes up to as much as $26.95 depending on how quickly you need the paper done. For the paper I recently finished it would have only cost me $207 (for the standard service) plus a minor thing as my reputation.

As a student they don’t expect anything else from you. You simply give them the details and they write the paper for you. Then you submit the paper to your teacher as if it were your own work. Where I went to college that was called plagiarism and would get you an automatic ‘F’ in a course. This is a scenario that is completely not worth it.

If you did not do the work to write the paper then why do you think you should get credit for it? The purpose of a student writing the paper is so that he will learn something about the subject in the process. Without a doubt this is the worst form of cheating I can imagine.

I guess there are a couple of things you learn by using this method; you learn how to be a liar and a cheat. These might be highly sought after qualities in some industries, but certainly not in someone I am looking to hire.

Outside of the moral issues raised with doing this, take a moment to look at their site and see if you want these guys writing a paper for you. I am not a professional writer, but Grammar Girl has taught me enough to know that they have no idea how to use an apostrophe nor when it is appropriate to capitalize a word or not.

[This is a sponsored post.]

2009 Goals Report

I did not do a very good job of updating the blog each month with how I was progressing on my goals for 2009. Part of that was caused by losing sight of what my goals were.

My goal was to run 1000 miles again in 2009 like the goal was for 2008. I missed it both years. 2009 was thwarted by starting the year with a stress fracture in my left foot. I was able to recover and was doing well by the middle of the year. However when I ramped up my mileage for marathon training in August, I went too far too soon. I had taken the first half of the year too easy and the longer miles caused another stress fracture in the left foot by the end of September. That slowed me down once again.

It was a learning year. I now know to respect the 10% rule a bit more (10% rule=no more than 10% more miles from week to week or month to month). I did not train for any half marathons in 2009. I went from no specific training goals to marathon ambitions thinking that I was physically as strong as I was the year before. I take more experience and wisdom into 2010 because of this.

I also had a goal of 2 half marathons and a full. Since I was injured I scrapped the half marathon plans and just went for the full. That was a mistake. I also planned to set a 5K PR. I only ran one this year and it was on an injured foot, so I did not even try to race it. Only enjoy the experience.

Total mileage for 2009 was 525 miles in 138 runs. That means I averaged a run every2 to 3 days (once every 2.6 days). Which means I ran fairly consistently, but my average run was fewer than 4 miles.

The goal was to read at least 800 pages a month and not have any month drop below that number. I did not do too poorly on that goal. I struggled a couple of months, but most months I exceeded the goal. Starting in August I somehow fell off the bandwagon of keeping track of my books and pages read. October through December I read so many books that I just had trouble remembering which ones I read to even write them down. If I missed any 800 page months I probably made up for it in those three months. In a 2 week stretch in December I know I read more than 900 pages. I need to do a better job of keeping records this year.

I am still working on my 2010 goals. I will try to get something written down and shared here in a few days.

GTD for Pastors

Spiritual Leadership PodcastToday I was listening to the Spiritual Leadership Podcast with Paul Chappell and he was talking about Developing an Annual Plan. If you are familiar with David Allen’s Getting Things Done (GTD) then you will recognize several items that Dr. Chappell outlines in this lesson. While Dr. Chappell does not get into a daily breakdown of how to get tasks accomplished in this lesson, he does talk heavily about roles that we have in our lives and ministries and how they affect our planning for the new year.

While this is not an actual application of GTD to running a church or ministry, it does track heavily with what David Allen teaches.

The thing that I find most difficult to manage in my ministry is “crisis management.” Both Allen and Chappell talk about how that we sometimes get sucked into the trap of managing what is urgent and not what is important. I sometimes allow other peoples’ crisis become my top priority and neglect what I should be doing.

This installment of the Spiritual Leadership Podcast was a practical application of how to define planning based on the roles being played.