The Brandeis GPS blog

Insights on online learning, tips for finding balance, and news and updates from Brandeis GPS

Tag: career

How to be a Productive Online Student

Online master’s degrees at accredited universities have become increasingly popular over recent years. Many programs, like the ones offered at Brandeis GPS, cater to professionals who are working full time and are seeking a degree to move the needle on their career. Truly asynchronous programs – where students aren’t required to log into a class at a certain time – allow students to set their own schedule when it comes to their academic study.  But for some online learners, the lack of structure can be a challenge. Below are some tips to help you achieve the perfect work-life-school balance while pursuing an online degree.

Schedule Your Time
Schedule your school time just like you would schedule an appointment or meeting. Consistency can be key. And don’t forget to get creative with your study time. Have a long train ride as part of your commute? Take care of your weekly readings while you ride. Drive to work? See if your text book has an audio version and listen in the car. Find a regular time to do your coursework, and soon it will become a part of your daily routine.

Find Your Place of Productivity
Ask yourself when you are most productive. Perhaps it’s on that long train ride where you easily focus. Are you most productive on Sunday afternoons while sitting in your local library? Do you enjoy staying in your pajamas and doing work from your kitchen table? There is no right answer as everyone has different zones of productivity. Make sure the space where you want to work is available and distraction-free in advance. You will get everything done a lot faster if you go in knowing this is your time and place for coursework.

Take a Break
If you have an assignment deadline approaching, you may be tempted to come home after a long day of work and open your computer to get your schoolwork done as quickly as you can. Don’t do that – you want to put your best foot forward! Separate your job from your coursework, take some time to relax, go to the gym, or eat a snack. Keep your brain power focused on what you’re doing so you can achieve results that make you proud.

Participate and Stay Engaged
In an online classroom, it is easy to keep quiet and only participate when necessary. Don’t take that approach: you’re here to learn, after all! Schools like GPS intentionally offer small classes to foster engagement and collaboration among your peers and instructors.

Stay tuned for more tips on how to be a productive online student, and don’t forget to reach out to your advisor or instructor for guidance.

Brandeis University’s Graduate Professional Studies division (GPS) is dedicated to developing innovative programs for working professionals. GPS offers 11 fully online, part-time master’s degrees and one online graduate certificate. With three 10-week terms each year, Brandeis GPS provides exceptional programs with a convenient and flexible online approach. Courses are small by design and led by industry experts who deliver individualized support and professional insights. For more information on our programs visit the Brandeis GPS website.

How to Stay Balanced

Written by: Scarlett Huck

Do you find yourself struggling to balance your career and your academics? Maybe you work a full time job and would like to return to school but are unsure of how to do so. Or perhaps you are enrolled in school while also focusing on your career, leaving you in with an overwhelming state of stress. While it may seem impossible, there are ways to balance your life. Take a deep breath and follow these easy steps!

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Communicate. This can help on a number of levels. If you are feeling overwhelmed, talk to someone: a colleague, a friend or a family member. Two brains are always better than one at problem solving! Often, simply talking about your problems reduces your stress level. Communication is also important between you, your job and your education. For instance, if you are working a full time job but are interested in returning to school, meet with your boss. With clear communication, your boss can even see this as beneficial.

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Plan your finances. A large concern about school is the fiscal responsibility. While the price tag may seem intimidating, there are practical ways to pay off the bills. One of the easiest ways is to speak to your employer. Often companies reimburse their employees tuition in order to have well-educated, more qualified workers. You are not limited there, you can also apply for scholarships (often merit-based) or work for the school in your free time. Brandeis GPS also offers employers tuition discounts! This can be very helpful when looking to get an affordable degree.

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Disconnect. Yes, we are all living in the 21st century and this means we are constantly glued to our smartphones, tablets and laptops. This instills a sense of easy accessibility and contributes to the amount of time we spend on our devices. While this ease of access is great for work and school, attempt to minimize their use in your free time. Notifications are not easily ignored, adding a sense of stress to a non-work or school environment. Turn off your devices and enjoy what is happening; emails and texts can wait.

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Stay Healthy. Your body is your friend and you need to take care of it. It is easy to say you are too busy, you don’t have time to exercise or cook a healthy dinner. However, busy people have a tendency to drive their bodies (and therefore their immune systems) into the ground. Waking up early, spending a day stressing, running around, drinking infinite cups of coffee and staying up late just to wake up and do it all over again causes a strain on your body. Make time for a few stress-relieving exercises and stretches, find quick recipes for healthy food in a hurry to keep your body running strong and make getting enough sleep a priority. Pay attention to your health and keep in mind that it is much more difficult to be efficient once you’re sick!

With these tips in mind, you are ready to balance your life! Be sure to check out Brandeis University’s Graduate Professional Studies to see if our online courses could be a good fit for you. We offer rolling admissions and flexible programs to fit your busy schedule!

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Increasing Interest in Cybersecuirty Education and Careers

Matthew Rosenquist

Written by:  Cybersecurity Strategist and Evangelist at Intel Corporation

The world is facing a growing problem as people’s everyday lives are becoming more digital and increasing our reliance on cybersecurity to protect our interests, yet there are not enough security professionals to fulfill the rising demands.  This leaves gaps in the security of companies and organizations we share information with.  There is hope on the horizon.  Academia is adjusting to increase the training of graduates and there is a rising interest in students to study the variety of cybersecurity domains.  But more students are needed as demand is far outpacing the expected rise in available talent.

All the right elements are in place.  Pay for cybersecurity is on the rise, the needs for an estimated 1.5 million jobs is already growing, and higher education institutions are working collaboratively to establish the training infrastructure necessary for the next generation of security professionals to be prepared for success.  What is missing are the necessary numbers of students.  There simply is not enough.

The good news is millennials are interested, but need more information in order to commit.  Survey results from the Raytheon-NCSA Millennial report show the most prevalent factor for prospective students to increase their interest, is being provided data and expertise to explain what jobs entail.

Providing basic career information is absolutely possible but not as simple as it may seem.  Job roles do morph very rapidly.  Some data suggests as often as every nine months security professionals see their role, expectations, and focus being shifted into new areas or vary radically.  With such a rapid rate of change, cybersecurity is truly a dynamic domain where responsibilities are fluid.  This is not likely to turn off prospective millennials, as they are a generation which embraces diversity.  It may in fact, contribute to the attractiveness of these careers.  Combined with a strong employability and excellent pay, the industry should have no problem filling desk seats in universities.

What is needed right now are for experienced professionals to step up and work with educational institutions to explain the roles and responsibilities to the pool of prospective students.  Open forums, virtual meetings, presentations, in-class instruction, and even simple question-and-answer sessions can go a long way in painting a vivid picture of our industry, opportunities, and challenges which await.  The community should work together to attract applicants to the cyber sciences, especially women and underrepresented minorities who can bring in fresh ideas and perspectives.  I urge higher education institutions to reach out to the security community professionals and ask for help.  Many are willing to share their perspectives and industry knowledge to help inform students and encourage those who might be interested in a career in cybersecurity.  Only together can the private sector and academia help fulfill the needs for the next generation of security professionals.

TwitterIconFollow Matt on Twitter: @Matt_Rosenquist

Interested in Cyber Security? Join our #AskTheExpert session with Matthew Rosenquist! RSVP here

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7 Innovative #EdTech Practices You Can Implement at No Cost

The Americas Society and Council of the Americas invited me to discuss scalable innovative practices for education with experts and leaders dedicated to advancing and shaping the political, economic, social and cultural agendas of the Western Hemisphere. The purpose was to take what works in New York City and bring it to other education systems.

Here are some ideas I shared that global leaders can bring back to their countries.

1) Online Learning Communities for Education Resources

It is no longer okay for companies to provide teachers with just a product. Today we ask companies whose products we use, like Google, PBS, and Common Sense Media to develop online learning networks comprised of their staff and NYCDOE educators who use the product. Communities on sites like Google, Facebook, and Edmodo allow educators to connect with one another to share ideas, best practices, troubleshoot issues, and more.  A member from the NYCDOE and from the company participate in the group to provide appropriate support as needed.

Teachers love it.

Alone, exhausted, and unseen become connected, energized, and recognized.

2) Partnering with Companies to Develop Expertise within The System

Have you ever been to a classroom and seen a SMARTboard serving as a bulletin board or known that teachers were barely scratching the surface when it comes to using certain technologies? Technology without pedagogy is a waste of money.

Today companies must be held accountable to do more than just sell tools and resources to schools. They must come with an important additional component to grow capacity across the district. That component is a no-cost program that creates and connects teachers across the district who are power-users of the same resources so they can become area experts supporting others back in their school and districts.

Participants become experts and share their skills and knowledge by:

  • Supporting colleagues in their schools and districts
  • Modeling and speaking about best practices in effective technology integration
  • Providing professional learning
  • Offering feedback to companies that help to ensure resources meet student needs
  • Building the external profile of the DOE by contributing to blogs, websites, and other media
  • Developing innovative classrooms for inter-visitations
  • Presenting at conferences and workshops

Products are no longer stand alone. They come with training and support that helps ensure their successful use.  You can learn more about this program here.

3) Technology Single Point of Contacts (Tech SPOC)

Every school designates a single point of contact for technology who can participate in professional learning opportunities, receive information about technology (i.e. via a newsletter and website), and join an online community for anytime/anywhere support.

4) One Stop for Technology Professional Learning Opportunities

Sounds simple, but until recently we didn’t have a central place on our website where all learning opportunities were placed. Now there is one online place to find both internal and external opportunities such as workshops, institutes, conferences, meet ups, and webinars.

5) Incorporate Student, Educator and Parent Voice

One of the most important scalable practices that can be effectively implemented in any school system is to incorporate the voice of students, staff, and parents. Do this not only by speaking with all stakeholders, but also asking them to be a part of the rules, policies, guidelines, curriculum, and learning that takes place in your school or district. For example, our professional learning opportunities are created with and reviewed by a professional development team of educators who test the work and materials with their students then provide us with feedback.

Our Social Media Guidelines for students were created by interviewing more than one hundred students and numerous educators and parents. We then reached out to the stakeholders to help us create the guidelines in a format they choose.  In this case infographics. Once created, we go back to the stakeholders and get feedback then update. We created guides for parents and teachers and professional development. You can see them at schools.nyc.gov/socialmedia.

6) Partner with Students for Learning

While educators are expected to be experts in pedagogy, it is smart to tap into the intelligence of students when it comes to technology. Invite students to be creative with technology. Make a chart of favorite tech tools and indicate who your class experts are. If educators want to be in the know, there is a great free site from Common Sense Media called Graphite.org that rates and reviews digital resources.

7) Embrace Social Media for Students

If we want to run for office, run a business, or change how things are run where we work, live, or play we must be savvy in the use of social media. It is crucial for college, career, and life success. Stay tuned for my next post, to learn some ways to do this right.

So, what do you think? Could some of these practices be put into place where you work? Are there challenges or concerns that are in the way of you implementing these practices? What are some scalable practices that are successful where you work?

Original post available here

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Student Speaker & GPS Graduate: Rob Havasy

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Rob Havasy, Brandeis GPS’ student speaker for commencement, is graduating with his Master of Science in Health and Medical Informatics. Rob is currently the Corporate Team Lead for Product & Technology Development at PartnersHealthcare, Center for Connected Health. Rob is passionate about technology and its potential to significantly improve the outcomes of our healthcare system. His unique combination of experience – understanding the science, the business, and the technical aspects of healthcare allow him to approach problems from a variety of perspectives.

Rob explains, “after starting a career in a new industry, the Brandeis Health and Medical Informatics program gave me the knowledge and insights I needed to quickly understand and tackle the challenges facing healthcare”

Rob notes that interacting with faculty and students from around the country and around the world provided him valuable diversity of opinions about the real issues we face on a daily basis. The flexible format of Brandeis GPS courses enabled him to focus on both his career and education at the same time. He was able to immediately apply his classroom learning to his job.

“In an academic medical environment, education is highly valued; everyone has letters

An example of Rob's photography

An example of Rob’s photography

after their name. Adding the MS, along with the Brandeis name has generated new opportunities for me within my organization.”

Outside of his career, Rob enjoys photography, his motorcycle, blogging and spending time with his daughter. Rob currently lives in central Massachusetts.

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