Are Online Colleges the Latest Smart Trend?

What is the latest trend in education? The answer is simple: online colleges.

Online universities and colleges have been spreading quickly and have made their presence felt across the globe. As universities like the University of Phoenix have made this trend popular, an online education has a lot to offer.

The flexibility is one of the biggest advantages. Students can now concentrate on a degree in their own home, studying and doing schoolwork whenever they like. This means that individuals can now keep their family, social schedule, work commitments and be able to pursue their educational goals.

Online colleges are also a great way to go to school in locations where few respectable choices are present. If you live in one of these areas and don’t want to move, an online college can be the perfect middle ground.

How will this trend fare in the coming years? Well, all signs are pointing to an increased presence for online colleges and universities. As expected, individuals are excited to go to school online and to not have to rearrange their life to pursue their degree and start or advance their career.

Another sign of the increased presence of online education is traditional institutions. Previously, traditional colleges and universities may have only offered a few online classes for students. However, now it is more common for traditional schools to offer degrees that can be studied on the internet. Many of these schools have launched degrees that are based completely online, along with distinct parts of the school that is devoted to online-based studies.

As it is increasingly common, perhaps this is the latest smart trend for many in education. If a student is able to handle the atmosphere, an online education represents a considerable choice for tech-savvy students.

In education, certainly online schools and universities represent a development smart trend.

That said, please do your research. Look into the graduation rates for the schools. You don’t want to end up with tons of student loans but no degree!

Hiring in the technology sector remains sluggish

The news isn’t very good on the job front, and even the tech sector is struggling to add jobs.

Government labor reports released this year, including the most recent one, present a tableau of shrinking opportunities in high-skill fields.

Job growth in fields like computer systems design and Internet publishing has been slow in the last year. Employment in areas like data processing and software publishing has actually fallen. Additionally, computer scientists, systems analysts and computer programmers all had unemployment rates of around 6 percent in the second quarter of this year.

While that might sound like a blessing compared with the rampant joblessness in manufacturing, it is still significantly higher than the unemployment rates in other white-collar professions.

The chief hurdles to more robust technology hiring appear to be increasing automation and the addition of highly skilled labor overseas. The result is a mismatch of skill levels here at home: not enough workers with the cutting-edge skills coveted by tech firms, and too many people with abilities that can be duplicated offshore at lower cost.

That’s a familiar situation to many out-of-work software engineers, whose skills start depreciating almost as soon as they are laid off, given the dynamism of the industry.

Technology firms are sitting on a mountain of cash, so hopefully this will be temporary. President Obama is now proposing huge tax breaks for investments in equipment, along with making the research tax credit permanent. If the GOP can put aside politics and pass these proposals that they have supported in the past, perhaps we can jump start this sector and other sectors.

HP sues regarding Mark Hurd’s new position at Oracle

SAN FRANCISCO - NOVEMBER 12:  Hewlett-Packard CEO Mark Hurd delivers a keynote address at the 2007 Oracle Open World conference November 12, 2007 in San Francisco, California. Oracle Open World runs through November 15.  (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

There’s an interesting battle brewing between HP and Oracle regarding Mark Hurd, who was recently hired by Oracle after he was recently ousted as CEO by HP’s board following an expense and sexual harassment scandal. Now, HP is suing Hurd regarding Hurd’s new position at Oracle.

Hewlett-Packard Co. is suing Mark Hurd, the chief executive it ousted last month, to stop him from taking a top job at rival Oracle Corp.

The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in a California state court, came a day after Oracle hired Hurd as co-president to help lead the database software maker’s efforts to lure business away from HP. HP claims that Hurd won’t be able to perform his job at Oracle without spilling HP’s trade secrets and violating a confidentiality agreement.

This type of complaint isn’t unusual in the technology world, nor is the confidentiality agreement that Hurd had signed as part of a severance package from HP that could top $40 million.

Technology companies often require such agreements because workers walk out the door with valuable technical information.

But the stakes are higher with Hurd than a rank-and-file employee, and the lawsuit may delay when Hurd could start his new job.

HP may have a valid claim, but you have to wonder why they wouldn’t have an even more explicit non-competition agreement. It sounds like they might have a case surrounding trade secrets and confidentiality, but for $40 million you would think they would have something more concrete.

This should be a lesson to any company who provides VERY lucrative severance packages – get something in return!

Future hiring trends

Here’s one disturbing trend that should have you focus on education and training:

Whenever companies start hiring freely again, job-seekers with specialized skills and education will have plenty of good opportunities. Others will face a choice: Take a job with low pay – or none at all.

Job creation will likely remain weak for months or even years. But once employers do step up hiring, some economists expect job openings to fall mainly into two categories of roughly equal numbers:

_ Professional fields with higher pay. Think lawyers, research scientists and software engineers.

_ Lower-skill and lower-paying jobs, like home health care aides and store clerks.

And those in between? Their outlook is bleaker. Economists foresee fewer moderately paid factory supervisors, postal workers and office administrators.

This has been going on for years, and it’s only going to get worse. You can’t rely on walking into a factory and getting a well-paying job. Those days are gone.

Should you be Allowed to pay Bills at Work?

If you believe everything you read and see on TV, you would think that Americans spend every waking hour at their jobs – jobs which they are blissfully happy to still have, after all of the shenanigans that went on during the Panic of 2008. In some people’s cases, this may be true. Workaholics didn’t go anywhere over the past 2 years, except back to work. And that’s probably where they would have ended up going anyway. But it leads a non-workaholic to wonder about how much our employers really rule our lives, and how much they should let us relax from time to time.

This is almost a business ethics question: During breaks and other non-critical times at work, when everything is in a normal mode, is it okay to chill out for awhile and do some recreational computer browsing? Not to suggest that “recreational” use would include porn, updating a hate blog or shopping for a new automatic weapon, necessarily. Even though every one of those activities are totally American rights, they are a little too far out there for an office environment. But is it wrong for an employee who puts in long, arduous hours at the office to do more low-key, harmless things on their computers, as a way to unwind and get a little something done?

Is there any harm to the company if you check out some crazy YouTube video, or do a little blogging about that cute thing your hamster did yesterday? What about if you went online to do some early holiday shopping (yeah, it’s starting to get into that “calm before the storm” part of the year already). Would it be wrong to hit up your bank’s web site, make sure your credit cards are taken care of, and pay your auto insurance and whatever other bills you might have? There’s no harm.

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