Monday, September 28, 2009

Fall 2009 Transfer Events

One of the things you should be thinking about NOW as a PCCC student is transfer. You don't want to wait until the last moment. The Center for Student Success brings in representatives from four-year colleges and universities, and has other events designed to help you with transfer. As Paterson is our main campus, most of the events will be held there.

Here is the email I just received about this. For our IT majors graduating this semester, I would highly recommend the NJIT Immediate Decision Days. You sit with a representative and get an answer on the spot about whether you are accepted or not. You need to make an appointment beforehand, however.

Transfer Advising Groups
Would you like to know more about the transfer process? Attend a Transfer Advising Group session! The Transfer Advising Groups are held in the Center for Student Success, A-230. No need to sign up in advance. For more information, call Liz Harrison, Student Development and Transfer Specialist at 973-684-5664.

Monday, October 5, 12:00pm
Tuesday, October 13, 5:00pm
Wednesday, October 21, 12:00pm
Thursday, October 29, 5:00pm
Just have a quick question about your transfer application? Stop by the Center for Student Success on Wednesdays from 3:30-6:30pm, or Thursdays from 10:30-11:30am, ask to see the Transfer Specialist. If appropriate, you may be asked to schedule an appointment to discuss more detailed questions.

University Transfer Admission Information Sessions
Get the facts directly from the source. These sessions are led by admissions representatives who are experts on the transfer admission requirements for their institutions. Everyone is welcome and advance sign-up is not necessary.

Caldwell College
September 22, 11:00am-2:00pm, Broadway Lobby
November 2, 11:00am-2:00pm, Broadway Lobby

College of Saint Elizabeth
September 29, 4:00-7:00pm, Broadway Lobby
October 20, 4:00-7:00pm, Broadway Lobby

New Jersey Institute of Technology
November 3, 11:00am-3:00pm, Broadway Lobby

Historically Black Colleges and Universities College Fair!
November 17, 2009
PCCC Gymnasium
Paterson Campus

Gather admission and scholarship information from over 40 Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Many colleges will be waiving their admission application fees if you apply at the fair. This is a very special opportunity to learn more about these prestigious institutions. See Liz Harrison, Transfer Specialist in the Center for Student Success, if you have questions about the fair.

Transfer Admission Immediate Decision Programs
For students with 40 or more completed college level credits, Spring 2010 admission only. Students with scheduled appointments will meet with a university admissions representative, have their application reviewed, and receive an admission decision on the spot. The programs are held in the Center for Student Success at the main campus in Paterson.

University Interview Date Time
Montclair State University November 4, 2009 11:00am-2:00pm and 4:00-6:00pm

NJIT November 9, 2009 11:00am-2:00pm
November 19, 2009 3:00-6:00pm

NJCU October 14, 2009 11:00am-1:00pm
November 18, 2009 11:00am-1:00pm

Rutgers-Newark November 10, 2009 12:00-6:00pm

William Paterson University November 2, 2009 2:00-6:15pm

Friday, September 25, 2009

Test Taking Strategies

I am in the process of grading some tests and I was struck by how many people are having problems not only with the material (this always happens), but also how many are just not answering questions.

Here are some things that I can offer as suggestions:
  • Read the instructions! For example, if I am giving short answer type questions, I always include the words "using complete sentences" in the instructions. Many professors will take off points if they ask for sentences and get fragments. Likewise, for true/false questions, I always ask for people to write out "true" or "false". This way I don't get a letter that is a combination of a T and an F.
  • Answer the questions as asked. When a question asks "Discuss xxxxxxx", what the professor is looking for is NOT a list. For example, if I asked "Discuss three sandwiches", I wouldn't expect the answer would be "peanut butter and jelly, ham and cheese, eggplant". If I simply wanted three answers, I would likely say something like "List three sandwiches" or "Name three sandwiches". When a professor asks a student to "discuss" or "describe", they are looking for more information.When a professor asks "compare and contrast X and Y", this is going to require two separate parts to your answer. First should be a comparison of X and Y (how they are similar) and second should be contrasting of X and Y (how they are different). If I asked you to compare and contrast baseball and football, the correct answer would not be a definition of baseball, followed by a definition of football. Instead, a correct answer would include a comparison (for example, baseball and football are both team sports, both are played in stadiums, etc), followed by contrasting (while baseball has nine players on the field at a time from one team, football has eleven, baseball uses a circular ball that is struck with a bat while football uses an oblong ball that is thrown and kicked).

  • Be on time and ready to go! If you get there on time, you will get your choice of seat and have the chance to relax before the test starts. I remember I was 45 minutes late for a final once, and I was overly stressed for that reason. I personally also schedule tests to have a set time frame, for example, one hour. If a student shows up 30 minutes late, they now have only 30 minutes to complete the test. Also, take care of any bathroom-type business before the test starts. Many professors do not allow bathroom breaks during tests, because there is potential for cheating.
Going to head back to do some more grading, but I wanted to put this information out there.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

PCCC's CWE and you

PCCC has a requirement that, before you graduate, you successfully pass the College Writing Exam, or CWE (formerly GWE). I am about to mention this in my classes, so I wanted to type up what I am going to say here to share.

First of all, you don't need to wait until your last semester. As a matter of fact, it is advisable that you do not. Why? If you do not pass the CWE, you don't graduate. You will notice it is listed as a requirement on your degree audit.

Secondly, they give you two hours. Many students assume that two hours is there in case they need it, but the expectation is that you are using that time not only to write, but also to plan and revise your work! There is no harm in taking 15 minutes to outline, then writing, and then re-reading it and editing, and since you can take it on the computer, you can cut and paste bits and pieces, delete, etc.

The school has set up some free CWE preparation workshops that are free, and you can find information on them here:
CWE Workshops

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Shut down telemarketers!

I recently wrote about the telemarketing laws that have changed. However, I realized I never mentioned the National Do Not Call registry.

A number of years back, a law was passed requiring most telemarketers to not call people if they asked not to be called. The problem is that I as a telemarketer could get your phone number and distribute your phone number to 100 other telemarketing companies. Even if you told my company to remove it, the other people still have your phone number.

The government stepped in and set up a free service - the National Do Not Call registry. You put your phone number in the system, and most telemarketers are required to not call you. If they do, you can report them and they face heavy fines. Most telemarketers will be required to stop calling you 31 days from your registration date, so if you put it in the system today, you should be safe by the end of next month at worst.

Of course, there are exceptions. First of all, any company that you have a business relationship with is exempt (though you can still ask them to remove you if they call). So, your phone company, cable company, etc. can do so. In addition, if you order from a Web site and give them your phone number, you may also be opening yourself to legal telemarketing calls.

Other exceptions include charities, political organizations (of course, because guess who passed the law - politicians!), and surveys that don't include any sales pitch.

The Federal Communications Commission does seem to pursue complaints. I was able to find a list with a hundred citations of companies that have been complained about and been fined as a result. The biggest so far was a Florida based company named Dynasty Mortgage, which got a warning and apparently kept calling people, leading to two sets of fines totaling around $1.5 million dollars.

No harm in signing up, because once again, it's free!

Monday, September 07, 2009

Skype and eBay divorce

In what I can only describe is "it's about time", eBay decided that Skype didn't fit in their business plan and sold it off. Skype is an online phone system, basically allowing people to make free calls to other people on Skype through their Internet connection. It can also be used to call from your PC to a telephone, at lower rates than most standard phone services have. For example, it's 10.3 cents a minute to the Dominican Republic, and 10.6 cents per minute to India. Compare this to Verizon charging 17 cents a minute to DR and 33 cents a minute to India. What's kind of nice is that the other person won't even know you are using a computer to call them. Nice idea!

The question I had when eBay bought it a few years back was "what are they going to do with it? How does this fit in eBay's business model?". I suppose the answer has been found.

The sale (which does allow eBay to keep a share of Skype) allows eBay to focus on what they know (online auctions). I always wonder if it is better to focus on one thing and do that really well, or to spread your business out. In this case, there was very little integration between the two applications, so it was an odd fit from the start. Meg Whitman, a former CEO of eBay, was approving of the purchase, but now that she is gone, the company found itself free to rid itself of an asset that was not helping the bottom line.

Part of me wonders if eBay is being smart, since pending legal issues have led experts to question whether Skype will need to be shut down eventually. The question is this - Skype doesn't sell advertising, and though it has 405 million users, how do you turn that in to real revenue? I don't know how many people use it for anything aside from free calling, so I couldn't tell you.

Web Link:

Saturday, September 05, 2009

NFL bans use of Twitter on Game Days

The NFL has become the first league to really take a stand on social networking. News has broken today that the NFL is banning players from Twittering (and Facebooking, etc) for communications purposes on game days. This ban starts 90 minutes before the first game, and ends after the post-game interviews. This idea makes sense. This way, you avoid people getting upset and saying something they later regret. The league will likely back this up with fines or something like that.

It's rather amusing to me that we literally JUST talked about Twitter and sports two days ago in my Internet/E-Commerce Technologies class, and our discussion already is somewhat out of date.

Link to Article