Thinking about College in the Pacific Northwest? Consider These Political Differences First


In increasingly obvious ways, a suburban bias for comfort and tradition cripples the growth of sustainable practices in the construction industry. A major example of the cultural conflict between the suburbs and the city can be seen in the Portland Metro area. Portland, a city known for it’s urban growth boundaries, strong lite rail system, and large percentage of bicycle commuters, is bordered to the North by the city of Vancouver, Washington. From the second you drive past a confederate flag flying visible from I-5, Vancouver’s decidedly conservative leanings are obvious.

The city often posits itself as the antithesis of Portland, rejecting not only their liberal politics, but their progressive urban design policies as well. Vancouver’s streets are winding, with new strip malls popping up seemingly every few weeks on the sites of former prairies and forests every. SUVs and Hummers are a common site and recent installations of bike lanes are focused more on promoting safety than efficiency.

Outside of the downtown core, the city is designed for a car-centric culture, and shows few signs of rejecting that design philosophy. Instead of Portland’s flair for long lasting, grandiose construction projects, (which are increasingly attracting many would-be college students) cookie-cutter strip malls and McMansion housing tracts define Vancouver’s approach.

The Columbia River Crossing

This conflict of ideas between Portland and Vancouver manifests economically and politically with the “Columbia River Crossing” project. This project, in the planning stage for years, was meant to fix or replace the I-5 crossing over the Columbia River, where Washington and Oregon meet. The project, functionally dead after the Republican-led Washington State Legislature failed to approve funding, was a hated target of suburban advocates for years.

Though many residents of Vancouver work in Portland, and the vast majority of interstate travel into Washington comes from this junction, suburbanites felt uneasy about paying tolls to drive across the bridge. Another sticking point was the light rail, which many of the more affluent Vancouverites derided as a waste of taxpayer dollars.

A Continuation of Destructive Policies

While there are many legitimate criticisms aimed at the cost of the project, which was projected to exceed 2.5 billion dollars, the death of a lite rail connection to Vancouver is the true story. The city, once known for its beautiful prairies and forests, shunned long-term sustainable construction in favor of the old, less eco-minded ways of living. Additionally, lite rail could have drastically reduced vehicle traffic, helping to ease air pollution that exists on the I-5 corridor. Finally, lite rail into Vancouver could have encouraged more walkable neighborhoods.

Today, Vancouver remains a conservative metropolis, vehemently opposed to changing its ways. Recent studies out of Seattle show the dangers of vehicular air pollution on nearby residents, and a mountain of evidence exists showing the benefits of sustainable, environmentally-minded construction projects. While one day Vancouver may base their civic-project practices less off of political opposition and more on evidence-based practices, today the city stands as a stunted step into the past.

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How to Make Studying Abroad Easier

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Humans are instinctively curious about the world at large. A survey conducted by Gallup interviewed adults from 146 countries between 2008 and 2010, and found that an estimated 630 million people around the world wanted to move abroad if they got an opportunity to do so.

The people, culture, and languages of other countries often inspire a wondrous, lifelong pursuit of the world at large. Which is perhaps one of the reasons so many universities and colleges have study-abroad programs.

These immersions are incredibly effective for learning to adapt to challenging environments, make lifelong connections, and experience life in a foreign country (even for those who have vacationed overseas in the past).

Alas, moving overseas can be a difficult task. Once you’ve decided to study abroad, chosen a country to move to, and been accepted into the program, the planning and preparation begin. Here are some tips and tricks to make the move as painless as possible.

Embrace a love of lists

There’s going to be a lot to do. Most important: What to pack? What can be purchased overseas and what needs to come along for the ride? Because of the difference in electrical power grids, you’ll need a converter or perhaps new electronics.

Your university / college program should have some tips and checklists to get you started on the forms and processes for applying for a passport and visa. Depending on the country, additional vaccinations may be required.

Next, are you responsible for finding lodging? Or is that arranged by the program? This question will make a big difference in what needs to packed and possibly shipped.


Arm yourself with knowledge. Travel books are a great place to start because they include maps, suggestions, best practices, and a plethora of other useful information.

If you plan on vacationing and traveling during your stay abroad, invest in travel guides for those regions as well. They can help you make the most of your time and money so you experience and see as much as possible.

Arriving in a foreign country with some idea of the culture, customs, history, and language will make it much easier to adapt. Plus, it’s a big green light to the people of your host country. Showcasing a willingness to learn and a respect for their customs will earn a lot of patience and support as you navigate a new country.

Simplify travel

Traveling requires a lot of moving, often quickly to maneuver through airports, train stations, buses, and even sidewalks. Excess luggage can seriously impede your progress while getting from point A to point B. It can also make you a target for the less savory characters along the journey. Like pickpockets.

Even with a detailed packing list to minimize the hassle, the cost and convenience of shipping is a smart option. After all, the airline is going to charge fees to move your goods. And that luggage will not get delivered to your new home.

Lugging it from airport is up to you. But be forewarned that it can be a remarkably long haul, including a variety of transports. If there are stops along the way, remember that many hotels and hostels overseas don’t have elevators; they have lots and lots of stairs.

Making the decision to study abroad is exciting and life-changing. But it’s also a major undertaking that requires careful planning to avoid logistical nightmares that can tarnish your enjoyment of the adventure — especially right at the beginning! Make your planning count and be practical about what your ultimate goal is: to have the experience of a lifetime!

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4 Criteria for Identifying the Top Online Schools

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Online schools have become extremely popular in recent years because they allow busy people with jobs or children to get an education on a schedule that works with their lifestyle.

Most study for careers in business, education, health, criminal justice, or engineering. So many educational programs have flooded the Internet that it has become difficult to discern which ones are reputable.

A variety of factors should be taken into account when determining which online schools train the most promising graduates, but the following are four of the most important:

1. Student engagement

The degree to which instructors interact with their students plays a big role in the success of a program. Providing feedback, keeping office hours, and creating collaborative coursework are ways that teachers stay engaged with their students while instructing remotely.

The size of the classes and types of assessments the program uses will also affect how much attention each student receives.

2. Admissions selectivity

Online schools that only admit the most qualified applicants are more likely to produce higher quality graduates. Selective programs use GPA, previous experience, and letters of recommendation to find the best students.

3. Faculty credentials and training

Common sense tells us that better teachers produce better graduates. The more faculty members with Ph.D.’s a program employs, the better. However, advanced education on the subject material is not enough by itself. Equally important is the faculty’s technological training and experience with teaching online courses.

4. Student services and technology

Services such as academic advising, 24-hour tech support, mentoring, and access to a digitized library empower students to make the most of their education. Online chat rooms to discuss course work, live streaming audio and video, and applications for tablets and smartphones are some the types of up-to-date technology you’d expect in a reputable online school.

The best online schools to hire graduates from

With so many options available, and so many factors to take into account, how do employers determine which online schools to hire from? An excellent source has been designed to help clear up the confusion and guide employers through the bewildering world of online education.

Well-informed companies can sort through the multitudes of graduates seeking jobs and select the most qualified. Millions of students enroll in online classes annually and the numbers continue to increase every year. As a result, hiring from online schools is becoming an increasingly common practice. In order to stay competitive, companies and organizations need to stay current and learn how to hire the best graduates from these programs.

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10 Craziest (Yet Cool) Majors Around the Country


Interactive Games and Media

All guys have one thing in common with each other. You’re probably thinking chicks or beer, which would be true, but I’m going another direction with this: Video games. Don’t even try to pretend you’ve never been out at the bar partying and thought, “Man, I could really go for some Call Of Duty right now.” It’s cool, it happens, but you ever wonder how these games are made or who the lucky bastard is behind the scenes making the cash? Luckily for you, colleges have majors that allow you to become that person.

At the Rochester Institute of Technology, students can major in Interactive Games and Media. It is a lot more time consuming than you may believe and it’s definitely not all fun and games, but still who wouldn’t want to major in video games? The courses teach you how to design and create games from the ground up. Courses include: Programming (digital and new media), Web Development, Digital Media, and Modeling and Animation. If you were the kid socializing with their GameBoy rather than the girls on the playground, this could be the right path for you.



College is all about education. Right? But we all know with the vast amount of extracirriculars endeavors, it’s tough to keep up on those grades. Good thing for you there’s a college that takes at least one of those things that might make you suffer in the GPA area, and turned it into an entire major. Horticulture, specifically cultivation of plants, specifically cultivation of Marijuana. Try not to piss yourself in excitement.

In 2007, Richard Lee founded Oaksterdam University in Oakland, California. A school that would take Cannabis enthusiasts (AKA Stoners) and turn them into scholars of Mary Jane studies. Don’t get us wrong, it isn’t all Purple Haze and AK47. Oaksterdam University is just as legitimate of a university as any other. Students enrolled at “Cannabis College” take courses such as politics and history, legal rights, and economics. But then again there’s a whole lot of ingestion (cooking), and the science of cannabis type classes as well. So if you’d rather sit in your dorm room watching seeds grow than reading Ernest Hemingway, Cannabis College might be the spot for you.

Another thing Oaksterdam excels in is teaching students about the benefits of legalization and how to arm themselves politically so they can fight the system, one perfectly legal bong rip at a time. We might not all smoke week at Campus Socialite, but we respect anyone’s right to get as high as they please. So when it comes time to tell your parents that you’ll be attending school to learn about all the wonders of growing weed and taking it to the man, explain to them that you will be immersed in biological cultivation practices as well as modern political theory. They’re sure to understand.



Ah, good old UConn. First two things that come to mind are probably Kemba Walker and a hell of a good time. Unless you’re that kid who enjoys spontaneously busting out show tunes in the middle of class, the last thing you think of is the drama department. At the University of Connecticut, they offer one of the oddest, yet kinda cool majors we’ve heard of; puppetry. I know what you’re thinking… who freakin’ cares? Apparently, lots of kids.

Starting in 1964 in the Theatre Department at UConn, the classes became so popular that enrollment was limited. The out of the ordinary major expands into courses including costuming, lighting, voice, and marionette performance just to name a few. Puppetry majors create their own productions open to viewing at the university. Since the founding of the program, about 500 “puppet shows” have been produced.


Comic Art

As college students, we all have the same routine. Wake up, maybe shower, brush your teeth, go to class. After awhile (or the first day of the semester), we’re already over classes, especially with that feminist professor who has it out for you we all tend to have. Now if you’re like me and can’t focus, I doodle. I’m not talking about Jonah Hill’s infamous doodling obsession in Superbad, but just about what’s going on in my head. Have you ever thought that maybe your classtime cartoons could lead to a degree?

At the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, you can major in Comic Art. Don’t go to thinking that you can draw a stick figure of your monotone professor and call it a day, these classes are serious work. Courses for the major included introduction to comics, history of comic art, comic book publishing: print and web, comic storytelling, an internship, and of course a senior project. Although comic books have been around for decades, this up and coming major is sure to be a hit.



Beer: one of God’s greatest creations. Whether you’re a broke college student (21 or older of course) funneling a few Keystone Lights or your old school Italian dad throwing back Peronis, we all appreciate a nice cold one. At the University of California, Davis campus, you can become a brewing major. Now before you pop open a few and celebrate, realize that being a brewing major doesn’t mean playing beer pong at your dorm room pregame counts as a prerequisite. The courses for this major are pretty tough.

Courses for brewing include pre-calc, microbiology, cell physiology, biochemistry, organic chemistry, and chemical engineering (just to name a few). Whoa. Although that’s a hell of a lot of work, won’t it be worth it when the next generation of drunk bar goers are ordering your beer you created thanks to your brewing degree? We thought yes too.

Folklore and Mythology

So. Folklore and mythology. If you’re just a normal everyday dude you probably have no idea what this even means. On the other hand, if you’re one of those kids from Role Models going to the park to LARP (Live Action Role Play… you’ve heard of it, don’t deny), you might find this next major to spark your interest. At Harvard University, one of the most scholarly universities in the world, you can earn your degree in folklore and mythology.

This major is basically studying cultural documents, such as fairy tales and myths in particular countries and cultures. Courses include cultural studies, fairy tales and fantasy literature, American folklore, and hero and trickster. With these courses you can actually do more than you think. Students have even moved on to careers in law, medicine, journalism, and of course teaching. Even if you weren’t that kid in class with his face in a book rather than talking about how hot that girl across the lecture hall is, this might be appealing to you.


We all know the band kids weren’t always the most popular or well liked in high school. Ever wonder what might have happened to the mute kid whose only friend was the clarinet you made fun of? It is highly possible he moved on to graduate from an ivy league school and is now dating Gisele Bundchen’s less hot twin sister. Or maybe he’s this kid: Nick Hudson.

At Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Nick Hudson is the only student in North America to major in bagpiping. Being a university that started from Andrew Carnegie’s Scottish roots, bagpiping is a pretty big deal and is close to the university’s heart. His classes included electives involving bagpiping, composition, performance education, and music and technology. So if you happen to have the odd hobbie or talent of bagpiping, take a chance, apply to Carnegie Mellon, and maybe you can be the second bagpiping major in North America.


One of the most forgotten states in North American territory is Alaska. When you think Alaska you think cold, snow, igloos, and Sarah Palin. I don’t know about you but none of these things sound very appealing to me or the majority of mankind. Unless you’re planning on running for Vice President and getting your own show on TLC, you probably have zero interest of ever visiting the forgotten state. Did you even know there were colleges in Alaska? Well there is.

University of Alaska, Fairbanks is a university with about 8,500 undergraduate students. The university is just as normal as any other school in the country; except for this odd major. Eskimo. Yes, you can get your degree in Eskimo. Courses for this unconventional major include elementary, intermediate, and advanced languages, teaching methods for Alaska native languages, historical linguistics, Alaska native music, and Alaska native politics. If being an Eskimo has been a life-long dream of yours, then we highly suggest this major. Or socializing.

Bowling Industry Management

Every little kid had that stereotypical bowling alley birthday party. C’mon you know you thought your Batman themed birthday was the shit (even it might have been when the latest Dark Knight came out in theaters). Now that we’ve got you thinking about it, you realize that bowling alleys are a prime part in every person’s childhood. At Vincennes University in Indiana, you can major in bowling industry management.

Courses for this major include lane and pinsetter maintenance (I and II), lane and pinsetter lab (I and II), lifetime fitness/wellness, hotel conventions and marketing, speech, and first aid. Granted bowling is a dying past time sport in most areas of North America, it’s still pretty cool how schools like Vincennes want to save the staple sport. When I first discovered this major, I thought why the hell would you ever do go to school for this? But hey, you know when your channel surfing and come across the bowling matches on ESPN2, you get sucked in. The best way to describe this major is a little ridiculous yet totally awesome at the same time.

Sexuality Studies

The top 2 things on every guy’s mind: food and sex. I’m no genius, but I can guarantee that you were just thinking about one or the other or both before you started reading this article. Before you get all hot and bothered and start running to your college advisor to switch your major, take a second, chill and read the rest.

At San Francisco State University, the department of sexuality studies includes courses about sexual functions and reproduction, intimate relationships, sexual and gender role development, and social, cultural, and historical contexts of sex. Your parents or girlfriend may not necessarily approve of getting a degree in sexuality studies, but we here at Campus Socialite give you mad props (in the most intellectual way possible).



1. Comic Art

Minneapolis College of Art and Design

120 credits

Required Courses:

Introduction to Comics

History of Comic Art

Comic Media and Concepts

Comic Book Publishing: Print and Web

Experimental Comics

Drawing: Figure

Comic Storytelling

Professional Practice


Advanced Comic Art Seminar

Senior Project

2. Bowling Industry Management

Vincennes University, Indiana

Some suggested curriculum:

Lane and Pinsetter Maintenance (I and II)

Lane and Pinsetter Lab (I and II)

Lifetime Fitness/Wellness

Hotel Conventions and Marketing


Lineage Development

First Aid

3. Eskimo (Inupiaq, Yup’ik)

University of Alaska, Fairbanks

120 credits

Elementary, Intermediate, Advanced Languages

Teaching Methods for Alaska Native Languages

Language Acquisition

Native Cultures of Alaska

Historical Linguistics

Alaska Native Music

Alaska Native Politics


4. Puppetry

University of Connecticut


Intro to Costuming

Intro to Lighting

Voice and Diction

Theatre History

Intro Acting (I and II)

African-American Theatre

Trends in Contemporary American Puppetry

Marionette Performance

Marionette Construction


5. Bagpiping

Carnegie Mellon

This is the only University to have a student graduate with a degree in Bagpiping, Nick Hudson. (Nick Hudson) (School Newspaper article on Nick Hudson)


6. Packaging

Michigan State University


120 credits

8 packaging courses

6 packaging electives

12 credit business cognate


Integrative Studies

Macro or microeconomics


Physics Statistics


Packaging economics

Environmental Issues


7. Horticulture

Oaksterdam University, Oakland, CA

Created in 2007; “Cannabis College”


Federal vs State Law

Politics and History

Legal Rights


Methods of Ingestion

The Science of Cannabis

Patient Relations


8. Folklore and Mythology

Harvard University


Culture and Belief, Performance, Tradition, and Cultural Studies

Hero and Trickster

Fairy Tales and Fantasy Literature

American Folklore: Plants and People

Quilts and Quiltmaking (main page) (classes and descriptions)


9. Brewing

University of California, Davis



Microbiology, Cell physiology, or biochemistry

Organic, Inorganic, or Analytical Chemistry

Heat and Mechanics or Process Control (Physics)

Mechanical or Chemical Engineering


10. Interactive Games and Media

Rochester Institute of Technology


Game Software DEV 1, 2, 3

Intro to Programming for New Media

Programming II for New Media

Intro to Interactive Media

Intro to Web Development

Interactive Digital Media

Modeling and Animation

Programming for Digital Media


Sexuality Studies

San Francisco State University

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Washington Pushes to Return Student Loans to Lower Rates


“We should get it done as quickly as possible. We can do it today,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Thursday.

As national outrage over student loan rates doubling this fall continued to grow, Senators in Washington DC cut a deal late Wednesday night that returns rates to their previous state – but potentially at the expense of future freshman.

Under this deal, which would be good until the end of the 2015 school year, undergraduates would continue to borrow at a 3.8% interest rate (slightly higher than the previous 3.4%) and graduate students would be granted a rate of 5.4%.

This would come as welcome relief for students who left school in the fall and anticipated to return paying twice as much.

Should interest rates have doubled, it would have increased the final loan repayment by $2,600 – something that seems overwhelming for graduates entering a tough job market and with the prospect of repaying an average of more than $20,000, per capita.

This rate increase is also magnified by the growing need to borrow. Tuition has climbed above $26,000 with some schools running families more than $40,000 annually.

Differing Opinion on the Growing Problem

As student debt continues to crush the millennial generation, and college tuition continues to increase, lawmakers are split over the best way to solve the problem. Republicans favor tying student loan interest rates to financial markets while Democrats push to extend the low interest rates, giving them time to rewrite the Higher Education Act.

With what is sure to be a marathon 2016 Presidential election on the horizon, neither party wants to be blamed for these increased costs during a time when youth are so politically vocal and connected to one another.

A vote on the issue is expected to come as early as today and, should differences be shored up in the House and Senate, President Obama will be able to sign the Bill this fall. However, many are skeptical given the nature of this legislative class.

Additionally, should the bill pass, it would retroactively lower the loan rates for those students enrolled in summer programs and borrowed after July 1st.

Why Immediate Action Matters

As Federal student loan debt continues to rise, it famously topped $1 trillion and surpassed credit card lending in 2011, a generation of college graduates are falling into student loan default and financial ruin. The Pew Research Trust calculates that students and their parents borrowed more than $76 trillion dollars to pay for school this past school year.

Default, a term used to describe loans that have been delinquent for 90 days or more, is still on the rise and has increased by more than 3% since 2011. This number can be misleading considering it includes all those still in a grace period that exists for students still in school.

Those loans aside, the number is much closer to 30% – 1 in 3 – of the total number of Federal student loans.

A sobering thought in terms of future home sales – those expected to drive the economy are returning home, out of work and with no purchasing power.

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Are You Getting A Higher Education of Value?

Student debt Truth

It’s no question. Our pockets are thin when we’re raging in college and like it or not most of us have taken out college loans. We are consistently digging ourselves a deeper hole until we finally fall in to the proverbial “money pit.” For those of you on your parents dime, just realize that the facade doesn’t last and eventually you are on your own living the American Dream – broke as a joke and getting that first entry level job.

Student Debt now

So put this in your pipe and smoke it: student debt in the United States now exceeds ONE TRILLION DOLLARS. No, this is not a joke and it’s due to the rise of college acceptances that is now greater than ever.  Most of this 33% is coming from you folks graduating or just “crusin’ by” as Jeff Spiccoli from Fast Times At Ridgemont High put it.  2 out of 3 of students are graduating with debt which is only going to continue to rise along with your credit card bills but you know what? Before I go on, peep this infographic from valorebooks, who will continue blowing brain busters up your ass.

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University of Pittsburgh

3 Ways Businesses Can Recoup Delinquent Funds

Woman writing diagram on whiteboard

Your small business has the right to go after customers who have not paid their bills. While no business can afford to lose money, small businesses have an even smaller margin for error when it comes to maintaining their cash flow. Therefore, it is important for the owners of these businesses to understand what their options are to recover these funds should they not be able to prevent late payments.

1) Enlist The Help Of A Debt Collection Agency

Although going this route will cost your company money, a debt collection agency will not drop the matter until the debt has been paid. The one downside to this plan is that you may not get 100 percent of the balance owed. This is because collection agencies may settle for a percentage of the outstanding balance. However, getting some of your money is better than getting nothing at all.

2) Get Your Lawyer Involved

Using a debt collection lawyer can be an easy way to ensure enforcement of judgement and get your money in a timely manner. Going to court to collect your debt can help you get the entire balance that you are owed. Once you get a judgement against the party that owes you money, you can take steps such as wage garnishing to get your money. Your company may also be able to take the cash directly out of the bank account of the individual who owes you money. The good news is that your business may not need to pay attorney fees until the case has been resolved.

3) Withhold Future Services

If your company is in the middle of a project with a client, it may be prudent to withhold services until payment is received. Although this may not work with all clients, it should convince the vast majority of them to pay up. There is a good chance that your client is also a business owner who is going to lose more money losing your services as opposed to paying your company what it is owed. If you still don’t receive payment, there are still the two options above to resort to in an effort to collect the balance owed to your business.

Small businesses cannot afford to provide services without being paid for them. If your company is having trouble collecting on a debt, you should know where you can go for help. Call a debt collection agency, get your lawyer involved or simply stop providing services. At least one of those options should help your business get the money it has earned.

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5 Things Every Display Needs to Be Effective


There is a reason why we automatically recognize the Coca-Cola font or Ford Blue. The reason? Advertising works.  I opened up a Chase bank account simply because I liked the bank building.  Any time a company invested in advertising and puts itself on display, it needs to make sure that 5 key things are happening.

  1. Appropriate

Whatever the company is advertising, and however the company approaches its line of work, the display needs to reflect that.  Some businesses cater to creative minds, so they aren’t going to go with a traditional display. Other companies want to instill a sense of stability and would choose something different. Neither is right or wrong, but every company needs to pick something suitable.

  1. Visible

Most companies aren’t going to be able to afford a $1 million-a-day high-def ad in Times Square. But visibility needs to be a prime concern for any display.  Remember, size matters. So whether it’s font on a billboard or the company name on the size of the building (check out Impact Sign for inspiration here), calculate size by how far away the target audience is when they see it.

  1. Readable

Think of it this way: what is it that the customer is supposed to take away from the display. Just the company name? The slogan? The mission statement? It all depends on the platform, of course. But for the most part, keep it simple.  Be witty, sure, and throw in a pun or two. But avoid jargon and don’t act overly “sell-y”. The best advertising occurs when the customers don’t even notice that it’s working.

  1. Noticeable

This is similar to being visible. But this is more of a “stand out from the crowd” sort of thing. Signs should contrast the building color or the landscaping.  It also needs to be noticeable to the key demographic it serves. Putting a billboard for glass bottom boat tours in the middle of an area that doesn’t have any water is going to be pointless, no matter how wonderful the billboard is. Keep in mind that the people who will use the product or service being advertised and plan accordingly.

  1. Legible

Make sure that the sign is in a font that is easy to read. And, for the love of all that’s holy, don’t put it in Comic Sans. Or Curlz.  The company needs to look professional, even if it is a company that’s more geared towards creativity. Unless designing a specific font, go with a classy, easy-to-read standard. And for those wondering if font really matters all, check out the documentary “Helvetica”, which is a fascinating look at the history of font and its impact on advertising.

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Open Source Revolution: How the Internet is Revolutionizing Education


There are some things that can’t be learned from books – and some are among the most important lessons we will ever learn.  How to love.  The importance of children.  The way a California sunset feels at the end of a 12-hour workday…

But there is also a huge amount that we can learn from books.  Or from the modern-day equivalent, the Internet.  And that aspect of education – both teaching and learning – is currently undergoing a revolution that will forever change the way we think about knowledge.

Like any revolution, there’s good and bad in it.  First, let’s look at the good.


The Internet provides a multimedia environment in which knowledge can be delivered in a number of different formats, or in multiple formats at the same time.  Some of us learn through visual stimulation; some through auditory stimulation; and some through practical, hands-on experience.  Internet-based learning can provide or facilitate any learning dynamic, enabling more students to succeed.


In a traditional classroom, students all have to move at the same pace.  If you’re good at a subject, you sit twiddling your thumbs while the other students catch up.  If you’re struggling, you’re rushed along without fully understanding the material.  Online instruction allows students to complete lessons quickly when they have the facility, while lingering on the lessons that challenge them in order to gain real and confident knowledge.


Today, the vast majority of online education offerings are practical, such as the IT certification courses offered by Upper Training (  They aren’t the esoteric, thinking subjects offered by schools like Evergreen State College.  That emphasis on practicality has its limitations culturally, but it affords students an opportunity to get the education they need to perform a job quickly and efficiently.  Theoretically, they can read Foucault on their own time.


When I went to school I had to schedule work around classes and classes around work, and it was always a challenge to get my shifts and my school schedule to line up.  Online instruction tends to be on-demand, allowing even a busy working professional to gain knowledge and needed certifications without giving up anything…except maybe Castle on Monday nights.

But even with all those advantages, online education still has some challenges.  Most critics focus on the lack of cultural curriculum (arts, philosophy, etc.) offered by most educators.  I see different limitations.


Just as there are good and bad colleges, there are good and bad online education programs.  The problem is that online educators tend to be for-profit, sudden arrivals; they don’t have the longstanding presence and tradition of a physical university.  So it’s harder to know whether you’re signing up with a school that’s going to give you a great education or just take your money.


Smart young people can save a lot of time and money by getting a practical online education in a career area and then using that as the foundation of a traditional university degree.  However, not all online credits transfer, and the standards aren’t always the same between career colleges and traditional educators.  Students have to ask the right questions and go in with their eyes open.

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Colleges Teaching Programming on a Higher Scale


Hanging around college campuses used to involve jocks, beer and clandestine trips to the sorority house, but now there’s another reason to hang around the college campus: Nerds. Nerds, geeks, and programming gurus are the new face of college campuses, and are considered the new cool. In response, colleges are teaching programming on a higher scale, including how to code for mobile devices like the iPhone, as well as coding for simple everyday tasks, like blogs and contact forms.

Let’s face it. This fad called the internet seems to be here to stay, and if one wants their political viewpoint, business, or lucrative hobby heard, then a web site is a necessity, even outranking social media outlets when it comes to legitimizing one’s passion, even in a world where nearly everyone can have a free blog. A web site or mobile application (app) sets people and businesses apart, and it is a place on the internet where people can directly interface with another business, political group, or individual. And with 46,061,532 websites worldwide (according to Domain Worldwide), there’s a ton of websites out there, and the difference between page views can be the ease of use, visual appeal, as well as good content. Proper programming is fast becoming a staple skill for nearly everyone, and it is worth considering some programming classes at a college. Here are some classes that are in demand for people of all skill levels, and remember, there are many coding classes online.

  1. Building a Simple, Responsive Web Site:

Web sites range from database driven dynamic pages to simple web sites, but no matter what kind of needed web site, it needs to work on several types of devices: Cell Phones, tablets, computers, and many different internet browsers. If a web site does not respond well to the user’s device requirements, then the legitimacy of the information delivered comes into question.

  1. Blogging Software, like WordPress

Extensive CSS and HTML knowledge is desirable, but not a requirement with blog software like WordPress. Coding is easy when there is excellent documentation, and with some of the free software out there, one can get by with some solid coding foundation and concentrate on content.

  1. Mobile Applications with iPhone and Android Devices

Nothing says professional like an application that represents a business or other special interest. Coding an application says that a business is serious about being in business and caters to the millions of mobile devices in use today. “There’s an app for that” has become more than just a glib statement; it has become a unique expression for many businesses, individuals and special interests and sometimes the only way they can reach out to their target audience.

Coding is here to stay, and no matter what is being represented, education keeps pace with what is relevant. Colleges and other learning institutions are keeping pace by offering programming to more people, not just nerds, geeks and gurus.

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