Tuesday, January 25, 2011

What's happened on January 25?

 1858- The Wedding March by Felix Mendelssohn became a popular wedding recessional when it is played on January 25 for Princess Victoria's wedding.

1890- Nellie Bly finishes her flight around the world in 72 days.

1915- Alexander Bell spoke to Thomas Watson in San Francisco from New York, which began the US transcontinental telephone service.

 1942- Thailand declared war on the US and the UK during WWII

1947- American gangster, Al Capone, dies on this day.

1949- The first Emmy Awards are presented at the Hollywood Athletic Club.

1970- American writer, Stephen Chbosky, is born. He wrote the famous novel Perks Of Being A Wallflower.

1971- Charles Manson and three of his "family" members are found guilty for the murders of the Tate-LaBianca family. They were murdered in 1969.

1981- Alicia Keys is born.

    -Megan Roberts, senior staffer

Basketball Bonanza

*photos by Megan Roberts

*photos by Carleigh Albers

(girls photos coming soon!)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Student tracking finds limited learning in college

You are told that to make it in life, you must go to college. You work hard to get there. You or your parents drain savings or take out huge loans to pay for it all.
And you end up learning ... not much.
A study of more than 2,300 undergraduates found 45 percent of students show no significant improvement in the key measures of critical thinking, complex reasoning and writing by the end of their sophomore years.
Not much is asked of students, either. Half did not take a single course requiring 20 pages of writing during their prior semester, and one-third did not take a single course requiring even 40 pages of reading per week.
The findings are in a new book, "Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses," by sociologists Richard Arum of New York University and Josipa Roksa of the University of Virginia. An accompanying report argues against federal mandates holding schools accountable, a prospect long feared in American higher education.
"The great thing” if you can call it that, is that it's going to spark a dialogue and focus on the actual learning issue," said David Paris, president of the New Leadership Alliance for Student Learning and Accountability, which is pressing the cause in higher education. "What kind of intellectual growth are we seeing in college?"
The study, an unusually large-scale effort to track student learning over time, comes as the federal government, reformers and others argue that the U.S. must produce more college graduates to remain competitive globally. But if students aren't learning much, that calls into question whether boosting graduation rates will provide that edge.
"It's not the case that giving out more credentials is going to make the U.S. more economically competitive," Arum said in an interview. "It requires academic rigor ... You can't just get it through osmosis at these institutions."
The findings also will likely spark a debate over what helps and hurts students learn. To sum up, it's good to lead a monk's existence: Students who study alone and have heavier reading and writing loads do well.
The book is based on information from 24 schools, meant to be a representative sample, that provided Collegiate Learning Assessment data on students who took the standardized test in their first semester in fall 2005 and at the end of their sophomore years in spring 2007. The schools took part on the condition that their institutions not be identified.
The Collegiate Learning Assessment has its share of critics who say it doesn't capture learning in specialized majors or isn't a reliable measure of college performance because so many factors are beyond their control.
The research found an average-scoring student in fall 2005 scored seven percentage points higher in spring of 2007 on the assessment. In other words, those who entered college in the 50th percentile would rise to the equivalent of the 57th after their sophomore years.
Among the findings outlined in the book and report, which tracked students through four years of college:
Overall, the picture doesn't brighten much over four years. After four years, 36 percent of students did not demonstrate significant improvement, compared to 45 percent after two.
Students who studied alone, read and wrote more, attended more selective schools and majored in traditional arts and sciences majors posted greater learning gains.
Social engagement generally does not help student performance. Students who spent more time studying with peers showed diminishing growth and students who spent more time in the Greek system had decreased rates of learning, while activities such as working off campus, participating in campus clubs and volunteering did not impact learning.
Students from families with different levels of parental education enter college with different learning levels but learn at about the same rates while attending college. The racial gap between black and white students going in, however, widens: Black students improve their assessment scores at lower levels than whites.
Arum and Roksa spread the blame, pointing to students who don't study much and seek easy courses and a culture at colleges and universities that values research over good teaching.
Subsequent research found students one year out of college are not faring well: One-third moved back home, and 10 percent were unemployed. The findings are troubling news for an engaged citizenry, Arum said. Almost half of those surveyed said they rarely if ever discuss politics or public affairs with others either in person or online.
The report warns that federally mandated fixes similar to "No Child Left Behind" in K-12 education would be "counterproductive," in part because researchers are still learning how to measure learning. But it does make clear that accountability should be emphasized more at the institutional level, starting with college presidents.
Some colleges and universities do not need convincing. The University of Charleston, in West Virginia, has beefed up writing assignments in disciplines such as nursing and biology to improve learning.
President Edwin Welch is among more than 70 college and university presidents pledging to take steps to improve student learning, use evidence to improve instruction and publicize results.
"I think we do need more transparency," Welch said. "I think a student at a private institution who might go into debt for $40,000 or $50,000 has the right to know what he can learn at the institution."

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

My college conundrum

Colleges don’t care about me.
You want to know how I know this?

Being a senior in high school, I am bombarded with mail from random colleges all over the United States every week. I get mail ranging from Colorado to New Hampshire wanting my attention to look at their college. I am, after all, ‘important’ to their success and they tell me that I would be a great benefit to their establishment.

Not once do I believe what they say and I toss the mail into the trash. Why (other than the fact that I’ve already made up my mind)?

Their lies appear on the front of the envelopes, and that would be how they incorrectly spell my name.

Ever since I was little I’ve had trouble with people spelling my name correctly. I agree, it is a little weird. How many names end in ‘-eigh’ right? But when colleges try to contact me they should be able to spell my name right. Not only is it the sensible thing to do but it’s also a polite gesture.

I’m used to my name being spelled ‘Carley’, ‘Carlei’, or ‘Carly’ by strangers. However, not too long ago, I received mail with my name spelled ‘Carlile’. No, dear college from somewhere I’ve never heard of, I’m not a man. Also, not too long ago I received mail with my name spelt ‘Garleigh’.

Garleigh? Seriously?

‘Garleigh’ was the last straw that convinced me that colleges don’t really care about me. They send me postcards with fonts screaming ‘Senior Days!’, and they expect me to pay attention when I’m too irritated with the fact that they spelt my name wrong? You’ve got to be kidding me.   

So, for those of you seniors this year who have common and ordinary names, be thankful for being plain and simple. At least you’ll pay attention of the ‘convincing’ words that colleges tell you.  

- Carleigh Albers, senior Viking Mirror co-editor 

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Jingle Ball Bash

Mike Posner

           Jason Derulo captured the hearts of many with his high-energy performance at channel 96.3’s Jingle Ball. The popular radio station based out of Wichita held the concert on December 16 at the Hartman Arena in Park City. The concert brought in an array of different people for every act.
Packed in fans watched as the show opened up with Shontelle, an R&B singer. Although she performed a short set, her most popular single “Impossible” was a hit with the crowd. Shontelle was not one of the memorable acts of the night.
Benji Madden of Good Charlotte rode solo that night as his band members couldn’t play because of sickness. The regularly energetic pop-punk act was quieted down with Madden playing on his acoustic guitar. Madden walked the audience through with a semi step-by-step process of how the band writes and records their songs before starting in on another billboard-charting song. The crowd helped Madden out by singing along. It was a disappointment to not see Good Charlotte with their full-band set, but Benji proved how talented he is with just his voice and an acoustic.
Sean of 3OH!3
            There are no words to describe Coolio’s set. He puts on a really good live show and keeps the audience captivated. Alongside him were a couple other rappers to assist him in certain songs. I didn’t think I knew any of Coolio’s songs until he started performing his famous single “Gangsta’s Paradise.” Overall, Coolio put on a crazy, well-performed set.
            To say that Mike Posner could be the next Justin Timberlake might be a little over exaggerated, but not by much. When Posner performs, he lures the crowd – especially the ladies – into each song. A few of his songs blended together, but the audience went wild when he sang two of his radio singles – “Cooler Than Me” and “Please Don’t Go.” During one song, Posner even pulled a girl from the crowd on stage and sang to her. Posner put on a good show, but his performance might have been overlooked by his successor – Jason Derulo.
            Derulo is the true definition of a performer. He sings well while dancing at the same time. With back-up dancers between clothing changes, the fans were content the entire set. Derulo rocked many outfits, including a light-up jacket. Following in Posner’s footsteps, Derulo chose a girl from the crowd to serenade on stage. Compared to other acts, his set seemed to drag out a lot longer, though.
Jason Derulo
            By the time the headliner came out after much crowd chanting, the show was already an hour past schedule. 3OH!3 didn’t mind, though, as the duo stormed the stage in Santa costumes. Probably one of the most energetic acts of the night, Sean and Nat of 3OH!3 never stopped jumping across the stage. Because of the time setback, their set was cut short, which was disappointing. Between the witty banter between the guys of 3OH!3 and the fans’ overflowing energy, their closing set proved to be the highlight of the night. 

    Megan Roberts, online editor
all photos by Megan Roberts

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

AT&T Documentary: Don't Text While Driving

Check out this documentary AT&T made to inform others on the dangers of texting while driving. It definitely makes you think about your driving distractions.

     Megan Roberts, blog editor