Monday, July 28, 2008

Gas Prices and Our Undergraduates!

As all of you know, gas prices are the highest that they have been in a very long time. Many of our students do not live on campus and they are feeling the impact of the gas prices.

The number of students enrolling in online courses is increasing.
College students at most colleges and universities do not live on campus and they have to commute to campus. The cost of commuting is rising with the gas prices and let's not forget about the wear and tear on the student's automobile. Students are feeling the crunch and are deciding to enroll in online and hybrid (face to face and internet instruction) classes.

According to Ed
Klonoski, a representative of Charter Oak - Connecticut's public online college, across the nation there is a 10 percent increase in the number of students choosing to enroll in online courses.

Are faculty ready for this new demand?
As the number of students choosing to enroll in online courses increase, it seems that the number of online course offerings will increase as well. In my experience, a large number of the faculty at small and mid-sized institutions are resistant to offering online courses in their discipline. As a professor from the millennial generation, I believe that this resistance comes from the technology-centered learning curve that exists between the generations. This curve is perpetuated by the increase in internet technology and the content management systems that colleges and universities offer to their faculty and students. The content management system has experienced many updates that benefit almost everyone at a given university. For example, all of my grading for my face-to-face classes is conducted online by using the rubric feature and my my tests are administered online as well. This is a win-win situation, because the students gain instant access to their grades and I conserve paper and time.

However, as I stated before, many faculty are resistant to this new change and it will be interesting to see more internet-based classes are offered in the future.

Are For-Profit Institutions Taking Our Potential Students?
Since the gas prices increased, I observed fair amount of commercials advertising online degrees (associates and bachelors) through for-profit institutions. Many high school seniors and non-traditional students will have trouble gaining financial aid from private lenders (Schnurman, 2008) and they may start paying more attention to these for-profit colleges.

What will be the impact on U.S. competitiveness when this growing amount of students with degrees from for-profit institutions enter the workforce? Will these students be as competitive as students from traditional public and private institutions?

Interesting Article! - Gas Prices Driving Students to Online Courses - By Jeffery R. Young

Thanks for reading!


Friday, July 25, 2008

VOTE for the AUGUST Topic!


Please remember to vote for the August topic by August 3rd. The selections for August are:


Minority College Students
Reaching Millennial Students
Gas and Its Impact on College Students
My Experience as a Millennial Professor

You may vote for more than one! :)

-Millennial Professor

Black in America - Day 2

Last night's special focused on African American males and their impact on the black race. I expected some additional facts on education and African Americans, but this was not the subject of last night's broadcast.

As a result, I wanted to focus on the fact that there was a void in the television show about African Americans in higher education. This show missed out on some very strong issues in higher education - HBCUs/HWCUs and the success of African American undergraduates.

Between 1993 and 2003, the enrollment for African American undergraduate students increased more than 42% (Edmonds & McDonough, 2006). In 2006, these numbers reached over 2,299,000 (U.S. Census Bureau, 2006).

According to NCES (2005), the nationwide African American undergraduate enrollment at HWCUs was over 1,734,000 in 2002. However, the graduation rates for these students were very low (Benton, 2001). In fact, over half of the African American undergraduate students enrolled in HWCUs fail to persist and graduate. The picture is worse for African American undergraduate students who attend HBCUs. Only 28% of these students actually complete their degrees (Gasman, Baez, Drezner, et al., 2007)

This leads me to one last sentence: What should HWCUs and HBCUs do about the African Americans (and Hispanic Americans) in higher education? Any suggestions?

-Millennial Professor

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Black in America?

I am watching the first day of the CNN special "Black in America" and I decided to blog during the two day special. After these two days, I will post a couple of posts related to: (a) the impact of gas prices and higher education, and (b) how to engage students on the content management system websites.

"The Black in America" Blog Special:

Paying Students to Learn
The African American drop out rate. This aspect of the special was heartbreaking. I feel that I am so far removed from the secondary school environment that I do not know about the startling statistics pertaining to the high school graduation achievement gap. One professor had a solution (grant funded, I believe) to increase the high school graduation rate for African American students. His solution was to pay students to stay in school and to achieve. I think that the average student received $65.75, but these students were in elementary school. I wonder how this would work at the high school level.

My Take
Interesting enough, I am launching a weekend-based college prep academy for junior and senior level high school students. This academy will teach students about college admission secrets, scholarships, and SAT/ACT preparation. After the workshop, I want the students to have access to my personal e-mail address and cell phone number. Most of the students will come from underrepresented populations, but I want EVERYONE to have access to this workshop.

While watching the CNN special, an interesting thing has happened tonight. I received 10+ telephone calls and text messages from friends/former students who wanted to make sure that I was watching the special. My husband wondered if people of other races were watching the special. Were they? Not sure.

Potential Impact
However, I think that this special will result in a preponderance of scholarly articles and newspaper articles on this issue. In addition, this will be an interesting issue for my Intercultural Communication course in the spring. I hope that CNN has a Hispanic American special as well.

We shall see. Any thoughts?


Wednesday, July 16, 2008


I have decided to take a mini break (4 days) to spend with my family. Please remember to send your "Ask a Millennial" questions by Friday and I will respond to them on next Monday. next week I plan to write about: (1) gas prices and their potential impact on millennial college students, (2) dual credit courses and millennial college students, and (3) the "Ask a Millennial" section.

Have a great week! I look forward to receiving your questions and feedback.


Friday, July 11, 2008

Ask a Millennial: "Four Ways to Reach Millennial Students in the Classroom"

Our first official question comes from Mitch ( about reaching millennials in the classroom.
I am writing for advice on reaching the millennials in the classroom. This is particularly a pain point for me, since I am a millennial myself. Any input you have is very helpful.
Well Mitch, here's my answer:
As a person who has served on both sides of the spectrum (student and professor), I will offer "Four Ways to Reach Millennial Students in the Classroom".
Millennial Reaching Mechanism 1 - USE STUDENT ENGAGEMENT ACTIVITIES
I define "student engagement activities" as small groups, in-class panel discussions, service learning, skits, blogs, wikis, and other activities. Millennials are taking many classes, they are involved in extra curricular activities, and are working AT THE SAME TIME. As a result, we have to keep these students awake during class. (I don't know about your teaching style, but I require students to attend class during every class session. This requires engaging activities that keep them awake and provide them with a closer relationship with the class material.) I use all of the above activities and I RARELY have students who fall asleep in class.
Millennial Reaching Mechanism 2 - POST-GRADUATION WORLD APPLICATION
Millennials actively engage themselves with course material that has "post-graduation" (real world) application. This generation wants instant gratification. For example, almost 75% of these students work jobs that require their attention for more than 20+ hours a week. They work to satisfy their needs and wants, which include cell phone bills, new ipod wants/needs, itunes downloads, GAS, college beverages, etc. This drive to have instant gratification applies in the classroom environment as well. For example, when a new concept is introduced in the classroom, these millennial students want to know how this will help them in the future. Make sure that you show these students exactly how they will use the classroom material in their post-graduation world.
Millennial Reaching Mechanism 3 - BE ENTHUSIASTIC
Professors/teachers - Try to exude enthusiasm in the classroom environment! If you are not excited about the material that you are teaching, the students will not be excited about the material that they are "learning". Millennials spent their lives watching Sesame Street, Camp Anawana, Salute Your Shorts, You Can't Do That On Television, What Would You Do, Sisqo's Dance Show on MTV, and Real World - they need stimulation! Therefore, be enthusiastic about your course content!
Millennial Reaching Mechanism 4 - USE TECHNOLOGY!
Reach millennials where they are - on the internet! Use an instant messenger to stay in contact with your students (I use yahoo IM). Join a social networking website. I would suggest The career services office on my campus says that many employers are searching linkedin for entry-level candidates.
Use your college or university's content management system (WebCT or Blackboard). I use blackboard to reduce my carbon footprint (i.e. - killing trees). I post the syllabus, assignments, announcements, and I require the students to interact with each other via the message board. In addition, I give the students their speech grades on blackboard via the grading rubric tool. This keeps the students accountable for their course grade by checking blackboard daily.
What a wonderful question Mitch! Everyone - Let me know what you think!
Also, please remember to submit your question for the "Ask a Millennial Question" before next Friday.
Have a great weekend!

Monday, July 7, 2008

New Blog Feature - "Ask a Millennial"

Today I introduce a new feature....

Every Friday is "Ask a Millennial" Day!

Every Friday, I will address several questions that were submitted ( from the prior week. Please ask me questions about:
  • millennial students in the classroom
  • student engagement
  • millennials and the media
  • professors from the millennial generation
  • the work/life balance for a millennial
  • teaching online
  • using WebCT/Blackboard in a face-to-face setting
  • or almost" anything!
I look forward to receiving your questions and I will respond on this Friday. Again, please direct all questions to

-Millennial Professor

Friday, July 4, 2008

Do ALL College Ministries Effectively Reach Millennial Students?

Benson Hines from the Exploring College Ministry Blog ( wrote about importance of text messaging in his article titled, "Txting 4 Gen Y". I am a Christian, but I have never explored religion and text messaging. Interestingly enough, I have not functioned as a leader of a college ministry in about three years, but it was interesting for me to communicate with my millennial peers (students) about Christ. I used text messaging to stay in contact with the student leaders in the ministry, but we never thought of advertising our bible studies/college lunches via text messaging.

As I stated before, I am African American and I observed a growing number of black churches are grasping technology. However, the number of churches that are actively grasping technology are not meeting the demand of their millennial students (middle school and college). It would be interesting to see how many additional college students would begin to accept Christ if churches would use new technology to reach the students of this generation.

Read Benson Hines's article here -

-Millennial Professor

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Conducting a Text Message-Based Poll in Class


I discovered a WONDERFUL online mechanism that enables professors to conduct anonymous polls in class via text messaging (thanks Adventures in Educational Blogging - Susan).

The Website -

This is the BEST "free" program that I have seen thus far. I think that my millennial students will actually be excited about using their cell phones in the classroom. The website indicates that if the audience (or classroom) is 30 participants or less, the service is FREE.

I will definitely use this in the fall and I also hope to conduct a faculty workshop on this mechanism as well.

- Millennial Professor