Graduate of BU’s online CFA Music Education Program Carol Shansky Publishes Music Appreciation Book

Dr. Carol Shansky

Carol Shansky, who was the BU College of Fine Arts’ first online Doctor of Musical Arts in Music Education recipient, recently reached another milestone in her impressive career with the publication of her book, “Musical Tapestries: A Thematic Approach to Music Appreciation.”

Published by Kendall Hunt, the book is available here, and in addition to a variety of musical experiences that have seen her perform all over the world, she says the work was also positively influenced and enhanced by the education she received through BU online — where she now works as a course facilitator.

“My Music Appreciation textbook, ‘Musical Tapestries: A Thematic Approach to Music Appreciation,’ was in the works before I started my doctorate online.  However, my experience as a student – and graduate – of the program was central not only to its completion but to developing it from a set of ideas and practices to a textbook that I am proud of and feel makes an important contribution to the teaching of music to non-majors,” Dr. Shansky says.

“Naturally, as part of doctoral training, one learns to write at a very high level and understand proper referencing of sources and how to gather knowledge.  But doing so in a distance education format exposed me to a variety of experiences and perspectives that are likely to never be as readily available as they are in this environment.  From recommendations of colleagues to a deepening of my understanding of my subject, distance learning afforded me the opportunity to mine ideas and concepts in a very rich way.  Professors and facilitators are teaching in varied circumstances and geographic locales which lent me a critical world view. My ‘textbook’ was transformed as I was transformed as a distance education student at Boston University.”

The College of Fine Arts Doctor and Master of Music Education degree programs launched online with the support of Metropolitan College’s Office of Distance Education in 2005.

Congratulations, Carol!

Commencement 2012 by the Numbers

Boston University’s 139th commencement ceremonies featured thousands of graduates, tens of thousands of guests, wisdom from the chairman of a billion-dollar corporation, one half-Vulcan — and, of course, hundreds of degree recipients who completed their studies entirely online through BU’s Office of Distance Education.

Representing colleges all across campus, and countries all across the globe, the online Class of 2012 signified our ninth group of graduates to participate in the May festivities. For an interactive, in-depth look at where Metropolitan College’s graduates have hailed from through the years, click the map below. And for a look at some of the numbers that tell the story of how BU welcomed a new set of alums, check them out below!

Map of MET grads

3,300 plus

Number of graduates who attended the ceremony at Nickerson Field

20,000

Estimated crowd packed into the stadium seats to salute the grads

2

Times Leonard Nimoy — who received an honorary doctorate of humane letters — flashed the Vulcan symbol from the stage, Dr. Spock encouraging graduates to “live long and prosper”

Leonard Nimoy encourages the Class of 2012 to "live long and prosper."

Leonard Nimoy encourages the Class of 2012 to "live long and prosper."

2,445

Words spoken by Google Chairman Eric Schmidt in delivering
his commencement address

1

Times Schmidt mentioned Google by name

65

Online Master of Criminal Justice graduates in May (among 89 since Summer 2011)

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69

Online Master of Science in Computer Information Systems graduates who received diplomas

37

Online Art Education degree recipients from the College of Fine Arts

30

Online Master of Health Care Communication graduates

92

Recipients of Online Master of Management Science degrees

4

Students who completed their undergraduate degree this May through BU’s online program

66

Masters and Doctoral graduates of the online music program, bringing the total to 181 since September 2011

Media interviews

13

Number of students interviewed by our media team about their BU Online experience during Commencement Weekend

5,450

Approximate number of BU Online alumni as we approach our
10th anniversary!

Advice For Students, By A Student

Midway through his latest course in Metropolitan College’s Master of Science in Computer Information Systems online program — IT Security Policies and Procedures, to be precise — Shawn McElhinney delivered to his classmates a different sort of Valentine back on February 14th.

An experienced member of BU’s online community, who has now completed nine classes toward his master’s degree and whose busy home life as a working father of three is typical of so many of our students, he showed his fellow learners some love by sharing with them his tips on how to successfully navigate coursework amidst a crowded life.

Included among his post were a variety of pointers applicable not only to Shawn’s colleagues in the CIS program, but to all of our online students in general — so we’ve decided to pass them along. Included among the post pasted below are comments from the Office of Distance Education’s student services team, who explain in further detail why Shawn’s advice is so valuable.

Enjoy, and if you’d like even more information about a particular point, please don’t hesitate to ask us by using the comment area at the bottom of this post!

——————————————————————————————————–


SUBJECT: Mush brain
CS 684 — Water Cooler
AUTHOR: Shawn McElhinney
DATE: February 14, 2012  11:58 AM

This is my 9th class & I can tell you it is tough to get through. Three kids (3, 5, 16), wife back to work, 50+ hour weeks, school, and kid’s activities. Makes it tough. It is doable though.

I recommend taking some time to lay out a course calendar. This way you can visually see the deliverables you have for the upcoming week (reading, discussion posts, homework, quizzes, etc.) and set start & completion dates for them. If you can follow the schedule it will prevent you from last minute anxiety to get work done.BQ Patti
Honestly, this is one of the lighter workload classes in the curriculum. The external research required is probably the most useful component of the course (this will help you immensely as you go forward in the program).

Here’s a recommendation – if you haven’t done so already, identify the courses you need/want to take in the curriculum.  If there is significant overlap in a course and your professional experience, request a substitution – then take a course that you can learn more in. Once you have the classes identified, go to the MSCIS website & look at the course schedule. Try to plan out as much of the program as you can.

This process will identify gaps in class availability that you may not be able to avoid – it may warrant taking a semester off for a mental break. If you feel like your brain is mush now, you may find some value in taking next summer off to mentally recoup.
BQ Daisy

Also, always try to get your books and a copy of the syllabus as early as possible. I read slower than death, so I like to dig into the material before the class starts. Some classes will have 100+ pages of reading a week, so it is tough to stay on top of. Other classes will be light on reading & heavy on work – I remember one class required almost 50+ hours a week of work to complete everything, but that was an exception.
BQ Jan

The big thing to remember is this is a learning experience. I’m glad I’m doing it with several years of experience under my belt, as I think I have a better understanding of the material beforehand. You have a wealth of knowledge in your groups, facilitators, and instructors – don’t hesitate to leverage it, they are here to help you excel, not mindlessly regurgitate information.
BQ Jen

The last comment I’ll make is this: Keep an open line of communication with your group facilitator. Life happens and sometimes it will impact your ability to perform academically. If you speak with your facilitator early and often they are more likely to work with you when you have issues. They are not so forgiving when you come to them in the 11th hour and ask for an extension.
BQ Liz

Have fun with this, you have access to experience from all over the world. It is a truly unique and amazing opportunity to learn and grow. Make the most of it.

Best of luck.

Shawn

Looking at A Day in the Life of an “O”nline Student

For Paul Shihadeh every day starts with homework and ends at Cirque du Soleil! As a spouse, parent, Artistic Director at Cirque’s “O,” and online Master’s student in the College of Fine Arts’ Master of Music in Music Education, each day is full of new challenges. Paul’s work at Cirque du Soleil is unusual for a student in the Music Education program, and it gives him a unique perspective on course material. In each course, he brings a new voice to discussions and interacts with students in a variety of educational settings.

Paul embodies the best qualities in an online student: he’s passionate, communicative, and very proactive. He does a great job of communicating any questions and problems efficiently, and is an inspiring example of someone who advocates for himself. Even in phone calls and emails, his excitement about the course material shines through.

“I chose to do my Master’s with Boston University Online now mainly because of the challenges. I had the idea of doing a traditional Master’s, but with my schedule it was impossible I thought,” Paul says in the video, which can be seen above, or on our YouTube Channel. “Having just finished my first course, it was very exciting, but it was also really, really challenging. It was a whole part of my brain that I think had been dormant for a long time. It was fascinating. I really enjoyed it. And I think that’s part of the challenge and the real joy I get out of it: It brings me back to what it was like 20 years ago when I was doing my undergrad.”

Paul’s story is the second installment in our “Day in the Life” series, produced by Senior Media Producer Rob Haley and sponsored in part by Metropolitan College’s Chadwick Fellowship. If you are a BU Online student and think your story is one Rob may want to tell in a future installment, please drop us a note at disted@bu.edu.

New Slideshow Added to Our Portal

You may have noticed that we updated the slideshow on our portal. We hope you like the new photos that have been added and the smoother transitions between images. It also lets you view the images full-screen!

We would love to have more photos. Please send us photos of you showing off your BU pride, or you in your online study space to disted@bu.edu. It’s a great way to make new students feel at home and for you to Get Connected in an even more direct way!

Here’s what the current version looks like:

slideshow grab

New improved slideshow

BU Online’s Top 10 of 2011

Today we launch our first term of 2012 here at Boston University Online — beginning a  year in which we’ll celebrate our 10th anniversary, and hopefully continue to build on our reputation as one of the nation’s leaders in distance education. Before we move forward to a entirely new annum, however, we thought we’d take a moment to look back at the year that was … and so without further ado (or David Letterman to read the list), here are the Metropolitan College Office of Distance Education’s Top 10 Achievements of 2011:

10: The Introduction of Our Own YouTube Channel

Past, present, and prospective students now have a central place where they learn more about the BU Online experience, via the voices of those who have been through it. Subscribers to our YouTube channel can hear from recent graduates, get a perspective on the life of the people in our programs, and even be saluted with a toast from our staff. As the videos say themselves, it’s a great way to stay connected.

9: The Prolific Production of Our Media Department

The YouTube Channel shows only a small portion of the work produced by our media team, led by Rob Haley and Charles Southworth. Over the course of the year, they shot and produced about 1,000 videos for use in our virtual classrooms and for promotional purposes — some of them filmed at our own in-house studio, and others recorded in the field. On top of that original work, the team also captioned more than 500 videos, making them more accessible for the hearing impaired.

8: BU Online Continues To Grow

Each year our office continues to grow and expand, and 2011 was no different. We made several additions to our staff over the course of the just-completed calendar, beginning when Andrew Hinkell was hired as our administrative coordinator in April, at the same time Anna Jensen-Clem made the full-time transition to a newly created student services coordinator position. Laura Hannon and Katie Bergeron also came aboard as student services coordinators, while Jennifer Livengood also joined us as the newest addition to our expanding instructional design staff.

Brad Kay Goodman, Bob Schudy and Marcia Nizzari.

Brad Kay Goodman, Bob Schudy and Marcia Nizzari.

Judith Simpson and Jim Frey.

Judith Simpson and Jim Frey.

7: Brad Kay Goodman and Jim Frey Earn Exemplary Course Awards

Senior Instructional Designers Brad Kay Goodman and Jim Frey were both recognized by Blackboard’s Exemplary Course Program, which presents its honors with “the goal of identifying and disseminating best practices for designing engaging online courses.” Brad worked with CIS instructor Bob Schudy to produce the award-winning Enterprise Architecture course (click here for a tour of that class), while Jim teamed with Judith Simpson in building a course titled Contemporary Issues In Art Education (click here for a tour). With two honorees, BU joined Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University as the only universities to be recognized for having more than one exemplary course in 2011.

6: E-reserves Are Better Utilized, Helping Students Save Money

Beginning with our first spring semester, 2011 saw a rise in BU Online’s use of the e-reserve opportunities offered by Mugar Library. Now, instead of needing to purchase an entire book for the purpose of reading only one or two chapters, students can access the necessary portion electronically — and for free.

5: Rob Haley wins Chadwick Fellowship

Senior Media Producer Rob Haley was one of two recipients of the inaugural Chadwick Fellowship, a grant given annually to one faculty and one staff member of Metropolitan College for the purpose of professional development. Rob won the Fellowship based on his plan to chronicle a day in the life of a BU Online student, and already he’s produced one video and done the filming for a second. In the first, which you can see below, he goes to Scranton, Penn., to give us a glimpse into the life of CIS Masters Candidate Giovanni Sealey, an IT Instructor at a two-year Technical and Business College.

4: Our Social Media Efforts Surpass 2,000 Combined Followers

The most publicly visible of our efforts to build an online community, our Facebook page and Twitter accounts continued to bring more and more people together in 2011, cruising past 1,000 fans and followers in grand fashion. As of Spring 01 launch, @BUOnline was being followed by 317 people on Twitter, and 908 people had liked the ODE page on Facebook. We have 750 members in our LinkedIn group, and are steaming toward the next thousand in our social media endeavors.

3: Two New Programs are Born

A year ago at this time, we launched the initial course of our online Law program in collaboration with the school that has the nation’s No. 1-ranked law faculty, and in September we introduced a master of Social Work program in a partnership with BU’s School of Social Work. Continuing to diversify and expand our offerings, both programs were welcome and well-received additions, and we look forward to seeing them flourish in the years to come.

2: We Begin the Transition to a New Learning Management System

Beginning with the Social Work program, and expanding to Law, Music, and Art Education this spring, we are moving our courses from Blackboard Vista to Blackboard 9.1 — which our students will come to know as BU’s OnlineCampus. The transition will be gradual, with new programs moving each term, but in the end all of our students will experience a more advanced, interactive learning management system, the potential of which our design team is constantly working to maximize.

At left, the USDLA 21st Century Best Practices Award, the latest addition to our wall of honors.

At left, the USDLA 21st Century Best Practices Award, the latest addition to our wall of honors.

1: BU Online wins the USDLA 21st Century Best Practices Award

In March we learned that BU had been honored with the United States Distance Learning Association’s Best Practices Award, which, in conjunction with the Sloan Award bestowed upon us the previous fall, meant that within a single year we had won two of the nation’s highest awards for distance education. According to its description, the Best Practices Award “is given to an agency, institution, or company that has shown outstanding leadership in the field of distance learning. The award recognizes pioneering organizations in the field that have changed distance learning, as well as new organizations that have challenged existing practice by developing new and innovative solutions for distance learning instruction and employee distance learning training programs.”

That’s the standard we set for ourselves in 2011. And now it’s time to try and be even better in 2012. Happy New Year!

Happy Holidays from the Office of Distance Education

buonline_holiday_2011_snap
Click here for the full-sized card.


Getting to know … BU Online’s Student Services Coordinators

As we launch another new term today, we thought it might be nice to introduce some of the folks with whom students enrolled in Fall 02 courses will become quite familiar with over the next seven weeks. They are our Student Services Coordinators, a group who is dedicated to making sure our students have everything they need to get the most out of their BU Online education, and who ensures that our programs run smoothly from behind the scenes — until now, when they finally get their turn in the spotlight.

Here’s a questionnaire with each of the coordinators, which we hope will help students put a personality to their point of contact.

Anna Jensen-Clem
Anna Jensen-Clem

ANNA JENSEN-CLEM

Program: Music Education
WHAT WAS THE LAST MOVIE YOU SAW?
“For Your Consideration” (I was disappointed; “Spinal Tap” was better)
WHICH TV CHARACTER ARE YOU MOST LIKE, OR WHICH WOULD DO YOU WANT TO BE LIKE?
I would love to be Leslie Knope from Parks and Recreation. If I had blonde hair and a sunny disposition, I think I could pull it off.
WHAT’S THE BEST HALLOWEEN COSTUME YOU’VE EVER WORN?
Let’s see, my sister and I were witches one year, and we had our faces painted and little hats and brooms. I think I was about 7. I was also Captain Jack Sparrow once, but I couldn’t quite pull off the beard.
DESCRIBE YOUR DREAM VACATION.
My dream vacation would be a multi-week Mediterranean extravaganza, with stops in Greece, Italy, Libya (yes), Egypt, and Tunisia. I would basically nerd out looking at Roman and Egyptian ruins.
WHERE DID YOU GO TO COLLEGE?
I went to BU and majored in international relations.
WHAT’S AT THE TOP OF YOUR HOLIDAY WISH LIST THIS YEAR?
I can’t believe I’m about to say this: the new biography of John Maynard Keynes. I would also accept cookbooks and/or a gift certificate to REI.
WHAT WOULD YOU CHOOSE FOR YOUR BIRTHDAY DINNER?
Hmm, maybe nachos and a margarita? Or some really good Italian food. I’m easy to please.
YOU JUST GOT HOME FROM WORK. WHAT NOW?
I usually go for a run and then come home to make dinner and start my schoolwork for the night. I too am a part-time student.
THIS WINTER, I’M LOOKING FORWARD TO … my West Coast vacation.
I’M MOST LIKELY TO BE BROWSING: CNN, TMZ, OR ESPN?
Most likely to be browsing CNN, you know, for school. International relations won’t study itself!

DSCN6424n

Leota Smith, Jen Sullivan, and Daisy Cerritos (left to right).

DAISY CERRITOS

Programs: Health Communication, Art Education, and Project Management
WHAT WAS THE LAST MOVIE YOU SAW?

“The Evil Dead” during Halloween weekend.
WHICH TV CHARACTER ARE YOU MOST LIKE, OR WHICH WOULD DO YOU WANT TO BE LIKE?
Daria (appearance!)
WHAT’S THE BEST HALLOWEEN COSTUME YOU’VE EVER WORN?
Daisy Duck, 2006-now.
DESCRIBE YOUR DREAM VACATION.
Walk through Kensington Gardens in London.
WHERE DID YOU GO TO COLLEGE?
Undergrad: BU COM Advertising major & Women Studies minor
Grad: BU MET E-Commerce Technology
WHAT’S AT THE TOP OF YOUR HOLIDAY WISH LIST THIS YEAR?
Kitchen silverware…because I am moving!
WHAT WOULD YOU CHOOSE FOR YOUR BIRTHDAY DINNER?
A hamburger (I have had people make jokes about buying me a hamburger cake for my b-day someday)
YOU JUST GOT HOME FROM WORK. WHAT NOW?
Time to do some cardio kickboxing or watch just watch TV.
THIS WINTER, I’M LOOKING FORWARD TO … Trader Joe’s Candy Cane Joe-Joe’s.
I’M MOST LIKELY TO BE BROWSING: CNN, TMZ, OR ESPN?
CNN because I need to make sure there isn’t another snowstorm headed our way!

LEOTA SMITH

Program: Management Specializations (except Project Management)
WHAT WAS THE LAST MOVIE YOU SAW?
“The Smurfs”
WHICH TV CHARACTER ARE YOU MOST LIKE, OR WHICH WOULD DO YOU WANT TO BE LIKE?
Lucy, from I Love Lucy, she was just fun and gave Ricky a hard time.
DESCRIBE YOUR DREAM VACATION.
St. Barth’s … eat, swim, eat, drink, tan, eat.
WHERE DID YOU GO TO COLLEGE?
UMass Boston, Psychology; and Boston U, Finance.
WHAT’S AT THE TOP OF YOUR HOLIDAY WISH LIST THIS YEAR?
A Little Red Corvette
WHAT WOULD YOU CHOOSE FOR YOUR BIRTHDAY DINNER?
Chinese food!!!  I could eat it every single day.
YOU JUST GOT HOME FROM WORK. WHAT NOW?
Eat dinner or workout, maybe both at the same time.
THIS WINTER, I’M LOOKING FORWARD TO … losing all the weight I gained from Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s festivities.
I’M MOST LIKELY TO BE BROWSING: CNN, TMZ, OR ESPN?
TMZ, I love reality TV Gossip!

JEN SULLIVAN, Senior Student Services Coordinator

Program: Computer Science, Clinical Investigation
WHAT WAS THE LAST MOVIE YOU SAW?
“Midnight in Paris” by Woody Allen (two thumbs up!)
WHICH TV CHARACTER ARE YOU MOST LIKE, OR WHICH WOULD DO YOU WANT TO BE LIKE?
Tina Fey from 30 Rock
WHAT’S THE BEST HALLOWEEN COSTUME YOU’VE EVER WORN?
The ShamWow Guy, a couple of years ago.
DESCRIBE YOUR DREAM VACATION.
I would love to go to Liverpool and do all the touristy Beatles sites!
WHERE DID YOU GO TO COLLEGE?
I went to BU and majored in English for undergrad, and Advertising for grad.
WHAT’S AT THE TOP OF YOUR HOLIDAY WISH LIST THIS YEAR?
Gift certificates to Sephora.
WHAT WOULD YOU CHOOSE FOR YOUR BIRTHDAY DINNER?
Ice cream cake!
YOU JUST GOT HOME FROM WORK. WHAT NOW?
Change into yoga pants and figure out dinner.
THIS WINTER, I’M LOOKING FORWARD TO … I love buying presents for people, and spend a lot of time looking for the perfect gift.
I’M MOST LIKELY TO BE BROWSING: CNN, TMZ, OR ESPN?
Facebook or Dailyotter.org

Patti McDonnell (left) and Liz Curran (right).

Patti McDonnell (left) and Liz Curran (right).

LIZ CURRAN, Senior Student Services Coordinator

Programs: Social Work, Undergraduate Degree Completion
WHAT WAS THE LAST MOVIE YOU SAW?
“Horrible Bosses”
WHICH TV CHARACTER ARE YOU MOST LIKE, OR WHICH WOULD DO YOU WANT TO BE LIKE?
Currently, I feel a bit like Regan (Christina Applegate), in the new show “Up All Night”.   I’m not exactly like the character Regan, but there are definitely moments that I can relate to.
WHAT’S THE BEST HALLOWEEN COSTUME YOU’VE EVER WORN?
There have been lots of good ones.  I was a turtle when I was about 5 yrs old.  My mother used two orange sledding coasters as my shell.  The shell made climbing stairs a bit tricky, so I spent a lot of my Halloween falling down and then stuck on my back like a real turtle, until my dad picked me up so we could move on to the next house.
DESCRIBE YOUR DREAM VACATION.
I would love to go to Europe, and travel around from Austria, through Italy, and then onto France.    It would be fun to experience the different cultures, and explore the different landscapes, as well as eat some good food and wine along the way.
WHERE DID YOU GO TO COLLEGE?
I started at UMass Amherst, transferred to Suffolk University, and then finally finished up at BU.  Graduated with a B.S. in management and minored in marketing.
WHAT’S AT THE TOP OF YOUR HOLIDAY WISH LIST THIS YEAR?
Good health and happiness.
WHAT WOULD YOU CHOOSE FOR YOUR BIRTHDAY DINNER?
Surf and turf.
YOU JUST GOT HOME FROM WORK. WHAT NOW?
Time to feed my 1-year-old daughter Samantha dinner, after I figure out what dinner might be!
THIS WINTER, I’M LOOKING FORWARD TO … my husband and I playing in the snow with Samantha and our dog Sadie, and hopefully I will get to ski a couple of times.
I’M MOST LIKELY TO BE BROWSING: CNN, TMZ, OR ESPN?
Oh, it depends on the day.  I’d have to say ESPN.  I like sports a lot, but my husband does even more and usually the remote is in his hand. :-)

PATTI McDONNELL

Programs: Criminal Justice, Center for Professional Education
WHAT WAS THE LAST MOVIE YOU SAW?
Started to watch “Bridesmaids” on Saturday night when the nor’easter came through and I lost power. Still out of power today – hope it’s back tonight!
WHICH TV CHARACTER ARE YOU MOST LIKE, OR WHICH WOULD DO YOU WANT TO BE LIKE?
Penelope from “Criminal Minds.”
WHAT’S THE BEST HALLOWEEN COSTUME YOU’VE EVER WORN?
I was Raggedy Ann. (My mom sewed it from a pattern and I was holding a Raggedy Andy doll that she created herself as well.  I won the costume contest that year.  It was probably in the early 90s.)
DESCRIBE YOUR DREAM VACATION.
I’d love to go to Ireland and visit the area my ancestors are from – County Cork.
WHAT’S AT THE TOP OF YOUR HOLIDAY WISH LIST THIS YEAR?
A John Hardy bracelet.  Not going to happen, though, too much $$.
WHAT WOULD YOU CHOOSE FOR YOUR BIRTHDAY DINNER?
Nana’s Veal Cutlets, Eggplant Parmesan and Artichokes.  Yummy!  I do wish Nana was still with us!  My mom’s aren’t the same – but don’t tell her that.
YOU JUST GOT HOME FROM WORK. WHAT NOW?
Sleep!  I get home at 2am from another job.
THIS WINTER, I’M LOOKING FORWARD TO … sledding with my nieces.
I’M MOST LIKELY TO BE BROWSING: CNN, TMZ, OR ESPN?
None of the above.

Laura Hannon

Laura Hannon

LAURA HANNON

Program: Computer Science
WHAT WAS THE LAST MOVIE YOU SAW?
“Moulin Rouge”
WHICH TV CHARACTER ARE YOU MOST LIKE, OR WHICH WOULD DO YOU WANT TO BE LIKE?
Pam Halpert from The Office…minus the artistic talent and the super cute husband. But I did used to answer phones and am a pro at sending faxes!
WHAT’S THE BEST HALLOWEEN COSTUME YOU’VE EVER WORN?
I’m ashamed to admit I’ve never had a very imaginative Halloween costume. My favorite, though, is my flapper outfit because I think the 20s would have been a really fun time to live and all that fringe is perfect for dancing.
DESCRIBE YOUR DREAM VACATION.
Prince Edward Island in August doing pretty much anything.
WHERE DID YOU GO TO COLLEGE?
I majored in English and Philosophy at Boston College. (That other Boston school.)
WHAT’S AT THE TOP OF YOUR HOLIDAY WISH LIST THIS YEAR?
I would love the ability to regulate the temperature in my apartment so it doesn’t feel like I live in a constant sauna. But, I’ll settle for accessories.
WHAT WOULD YOU CHOOSE FOR YOUR BIRTHDAY DINNER?
Tapas with lots of sangria!
YOU JUST GOT HOME FROM WORK. WHAT NOW?
After work and the gym, I typically experiment in the kitchen and catch up with my roommate in front of our favorite episodes of Arrested Development or reruns of Criminal Minds.
THIS WINTER, I’M LOOKING FORWARD TO … the white lights in the trees along Comm Ave. It takes away a little of the winter chill.
I’M MOST LIKELY TO BE BROWSING: CNN, TMZ, OR ESPN?
None of the above; I’m more of a NY Times kind of girl, partly because I like the aesthetic of the site.

Introducing BU’s Online Master of Social Work Degree!

busswbannerToday we would like to congratulate the School of Social Work as it launches its first course of the online Master of Social Work program from Boston University! With a convenient online learning format, the BUSSW Online MSW program will allow 30 new students from across ten different states within the US to begin their journey towards earning a MSW degree from a highly respected institution with a world-class faculty while continuing to live and work in their communities.

We asked Mena daSilva-Clark, MSW, LICSW, and Assistant Dean for Off-Campus & Online Programs here at Boston University, to share her thoughts about this new and exciting endeavor for the BUSSW.

Q: When did you or the SSW start to realize that an online degree program might be a good fit for the MSW program?
A:
BUSSW has always been a leader in developing innovative programs.  More than 25 years ago we developed our Off-Campus Programs which offer classes on weekends at three different campuses in Massachusetts. These programs are specifically designed for working individuals. Our non-traditional students would not be able to earn a degree without these programs.  Our philosophy is “educating social workers in the community and for the community”.  With the economic downturn and the developments in technology we have been keenly aware that there is a need to revolutionize the way we offer graduate education.  We realized that we could expand our philosophy of educating individuals while they live and work in their communities by providing an Online MSW Program. We are also very fortunate to have Metropolitan College’s award winning Office of Distance Education at Boston University to assist us in this process.

Our philosophy is “educating social workers in the community and for the community”

Q:  Stepping back a year and thinking about how you had envisioned what the online environment might look like, and now seeing a fully developed online MSW course – are they similar or is it entirely different from what you had envisioned?
A: I had a vision of what the program would look like and it “took a village” to develop the program. There were many meetings with faculty, administration and staff. There were several different permutations on the same theme. We had three major goals in mind: develop a program that would allow individuals to continue to live and work in their communities while earning and MSW degree, thus giving back to their communities through this process; develop the best educational program, showcasing our faculty experts and faculty affiliated with BUSSW, using state-of-the-art technology to enhance the educational experience, while ensuring best practices; and provide supports for the students through the school community and within the students’ communities by engaging our alumni in this process. I think that we are on target with these goals and I hope that our students will feel both challenged and supported by the program. We are very excited about this venture and we look forward to working with our online students.

Q: What was the most challenging aspect of getting the program online?
A:
The most challenging aspect of this process has been the ‘fear of the unknown’.  Online education is fairly new. Social work is a pretty interactive discipline and we wanted to ensure that our online program offered the optimal opportunity for ongoing interaction with our students.  It took us awhile to wrap our mind around how we could teach social work online. Using state of the art technology and innovative systems we discovered a whole new world of possibilities. We have a great team within the School of Social Work, and our partnership with BU’s Office of Distance Education has made all this possible.  We are very aware that there will continue to be challenges along the way but we feel that we have a great product and good supports available for our students and faculty. We will continue to grow and make changes as the program evolves.

2011sswgrads

Cain is able: Online MCJ Student Excels as Navy Air Traffic Control Airman

Brian Cain: BU criminal justice student

Brian Cain: BU Online criminal justice student

Selecting him as the sailor who went most above and beyond his military duties, officers at the Naval Air Station Oceana named Brian Cain as their command’s “Blue Jacket of the Quarter” earlier this spring. A husband and father who volunteers as often as his schedule allows, it was an acknowledgment of the Air Traffic Controller Airman’s dedication to serving his family, his community, and his country.

And, he says, of his decision to study criminal justice online through Boston University’s Metropolitan College.

“There is no doubt in my mind,” he said, “it was my enrollment in a Master’s Degree program at BU that earned me this honor and title. Education is highly encouraged and respectable in the Navy.”

That respect and appreciation has helped pave the way for Cain to pursue a pair of dreams since deciding to enlist in 2009, after spending the early part of his career as a defense contractor who designed and built prototype armored vehicles and body armor while frequently traveling to the Middle East and West Asia.

A Utah native who then lived in Oregon, Cain didn’t want to relocate his wife and son when his company moved to California – so instead he decided to join the military. And education was among the motivating factors. About a year away from completing his Bachelor’s degree, he already had his eye on a Master’s that would help him meet his end-goal of working in a federal agency, and he knew the Navy would allow him the opportunity to do continue his education while moving closer to that career.

He began his military service with boot camp, where he was chosen as Recruit Chief Petty Officer among a division of 96. Then he went to get his air traffic control certification at “A School” in Florida, where he was tabbed class leader and eventually graduated second in the group. Then his orders sent him to Norfolk, Virginia, where he is currently stationed – and where he began his experience with Boston University.

By then he’d completed his bachelor’s through the University of Phoenix, so Cain was a veteran of online education — but he says “I knew if I was going to be competitive in the workforce I needed a Master’s Degree from a very reputable school,” and after some thorough research, he found what he perceived to be a perfect fit.

“I discovered that Boston University not only offered a distance education program in the field of criminal justice, but they also have a preferred relationship with the FBI,” Cain said. “Once I learned this, I was determined to attend Boston University.”

That determination paid off when he was accepted to the CJ program, and when he began taking classes in January 2011. This term he’s taking White Collar Crime, the fourth course in a 10-step process that’s left him absolutely convinced about the quality of his education and BU’s lofty status in the field of distance learning.

“I originally enrolled at the University of Phoenix because of a referral from a friend. The school offered convenient classes and degree programs, so it worked for me at the time. However, in comparison to Boston University – there isn’t one,” Cain said. “Boston University gives you the feel of an on-campus environment, camaraderie, established real professors, and a challenging curriculum.

“The best part about BU’s program is the high-quality curriculum,” he continued. “Every course and topic is challenging and rewarding, and I feel as if I am acquiring the knowledge and skills I will need to be successful in the workplace. BU’s program has also armed me with the confidence I needed to become a professional in the field of criminal justice.”

He applies his training on a daily basis, having been qualified as Chief of the Guard while assigned to the Base Security Force in Norfolk. He said his educational background in criminal justice created the opportunity, and while he can’t fully describe his duties because of the sensitivity of security information, he is responsible for the safety and security of all watch standers and waterfront security operations.

It’s a job that requires him to rise at 3 a.m. – or 0300, as he puts it in military time – and report to work by 0400. He’s there until about 1730, and after squeezing in a run or a workout he’ll join his wife Melissa and their son Cody for a family dinner. After that he’ll play with his son for about an hour, then Cody goes to bed and Brian begins his school work. The cycle repeats each work day, while off-days are consumed by errands, yard work, volunteering – and whatever homework he was too tired to finish in the days before.

It’s a lifestyle Cain says wouldn’t be possible without his wife’s support, but it’s one he’s confident can someday lead him to work in a federal agency. It’s one that’s already earned him commendations and honors within the military.

And it’s one being enhanced by his experience with Boston University.

“I tell everyone about how great BU is. I tell them there is no better program offered by any other school, and they should make every effort possible to gain acceptance here,” Cain said. “BU not only is one of the most credible schools, they are also very helpful the entire way. Anytime I have a question or a problem, their staff quickly clarifies or resolves the situation.

“BU gives you the tools to succeed; if you do your part, you cannot fail.”

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WHAT WAS YOUR LINE OF WORK PRIOR TO ENLISTING, AND WHAT DID IT ENTAIL? I was born and raised in Orem, Utah, and moved to Portland, Oregon, in 2004 to work as a defense contractor for Armor Systems International. I designed and built prototype armored vehicles and body armor for military and civilian use. I traveled frequently to West Asia and the Middle East. I also went to Pakistan often to assist in product development that protected world leaders and dignitaries. I have to say my favorite place to work and travel was to Dubai in the UAE. Dubai is a beautiful and friendly place to work and visit. Traveling around the world was always a good reminder of how blessed we are to live in the United States.
WHAT ARE THE PRIMARY DUTIES OF AN AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLER AIRMAN, AND WHAT MADE THAT A POSITION YOU WERE INTERESTED IN PURSUING? At the command I am currently in, rank is not a prerequisite for training opportunities. Regardless of pay grade, if you put forth the effort and show a desire to learn, they will let you train and receive Air Traffic Control qualifications. Air Traffic Control is an extremely serious and critical rate in the US Navy. There is no room or acceptance for error when controlling aircraft, military or civilian.
I was interested in the (AC) rate because of the excellent training and certifications that transfer over to the civilian sector. I knew that whether or not I pursued a career in Air Traffic Control, being an FAA certified Air Traffic Controller could only help a resume.
THE NAVY ACKNOWLEDGED YOUR VOLUNTEER WORK. HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOURSELF? TIRELESS? PASSIONATE? COMPASSIONATE? I try to do as much volunteer work as my schedule can allow without jeopardizing the well-being of my family. I would describe myself as compassionate, not only for those around me but also for the betterment of society. I guess I feel that if I want my community to be a better and safer place to live, I must be actively contributing to the cause. I also volunteer because I am well aware of the power of example. As others see the example of those actively engaged in a good cause, they also begin participating and volunteering. I know that my impact may be small; but when many unite, we can make a great difference.
HOW HAS YOUR MILITARY EXPERIENCE COMPARED WITH YOUR EXPECTATIONS? I would say that the military experience has met the expectation I had coming in. I have found that the military offers great training and many resources to its members, but it is up to you to take advantage of them. There is a common saying by military leaders that is often quoted, “We give you all the tools to succeed, but it is up to you to use them.” I will say that I am impressed of how well the military views the “big picture”, every job, every training session, and every piece of equipment has a specific place and responsibility in the mission of the armed forces; it is amazing to see how the well oiled machine works from the inside.
HOW HAVE YOU BEEN ABLE TO APPLY THE LESSONS YOU’VE LEARNED IN THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE PROGRAM TO YOUR WORK AS PART OF THE BASE SECURITY FORCE? I am currently TAD (Temporary Additional Duty), assigned to Base Security Force here in Norfolk. When I saw the opportunity to work in a security position, I immediately volunteered for the opening. This Security TAD is between 6-18 months long, afterward I will return to my normal duties as and Air Traffic Controller. Here I have received great training in weapons and law enforcement; I have also received many important security qualifications and certificates. Due to my educational background in Criminal Justice, I was given the opportunity to become qualified as Chief of the Guard. … I can say that the criminal justice program at Boston University has not only given me the knowledge of how to be a criminal justice professional, but just as importantly has armed me with the confidence to do address any situation I may encounter.