Seattle Fashionista – A Profile in Online Education

Kristin Connell keeps pretty busy these days. As the manager for Shoefly, an upscale Seattle shoe boutique, she spends between forty and fifty hours a week in the shop–that is, when she’s not planning special events or jetting off to Los Angeles for a week of meetings with wholesalers.

While she values her professional experience, Kristin also knows the importance of a solid education. In order to advance her career in the world of fashion, she’s pursuing a bachelor’s degree in fashion design. As many working students know, making a school schedule dovetail with professional responsibilities can be tough. For Kristin, the solution includes participation in online coursework. I sat down with her in her Capitol Hill apartment to get the 411 on her online fashion design class.

Mr. Smith: Your fashion design program includes both online coursework and classroom work, so you have the best of both worlds. What are you currently studying?

KC: I’m taking a few courses, but the online course is fashion sketching.

Mr. Smith: Which involves what?

KC: It’s the start of creating a piece or line of attire. You develop a basic visual concept–a sketch–for a piece of clothing. From there you can draft patterns and actually create the piece.

Mr. Smith: Could you describe your online interface?

KC: It’s basically an all-in-one website. There’s a place for you to get assignments, a place for class discussions, a link to lectures and research materials, and the grade book, which is where you can check your grades after you turn in a new assignment. That part’s helpful, because you can monitor your progress daily.

Mr. Smith: How often does the material update?

KC: Well, the syllabus pre-established at the beginning of the quarter. But the teacher can post assignments as often as he likes. The discussion boards are constantly updating, throughout the duration of the class.

Mr. Smith: Could you describe a week of coursework?

KC: The lesson plan follows the textbook, so we do a chapter each week. The teacher posts a reading assignment, discussion questions, and homework. We use Adobe Illustrator to design fashion sketches, and turn it in as an email attachment when we’re done.

Mr. Smith: How would you compare your online class to a traditional brick-and-mortar classroom?

KC: It’s actually more strenuous. It’s not like a normal class, where just showing up gets you a participation grade. The onus is on you to participate heavily. For example, with the class discussion board, you have to post often and your posts have to be insightful. I got nabbed on that a couple of times.

Mr. Smith: And compared to traditional classroom, how much classmate interaction is there?

KC: Well, of course you don’t get face time, but you have about as much interaction. It was a requirement for us. With the discussion boards, each student has to respond to the teacher’s question, and then to at least two classmates per posting to receive credit.

Mr. Smith: What’s your favorite thing about your online coursework?

KC: Well, while you do have deadlines, you can still work at your own pace. Even though we had weekly deadlines, I was able to turn in my work on the first day of the week.

Mr. Smith: How about your least favorite thing?

KC: To be honest, I wasn’t a big fan of my professor, but that really didn’t have anything to do with the online format of the class.

In addition to her online coursework, Kristin also attends a four-hour pattern-drafting course each week (the brick and mortar being necessary for hands-on participation). While her schedule is tight, she remains determined: “I work as hard as I do because I know it’s worth it,” she says. “I think it’s important to have goals and to make a point of pursuing them.”

Well spoken, I think. After all, if–as Thomas Paine once observed, “What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly,” then busy professionals can look to Kristin and others like her, for a model. After all, Kristin and her fellow students may be determined, but they aren’t all that unusual. As far busy professionals who moonlight as students go, Kristin’s really a textbook example.

A Visit to London, The Global City

London, capital city of England, leading global city with it’s history going back to the Romans who founded it and named it Londinium. London is a leading global city and rich in the arts, commerce, fashion, education and finance. Heathrow, London’s main airport, brings more international visitors to the city making London the most visited city in the world. You may be one of the many millions of tourists coming to this metropolis for shopping or to visit the theatre.

See the sights.

Jump on one of the unique to London red double decker buses and go on one of the many tours available and see all of the hundreds of sights to be seen. The original sightseeing tours have 3 main sightseeing routes with over 80 stops. Choose whether to buy a 24 hour ticket and combine your day by foot, boat and on the top deck of the famous red double deckers. The view from up there is incomparable with loads of photo opportunities.

Take pics of Buckingham Palace, the Tower of London, the Palace of Westminster and the Abbey,and Tower Bridge.

Less historical sights include the London Eye, the Gherkin, Trafalgar Square with Nelson’s Column and beautiful fountains,

Picadilly square always in a hurry and surrounded with shopping malls and boutiques.

Some tours include free cruise passes for a trip on the river Thames.

The sights are seen from a different perspective. Most of the boats are wheelchair friendly and all-weather boats provide open or covered deck areas.

The commentary on most trips have a wide choice of languages so cater for almost everyone.

Visit Madame Taussauds and the scary London dungeon, wander around the Kew gardens or visit some of the many Museums and Art galleries.

London Hotels are many and varied.

One can be found to suit every ones pocket.

Categories include:

Bed and Breakfast Budget accommodation usually self rated 1 or 2 star.

Budget Hotels Low rates 2 or 3 star B&B type hotels

Cheap Hotels Better than budget 3 star hotels

Discount Hotels Unbeatable prices in some of the top London hotels

Central London Hotels As it says in the central of London

Family Hotels Caters for families ( not all London hotels do) with family rooms

Business Hotels Ideally furnished with all business needs, internet, meeting rooms and presentation materials

Luxury Hotels 4 or 5 star first class exceptional facilities, conference services, unique dining with a range of en-suit rooms and suites.

Boutique Hotels 4 or 5 star offer modern facilities.

Business Hotels Ideally furnished with all business needs, internet, meeting rooms and presentation materials

Luxury Hotels 4 or 5 star first class exceptional facilities, conference services, unique dining with a range of en-suit rooms and suites.

Boutique Hotels 4 or 5 star offer modern facilities.

A few suggestions:

It has to be the best, The Ritz London, the benchmark for other luxury hotels.

Closest to the Palace, The Rubens at the Palace, overlooking the Royal Mews

Close to the theatres, The Cheshire Hotel, central for the shopping

Close to the parks, The Windsor House hotel, B&B secure garden for the kids

Close to Victoria, Hotel 41, 21st century business technology with club like feel

Close to a coffee shop, Hostel 639, mixed, male or female dorms, clean and cheap.

One of the main reason to come to London is shopping.

There are over 30,000 shops to browse around in London, from boutiques to music, books and antiques, fabulous fashion to wacky looks, sporting or toys and hobbies, huge department stores and shopping malls or the cheap and cheerful bazaars.

They are all there to be found.

* Oxford Street
* Carnaby Street
* Regent Street
* Portobello road
* Notting Hill
* Kings Road
* Chelsea
* Covent Garden
* Soho
* Chinatown
* Islington
* Camden
* Picadilly

After that busy, exhausting day of shopping, time to relax.

A visit to a Westend Theatre is a must when you visit London and the choice for a visit to the Theatre is vast.

There are around 50 Westend Theatres and hundreds of shows or musicals to pick from.

  • We Will Rock You, the Queen musical,
  • The Tempest a bit of Shakespeare,
  • The Lion In Winter,
  • Shrek,
  • The Wizard of Oz,
  • Driving Miss Daisy,
  • Les Miserables,
  • Chicago
  • and the longest running of all The Mousetrap (opened in 1952!!).

Plus many more.

London hosted the Olympic games in 1908 and 1948 and are to hold them for a third time in July and August 2012 followed by the Paralympic games later in August and September.

Tickets are already on sale for these.

Some London Hotels are offering special deals for these sporting events.

Many more excursions and tours, places of interest both historical or entertaining can be found in this huge city and finding them will be part of the adventure of your London trip.

Adult Students With an Education Gap – No Written Language

Vanuatu’s tropical islands are renowned for their diversity, with nearly 115 distinct cultures and languages. The International Year of Languages has been declared for 2008. Now a group, from the 83 islands of Vanuatu, have met to convert their oral language to the written word.

Port Vila hosted 23 adult students from 12 different language groups, all keen to discover the power of writing in their own language. Slowly, language barriers were broken down, as these shy people began to communicate with each other.

Many Ni-Vanuatu people are multi-lingual, speaking French, Bislama, English and their home language. For 30 years or more the adults have used an oral language, with primary schooling providing no writing experiences in their own language.

Cultural ceremonies and stories discussed under the banyan tree and over the cooking pots, have seen customs and tales of ancestors passed from generation to generation.

From as far as the remote, northern islands of Motolava and the southern Tanna, these adult students have arrived in the capital. Jesse, a mother of three children, explained in broken English, “For most of us it is the first time we have left our island homes, flown in a plane, or crossed the ocean”.

An extract of literature was translated into their language. Faces glowed with pride at seeing their language written for the first time. “Communication was at the heart of the workshop,” explained a spokesperson for the project.

“The translation of important information to the Mother tongue has highlighted this. When the students return to their island homes, they will share their knowledge and show their community the power of the written word. The community will move forward in leaps and bounds in this exciting new adventure.”

Free education is not available in Vanuatu. Everyone must pay school fees as the government provides limited resources. For most families the fee is beyond the small incomes of villagers, living in a ‘no-cash-economy’.

The horrific consequence is:

o Only 55.8% of Vanuatu kids will get to grade 6;
o Of those only 18.2% will go to high school;
o 26% will never go to school.

Many parents are not able to read or write in any language.

Vanuatu desperately needs help to educate the next generation. Although rich in knowledge about their land, culture and traditions, the Happiest Country on Earth (voted in 2006) needs help to educate the young generation, if the country is to move forward. As a Lesser Developed country, donor funding is seen pouring into the country, but education is low on the priority list.

YouMe Support Foundation, a Child Trust Fund, is dedicated to giving these children a high school education grants for the children of the outer islands of Vanuatu. You can help, donate and make a difference in the lives of these people and you might win the boutique resort. Visit our Website for your Blue Moon Opportunity.