Need Brainstorming Ideas

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by threedogs, Jul 14, 2010.

  1. threedogs

    threedogs New Member

    I've searched and read (til my eyes were going to pop out), but no one has had my own unique set of problems - er, talents...yep, talents, I'll say! :D

    Posted a little while ago how I managed to accumulate lots of credits that don't apply towards the Associates degree I was working on at my local community college. I'm now looking to just go ahead and get my bachelor's, and am applying to COSC, UMass UWW, maybe Columbia College and Empire State (I have sort of put TESC on the back burner because of the length of time people say it takes to get the paperwork processed - and only not considering Excelsior because they told me they wouldn't waive the application fee).

    Was figuring on sticking w/some sort of liberal arts degree because most of my credits are along those lines.

    Now this is what I've been trying to figure out. I'm a bit older than most students. Probably much older. :eek: (that's oldER) I also have a bit of an annoying disability that keeps me in line (mostly aches & pains that will appear out of nowhere), along w/a very modest disability income that is almost not livable.

    What I do have is creative talent - along with no business sense, and less talent - or appeal - for that. Been baking bread for more years than I want to admit, but I don't have the physical strength to get into that business.

    I am working on a blog that I hope to get going this month, but what I'd really love is to find some direction (maybe even design my own degree, if that's possible) to incorporate what I already know (take it to the next level?) and use it for some sort of work I could actually do...

    Here's where I'm hoping you guys might be able to help. While I love the stuff I've learned (psych & sociology mostly - but my best class was about the Holocaust!), I can't see myself actually working w/those fields.

    I would think that teaching (such as professional baking) I'd need professional experience (not going to happen, outside of a bit of local catering, which I've just started :D !!!) Well, I'd welcome any ideas, brainstorming - anything for both my college and eventual professional direction. Possibly, if I EVER get this blog ready to launch (I'm really too much of a perfectionist to the point where it is damaging to me), that could be a start - but I'm thinking of my degree. I could end up just getting a standard Lib Arts degree - but I'd like it to be more in line of who I am.

    I'm all ears - oops, I mean eyes! :p Help, please!!
  2. perrymk

    perrymk Member

    1. Why do you want a degree? As you make it sound like funds are an issue and the area you mention (liberal arts) is not specific to a job, is spending the money on a degree a good investment for you? I'm not opposed to education for education's sake; I'm just pondering with you.

    2. Perhaps consider teaching workshops on baking. Get a community center, restaurant, or specialty food store to host you, with you getting a percentage. You won't get rich, but it might be nice for an occasional supplement income. I've taken classes at a local museum on canning tomatoes, woodstove cooking, etc.

    3. Is there a market for custom baking? I met someone who said something about going in this direction. He was talking about renting a restaurant kitchen/oven during off hours and taking orders online. I have no idea if he made it work.
  3. threedogs

    threedogs New Member

    Part is for personal reasons. The other is because it's ridiculously impossible to live on disability today, despite my very good thrifty abilities.

    With financial aid, and being careful to choose the right college, it won't be an expense for me.

    Good idea. I've thought of such, but only thought as far as my local community college (would be too much traveling for me right now). But these other ideas are terrific, and didn't even think of that.

    There could be, but I don't know if I could handle that. Right now, I'm doing a couple of catering jobs - this is much easier for me, and I'm going to see in what direction it will lead.

    But I need more than just local baking, otherwise I'm going to feel as though my brain will shrivel up (not to mention my poor body can't do too much of it as I get older - the food industry is made for young, healthy people). A possible degree would be, I'm realizing now, would perhaps be centering on the influence of food and ethnic art (another love of mine) w/various cultures (Empire State has a Cultural degree, so that might work).
  4. SurfDoctor

    SurfDoctor Moderator Staff Member

    Kudos to you for working so hard to improve yourself, especially considering the fact that you mentioned that you are not a kid anymore. Me neither. Here's my thoughts:

    A liberal arts degree will be interesting and enjoyable. Unfortunately, it's not likely to get you a job. A lot of people are hoping to get into teaching but the short-term outlook is not good. That field is in a shambles. Whether it be K-12 or higher education, there are not many jobs out there. The few that are out there get snapped up by those with experience. This may change, but who knows when?

    Less expensive route: If you are not wanting to teach in a formal setting, (K-12, college) you might look into Aspen University or Western Governors University. Neither are regionally accredited (the best accreditation) but both are nationally accredited which is still good. Only regional accreditation would allow you to teach in a formal setting, but since that is not likely these days, IMO why bother? They are much less expensive than other alternatives and are both good schools. Aspen is DETC accredited, which is a good accreditation. Aspen is cheap! I've just recently learned about Aspen because of others on this board.

    I hope that helps you. Best wishes for wisdom in making the right decision.
  5. AV8R

    AV8R Active Member

    Three Dogs,

    I have an idea for your situation. I sent it to you via private message because some might view it as spammy (but it's not, IMO).
  6. SurfDoctor

    SurfDoctor Moderator Staff Member

    Also, I agree with Perrymk, how about custom baking? I'll be your first customer :)
  7. Ian Anderson

    Ian Anderson Active Member

    So for $75 you are giving up on earning perhaps the most flexible degree 9in terms of course requirements) in the world. You would more than save the application fee by taking all your courses at low cost institutuons or passing CLEP & DSST exams. Excelsior's BSLS is essentially a 'design your own degree' since it allows up to 59 units of professional course electives.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 14, 2010
  8. japhy4529

    japhy4529 House Bassist

    Actually, WGU holds both national (DETC) and regional (NWCCU) accreditation. Also, the WGU Teachers College is NCATE accredited.
  9. threedogs

    threedogs New Member

    Well, I guess I'm lucky that I actually have no interest in (nor do I think I'd be well-suited for) traditional teaching. I would, however, like to share my specialized knowledge (bread, coffee roasting, other such things) with interested adults. I almost have the right set-up here at home, but I'd have to change a few things first, if I wanted to give this a try - but that's for a bit of extra money and fun, not a long-term goal ... I think.

    But as far as Lib Arts not leading to a secure future, job-wise: what is, today? Nothing seems to be secure today, IMHNSO.

    Granted, I'm in a different position since I do have a bit of income coming in (much better than a few yrs ago when I had nothing - talk about living in a constant state of panic! Oy veh!!) I think today lots of people are starting to learn what I've known for a long time: how to survive on practically nothing.

    [warning: beginning of a rant]But I cringe at the general idea today the outcome of education is supposed to be a job, and only a job. Yeah, I guess that's reality - but I believe that the purpose of a liberal arts education is to teach people how to think.

    A very important skill. Also, very lacking in our society today.

    Sigh... [end of my rant]

    I didn't realize that WGU wasn't regionally accredited. :( Was considering it for IT, not education - but I think trying for IT would be way too much of a long shot for me - and again, too many people are out of work in IT - even though I'm 2 classes short of a Web Development Certificate fr my local community college.

    Lots of stuff I can work on, on my own, like improving my Photoshop skills, for instance, beyond putting my dog's head on other bodies I've found on the net, haha. :D

    Hadn't heard of Aspen, but I think I'd do better w/COSC or Empire State. Would even try for Excelsior if I could get beyond that 75 bucks for admission. Yikes. I'd really prefer a regional accredited college, because I might want to continue for a Masters - or, heaven forbid, even a PhD - there's only one PhD that's been tempting to me, but I keep talking myself out of it. Only can do any higher education w/financial aid, and I previously had the GPA to get scholarships. Hope to get back there. You see, I basically know I have the intelligence, but have always lacked the self-confidence. I am really trying to find my niche, so I can squash the ghosts of the past that tell me I can't do it. Plus, it would be so cool & I'd be so proud to just attain that goal. :cool:

    Thank you - I appreciate your input, and I really need that wisdom. I'm a long-time lurker here, and I always take notice of your comments.

    This forum is great - eventually, I will make a decision, even though I'm taking forever.

    At least.. I hope I do.

    Great quote (forget who said it): I used to be indecisive, but now, I'm not so sure...
  10. threedogs

    threedogs New Member

    No, I'm giving up a flexible course of education so I can pay my rent. Funny how that is - my landlord just might not understand, hey, I'm going to be $75 short this month so I can apply to a college.

    Food I can manage. Like I inferred in my previous post - I have skills that others might need to learn today. Can make food out of practically nothing - food that can compete w/gourmet dishes, (not bragging - been told such), but rent is rent and it has to be paid.

    Don't want to live under a bridge, no matter how luxurious that may sound.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 14, 2010
  11. japhy4529

    japhy4529 House Bassist

    I see that you are a Massachusetts resident. If you are 60 years of age or older, you may register in credit courses with UMass-Dartmouth, tuition free. UMass-Dartmouth offers a number of online programs.

    Here are the details: Tuition and Fees - Professional & Continuing Education - University of Massachusetts Dartmouth

    I would imagine that other colleges/universities in MA offer a similar deal (perhaps even UMass Online as a whole, since the programs are administered by the local UMass campuses).

    Best of luck,
  12. threedogs

    threedogs New Member

    I'm not 60 (yet). Massachusetts has that lovely gift for seniors. Unfortunately, what they don't tell you is most of the cost is actually in fees. The tuition in all the colleges and all the campuses of UMass is cheap.

    The fees are what gets ya.

    Still, I'm applying to UMass University Without Walls. If my GPA gets back up there, I'll be eligible for scholarship money.

    Doing all of this, this week. Lots of essays to write. :( Will see where it leads me.

    My original plan (as of a few months ago) was to finish up w/my Associates, get my GPA back up to 3.5. Then I'd be eligible for the Phi Theta Kappa scholarship (I still belong, even though my GPA took a nose-dive). W/that scholarship (assuming I'd actually get it), I would take the three classes at Harvard Extension and aim for getting into their bachelor's program.

    But my fin aid was denied (too many attempted credits).

    Sigh.. so I'm back at the drawing board...
  13. japhy4529

    japhy4529 House Bassist

    Well, best of luck to you. Considering that cost is a factor for you (like many of us!) have you considered pursuing a degree from another country (e.g. South Africa)? UNISA offers a number of undergraduate and graduate programs that are remarkably affordable.

    BTW, in case you missed my earlier post - WGU is regionally accredited by NWCCU (as well as nationally accredited).
  14. Ted Heiks

    Ted Heiks Moderator and Distinguished Senior Member Staff Member

    Western Governors University is both regionally and nationally accredited.
  15. cookderosa

    cookderosa Resident Chef

    My suggestion is to get involved in community education teaching. I have done this for about a hundred years. You don't need a degree, and they would love to have you. (read: beg)

    1. collect the catalogs/view online of the local CE classes offered through the community colleges and parks departments. Pick neighbor cities too.

    2. Using the little course descriptions as inspiration, think of 10 classes you could teach right now with less than 1-2 days "homework" to get you up to speed. Write up course descriptions for 10+ classes. (I have a catalog of courses I developed that exceeds 200 classes, I rotate them around from time to time. Some flew, some bombed. Just run them and see)

    3. Approach each of the CE departments and parks departments. Bring a short bio and a list of potential classes that you can teach. Each college/parks dept sets their own way of fees/reimbursement/printing/etc. There will be some that are better than others.

    These are scheduled as much as 1/2 year in advance, so you need to do it ASAP if you want to get into the Holiday catalogs. Which is another suggestion- themes, they are highly attractive.

    Food classes go like hotcakes. Just know, that being self taught and not having any real experience presents the challenge- why would someone take your class? BUT, if you aim for niche classes, you'll sell out.

    Without question, I could book a class 5 days per week year round. I put one program director on "block" on my phone :) Seriously, this is a high need area.
  16. threedogs

    threedogs New Member

    Wow - thank you so much for this terrific info!

    My transportation is iffy. There has to be a way around that, though. Going to do the research and see what I come up with.

    Thanks a million - and good luck w/your educational goals - my son wants to go to med school - no, make that, he plans to go to medical school. He's dyslexic, taught himself how to read & how to study. I'm very proud of him, of course!!
  17. threedogs

    threedogs New Member

    japhy4529 said:
    Thanks! WGU was one of the schools I was considering applying to - they let me waive the application fee, but I then realized that an IT degree for me probably isn't the wisest thing to do (my interests are really all over the place), and also, they won't take as many credits as the Big Three will, along w/the other schools I'm considering. So I think they are out, although the way one would end up w/both a degree and certification is really, really good.
  18. threedogs

    threedogs New Member

    I've looked at the info before, just out of curiosity (their degrees are very affordable for those of us in the US), but I have to use federal & state financial aid. If I find a school that's cheap enough, and have money left over, then I can take some CLEP tests. Originally (I'm going WAY back to before I enrolled in my local CC) I was going to do the Psychology GRE & try to use that for a major w/Excelsior. But now I already have 9 lower division psych credits, and don't know how if taking the Psych GRE would now be worthwhile. Again, I need to be enrolled & getting some excess financial aid so I could pay for the test.

    Some days I feel like I'm a juggler! :eek:

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