Bài 2 : Foreign Student Series: Accreditation Explained
This is the VOA Special English Education Report.
Now, we continue our Foreign Student Series for those of you considering an American college or university.
One of the things you should make sure of is that the work you do will be recognized in your own country. Employers and schools are more likely to accept your American education if it came from an accredited program.
Accreditation is a process used for quality control. Across the United States, there are eighty accrediting agencies for higher education. These are private, nonprofit organizations. They develop educational goals, then examine schools to make sure the goals are met.
The first step is for a college or university to ask for accreditation. The school then measures its performance against the requirements.
After that, the accrediting agency sends a team of specialists to decide whether or not the school meets the standards. Accredited schools are observed every few years to see how they are doing.
Accrediting organizations must be recognized by either the federal government or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. Almost half of all the agencies are recognized by both CHEA and the United States Department of Education.
Higher education groups created CHEA in nineteen ninety-six. But students who want to receive federal student aid must attend a school accredited by a government-recognized agency.
Foreign students might wonder why they should care much about all this. After all, foreign students in most cases do not receive aid from the United States government.
But accreditation is also meant to tell employers that your studies met a set of quality standards. And accreditation can make it easier to move credits from one school to another.
Seven thousand institutions and more than nineteen thousand programs were accredited by American organizations last year. Among them were almost five hundred foreign colleges, as well as foreign campuses of American universities.
All accredited schools and programs can be found on the CHEA Web site, chea.org. It also has advice about how to avoid worthless educational programs and accrediting agencies. We will talk more about that subject next week.
And that’s the VOA Special English Education Report, written by Nancy Steinbach. Our Foreign Student Series is online at voaspecialenglish.com. I’m Steve Ember.
Bai 3 : Foreign Student Series: Getting a US Education From Home
This is the VOA Special English Education Report.
This week in our Foreign Student Series, we talk about getting an American education online. A student named Hendra has written to us from Indonesia asking about a good online university.
Finding the right online program requires research, just like a traditional education. Talking to advisers and recruiters can help. Keep in mind, though, that they might have a financial interest to direct you to certain programs.
Avoid a diploma mill. We talked about this last week. Diploma mills, also known as degree mills, are nothing more than businesses. The education is poor quality, if they even require any class work to get a degree.
The Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) recognizes a group in Washington, D.C., to accredit schools that offer distance learning. One hundred ten programs in the United States and six other countries are accredited by the Distance Education and Training Council.
We asked the executive director, Michael Lambert, for advice on choosing a distance learning program. He says the first thing is to go on the CHEA Web site to find if a school is accredited. The address is c-h-e-a dot o-r-g.
Next, make sure the school offers what you need. Do you need a degree, or will a certificate or license be enough?
Another consideration is cost. Often the published price does not include all the costs — like books. Technology requirements can also add to the costs. Will you need to get new software or a high-speed Internet connection or even a new computer to take the classes you want?
Also, consider the level of interaction that an online program offers. You might never meet the teacher or other students in person. You need to be able to work without the supervision that you might find in a traditional class.
Finally, and this is our own advice, find out what others say. You might search on the Internet for comments or ratings or news stories about schools that interest you. Just remember that what people say is not always fair or true.
So now we have talked about getting an American education online. Next week, we begin explaining the steps to getting an American education in the United States.
And that’s the VOA Special English Education Report, written by Nancy Steinbach. Our Foreign Student Series is online at voaspecialenglish.com. I’m Bob Doughty.
Bai 4 : Foreign Student Series: Diploma Mills
This is the VOA Special English Education Report.
This week, in part seven of our Foreign Student Series, we talk more about accreditation of American colleges and universities.
To become accredited, programs have to meet quality standards that are set by an accrediting agency. In the United States, private organizations around the country handle this process.
Schools must be reaccredited every ten years, or sooner. They can lose their accreditation if they have problems that are not corrected within a given period of time.
For example, the George Washington University Medical School announced last week that it was correcting problems found by its accrediting agency. The medical school in Washington, D.C., has been given two years to meet the standards. School officials said the changes include writing more detailed course objectives and providing more study areas for students.
The process of accreditation is designed in part to protect against “diploma mills.” These operations call themselves colleges or universities but provide no real education.
In August, a husband and wife were sentenced to three years in federal prison in a case in the northwestern state of Washington. They operated Saint Regis University and more than one hundred other diploma mills. These businesses supplied worthless degrees to more than nine thousand people in the United States and around the world. The couple got seven million dollars.
George Gollin, a physics professor at the University of Illinois, is an expert on accreditation who helped investigate the case. He advises students to get the exact name of a school they are interested in, then look for it on the Web site of a group known as CHEA. CHEA is the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. The address is chea.org.
Make sure a school or program is accredited by a legally recognized accrediting agency before paying any money. Only legitimate schools and programs are listed on the site. It also lists the only legally recognized agencies.
Experts advise students to be suspicious of offers from schools that do not require much work or interaction with teachers. One warning sign is any offer of college credit for “life experience.”
And that’s the VOA Special English Education Report, written by Nancy Steinbach. A link to the CHEA Web site can be found, along with our continuing Foreign Student Series, at voaspecialenglish.com. I’m Steve Ember.
Bai 5 : Chicago Goes Green in Its Alleys
This is the VOA Special English Development Report.
An environmental project in the American city of Chicago, Illinois, could offer ideas for cities around the world. The project is gaining ground — and it is the ground itself that is involved.
An environmentally friendlier ”green alley” in Chicago
Two years ago, the city’s Transportation Department launched a program to improve surface wear and reduce flooding in alleyways. An alley is a narrow roadway through the middle of a block.
The Green Alley program uses new technologies to help protect the environment, save energy and reduce heat in the city.
Chicago has three thousand kilometers of public alleys — about thirteen thousand alleys in all. Many were built without connections to Chicago’s combined sewer and storm water systems.
Alleys are being rebuilt or renewed with permeable pavement. The material is hard enough to support the trucks that use the alleys to collect trash. But permeable pavement has openings that let water pass through the surface and into the soil below.
Specially formulated asphalt, concrete or pavers can be used. City officials say the material lets as much as eighty percent of rainwater pass through.
Also, sunlight bounces off the light-colored surface, so it stays cool on hot days. Densely built areas of cities trap heat. This is known as the urban heat-island effect.
The Green Alley program also uses recycled materials. And it uses energy-saving streetlights. These direct light downward to reduce light pollution at night.
Research for the project began in two thousand four. No businesses own any patents on the materials used in the Green Alley program.
Not all Chicago alleys need replacing. Program head Janet Attarian says sixty-two alleys will have been renewed or rebuilt by the end of this year. City officials are also starting to use the environmentally friendly technologies for parking areas and low-traffic roads.
Permeable pavement is not very good for roads with a lot of traffic. Too much weight and travel over the material can damage it.
Within six months of pouring Chicago’s first permeable concrete alley, the cost of the new concrete had dropped more than sixty percent.
Chicago has “more miles of alleyways than any other city in the world,” says Mayor Richard M. Daley in the Green Alley Handbook. We’ll post a link to the program at voaspecialenglish.com.
And that’s the VOA Special English Development Report, written by Jill Moss.
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