Institutional Support for Assessment: Southern New Hampshire University

An institution of interest for their assessment practices is Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU).  SNHU is a nonprofit university offering undergraduate and graduate degrees in three delivery options: on-campus, online, or at regional academic centers.  Television commercials for the university have featured its military-friendly format, and the university has received recognitions for innovativeness and its great workplace.  With these things in consideration, the university must be doing something right to be perceived well by students, employers, and third-parties alike. Continue reading

Models for Course Design

Adequate strategic planning is essential to the success of any project, regardless of institution.  Effective planning for improvement requires self-evaluation, assesses needs, proposes goals, and generates solutions that achieve ideal outcomes.  In education, teachers are additionally pressured because their strategies and decisions affect the academic future of their students.  To guide these strategies and decisions, course design models are created with the critical factors necessary to develop courses that effectively foster significant learning experiences. This paper will explore two course design models that have withstood the test of time. Continue reading

Literary Fiction – What is it, really?

The literary genre is arguably the most misunderstood genre of writing of today. I recently saw a discussion on social media in which literary was described as “flowery and sophisticated words.” Sambuchino, editor of Writer’s Digest, described literary fiction as “requir[ing] the highest command of the language” and “not easily defined, and sometimes the premise is not easily explained.” Santi, editor of Our Stories named common misconceptions of literary fiction, “they assume that the reader is interested in continuous tags of dialogue, riddled with unimportant gestures and gesticulations” (cited in Allen). Because of this widespread misconception on the definition of literary fiction, writers’ “literary” stories receive swift rejections, and people continue to spread false impressions on what literary truly is.  Continue reading

Shattered Bones, Shattered Dreams: The Short, Undefeated Career of Onlyforyou


On a sunny day this past February at Hallandale Beach, Florida’s Gulfstream Park, a field of eight Thoroughbred racehorses were guided toward the starting gate by tiny jockeys perched atop their backs. The weather was particularly welcoming for a late winter day, and the track was listed as fast–a term used to describe the track footing as dry, even, and at peak efficiency. The field of contenders, all three-year-old fillies, were aiming for the top prize of the Grade 2 Davona Dale Stakes.

The Thoroughbreds filed calmly into the gates and barely fidgeted as they awaited the start–except for one. A strong bay filly of almost 16 hands (64 inches at her back) in the third stall of the gate challenged her tiny steel confinement for a brief moment. Onlyforyou was her name. She reared and pranced nervously, causing her five-foot-one, 115-pound jockey, Javier Castellano, to dismount until she calmed down. Her trainer, Todd Pletcher, watched the outburst from among the crowd with a fleeting moment of disappointment. Little did anyone know, Onlyforyou’s eruption was just a preview of the power she would unleash when she would break from the gates.

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Independent Author Rises Above The Tiny Islands


Nestled in the northwestern corner of Washington lies the picturesque Orcas Island.  This horseshoe-shaped island is home to breathtaking mountainous and ocean views, and home to independent author, Keary Taylor.  A married mother of two, she has exhibited steadfast passion and discipline to self-publish seven novels, three shorter novelettes and companion pieces, and amassed over over three-quarters of a million downloads in the short four years of her career.  But her career wasn’t always so successful.

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