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New Jersey College Offers Classroom on a Flash Drive

New Jersey's Thomas Edison State College has been in the experimentation mode with a new form of course delivery: the flash drive. These solid state memory devices are the size of a house key and fit in one of the USB drives on your computer - a slot that has been standard on all computers for years. The success of their program will be leading to expansion of this addition to online education technology.

The flash drive contains all of the course work required for completion, except the textbook(s). The contents of the drive includes all lectures, slide presentations, videos, tests, class notes and the software required for making use of all that academic material. You can both review and utilized the material on the memory device as any software that is needed for writing or preparing other documents is provided. Each flash drive has two gigabytes of memory.

Last year the college experimented with these devices and this year, with the aid of a $250,000 grant form U.S. Department of Education's Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE) they intend to expand the program. They will offer 40 courses over the next two years that will be delivered entirely via flash drives. The drives offer the functionality of the college's typical 12-week, asynchronous online courses, without the need for a continuous online connection.

Thomas Edison is a state school that is designed for adult and continuing education, providing year-round registration and extensive tools for credit transfers for adults with previous college experience and for every branch of the military. Their typical student is working while attending school, so the flash drive provides the opportunity to use more than one computer for class work - completed assignments and tests can be uploaded whenever an online connection is available.

Police offices pursuing the school's criminal justice degree, for example, will be able to carry their coursework in a pocket for use during a break. Students who are studying for one of the College's specializations for business administration will be able to utilize commute time for studying.

Thomas Edison State College currently has 17,000 students with an average age of 35 years. All of the Liberal Arts degrees are available as majors, along with majors for growing job sectors including healthcare management, marketing and accounting.

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