From:         Patrick Douglas Crispen
Subject:      TOURBUS - 18 Oct 2005 - The Top 22 - Part 4


The Internet Tourbus - U.S. Library of Congress ISSN #1094-2239
Copyright © Bob Rankin and Patrick Crispen - All rights reserved

Howdy, y'all, and greetings once again from deep behind the orange curtain in beautiful Irvine, California, where it's one, two, three strikes you're *SAFE* at the old ball game. :(


On with the show... Each year or so I create a handout titled "The Internet Tourbus Guide to the Most Useful Sites in the World." Today is the fourth post in my never-ending series, and today's stops all focus on education. You can find my previous posts in the Tourbus archives at

13. US Institutional Accreditation System

How can you make sure the college or university in which you are about to enroll is truly legitimate and not just another diploma mill? One way is to check the college's or university's accreditation--a certification by an independent, outside entity that the school meets certain acceptable standards in its education programs, services, and facilities--but there's nothing stopping diploma mills from lying about their accreditation or, even more insidiously, creating their own 'diploma mill accreditation agencies' whose standards may not be all that strict.

The United States government offers a free, online database of about 6,900 postsecondary educational institutions and programs, each of which is accredited by an agency recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education as a "reliable authority as to the quality of postsecondary education." You can find the database at

14. Understanding University Success

Once you have found an accredited school, you need to make sure you [or your kids] have the necessary skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in college. Most high school students and returning adult learners have no clue what college is like and most new college students are shocked and surprised by the breadth of knowledge and skills university professors expect of their students.

Back in 1998 the Association of American Universities with the assistance of the Pew Charitable Trusts decided to identify what students need to know and be able to do in order to succeed in entry- level university courses at America's research universities. Five years later, the results were published in a free booklet and CD-ROM titled "Understanding University Success." Included in the booklet is something called "Knowledge and Skills for University Success", a listing of what university faculty expect from students in entry- level courses in English, mathematics, natural sciences, social sciences, second languages and the arts. You can view it here:

If you don't want to read the booklet online, you can download it for free in Adobe Acrobat PDF format. You can also have the booklet snail-mailed to you on paper (US$7.50) or on a CD-ROM (US$5.00.) No matter what way you use to get the booklet, note that each subject area has two subsections:

1. Foundations -- a macro-level look at the skills and attributes
of successful students in this subject area.

2. Standards -- specific subject area knowledge and skill sets

The standards lists for each of the six subject areas are probably the most important educational documents to be produced in a long while. These lists show the skills and knowledge that America's research universities expect from entering freshmen. Not to put too fine a point on it, but I wouldn't be surprised if, over the next couple of years, most states begin to align their K-12 curriculum to align with the standards in this booklet.


Our final stop is at a commercial Web site with which I am proud to be associated:

If you've been to the computer section of your local bookstore you've probably seen a wall of books written by Lynda Weinman. She's the graphics guru who invented the "Browser-Safe Palette" used by everyone during the pioneer days of the web and she's also the person behind the colorful "Hands-On Training" books that teach you how to use Photoshop, Flash, Acrobat, Director, Dreamweaver, Fireworks, QuickTime ... the list goes on and on.

What makes Lynda Weinman's Hands-On Training books so cool is that they come with CD-ROMs packed with videos that actually *SHOW* you, step-by-step how to use Photoshop... or Flash... or Acrobat... or...

But what if you want to watch the videos without having to plunk down $50 for each book? Well, for a $25 monthly subscription to, you can access over TEN THOUSAND online training movies covering over 150 topics. Check out

for the complete list of topics. And if you can't afford $25 a month, check out that page anyway. gives you free access to 1,065 movie titles. [Full disclosure: I am both a author and a premium subscriber.]

How Safe Is Your Computer?

Did you know... a survey conducted by the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) and backed by the US Department of Homeland Security found that more than 70% of computer owners falsely believed they were safe from online threats such as adware, spyware and viruses?

The truth is, it's easy to get infected without even knowing it. Downloading free software or visiting tainted Web pages can often infect your computer. What's an unsuspecting computer owner to do? No need to worry - you can take steps to eliminate this false sense of security by taking a few precautions to protect yourself. And Smart Computing can help. Sign up for your 3 RISK-FREE ISSUES now!

That's it for today. Have a safe and happy week, and we'll talk again soon.

.~~~. )) (\__/) .' ) )) Patrick Douglas Crispen /o o \/ .~ {o_, \ { / , , ) \ `~ -' \ } )) AOL Instant Messenger: Squirrel2K _( ( )_.' ---..{____} Warning: squirrels.

The Internet Tourbus - U.S. Library of Congress ISSN #1094-2239
Copyright © Bob Rankin and Patrick Crispen - All rights reserved
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