Q. I’m considering getting a master’s degree to make myself stand out more in this tough job market. What are the pros and cons of online degree programs?

A. Getting a sheepskin without parking costs and a commute is an obvious plus. Online programs may be good for people who are shy, have physical or hearing disabilities or have reasons they have to be at home. And there can be advantages for people who are visual learners, better at retaining information that they see rather than hear.

See also: Online classes offer free and easy lessons.

“Lectures are very auditory, and some people are not auditory learners,” says Russell Poulin of WCET, a group that researches technology-enabled policy and practices in education.

For an online program, you’ll need to be comfortable using a computer, and, ideally, it will have a high-speed Internet connection. Don’t assume the work will be easier.

“What is required to be learned is the same,” says Poulin. “Students often need to exert more self-discipline in keeping up.”

In surveying 183 public universities that offer courses online, his organization found that two-thirds charge the same tuition for traditional classroom programs. Twenty-two percent charge more for online classes, and 10 percent charge less.

But regardless of tuition levels, many universities charge additional fees for online course work that classroom students don’t pay, such as special IT fees.

The survey did not include online-only programs run by such for-profit schools as Kaplan, Strayer and the University of Phoenix.

How valuable are online degrees?

Potential employers may have no way of knowing that your degree didn’t come from classroom work. And if they do know, it may not matter: Human resources reps have begun to view online programs more favorably than a few years ago, recognizing that they’re a new reality, especially for boomers seeking advanced degrees.

Nearly 80 percent of companies that took part in a survey by the Society for Human Resource Management said they have hired online-degreed applicants within the past 12 months.

But all else considered, six in 10 hirers surveyed said that they still prefer applicants with a “traditional” degree.

Regards,

Sid K

(Originally written August 19, 2011)

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Facebook and Google get compared a lot these days, but with its new advertising strategy, Facebook is adapting Google’s ad strategy to its social media.

Improving advertising on the popular social network is not a new or particularly innovative idea. Still the transition from advertising as a message-delivering medium to a platform for social sharing is a radical departure for Facebook. It could be the Facebook advertising solution that turns advertising partners (brands) into better social media communicators and gets Facebook members to start recommending and sharing advertisers as much as they do their latest cat video.

As for the Google comparison. Recall that in the early days, Google had a choice: Take money from advertisers for higher search rankings or ignore such offers and focus on making its search engine the best it could be.

Google at first didn’t know how it would make money. Founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin figured that if they built a better mousetrap, the money would eventually flow. And it did!

Like Google, Facebook didn’t invent a category, it refined it. Friendster and MySpace predated Facebook just like Yahoo and Alta Vista came before Google. Like Google, Facebook figured that if it got enough people on board and continually improved its social network, eventually it would figure out a way to make money.

Facebook’s overtures at first were clumsy. “Beacon”, the advertising platform Facebook introduced in 2007, informed all your friends when you made potentially embarrassing purchases or rentals on Blockbuster and other retail partners — and was eventually shuttered. Since then, Facebook seems content cashing in on its huge user base via display advertising.

SEE ALSO: The History of Advertising on Facebook [INFOGRAPHIC]

Now, however, Facebook’s ad strategy is becoming clear. And it’s not only brilliant, it’s unexpected. Facebook’s strategy, like Google’s, is to not only improve its network and experience, but improve the advertising as well. Now, that’s not so clever, admittedly. The really interesting part is the way Facebook plans to improve it: by making brand Pages better.

Why? Facebook doesn’t make a dime on any of the Pages set up by advertisers. As a marketer, you could do quite well for yourself by running a brand Page and never buying a single ad. But you could only do so well. The reason you will have to buy ads on Facebook goes to the heart of why you need to advertise in the first place.

A few years ago, I read a story about the marketing for Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith the last movie (by release date, not chronologically) in the Star Wars franchise. I was genuinely baffled as to why Lucasfilm was putting such a heavy advertising push behind the movie. I mean, after all, didn’t everyone who cared already know that the movie was coming out?

Jim Ward, Lucasfilm’s vice president of marketing at the time, though, told me the stakes were huge for that movie. If the studio did absolutely no advertising, it would likely lose $110 million or so in box office returns. “What we need to do is go beyond the core audience, not only from a box office perspective but from a brand-management perspective,” he told me at the time.

In other words: You don’t need to let Star Wars fans know that a Star Wars movie is coming out, but you do need to target all those millions of people who are on the fence about Star Wars or are too young to remember it.

The same is true for any brand that really wants to grow. You will get only so far keeping your base happy. What you need to do is reach beyond them.

It turns out that approaching friends of that base may be the best way to do this. Why? Think back to the last time a friend convinced you to take a flyer on a new product or maybe made you think of an old brand in a new way. For instance, I have a friend who is a total Mac-head who surprised me last year when he said that Windows 7 was as good as the Mac OS. Movies are another good example. Have you ever written off a new movie only to be completely turned around when a friend told you it was actually really good? (Of course, this cuts the other way, too.)

That’s the thinking behind two new announcements Facebook is making this week. One is a new ad unit. The other is a set of metrics that will help administrators create better brand Pages.

The combination of the two reveals where Facebook’s thinking is going. Facebook is putting pressure on advertisers to create better content for their brand Pages. If they do, those brands will have a better chance of winning over friends of fans either by advertising or by creating something viral. It’s a cycle that has the potential to redefine the way we interact with brands. From now on, brands will be friends or friends of friends rather than spammers trying to bombard your consciousness.

Social media is still new, but so was search once. While figuring out how to make money off of search seems obvious in retrospect, it clearly wasn’t at the time. In the same way, someday we’ll look back at how Facebook invented social media advertising and wonder why no one thought of it sooner.

Best Regards,

Nathan

* Original post from “Mashable OP-ED” written by Todd Wasserman

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Have you ever worked really hard on graphics for your site only to find later that someone has stolen them as their own. You can help encrypt and protect your site with the following HTML codes. No right click block is 100% effective, but they will help against novices.

Use the script below so when someone right clicks to save an image off your page, a message will come up letting people know that your information is copyrighted.

This script may not work in all browsers, and is not foolproof. If someone really wants something from your page they can find ways around it, but at least it’s a warning to people who want to take your graphics. But it certainly is a great start.

Copy and paste the following code, and make sure it comes right after your <HEAD> tag:

<script language=JavaScript> var message=”Function Disabled!”; function clickIE4(){ if (event.button==2){ alert(message); return false; } } function clickNS4(e){ if (document.layers||document.getElementById&&!document.all){ if (e.which==2||e.which==3){ alert(message); return false; } } } if (document.layers){ document.captureEvents(Event.MOUSEDOWN); document.onmousedown=clickNS4; } else if (document.all&&!document.getElementById){ document.onmousedown=clickIE4; } document.oncontextmenu=new Function(“alert(message);return false”) </script>

If you don’t like using javascript, you can always use a span tag to position a transparent gif over the top of the image like the example code below. Don’t forget, you will need to create a transparent.gif to implement this method.

<span style=”background-image: url(images/my_image.jpg)”><img src=”images/transparent.gif” width=”200″ height=”150″ border=”0″ alt=”Protected Image.”></span>

“NO RIGHT CLICK” for Source

Here is a handy little script which will not only protect your images from right clicking, but your whole page. Remember this only stops some visitors from viewing your source. There are ways around it and if someone really wants to view your source they may find a way. There is another trick below to protect your source code.

<script language=JavaScript> var message=”Function Disabled!”; function clickIE4(){ if (event.button==2){ alert(message); return false; } } function clickNS4(e){ if (document.layers||document.getElementById&&!document.all){ if (e.which==2||e.which==3){ alert(message); return false; } } } if (document.layers){ document.captureEvents(Event.MOUSEDOWN); document.onmousedown=clickNS4; } else if (document.all&&!document.getElementById){ document.onmousedown=clickIE4; } document.oncontextmenu=new Function(“alert(message);return false”) </script>

Enjoy!

Nathan Lumpkin

www.NathanLumpkin.com

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