BYU Idaho offers an overview of online learning: advantages, strengths, and limits

High School juniors and seniors can begin their BYU-Idaho education online at a significantly lower cost while still in high school. Learn more.


Here are some thoughts about online learning, from the university’s website:

Click on image to read more about this book

Click on image to read more about this book


Recommended Reading: Online Learning: A User-Friendly Approach for High School and College Students

In every online class, some students are wildly successful, some earn average or slightly below-average grades, some barely pass, some fail, and some drop out. Whatever a student’s age, situation, or lifestyle, everything needed for successfully completing an online class is right here in this book. Each chapter covers a specific element of online learning and provides the new online student with practical strategies and how-to information so that any student can go into an online classroom prepared to succeed.


This book has strategies and tips that every online professor wants students to know before they sign up for an online class. Bowman has provided a reference tool for students to develop self-directed learning skills that will help them become secure and knowledgeable about technology, studying, communicating online, and getting work done on time.


It is important to understand that online learning is a delivery method not an ideology.

Online courses have the same learning outcomes as campus courses. In fact the same faculty that created the campus course created the online version.

Online courses leverage the power of the learning model to help students take ownership of their own education and facilitate lifelong learning.

Watch this video about deep learning in online courses.

Knowing how to learn effectively online and use technology is critical in today’s workplace. Students who take online courses are better prepared to live in a world that is based on technology.

Meridian Idaho Public Schools Ban The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexi

downloadThe Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian has been banned from an Idaho school district.

According to the Idaho Statesman,  some Meridian School District parents and students cautioned the board about banning the book, while others labeled it pornographic and racist. Brady Kissel, a Mountain View High School student, brought a petition with 350 signatures asking the board to keep the book as part of the district’s curriculum.

“It is the very idea that our education is being censored,” she said.

More than 100 people came to the board meeting, with most speaking against keeping the book.

Lonnie Stiles complained that it subjects children to filthy words “we do not speak in our home.”

Stacy Lacy, a Meridian teacher, countered that the book appeals to many teenagers.

She told the story of one boy who was turned off to reading and was in summer school – a boy who was glued to his cellphone instead of doing his work. But when he got the book, he “devoured it and passed the class,” she said.

In the book, Sherman Alexie tells the story of Junior, a budding cartoonist growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Determined to take his future into his own hands, Junior leaves his troubled school on the rez to attend an all-white farm town high school where the only other Indian is the school mascot. Heartbreaking, funny, and beautifully written, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, which is based on the author’s own experiences, coupled with poignant drawings that reflect the character’s art, chronicles the contemporary adolescence of one Native American boy as he attempts to break away from the life he thought he was destined to live.

Mad Dogs from the CHERUB Series is “Punchy, exciting, glamorous”

indexGang warfare gets gruesome in the eighth book of the CHERUB series, which Rick Riordan says has “plenty of action.”

In Mad Dogs, CHERUB agents are highly trained, extremely talented—and all under the age of seventeen. For official purposes, these agents do not exist. They are sent out on missions to spy on terrorists, hack into crucial documents, and gather intel on global threats—all without gadgets or weapons. It is an extremely dangerous job, but these agents have one crucial advantage: Adults never suspect that teens are spying on them.

In Mad Dogs, the British underworld is controlled by gangs. When two of them start a turf war, violence explodes onto the streets. The police need information fast, and James has the contacts to infiltrate the most dangerous gang of all…

‘Punchy, exciting, glamorous and, what’s more, you’ll completely wish it was true.’ — Sunday Express ‘Crackling tension and high-octane drama.’ — Daily Mail ‘A really good book that you could re-read over and over again.’ — Guardian ‘Pacy writing, punchy dialogue and a gripping plot, it’s got it all.’ — Daily Express ‘Fast-moving action … and cool gadgets!’ — The Times

“If you can’t bear to read another story about elves, princesses or spoiled rich kids who never go to the toilet, try this.” according to The Ultimate Teen Book Guide. “You won’t regret it.”

About Robert Muchamore

Robert Muchamore was born in Islington, London in 1972. He still lives there, and worked as a private investigator up until 2005 and the critically-accepted release of Maximum Security.

The Hunger Games phenomenon is part of the huge YA / Children’s book explosion that has grown, thanks to the British Rat pack of YA authors, Anthony Horowitz, Robert Muchamore, Mark A Cooper, Joe Craig and Charlie Higson. We owe much of the hunger games sucess to authors like Robert.

Robert was inspired to create the CHERUB series by his nephews’ complaints about the lack of anything for them to read. CHERUB: The Recruit was Robert’s first book and won the Red House Children’s Book Award 2005 in the Older Readers Category.

Following the last book in the CHERUB series, it was revealed that a trilogy would be released starting from August 2011 that will focus on a new set of CHERUB agents centred upon Ryan Sharma and also involve an sixteen year old Lauren Adams. The first book will be called People’s Republic.

Check out the Hendersons Boys series.

Ballet Idaho Presents Alice in Wonderland

 Come see Charles Lutwidge Dodgson’s classic Alice in Wonderland presented by  Ballet Idaho!

On the occasion of Alice Kingsley’s 15th birthday, the Hadmatter family, friends of the Kingsleys, are hosting a ball in Alice’s honor. Already uneasy with social occasions, things become worse when her older bossy sister, Quendleheart, forces herself on Hatwin Hadmatter, the older of the two Hadmatter sons and secret sweetheart of Alice, leaving her to his obnoxious younger brother, Redford.

Friday, April 11, 2014 8:00pm
Saturday, April 12, 2014 2:00pm Matinee
Saturday, April 12, 2014 8:00pm Evening

Things go downhill from there, quite literally, for Alice: A top hat appears out of nowhere, containing an invitation to a tea party; a white rabbit follows; a wild tumble down the rabbit hold ends in a hall of doors; a magic garden; twins, a caterpillar and an illusive Cheshire cat; a white king and queen with chess pieces as their court; a duchess baking tarts; a mad hatter with strange company; a conspiracy to overthrow the red queen and king; an army of marching playing cards’ a rigged croquet game; theft, betrayal, war and fearsome dragon of the Jabberwocky kind.

Alice finds herself in the midst of this wild, strange and adventurous journey, ultimately taming the Jabberwocky with a stolen tart and becoming the queen of wonderland. When she returns to the ball, things have changed in her favor: she is dancing with her secret sweetheart Hatwin, who confesses his love for her. The ball goes on and Alice is happy indeed to be there!

Music by Herbert Baumann
Choreography by Alex Ossadnik
Scenic Designed by Valeria Rios
Scenic Construction by Richard Hess & the NMU Scene shop
Costumes by Megan Ann Richardson

Ticket prices (ticketing fees not included):
P1/Section A $58.00 Floor Rows AA – M; Mezzanine Rows A – D
P2/Section B $43.00 Floor Rows N – V; Mezzanine Rows E – G
P3/Section C $38.00 Floor Rows W – Z; Mezzanine Rows H – N

All seats are reserved. Everyone through the door, regardless of age, requires a ticket. Latecomers will be seated at the discretion of Management.

Parking is included for Morrison Center events. For Morrison Center for the Performing Arts information, including parking and upcoming event details, click here

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- See more at:

Teen Spirit: “A beautiful story from a legendary young adult author”

18054018Teen Spirit

“A passionate, dreamy, brief paranormal, with a breath-of-fresh-air monstrous heroine and enjoyably surreal set dressing.” -(Kirkus Reviews)

Francesca Lia Block, critically acclaimed author of Weetzie Bat, brings this eerie and redemptive ghost story to life with her signature, poetic prose. It’s perfect for fans of supernatural stories with a touch of romance like the Beautiful Creatures series by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl.

After Julie’s grandmother passes away, she is forced to move across town to the not-so-fancy end of Beverly Hills and start over at a new school. The only silver lining to the perpetual dark cloud that seems to be following her? Clark—a die-hard fan of Buffy and all things Joss Whedon, who is just as awkward and damaged as she is. Her kindred spirit.

When the two try to contact Julie’s grandmother with a Ouija board, they make contact with a different spirit altogether. The real kind. And this ghost will do whatever it takes to come back to the world of the living.

Francesca Lia Block’s latest young adult novel is a haunting work about family, loss, love, and redemption.

“Block returns with a haunting ghost story set in her beloved Los Angeles. In the course of a few months, Julie has lost everything,” According to School Library Journal.  “Her grandmother died. Her mother lost her job, and subsequently their house.”

And Julie’s been forced to move into a cramped two-bedroom apartment in a new school district while her mother goes through a midlife crisis that involves dating an aging metalhead. When she meets Clark, an enigmatic and peculiar senior, the two form an instant connection until Julie convinces him to help her contact her dead grandmother via an old Ouija board. Unfortunately, their misguided attempt has lasting and haunting repercussions when a malevolent ghost possesses Clark’s body. Suddenly, the teens are running all over Los Angeles trying to find herbs and roses to cleanse Clark of this spirit before he’s lost forever. Told in Block’s signature, flowing prose, Teen Spirit is a layered story that’s more about grief than it is about ghosts. Julie’s narration is fast paced and accessible; readers won’t be bogged down by intricate plots or complex ghost mythology. This is just a story about two kids learning to deal with loss. Julie realizes she cannot cling to the dead; she must hold her grandmother in her heart as she tries to live her own life. A beautiful story from a legendary young adult author.

“A true original…[Block] has created something psychologically complex, erotically charged, and unusually poignant.” (Booklist (starred review))

“A startlingly original work that drives a stake deep into the heart of typical vampire stories.” (School Library Journal)

Hidden Girl: The True Story of a Modern-Day Child Slave by Shyima Hall

41Ze42TmQpL._SY344_PJlook-inside-v2,TopRight,1,0_SH20_BO1,204,203,200_Hidden Girl: The True Story of a Modern-Day Child Slave is an inspiring and compelling memoir from a young woman who lost her childhood to slavery—and built a new life grounded in determination and justice.

Shyima Hall was born in Egypt on September 29, 1989, the seventh child of desperately poor parents. When she was eight, her parents sold her into slavery. Shyima then moved two hours away to Egypt’s capitol city of Cairo to live with a wealthy family and serve them eighteen hours a day, seven days a week. When she was ten, her captors moved to Orange County, California, and smuggled Shyima with them. Two years later, an anonymous call from a neighbor brought about the end of Shyima’s servitude—but her journey to true freedom was far from over.

A volunteer at her local police department since she was a teenager, Shyima is passionate about helping to rescue others who are in bondage. Now a US citizen, she regularly speaks out about human trafficking and intends to one day become an immigration officer. In Hidden Girl, Shyima candidly reveals how she overcame her harrowing circumstances and brings vital awareness to a timely and relevant topic.

This harrowing tale, published in conjunction with National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, is the true story of an Egyptian girl who was sold by her parents into domestic slavery at age 8, brought illegally to the U.S. at 10 and rescued by Child Protective Services in Orange County, Calif., acting on an anonymous tip, at age 12,” reads a review in the Buffalo News.

Hall’s straightforward narrative puts in sharp focus the monsters of her horror story: the parents who sold her, and the captors who forced her to slave 18 hours a day, called her “stupid girl” and refused her proper food, clothing, medical care, schooling. Shyima was born in 1989, the seventh of 11 children of a very poor family. Her parents sold her to a wealthy family supposedly to pay off a debt incurred by an older sister. When Shiyma was 10, the family moved to the U.S. to an exclusive gated community in Irvine, Calif., where she lived in a windowless room over the garage, slaved late into the night and washed her clothes in a bucket outdoors. Her life after rescue was not easy, as she navigated a series of foster homes, struggled to learn to read, ended up in a middle school where she was bullied by gang members and suffered through constant pain which was eventually diagnosed as rheumatoid arthritis. Her battle for justice is inspiring, as she pursued prosecution of her captors, obtained citizenship and began the steps toward what she hopes will be a career in criminal justice to help other victims of human trafficking.


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Writing Great Books for Young Adults: Everything You Need to Know, from Crafting the Idea to Landing a Publishing Deal

9781402247743_p0_v1_s260x420“‘Harry Potter’ opened so many doors for young adult literature. It really did convince the publishing industry that writing for children was a viable enterprise. And it also convinced a lot of people that kids will read if we give them books that they care about and love.” – Rick Riordan

Young-adult fiction, commonly called “YA fiction,” has exploded over the past decade or so: The number of YA titles published grew more than 120 percent between 2002 and 2012, and other estimates say that between 1997 and 2009, that figure was closer to 900 percent, according to an article by Nolan Feeney. “Ask a handful of young-adult fiction writers what exactly makes a YA novel, though, and you’ll get a handful of conflicting answers.”

From a top young adult literary agent, the only guide on how to write for young adults:

With an 87 percent increase in the number of titles published in the last two years, the young adult market is one of the healthiest segments in the industry. Despite this, little has been written to help authors hone their craft to truly connect with this audience. Writing Great Books for Young Adults gives writers the advice they need to tap this incredible market.

Topics covered include: Listening to the voices of youth; Meeting your young protagonist; Developing a writing style; Constructing plots; and Trying on points of view.

Agent Regina Brooks has developed award-winning authors across the YA genre, including a Coretta Scott King winner. She attends more than 20 conferences each year, meeting with authors and teaching.

Feeney continues:

At their core, YA books are for and about teenagers and pre-teens, usually between 12 and 18 years old, but sometimes as young as 10. Yet more than half of all YA novels sold are bought by older adults 18 or older, and certain titles published in the U.S. as YA are considered mainstream fiction for adults in other countries. Some authors believe the intent to write for young readers is a prerequisite of YA fiction; others don’t even realize their books will be labeled as YA until after they finish writing.

Many successful authors say there’s no secret to writing for teenagers. Good writing is good writing; believable characters and compelling plots are crucial regardless of who’s picking up the book. But many YA authors will also tell you there’s something particularly fulfilling and rewarding about writing for teenagers, who often respond to stories they identify with more intensely and gratefully than adult readers do. I asked eight writers and editors how they create characters and stories that feel real to teenagers, even when their world—and the world of the YA books they read—can feel like another planet. Below are eight of their most successful strategies.

Finally, take a look at this EXCERPT From an article WHAT MAKES A MEMORABLE NOVEL?

 Characters.  Does the reader even care enough about them to finish the book to see what happens to them? Is the plot appropriate for the characters? What about their dialogue? Is their dialogue compatible with who they are and where they came from? Or is it tortured and way too proper for them? Many of us were taught “proper English,” but the more I write the more I realize if it’s appropriate for a character to use English that’s not proper, then that’s as it should be.I was taught not to start a sentence with “and” or “but” and never use “was because.” But that’s how we often speak and characters would too, so more and more I’m using them.  I’m just a few weeks away from publishing Tea Party Teddy, a tell-all California political novel.  There are some tough gangster characters in it. Would they use the same dialogue that Teddy, a legislator, would use? Of course not. Characters and their dialogue have to be believable.

Setting. Does the setting fit in with the plot and the characters? A Beverly Hills Barbie is probably not going to be very believeable in the jungles of the Amazon in her Jimmy Choo shoes unless there’s been a reason for her to go there. And is the setting believeable as well? Today there’s no excuse for not making a setting believable. It’s all a click away on the Internet. I recall when I was writing Blue Coyote Motel I spent a lot of time looking at maps of various cities to get my streets, directions, hotels, etc. correct. It’s easy. Recently I read a book by a very well-known author and there was a huge error on the first page of the book. The airport given was not correct for the city. I know, because I fly in and out of that airport a lot. In today’s world that’s simply  inexcusable and that’s the kind of  stuff that makes a reader put the book down. If the author doesn’t care enough (or the editor) to make sure that what is written is correct, why would I want to continue with the book?

The Little Things. Attention to detail is huge in a novel. If the protagonist is going to fly from Paris to Los Angeles, the author better make sure that flying time, time zones and extra time for Customs, Immigration, etc. have all been properly accounted for. How often have you read something and the character would have to have been beamed from one place to another to make the times given doable? If one of the characters has brown hair early on in the book, unless there’s been a given reason for it to be another color at the end of the book, it better still be brown.

“A lot of people have no idea that right now Y.A. (young adult). is the Garden of Eden of literature.” – Sherman Alexie


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