With good advisers, dual-credit program is helping Idaho kids go beyond high school

Idaho students who attend public school in grades seven to 12 are provided a great opportunity when it comes to pursuing postsecondary education. The Statesman published an article July 18 that talked about steps state officials are considering to make sure that classes students take under the dual-credit program work well for both students and state taxpayers. But I want to note the significant steps already in place to address those concerns.

A little background: The Idaho Legislature has set aside $4,125 for students to pursue overload courses (high school courses that must be above and beyond the regular day), Dual Credit courses, Advanced Placement exams and Career Technical Education (CTE) exams. These options provide opportunities for students to plan their future and make preparations for postsecondary schooling whether they attend a two-year, four-year or technical education.

The State Board Office, the Department of Education, all Idaho colleges and the Idaho Digital Learning Academy have made great strides in providing a framework for students interested in obtaining college credit and/or certificates while still in high school. During the 2015-2017 school years, an extensive push in professional development took place in order to educate counselors and academic advisers to better advise students grade seven to 12.

In addition, steps were taken to make sure that the credits taken in high school would be accepted by Idaho schools, as intended. In 2016-2017, College of Western Idaho also introduced the General Education Matriculation Certification, also known as GEM, which guarantees that any student who completes this certification while in high school would be exempt from general education requirements if attending one of the Idaho public colleges.

This certification is 36 credits, so a student who achieves this will save many hours and approximately $3,600 at College of Western Idaho and more than $6,000 at Boise State University in postsecondary schooling. This can be a huge savings to students and parents alike. Of course, it is very important high school students get advising either from the school district or a college dual-credit coordinator to verify specific general education courses for a particular major. In addition, many out-of-state colleges have transfer information on their website so students and parents can verify the validity of taking a high school dual-credit class in respect to a student’s expected degree program.

CSM forges partnership with seamanship school

The College of Southern Maryland has established a new partnership with the Seafarers Harry Lundeberg School of Seamanship in Piney Point. Representatives from both of the educational institutions signed a memorandum of understanding on June 5 about the new relationship at the Piney Point facility.

Students in the one-year apprenticeship program at the seamanship school are training for entry-level positions in the U.S. merchant marine. Starting this fall semester, the partnership with CSM will enable those students to also earn college credit and work toward an associate of applied science degree in Maritime Operations Technology, with an option of a degree in either nautical science or marine engineering. Under this new partnership, CSM will provide the general education courses and SHLSS will provide the technical courses, according to a release.

“I thank CSM for providing the opportunity for our members and your prospective students. This program is going to be a benefit for our membership,” Tom Orzechowski, SHLSS vice president, said in the release. “It will enhance their ability to work toward their degree.”

“I’d like to second your feelings. This is important for the college,” then-CSM president Bradley Gottfried at the signing. “It’s all about workforce development … working with the community. This is such an important facility in Southern Maryland, and for us to be able to work with you on this partnership means so much for our students.”

The partnership expands CSM’s student population and establishes a valued community connection. Initially, the program will begin with CSM faculty teaching English and math classes at the Piney Point facility. In addition, tutoring will be offered to assist students in those classes.

Representatives from SHLSS and CSM have discussed the possibility of a partnership for 18 months.

“They were very interested in having more options for the students,” Tracy Harris, CSM vice president and Leonardtown campus dean, said in the release. “It’s developed into a customer-friendly, student-friendly program. I think it will be something very special. … It’s a wonderful opportunity for both them and us.”

Harris noted that the partnership between the college and the seafaring school will also help area residents be more aware of the programs offered at the Seafarers Harry Lundeberg School of Seamanship.

The seamanship school is affiliated with the Seafarers International Union of North America, Atlantic, Gulf, Lakes and Inland Waters, AFL-CIO.

The seamanship school provides entry-level training for individuals who wish to begin a seafaring career as well as classes for experienced seafarers to permit them to upgrade their skills. It is located on the campus of the Paul Hall Center for Maritime Training and Education, which consists of more than 60 acres on the waterfront in Piney Point.

For information about CSM’s associate of applied science degree in maritime operations technology, go to http://bit.ly/2r2Vq5A.

Algebra or Stats?

Apparently, the California community college system is considering allowing students in non-STEM majors to fulfill a math requirement by taking statistics, rather than algebra.

The idea behind the proposal is twofold. First, algebra generates more student failure and attrition than almost anything else. (One of the guest speakers at Aspen said that his one piece of advice to any college president looking to improve graduation rates would be to fire the math department. We laughed, but he didn’t seem to be kidding.) Second, in many fields, algebra is less useful than statistics.  

The objections are obvious. Most basically, it looks like watering-down. If the solution to increased college completion is to get rid of anything difficult, then college completion itself becomes meaningless. There’s an “exposure” argument, too, that says that many students don’t know they like math or STEM until they’ve found themselves wrestling with it; deprive them of that exposure, even “for their own good,” and the downstream effects are predictable. Pragmatically, there’s an argument from transfer; many four-year colleges won’t take math courses that don’t have an algebra prerequisite. And from within, there’s a valid argument to the effect that if you don’t have basic algebra, you won’t be able to generate most statistics; at most, you might be able to consume them.  

For example, when I took stats, I was captivated by the idea of controlling for a variable. (“You can DO that?”) But the idea of a variable came from algebra.  If you don’t have some level of algebra, I’m not sure how much sense the concept of controlling for one would make. Correlations and standard deviations also rely on some knowledge of algebra.  “Base” and “rate” make sense algebraically. I’m not sure how the course would work.

It’s true that drop/fail rates for algebra courses tend to be higher than for stats courses. It’s also true that in my own scholarly discipline, and in my line of work, I use stats far more than I use algebra. I find the “median” of a distribution on a regular basis, but I don’t remember the last time I used the quadratic formula.  It just doesn’t come up.  

But the argument from usefulness is stronger against many other fields, and it doesn’t get deployed against those. We have a history requirement for A.A. degrees, for example. From a pure ‘usefulness’ standpoint, that’s hard to justify. But there’s a general consensus that the skills students develop through the study of history are valuable, even if it can be hard to demonstrate in as linear a way. (Knowing the future would be far more useful, but it’s hard to find good materials.)  We have a humanities requirement that’s entirely independent of usefulness. Honestly, if we want to argue usefulness, I could imagine a compelling argument that history and literature majors shouldn’t have to take lab sciences. The usefulness argument is a slippery slope.

Stats courses tend to lend themselves to “general education” kinds of applications very well. I’m a fan of questions based on epistemology: “what statistical evidence would prove this claim?” Political journalism offers no shortage of “how to lie with statistics,” which can be excellent fodder for sharpening students’ critical thinking. Just being able to distinguish between correlation and causation is valuable.  

I’d be curious to hear from folks who’ve taught a stats class that didn’t assume any previous knowledge of algebra. Can you sneak the relevant algebra in through the stats? Are the students able to grasp concepts like “control for a variable” without knowing what a variable is? If the students are able to get the critical thinking and quantitative reasoning skills from a stats class without an algebra prereq, I’m on board. I just don’t know if they can.  

Is college about producing well-rounded citizens or graduates with job skills?

Alma Washington is another one of the talented college interns working at the AJC this summer. She is a rising senior at the
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she studies interactive multimedia journalism and creative writing. She
is interning in the audience department at the AJC.

In this piece, Washington looks at general education or gen ed classes, courses required of students regardless of major so
they’ll emerge well-rounded. Schools impose “distribution requirements” to ensure their students sample an array of courses
to satisfy the gen ed mandate.

When you read college statements defending gen ed, you see very big ideals, such as “To prepare our students for lives of
significance and worth.” Or, “To provide a framework for learning that empowers adult learners to be informed and active citizens
in a pluralistic society.”

Despite those noble goals, many students regard gen ed as something to get out of the way as soon as possible. There is a

debate underway about whether students should be bound by someone else’s checklist of what they ought to know to succeed in life.

Today, Washington adds her voice to the discussion.

By Alma Washington

In the ever-changing job market, some tech firms are starting to value learned skills rather than college degrees, and I’m
sure other industries aren’t far behind.  As someone who’s approaching her last year in college, I’ve been thinking about
my time at the University of North Carolina, the classes I’ve taken and what skills I’ll have learned by the time I graduate.

To graduate from UNC, you need at least 120 credit hours on your transcript. 
My journalism major is 39 credit hours. My two minors are 15 credit hours each, which brings me to 69 credit hours between
my major and minors. This means a little less than half of my college career has gone to what are called general education
classes, a collection of credits required by all majors for a degree under the premise that students need a broad knowledge
base beyond their field of study.

Students can choose what general education classes they take within the designated disciplines. This usually includes the
math, science, English and history quartet that students are used to from high school, with some arts and philosophy classes
added into the mix. 
College was touted as a land of choice and opportunity, a reprieve from the repetitive and strict nature of high school. So
why are students forced to spend precious time and money taking classes that often have nothing to do with their major and
career interests?

I’ll admit, I’ve had some great general education classes. After watching the controversial “Memoirs of a Geisha,” I took
a class on Japanese geisha and explored a subject I knew nothing about.

On the other hand, I’ve had some experiences I could’ve easily skipped. My introductory biology class required an expensive
textbook, and I walked away knowing little more than the mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell.  

Alma Washington is a rising senior at the University of North Carolina.

Students should be required to take classes in subjects and departments outside of their major so they have the chance to
tap into the numerous options colleges and universities offer. Having a little extra knowledge never hurts.

The debate around general education requirements boils down to whether colleges are supposed to teach students how to be “well-rounded,”
or equip them with tangible skills that will help them secure a job.

I don’t see why colleges can’t do both, but I don’t agree with the model that most colleges follow.  
A fellow intern introduced me to the “open curriculum” program that some schools are using as a compromise on general education
requirements.


Amherst College

and

Brown University, 

for example, give students total freedom in the classes they take outside of their major.

Learning about this student-choice approach led to a rush of fantasies about what college would have been like had I enjoyed
greater freedom in my class schedule. There are so many classes, both in and out of my department, that I want to take because
they align with my interests and goals, but I won’t have time because of UNC’s gen ed requirements.

Under the open curriculum program, I could have tailored my choices to my major, providing myself with unique and different
courses that would teach me skills relevant and useful to my main course of study. I also would’ve been able to avoid classes
that I only took for graduation credit and left no long-lasting impression.

I understand that general education requirements seek to provide students with communication and critical thinking skills
that employers want. But when I review my college career, it wasn’t those general ed classes that provided me with these skills.
It was the jobs, internships and extracurricular activities that taught me lessons I could never learn inside a classroom.

Opponents of the open curriculum model argue students can misuse this freedom to avoid venturing out their comfort zone and
challenging themselves, which is one of the things college is supposed to help us do. That’s a valid concern, but students
can still avoid challenge now. Whenever it’s nearing class registration time, UNC Facebook groups are flooded with posts asking
what the easiest classes are that will fulfill certain requirements.


Rate My Professors

is a popular site on which students rate professors and classes on overall quality and level of difficulty. Where there’s
a will to take the easy way out, there’s a way.

I love UNC, and wouldn’t trade being there for anything, but I wish my school embraced an open curriculum program. Allowing
students the independence to take control over their own education is what college should be about. With the general ed model,
students will just have to make the best of whatever situation they find themselves in, which, at the end of the day, is a
valuable skill to have.

Taking A Cue From K-12, National University Launches Precision Institute

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National University announced a $20 million initiative Wednesday aimed at taking personalized learning from K-12 classrooms to the lecture hall.

Something called personalized learning is catching on in K-12 classrooms. The idea is that, with help from technology, teachers no longer have to teach to the middle — students at the top and bottom of their class can move at their own pace.

But the concept has not quite caught on in the lecture halls of colleges and universities.

“We historically treated them all the same. We put them in a fixed set of classes and they all get the material in the same way,” said National University President David Andrews. “Now, we’re learning that students respond to the material, they respond to the out-of-classroom support, in very different ways.”

That is why National University announced Wednesday a $20 million initiative called Precision Education. Its goal is to bring personalized learning to higher education.

The university plans to work with its faculty, scholars at other institutions, and local and national tech firms to develop and research tools and teaching strategies that help professors tailor their classes to individual students.

The La Jolla-based university is also building relationships with its healthcare industry neighbors to take lessons from precision medicine.

“Even in medicine we’ve thought for years you have an infection, you get an antibiotic and the antibiotic tends to work for everyone. Now we’re finding there are individual responses for patients to different types of interventions and treatments,” Andrews said. “Same thing in education. Students are responding to interventions and instructional opportunities very differently to one another, so it’s not a one-size-fits-all.”

Some K-12 charter schools are already using a personalized learning platform developed by Facebook. It allows teachers to upload web-based curriculum and formative assessments — low-stakes quizzes that help teachers assess a student’s grasp of the material — so they can track each student more closely and focus their attention and class time where it matters. Advanced students who may have gotten bored in the past can move ahead; students who are farther behind can work independently but still participate in class projects and discussions.

National is already working with its faculty to break curriculum down into chunks that could work on a similar platform. It will pilot various strategies in 20 general education courses over the next academic year.

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State Board could tighten Idaho’s dual credit program

The State Board of Education could take another look at tightening up Idaho’s growing dual-credit program.

In August, the board will consider limiting the taxpayer-funded program to courses that will position high school students for college.

The idea is still in its infancy. The State Board hasn’t written a bill, and board members and staff haven’t discussed the idea with legislators, spokesman Blake Youde said Wednesday. And at its August meeting, the board might decide to pursue the idea, or scrap it entirely.

But the State Board’s discussion comes as Idaho is sinking more money into its “advanced opportunities” program — bankrolling a host of programs designed to improve Idaho’s lackluster college graduation rates. The advanced opportunities program cost Idaho $12.1 million in 2016-17, more than twice as much as the $6 million the 2016 Legislature earmarked for the program.

The advanced opportunities program provides each high school student with a $4,125 line of credit, and they can use these state dollars to enroll in college-level dual-credit classes.

But what classes should students take? The State Board is continuing to wrestle with that question.

In June, the State Board considered 18 possible legislative proposals for 2018. The dual credit wording provides a rough sense of what a bill might look like. It could limit state-funded dual-credit coursework “to either general education courses or those courses that are part of a student’s academic plan that lead to a certificate or degree.”

Budgets, salaries, grad rates: See data relating to Idaho public schools »

The idea is to make sure dual-credit coursework is “more targeted,” and to make sure high schools provide adequate counseling to students participating in the dual credit program.

The State Board looked at the dual credit issue last year, amidst concerns that too many students were taking elective courses that wouldn’t help them pursue a college degree. The State Department of Education disagreed with this assertion — and ultimately, the State Board tabled its dual-credit language.

More reading: Idaho’s Advanced Placement enrollment grows, but challenges linger.

You may also be interested in

UNG receives $10K to use for scholarships

Sawnee Electric Membership Foundation (EMC) awarded the University of North Georgia (UNG) $10,000 for student scholarships.

The scholarships will be used to help high-achieving students who are not currently receiving HOPE Scholarships pay for college.

Last year, UNG awarded five scholarships of $2,000 each, which aided veterans enrolled at the Cumming Campus.

The mission of the Sawnee EMC is to assist in strengthening the communities served by Sawnee EMC by providing financial assistance to selected charitable organizations through the Foundation’s Operation Round Up program. These funds, along with monies from other organizations, allow donations to students, schools and various organizations located in parts of Cherokee, Dawson, Forsyth, Fulton, Gwinnett, Hall, and Lumpkin counties.

UNG’s Cumming Campus opened in August 2012 with more than 500 students. The campus now serves nearly 1,000 students, offers basic core curriculum and general education courses, as well as master’s degrees in business administration and teaching.

‘Precision Education’ Hopes to Apply Big Data to Lift Diverse Student …

Precision Institute at National University Launched to Transform …

The private, nonprofit National University is supporting a four-year, $20-million Precision Education RD effort to develop a learning platform integrating advanced technologies to help higher education institutions adapt to the individual needs of diverse student populations

San Diego, Calif. – Aiming to address some of the most challenging issues confronting higher education today, National University, which serves more than 28,000 primarily-adult learners on campuses and online, is launching today the Precision Institute at National University. The Institute will lead a four-year, $20 million initiative, called Precision Education, that is piloting new approaches to personalize higher education through advanced technologies that adapt to individual student needs and interests with the intent of better serving a diverse student population to college completion. To achieve this goal, the Institute will advance current and future partnerships in coordination with faculty; leading global experts; educational organizations; and education technology partners such as Gooru, Civitas Learning, and Pragya Systems.

The Precision Institute at National University builds on efforts already underway through the Precision Education initiative to identify technology-powered learning approaches that can be leveraged to increase and accelerate student academic success and career development. The Institute will lead research and testing in advanced technologies, open education resources, and predictive analytics with the aim of developing a unique inter-connected and dynamic learning platform. The comprehensive Precision Education initiative has been shaped by National University President Dr. David W. Andrews, with the support of the board of trustees; faculty involved in initiative projects; and the National University System, which is a network of university and education-related affiliates, anchored by National University, dedicated to exceptional student experience to lifelong learners.

“We are entering a new era of opportunity and innovation in higher education with the development of advanced technologies and data analytics tools that can better aid us in creating adaptive learning platforms on a very precise and individual level,” said National University President Dr. David Andrews. “The Precision Institute at National University will contribute to ongoing research in this field as we foster a culture of collaboration with other institutions and organizations that share our mission to better adapt to the unique needs of diverse student learners so that they can more effectively reach their academic and career goals.”

The approaches being explored by the private, nonprofit National University and its Institute are commonly referred to as personalized education or personalized learning, terms that refer to educational approaches that adapt to students’ needs. The Precision Education initiative at National University, led through the Institute, is exploring eight areas related to personalized learning: first-course screening assessments; competency-based learning; adaptive machine learning instruction; micro-badging; online student goal setting;  advisor and adjunct matching; student navigation dashboards and data integrity. The intent is to integrate these approaches, and possibly others, into a uniquely-comprehensive and streamlined personalized education platform. Another distinct feature is the integration of career support services and goal setting throughout the platform.

The next phase of research and development includes integrating Precision Education approaches into 20 general education courses. This process will start in Fall 2017 and proceed through Spring 2018. In addition to research, the Precision Institute at National University, will also support faculty and visiting fellowships, and will host a regular lecture series featuring prominent researchers and experts who are offering innovative approaches toward higher education and learning. The first lecturer, who is speaking at the formal July 19 event to mark the launch of the Precision Institute at National University, is Luciano Floridi, a professor of philosophy and ethics of information at the University of Oxford.

National University is uniquely positioned to house the Precision Institute since it builds on a tradition of offering innovative approaches to higher education, having been created more than 45 years ago to serve the needs of adult and diverse learners through personalized approaches such as evening classes, convenient campus locations, a “one class per month format” and as one of the early pioneers of online education. The Precision Education initiative and Institute also align with the goals of the National University System to emphasize approaches that encourage a “High Tech, High Touch and High Choice” approach to delivering an exceptional student experience through market-relevant programs, superior services, and meaningful learning.

About National University
Founded in 1971, National University is among the largest, private, nonprofit universities in California. With more than 150,000 alumni, National University is the flagship institution of the National University System. National University is dedicated to making lifelong learning opportunities accessible, challenging, and relevant to a diverse population of students. Four schools and two colleges – the College of Letters and Sciences; the Sanford College of Education; the School of Business and Management; the School of Engineering and Computing; the School of Health and Human Services; and the School of Professional Studies – offer more than 100 graduate and undergraduate degrees and 23 teacher credentials. Programs are offered at locations throughout California and across the nation, and are also available online. National University is headquartered in La Jolla, California. http://www.nu.edu/

About the National University System
The National University System is a network of accredited nonprofit education institutions serving higher education and K-12 students that includes National University, John F. Kennedy University, City University of Seattle, and the Division of Pre-College Programs. Established in 2001 to meet the emerging challenges and demands of education in the 21st Century, the network’s complementary universities offer pathways for students to attain professional and terminal degrees through quality and innovative programs delivered in a format that is flexible to the needs of adult learners. The anchor institution, National University, was founded in in 1971 and is among the largest private, nonprofit institutions of higher education in California with more than 150,000 alumni. For more information on the National University System: https://www.nusystem.org/

Precision Institute at National University Launched to Transform Higher Education Through Personalized Learning …

The private, nonprofit National University is supporting a four-year, $20-million Precision Education RD effort to develop a learning platform integrating advanced technologies to help higher education institutions adapt to the individual needs of diverse student populations

San Diego, Calif. – Aiming to address some of the most challenging issues confronting higher education today, National University, which serves more than 28,000 primarily-adult learners on campuses and online, is launching today the Precision Institute at National University. The Institute will lead a four-year, $20 million initiative, called Precision Education, that is piloting new approaches to personalize higher education through advanced technologies that adapt to individual student needs and interests with the intent of better serving a diverse student population to college completion. To achieve this goal, the Institute will advance current and future partnerships in coordination with faculty; leading global experts; educational organizations; and education technology partners such as Gooru, Civitas Learning, and Pragya Systems.

The Precision Institute at National University builds on efforts already underway through the Precision Education initiative to identify technology-powered learning approaches that can be leveraged to increase and accelerate student academic success and career development. The Institute will lead research and testing in advanced technologies, open education resources, and predictive analytics with the aim of developing a unique inter-connected and dynamic learning platform. The comprehensive Precision Education initiative has been shaped by National University President Dr. David W. Andrews, with the support of the board of trustees; faculty involved in initiative projects; and the National University System, which is a network of university and education-related affiliates, anchored by National University, dedicated to exceptional student experience to lifelong learners.

“We are entering a new era of opportunity and innovation in higher education with the development of advanced technologies and data analytics tools that can better aid us in creating adaptive learning platforms on a very precise and individual level,” said National University President Dr. David Andrews. “The Precision Institute at National University will contribute to ongoing research in this field as we foster a culture of collaboration with other institutions and organizations that share our mission to better adapt to the unique needs of diverse student learners so that they can more effectively reach their academic and career goals.”

The approaches being explored by the private, nonprofit National University and its Institute are commonly referred to as personalized education or personalized learning, terms that refer to educational approaches that adapt to students’ needs. The Precision Education initiative at National University, led through the Institute, is exploring eight areas related to personalized learning: first-course screening assessments; competency-based learning; adaptive machine learning instruction; micro-badging; online student goal setting;  advisor and adjunct matching; student navigation dashboards and data integrity. The intent is to integrate these approaches, and possibly others, into a uniquely-comprehensive and streamlined personalized education platform. Another distinct feature is the integration of career support services and goal setting throughout the platform.

The next phase of research and development includes integrating Precision Education approaches into 20 general education courses. This process will start in Fall 2017 and proceed through Spring 2018. In addition to research, the Precision Institute at National University, will also support faculty and visiting fellowships, and will host a regular lecture series featuring prominent researchers and experts who are offering innovative approaches toward higher education and learning. The first lecturer, who is speaking at the formal July 19 event to mark the launch of the Precision Institute at National University, is Luciano Floridi, a professor of philosophy and ethics of information at the University of Oxford.

National University is uniquely positioned to house the Precision Institute since it builds on a tradition of offering innovative approaches to higher education, having been created more than 45 years ago to serve the needs of adult and diverse learners through personalized approaches such as evening classes, convenient campus locations, a “one class per month format” and as one of the early pioneers of online education. The Precision Education initiative and Institute also align with the goals of the National University System to emphasize approaches that encourage a “High Tech, High Touch and High Choice” approach to delivering an exceptional student experience through market-relevant programs, superior services, and meaningful learning.

About National University
Founded in 1971, National University is among the largest, private, nonprofit universities in California. With more than 150,000 alumni, National University is the flagship institution of the National University System. National University is dedicated to making lifelong learning opportunities accessible, challenging, and relevant to a diverse population of students. Four schools and two colleges – the College of Letters and Sciences; the Sanford College of Education; the School of Business and Management; the School of Engineering and Computing; the School of Health and Human Services; and the School of Professional Studies – offer more than 100 graduate and undergraduate degrees and 23 teacher credentials. Programs are offered at locations throughout California and across the nation, and are also available online. National University is headquartered in La Jolla, California. http://www.nu.edu/

About the National University System
The National University System is a network of accredited nonprofit education institutions serving higher education and K-12 students that includes National University, John F. Kennedy University, City University of Seattle, and the Division of Pre-College Programs. Established in 2001 to meet the emerging challenges and demands of education in the 21st Century, the network’s complementary universities offer pathways for students to attain professional and terminal degrees through quality and innovative programs delivered in a format that is flexible to the needs of adult learners. The anchor institution, National University, was founded in in 1971 and is among the largest private, nonprofit institutions of higher education in California with more than 150,000 alumni. For more information on the National University System: https://www.nusystem.org/