Introducing the new Accredible

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We are really excited to announce the brand new Accredible! Our goal has always been to make any and all knowledge credible, regardless of where you learn it, and with this new update we’ve come one step closer to that. We have improved the community aspect of the site, as well as made it possible to showcase many more types of learning. We’ve also added lots of new features, fixed some bugs, and generally improved the speed and simplicity of navigating the site.

Meet other learners & talk to the community

You can now ask your course mates questions

You can now ask your course mates questions

Your online learning community is an important part of making sure you stay motivated and on track with your classes and we’ve added lots of features to help make it easier to interact with your fellow students.

You can now search for other users, which allows you to view their coursework and give recommendations.

In addition, you can comment and ask questions on each class’ page, and everyone who is signed up for that class will get notified.

All the best courses in one place

We’ve now added almost 7,000 courses and counting!

We’ve added even more MOOC providers to our course finder, bringing the total number of classes available to nearly 7000!

You can now add classes from Coursera, edX, Udacity, iversity, MRUniversity, NovoEd, Open2Study, Complexity Explorer, FutureLearn, and WorldScienceU.

We’ve also categorized the course catalogue to make your browsing easier. Search by subject, price, date, popularity and more!

If you think we should add other course providers (we are always on the look out!), let us know at

Personalized newsletter & course suggestions

The most interesting come to you!

The most interesting courses come to you!

Now as soon as you add a class to your ‘to-learn’ list, you’ll receive a personalized newsletter each week with other classes we think you’ll enjoy so you always have a steady stream of classes to take next.

You’ll also get reminders when your courses are about to start and updates on the trending courses across the major online course providers.

You can change your notification settings to enable or disable these emails at any time.

Custom classes and projects

You can now add custom courses, such as your degree

You can now add custom courses, such as your degree

Want to showcase a college degree, summer program, self-study, or other independent learning project you’ve completed? Now you can create an Accredible project for that to show the world and future employers what you learned and created. Upload your assignments, dissertations, transcripts, notes and anything else that adds to your credibility!

In addition to these four main features, we’ve fixed some bugs and added some functionalities. You can now:

  • Change your username
  • Change the types of email notifications Accredible sends you
  • Delete references you’ve previously approved
  • Vote for features to add (click “Vote for Features” in the user menu dropdown)
  • Search for other peoples’ Accredible profiles

The new Accredible is your central place for everything you need to learn online. Find new classes, connect with your classmates, organize your learning, and then showcase what you’ve learned and done. We can’t wait to see what you create, discover and share. And as always, send us an email at if you have any questions.

Happy learning,

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Startup Spotlight: Quizlet


Sophia, Quizlet’s user experience manager, shares ideas and laughter with the team

We’re kicking off an exploration of start-ups with a well-known favorite: Quizlet. Quizlet, offers innovative digital study tools that help students around the world do better in school – they grew out of a simple flashcard web app written by founder Andrew Sutherland when he was just a high schooler. Now, according to Quantcast, Quizlet ranks in the top 100 most visited sites in the U.S.! They’ve certainly come a long way, and some might question its claim to being a “startup,” but we’ve got the inside scoop on the passion, energy, and culture that makes this well-established edtech company very much a quintessential startup.


Karoun and David battle it out at the Quizlet ping pong table.

For starters, Quizlet, despite having a successful web, iOS, and Android app with a combined 20 million unique visitors each month, is actually comprised of a very small, extremely hard-working team; in fact, they only have seven full-time developers making the learning awesome for all those students every day! General Manager Thompson Paine explains that Quizlet has a high bar for talent because on such a small team with so many users, each person must be able and willing to punch above their weight, and confidently own and drive on new problems and projects. But talent isn’t the only thing that matters: what makes Quizlet especially amazing is that everyone is committed to education and doing good.

Amalia shows off some impressive whiteboarding skills.

Amalia adds some holiday cheer, Quizlet-style.

To get a sense of how such a small group of people can reach millions (yes, millions!) of students on a daily basis, take a look at their week: it all starts on Sunday. Every team member is committed to thinking carefully about what he or she wants to accomplish that week, and they come together to discuss their plans during a Monday lunch. This helps them start the week focused with strong accountability. On Friday, they wrap the week with a discussion of their highs and lows of the week. Quizlet’s focus and enthusiasm for constantly improving an already amazing learning tool is really inspiring!

I had the pleasure of sitting down with Arun to talk more about his particular role as an Android developer.


Career Focus: Android Developer

We’re picking the brain of the man behind Quizlet’s Android app: Arun Saigal.

Accredible: What do you do as an Android developer at Quizlet?

Arun:  I hit buttons! No, but really, I do a lot of listening to users to figure out what they want, work with my team to design and build out different parts so there’s a seamless experience from web to mobile app. My job is to make sure that you can learn anything you want anywhere and everywhere you want—specifically on Android devices. Working in a startup, I get to be involved in all parts of the development phases.

Accredible: What’s your favorite part of your job?

Arun: I’ve heard people actually say, “I wouldn’t have made it through this course without Quizlet” – the fact that what I do can make that big of a difference for someone’s education is incredible. I love running into people while wearing the Quizlet shirt and hearing people call out “ I love Quizlet!” and really know people are using your product!

Accredible: What were you doing before you joined Quizlet, and what led you to the company?

Arun: I was at MIT. I’ve always been into education and tutoring and teaching…I discovered technology and wanted to leverage it to teach everyone. Andrew (Quizlet’s founder) came to recruit at his alma mater, and I decided to join this small company with a huge impact—somewhere I can come in and really own a piece of transforming education. This is where I felt I could make a meaningful contribution.

Accredible: What are your tips for others who want to be an Android developer?

Arun: Go build something!  Android is Java at the end of the day. In terms of getting started and seeing whether it’s something you’d like to do: go find these programming languages online – and you can build a simple app with basic tools.  If you can do that and be excited, you can get a sense for whether you love it or not. Then go take classes in college or go online and look up tutorials to learn how to program. Between all of the online courses and resources, Youtube, Quizlet, etc. you can pretty much find and learn anything you’re looking for.

Arun and fellow developer Shane take a break on the swings (yes, inside the office!)

Arun and fellow developer Shane take a break on the office swings (and yes, that’s a Justin Bieber piñata hanging above them)!

Accredible:  What would you say is the most essential skill for being a developer?

Arun: (1) Problem-solving. At the end of the day, my role is to problem-solve. (And obviously, having the ability to code.) (2) Being willing to take on the challenge and being okay with failing. A lot of what we do here trying something, failing, and then pushing on till we get it right. (3) And you have to be willing to learn from those mistakes so you can improve yourself and your product.

Accredible: What contributes the most to your success?

Arun: The team. I see the team as our team here and our users—the millions that send feedback—that’s the whole Quizlet family. Everyone is so helpful. They give me the pieces, helping me piece everything together.

Accredible: Thanks, Arun!


Software Developer David wants YOU to apply!

Interested in working for an edtech company with a fun-loving team? Check out open positions here!


5 Trends in Online Graduate Education

First and foremost, online graduate education is on the rise (1). This has been true for the past 10 years and shows little sign of stopping. Where education used to function primarily to give prospective employees a marketability advantage, it now may serve as a prerequisite for any number of jobs.

The second trend is that colleges and universities across the country are expanding their online programs. With the rise of technologically fluent students as well as an ever increasing IT force, focusing more capital and human resources into the online sphere is only practical. In recent years, more and more colleges and graduate schools have turned to online education, with even more planning to expand in the near future.

The third trend is tied closely to the first. Lifetime education is, generally speaking, becoming the status quo in today’s society. And not only are older students uninterested in taking in-house classes with kids who could be their children, they see the price point and the pliability of the online graduate course schedule as enormous advantages. These older students often have a great deal more academic credits and experience on hand before embarking on further—which is to say graduate—education, and the convenience of the online platform allows them to continue seeking education throughout their career.

The fourth trend concerns the professorial view of online education. Though many faculty members in U.S. institutions believe that online education has less qualitative value, some see the merits of online higher education. Even with respect to in-house courses, professors are more willing than ever to engage students online. This has been true of emails for some time, but other programs like Blackboard are staking their claim in the academic world. With the explosion of technological gadgets and systems, students and professors alike are beginning to sense the ever changing academic scene. Though many professors do not believe that traditional teaching methods will ever be overtaken by distance education, they all agree that it will become more and more prevalent.

The fifth and final trend mentioned here has to do with the introduction of MOOCs, or massive open online courses. These enormous online courses have as many benefits as possible downfalls. Tuition, generally speaking, is not getting any cheaper these days, and in a down economy any means by which one can attain high credentials at a low cost is the best means.

The less attractive aspect to MOOCs is the inevitable quality problem. How can the individuals in a large class get sufficient attention needed from one professor and maybe a student aid? And what about the work load for MOOC professors relative to other classes? Especially with regard to graduate school, the student to professor ratio is one of the most attractive elements for prospect students. For some programs ratios are as small as 2:1, guaranteeing that students get sufficient attention (2). But what about a grad program that offers a 50:1 ratio, 100: 1, or even 200:1 and above? Does that even count as graduate school in any traditional sense? These are hard questions for both institutions and students to face.

For students, however, program quality, financial aid, and employer acceptance ranked as their top concerns about online education, according to an earlier study by Learning House. The online education company surveyed 1,500 students either enrolled or planning to enroll in an online degree program.

Written by University of Pennsylvania graduate and freelance writer Kevin Hughes and edited by Laura Morrison, the Content Manager of To see more of the wealth of opportunities offered by online graduate school programs, find out here.



Turn education into play: learning through games

From an early age, today’s generation of children develop a keen interest in computer games. By the time they are in full time education, they are often very competent in playing consoles and online games. As a result of this, schools are beginning to channel this interest in computer games into new engaging methods of learning. This involves using educational online games through which children can interact with other pupils using a new exciting medium which increases their interest in learning.


There are wealth of free educational online games which offer new engaging ways to captivate children’s interest in learning. They offer an interactive medium through which students can improve their technical and media literacy. These skills could be invaluable throughout their adult lives as more of our modern society continues to revolve around technology. These games provide a fun way to develop problem solving strategies and try out intuitive ideas, skills which will significantly increase their employability prospects in the future.

Teachers can also thrive from these new educational opportunities. These games offer teachers a medium through which they can more aptly communicate with their pupils. As Jason Ohler states, educational games allow teachers to communicate with students by ‘speaking their own language with their tools’.
Additionally, these games enable teachers to easily assess the progress of each child. The actions and decisions each child makes during the games allow the teacher to diagnose and assess the progress of their learning from afar, without the child feeling like they are under scrutiny. Educational games are rising in popularity as a learning mechanism, with tutoring companies such as Maths Doctor offering online tutoring services alongside educational games, even providing a free mobile app game allowing children to learn on the move.


Educational studies have shown that not all students learn in the same way. Some require learning by doing, others from reading a textbook, or by talking through problems with others. Educational games harness all of these alternate styles of learning through a variety of different challenges, ensuring each child is able to achieve their full potential. Each child is engaged throughout the learning process in a way which is specifically tailored to them. Naturally in a large classroom there will be some children who solve a problem faster than others. By using education online games each child can work at their own pace. If they need to take more time on a particular question they can, ensuring that by the time they progress to the next stage they have a full understanding of the topic, rather than simply rushing so as to keep up with the pace of the classroom. Moreover, if a child solves a problem quickly, they are free to proceed to the next stage, rather than waiting for others and thus losing interest in the subject. As a result children are able to develop more positive attitudes towards learning.


There is an increased focus within schools on how to apply what a child is learning to real world situations, to show them that what they are learning will benefit their adult careers. Educational games provide an excellent opportunity to demonstrate a child’s ability to apply academic theories to real world problems. The student could be taught the theory of a principle by a teacher and then proceed to solve an applied problem via the medium of an online game. Moreover, because the medium chosen would be a computer game, children will be more likely to volunteer to solve problems and thus further their education.

Ultimately, as technology becomes more integral to our daily lives, these educational online games offer an invaluable experience for children to develop technological skills from an early age. They also provide an exciting opportunity for children to discover an interest in learning through a medium which was previously unavailable to them.

Author bio
This article was written by George Campbell, a freelance writer from Birmingham, England, UK. George has been a teacher for four years and he loves writing about education but he is versatile and also writes across a variety of other topics. You can connect with George on Google+ and follow him on Twitter.

Startups 101: Starting Small, Thinking Big

A word cloud made from 14 startup founders' definitions of "startup" - read them all here
A word cloud made from 14 startup founders' definitions of "startup" - read them all here

A word cloud made from 14 startup founders’ definitions of “startup” – read them all here

What is a Startup?

Although the term “startup” has become so ubiquitous it’s bandied about without a hyphen (shocking), few people we’ve asked seem to agree on what a startup is. The popularized fairytale of startups begins with “Once upon a time in a garage…” and ends with “They made millions of dollars and lived happily ever after.” Few startups grow to Google or Facebook level proportions, but one thing is very clear from even the fairytale version of reality: startups are defined by their ability to grow rapidly: in team size, user base, and (optimally) profit.

By definition, startups are starting something, and usually, we think of startups as starting something new, or at least providing a unique spin on an existing product or service. Startups are typically fairly small; most startups have a team of 5 or more people, and run off of roughly $1 million in funding, which we’ll discuss in more detail below.

Angels and VCs and Bootstrapping… Oh my!

Whenever the founders of a startup decide they have an idea they want to create, they have to consider where they’ll be working, who they’ll be working with, and what they’ll need to make their vision a reality. All of these questions really boil down to: where is the money coming from? Startups have three options:

(1) Bootstrapping: “Bootstrapping” simply indicates that the founders are funding the company themselves. The reality of this is that founders have harassed their family and friends enough to provide some initial funds, or that the founders have left a relatively high-paying and stable job to give everything they’ve got to make their idea a success.

(2) Angels: Angel investors are individual investors or a small group of investors that can provide initial funding to startups in exchange for some equity. Since angels are usually only accountable to themselves, they often invest in startups they personally feel connected to, whether because of the problem the startup is trying to solve is something they also feel strongly about or because they know the people involved in the startup on a more personal level. Angel investors are often entrepreneurs themselves or have played a role in other startups previously.

(3) Venture Capitalist (VCs): VCs are institutional investors that manage clients’ assets and invest them in early stage startups in exchange for some equity. They can typically afford to invest more than angel investors, but contrary to popular belief, only 1-2% of startups are VC-funded. VCs have to think big-picture and are generally more interested in startups addressing large scale problems. Find out more about more in this nifty video.

VCs and angels play an important role outside of simply financing early stage startups; they also provide valuable advice and direction to the company. As you might imagine, having too many VCs and angels taking an active role in the direction of the company might not always yield the best results, but generally because of their experience and network, they are valuable resource for startups to gain a stronger foothold in their industry.

Startup Life

Part of the reason why reconciling what qualifies a company as a “startup” is so difficult is because boiling down a “startup” into its number of employees or how many years it’s been around would be oversimplifying what it means to be a “startup.” Walking into a startup office—whether it’s in the snazzy office space in a high rise or a somewhat dingy but very cozy basement—you’re hit with this wave of optimism and energy. Everyone’s working hard on something incredibly complex, and what’s more impressive: everyone is loving it.  The undercurrent in all startups is their passion and enthusiasm for their new product or service. We’re excited to share interviews with startup junkies and entrepreneurs and share a closer look at the fascinating world of startups. To make sure you don’t miss a post — sign-up for email updates!


How to Use MOOCs to Support Your Grad School Experience



By the time my muscle contraction test arrived, I had already forgotten which part did what. I knew the information, but we had covered so much other material that I needed a quick overview to reorient myself. I turned to Youtube’s Crash Course, looking for Hank Green to help me out. In about 12 minutes, I had completely refreshed the concept and dusted off the details.

MOOC is short for Massive Open Online Course, referring to anything from the tutorial style videos on Khan Academy to certificate-for-completion courses offered through Coursera. MOOCs have grown over the last several years to offer material on any subject you can imagine, as in depth or as casual as you could want. In my first semester of graduate school, I’ve found several uses for them.

Student Uses:

- Preparation. For my cardio section of physiology, I prepared for lectures by first watching these videos. I was able to understand lecture material far quicker because I had been exposed to the material already. Using the right MOOC will drastically reduce study time and enable you to engage the lectures when they happen. You have limited access to your professor, so being prepared gives you greater benefit.

- Clarification and Review. As I mentioned above, Crashcourse has helped me refresh some key concepts before reviewing detailed material. In renal physiology, I couldn’t get my head around the flow through the nephrons. I found these tutorials easy to understand and quick enough to leave enough time to study everything else. MOOCs that are more formally organized also have forums, wikis, and other means of interaction that can prove invaluable when professors aren’t available for questions.

- Distraction. If you’re in grad school, you’ve been immersed into your studies in a different and deeper way than in undergrad. You need a brain break. You need something to talk about with friends and family who don’t understand what you’re studying. I love history, so when I need a break, I’ll watch Yale’s history lectures. I don’t have to worry about learning or testing, it’s just fun to use a different part of my brain and learn about something outside of medicine. And I can have a conversation with people apart from my learning.

- Continuing Education. Many MOOCs offer a certificate of completion that requires some testing to receive. This is a great way to show an employer that you’ve invested time and attention to stay current in your area. Accessing that material on your time makes learning while working possible. Once you are out of grad school, chances are that you will need to do this on a regular basis and having a certificate to show you’ve done your work is worth the investment.

Teacher Uses:

- Remedial Use. Many graduate programs could provide remedial education and training without having to develop new curriculum on their own. This allows your program to be more flexible by addressing any idiosyncrasies in your students’ background without making others repeat material they already know.

- Required Reading. Instead of handing out articles to read, or having book after book assigned only to be skimmed through, give your students a list of MOOCs that cover the information. Give them more options than they need and let them pick a few. In the time before starting a course, give them access to a survey MOOC to prepare them for more focused classroom time.

- Peer Instruction. Divide several areas of knowledge between students and have them complete a corresponding MOOC. Then they can present either in groups or individually to teach everyone else and show mastery over an area. Or have students prepare presentations on competing ideas and have a class debate. Covering material outside of the classroom enhances your face to face time.

As more MOOCs become available, the landscape of our education transforms into a hybrid space combining classrooms, computers, living rooms, and offices. Finding ways to make education more efficient and effective means adapting to these new innovations and utilizing MOOCs to supplement your grad school experience.

Written by Ryan English and edited by Laura Morrison, the Content Manager of If you’d like to learn more about continuing your education online, find out here.

5 Ways to Make Sure You Keep Your New Year’s Resolution


1. Make it Measurable

It’s great to create larger, general goals like “I will get in shape” or “I will read more,” but it will be easier to figure out whether you’re meeting your goals if you create a game plan for it and know how to measure your progress. What would being “in shape” mean? Does that mean being able to bench or squat a certain amount? Or does that mean meeting a specific weight measurement? How much reading would qualify as “more”? Define what “success” looks like and then work on the metrics for it.

2. Keep it Visible

We tend to make New Year’s resolutions to accomplish harder tasks –things we already have trouble staying motivated to do or things we constantly forget.  Set up reminders for yourself to make good on your goals. This could mean putting a post-it note on your mirror as a reminder to see while you brush your teeth, setting a phone alert that recurs each day/week/month, or even changing your desktop background to some motivating image. Seeing the hints and mini pep talks everywhere will help you keep up with your resolution.

3. Have Fun

The actions you take to accomplish your goals should be enjoyable in and of themselves as well. If your goal is to eat healthier, don’t just suffer through “rabbit food” without enjoying it. Take the opportunity to look up healthier recipes for the foods you already love, substitute healthier ingredients and make the change gradual rather than immediate.

4. Find a Buddy

It’s hard to be the only one working toward a goal, so why not partner-up with a friend to achieve a common goal? Don’t just fly solo if your goal is to “read more,” why not start a book club and help your friends expand their reading horizons as well. Get your buddies to train for a marathon with you to get in shape. Join a meetup for developers or graphic designers so you have a network of mentors to support you as you lean new skills. You’ll not only make faster progress, you’ll also feel more motivated!

5. Make it Public

Research shows that making public commitments to achieving your goal will help you actually achieve it, especially if it’s a long-term goal. Don’t be afraid to share your resolution with the world. Having friends and family asking about your progress can be really motivating. Who knows, your public commitments can even help you accomplish your goals — consider the power of saying that you’ll find your dream job and then hearing about a new job opening as a result! To that end, we’ve created a gallery of New Year’s Resolutions to help you share yours! Check out the samples below and click here or follow the link on our homepage to find yours!

NYResolution13 NYResolution6NYResolution19 NYResolution5



MOOCs: A Step in the Right Direction

e-Learning Concept. Computer Keyboard

The concept of ‘massively open online courses’ (MOOCs) have slowly but steadily taken the academic world by storm. While the idea has only been around for two years, many institutions of higher learning are keen to adapt this new mode of teaching. While some have quite a bit of qualm over the concept, the fact remains that a healthy discussion regarding the modern educational system has been initiated. In this article, we’ll discuss the current status of MOOCs worldwide.

Limitless potential
While the economy translates to unfavorable tuition fees and mounting student loans, it might be able to enhance the value proposition of a university degree. Through free courses, individuals are given the chance to learn and acquire possible degrees through credits that provide more worth with little to no restriction brought about by finances.

In recent news, American student loans skyrocketed to about $1 trillion mainly due to inflated rates by higher institutions. This can be traced back to either the general state of the American economy and the cuts implemented by the government across the educational sector. The problem does not stop there: only 50% of students who brave the lofty tuition of university education get a hold of a diploma and a bachelor’s degree.

MOOCs will be able to flip the dire situation, but only if the conditions are aligned perfectly. Colleges and universities should be able to recognize that offering courses online will save them funds, and in turn will allow them leeway to lower the expensive matriculation schemes. MOOC providers should continue to invest in technologies that will allow online courses to have a more precise grading scheme – a necessary step towards universal credit granting.

Smartphones and education

MOOCs play a vital role as a sort of test run on the future of learning in the digital era. New high-end top tier gadgets like Apple’s premiere smartphone, the iPhone 5S, lends itself to this endeavor. Innovative features are pushed down the pipeline constantly, such as better security (such as the Touch ID, a fingerprint scanning feature on latest iPhones as mentioned in O2′s page), more reader friendly screens, better and faster internet connectivity – all these are driving the online learning trend forward into new heights.

One benefit that is often overlooked is the fact that many people from remote and developing nations are using MOOCs and mobile technology as a substitute or supplement to the current learning options. For MOOCs to become a true force of change on a global scale, companies in the technology sector should create ventures that are aimed for this specific purpose. Jonathan Nalder, in his piece on, noted that “for learners in remote locations or developing countries the promise of increased access to the keys of education must of course also be considered in light of the reality of the internet access needed to make much of it possible.”

A break in tradition

Last year, a program initiated by the Southern New Hampshire University called College for America was officially approved to grant degrees upon students depending on their proven and tested knowledge. This means that even if someone gathers all the knowledge he needs through other sources aside such as non-credited courses from MOOCs, then he or she will be granted a degree.

This triggered the United States Department of Higher Education to invite universities to create similar programs. If successful, students will no longer be required to carry on their shoulders the financial mountain of tertiary education. In effect, brick-and-mortar universities will have no choice but to compete through lowering their costs.

With all the benefits that could possibly change the education system for the better, the success of MOOCs ultimately depends on the quality of its courses and the eagerness of the government and tech titans to contribute to learning.

Reese Jones is a graduate student and a freelance writer for Techie Doodlers. She has successfully finished numerous courses on Coursera and edX to supplement her tech management master’s degree. Contact her via Twitter or add her on Google+.

Sign up for Accredible and make your best possible first impression

A New Accredible with Tailored Views for Employers… and more!

With the coming of a brand new year, we’re excited to announce upcoming improvements to the Accredible you know and love. Our mission has always been to enable everyone represent their knowledge & skills with credibility, regardless of where or how they’ve acquired them. We’ll always be dedicated to helping you track your learning, but now we’re excited to help you take all of the incredible evidence of your awesomeness and directly showcase it to employers to help you land your dream job.

We’re hard at work to update Accredible with a stunning new design, easier ways to track your learning, and the ability to showcase your skills to employers by simply dragging and dropping relevant the parts of your Accredible profile onto job application forms. Accredible will help you capture your best possible first impression–one where you’re confident and clearly overflowing with talent– and apply to jobs. We’re going to help you craft the perfect narrative that represents the best you have to offer, letting those carefully collected pieces of evidence speak to your strengths and shine in your job applications.

Here’s a sneak peek at some of the features we’re working on:

1. A way for you to build and share stunning narratives centered around your skills and education that you can present to potential employers, including video cover letters!

2. A clearer way to showcase your learning from online courses, projects and self-education with credibility.

3. A better way to highlight work experience and evidence of your professional development.

We’ll not only be helping you craft the best impression of yourself, but we’ll enable you to opt in to being matched with job opportunities based on your interests and skills. You can even allow your profile to be browsable by employers; let that dream job come to you!

Best of all, Accredible will remain free for you to track and showcase your knowledge & experience.

We’d love to hear your thoughts so please leave us some comments and suggestions, & don’t hesitate to get in touch via We’d love to hear from you!

Happy learning!

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An Interview with a Modern Day Renaissance Man

Arian Allenson Valdez won the #Awesome Slates Contest for the “Best Self-Paced Learning” with an outstanding demonstration of how he’s taken on the challenge of a full CS curriculum from Harvard. A self-described learner with “unquenchable curiosity,” Arian shares that he hopes to use Accredible to track his progress towards becoming a modern day Renaissance man — a secret ambition of all of ours, no? Read more to find out how Arian’s making it happen.

Accredible: You’ve taken a number of courses ranging from computer science and programming topics to even courses about Greek heroes. How do you decide on what courses to take?

Arian: I have, from an early age, known that my unquenchable curiosity will result in lifelong learning. My resolve is simple – to diversify as much as possible, to be a renaissance man in this day and age. I love tackling subjects where I could be ‘rusty’ at, and personally enjoy almost all of them! Except Chemistry.

“My resolve is simple – to diversify as much as possible, to be a renaissance man in this day and age.”

This is perhaps not readily obvious from my course choices (they are mostly after all CS courses), but that is because for this particular year, I am completing the Harvard Challenge, where I try to complete the whole coursework of a Harvard CS concentrator in one year. This is directly inspired from Scott Young’s MIT Challenge. There are a lot of differences in the way we tackle the courses, but the idea is the same:4 year curriculum in one year.

Accredible: What is your usual learning process like? (For example: do you like to watch things first & make notes? Try it out? etc.) And how does Accredible fit into your learning process?

Arian: I am almost always more efficient if I am using text, that is why, if possible I use a text-based only approach. Reading a video transcript is not terribly unheard of a strategy for me. However, there are cases where this can be quite detrimental to learning, so using one’s best judgement is still important. And besides, watching video lectures are always fun when quirky things happen! (Seeing Prof. Lewin of MIT carrying that huge femur bone at the start of his physics class is awe-inspiring, and Sir Malan misspelling ‘caterpillar’ and the reactions afterward made me laugh!).

I actually use Accredible as a macro strategy. Accredible is a journal of your learning. I think it would be quite beautiful to see one day a slate showing a video of someone barely hitting the right keys in the piano, while another shows the same person playing grand pieces! Looking back and seeing the growth in skill and knowledge would be priceless!

Accredible: What do you do when you’re struggling with learning something? What advice do you have for people who want to stay motivated? 

Arian: As a person with ‘unquenchable curiosity’ the fact that I’m struggling in learning something is an end for itself for me to stay motivated in learning that! That’s not to say I don’t struggle and lose motivation though.

“the fact that I’m struggling in learning something is an end for itself for me to stay motivated”

For people who have a problem in learning something, then I would say the foundations were probably not solid enough. There are exceptions, but most of the time, DO make sure that you have a solid base for learning. I made this mistake in the past, where I was very curious about Quantum Mechanics and decided to study about it without having the necessary prerequisites (I was in grade school at the time!) While I did learn a few concepts here and there, the efficiency was appallingly bad. I would have learned more in the same amount of time if I studied the prerequisite first and then moved on.

This is probably where the concept of Meta-Learning will come in, basically learning about learning, how to be more efficient and stuff. Tim Ferris’ 4 Hour Chef has quite section in meta learning, and I suggest for people who wish to improve start from there (Scott Young’s blog also has great material!) Gaining Motivation is also discussed in the book.