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.
This summer, Accredible debuted “slates” – a new way to capture evidence for your learning. What followed was a contest of epic proportions where learners from around the world competed for fame and fortune in our #AwesomeSlates contest. A good slate captures pre-requisite learning, a great slate conveys truly memorable, deep learning with a variety of unique pieces of evidence. Sifting through the entries, we have been incredibly inspired by the creativity, effort, and loads of learning that YOU Accredible users share with the world. It wasn’t easy, but with the help of our leading judges, we are please to announce the winners of the #AwesomeSlates Contest for the Summer of 2013! Drumroll please….!
The winner of the Best Formal Learning slate is Melissa Cardin. Her “Bachelors of Arts, Social Work” slate has exemplary evidence of her expertise in the field. Notably, she includes her actual diploma from the University of New Hampshire, notes, and syllabi from key courses to provide a snapshot of her university learning. Additionally, her excellent research and essays provide a compelling glimpse into her research and work around children’s welfare and related issues. Her endorsements highlight her dedication and academic excellence. Congratulations, Melissa!
For the Best MOOC/Online Learning slate, our winner is Vladimir Đorđević. Vladimir completed the Berklee College of Music course on the “Introduction to Music Production by Loudon Stearns” via Coursera, clearly demonstrating his skills with a variety of music production tools. Highlights from his slate include screen captures of his consistently high-scores from his quizzes and his collaborative music projects. The links to his projects show his creativity with sound and his ability to apply the different concepts and effects he’s learning about in the class. We’re excited to celebrate Vladimir’s musical endeavors!
Abraham Joyner-Meyers wins the Best Skill slate for the impressive collection of evidence of his talent as a violinist. Despite his youth, his many videos on his slate clearly showcase a talent for public performance as well as his musical gifts—he’s performed in a variety of ensembles from full orchestra to soloist roles. In addition to performing well-practiced, heart-string pulling masterpieces, Abraham also shows a sense of humor through his violin, participating in and accompanying comedy skits. Perhaps even more remarkable than what he has achieved so far is the incredibly metacognitive and thoughtful way he approaches his practice; excerpts from his blog “The Education of a Young Man” give us insight into his reflectiveness and maturity as a dedicated learner, always keen to improve his craft. Bravo, Abraham!
The “CS75: Building Dynamic Websites” slate by Arian Allenson Valdez takes the honors for Best Self-Paced Learning slate. Arian’s evidence of his learning through the Harvard Extension School showcases his evolving skills as a programmer. He includes a diverse array of evidence, from screenshots and web links for projects to links to a book he referenced during his course. He even includes two time-lapsed videos of him coding his projects, showing how he deals with the problems he encounters! Arian’s final project for the course was a “Virtual Pet” game showing a successful application of the concepts he’s learned. We’re looking forward to seeing what’s next from this intrepid programmer!
Michael Foster’s slate on “Gamification” from the UPenn Coursera MOOC wins for the category of Most Innovative slate. Aside from the detailed and thorough assignments he completed, all earning high marks, he also created a variety of awesome mind maps to capture his learning. The maps are remarkable for their depth and clarity, easily conveying large amounts of information about different game-related concepts in an easily accessible way. It’s clear that he has a strong handle of the information, but his slate also demonstrates a creative mind and a knack for distilling large amounts of information into reader-friendly portions—that’s quite a set of skillsl in itself!
We’d also like to thank our wonderful judges:
Devavrat calls himself an Autodidact, Thinker, Designer. He deeply believes, like his role-models Isaac Asimov and Seymour Papert, that the best learning happens when the learner takes charge. He’s been learning independently from a lot of MOOCs and books about various fields since 2011 because he wants to be a good big-picture thinker and solve world’s problems through collaboration and great design. He calls his dream project PassionLife University.
Emerson is the CEO of StudyRoom, the social learning network for students to meet all their classmates, get help from them and get better grades! (www.getstudyroom.com) Thousands of students taking classes from Stanford, UC Berkeley, Georgia Tech and many others are using study rooms for their courses and they describe it as lifesaver. If you have ever been stuck doing homework or studying for a midterm and just needed a little help then now you can get it super fast, from your classmates on StudyRoom.
Roxy is a nineteen-year-old self-directed learner from Russia. She’s an UnCollege student, going her own way with her education. This lets her explore and learn anything she wants, with her main interests being business, writing, and psychology. She usually uses MOOCs for them–so many that she wrote a Beginner’s Guide to MOOCs, featured on Accredible Blog some time ago. If you want to know more about her educational exploits, you can follow her on Facebook or Twitter.
Left to Right: Beatrice Schultz (College Smart Radio), Danny King & Alan Heppenstall (Accredible)
We were really honored to join Beatrice Schultz from College Smart Radio, to talk about some of our favorite subjects: college education, MOOCs, and, of course, Accredible. Join us tomorrow, Saturday, August 17 from 3-3:30 PDT on 1220am KDOW if you’re in the Bay Area, or online (no matter where you are!) at: http://www.kdow.biz. As you’re listening — leave us your thoughts below!
On August 2, Stanford’s Learning Design & Technology (LDT) Expo showcased a diverse array of creative projects addressing a gamut of problems in education, proving that innovations in education aren’t limited to solving problems in a specific field, demographic, or country. Although the expected screens, tablets, and computers crowded the demo floor, a surprising number of the LDT projects involved more whimsical and charming tangible objects: railroad cars, wooden forts, and even tea sets.
Add an edtech expo, you’d expect most projects to focus on the K12 demographic, but Maketea actually targeted an older demographic, specifically, couples. It is essentially a date night kit comprised of a set of teaware, tea leaves, and a downloadable app that walks a couple through an intimate tea ceremony with reflection questions to help them better understand each other. It was a unique way to ground discussion in an experience that was a bit unexpected for a learning design and technology expo, but definitely not far from many other projects that seemed to use technology as a facilitator rather than the main interactive educational element.
Tink teaches kids programming concepts with colorful, tangible elements. Tink had various elements that could be programmed and coordinated with an iPad to take certain actions depending on the environment or stimulus nearby, perhaps playing a song when your mom came into the room, etc. The minds behind Tink also created Dr. Wagon, a tangible way to learn programming with wooden railroad cars labeled with programming language to help kids visualize the changes that they were implementing with their code — a crafty sensor in the main wagon sensed the changes and order of the rail cars and would react accordingly. When I asked Tink’s co-founder Alfredo Sandes about the rationale behind Tink, he mentioned that he’s found that research shows tangible objects tend to stimulate kids more than visual stimulants. Another STEM skill-building project was DesignDuo, a kit of projects that daughters and dads can build together. The project includes the parts and directions to configure mini lamps and even decorate their creations with paint, proving that engineering and science are collaborative and creative. Worlds, another project designed to introduce kids to programming, leveraged kids interest in gaming, in your world, you control your characters by typing in the correct code.
One of the LDT favorites Hüga Forts engaged kids in collaborative problem-solving with simple wooden panes and connecting cogs. Each wooden square could be decorated or filled with alternative embellishments: a tic-tac-toe board, mini blinds, translucent sheets of painted paper, among many others. Because of the unique design of the cogs, the wooden squares could be connected together to form a variety of shapes and especially fun forts!
When I think of these projects–and so many more from the Expo–I can’t help but think that we live in exciting times for education. Not only are there so many new topics to learn about, but so many different ways to begin and continue learning. Which of the projects interested you the most? We’d love to hear your thoughts about what’s cooking in edtech!
With the end of the #AwesomeSlates contest less than a week away, we’re ready to reveal perhaps the best contest hack yet: how going social can help you gain endorsements on your Slates (and make them even stronger contest candidates!) and how a strong network can help you stay motivated!
As Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs demonstrates, we thrive when we feel a sense of belonging and feel respected. These very needs easily explain why “peer pressure” and the “bandwagon effect” can be so influential. While these might have negative associations, if we acknowledge the power of peer accountability, we can then leverage it to build networks that help us stick with a course of study, providing inspiration, motivation, and thought partners.
Find Study Buddies
Finding a group study with in college or in MOOCs is a great way to meet people that share your interests and can help you better understand the material you’re learning. Even if you are really confident in your own knowledge, if you find yourself in the position of explaining concepts to others in your group, you’ll find your own understanding solidifying and becoming more nuanced (Teaching is one of the best ways to learn!) So hop on a study forum for a MOOC or host a study session for some classmates.
Accredible endorsements are simply quotes from colleagues and peers that attest to your knowledge or skill. After creating a Slate, and filling it up with your impressive collection of evidence, you should ask for endorsements! Asking for endorsements for your Slate can be a intimidating, but the rewards vastly outweigh the initial nervousness. Gaining endorsements boosts your credibility; this is especially valuable for people who may not know you as well or know you within a particular context. Besides the main benefit of gaining credibility and looking even more like the rock star you are, you gain…
Increased motivation to continue adding evidence and build out your strengths. The more people see your work after you’re done and shared your Slate with community, the more motivated you’re to put much more into it – creating Slate and learning itself. Accredible helps you to create a portfolio of your mind with every Slate representing your capabilities, talents and value. Accredible allows you to share your achievements with the world and document all your knowledge, making it timeless and enduring.
An avenue for feedback about your learning. Feedback is crucial for improvement because it allows you to take a deeper look at yourself and spot weaker areas. You can get many ideas for improving your work, and even get suggestions for other topics to look into, by sharing your knowledge profile publicly and sharing your Slates.
An expanded network. This was an unexpected discovery for us. Some users found new friends based on interests when they shared their Slates with community.
Our educational journeys are enriched by the people who cheer us on, critique our missteps, celebrate our achievements, and endorse our strengths. Don’t be afraid to share your new slates with the world — even if they’re still “blank slates,” you’re inviting others to follow your journey.
Creativity is a key that unlocks doors of great opportunities, innovative products, and original solutions for different problems in a variety of fields. It is one of the main skills for 21st century… the question is, how do you develop creativity?
Practice thinking outside of the box
First, you need to develop the habit of seeing things differently, Thinking outside of box is a mindset that once developed is hard to lose, and like any skill, it gets easier with consistent practice.
Begin by relaxing and emptying your mind. Consider the problem that you want to solve and approach it from as many different angles and perspectives as possible…even nonsensical ones. When you’re brainstorming in this way, associative thinking is your greatest ally. And remember, if you get in the habit of thinking from multiple angles often, you’ll begin to see new associations and ideas on a regular basis! (Another great way to develop this skill is to take a course on it — Try NovoEd’s A Crash Course on Creativity)
Be Observant & Take Notes
Even the most mundane things, such as personal routine, can give provide many insights and new ideas. Notice patterns in the world around you, write down your observations, and reflect on why those choices were made. Applications like Google Keep or Evernote are useful for capturing thoughts on-the-go. If you make a practice of writing down your thoughts, you’ll not only start to see hidden details that you might have missed if you weren’t paying attention, but you’ll also find yourself becoming better at articulating your thoughts in everyday conversation and discussion. You can also review notes and combine and mix different ideas. To optimize the creation of new ideas and connections, use brightly colored pens or markers and plenty of images. Though they may not be the tools associated with a “serious” workplace, they can help create a more visually compelling brainstorm and help us see connections we may not have considered.
Rediscover Your Inner Child
Do you remember being a child and thinking that the world was full of wonder and magic? Kids are filled with curiosity and a desire to explore. Rediscovering your inner child can help you to recapture that sense of endless possibility. Keep asking “why,” always staying curious. In his famous Stanford commencement speech, Steve Jobs reminded us to, “Stay hungry. Stay foolish.”
Turn Everything into a Game
Games can be useful for your work and studies they help you to do things more productively without losing enjoyment. Games are enticing because even when you’re working towards a goal, the gameplay itself is energizing and fun. Games are also enticing because “failure” can easily be fixed; there’s always a way to restart. Bringing this optimistic mindset from gaming to your coursework or career goals is greatly beneficial; this mindset can transform your work and studies from labor to an amazing journey which will set you free of any fears you may encounter. Moreover, it brings freedom and ingenuity into your work – no more faking and hardships, as there’s no losing in the end, only winning.
Try creating Accredible Slates for different skills and areas of your life to help you stay motivated and track your progress; turn your goals into a game. Next time you get stuck, take a walk through our gallery for inspiration on how to create awesome Slates (and don’t forget there’s still time to enter the #AwesomeSlates Contest and win $150 for each winning slate you’ve made)!
This post is part of a series on the Hacks to Create Winning Slates:
Today we have a guest post by Benjamin Kim of RedHoop, a super helpful site that helps self-directed learners search for online courses across different platforms. Ben’s job-hunting tips are not to be missed! Read on!
For us recent grads, getting a job in this economy is tough.
If you’re like me, you didn’t go to college and accrue tens of thousands of dollars in debt to wait tables or bartend, but that’s the unfortunate reality facing many young people today. During my year of cover letters, job fairs, and interviews, I struggled to make myself stand out – a fancy degree from a private university meant little without substance to back it up.
Simply put, a one-page resume is no longer enough for today’s job search. Spending hours upon hours on job boards may have worked for people in the past, but for those of us who are entering this rapidly changing workforce we must make ourselves stand out.
Here are some job hunting tips to help you put your best foot forward:
1. Display your passion and present it well!
Websites like LinkedIn and Accredible are great ways to get started. If not, consider making an online portfolio – while it may be perceived as a resource for artists, aspiring professionals should consider getting one as well. This way you can display your work from classes, volunteering, freelancing, passions, etc. in a medium that truly highlights your personality.
One note about social media: as it becomes an integral aspect of the job search it’s easy to forget that a simple Google search can reveal more information than you’d like! So before anything, clean up your social media. Toggle your privacy settings. This is not to scare you, but instead I’m stressing the importance of finding ways to separate your personal social life and your professional work life.
2. Hone your knowledge and skills as often as you can
A regular course load won’t be enough to impress an employer. Make it apparent that you’re doing more than just the minimum. Skill-based courses will provide you the practical experience that transfers well into the work force. However, I’m a big proponent in taking a wide range of topics that may interest you, so I recommend taking additional courses or learning valuable skills like online. (You can use RedHoop to find more than 4000 online courses, 1500 free online courses).
3. Create genuine relationships, don’t network
One critical mistake many people make is not conducting a deep, insightful research on your prospective employer. If you’re at a job fair, don’t ask questions like “so what do you guys do?” or “what would I do at this job?” Instead, you should be asking questions that really showcase your deep understanding of the company, as well as its industry. Be ready to emphasize why you think you’d be a great fit by relating your previous experiences with the company’s core competencies.
Recruiters get tens, if not hundreds, of unsolicited emails every day from job seekers. People often forget recruiters are not only responsible for bringing talent to their respective companies, but also making sure new hires fit the culture. If you’re shooting off random emails with your resume attached, those emails will likely go straight to the trash or receive one my favorite replies: “I’ll send this to the right people,” only to never hear from them ever again.
Be genuinely interested in not only the job position, but also be genuine to recruiters. After dealing with hundreds of hungry, ambitious job-seekers, they’ll appreciate someone without a giant “Please give me a job” sign posted on their forehead. Of course, your goal is to get a job, but your relationship with a recruiter is a long-term investment that will pay great dividends if you build a genuine personal foundation. Instead, ask great questions and avoid talking about yourself. After meeting them for the first time, follow up via email and briefly explain again why you’d be a great fit – professionally and culturally. Also, to keep the conversation flowing, consider asking a question to further highlight your interest and knowledge. By knowing whether or not you’ll be a great culture fit, you can separate yourself from the students who interview for the sake of interviewing. Instead, you’ll be a job-seeker that is determined and prepared to tackle the challenges ahead, making yourself stand out from the crowd.
Ben is a recent graduate from the University of Notre Dame, where he majored in Television and Media Studies. He is currently interning at RedHoop(www.redhoop.com), a website that helps self-directed learners further their education by making it easier to search for online courses.For any questions, clarifications, or comments, he can be reached on LinkedIn (benk.im).
If you’ve been following us from the beginning, you may have noticed that we originally referred to an Accredible “slate” which contains the evidence of learning for a particular course or skill as a “cert,” short for “certificate.” The original thought around “cert” was that it represented, much like its real-life counterpart, a formal recognition of learning. But what we realized was that a certificate is something awarded at the end of learning; it implies that learning is complete. But how can we ever be done with learning?
What we realized was that we’re far more interested in documenting educational journeys from their beginningrather than signaling their ends. Instead of a certificate, we needed a symbol of openness, possibility, potential. This is where “slate” came from; a “blank slate,” from the Latin tabula rasa, is meant to be filled with new ideas and experiences.
The reality is that a simple sheet of paper cannot convey—no matter how nice the calligraphy or how shiny the gold foil may be—how much learning and new knowledge has really been gained, and since Accredible is building a new system for recognizing and showcasing learning, we wanted to think beyond the boundaries of a sheet of paper. We’re hoping that your love of learning will guide you to join thousands of users creating entire series of slates ready to be filled with exciting new knowledge!
For those of you needing a bit of a more practical motivator, we’d like to remind you that we’re still running the #AwesomeCerts #AwesomeSlates Contest. Winners within each of the following five categories will each win a $150 Amazon gift card:
• Best Slate for MOOC learning
• Best Slate for Formal Learning
• Best Slate for Skill/Knowledge
• Best Slate for Self-paced learning
• Most Innovative Slate
The contest runs through the end of July; for more details on how to submit your Accredible slates see the contest info page.
So get those slates started and win big! Afterall, learning something new and sharing it with the world is already a win.
At Accredible, we value the pursuit of knowledge – no matter what path (or lack thereof!) it may take. Last week, we had the privilege of joining a conversation about the future of higher education hosted by the Silicon Vikings, featuring stellar panelists Mitchell Stevens (Stanford Graduate School of Education professor, director of SCANCOR), Michael Horn (Executive Director of Education at Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation), Claudia L’Amareaux (Future of Learning strategist), Keith Devlin (Stanford professor and director of H-STAR Institute at Stanford University), and Ben Nelson(CEO of the Minerva Project). The voices were united in advocating for the need to evolve education beyond the traditional factory formula in a digital age –an age where education isn’t confined within the walls of a classroom or even the borders of a country.
Ben Nelson commented that the idea that the education revolution is simply the ability to pause and rewind a lecture is ridiculous. He predicts that MOOCs will evolve beyond this repackaged 1-to-many approach and become truly adaptive learning platforms responsive to individual learning speeds and styles. This is a common belief; Mitchell Stevens elaborated that even the base concept of measuring or quantifying learning in higher ed is a “heretical notion.” Indeed what does it truly mean to “know” something? How can we truly differentiate between labels like “A” or “B” or “intermediate” vs. “advanced”? The idea that learning can be measured and uniformly quantified is hindering learning itself.
Michael Horn views the changes in education through the lens of the Clayton Christensen model of disruptive innovation, where MOOCs are transforming the existing system of education. If one considers that the education system as a “bundle” of courses, prestige, identity designed to signal to employers and the world at large what you know and are capable of, MOOCs and other new developments in education are challenging the institution and “unbundling” the packages by providing an alternative means to gain what used to be exclusive (e.g. only through traditional university) knowledge which would then qualify them for jobs that would have been previously inaccessible. Horn continues on to say that, rather than using university brands or subjective numbers to assess a person’s qualifications for a job, employers should be looking at demonstrated skill and knowledge. We’re really taking such notions to heart at Accredible as we aim to provide the ideal platform to create this “higher resolution image” of a person, empowering people to use their learning to get employment.
With the rapid disintegration of pre-packaged post-secondary education, the issue arises: how can we evolve our own perceptions of learning and what it means to be “educated”? That’s our challenge we take to heart (and mind!); we’re excited to see our Accredible users push the boundaries of what qualifies for “skilled” in today’s workforce, proving their value and worth beyond bullet points on a resume or CV. Because if the direction of education now is proving anything, it’s proving that the old ways of identifying ourselves and signaling our strengths to others need to keep pace with the numerous changes in the way people choose to learn and build on their knowledge.
We’d love to hear your thoughts on the future of education: Where do you think it’s headed and how will it affect traditional schooling and employment?
“The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.”
- William Arthur Ward
Times have changed. The new rock stars are top professors from top universities. The brave knights of 21st century fight the darkness of ignorance, earning the love of millions of students around the globe. Why? In this chaotic ocean of knowledge and amongst the great variety of learning resources, teachers are what matter the most – their talent to incite interest in students and inspire them to dive deeper. Their charisma and support can create real magic. In this article we’ll take a look at 5 instructors you don’t want to miss.
Dan Ariely of Duke University
Habitat: Beginner’s Guide to Irrational Behavior by Coursera
Persona: Jedi who fights the darkness of human irrationality.
Dan Ariely brings to you a surreal experience, a realization that everyone around you (including yourself) isn’t rational at all. Your life will never be the same again once you’ve taken this course. The fun, entertaining nature of his lectures a-la thriller, comedy, cartoon, with a superhero-like professor makes the experience truly wonderful.
People behave irrationally, that’s a fact. You think that you are not in this category? Take this class and think again. Dan Ariely shows that obvious is usually not so obvious and the rational human being is a myth. You will learn aspects of psychology and behavioral economics such as cognitive bias, the psychology of money, neuroeconomics as well as everyday life hacks such as why “play hard to get” is a great strategy for dating, how to split the bill after the dinner at a restaurant with friends and what are the best hacks for boosting personal productivity.
Interestingly enough, Dan Ariely never had an intention of becoming a behavioral economist. Initially, he studied Physics and Math at Tel Aviv University until the last year of university when he switched to Psychology. Although, Dan Ariely has no formal experience, he is recognized as one of the brightest minds in the field of Behavioral Economics. He has written numerous papers, bestselling books, popular articles in major business and economics newspapers and magazines and has broad teaching experience in universities such as Sloan Management School and Duke University.
Trivia: Now he’s getting magical power aka valuable information on human beings in the Center for Advanced Hindsight and sharing it with the world by writing books and giving ted talks.
“A Preview to “A Beginner’s Guide to Irrational Behavior” can give you a precise idea what fun this class is.
David J. Malan of Harvard
Habitat: CS50x by edX
Persona: The Captain who guides through the rough seas of Computer Science.
David J.Malan is a Senior Lecturer of Computer Science at Harvard. However, for the majority of online students he is known for his course CS50x. Computer Science is now sexy. Many prominent entrepreneurs, business executives and journalists support the idea that everyone in 21st century should be able to code. This belief is based upon research on the future of the labor market, corroborated by the huge $500 billion gap between CS job demand and supply within the next 5 years. However, Computer Science is a difficult discipline and can be very challenging even for the most motivated self-directed learners.
Here comes David J. Malan and CS50x. Every “play” click will take you to a Harvard auditorium. The course is as rigorous as an actual Harvard class would be. However, you won’t even notice rigidity of the course and all the effort you’ll put into tough homework and coding. The first homework in Scratch will make even complete newbies comfortable. Singing students from previous offerings adds a lot of fun to your studies. Recommendations of documentaries and related fiction such as movies about hackers will give you some extra material to be inspired by. David Malan’s passion about his subject and faith in his students will further enhance your motivation. Why does this happen? Partially, because a professor is interested in his subject but most likely it is because apart from actually teaching he’s doing research on instructional technologies and pedagogy. This class is a great preparation for more advanced courses.
Trivia: After this class you’ll realize that there’s no wonder why Harvard students pay 200k for 4 years of education. Luckily for the world and thanks to edX, CS50X is free for everyone willing to learn.
One of the most funniest parodies on “Call Me Maybe” from Harvard CS50 students will encourage you to take this class
Chuck Eesley of Stanford University
Habitat: Technology Entrepreneurship by NovoEd
Persona: The Pirate-in-disguise who converts newbies into Pirates of Startup Seas.
You won’t see any jaw-dropping effects in Chuck Eesley’s lectures, but his modest confidence and in-depth knowledge of the subject will give you insights into starting a technology business. His course, Technology Entrepreneurship, is based on his own research at Stanford and personal experience of entrepreneurship and successful startups. The mission of professor Eesley’s work is to “empower the next generation of entrepreneurs to have the greatest chance of success”. What makes Chuck Eesley really special is his activity and interactions with students via the Facebook group and via Twitter.
What about course itself? If there’s anything hotter than Computer Science nowadays, it’s startups. The buzz around the trend of starting businesses, dropping out of school, exploring new worlds and creating valuable and useful products allures thousands people of all ages, sexes and nationalities into the harsh world of business. Welcome to the Gold Rush of 21st century!
Likely for society, creation of businesses is more meaningful and beneficial than mining gold. Because of business complexity, it requires deep knowledge and a range of skills. Books, articles and blogs can help in this case but the knowledge gained from these alone won’t be equal to what Chuck will give you – a holistic picture, deep understanding of the subject, carefully designed assignments… All the equipment for becoming a True Pirate of the startup seas!
Trivia: Indeed, Chuck Eesley is the most social MOOCs professor. You may follow him on Quora to find out his thoughts, opinons and ideas on many questions by community, from personal “What is like to be a professor at Stanford?” to more general “What are some ways to foster entrepreneurship?”. He’s written 80 answers and is not stopping, so lots of food for thoughts even after the class is over.
Haven’t heard about Lean Startup? That’s bad, but no worries – this video will give you some useful clues
Edward Hess of Darden School of Business(Virginia University)
Habitat: Grow to Greatness: Smart Growth for Private Businesses by Coursera
Persona: The Wizard of Business who reveals the magic of growing successful companies.
Are you bored by academic, traditional lecture-style courses? Try this course. It couldn’t be farther away from bookish, dull lectures. You may even forget that it’s an online course – Edward Hess creates an atmosphere of conversation with an old friend. Serious researches and case studies sound rather like anecdotes from life, which engages you more and more with each lecture and makes digesting information much easier.
If there’s only one business course you take, Grow to Greatness is a great choice because it reveals the mystery of successful businesses in just 10 weeks. Statistically, 1 out of 10 newborn companies survives. There is a widespread belief of success: find a brilliant idea, check for product/market fit, execute flawlessly, and, voila, magic happens. However, something is missing in this recipe: business nuance and actual how-to’s. Grow to Greatness: Smart Growth for Private Companies is a perfect place to find the Holy Grail.
You might say: ”I’m not so into business, why should I take this course?” If we take a closer look at the nature of business, many practices can be applied to life to help you to become a better you, to live a fulfilled life and accomplish great things. Doesn’t it sound familiar? (Hint: bestsellers on lifestyle, productivity, wealth…)
What is business about? Creating value for society, making people happy, getting things done, achieving great things despite all odds.
Concepts such as “power of processes” will help you to organize your life and fight procrastination. “Leadership” lessons will show you how to be charismatic and confident person, bringing out the best in others and inspiring people to make great things happen. “Strategic focus” will teach you how to set the right goals and achieve them.
Trivia: More than 30 years in business world, ex-executive of serious firms, author of 10 brilliant books… Sounds scary, huh? But instead of a haughty stereotyped Wall Street guy, you will find a likable professor-friend. Edward Hess knows how to create the right atmosphere.
Introduction for the first part of course which focuses on 4P’s(Planning, Prioritization, Processes and Pacing). The second part of course is on 5th P – People.
Salman Khan of Khan Academy
Habitat: Khan Academy
Persona: The Brave Knight who created Khan Academy, the antecedent of today’s popular MOOCs.
Every self-directed learner has at least heard of Khan Academy. The story of it’s inception is fascinating. Short educational 10-minute YouTube videos became a huge catalyst for education, with more than 260 millions views so far. Now you can find more than 3000 videos covering almost everything from deep science to liberal arts subjects alongside assignments, discussions and tracking progress tools. Moreover Khan Academy successfully applies the principles of gamification, so you’ll never be bored and always motivated to learn more.
As a result, Khan Academy has been recognized as one of the most influential educational organisations in the world.
The story behind the curtains is truly inspiring. It all started from just one person, Salman Khan, a talented, well-educated hedge fund analyst who wanted to help his cousin Nadia with her math. Tutoring went well, and, as it always happens with great things, more people he knew wanted to get help. This was an “A-ha” moment for Salman: he created a YouTube channel to distribute more of his videos. Surprisingly for Khan, not only his friends and relatives watched his videos. Other learners and teachers all around the world also started to appreciate his effort. A few millions views in 3 years and a lot of testimonials persuaded Salman Khan to quit his job and begin Khan Academy.
This is a true fairy tale story, with the Brave Knight spreading the light of knowledge.
Trivia: Sal Khan’s vision is to provide world class education to anyone, anywhere. He writes about it in his book ‘One World Schoolhouse: Education Reimagined’. His TED talk inspired Sebastian Thrun to quit Stanford and start his own MOOC platform Udacity.
Each month there are dozens more courses going live. New universities join the MOOC movement, bringing the best talent to the scene. Today, we’ve covered only 5 instructors, but there are many others who deserve to be in this list. Who has been the best online teacher you’ve encountered? We’d love to hear about how they inspired you.
This post is part of a series on the Beginner’s Guide to MOOCs: