Accredible’s #AwesomeSlates Contest

“An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.”
- Benjamin Franklin

At Accredible, we believe that all kinds of education matter, whether it’s courses in traditional universities, certificates from MOOC classes or even reading books. We want to help you to learn, to show the world what you know. We are pleased to announce our #AwesomeSlates contest where you can show your learning by creating cool Slates, save and organize your knowledge, and even get prizes from us – vouchers for Amazon.

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The best Slate in each of these five categories will each win a $150 prize:

Why give you money for creating awesome Slates?

  • Motivation. We want you to challenge yourself, to explore new boundaries and discover new horizons. We want you to learn.
  • Help you to create your intellectual portfolio. Today employers and colleges want to see your knowledge, skills and talent. Your intellectual portfolio is the first step in standing out and demonstrating what you can do. Be the first, be creative and be credible.
  • Show you’re more than just a grade. We embrace your creativity, talents and aspirations, providing the place for you to show who you are. 

Today, on the 29th April, 2013 we are launching our #AwesomeSlates contest. The rules are simple: you create a Slate and submit it into one of 4 categories. The most creative, inspiring and beautiful slates of their knowledge, skills, or coursework will receive prizes and the chance to be on the first page in the history of digital education. Start building your slate now!

We want you to win! Every week we will post tips on how to create winning Slates, where to find ideas, and how to make your portfolio more effective.

The contest closes on 31st May 31st July (read about the deadline extension here) but remember, the contest isn’t about winning, it’s about your learning. As the talented coach and executive Vince Lombardi once said: “Winning isn’t everything, but wanting to win is”. Try your best, be yourself and enter the contest. Start building your Slate now!

To submit your Slate and find the rules, go here: https://www.accredible.com/contest

Help about Accredible Slates:
Getting Started with Accredible Slates
What all can be added to a Slate

This post is part of a series on the Hacks to Create Winning Slates:

0. Contest Announcement (current post)

1. MOOC Slates

2. “Saylor category for self-paced learning” Slates

3. Formal Learning Slates

4. Knowledge/Skill Slates 

5. How to Make the Most of Accredible?

If you have any questions, ideas or feedback, feel free to comment or send us a line at hello@accredible.com

Beginner’s Guide to MOOCs: 1. Major MOOC Platforms

At Accredible, we are passionate about learning. In this article we walk you through the three largest MOOC platforms today: Coursera, Udacity and edX. How are they different? What kind of courses do they offer? What platform will suit you the best? We’ll give you the knowledge to choose when and how to study from each, based on your own interests and learning styles.

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So, what is a MOOC? The term has been around the web for a couple of years and Wikipedia gives the following definition:

A massive open online course (MOOC) is an online course aiming at large-scale interactive participation and open access via the web. In addition to traditional course materials such as videos, readings, and problem sets, MOOCs provide interactive user forums that help build a community for the students, professors, and TAs. MOOCs are a recent development in distance education.

Coursera

Founded a year ago, by Stanford Computer Science professors Andrew Ng and Daphne Koller, Coursera is the most popular MOOC platform today. More than 3 million students take classes on diverse topics offered by 62 universities from various countries.

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What makes Coursera unique is the wide range of subjects they cover. You can take courses in Arts, Economics, Life Sciences, Law, Computer Science, Chemistry and many more, all taught by leading educators throughout the world. This great variety gives you incredible flexibility to explore as many topics as interest you, no matter how diverse your interests are.

Each course runs on a fixed schedule so you’ll have to ensure that you have enough free time to study the courses that you want, but if you miss a particular course or there are too many that clash you can simply study them the next time the re-open. Some courses also offer archives and self-paced schedules

Coursera does not produce the courses on their platform themselves, but rather allows universities to create them under a set of guidelines and a common structure, generally consisting of weekly short video lectures, content quizzes and assignments and also including a midterm and final exam but this varies between courses. Some have only quizzes and videos whilst others have only a final exam. Also, computing courses generally have automated coding assignments while humanities courses usually use peer-reviewed essay assignments. The final decisions on teaching style, course content and grading rubrics are made by the individual universities and so quality and style can vary between courses.

Most courses offer free completion certificates (although not all) and some are eligible for Coursera’s Signature Track, which for a fee can give you an enhanced certificate for which Coursera verifies your identity.

Udacity

Udacity is another Stanford-born MOOC platform and was founded by Sebastian Thrun, David Stavens and Mike Sokolsky in February 2012. Unlike Coursera, the emphasis was mainly on Computer Science but they have since expanded to include Mathematics, Physics, Business and Psychology courses to its catalog.

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Unlike Coursera, Udacity courses are all self-paced; you can study as much or as little as you like each week. This can be very valuable for students that have less flexible schedules or less free time. Of course, this also requires stronger motivation and organizational skills to complete the courses without Coursera’s looming deadlines – which many students find useful. However, many students have found great ways to overcome these challenges and we’ll be sharing these secrets with you in another article in this series!

 Also unlike Coursera, which has many introductory courses, Udacity courses are divided into three levels: beginner, intermediate and advanced. Each course also has requirements and follow-up courses, making it easy to plan a more structured, “degree-like” curriculum.

Udacity create all of their courses themselves and they follow their own unique pedagogy style with strict quality control. The team of instructors, teaching assistants and video editors work closely together to create courses that are well designed and highly polished.

edX

Founded in 2012 by MIT and Harvard, edX is the East Coast answer to Stanford-initiated startups. Initially, edX offered Engineering, Computer Science and Science courses but they now offer courses on Humanities and Liberal Arts too. Many other universities have now joined non-profit initiative: Berkeley, The University of Texas System, McGill Australian National University, Wellesley, Georgetown university, University of Toronto, Ecole Polytechnique de Lausanne, Tu Delft and Rice.

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The nature of edX courses is much more similar to offline college courses than with the other platforms but there is a feeling of great polish and quality for each one, especially with their Computer Science assignments which are very in-depth and interactive. Unlike Udacity, courses are not self-paced and unlike Coursera, the courses usually last between 10-12 weeks as opposed to Coursera’s shorter 5-8 week average.

You may find edX courses more challenging than courses of other platforms because edX’s courses are much more rigorous than Coursera’s and less tolerant in terms of deadlines than Udacity’s. However, the studying process is organized in the way most convenient to the student. It’s consistent: once you learn how to use edX, you won’t have to change your studying approaches and habits due to the new regulations or policies.

Looking ahead

MOOCs are a young phenomenon and they are still evolving dramatically. So which platform should you choose? Each platform has its own unique style, pros and cons and many students prefer to study on several platforms simultaneously.  Each will enhance your knowledge and help you to develop skills in expertise at the amazing price of $0. If you want to diversify your knowledge, browsing Coursera’s huge breath of subjects is a great place to start. If you are more interested in gaining a deeper understanding of a subject, then Udacity and edX are excellent options for when you want to advance beyond introductory courses.

In our next article in this series we will explore other less well-known but equally valuable MOOC platforms.

This post is part of a series on the Beginner’s Guide to MOOCs:

0. Introduction

1. Major MOOC Platforms (current post)

2. 5 MOOC Platforms you should know about

3. 5 MOOC Professors to See Before You Die

Extra:

1. AwesomeSlates Contest: Win Up to $750

2. Make All Your Education Count: Redesigning CV

What do you think of the ‘big three?’ Do you have a favorite? Let us know in the comments! If you have any ideas, questions or suggestions for future articles send us a note at hello@accredible.com – we’ll respond to every one!

Happy learning!

Beginner’s Guide to MOOCs: 0. Introduction

“The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled.”

Plutarch

 

Experts believe that the two most essential needs of a learner are:

  • Freedom to explore and express ideas
  • Access to resources that aid in getting answers to their questions

Perhaps this is why massive open online courses (MOOCs) have been a catalyst for discussion and created a huge buzz. For the first time people have the opportunity to learn whatever they want from the best professors in the world, for free. 2012 will always be remembered as the year of the MOOC. Now we all have the ability to enhance our CVs, gain new skills and broaden our minds if we’re willing to join the adventure. Missing this opportunity is a huge mistake.

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But the world of MOOCs can be complex and unfriendly for the new adventurer. What is a MOOC platform? What are the differences between various MOOC platforms, such as NovoEd and Coursera? Where can I gain particular skills which will suit me the best? How can I choose between two courses with similar material? How can I study effectively, succeeding in my studies whilst balancing my real-world responsibilities? Finding the answers to these questions can be frustrating and time consuming, ultimately detracting from what you’re trying to learn. Why not learn from the experience of others?

Accredible is happy to announce the series of articles which will help to make your educational journey easier and more enjoyable. We will guide you through the maze of platforms and courses, giving you roadmap to make the most of your studies.

The disruption happening in education is opening access like never before. Everybody now has the opportunity to educate themselves, regardless of their socio-economic background or geographic location. An internet connection, proper motivation and a little time are the only things needed to wield the awesome power of knowledge.

So, enjoy the ride whilst we take you on a journey through the education revolution. Let us know what you want us to explore, what problems you’ve encountered and stay tuned for the next post.

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This post is part of a series on the Beginner’s Guide to MOOCs:

0. Introduction (current post)

1. Major MOOC Platforms 

2. 5 MOOC Platforms you should know about

3. 5 MOOC Professors to See Before You Die

Make All Your Education Count: Redesigning the CV

With all the amazing innovations and developments within academia and edtech at the moment, one content area that seems to have been left behind a little is the common CV.

Education has evolved dramatically over the last fifty years yet things like CVs and certificates haven’t changed for hundreds of years. They are (at best) shiny pieces of paper with a name, grade and institution printed on them.

CVs tend to contain very pigeon-hole style of content such as ‘education’, ‘work’ and ‘interests’ which ultimately only create a very low resolution image of a person and one that is liable to deception.

For example, if you get a B in Computer Science does that mean you were generally ‘average’, or are you an exceptional programmer with a weakness in some other part of the syllabus that isn’t relevant to the job at hand? 

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Here at Accredible, we’ve been working hard to improve the way that credentials and certificates are generated across MOOCs, university courses also as wider learning by using peer-review and
reputational networks to determine and maintain quality.

By re-imagining the idea of the certificate to be more than just a statement, we can create a living portfolio of evidence that shows you have certain knowledge or skills. You can also get a much ‘higher resolution’ image of who a student is, what they can do and a list of evidence proving that.

And this is where we feel there’s a parallel between our work on credentials and CVs: rather than simply listing your achievements, we feel that you should be able to provide evidence to back up your claims, be they across your education, work or skills.

Below is an example of one of our MOOC slates giving examples about how this approach could be similarly used to demonstrate your personal capabilities on a CV:

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Unlike your traditional certificate or CV, you can create as many Slates as you like, each with a different course or program you studied to help build up a more rounded vision of your education.

Of course there’s also a direct benefit to your prospective employer as well as it gives them a much better chance to understand who you really are and why you really are perfect for their role. With greater transparency, comes better hiring decisions and a much lower risk of hiring the wrong candidate!

We’d be interested to hear your thoughts on the future of CVs and how developments in the EdTech space are changing the way we list our achievements. Is there still a place for CVs and if so in what sort of context? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

Do you want brand-new CV of 21st century? Sign up at https://www.accredible.com 

Need inspiration or don’t know where to begin? Here’s some amazing slates to help you. https://www.accredible.com/gallery