Welcome to learning.accredible.com!!

homepage
If you have visited your Accredible profile over the last few days, you may have noticed a small change in the address bar…where once you saw www.accredible.com/, you are now seeing learning.accredible.com/. Keep watching www.accredible.com for a super exciting announcement!

Why the change?

At Accredible, we recognize that you are using our site to represent all of the things you have learned thus far – regardless of where or how you have learned it.  We strongly believe that the Learning should be showcased – and one way to do that is to highlight it in our address.  We are transitioning your wall, certificates and evidence to learning.accredible.com to share that this represents all forms of learning.

What do I have to do?

Rest assured, the only thing you need to do is to update your bookmark!  Everything else will remain the same (no need to update your resume or LinkedIn page!) as we will redirect traffic to your new home at learning.accredible.com with no further work from (or for!) you. As you will see if you visit Accredible today, we will be automatically redirecting you to learning.accredible.com until Wednesday, July 16th, 2014.  After that, we will still remind you of the move but to make life easier for you, we suggest you update your bookmarks.  Need help updating your bookmarks?  Click on your browser below for detailed instructions.

Mac_reflective_Icons_Set_2_by_XxGodlyXx

Google_Chrome_icon_and_wordmark_(2011).svg

 

Mozilla_Firefox_logo_2013.svg

ie_old-798x310

Opera-logo_rev-80404

I’ve updated my bookmarks – now what?

addressbar

While you are visiting learning.accredible.com, why not try a few of the following things:

  1. Update your wall style – there are 7 great textures to pick from!
  2. Search for a new course using our Course Finder and add them to your To Learn list!
  3. Add some extra evidence for your courses (certificates, assignments, scores, blog posts, videos, etc)
  4. Catch up on News from your Courses & Friends or check out who else has taken the same courses as you and Follow them!  You may learn some great new ways of seeing the same subject by viewing their shared materials!
  5. See people with Similar Interests or Suggested Courses at the bottom of your profile
  6. Add some completed courses to your LinkedIn profile
  7. Ask fellow classmates for endorsements (AKA References)!
  8. Vote for features!

Again, welcome to learning.accredible.com!  We hope you will enjoy the above mentioned features.  Come back frequently and update your wall so your friends, classmates and (potential) employers can keep up with you.  Don’t forget,  keep watching the blog for another exciting announcement coming soon from Accredible!!!  (We can’t wait to tell you!)

Happy Learning!

teamsig-small (1)

Startup Spotlight: Quizlet

1-848x320

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.

Quizlet-8

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!

Quizlet-10

Software Developer David wants YOU to apply!

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

children-learning-how-to-use-computers-6081688

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.

hiwel-learning-station

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.

kindergarten-math-activities

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

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!

 

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

NYResolution50

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

 

 

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.

 

EdTech Goes Retro

LDTlogosOn 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!

Accredible Contest Hack #9: Leveraging the Power of Peers

socialnetwork

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.

Go Public

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.

0. Contest Announcement

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

6. Skills ToolBox, an Overview

7. Filling Your Skills ToolBox: How to Brainstorm

8. Adding Creativity to your Toolbox

9. Leveraging the Power of Peers (current)

 

 

Accredible Contest Hack #8: Adding Creativity to Your Toolbox

via flickr: Eddi van W.

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:

0. Contest Announcement

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

6. Skills ToolBox, an Overview

7. Filling Your Skills ToolBox: How to Brainstorm

8. Adding Creativity to your Toolbox (current)

 

3 Simple Tips for Recent Grads Looking for a Job

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.

The unemployment rate may be around 7%, but according to the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University, 36.7% of recent grads are “mal-employed,” meaning they hold jobs that don’t require a college degree.

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).