Future Learn + 4 Universities + BBC= 4 Amazing WW1 MOOCs

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FutureLearn has announced an amazing collaboration between 4 University Partners and the BBC which gives learners a chance to learn about World War 1 in a whole new way!  The BBC has opened its archives and shared multimedia content covering various aspects of the war and each university will present a different aspect of the first World War – from Aviation to the Treaty of Paris and more.  

Why The Focus on World War One?

2014 marks the centennial year of the beginning of the First World War. The war began in the Balkans, but it soon spread to become a European conflict, and developed into a world war. It was a war of unprecedented scale and brutality, with countless casualties. It also left a poisonous legacy for the 20th century and beyond, and many of the issues that were left unresolved in 1918 would lead to another world war in 1939. 1914-1918 was a period in history that has proved provocative and culturally resonant for the last hundred years.

The BBC’s Commitment to Education and Technology

This is the first time a major public broadcaster has contributed to MOOCs, according to Future Learn.  “The BBC is committed to education and looking at how we can exploit technology to best serve audiences,” says Sinéad Rocks, Acting Controller of BBC Learning. “This is a great opportunity to explore how we can do that as part of our WW1 season, and working as a content partner with these four universities to help deliver online courses will help us establish how we can contribute to the UK remaining a world leader in online learning. MOOCs are an interesting and exciting area, and I’m looking forward to exploring what role we might play,”

Simon Nelson, CEO, FutureLearn, said: “It’s our aim at FutureLearn to connect our university partners to other great centres of culture and knowledge, so I’m delighted to see the BBC and these four universities come together to create new learning experiences. The collaboration reinforces FutureLearn’s approach to online education, which draws on experts in great storytelling and academics to produce compelling courses for learners around the world.  And it’s the learners who are the real winners here, gaining access to the unrivalled resources of one of the world’s best known broadcasters, world leading educators, and each other, around an event as significant as the World War One centenary.”

 The New Courses

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University of Glasgow – World War One: Paris 1919 – A New World Order?      (Starts 13 October)

The Paris Peace Conference of 1919 ended a Great War, but it also designed the post-war future. In 1919, world leaders assembled in Paris redrew the map of the world, partitioned and created countries, and ushered in a new era of international relations. The naivety of the peace-makers of 1919 has been justly criticised. However, in setting up a permanent ‘world organisation’, the League of Nations, they changed the management of world affairs forever…

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University of Birmingham – World War One: Aviation Comes of Age                  (Starts 20 October)

This course will investigate how the early days of aviation gripped the imagination of the general public, galvanised industry and excited far-sighted members of the military.  Aviation evolved rapidly during World War 1 with modern and more effective aircraft soon replacing the very basic machines that took to the skies in 1914. By the end of war, air power wasn’t just being used for reconnaissance but in ways that are still recognisable today. When the war was over aviation had truly come of age with the opening of mail routes, exploration and record setting exploits.

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University of Leeds – World War One: Changing Faces of Heroism                     (Starts 27 October)

Did the First World War make heroism meaningless or was it the conflict that gave it the most meaning?  Through discussion and analysis of art, literature, film and television, guided by our experts, you will explore the portrayals of heroism before, during and after the war. Drawing on rarely seen archive you will be curating a mini exhibition, exploring a war memorial and writing a review of a representation of war.  Together we will examine the changing faces of heroism from distant figureheads and brave warriors to the ordinary ‘Tommy’ and front-line nurses. The emergence of alternative hero figures, including anti-war campaigners and vulnerable, shell shocked soldiers, is also covered. 

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The Open University – World War One: Trauma and Memory                                               (Starts 3 November)

You will study the subject of physical and mental trauma, its treatments and its representation. You will focus not only on the trauma experienced by combatants but also the effects of the First World War on civilian populations. In this three-week course, you will discover just how devastating the effects of the First World War were in terms of casualties across the many combatant nations and look in depth at the problem of ‘shell shock’ and how deeply it affected the lives of those who lived through it. You will also develop the skills to carry out your own independent research.  The war was not only experienced on the battlefield, however, and you’ll explore the many and varied ways in which civilians’ lives were affected by it, for example in the way combatant casualties affected the lives of loved ones who were left behind.

 Which courses will you add to your To Learn list?  

 

Future-learn 

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Ultimate Autodidacts: Einstein to Moffat

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The Guru

Going from a high school dropout to one of the greatest minds of the 20th century, Albert Einstein was the embodiment of autodidactism.  His idea of a perfect date was to read physics texts for fun with his girlfriend – enough said.

Einstein’s introduction to science and mathematics by a childhood friend established an interest in a topic far beyond what he was learning in school.  He taught himself calculus by the age of 13.  Thirteen!  Thus began his foray into the world of self learning; It was simply far more interesting than the grammar and basic mathematics he was forced to sit through in school.

Perhaps Einstein’s greatest secret for success was his approach to learning.  He said:

“Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking.”

He always believed in imagination, individuality, and inquisitiveness.  This is likely the reason (along with his accomplishments in the field of physics, advocacy for civil rights, and general good human-ness) why he became so widely admired.  This is also likely how John Moffat came to regard him so highly.

 

The Disciple

In the 1950s, Albert Einstein’s career had taken a nose dive.  He had written and spoken about theories that he had been unable to provide proof for over the last several years, which caused his reputation to take a tough hit.

At this point, a Danish painter by the name of John Moffat had just depleted the funds he was living off of in Paris as he honed his art.  He returned home to Copenhagen, Denmark where he returned to his love for reading at a nearby library.  Moffat devoured book after book about mathematics and physics, in mere months learning what took years for the average student to learn at University.

As he absorbed the knowledge, he became a fervent follower of Albert Einstein and his writings.  Familiar with the genius’ slump, Moffat (a high school dropout and painter with no credentials in physics) wrote Einstein a critical letter that analyzed all the things Moffat believed Einstein was doing wrong.  He didn’t expect a reply, of course, from such a famous and admired physicist.

Lo and behold when several weeks later, a hand-written letter in German came addressed to Moffat.  His lack of fluency in German forced Moffat to ask his local German barber for help translating the letter, which proved to encourage his efforts in physics.  Einstein took Moffat and his thoughts very seriously, pointing him to his newer writings and encouraging further replies.  This conversation continued for several letters during which Moffat successfully pointed out a poorly based mathematical assumption in Einstein’s calculations.  This interaction expanded into meetings with other great scientists of the time including Niels Bohr and Erwin Schrodinger.

It was Schrodinger’s recommendation, along with the extensive knowledge Moffat had amassed on his own, that allowed him to become the first accepted PhD candidate at the University of Cambridge without completing an undergraduate (or even secondary school) degree.

 

The Ultimate Autodidact

Albert Einstein is an undisputed genius who took on autodidactism as a fortunate hobby in addition to his more traditional education and work at Princeton University.  John Moffat took his Guru’s efforts a step further and forwent 8 years of (usually) compulsory formal study on the path to his own prestigious PhD.

Einstein and Moffat didn’t even have the beauty of the Internet at their disposal back in their times.  Imagine a modern day Moffat immersed in a MOOC with a Physics e-text on his Kindle in one hand and his online mind map on his tablet in the other.  Now that would be a force to be reckoned with.

There’s More to Sports Than Meets The Eye

Sprinter leaving starting blocks on the running track. Explosive

The World Cup has just ended (congrats Germany!) but that doesn’t mean you can’t continue riding the sports wave by learning about them! Here are some MOOCs to check out to learn more about the sporting world and how big events like the World Cup are put on.


Sports and Society examines all facets of how sports affect society. Drawing upon many social sciences, including anthropology, history and sociology, this class also includes guest speakers and live Google Hangouts so students can interact with the professor and notable sports people. The Coursera class starts September 1.

 

Mega Events: Inside the FIFA World Cup takes you into the world of the planning that goes into this event. The history of the event, the urban planning and logistics required, and the political and business sides are all facets explored in this class. The Canvas course started June 23 and goes until July 28.

 


IOC Athletic MOOC is a platform by the International Olympic Committee that has MOOCs aimed at helping athletes increase their performance. Sports technology, healthy eating, and athletic careers are just some of the topics covered.

 

Happy Learning!

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Adventures in Gamification: Wrapping it up!

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Welcome back!!

Well, we’ve worked through the six modules that make up Gamification in Education.  We’ve learned a lot and had fun – but now comes the big question…how do we SHOW and TELL anyone what we’ve learned? By creating an e-portfolio to display your incredible learning!  During a previous course, I learned and blogged about e-portfolios as I searched to find one that best fit me – which is how I found Accredible…learn more about that here!

Gathering Your Game Pieces (This is Always the Trickiest Part)…

Using your Accredible Learning Profile is a great way to showcase your work and that is what I’ve done for this (and many other classes)!  Before you can begin, you need to make life a little easier for yourself by following these basic steps:

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Step 1 -Did you use the blogging tool on OpenLearning?  It made it easy to take notes while watching the videos!  If you used that function, download your blogs now! (Or screen capture, or print as a PDF…there are ways to do it, regardless of technical ability and know how!)

Step 2 – Did you handwrite your notes?  Then start scanning!!  Showing that you did more than just watch the videos is important!  Even if your handwriting is slightly (or in my case – very!!) illegible, scan it into a document.

 

Gamification - pic 1 - group forumStep 3 – Did you participate in the forums?  Time to take a selfie – of your comment that is!  Try to get your comment without capturing the name and image of your classmate…if they haven’t given you permission to use their image, you should avoid it as much as possible!

 

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Step 4 – Did you share your learning in a personal blog? Perhaps sharing information, posing questions, solving said questions, producing gamelets for your readers?  If so, gather the links to share in your portfolio! (Also, please share in the comments below – I would love to read your experiences too!).

 

 

Step 5 – Did you answer any of the “homework” questions in a document or on paper (not the quizzes!!)?  You can add that too!

Step 6 – Did you try any of the lessons out on your friends and family?  Did you make any notes on their responses?  Put those together too!  This will allow you to show active demonstration of your learning!

Every single gamelet that was posted on each of the 6 weeks of Adventures in Gamification was tested by my kids (ages 7 & 9).  Every classroom game that was considered was practised first on them and (perhaps) also on my (ever so patient) flatmate who may never admit to playing hangman or reviewing history facts!  No one escaped testing out the ideas – my husband, my Mom, even my Nan (who had been a teacher).  We would try, discuss, debate, try again, etc, until we were (or at least I was) convinced that the idea could work in a classroom setting.  We all learned a lot about the Statue of Liberty for week 5!

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Step 7 – If you took the course with a friend, did you by any chance record the conversations?  If you did a Google Hangout on Air, you could share the link to your video!

As an FYI – these can be a lot of fun to do – but as a lesson learned the hard way…test the set up before you record your entire broadcast.  Yep, I did one, we didn’t check and the entire hangout is of little ol’ me…it should have gone back and forth depending on who was speaking…Live and learn!  And now, I am sharing that lesson with you (but…not the video!!)

 

Basically, anything you’ve done to help study the material should be included.  With one MAJOR exception!  Please, do not upload your quiz answers!  Feel free to share images of your scores but not the questions and answers!  This is for 2 major reasons – one, it violates the terms of agreement for the course and two, you would be making work for Prof. Benjamin if he had to create new quizzes every time someone shared their quiz!

One last piece of advice when gathering your “game pieces” – don’t forget about the “mistakes”.  First, there is no such thing as a “mistake”, just an opportunity to learn even more the second time.  Second, if you can show a “mistake” AND how you learned from it, how you changed your thought process, and how you resolved it, then you’ve shown perseverance, motivation, and a truer understanding of the material.

“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” ~ Michael Jordan

 …Setting up the Game Board…

Once you’ve gathered all of your work, you will want to upload it to an e-portfolio.  What I like best about Accredible is that it is easy to upload my work and to sort into folders.  There are 3 to get you started – “Course Materials”, “Notes” and “Assignments and Projects”, but you can add your own if you would like more!

Remember, you can upload any type of file – picture, document, video, podcast…whatever showcases your learning!

…And Playing the Game!

After you’ve uploaded and organized your material you still have a couple of things that you can do:

1) Share a link to your “Slate” via LinkedIn (which is a great way to keep your resume up-to-date!), Twitter or Facebook.  This will give the viewer an opportunity to find out the details on the course goals and what you did to achieve those goals.

2) Update your profile!  Add a picture or set the tone of your portfolio by updating the background to a style of your choice!

3) Search for your next course and add it to your “To Learn” Wall!  OpenLearning has a great selection of courses, so you are bound to find one (or more!) to suit your interests!

4) Find your course mates – by clicking on the Course Name, it will take you to the description page.  There you can see how many people on Accredible are taking the same course and how many have added it to their “to learn” list.  At the bottom of the page, you can see who has signed up for the course – and you will have the option to follow those individuals.  Maybe you came across someone who made some fantastic comments in the forum – why not write them a quick reference (This link takes you to my page, FYI)!  A quick note saying “Elizabeth offered some great insight and ideas when discussing the Hero’s Journey!  She completely changed the way I thought about the “call to adventure” and it’s role in game format.” adds credibility for that person, their work, and the course.

And the Winner in the Game of Learning is….You!

You’ve done the work and you deserve the credit for it!  By creating an e-portfolio you are offering a potential employer or school an opportunity to get to know more about you, your learning style, your commitment to furthering your education and professional development.  So share your work!  You should be proud of what you’ve done!  Let us know in the comments below which OpenLearning courses you are taking next!

Phew! You’ve done 6 weeks worth of coursework and now created your e-portfolio!  We’ve wrapped that up nicely…but I think our package still needs a bow to be complete!  Keep watching – Tom Benjamin, OpenLearning and Accredible have one more surprise coming up just for you!   

 

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How to Get Your Dream Job Without the Required Experience

Ambition of a young architect

Right major?  Check.  Enough software knowledge?  Check.  Cultural Fit?  Check.  Sufficient years of experience?  Uh-oh.

You’re looking at the job listing for your ideal gig just a little while after graduation and feel the excitement mounting inside of you with every requirement you know you can fulfill.  Then you see that you need 2 years of work experience – which you don’t have as a new grad.  Ugh.  Do you pull back and look for a position that you don’t want as much?  Do you resign yourself to a job you know will bore you for the next couple of years?

No.  Stop and think like a hiring manager. They are looking for candidates who know their stuff.  It just so happens that the general consensus says knowing your stuff requires some experience in the industry.  This study by McKinsey & Co. and Chegg even says that college graduates are under prepared but overqualified for employment…a finding that will naturally push hiring managers away from hiring recent grads.

So clearly, your next step should be to prove that you are sufficiently prepared for employment.  How?  Build a portfolio of work similar to what you would be doing on the job and submit it with your job application.  Refocus the potential employer’s attention on your skills and potential and away from metrics that don’t necessarily describe what you can do properly.  Here’s how.

 

Step 1 – MOOCs:  Learning the Skills

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are classes from well known Universities that professors modify for distance learning to allow access to any student for free.  Many of these courses teach exactly the same material as what the professors teach in their traditional classes, but you can take them in your spare time without spending money to build your knowledge and skills base.

Keep in mind that your major and college classes are not the full span of your capabilities.  An English degree is a great base for a copywriting career, but taking a few classes on your own time in marketing techniques can give your writing the boost you need to land that job at an ad agency.

Websites like Coursera and EdX provide great platforms for MOOCs.  It is important, however, to record your work for the class.  The assignments and projects you complete are great additions to your professional portfolio, as they legitimize the coursework you do through MOOCs.  You can keep track of all this by downloading your work as you complete it, or by using websites like Accredible to transfer all of your online coursework to one place that can be linked to the rest of your portfolio.

 

Step 2 – Speculative Projects/Case Studies:  Applying the Skills

There are case studies all over the internet – taking a few and using skills you learned from college and your MOOCs to write an analysis for each can help get your feet wet in the kind of thinking you need to solve problems in your industry.

Speculative or freelancing projects are also great ways to simulate what you will be doing later in a full time job.  Telling a small or mid-sized business or nonprofit organization that you are willing to help them out for free or little charge is an easy way to land some of these projects – this is time you are spending building work experience regardless of the amount you are getting paid.

Specifically working with nonprofit organizations in a volunteer position not only gives you the added experience for your newly developed skills, it also shows a more human side of your personality.  Maybe your volunteer work for Habitat for Humanity relates to your passion for fighting poverty, or perhaps your commitment to proper healthcare is showcased through your extensive work with the Red Cross.  Talking about your volunteer work in an interview is also great way to transition to you personal qualities and cultural fit.

 

Step 3 – Research:  Effectively Showcasing the Skills

Know what’s going on!  Read the news, find new articles on techniques and technology, and learn to use the newest software.  Once your profile gets you to an interview, you still need to prove that you can hit the ground running upon receiving an offer.

Having background knowledge about developments the company and its industry can help you come up with possible solutions to their problems before you are even working there – there is no better way than that to show that you would be an asset to the team.

Follow those three steps and you can show the hiring manager that you are perfect for your dream job because even though you don’t have years under your belt, you have the necessary skills and can demonstrate initiative to continue building more in the future.

MOOC News and Views (Week of 7/7-7/13)

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News

FutureLearn is looking for people who use their smartphone or tablet to learn.

Coursera’s blog features the story of an entrepreneur who used Coursera classes to help her expand her business. Read it here.

Remember that until July 16th, all accredible.com URLs will redirect to learning.accredible.com. We’re adding some new features, which is why we’re changing the URLs. Just make sure to you’ve changed the bookmark in your browser to learning.accredible.com by the 16th!

 

What is Team Accredible learning?

These aren’t MOOCs, but we’ve started a new series called “Around the World in 62 Days” which documents countries’ declarations of independence and other national holidays. Check out week 1 and 2 and stay tuned for next weeks!

The last week of Adventures in Gamification has come to a close, and Elizabeth has the final hurrah write-up of it here! Don’t worry if you haven’t started it since it’s self-paced so you can start anytime.

New Courses

Here are some of the upcoming NovoEd courses. NovoEd offers MOOCs with a twist – collaboration and social learning is deeply embedded in their platform. Mobile health, tech entrepreneurship and scaling businesses are just some of the things you can learn about with these interactive, fascinating classes.

Learning Tips

There are lots of free online resources to make studying and organizing your studying a little easier. Whether you want to be able to find articles about a subject you’re interested in (Feedly), have your notes accessible from anywhere (Evernote), create and use flashcards (Anki), or more, here are a few apps to get started with. Let us know what tools you use when studying by tweeting @accredible!

Take a few tips from Sherlock Holmes to become a better learner. From focusing to reading to “chaotic creativity”, who knew everyone’s favorite detective had the habits of a lifelong learner?

The second in a series on demystifying resume buzzwords is back, this time unraveling the term “motivation.” In addition, check out last week’s, “innovation.”

One of Udacity’s Course Developers has a blog post on Udacity’s blog with his tips for lifelong learning.

 

Happy learning!

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Adventures in Gamification: Week Six – The Active Ingredient in Games and Multimedia

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Welcome Back!

This week marks the last week of Games in Education – Gamification on OpenLearning.  I hope you’ve had as much fun on your Adventure in Gamification as I’ve had – starting from the Introduction, strategic uses of games,  how to apply games in education, using scenarios as levellers, to the Hero’s Journey.  We’ve covered a lot of topics, played a few games and had a bit of fun along the way! If you’ve followed along but not yet signed up for the course, you can start it at anytime.  Add it to your To Learn list or start it today!!

The Active Ingredient in Games and Multimedia

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When using games one thing is really important – selling it in the first few minutes.  You really have just a couple of minutes to convince your audience that you have a great product that is of great benefit for them, that will improve their lives exponentially, regardless of their issues, place in life, financial situation, grades in school, etc.

You must become one with your inner Charlatan.

Picture yourself standing on stage or on a wooden crate, shouting out to all of the passing people about this great opportunity you have for them!

 

Attention! Attention!  Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls of all ages…step right up and prepare to be Wowed, Amazed and Dumbstruck by the sheer Brrrr-ill-iance and Geee-ni-us of this deceptively simple ed-u-cational deeeee-vice…the one…the only….the Gamified, Achievable, Measurable, Educational Device – or GAME for short!

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Why your inner charlatan?

Simply because you want to take advantage of the Placebo Effect…AKA taking advantage of new “treatments” or “tools” while they still work.  The belief by an individual that something is going to work to make them learn or understand more, to become smarter, to get better grades is half the battle!

 

 

Tailor the Game to the Learner

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As an educator or trainer, you probably have tools that get the job done.  Worksheets, quizzes, projects, exams.

What if you could tailor a game to your learner? What if you had a test that could tell you about your students’ personality traits so you could create activities that would work with their strengths and develop their opportunities?  Using Holland‘s RIASEC testing you could do just that…

But is that practical?  Perhaps not so much today on an individual basis, but in a classroom setting, you could determine overall opportunities and include opportunities to develop those skills within the grand scheme.

 

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So what does this all mean?

It means start with what you have.  Keep it simple. Add layers as necessary.

A meta-game has it’s place, but when a gamelet will do, why bring out the big guns? Remember, we want to use the tools while they still work.  We don’t want to misuse games in the same manner in which penicillin was misprescribed.  Using a meta-game when a riddle will do is the same as using penicillin for the common cold. At best, it’s useless, at worst, it reduces the overall effectiveness when things really count.

In Summary

This week covered a lot!  To pull together a few key points:

  • Be a Charlatan! Sell the game well for the best buy in
  • Customize to the group
  • Size matters!  Use the smallest, simplest tool to get the job done!
We’ve now finished the course – but we will come back next week to wrap it all up!  We will do a final review of key points, the tools available on OpenLearning and show you how to tie a pretty bow around it all by posting your work to your Accredible profile!  

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3 Traits that Made Sherlock Holmes a Genius

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Whether you think of him as the quirky young gentleman from 19th Century Britain or the high functioning sociopath with a drug problem from present day London, Sherlock Holmes’ genius is undisputed.  The question is, how did Arthur Conan Doyle develop his legendary character’s powers of deduction?  An excellent formal education?  Natural skill?  Well, natural skill certainly had a lot to do with it, but the secret ingredient is a healthy dose of autodidacticism.

 

Lots of Reading & Background Junk

Sherlock Holmes was always reading something new – whether it was in Doyle’s books, one of the several subsequent movies, or the most recent Sherlock series, Dr. Watson mentioned the stacks of papers and books all over Sherlock’s work space and apartment several times.

Naturally, with all this reading came a wealth of background knowledge.  In his most modern adaptation, Sherlock is seen conducting research and tests that only trained professionals are able to do.  Yet, Sherlock Holmes is known to have attended college only briefly and never finished his undergraduate degree.  His natural talent and ability to learn quickly opened him to information that a formal education never provided.

This extensive background knowledge is integral to Sherlock Holmes’ powers of deduction.  After all, to deduce something, you must be able to rule out options which is only possible if you have enough information about it to make a decision.

 

Chaotic Creativity

Anyone who has seen the most recent, highly acclaimed Sherlock series can attest to the the fact that the apartment the detective shares with Dr. Watson is not only messy, but straight up gross.  There are disgusting eyeballs in the fridge and human skulls on the mantle of the fireplace.  In one scene, one such eyeball even falls into Sherlock’s tea – which he continues to drink contemplatively.

Such chaos (except maybe a bit more hygienic) is characteristic of a number of creative geniuses.  Mark Twain always had the messiest desk that spawned some of the best loved literature of all time.  Albert Einstein was cool with a crazy workspace too, saying, “If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?”

So basically, keeping himself surrounded by chaos kept Sherlock’s mind in a chaos as well, with everything zooming around in disarray.  Often, things lined up in the right order, and the result was Arthur Conan Doyle’s infinite success.

 

Focus

It is contradicting to say in one breath that Sherlock’s mind was full of chaotic creativity, and in the next that he had an amazing level of focus. His ability to focus on certain parts of the chaos is what allowed him to zone in on the things that had lined up in the right order. Clearly focus is important.

But Sherlock Holmes’ biggest strength was not his ability to concentrate on something in particular – rather it was the organization with which he quickly refocused on detail after detail.  The infamous scene where Sherlock deduces that Watson had been in a war, for example, required him to zoom in and out with his observations very quickly (considering he deduced this after a mere glance).

Even without an extensive formal education, Sherlock Holmes was able to teach himself what the average person would require several formal degrees to learn even a fraction of.  Why?  Because he learned for the sole purpose of knowing and utilizing information rather than with the specific goal of obtaining a degree or job.

The beauty of how things work today is the sheer number of free resources available to all aspiring autodidacts.  From MOOCs to free online books to YouTube tutorials, it’s all there – along with tools like Accredible that can help focus and organize your learning process.  So do you want to be as smart as Sherlock Holmes?  Go do some reading, drive your mind to crazy chaos, and then focus and organize it.  Easy as pie.

Around the World in 62 Days: Day 6 – 14

Around the World in 62 Days

There are many celebrations happening around the world this week!  Check out these national holidays or independence days! You are bound to learn a lot!

July 6

 

Lithuania – King Mindaugas Day200px-Flag_of_Lithuania.svg

Also known as Statehood Day.  Celebrated Officially since 1991, this day commemorates the coronation of the only King of Lithuania, King Mindaugas.  Although the exact date of the coronation is unknown, this date was chosen based on the hypothesis of Edvardas Gudavicius in 1989.

 

Comoros – Independence from France in 1975 200px-Flag_of_the_Comoros.svg

A small island nation off the coast of Africa (with an estimated population of 798,000) has the unique distinction of being the only state to be a member of the African Union, Francophonie, Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Arab League and the Indian Ocean Commission. The country has experienced several Coup D’etats since independence and this has kept about half of the population below the international poverty line.  The island of Mayotte is geographically a part of this archipelago, but is still administered by France.

 

Malawi – Independence from the United Kingdom in 1964Flag_of_Malawi.svg

Colonized by the British in 1891, Nyasaland joined the Central African Federation (CAF) and gained partial independence in 1953.  In 1964 (after the dissolution of the CAF), Nyasaland gained full independence and changed its name to Malawi.  Since 1993, Malawi has operated as a multi-party democracy and 2014 marks its next elections.

 

 

July 7

 

 

Cayman Islands – Constitution Day (First Monday of July) Flag_of_the_Cayman_Islands.svg

The Cayman Islands, located in the western Caribbean Sea, are a British Overseas Territory. They (along with Jamaica with whom they were combined) have been formally under British control since 1670 and were governed under Jamaica until 1962 when they became a separate Crown Colony.  The Cayman Islands have historically been a tax exempt destination as well as being a major world offshore financial centre.  Constitution Day has been celebrated since July 4th, 1959 when the first written constitution came into effect.  This year, Constitution Day will be celebrated with a “spectacular fireworks display”.

 

Solomon Islands – Independence from the United Kingdom in 1978200px-Flag_of_the_Solomon_Islands.svg

An archipelago in Oceania.  Inhabited for thousands of years, it was finally discovered by Europeans in 1568 when Álvaro de Mendaña found it.  Named for the biblical King Solomon.  In 1893, the United Kingdom had established a protectorate over the area.  Self government was achieved in 1976 and independence in 1978.  Part of a constitutional monarchy with Queen Elizabeth II as the Queen of Solomon Islands.

 

 

Copy of July 9

 

 

ArgentinaIndependence from the Spanish Empire in 1816 200px-Flag_of_Argentina.svg

Colonized by Spain in 1512, a fight for independence was fought from 1810-1818 with independence declared in 1816.  Following the War of Independence, Argentina fell into a long civil war.  Eventually the country was re-organized and by the early 20th century, was ranked as the 7th wealthiest developed nation.  In the mid 1900s, Argentina fell into political instability and declined into an underdeveloped nation.

 

Palau – Constitution Day200px-Flag_of_Palau.svg

Palau established the world’s first Nuclear Free constitution in 1981.  This meant that no nuclear weapons could be used, stored or disposed of without first being approved by a 3/4 majority in a referendum. In 1994 “nuclear free” was dropped in order to become an associated state to the U.S. – a necessary move as this country of approximately 21,000 people does not have a standing military and rely on the United States for all defence.

 

South Sudan – Independence from Sudan in 2011Flag_of_South_Sudan.svg

South Sudan became an independent state in 2011 after an overwhelming majority voted for separation from Sudan.  Since independence, South Sudan has become a UN member state, a member of the African Union and signed the Geneva Convention.  Currently involved in a civil war (2013 – current), leaving some 800,000 South Sudanese displaced.

 

 

July 10

Bahamas – Independence from the United Kingdom in 1973Flag_of_the_Bahamas.svg

Made up of 700 islands, cays and inlets and a population of 319,000, the Bahamas became a British colony in 1718.  They became an independent Commonwealth Realm in 1973.  Queen Elizabeth II still heads this parliamentary monarchy.

 

 

 

July 11

 

MongoliaNaadam Holiday (Declaration of Independence from China, 1921) Flag_of_Mongolia.svg

Bolshevik Russia supported the establishment of a communist government and army in Mongolia.  With help from Russian troops, Mongolia was able to declare independence from China on July 11, 1921.  The events leading up to independence became the basis of close ties with Russia, which lasted for several decades.  Naadam is the main National Festival (it has been organized for centuries) but now honours the anniversary of independence. Activities consist of archery, horse racing and wrestling.

 

July12

 

São Tomé & Príncipe – Independence from Portugal in 1975200px-Flag_of_Sao_Tome_and_Principe.svg

An island nation in the Gulf of Guinea (off the western equatorial coast in Africa) is the smallest Portuguese speaking country and the second smallest African country.  The 2 islands were discovered in 1471 and 1472, respectfully and the pair were settled in 1493 by the Portuguese.  July 12, 1975 brought independence to the islands. In 1990 they embraced democratic reform and legalized opposition parties, which led to nonviolent, free and transparent elections in 1991.

Kiribati – Independence from the United Kingdom in 1979200px-Flag_of_Kiribati.svg

In 1892, the Gilbert Islands agreed to become a British Protectorate along with other islands.  In 1971, the Gilbert and Ellice Islands gained self rule as a combined nation and separated in 1975.  The Gilbert Islands became independent in 1979 and became known as Kiribati.

North IrelandBattle of Boyne Day200px-Flag_of_the_United_Kingdom.svg

Fought in 1690 between the Catholic James VII & II and the Protestant William III & II, rival claimants to the English, Scottish and Irish thrones.  The battle took place on what was July 1, 1690 under the Julian Calendar, but is now known as July 11th.  The decisive Battle of Aughrim was fought one year later on July 12th, which is not the commemoration day of the battle.  The win by William kept James from regaining the crown.  The battle is also a key part of the Orange Order’s folklore.

 

 

 

July 13

 

July 13
Montenegro – Recognized as Independent at Congress of Berlin in 1878200px-Flag_of_Montenegro.svg

Located in South Eastern Europe.  The Treaty of Berlin formally recognized the independence of the de facto sovereign principalities of Romania, Serbia and Montenegro.  Proclaimed as a Kingdom in 1910 by Prince Nicholas (King Nicholas I) who had been ruling since 1860.  Since then they have joined Yugoslavia, become independent and are now a parliamentary republic.  The history of Montenegro is fascinating, complex and intriguing – well worth a read.  Bet you can’t read just one Wikipedia page!!!

 

 

 

July  14

 

FranceBastille Day and Fête de la Fédération
Flag_of_France.svgMayotteBastille Day
RéunionBastille Day
GuadeloupeBastille Day

 

 

 

MartiniqueBastille Day 200px-Flag_of_Martinique.svg

 

 

 

 

French GuianaBastille Day200px-Flag_of_French_Guiana.svg

 

 

 

 

New CaledoniaBastille DayFlag_of_New_Caledonia.svg

 

 

 

St Pierre et Miquelon  - Bastille Day 200px-Flag_of_Saint-Pierre_and_Miquelon.svg

 

 

 

Bastille Day commemorates the storming of the Bastille on July 14, 1789 by the people of Paris after Jacques Necker was dismissed from the National Constituent Assembly on July 11 by Louis XVI.  This battle led to the abolition of feudalism in August 1789.  Starting on July 14, 1790, the French have been celebrating Fête de la Fédération.  A militay parade has been held each year since 1880 on the morning of July 14th.  It has become the oldest and largest regular military parade in Europe.

Many former colonies still follow France‘s celebrations to capture and illustrate the French side of their interwoven histories.

 

ryanlerch_Green_-_Query_IconDid you know??

While busy celebrating Canada Day, I missed a few other special events – yikes!  Here are the ones that I know I missed!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

July 1

 

Hong KongTransfer of Sovereignty to PRC in 1997 Flag_of_Hong_Kong_(1959-1997).svg

Known internationally as “the Handover, July 1, 1997 marked the transfer of sovereignty to the People’s Republic of China.  Although Hong Kong Island and Kowloon had been ceded to the United Kingdom in perpetuity, the “new territories” only had a 99 year lease.  The three territories grew and developed together and by 1997 it was impractical to split them up as the new territories were important to Hong Kong’s economic development.

200px-Flag_of_Madeira.svg

 

Madeira – Autonomy from Portugal

A Portuguese Archipelago in the North Atlantic that was claimed in 1419 and settled in 1420, it has since become a popular year-round resort.  Following the democratic revolution of 1974, Portugal granted political autonomy on July 1, 1976 which is now known as Madeira Day.

(British) Virgin IslandsFlag_of_the_British_Virgin_Islands.svg

Commonly referred to as the British Virgin Islands (to distinguish them from the American or Spanish Virgin Islands) is a British Overseas Territory.  They became autonomous on July 1, 1967.

 

 

July 2
CuraçoFlag_of_Curaçao.svg

Part of the Kingdom of the NetherlandsCuraço was granted autonomy to a certain degree with its own parliament, although they are still dependent on the Netherlands for matters like foreign policy and defence.  The first elected island council was brought in on July 2, 1954.  On July 2, 1984, the council inaugurated the National Flag and National Anthem.

 

 

July 5 (1)

 

Isle of ManTynwald Day Flag_of_the_Isle_of_Man.svg

The National Day of the Isle of Man.  On this day the legislature (Tynwald) meet at St John’s – partly in the Royal Chapel of St. John and partly in the open air on Tynwald.  All bills that have Royal Assent are promulgated on Tynwald Day.  This event was first recorded in 1417.

If you’ve had fun learning about these countries this week, you might be interested in learning more through these courses:

Where we’ve been so far…

places weve been so far day 1 - 14

​Join us next Tuesday when we cover Days Fifteen to Twenty One in our Around the World in 62 Days series.  We will visit Slovakia, Columbia and Belgium…just to name a few! Let’s see how many more stamps we can add to our virtual passport together!

Upcoming NovoED Courses

novoed part 2
NovoED is the social online learning environment.  They are structured around a “Learn, collaborate and innovate” system in which you are organized into groups with whom you work on projects for the run of the course.  By doing this, you network with a group of individuals and you actually have a chance to get to know them.  So they offer all of the typical benefits of a regular MOOC with the added benefit of teamwork, problem solving, creativity and networking!

 

Some upcoming courses include:

Technology Entrepreneurship

Course Date: 14 July 2014 to 24 August 2014 (5 weeks)

Price: free

This course discussed the process technology entrepreneurs use to start companies which involves taking a technology idea, gathering resources such as talent and capital, marketing the idea, and managing rapid growth.

Estimated Workload: 10 hours per week.

 Mobile Health Without Borders

 

Course Date: 27 July 2014 to 31 August 2014 (5 weeks)

Price: free

This course focuses on cost-effective healthcare solutions using ever-expanding mobile technologies. The addressed themes are: 1) Global Health Challenges. 2) Mobile Health Opportunities. 3) Entrepreneurship in Healthcare.  This course will function like a conference, but take place over weeks instead of 2 days.  

Check out this great example of group work.

Scaling Up Your Venture Without Screwing Up

Course Date: 08 September 2014 to 12 October 2014 (4 weeks)

Price: free

In this five-week course, founders and managers learn to uncover and build on pockets of exemplary performance when scaling their venture.

Estimated Workload: Expect to spend between 4 – 6 hours per week on the course over the five-week period.

DQ 101: Introduction to Decision Quality

 

Course Date: 09 October 2014 to 15 November 2014 (5 weeks)

Price: free

This five-week online course covered the concepts of Decision Quality, introduced common decision traps, and fostered the basic awareness of skills and tools for reaching Decision Quality in business settings.

Estimated Workload: Expect to spend between 2-4 hours per week on the course over the five-week period.

Here is a sample of group work from this program!   

NovoED has some very exciting courses coming up over the next few months – and even more coming up soon after!  If you like MOOCs but feel you are missing the “human connection”, try NovoED!  The team group work might be just the thing for you.  Let us know which courses you decided to take in the comments below – and remember to add the courses to your Accredible To Learn list for course reminders.