Exploits in Education: Week 5

EIE 844

Welcome back!

Grab a tall, refreshing drink, sit back, relax and settle in for a read!  This week we are looking at leadership.  What is a leader?  What is the role of women in leadership?  These are tough topics…

Before we begin, let’s clarify a few points for the sake of transparency.  I am a woman.  I am a woman who has been in leadership roles in business, in various organizations and at home.  I can’t give you a straight answer on what a leader is, what makes a good leader or how to get more women in visible leadership roles

I hope you noticed the word “visible”.  It’s an important term and we will come back to it later on.

What is a leader?

Yikes!  This is a tough one.  What makes a good leader isn’t the same as what makes a good manager.  I can only share my personal views on this, so here goes.

170px-Baden-Powell_ggbain-39190_(cropped)

Sir Robert Baden-Powell who created the Scouting/Guiding movement that developed so many of our leaders today…

1) I don’t believe in the “Leaders are born, not created” mentality.  I think people become leaders when the situation requires it – for some, that may be daily, for others intermittently, and others still, next to never.  It’s those times we step outside of ourselves and our comfort zones to make sure that the right thing happens for the collective.

2) Charisma may come into play, but I think a sense of responsibility and fairness is more important.  An overly charismatic person comes across as slimy to me.  Confidence is important too.

3) A sense of common good and actually caring about the people around them.  Getting to know their team, their strengths and opportunities, finding ways to draw out the best in the people around them. Finding ways to develop a shared goal that creates win-win situations amongst the group. An interest in developing the people around them is key.

4) Position in a hierarchy may play a role, but isn’t the defining factor for me.  I’ve met new hires who were better able to rally the troops than the department manager.  One would hope that a manager would be a leader, but often promotions occur not because someone is a good leader or manager, but because they are good at doing a specific task.

Of course, these are just my opinions, please share yours in the comments below!

What is the role of women in leadership?

When I was a little girl, growing up in a small town on the east coast of Canada, my dream was to have a high powered executive job based in New York City or L.A. (Hey, it was the 80’s…big hair, big shoulder pads and Women’s Menswear…). I wanted the corner office with the good views, an assistant to bring me coffee and to make decisions for the multitudes.

Dynasty-Dynasty-TV-Series-014

Then I grew up. The dreams toned down a little – I no longer wanted the big shoulder pads or to live in a mega city, but I still wanted a managerial position that would lead to a corner office with views et al. So I climbed aboard that train and started the journey down the track.  Somewhere along the way, I changed trains and ended up on another track heading in a different direction.  It wasn’t the wrong direction and along the way I decided I liked this journey better, but it wasn’t taking me to the C-Suite – or at the very least not directly.

What happened?  The best thing ever.  Hands down.  Bar none.

But it wasn’t my original plan.  I wasn’t becoming the leader in business that I thought I would be.

And then it hit me.

I had become a leader.  I am the founder and CEO of a delightful start up that features 2 distinct products.  I am the CMO of this enterprise, showcasing all the reasons why these products fit into your life.  I am the CFO of this company, responsibly managing the financial resources. I am the CTO, ensuring all systems are up-to-date, working to specifications and determining innovative ways to improve anything and everything.

The product? My children.  That’s right, I became a Mom.

A Mom – the invisible leader who shapes the next generation.  I commented on this in a forum

“I was thinking along this line myself – Mothers will stand up for their children (Assertive, Confrontational), teach their children everything from morals to tying their laces to setting the table (Gurus, Motivational, Inspirational), assign jobs and provide feedback (Delegate, Manage, Evaluate), kiss every boo-boo (Strong in a crisis, able to handle any challenge that comes their way) and still do it with sensitivity (negotiate win-win terms, confidence, make you feel good about yourself). (I’ve not forgotten the ability to budget, minimize cost overruns, time manage projects, apply cost saving measures without compromising quality, etc – wanted to keep this “short”).

People often say women aren’t in leadership roles. Perhaps they should stop and consider their own mothers and then apologize for not realizing that women take on important (but slightly more invisible) leadership roles everyday.”

(By the way – I did end up getting my corner office with the great views and two assistants who brings me coffee.  My corner office might be in my dining room, but I get the best views ever of the backyard.  My assistants who bring me coffee are super cute (and I can say that without the fear of a lawsuit since they are my kids). The measurement of ones success are subjective at best and I realized that what I do at home is just as important as I what I did in business…)

In Summary

Defining leadership is tough because it is hard to separate leadership from management skills. Leadership is more about personal characteristics (I think – would love to hear your thoughts).  Visible and Invisible leadership was an interesting concept, especially in terms of Women in Leadership.  I would hate for anyone to read my bit on mothers as anti-feminist as that is not my intent.  I believe we sometimes undervalue the role of mothers in developing the leaders of the next generation – and who better to learn leadership skills from than another leader?  Quiet, behind the scenes leadership is still leadership and still valuable.

Next week we will be looking at ethics.  This is bound to be an intriguing week with many different viewpoints.  If the ACCA Fruit Stand game teaches us anything, it taught us that we could make ethical mistakes – even with the best intentions…so if we can in a inconsequential instance, what happens when it really counts???

 

 

Exploits in Education: Week 4

EIE 844

Welcome back!

Congratulations on making it to the halfway point in the course!

This week we met David Boughey as we learned more about how large business functions, Rogue Traders and the Financial Crisis. Now, to clarify one point for any of us who grew up in the ’80s – we are learning from David Boughey not David Bowie – which to my Canadian ears sounds exactly the same…just saying (and yes, I did half wonder in a pre-coffee moment if I should be expecting eye-liner, wild hair and spandex and then I woke up…LOL).  Grab a beverage and let’s jump in…

Who Has The Biggest Business?

Time for more honesty…I started thinking about this solely based on brands and from a very North American outlook.  Walmart, McDonald’s, Coca-Cola and Apple were my top 4.  I wasn’t right.

And I’m glad of that.  It forces me to look at things differently.

Using the Forbes 500 list, I picked 4 of the top 18 (Apple #1, Coca-Cola #3, McDonald’s #6, and Walmart #18), but when using the UNCTAD by Foreign Assets report, I was very wrong (Apple #19, Walmart #31, Coca-Cola #90.  McDonald’s didn’t make the list).  While I recognized many of the company names, they were not companies that I talk about on a regular basis.  Six of the top 10 were petroleum explorers/refiners/distributors – other than to complain about the price of gas or to discuss the dismantling of a local refinery.

So what makes the “biggest business”?  Is it brand recognition?  Foreign Assets?  Number of employees located out of the home base country?  Global sales? Every report uses different methodology so no one answer is right.

But for me, I’ll stick with Brand Recognition!

Rogue Traders

This was a very well done video.  I actually had to just stop and listen the first time – no pencil in hand, no arguments forming in my head and really just listen. Then I watched again and took notes.

In the beginning of the video, Gary Abrahams talks about risk aversion/aversion to loss and that the way a question is worded influences our tolerances towards risks.  I suspect anyone who is “good” at scamming people (and by “good” I mean able to consistently perform and achieve his/her desired results) must have a fundamental understanding of the psychology at play and frame the scenarios in such a way as to maximize the potential gain and minimize the loss.

Add to that the reality that we (collectively) are lazy and don’t WANT to have to research the details make us likely to fall into the trap of available information and if we do any surface research, we look for what confirms our hopes. I’m not sure if it is “greed” as it is the belief we have that people will tell us the truth and not just what is in their best interest.

As I thought about it, it made more and more sense to me.  I often wonder why when playing poker, people will go all in and state they were “pot committed“.  That they “had” to take the chance to win big even though they could lose it all.   Their aversion to loss at that moment is more important than their risk aversion.  They just use their available info (their hand and the flop, maybe a River card) and jump in.

I saw the rogue trader as more of a Charlatan selling snake oil and the investors as the naive people who WANTED to believe in something so much that they failed to do their part, their responsibility in ensuring they were making smart, effective, reasonable decisions. But after finding this article, I’m left uncertain – while finding this article was not in the best interest of my arguments, I do like going beyond the “available information” and look for information that just agree with my hypothesis.

Technology, Business and Society

This week we had an assignment – to write a 300 word essay around a quote about technology, business and society.  Upon submission, we were assigned another essay to read and comment on.  I like peer assessments in online courses – I find it interesting to read and review and well as to be reviewed.

After thinking about it, I could have written it differently…but isn’t that always the way?  I thought I’d share it with you:

Jonathan Sacks once said, “Technology gives us power, but it does not and cannot tell us how to use that power. Thanks to technology, we can instantly communicate across the world, but it still doesn’t help us know what to say.”
Never has this been more true than today. Discussion forums, Twitter, blogs, instant messenger – each day there seems to be a new way to connect with people, new ways to connect with more people and build our networks, but for what? To have nothing to say?
In order to best take advantage of the communication technology available to us today, we need to put down said technology and open a book, our minds, our hearts and our mouths.
In order to have something to say, we need to have a topic to discuss, information on said topic and time to sort out our thoughts and feelings on a subject. We need to form opinions based on facts that we sometimes find while looking for something else. We need to stop worrying about having an unpopular opinion and use real facts and figures to back it up.
It takes courage to speak your mind and not the drivel that is spoon fed to us via editorials, talk radio and phone in talk shows like Nancy Grace. Whilst it is easy to jump on-board the latest thought train and agree with the message being spouted by the conductor, it is harder to point out that the train which should be travelling east, is actually travelling west.
And if they did point it out, would they use their mouth to say something or their fingers to tweet it?

In Summary

Well, I’ve shared my assignment (which will get uploaded to my Accredible profile soon!), we’ve talked about Rogue Traders, Poker, 80’s Rock Stars, and who has the biggest business and made it through the half way point!  Next week we are talking about Heroes, Villains and Leaders…now that sounds exciting!

Exploits in Education: Week 3

EIE 844

Welcome back!

Last week we worked through the concept of companies (or corporations) as a person; rules, regulations and laws and ways they can help the economy; taxation of companies; and finally what Canada is doing to promote economic growth via taxation.  This week we are tackling Cattle Markets and the Stock Market. Grab a drink or a snack and let’s jump in!

How Much Should We Trust Business Leaders?

This topic was quite interesting – I’m always torn personally.  Frankly, we know there is a lack of transparency – just consider the Global Financial Crisis of 2008,  AIG (2009), or Enron (2001).  It’s relatively easy to hide sales, profits, loss, loans and improper depreciation of property and equipment apparently!  Considering that many companies run three sets of books (Financial, Tax and Managerial), it is easy to misrepresent finances…

If we consider adding in a layer of communication by having an external auditor examine the books and “publish the truth”, we may find we are disappointed!  According to my accounting notes, “Auditors are hired by the Board to “express an opinion” about whether the statements are prepared in conformity with GAAP”.  They don’t prepare the notes, they just examine the documents and “express an opinion”.

Obviously this needs to change – and change quickly.  If an informed market (i.e. everyone knows the process and has good information) works best, then an uninformed market (i.e. no or bad info) leads to failure (see American Bank Bailout).

An exciting list of Accounting Scandals can be found here – a word of advice, only read if you have time to spare!! It’s easy to get caught up in the intrigue!

Who Will Be the Next Economic Powerhouse?

This topic made me rethink a lot of things that I thought I knew.  Population density, urbanization and literacy rates had always been touted as key indicators for future success.  But they might not be what matters.

Predicting Comparative Advantages in something becoming increasingly valuable was interesting.  I loved the discussions around how changeable a country’s comparative advantage might be…it got me thinking about two countries who are doing VERY interesting things in education – India and Malaysia.  Both are developing free education via MOOCs to any citizen, regardless of background or location to access the best in education. How will this impact the economic situations in these countries?  Create a new, upcoming Comparative Advantage? Develop new skills and technologies?  As a fan of MOOCs, (self)education, and learning at every opportunity, I am looking forward to following India and Malaysia as they develop their most valuable asset – their people…and how it impacts their economy and their global leadership role.

Fruit Stall Game

ACCA fruit stall game

 

This week would not have been complete without the Fruit Stall Game from ACCA.  I don’t know about you, but I had a blast playing it – and learning on the go!  If you’ve not tried it, you should – it will help tie things together and teach you to read and analyse data, about ethics, determining costs and making a profit.  I’ve shared my second attempt below (and no, I won’t share my first!  How embarrassing!)

ACCA fruit stall game 2Don’t forget to share your results below – or on your Accredible profile!

In Summary

We’ve considered a lot this week – trust, transparency and truth.  We’ve reviewed past scandals, looked at what needs to change and tested our own resolve by playing the Fruit Stand Game.  There was so much more that we could have discussed and I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!  Next week we look at Big Business and our behaviours; the organization, ownership and control; and the implications for decision-making…

Exploits in Education: Week Two

EIE 844

Hello!  Welcome back – grab a beverage and let’s jump in!

Last week we covered technology advances, globalization, the increasing challenges in management and business versus organizations.  That was a lot of material!!  This week we are looking at rules and regulations, taxes and laws.  Lynne Oats and Greg Morris did a great job explaining some pretty tough topics.

Companies are Recognized as a Person

An admission here: this topic taxes my brain.  How can a concept be treated or recognized as a person under the law?  I’ve struggled with this one for years.  What I gathered from this lesson was probably the best explanation that I’ve ever received.  I’m going to take the risk and share what I got out of it:

Companies vs Person - Gradient

 

What I gathered is the area of overlap is what allows a business to be considered a person.  A point of interest – when the course discusses “company”:

In American English the word corporation is most often used to describe large business corporations.[4] In British English and in the commonwealth countries, the term company is more widely used to describe the same sort of entity while the word corporation encompasses all incorporated entities. In American English, the word company can include entities such as partnerships that would not be referred to as companies in British English as they are not a separate legal entity. (Wikipedia)
(This may ease some confusion for you as it did me)

The rules, regulations and laws in which a company can exist vary from country to country.  I was surprised to learn that companies were a relatively new invention – but I guess when looking back, most businesses were family owned, single location operations like a single pub or shop – and they took all of the risk.  If their shop failed, burned down or faced litigation the owners were financially responsible and it could leave a family in the poor house!

In 1843, William Gladstone took chairmanship of a Parliamentary Committee on Joint Stock Companies, which led to the Joint Stock Companies Act 1844, regarded as the first modern piece of company law.[19] The Act created the Registrar of Joint Stock Companies, empowered to register companies by a two-stage process. The first, provisional, stage cost £5 and did not confer corporate status, which arose after completing the second stage for another £5. For the first time in history, it was possible for ordinary people through a simple registration procedure to incorporate.[20] The advantage of establishing a company as a separate legal person was mainly administrative, as a unified entity under which the rights and duties of all investors and managers could be channeled.(Wikipedia)

This lead to the concept of Limited Liability where the maximum amount of money a shareholder could lose was equivalent to their investment except in specific situations.

If you have a better understanding or I’ve made a mistake – please let me know!!

Rules, Regulations and Laws

As previously discusses, a company can only exist within a system of rules, regulations and laws.  This is meant to give guidelines for operating a business – what they can and cannot do.  These rules, regulations and laws are designed to strengthen the economy.

Restrictions can improve the economy????  How about not only the economy but society?

I kid you not!  Let’s think about Health and Safety rules.  Yes, they restrict what a company can do – they are obligated to provide a safe working environment, proper safety gear, safety instruction and the right to refuse unsafe work.  That means the company has to spend more time to complete a job and more money for training. However, it does reduce injuries, provides specific liabilities for managers and companies should an injury occur and creates an environment where you can expect your spouse/parent/loved one to return home at the end of their shift.

Other regulations that have improved the economy would include stricter environmental rules, competition laws and employment regulations.

Taxation of Companies

The purpose of taxation is to transfer funds into government coffers which then is used to run various programs.  Taxes are used for things such as the redistribution of wealth (think of transfer payments within a country or even social welfare) and controlling behaviours (lower taxes for greener companies).  While taxes have traditionally been paid by the individual, a recent change has been taxing businesses.

Not all countries tax businesses (and are known as tax havens) which encourages some businesses – but not all – to establish within their borders. So why doesn’t everyone establish their business in these countries?  Convenience.  Sometimes the resources or the skilled workforce just aren’t available there.

Who really pays the taxes? Who knows! Do the taxes come off the profit line and reduce the amount of dividends paid to the shareholders?  Do the taxes get paid from increased profits by increasing the price so the customer pays for it? It varies from industry to industry and business to business.

What does your country do to stimulate economic growth via taxes?

I live in Canada, so I will share what the Harper government has issued based on the latest budget regarding fostering job creation, innovation and trade as well as supporting families and communities.  To not appear biased, you can read the whole report here.  As you can see, Canada is stimulating growth by not increasing taxes on business or creating any new taxes and by reducing the red tape that goes along with setting up a business.  It is an effort to promote the entrepreneurial spirit!

In Summary

This week we’ve worked through the (head hurting) concept of companies (or corporations) as a person; rules, regulations and laws and ways they can help the economy; taxation of companies; and finally what Canada is doing to promote economic growth via taxation.  Next week we tackle Cattle Markets and the Stock Market – this I can’t wait to cover!  I love watching the stock market – and one day I will be brave enough to play it! Until then, you and I can play this game instead….

 

FutureLearn Courses Starting in October

Future Learn Featured Image (1)

Our friends at FutureLearn have once again delivered a wide assortment of courses for you this month.  There is something for everyone – from the Writer to the Sports Enthusiast to the budding Developer or Marketer. Check out these great options:

How to Succeed at: Writing Applications

Course Date: 06 October 2014

This course will help you to write successful applications, whether you are applying for jobs or planning to study at university or college. Over the three weeks, we’ll look at different parts of the application process. We’ll help you to understand the skills you have gained through work experience and your studies and show you how you can match them to job advertisements or course requirements. We’ll share top tips with you to help you write exceptional applications, CVs (or résumés), covering letters and personal statements and provide insight from employers and admissions tutors on what they look for in candidates.

Data to Insight: An Introduction to Data Analysis

Course Date: 06 October 2014

Organisations around the world are collecting more data than ever. They are talking about big data, data science, business intelligence, analytics, data mining and data visualisation, and there’s an urgent need for people with the data skills to understand, interpret and communicate this information. It’s all about using statistical data to predict behaviours and extract insights about the real world. From businesses, governments and service organisations to researchers, data has become everybody’s business. Data to Insight provides an introduction to statistical data analysis for those new to the subject as well as those wanting a reminder and a fresh perspective. The course focuses on data exploration and discovery, showing you what to look for in statistical data, however large it may be. We’ll also teach you some of the limitations of data and what you can do to avoid being misled.

Shipwrecks and Submerged Worlds: Maritime Archaeology

Course Date: 06 October 2014

People have explored and depended on the oceans of our planet for millennia. During that time the geography of our world has changed radically as coastal regions have flooded and islands have risen up, or been lost beneath the waves. With 70% of the world’s surface covered by water, an unparalleled, yet largely untouched record of human life has been left beneath the sea for us to discover, from our earliest ancestors right through to present day. Over the length of this ‘Shipwrecks and Submerged Worlds’ course we will learn about maritime archaeology together – exploring underwater landscapes from the ancient Mediterranean to the prehistoric North Sea, and consider Shipwrecks from the Indian Ocean to the Pacific coast of the Americas.

Web science: how the web is changing the world

Course Date: 06 October 2014

You may be an avid user of the Web but this introductory course in Web Science will help you to understand the Web as a both social system and a technical system: a global information infrastructure built from the interactions of people and technologies.  We will examine the origins and evolution of the Web, and consider key questions of Security, Democracy, Networks and Economy from both computational and social science perspectives. By following this course, you will have a greater understanding of the Web and begin to develop skills for the digital era – skills that are useful for everyday life and widely sought by the technology driven employers of today.

A beginner’s guide to writing in English for university study

Course Date: 06 October 2014

If you’re interested in studying at university or college in an English-speaking country, you’ll need to learn how to write using academic English. Academic writing can be very different from other types of English writing you may have done in the past. We have developed this course to help you learn the basics of academic writing and develop your English skills for study in the UK, US, Australia or other countries where English is used. This course will provide you with a brief introduction to academic writing, enabling you to gain an awareness and understanding of some key features of this kind of writing. You will develop some proficiency in a few key areas of ‘academic’ grammar, learn about the stages in essay writing, and produce an essay of your own. We will teach you how to organise an essay, use academic writing style and cover key areas of grammar, so that by the end of the course you are able to write a good, basic academic essay.

Discover dentistry

Course Date: 13 October 2014

An entertaining and illuminating course for everyone to explore the impact dentistry has on our lives.

World War 1: Paris 1919 – A New World Order?

Course Date: 13 October 2014

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…

Preparing for Uni

Course Date: 13 October 2014

Higher education is about learning at a higher level: developing skills relating to critical thinking; holding a supported, substantive argument; analysing and using data or sources critically. These are university-level skills but you can work on the foundations of these skills before you get there. Such skills will also help in assessments such as A-levels and extended project work. They are also attributes that employers value in graduates. In this course you will explore some key skills needed for success at university.

The Mind is Flat: the Shocking Shallowness of Human Psychology

Course Date: 13 October 2014

What are the forces shaping human behaviour? How do we think and decide? What are the origins of human rationality and irrationality? Our everyday conception of how our minds work is profoundly misleading. We are victims of an ‘illusion of mental depth’ – we imagine that our thoughts and behaviours arise from hidden motives and beliefs and that we can understand ourselves by somehow uncovering these hidden forces, whether through therapy, lab experiments or brain scanning. This course will show you that the very idea of these ‘mental depths’ is an illusion. When this is stripped away, our understanding not only of minds, but also morality, markets and society is transformed.

Digital Marketing: Challenges and Insights

Course Date: 13 October 2014

This short course introduces you to exciting new concepts and applications of digital marketing. It takes an informal “story telling” approach, encouraging you to share your own stories as consumers and/or marketers for the benefit of the learner group as a whole. What will I learn and how might this benefit me? We will focus on emerging trends in digital culture and online consumer behaviour, data analytics and privacy. Throughout the course, we examine the implications of these developments for both marketers and consumers.

Introduction to Cyber Security

Course Date: 13 October 2014

Our lives depend on online services. Gain essential cyber security knowledge and skills, to help protect your digital life.

World War 1: Aviation Comes of Age

Course Date: 20 October 2014

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.

The Secret Power of Brands

Course Date: 20 October 2014

Brands are the most potent commercial and cultural force on the planet. Think about McDonald’s, Apple, Manchester United, Tate, Harry Potter, Google.  If you’re starting out on a career in branding, or if you work in a related area – like strategy, marketing, innovation or organisational development – or even if you just have an interest in branding then this course is for you. You’ll learn directly from practitioners at companies like Virgin and Google, and watch brand experts in action. You’ll get a rich mixture of powerful theory and practical tools. With branding changing so rapidly, you’ll get the very latest insights and methods from the converging worlds of technology, design and brand.

Innovation and Enterprise

Course Date: 20 October 2014

Introducing something new or innovating is easy in theory but hard in practice. New ideas can be plentiful, but selecting the best ideas and implementing them can be challenging. Managing the innovation process is neither a scientific process nor a black art. In addition to detailed research and planning, its success is influenced by human factors and, of course, luck!  In order to make sense of this complex topic, we have created a model for the innovation process and its management. The course will describe the PROCESS; the way the innovation pathway works from creation of new ideas to their selection and implementation.

Football: More Than A Game

Course Date: 20 October 2014

Football is often called the people’s game – it has more than 200 million viewers world wide and major tournaments such as the FIFA World Cup are viewed by the vast majority of countries around the world. This course will introduce you to the global game of football (soccer), why it is called the people’s game, how it has developed in different parts of the world and why major sporting events are important to different countries. It will cover governance, strategy, and leadership in different football settings, identify key people, players and nations and provide a behind the scenes overview of the world of football. It will look at different profiles of football fans, nations, and players in terms of fitness coaching, demographics and economics (i.e. players wages, migration patterns, levels of sponsorship and the role of positive coaching)

Begin programming: build your first mobile game

Course Date: 20 October 2014

Programming is everywhere: in dishwashers, cars and even space shuttles. This course will help you to understand how programs work and guide you through creating your own computer program – a mobile game.  Whether you’re a complete newcomer to programming, or have some basic skills, this course provides a challenging but fun way to start programming in Java. Over seven weeks we will introduce the basic constructs that are used in many programming languages and help you to put this knowledge into practice by changing the game code we have provided. You’ll have the freedom to create a game that’s unique to you, with support from the community and educators if you get stuck. You’ll learn how to create algorithms to solve problems and translate these into code, using the same tools as industry professionals worldwide.

Fairness and nature: when worlds collide

Course Date: 21 October 2014

This course is about making difficult decisions on the management of natural resources. Different people place different values on nature. For example, some see it as something we should conserve for future generations, others as a resource of financial value to be exploited. Policies about managing nature should be economically and environmentally sound, but they also need to be formulated with social fairness if they are to be sustainable. Inevitably, when there are so many different values, conflicts occur and worlds collide.

World War 1: Changing Faces of Heroism

Course Date: 27 October 2014

Did the First World War make heroism meaningless or was it the conflict that gave it the most meaning?  We’ve designed this course in partnership with the BBC to help you explore, discuss and challenge the ways in which First World War heroism has been remembered. Our experts will take you through the changing British, French and German views of heroism and discuss important similarities and differences. 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.

Liver Disease: Looking After Your Liver

Course Date: 27 October 2014

We are currently experiencing an international explosion of liver disease that continues to have enormous impact upon healthcare systems and global health. In the UK we have seen a 20% increase in deaths related to liver disease since 2000 and this pattern reflects the global situation. Contrary to expectations, this dramatic increase in liver disease is not restricted to patients who drink alcohol, and liver cancer is the third most common cause of cancer related death. Many inherited conditions and acquired infections can also cause liver disease, and liver disease as a consequence of obesity and diet is becoming especially significant.

Start Writing Fiction

Course Date: 27 October 2014

This practical, hands-on course aims to help you to get started with your own fiction writing, focusing on the central skill of creating characters. You will listen to established writers talk about how they started writing and consider the rituals of writing and the importance of keeping a journal. You’ll learn how to develop your ideas and the importance of reflecting on writing and editing, and you’ll hear other writers talking about their approaches to research and consider ways of turning events into a plot.

Exploring our oceans

Course Date: 27 October 2014

The first astronauts to leave the Earth’s orbit saw our “blue planet” for the first time. But what lies in the half of our world covered by water more than two miles deep? How are our everyday lives connected to the ocean depths, and what challenges and opportunities does this previously hidden realm hold for our future? In this course you will join scientists exploring the ocean from the deepest undersea vents to the chilly waters of the Poles, going deeper, longer, and more often than ever before – and find how what we now know about the ocean depths is as amazing as the unknown that remains.

How to read your boss

Course Date: 27 October 2014

Think about the conversations you have had in your workplace over the past few months. Do you come out of business meetings wishing you had said something differently, or felt misunderstood? Do you have difficulty talking to people more senior than you? What about when talking with other colleagues? ‘How to read your boss’ introduces you to the world of business communication through linguistics.

Were you able to choose?  Shipwrecks, WWI or Dentistry? There truly was something for everyone!  Don’t forget to update your Accredible Learner’s Profile  while you are at it!

New Courses Announced by FutureLearn

Future Learn Featured Image (1)

FutureLearn has recently announced adding five new courses to their already impressive selection of courses.  The following gives you a brief introduction to each course:

Introduction to Cyber Security

Course Date: 13 October 2014

Our lives depend on online services. Gain essential cyber security knowledge and skills, to help protect your digital life.

Tackling the Global Food Crisis: Supply Chain Integrity

Course Date: 17 November 2014

The challenges for food security in tracing and detecting food contamination whether it be by accident or as a result of fraud.

Good Brain, Bad Brain: Parkinson’s Disease

Course Date: 17 November 2014

Learn the fundamentals of Parkinson’s disease; what causes it and what we can do to ameliorate the symptoms.

domino

Ageing Well: Falls

Course Date: 24 November 2014

Explore why people fall, discover practical methods to reduce the risk of falling and recognise when to seek expert help.

 

How to Read a Mind

Course Date: 01 December 2014

How do we read and model fictional minds? Introducing cognitive poetics: the application of cognitive science to literary reading.

These sound very interesting!  Let us know which you sign up for on Twitter and by updating your Learner’s Profile.

 

Exploits in Education: Week One

EIE 844

Welcome back!  Grab a cup of coffee (tea?  soda?) and get settled in for a bit of a read….

Wow – the first week of Discovering Business in Society was a real eye opener!  I have so many things I want to talk about – the exam, businesses vs. organizations, globalization, technology and challenges in management…

But first, I have to comment on my impressions of the course.  Any course which offers blogging prompts is A1 in my books. I believe blogging along with courses only increases the writers understanding of the materials – and of course, the increased understanding by the reader is uber important!  I also really appreciated the weekly recap – love that it isn’t pre-recorded and references our comments.  Did the review change my viewpoints?  Well…maybe not change per se, but definitely provoked further research and thinking.  I really appreciated the discussion on globalization and who the winners and losers really are.  (More on that later!)

The Exam

 

statement-of-attainment

 

Last week we talked about the exam that could be written for this course that would lead to an exemption of the ACCA F1 Accountant in Business paper.  You do earn your “Statement of Attainment” with it.  More details are available here.  Exams are delivered by Pearson VUE at one of their 175 testing centers. For a reasonable £119, you can get your certificate and be one step closer to earning your ACCA qualifications.

 

 

Businesses vs Organizations

business and organizations0005AWell, we jumped right in, didn’t we?  Businesses can be organizations, but are not necessarily organizations.  Organizations can act like businesses, but not be one.  Both can have commercial activities. Both can be Global.  Both can have multiple branches.  Both are complex.

This topic is complex.

Seriously though, it is complex.  With so many similarities it is easy to just think of them as one in the same.  But they aren’t.  Organizations exist to meet a social purpose (think Girl Guides and Boy Scouts, the Accredited Sommelier Association of Canada or the Cancer Society) but they still can offer products (Girl Guide Cookie anyone?  Perhaps a Daffodil?  An apple?) and services (life skills, professional development, research and development).

Key lesson for me: consider activities vs entities.  What are the values and missions of the group?  Are they there to meet a social purpose?  You work for a business to earn your wage, but you volunteer with an organization to feel good.

 

 

How has the job of managing a business is becoming more challenging over time

Business woman multitasking illustration
This was a great discussion on the forum.  I tried to come up with my own list before reading, but I have to admit, I was able to grow my list from the conversations.  My list of 4 factors (with additional thoughts)

 

 

  1. Human Resources
    1. Hiring the right people
    2. Training
    3. Interaction between management and employees
    4. Discipline
  2. Changes
    1. Pivoting
    2. Product
    3. Technology
    4. Regulations
  3. Competition
    1. Maintaining a Competitve Advantage
    2. Globalization
    3. More Competition 
  4. Needed it Yesterday!!
    1. Newer, Better, Faster
    2. Balancing Expectations

Yikes!  I think I just aged myself a good 5 years whilst developing this list!  Management sure has changed from the days of just directing “take A and move it to B and then perform C”.

Globalization

business-316906_150Who wins?  Who loses? Will it reverse?  Three great questions.  No easy answers.

Who wins?

Who loses?

Made_in_USA_Brand_Certification_Mark_logo.svgWill it reverse?

As countries go through economic challenges, there is always a push to move jobs back home, bringing back the idWe ea that products made at home are of a high quality (Who doesn’t proudly buy items stamped Made in “insert your home country name here”?

 

Changes in Technology

When I was in university, there was a major project underway to open a new business school building.  It was going to have the latest and greatest technologies and prepare our business graduates to head out into the big scary world able to use whatever technology was sent their way. That was our way – our school had a legacy of technological advancements to uphold.

It was an amazing sight when it opened.  There were ethernet cable ports built in to every table for students who carried (lugged) their laptops to class (wifi wasn’t a reality then – Cabled Networks was an exciting upgrade from dial up modems!).  We had whiteboards (as in dry erase marker boards not the app) installed in every classroom to avoid getting chalk dust into the computers.  I remember the excitement of using group study rooms to prepare for a test or work on a project.  It was so avant garde.  Cutting Edge.

It was so 1998.

320px-Surface_table

 

Fast forward to watching the video of the Exeter lecture hall.  Tables with embedded touchscreens for group work?  Lecture halls with multi purpose screens?  Microphones?  No struggling to hear the professor and having recorded lectures that you can easily review after the fact?  (I remember carrying a little pocket sized recorder with micro cassettes to class and having to ask permission to get a poor quality, grainy recording.  Most times, all I could really hear was me breathing!)

 

Keyboard_on_a_German_mechanical_Olympia_typewriter

Has technology made me more productive?  I doubt it.  Any increase in productivity has likely been lost to the time spent researching topics online, making things look “pretty” and analysing things I never would have considered looking at 5 years ago.  Yes, I can type an article on my laptop much quicker than I could on a typewriter with a lot less wasted paper, but I wouldn’t have worried about having just the right image to highlight my point before either!

In Summary

So, this week covered technology advances (and I only focused on computer technology…others would have led to a far longer post to read!), globalization, the increasing challenges in management and business vs organizations.  Next week we are looking at rules and regulations, taxes and laws.  It should be interesting!

 

Exploits in Education: Discovering Business in Society – The ACCA

EIE 844

Welcome back!

 

Glad to see you again – grab a mug of your favourite beverage and let’s begin!  Last week we chatted about the new “Discovering Business in Society” course being offered by Exeter and the ACCA via FutureLearn.  We discovered a little about Robin Mason, the lead instructor for the course and then we signed off with plans to learn more about the ACCA this week.  I don’t want to forget about FutureLearn – they had some exciting news this week that I thought would be fun to share with you.

 

logoAcca

What is the ACCA?

 

ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) is the global body for professional accountants.  Their goal is to offer qualifications to people based on application, ability and ambition who are looking for careers in accountancy, finance and management.

The formation of the ACCA is an interesting tale.  Way back in 1904, 8 people got together and formed the London Association of Accountants.  While there were 2 existing accountancy organizations around, they had a goal of providing greater access to the accountancy profession . As typically happens, they went through several mergers over the years.  In 1984 we were granted a Royal Charter of Incorporation. In 1996 they took on their current name, the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA).

 

Why did the ACCA partner with Exeter?

 

I got to wondering why the ACCA decided to partner with Exeter (which is, of course, an excellent school).  I asked around (inquiring minds want to know, etc!) and was told that it was because of an existing relationship with them to promote an MA in Leadership Studies for ACCA members.

More than their existing relationship, the ACCA knew that Exeter had been amongst the first universities to launch a MOOC on FutureLearn and that experience would be beneficial – Exeter already has a great production team with many ideas that could be applied.

This ties in well with ACCA, who started delivering computer-based exams as early as 1998.  As an innovator, the ACCA would want to be involved with MOOCs.  Their commitment to both innovation and education lends well to this project.

 

HK_Shek_Tong_Tsui_Des_Voeux_Road_West_Tram_Body_Ads_ACCA_Public_Corporate_Audit_a

 

What are the ACCA qualifications?

 

According to Wikipedia, “The ACCA Qualification is the professional body’s main qualification. Following completion of up to 14 professional examinations, three years of supervised, relevant accountancy experience and a professional ethics module, it enables an individual to become a Chartered Certified Accountant…The syllabus comprises 14 examinations, although some exemptions are available. The qualification is structured in two parts. The Fundamentals level consists of 9 examinations: F1 Accountant in Business, F2 Management Accounting, F3 Financial Accounting, F4 Corporate and Business Law, F5 Performance Management, F6 Taxation, F7 Financial Reporting, F8 Audit and Assurance, and F9 Financial Management. The Professional level involves 5 examinations. Within the Professional level three papers are compulsory: P1 Governance, Risk and Ethics; P2 Corporate Reporting; and P3 Business Analysis. Two of the following four options papers must also be completed: P4 Advanced Financial Management, P5 Advanced Performance Management, P6 Advanced Taxation and P7 Advanced Audit and Assurance.”

According to the course details, you just need to complete the summative assessment of the course to earn an exemption from the paper F1, Accountant in Business.  I’m looking forward to learning more about how this will work…as more details come out, you can be sure I will share!  In the meantime, I am going to take screen shots of my work (scores, not answers!) and scan my notes to upload to my Learner’s Profile (Feel free to connect with me there!).  I’m also going to start saving my change so that by the end of the course I have enough “change” saved up to get the Statement of Achievement (if that’s how you write the summative assessment) or the Statement of Participation.

Statement-of-participation1

Next Week

 

We start exploring week 1!  I’m pretty excited to begin – I’ve warned the family that this course is starting soon and they should prepare themselves to make a sandwiches for supper while I am studying.  I’ve loaded up on loose-leaf and pencils (yes, I like to write my notes instead of typing them!) and stopped by my favourite coffee shop to stock up on my speciality pods for those times I stay up late watching videos.  How have you prepared?  Share your preparations in the comments below or on Twitter using #exBIS and tagging @accredible.

Exploits in Education: Discovering Business in Society – An Introduction

EIE 844

Welcome!

We are about to embark on an expedition to discover more about business in society.  Our guides through this journey will be FutureLearn, the University of Exeter Business School and the ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants).  Our mission is to find a greater understanding of various aspects of business – from regulations to ethics to behaviours and perhaps, a greater understanding of ourselves and our own roles within the businesses that effect society.

So, who is this MOOC for?

The short answer is everyone!  The beauty of this course was that it was designed for each of us to be able to apply our knowledge, cultures and experiences to the materials.  Whether you have just freshly graduated from High School or spent the last 20 years working in the corner office with the spectacular skyline, this course has something to offer you.

Who is teaching this course?

Robin Mason, the Dean of the University of Exeter Business School and a Professor of Economics. He is also a fellow of the CEPR and a Member of the UK’s Competition Commission.  He’s had an impressive career, with many interesting roles, a multitude of awards and several published papers.

As well, senior staff from the EQUIS-accredited University of Exeter Business School will lead various modules.

What’s next?

According to the “Discovering Business in Society – We’re starting in a week” email, “In the first week of the course Stephen Taylor will introduce you to some of the key challenges for business in the 21st century. Starting with observations about the nature of firms and other organisations, he’ll then be considering the impact that globalisation, and technology in particular, is having on business and on our expectations of business to assist in resolving wider societal pressures and demands.”

What’s the story behind the blog series?

Over the next few months, we will be taking this course together, learning many new things along the way.  This series covers my own journey and will share my own highs and lows as we work through the material.  You might gain insight into topics that I needed to learn more about to get a full understanding (which will hopefully help you too!).  Why am I taking the course?  There are 3 things I am passionate about studying – education, Renaissance English Lit and business.  I was looking for a course that would look at the global impact of big business – from the role of shareholders, to leaders, to government regulations – and it’s impact on society.  This course ticks each box!  I can’t wait for the course to begin!

Please, feel free to leave your thoughts or questions in the comments below.  I will do my best to answer either in the comments or in the next blog post.  Thoughts on the previous week will be posted on Tuesdays.  So come along, join the excursion and see what we can learn together!

Next week, same time, same place!

Next week we will learn more about the ACCA qualifications.  What is it?  How will it help you?  Who are the ACCA?  The ACCA is new to me, and I am looking forward to learning more!

I can take a class in that?!

I can take a course in that

MOOCs offer a remarkable variety of classes, sometimes in subjects not typically taught in traditional university settings. Here are four upcoming classes that are outside the box.

Applying to US Universities

Offered by Coursera and taught by a professor at Penn, this class is meant to help anyone, but specifically non-American and non-English speaking students, navigate the non-standard application process for American colleges and universities.

  • Started August 3, goes through August 31
  • Estimated workload: 3-6 hours/week

Managing Fashion and Luxury Companies

Taught by two management professors at the Università Bocconi, this class teaches you market drivers, business models and brand management strategies by using case-studies. 

  • Starts October 3, goes through November 7
  • Estimated workload: 3-4 hours/week

Curanderismo: Traditional Medicine

This class is taught by a published author and self-taught expert in the folk healing tradition of the Southwest US and Mexico. Discussing the effectiveness of these traditional methods as well as the specific healing methods.

  • Starts August 18, goes through October 13
  • Estimated Workload: 10-12 hours/week

Understanding Numbers

So you think you know numbers? Well this class will stretch how you think about numbers and start thinking like a scientist. Learn how to relate numbers to the real world and describe the world, as well as communicate your findings.

  • Starts August 18, goes through September 14
  • Estimated Workload: 3 hours/week