Making it Easier to Finish That MOOC

Finish Line

It sounds like it would be pretty classy, telling an interviewer (or a date) that you’re studying English Literature & the Classics at Harvard.  Luckily, MOOCs allow you the luxury of saying just that (without having to pay any tuition!).

What definitely wouldn’t be so classy is saying you dropped out of the class after a week.  Of course, we all run into scheduling problems and there just aren’t enough hours in the day to do everything.  But that doesn’t mean you need to give up on your dreams of becoming a modern day Shakespeare!

Try ‘Always Open’ MOOCs

You go to a MOOC platform site and sign up for a computer science class that you need to take next semester at your home university.  You are excited because binary isn’t really your thing and this class will help you prepare for the next semester to make it easier for your to follow along during lectures.  Then, your boss calls and tells you you are scheduled to for dinner service every night next week.  You know you won’t be able to handle univeristy homework, school, and your new computer science MOOC at the same time.  With a heavy heart, you put the MOOC on the backburner and end up so behind, you have to give up on the 12-week MOOC altogether.

Now, imagine that this computer science MOOC was actually an open course that could be completed at any time.  You could turn in assignments whenever you wanted, could watch any of the lectures at any time, and could take as long as you needed for each project.  In this case, you could just start the class a week later than originally planned and not be at all behind.  Guess what?  There actually are great courses like this.  One is the CS50X Intro to Computer Science course from Harvard on edX.  It is an open class that is available for a full year and can be taken at any time within that time frame.  It is a highly praised MOOC with positive reviews from alumni and critics alike, and works around your schedule.

But wait…the offer doesn’t stop there!  What if you could have short open courses that take up a small amount of time and offer a whole lot of content?

Cut it Down

Platforms like Udemy and Khan Academy offer shorter tutorial-style classes that will probably not give you an in depth education in a particular subject area, but will provide a solid introduction.  You can complete such classes in a couple days or less, making them a great choice when your schedule is too busy for a long term class commitment.  You can cut down class time without halting your learning experience completely.

Cutting down on time commitment can also simply mean taking fewer MOOCs at once and being careful not to bite off more than you can chew.  The key to is plan a solid strategy.

Strategize

When you commit to earning a college degree with a particular major, you tend to plan out which classes you want to take and the best times to take them.  Knowing this in advance helps you plan your surrounding schedule in a way that it won’t impede on study time during a particularly tough term.

Doing the same with MOOCs is a great idea.  Planning out your time in 12-15 week blocks (a la semesters) will help you figure out when to take longer business core MOOCs and shorter ‘How to Make Marketing Plans’ tutorials so that you are able to learn everything you need within the time frame you want.

Apply these strategies, and you’ll be reading Shakespearean English in no time! Next you can make yourself sound even classier by adding foreign language and culture classes to your Accredible To-Learn List. Happy  Learning!

Accredible Contest Hack #6: Skills ToolBox, An Overview.

There’s an old maxim that states “there’s a tool for every job”. Creating a great Slate without some tools may be difficult and sometimes even frustrating. In the last blog posts we introduced features which enable you to make perfect Slates. But it’s not enough for having fun with building your intellectual portfolio. Today we will share with you some ideas and review the skills which will be covered in future hacks to make building intellectual portfolio more fun.

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Tool 1: Brainstorming

Brainstorming is a very effective technique to find multiple creative solutions for particular problems. The rules are simple: for a particular problem, you try to generate as many ideas as you can without judging or eliminating them. Then, you look at your ideas and choose the best ones.


Brainstorming is a
powerful tool to get truly innovative and great ideas and solve even the most challenging problems in an original way. How to formulate questions? How to brainstorm effectively on your own? How can it help you to create awesome Slates? In one of the next blog posts, we’ll take a deeper dive into it.

 

Tool 2. Creativity.

Some people associate creativity with artists, poets and geniuses in general. Creativity is seen as a phenomenon, an impressive gift which ordinary people cannot possess. Others discard creativity telling that there’s no place for it in a practical world. However, creativity allows you to generate amazing projects and artifacts. There’s no mystery about it and we firmly believe that creativity can be unlocked in every person regardless of his or her age, nationality, profession or interests.

 

Tool 3. Planning.

Can you get from New York to Los Angeles without seeing a roadmap or any signs along the way? Can you achieve a Big Goal without seeing the steps that will lead it to you? No.

Planning is one of the most important skills in our century. It allows you to be productive, successful and stress-free. You need a roadmap to achieve any kind of goals, be it creating a winning Slate, mastering code or getting a promotion at job. Slates can help you to enhance and organize your knowledge along with planning and achieving your learning goals. We will show you how you can create study roadmaps using Accredible.

 

Tool 4. Kindergarten Method.

Do you remember being a kid? Life was full of wonders, dreams, and new discoveries. Kids are fearless, inquisitive and fast learners. Unfortunately, children grow up and we, adults, forget many useful techniques, unique mentality and childish attitude which could be of a great help today, in the grown-up world. This tool is about recalling this sunny and careless period and learning to do many great things again. It’s about giving you a new pair of wings to fly.

 

Tool 5. Friends.

People are important in life. Friends and peers are crucial for learning. We learn not from books – we learn from other people. Most online courses are great not because of knowledge – information has been there before MOOCs. They are valuable because they gathera multitude of students with different background but similar interests in one place to share ideas and help each other. That’s why learning via MOOCs is so popular now and much more effective than before. However, peer-to-peer learning is not the only way to use society to learn in a better way.

 

Today we have shown you 5 important skills that will help you not only create a winning Slate, but also to succeed in your learning in general. In the next 5 hacks we’ll take a closer look at each of them.
Stay tuned!

 

If you have any question, ideas or feedback, feel free to comment or drop a line to hello@accredible.com. What do you think – what skills are the most important for self-learner? What are your personal hacks to succeed?

Share it with us and Accredible community on Facebook | Twitter | Google+ or in comments.

 

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

0. Contest Announcement

1. MOOC Slates

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

3. Formal Learning Slates

4. Knowledge/Skill Slates 

5. How to Make the Most of Accredible

6. Skills ToolBox. Overview(current post)

Accredible Contest Hack #5: How to Make the Most of Accredible

In the last few blog posts we gave you some insights about general creation of Slates. Today we’ll show you how you can use all the features of Accredible to make truly Awesome Slates.

 

Step 1. Organize.

Like a book begins with a prologue, your Slate begins with aSummary. We’ve already talked a lot about it but it’s crucial for reviewers of your Slate to see the right Summary.
First of all, they should cover the most important points of your learning experience.
Secondly,
your Summary should be readable – people will appreciate your work more if the summary is pithy and clean. Try to include only the most relevant information and to use bullet points for dividing the knowledge/learning.


Work.One of the most useful features for organizing the work is the ability to move position. Put the most important, like Statement of Accomplishment or Diploma, at the top. If some documents are important, but you cannot place them in the top you can use either – change the size or highlight them.


Keep the similar docs together (like homework assignments in one place, quizzes in another, your reflections and essays in a third, etc). The alternative is to use labels for particular types of work. Earlier you could use only defaults such as “course work”, “notes”, “grades”, “extra work”. Now Slates have evolved and you can edit labels which makes your Slates more flexible and personalized.

 

Step 2. Beautify.

For making  beautiful Slates you can use the following ideas:

  • Position work wisely. Put one size docs on a row, larger size pictures or mind maps on another row. Highlight the most interesting and beautiful pieces of your Slate and place them in a particular pattern. When you are polishing your Slate, remember that people like symmetry.

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  • Edit the image of Slate. For formal and informal learning we introduced all the MOOC platforms and most universities. But what if you do a Slate for a skill you’ve learned but there aren’t any images in the library? Don’t worry, you can upload your own image which will make your Slate more creative and personal.

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  • Beautifying Slates- have fun! Don’t stick to one course of action or take beautifying as a requirement. Just play around with your docs, change the sizes of pictures, move positions, try different images. Some people already submitted Slates that impress us with a beautiful overall appearance.

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Step 3. Make it Accredible.

Some people believe that it’s impossible to achieve perfection. We believe that everyone can do their best and be exemplary. When you have uploaded all your notes, homework and statements, the only last piece that separates you from perfection (exemplary Slate) are endorsements. Share your achievements with colleagues via Linkedin, with family via email, with friends via Facebook or with the whole community (including the Accredible community) via Twitter.Show what you’re worth. You’re more than numbers or obscure lines in CVs and this is your chance to prove it.


Moreover, you can talk  about what you know.
It’s better one time to see, than one hundred times to hear. Grab your webcam and shoot a video of you explaining different concepts from your Slate. Or tell people about your work experience. Or what you learned beyond official syllabuses. That will sound persuasive.

 

Your Slate is a piece of you, which shows your intellectual identity. Also, it’s your chance to save what’s really important to remember. We live in a century when overabundance of information makespeople to forget significant things. Accredible is your personal wiki which allows you to remember everything that matters. In the next few hacks we’ll open you a ToolBox of skills that will help you to be in shape, unlock creativity, plan wisely and play with work.


If you have any question, ideas or feedback, feel free to comment or drop a line to hello@accredible.com. What features do you like the most? What would you love to have? What are you struggles connected to self-learning?

Share it with us and Accredible community on Facebook | Twitter | Google+ or in comments.

 

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

0. Contest Announcement

1. MOOC Slates

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

3. Formal Learning Slates

4. Knowledge/Skill Slates 

5. How to Make the Most of Accredible (current post)

6. Skills ToolBox. Overview