How to Become a Programmer in 9 Weeks: Week 4

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<< Week 3

Week 5 >>

Recap: Follow Me from HTML Illiterate to Professional Programmer

In case you haven’t read Week 0 (about my preparation), I am currently a student at a programming bootcamp in the San Francisco Bay Area. I finished college a few months ago, but decided my business degree wasn’t going to let me do what I really wanted: to build rather than manage. This realization and my love for startups (and California) led me to begin working toward a career in software development.

 

3 Highs:  

Lightbulb Moments:  I came into this bootcamp with nothing but a small amount of HTML/CSS knowledge.  I had no programming background whatsoever and although I was quick with math as a kid, my career as an adult (albeit short) mainly focused on creativity and marketing strategy.  While this means that I have to work harder and still fall behind members of the group with Engineering degrees or previous programming experience, it also means that I get to have more lightbulb moments where I just get something after spending hours trying to figure it out.  Those are definitely the best part of any learning process and I had a few of them this week, which has been fantastic.

Hack-a-thon!   We went to the Health 2.0 Code-A-Thon in downtown San Francisco this weekend.  My best contributions were mainly on the front-end with designing pages and using the Google Maps API, so I didn’t get as much of a look into the back-end as I would have liked, but the entire process was intensive and we ended up with a working app within 24 hours of coding.  Check it out on in my portfolio on my website!

New Project:  Being a fairly fresh graduate, I have spent a lot of time job hunting and networking over the past year.  Meeting people for the first time, the questions I’m generally asked is where I went to school, what I majored in, and who else I knew at the event or in the industry.  This formulaic interaction would be followed up with a business card request and a promise to follow up (which would never happen because nothing in those conversations could really make me stand out).  This process has always been irritating to me for two reasons: nothing is conveyed about my capabilities, experiences, or really anything important, and the concept of paper business cards seems inefficient.  They’re easy to loose and having too many can make them annoying to sort through.  As a solution, I’m working on an app that allows users to make an ‘electronic business card’ that lists nothing but a person’s name, contact info, and a few of their most coveted skills.  These skills will be displayed as buttons linking to some sort of proof of the skill in question.  For example, if someone states HTML as a coveted skill, they can link it to their (Accredible!) portfolio of projects that have relied heavily on HTML.  I am really excited about building this thing – not only because I think it will solve a legitimate issue that people regularly face, but also because it will be an amazing learning experience to figure out how to make it all work!

 

3 Lows:  

Time Flies:  It almost induces a feeling of panic when a person comes closer to a deadline they have set for themselves and doesn’t have their goal accomplished ahead of schedule.  Obviously, a person can’t actually go from zero experience to programming genius in a matter of 9 weeks – and that wasn’t my goal to begin with.  I just wanted to bring myself to a point where I could be considered a junior developer and had the basics I need to teach myself the rest on the the job.  Learning the basics of programming isn’t as basic as the phrase indicates, however.  It requires time, effort, and practice – so naturally, I’m working hard and (understandably) am having my moments of panic.

Learning Styles:  People come into programming course with different skill-levels and learning styles, which is why I have always believed it is so important to set realistic expectations for the outcome of the program.  What I am also learning now, though, is that it is equally essential to set realistic expectations for the learning process itself.  We generally have lectures for the majority of the day during which everyone does the same thing.  Due to varying experiences with computer science, some people simply move faster than others which sets the pace out of whack for nearly everyone.  I am personally a better independent learner anyway, so my solution has been to follow along lecture topics and then learn it on my own afterwards.  This causes more time to be eaten up by each topic, but I’m able to learn the material significantly better so the trade-off has been worth it for me.

Portfolio:  Frankly, my portfolio is not as meaty as I wanted it to be by now.  I have several projects in the works that I hope to have up and running on my website pretty soon, but they’re not quite there just yet.  Having a portfolio is a validation of the time I have spent learning, so not having a great one is disappointing.  Luckily, I have enough projects in the works to expect to have some cool stuff within the next couple of weeks.

 

The Immersion:  

Sunday Funday:  I love having Sundays to catch up and learn completely on my own.  Like I said before, I am a very independent learning.  I love working in a team on projects and pair programming, but learning the tools themselves that I need to build the products have always been better learned when its just me and my computer.  Sundays, therefore, are my ticket to Progress Wonderland!

The Cold Plague:  Everyone got sick this week!  Literally everyone.  This has been literally the only disadvantage of living with my cohort – if one person contracts something, everyone gets it.  So learning Node.js while hacking up a storm in my lungs was fun (note the sarcasm).

 

Takeaway Advice

  • Build stuff that gets you excited – it makes the learning process far less tedious when facing a tough concept.
  • Continuously reflect on your timetable and plans.  Things will take different amounts of time than you planned for and it is worth readjusting everything to make sure you still accomplish what you set out to do.
  • Try not to panic if you are at a different place and learn differently from your classmates.  Just be prepared to do whatever you need to in order to keep your progress on track – even if that means stepping away from lecture and learning on your own from time to time.

<< Week 3

Week 5 >>

He Flunked, Was Rejected, Went Bankrupt…And Then Founded The Walt Disney Company

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An actor, animator, filmmaker, and wildly successful businessman, its kind of shocking at first to hear that Walt Disney only had around 9 years of formal education.  He started school at the ripe old age of 7 and dropped out at 16 to join the military.  Unfortunately (or fortunately) for him, he was rejected for being underage and spent a year in France with the Red Cross instead.  After returning to the United States, Disney received his first job as a cartoonist in 1919, and the rest is history.

 

“Children have got to be free to lead their own lives.” – Sebastian, The Little Mermaid

small_2917335255Despite having strict parents, Walt grew up doing what he wanted when he wanted.  He was a shrewd businessman even as a child.  After his father, Elias, bought a newspaper delivery route, Walt was made to work for him without pay.  He knew how to make the best of his situation, though.  From delivering medicines for the local pharmacy on his route to selling extra papers without his father’s knowledge, Walt developed a thriving business of his own without any help, encouragement, or formal education.  This continued throughout his few years in high school and, of course, eventually led to exemplary management of the Walt Disney Company.

 

“The very things that hold you down are going to lift you up.” – Timothy Mouse, Dumbo

Classes came second to work for Walt during his schooling years.  His exhausting work schedule left little time to study, which had a heavy impact on his grades.  Even as he worked such a demanding schedule and small_6635533755trudged through school, however, Walt always found time to indulge in his passion for drawing.  He traded his cartoons for haircuts, became the cartoonist for his school’s newspaper, and later submitted to magazines and drew for his co-workers in Paris – all learned from just a couple of brief stints in art classes.

All the work, discipline, and cartoons did very little for Walt’s grades as a child, but he grew up to build The Walt Disney Company – so it is difficult to argue against the merits of his childhood activities.  He learned how to run a business, work with colleagues, and develop a skill that would redefine animation and serve as a catalyst into a new age of cinema.

 

“If your heart is in your dream, no request is too extreme.” – Jiminy Cricket, Pinocchio

Walt’s success can really be attributed more to his attitude than any form of education (and perhaps even small_2486345776experience).  “Do what you do so well that they will want to see it again and bring their friends.”  This was the philosophy he lived by: to achieve excellence and watch the theaters fill up as his reward.  This attitude inspired Walt to take risks (like starting a business) that sometimes caused him to fail (he had to declare bankruptcy in 1922), but then he got back up again and made Alice in Wonderland.  

Teaching yourself anything can seem like an insurmountable challenge when you get a good look at just how much there is to learn, but the real magic is in the learning, not the teaching itself.  A teacher (whether its a person, software, book, or audio recording) can only teach as well as its student can learn.  Walt is an ultimate example of a sponge learner – he soaked up his experiences so well, he never even needed a teacher to hold his hand.

 

“You just need to believe in yourself.” – Rex, Toy Storysmall_9594201177

So basically: Walt Disney went to school for 9 years, flunked most of the time, dropped out of high school, never went to college, taught himself to be a businessman and cartoonist purely by learning while doing, and became the roots of one of the most admired companies in the world.  He must have done something right.

 

“Hakuna Matata!” – Timon and Pumbaa, The Lion King

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photo credit: <a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/expressmonorail/3108405260/”>Express Monorail</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>cc</a>
 

Which Harry Potter Character Are You?

Old glasses on a letter

J.K. Rowling had not introduced the Wizarding World to the Wonderful World of Online Learning by the time the last installment to the Harry Potter series came out, but still, it is interesting to think about how students at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry would have used MOOCs.  Here are a few Harry Potter characters and how they might use MOOCs.  Check out which ones you relate to the most!

Harry Potter

Favorite Subject:  Defense Against the Dark Arts

Struggles In:  Potionslarge__5130526465

Having conjured a corporeal patronus at 13, Harry is clearly a smart kid – a bit distracted (for obvious reasons), but intelligent.  His biggest issue in the entire series is usually that he doesn’t know certain things about the Wizarding World due to his Muggle upbringing.  The best way to counter this?  Hogwarts is Here.  HIH is an online learning platform dedicated to all things magical.  If you’re muggleborn or a half-blood like Harry who grew up with muggles, this is the best way to introduce yourself to the Wizarding World.  Some would also suggest Gilderoy Lockhart’s bestsellers, but his fraudulent behavior was exposed during Harry’s second year so his sources are unreliable.

Hermione Granger

Favorite Subject:  Transfiguration

Struggles In:  Defense Against the Dark Arts

For people like Hermione, knowledge is power.  But when a certain crazy Hitler-esque dude comes knocking so he can rip his soul by killing you, practical instinct becomes essential as well.  Buried in her books, Hermione’s dueling skills are not quite up to her standards for every other subject.  She can use online learning to enroll in theory and lecture based classes, but use forums and skype to interact with her peers and get tips on how to improve her dueling skills.  MOOCs can provide Hermione with a diverse network of people with whom she can discuss her weaknesses and how to fix them.  Said network can also help set Ms. Granger back on the right path when “she needs to get her priorities straight” and a certain Ronald Weasley is not available to do so.

Ron Weasley

Favorite Subject:  Lunch

Struggles In:  Everything

Ron struggles with developing an interest in learning.  He has trouble with paying attention in pretty much all his classes, so MOOCs are perfect for him to find introductory or 101 level courses.  He can use these to develop a basic understanding of the skills he will learn in class before term begins so that he can learn the details at a quicker pace.  Some introductory psychology will likely be beneficial for Mr. Weasley as well – they may expand his emotional range (which is currently that of a teaspoon).

Neville Longbottommedium_5000467933

Favorite Subject:  Herbology

Struggles In:  Potions

Poor Neville – a beast at potions and the abilities of a grindylow in every other subject.  Why?  Fear.  As Neville proves at the end of the series, he is no less capable than Harry.  He is, however, sheltered and scared to a fault.  Taking introductory classes like Ron would be helpful to Neville, but also using MOOC certificates and portfolios (like those at learning.accredible.com) to increase his confidence would do wonders for his performance.

Severus Snape

Favorite Subject:  Potionslarge__5110510098

Struggles In:  Unknown

Severus Snape is simply a poor communicator who can’t make friends or develop relationships with his professors, so MOOCs are perfect for him!  He can use forums to interact with his peers and fellow professors to avoid speaking to them in person.  Snape proves himself to be among the most intelligent wizards introduced by Rowling time and time again, so MOOCs can prove to be a great way for him to slowly develop social skills as well.

Draco Malfoy

Favorite Subject:  Potions

Struggles In:  Care of Magical Creatureslarge__5097284050 (1)

For Care of Magical Creatures, Draco Malfoy really just needs some tutorials on how to care for the animals and especially on how to act around them.  While traditional MOOCs certainly would hurt him, simply using YouTube to develop smaller skills would be Malfoy’s best bet at using online learning to improve his Hogwart’s experience.

Albus Dumbledore

Favorite Subject:  Transfiguration

Struggles In:  Nothinglarge__8996773123

Dumbledore doesn’t really need a MOOC since he’s good at everything…he just needs to see this video.

Tom Marvolo Riddle

Favorite Subject:  Evil
Struggles In:  Not Being a Sociopath

small_2746504545If you can relate to Tom Riddle (AKA Lord Voldemort), then you should probably see a therapist immediately before you start a genocide.  But first, visiting a few anger management MOOCs and tutorials would be a good idea.  So would finding a tutorial on how to mend a ripped up soul.  Maybe by using stem cell research?

 

 

A Trelawney prophecy the day before this article was written predicted that the vast majority of you readers would be of muggle or muggleborn origin.  As such, for you all, Hogwarts Is Here is highly recommended.  Like Harry, you can catch up on the basics of the upcoming term’s classes and learn about the history of the Wizarding World.  Get started today!

How MOOCs are Going to Change the World

Afraid student facing online test with laptop

Coming from families with high expectations themselves, my parents had big ambitions for me when I was a child.  They were always very careful not to pressure me into doing anything, but there was definitely a whole lot of hint-dropping.

“Did you know that Doctors get to do amazing things to help people and make lots of money at the same time?”

“Look, Honey, that businessman gets to be on a magazine cover!  Wouldn’t it be cool to be like him?”

They thought they were being quite covert, planting hints in my mind without actually telling me to do anything. I didn’t think I was the clueless 7-year-old they thought of me as.  It was in fact very obvious to me what was going on, so I came up with an insanely creative solution:  Every time a family member threw a hint at me and followed up by asking what I wanted to be when I grew up, I tacked on the career they wanted me to choose to my ultimate list.  My dad wanted to me to be an engineer like him, but my mom wanted me to be a doctor – so I told her I would be an engineer and doctor.  Then my aunt mentioned the merits of law – so I told her I would be an engineer-doctor-lawyer.  By the time I got through my closest family members, I had set off on a path to become an engineer-doctor-lawyer-scientist-businesswoman-writer.

Of course, I actually was the clueless 7-year-old my family thought of me as, and I ended up ditching all their ‘recommendations’ to become a marketing consultant.  In fact, I didn’t think about the ridiculous career goals I had set for myself again until I discovered MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) last year.  As odd as it is to think about, MOOCs actually provide a platform to learn at least the basics (for now) required for all the positions I wanted to have as a kid.  From physics classes at MIT to business classes at Wharton to Creativity & Innovations classes from Universities all around the world, there are MOOCs available for practically anything and they are covering more ground every day!

In fact, even the Georgetown University Medical Center has now launched a MOOC called Genomic Medicine Gets Personal.  Yes, that’s right: you can now take a medical school class online for free – and this is just the stethoscope-147700_150beginning.  MOOCs are in their infancy and are still relatively expensive to carry out.  In a couple years, though, systems will be optimized and cost effective.  Then what?  Will MOOCs replace all general education requirements and college major prerequisites?  Will college become cheaper (and faster) as a result?  Will people take more time to learn and improve within their careers when finances are less of a problem?  Will professionals adopt new or additional careers with cheaper, more accessible classes that let them learn at their own pace?

Yeah, probably.

So now imagine this:  An Engineer looks at her physics and chemistry materials and realizes she just needs a couple of biology and biochemistry classes to have medical school prerequisites finished too.  She also takes an ethics MOOC that ignites her interest in basic law classes.  She further builds her science background through more MOOCs and builds a large enough knowledge base to consider a PhD to become a scientist.  All her engineering and biological background skills along with knowledge of law then push her to taking business classes and and writing classes to build the skills she needs to build her own tech startup – maybe in biotechnology?.Business woman multitasking illustration

For free, this lady now has the ability to learn at least the basics of every career I wanted to have as a kid…she can become an engineer-doctor-lawyer-scientist-businesswoman-writer in her spare time with advanced MOOCs.

Obviously, it isn’t realistic to think that the average person would take as many MOOCs as our example lady.  What is possible, though, is for a master coder to take a few marketing, UX, and business strategy classes so that he has the background he needs to start his web-based company.  It is also possible for a UX designer to take HTML or Java classes so she can envision how to build the website she is designing.  It is even possible for a writer to take enough creativity and storytelling classes to knock away writer’s block or develop a new style of writing.

Basically, MOOCs are going to change the world by propelling knowledge sharing forward by decades – so start your To-Learn List on Accredible stat before you miss the MOOC train!

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

Accredible Contest Hack #4: How to Create Winning Knowledge/Skill Slates

In the previous blog posts we explored three types of Slates: MOOCs, Formal Learning and Self-paced learning Slates. You may find some similarities between them. Knowledge/Skill Slates are totally different from any of those. Because you are not given any kind of instructions, you can create this Slate  for everything: books, skills or even hobbies. Every type of learning should count, and this Slate is your chance to show who you are behind the traditional courses and ubiquitous lines of your CV. Moreover Knowledge/Skills Slates helps you to save all the learning you’ve ever done.

 

How to work with  Knowledge/Skills Slates?

First of all, you need to decide what the Slate will be about. The content of the Slate will mainly depend on the topic. The hobby Slate will be completely different from the skill Slate. Without clearly defined goals, working further on your Slate will be very hard.

Secondly, the Slate summary might baffle you. “What should I write in it, if I haven’t had any syllabuses or other hints?”. Don’t worry. Think about what you want to save and show the world. Most obvious solutions are not the best in this case. If it’s book learning you want to save, the table of contents won’t tell other people anything about your Slate. However, brief notes of the work you’ve done, skills you mastered or essays you’ve written will show much more.

We advise you to work on your Slate summary twice. The first time is when you are just start creating your Slate, since it’s a great way to think about what you can put into it, kind of like sketching a roadmap. The second time is when you’ve already put all of the materials into your Slate for your summary; be more complete and relevant, which will also give you more ideas on what you will work on further.


Thirdly, use different kinds of tools to help you. Here we list just a few things that may do it:

  • Mind maps for organizing thoughts and ideas.
  • Infographics for remembering data and visualization of information.
  • Docs on motivation and reasons for creating this Slate. Why is it important for you? Why did you decide to master this skill?
  • Plan for further development. Learning is never over and a roadmap might be very helpful for you to not be too distracted.
  • Presentations and videos.

You can put any kind of projects and essays into your Slate. The more methods you use, the more valuable your Slate is for both, you and community.


Pro tip 1.

Since learning is never over, your Slate may grow from just one skill to another. Try not to follow the plan too strictly. Sometimes you may get new ideas for your Slate – do not hesitate to change the direction. Learning is an unpredictable journey full of adventures and surprises. You should be flexible to get the most of it.


Pro Tip 2.

You can save not only knowledge and learning into your Slate, but also experience. Are you fan of Russian Literature and going to visit Moscow next month? Put into your Slate the personal reviews and photos of Mikhail Bulgakov’s Museum and travel notes on Russian Culture as a whole. Or maybe you’re learning Chinese cuisine – why not to insert pictures of your own Chinese cooking into it? Do not restrict yourself only to bookish knowledge, use every kind of learning, experience included, to show your expertise, enthusiasm about topic and proactivity.

 

It’s the last post of our sub-series on Creating Winning Slates (have you submitted yours to our AwesomeSlates Contest?). In the next sub-series we’ll explore the ToolBox of Skills that will help you to fight procrastination, unlock your full potential, and come up with great ideas. You’ll learn how to use Accredible to the fullest and make your Slates better.

Stay tuned!

 

If you have any question, ideas or feedback, feel free to comment or drop a line to hello@accredible.com. What skills do you want to master? How do you plan not instructed self-learning? What are your personal hacks to turn your life into School?  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 (current post)

5. How to Make the Most of Accredible?

6. Skills ToolBox. Overview

Accredible’s #AwesomeSlates Contest

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

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

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

Why give you money for creating awesome Slates?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

0. Contest Announcement (current post)

1. MOOC Slates

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

3. Formal Learning Slates

4. Knowledge/Skill Slates 

5. How to Make the Most of Accredible?

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

Make All Your Education Count: Redesigning the CV

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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