Archive for September, 2012

Webinars – 10 Tips for Wonderful Webinars

September 19, 2012

1 ) Scheduling is important. The best time for a webinar seems to be Tuesday’s between 9AM and 1PM. This allows everyone to be fresh. Monday is the beginning of the workweek, so people deal with all their beginning-of-the-week stuff. Friday afternoons are terrible because people mentally are out the door. 9AM allows people time to get in and check voice and e-mail messages. Ending by 1PM allows people to still get a reasonable lunch. After lunch, people get tired and attentions dip.

2) Have a backup speaker. What if your presenter has laryngitis or gets sick?

3) Have a backup computer and impromptu Q & A content. What if the presenter’s computer dies?

4) Have a backup phone line. What if the conference call line has an issue?

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Book Review – Great By Choice

September 17, 2012

I was listening to an audio book that really caught my attention. It is a book about some basic strategies and thought processes that go into being a leader that makes a difference. The book is called Great by Choice. It was written by Jim Collins and Morton Hansen.

The book is basically a study they performed on a series of companies during the time periods of the late 70’s to right around 2001. One set of companies (which they call 10X’ers) were compared to a comparable company during that time. 10X’ers are companies that surpassed the market by 10 times. Only 7 companies out of over 20,000 companies passed the test. So, the 10X’er company would be Microsoft and the comparable would be Apple (which was a 10X’er, fell without Steve Jobs, and became a 10X’er again when he came back). Another was Intel, compared to AMD. Yet one last example was Southwest Air compared to PS Air (which isn’t even around anymore).

The question laid out was “in a time of uncertainty, turmoil, and chaos, how come some companies thrive and yet others in the same market with a lot of the same capabilities fail?”.

They found some interesting patterns.

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Education – Massive Open Online Courses –MOOCs

September 13, 2012

Today, I saw an article in USA Today that was interesting and could be a game changer down the road. Here is a sampling from the article.

MOOCs have the potential to be a “pivotal development” that can revolutionize higher education. Questions remain whether these online courses can be profitable and whether traditional colleges will award credit for them. But if successful, MOOCs could lead to lower costs for families and access to higher-quality instruction for anyone in the world who has Internet access.

“The industry has operated more or less along the same business model and even the same technology for hundreds of years,” says John Nelson, managing director of Moody’s Higher Education. “MOOCS represent a rapidly developing and emerging change and that is very, very rare.”

Read full story: College May Never Be The Same

Webinars – Are we Due for a Redesign of Webinars?

September 9, 2012

We all have sat in or run a webinar. It might be WebEx, GoTo Meeting, LiveMeeting, or some other web conference tool. I bet you can describe the experience off the top of your head.

The event will last between 45 minutes and one hour. Half the registered attendees will show. Of those that participate, a large percentage of them will split their attention between what is being said, checking e-mail, working on a document, or surfing the internet. Much of the content will be a dry PowerPoint presentation. You might get lucky and have a poll or whiteboard involved.

  • Your organization probably uses webinars in one of these areas:
  • Compliance training – The goal is exposure to content
  • Blended Learning – This is usually a follow-up to a live or eLearning event
  • Corporate Communications – This usually allows opportunities for executives to interact with the workforce. This typically takes the form of a strategy change or a way to share more of the corporate culture.

As the economy has become worse, corporations looked for ways to cut travel costs. Today, in a distributed workforce, hosting and attending webinars is just a part of “how we do business”.

Here’s a novel idea…maybe we should consider redesigning how webinars work.

Let’s talk about a few ideas.

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Education – Kahn Academy & Computer Science

September 5, 2012

If you have children in school or want to learn a new topic yourself, you owe it to yourself to check out Kahn Academy.

Essentially, this web site started as a series of videos that assisted the owner’s niece and nephew in Algebra. Over time it grew in topics and in popularity. With a bump from Google and Microsoft, Kahn Academy is on its way to changing how education occurs. The goal is to flip the model – homework in class and lecture at home (via YouTube).

We have used this site at home with our two children. Every time our kids needed a little remedial information or a reminder about how something worked, they successfully got what they needed from this site’s library of content.

At our annual user conference for our customers, when we asked them what they wanted in the way of advancements in our Training group, guess what they asked for…Kahn Academy for our software.

Now, Kahn Academy is dabbling in a new kind of education – computer science. Check out the article that follows.

As educators struggle to motivate more students to take up technology-related majors, breakout online education startup, Khan Academy, has a novel approach. ”Computer Science is an intensely creative field,” says Shantanu Sinha, President of Khan Academy, which gave TechCrunch an exclusive look at their brand new education portal that teaches Computer Science fundamentals through interactive drawing. “We really wanted to focus on creating something that could inspire young children, and get them excited and motivated to explore CS further.” The portal’s interactive design is a major evolutionary step for a website that has since been almost entirely based on YouTube lectures (with over 178 million views). I rarely get excited about online education, which often just recycles our antiquated education system into a digital format, but the new Khan Academy Computer Science project is beyond impressive.

Read the rest of the article here:
http://techcrunch.com/2012/08/14/khan-academy-launches-the-future-of-computer-science-education/