Getting hands-on with online education – A Crash Course on Creativity

Tina Seelig's Innovation EngineI’ve been following the developments in the online education space with increasing interest over the last year or so, with the available options and choice growing seemingly by the day. The likes of Coursera, Venture Lab, and Udacity now have an impressive selection of courses, across the full range of the sciences, technology, arts and humanities. Then there are the likes of Codeacademy (learn to code), Skillshare (a global marketplace for classes), and the inspirational Khan Academy.

Back in October, whilst browsing the courses on offer starting soon, I came across A Crash Course on Creativity. Taught by Tina Seelig, Executive Director of Stanford’s Technology Ventures Program, the course is described as:

This crash course is designed to explore several factors that stimulate and inhibit creativity in individuals, teams, and organizations. In each session we will focus on a different variable related to creativity, such as framing problems, challenging assumptions, and creative teams.

The course is highly experiential, requiring each student to participate actively, taking on weekly projects. Each Wednesday a new challenge will be presented, and the results are due the following Tuesday. Some of the challenges will be completed individually, and some will be done in teams. There will be a two-week project toward the end of the course that will allow you to use all the tools you have learned.

To foster collaboration and learning between the students, we will craft teams for each assignment. Each project will be done with a different team, so students get a chance to work with a wide variety of participants. All submissions will be viewed and evaluated by the course participants. There will also be a course Twitter feed and Facebook page, and several scheduled Google Hangouts that will enable active discussions on specific topics.

This was a course that both appealed to me, relevant to my work and interests, and would give me a real hands-on experience of a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC).

I enrolled right away, and by the time the course was about to kick off, I found myself jumping into something with over 35,000 other students, literally from all corners of the globe. Fantastic!

We’re coming towards the end of the course, and it has been a fascinating experience, I’ll share my progress, course assignments and observations of the experience in subsequent posts, along with some comparisons with having a crack at learning Ruby on Rails via One Month Rails on Skillshare for which I blame Mike Fraietta! 😉

Meanwhile I’ll leave you with Tina Seelig’s TEDxStanford talk: Introducing the Innovation Engine

Why write?

Writing Apparatus
Writing Apparatus by Kazarelth

Following my last entry Balancing the use of our time, and Henry‘s thoughts building this out Share more, learn more, the following quote provides a timely reminder on the importance of writing for work:

As soon as you move one step up from the bottom, your effectiveness depends on your ability to reach others through the written or spoken word. And the further away your job is from manual work, the larger the organization of which you are an employee, the more important it will be that you know how to convey your thoughts in writing or speaking. In the very large organization, whether it is the government, the large business corporation, or the Army, this ability to express oneself is perhaps the most important of all the skills a man or woman can possess.

As John Stepper explains in his post:

This isn’t from a modern communications expert or blogger. It’s from Peter Drucker. And it’s from 1952.

Drucker saw that organizational effectiveness increasingly depends on finding, sharing, and building on the best ideas. And for that to happen, those ideas have to be discoverable – that is, written down. Now, more than in Drucker’s day, it’s easier to publish your work and make an audience aware of it.

And while writing helps your firm, it also helps you. By publishing your ideas and opinions, you shape your reputation – who you are, what you do, and how well you do it. And that greater visibility helps unlock opportunities that would never be open to you otherwise.

Time to dust off the quill and ink then!

I’d recommend taking a moment to read John’s post, and his tip to writing more. Be warned, I’m going to try to apply it!

Balancing the use of our time

Balancing the use of our time

Balancing the use of our timeEarlier today I began reading Julien Smith‘s epic post on getting what we want, and whilst I haven’t yet read it all, the following stood out to me:

the way your time should be spent is largely like a pyramid, with a wide base of learning, with a smaller level of acting on top of it, which is directed by the learning, and then on top of that, an even smaller level of writing about it. If you begin to live your life differently than the pyramid should be built, it becomes unbalanced and topples over.

This made a lot of sense to me, and after sharing the thoughts with a colleague, was prompted to put it into a visual.

I’ve interpreted the words “acting” and “writing” as “doing” and “sharing” in an attempt at clarity in case it is taken out of context with Julien’s original explanation

Thanks Julien!