Tag Archives: Skills

Today’s Online Learning Options: 5 Things to Know

With new services popping up all the time for those of us who desire to learn more, online education is no longer a novel idea, but rather an industry of innovation. Education 2.0 is now giving us opportunities to extend our knowledge, especially as it is becoming more apparent that jobs for graduates are harder to find. But with all the different online services out there, how can you know which ones to trust to give you a high-level learning experience like that of a classroom?

Edudemic, an online magazine focused on education, and STIZZiL, an online tutoring platform, both agree that there are certain criteria that are crucial to positive learning experiences. STIZZiL suggests evaluating any online learning platform on the following 5 components:

  • Human Guidance—to what degree can you interact with instructors and students?
  • Pedagogical Expertise—do instructors know the subject matter and effective ways to engage students?
  • Real-time Interaction—can you communicate in real time with your classmates?
  • Personalization of Content—will your curriculum fit your learning style?
  • Innovative Use of Technology—are instructors using technology to their advantage?
Read the full article here: 5 Things to Know About Today’s Online Learning Options | Terry Heick


5 Tips for Making the Most of Your Internship

For students and recent grads, summer means much more than frequent trips to the beach: it’s internship season. Whether or not you’re getting paid, you’re probably wondering, “How is this internship really helping me?” With studies showing that 60% of students believe that internships are a requirement—and employers agree—internships are more important than ever. If you’re one of the lucky ones that has already landed an internship, here are some tips to make your experience as valuable as possible:

1) Develop a network.

LinkedIn Internships are one of the best ways to start building your professional network. Talk to people around you—don’t be afraid to go to lunch or coffee breaks with coworkers, staff meetings, and other company events. As Dawn Rasmussen writes, when you spend time to talk and ask questions, you develop interpersonal relationships that can lead to other opportunities (including future job offers). And translate your offline network to online connections—LinkedIn is a great place to start!

2) Learn new skills.

Employers often say that many potential employees coming out of college lack  skills necessary for the workplace. Internships provide great opportunities to master some of these skills, like crunching data in Excel or crafting impressive presentations with PowerPoint. Maybe a coworker frequently does graphic design for your company. Ask to hear about some of their Photoshop tricks! Also, as Alison Green suggests, don’t be afraid to ask for advice. You’re an intern who’s looking to gather as much experience as possible. Your coworkers have experience and will be happy to share their list of tips.

3) Go beyond the call of duty.

Exceed your employer’s expectations. ExcelThis doesn’t mean that if your supervisor asks you to send her an email, you should send her four. Exemplifying professionalism and motivation enables you to learn much more from your tasks and show that you are ready for more responsibility. For example, if you’re asked to do research, present your findings with notes and explain your thought process with an organized chart in Excel!

If a coworker is expressing frustration, offer to help with anything that you can. Even if these tasks are outside your job description, it provides a fantastic opportunity to keep learning new skills.

4) Ask for feedback.

During the first couple of weeks, you’ll naturally want to prove that you can produce quality work, but you’re bound to make a few mistakes along the way. Accepting mistakes and maintaining enthusiasm are qualities of a strong employee. That’s why asking for feedback is so important. When you ask your supervisor if you can improve your work in any way, it highlights your professionalism and work ethic. Plus, it will help you learn faster and it may prevent other mistakes in the future.

5) Bring a positive attitude.

We all know that there’s nothing harder than trying to work with someone who’s sending negative vibes. While some intern tasks may be frustrating or tedious, remember that you have a set of skills that the company desires. So bring a positive attitude! Being enthusiastic about your work will not only demonstrate that you’re interested, but it will also contribute to the work environment. Enthusiasm can go a long way. It’s as simple as this: being the kind of employee that companies want to hire means that they are more likely to hire you.

Ultimately, an internship is what you make of it—to get experience that you want requires your own initiative. Following these tips will help you have the best internship experience possible and will further prepare you for your future career.

Have tips of your own or other internship stories? Feel free to post them below!

Education 2.0 & You: Navigating Online Learning Startups

Education startups are all the rage right now—another day, another funding round for entrepreneurs hungry to disrupt education. Many of these online learning startups—Coursera, Udacity, Udemy, Codecademy, Treehouse, Course Hero—get lumped together when we talk about how technology is transforming education as we know it. But in reality, these companies are not interchangeable and offer very different approaches to tackling the same problem: learning skills (and knowledge).

With all these new companies vying for your attention, how do you choose which one is best for you? If you really want to learn how to code (for example) which startup will help you make it happen? It ultimately comes down to learning style. Derek Langton, a state trooper-turned-iOS developer recently profiled in TechCrunch, said he started out watching online videos from Stanford and MIT but switched to YouTube tutorials because they were the “most user-friendly ones.”

Do you respond better to university-style lectures or interactive tutorials? Would you rather learn the fundamentals before applying them or tackle small projects right away, like Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom? Whatever your preferred learning style is, chances are you can find online tools to help you along the way. Here’s a guide to some of these tools:

Modern Education

It’s an exciting time for online education—there is already a bevy of startups aimed at helping you learn and the number will only continue to grow. Experiment and figure out what works best for you.

If you get discouraged, just heed Harrison Weber’s advice, “In the end, there’s nothing better than getting your hands dirty and learning by doing. Mess around, have some fun and realize that you’re not supposed to pick everything up immediately. Take it one step at a time and then make something awesome.”

Top Jobs for Recent Liberal Arts Graduates

With graduation just around the corner, college seniors are eagerly applying to jobs, but in an increasingly skills-based job economy, where do liberal arts grads fit in? Here’s a list of jobs that liberals arts graduates should consider.

Business and Finance
You don’t need degree in economics or business to work in finance. In fact, plenty of liberal arts students, international relations majors, for example, have a background in economics, history, politics, etc… all of which can be very useful in business. You may have to prove yourself more than someone who majored in finance, but as stated in a special report by Monster.com “it’s possible for a history major to land a job as a financial advisor.” So, next time you see a job post for a finance related position, go for it!

In the same special report Monster.com suggested sales as a good option for generalists. Sales requires excellent communication skills and can be a very rewarding profession.

Campaign Management
For all you politics, international relations and English majors, there a number of positions available to you in a political campaign. Marty Nemko, Bay Area career coach, explains that anyone who runs for office needs a manager, to hire coordinate and make sure that the campaign runs smoothly. Getting involved in a political campaign is the perfect way for a liberal arts grad to gain experience.

Grant Proposal Writer
As a grant proposal writer you have the opportunity to help organizations realize their missions and visions by putting your writing skills to use. Grant proposal writers are super important to non-profit organizations, because they help organizations garner funding from the government agencies and foundations. Basically, the role is essential to the existence of the organization. To view non-profit job listings check out idealist.org, the premier online resource for current openings in the non-profit sector.

Survey Researcher
This job requires you to use your critical thinking and analysis skills. The Boston Globe named this job as number 25 of its list of Top 30 Fastest Growing Jobs by 2018. As a survey researcher you will be conducting research to gather information for survey topics, analyze data from surveys, and communicate with clients about which surveys will best suit their needs. This may not be the most glamorous job, but it will definitely solidify your research skills!

If you’re having trouble finding a job that appeals to you, it may be time to consider some other options.

Liberal arts colleges focus on developing students into excellent writers – arguably one of the most important skills to communicating effectively. If you’re having trouble finding a job with your liberal arts degree, consider using your awesome writing skills to write a personal blog or being a freelance writer. Sign up for an elance account and start writing! Know another language? Try translating! You can verify your Spanish language skills with Smarterer’s Intermediate Spanish test.  If writing and foreign languages aren’t your thing, perhaps it’s time to learn some new skills? Check out Codecademy or Rubymonk and learn how to code. It may not be what you studied, but it will certainly help you get a job. To prove to employers that you really are as skilled as you claim, verify your skills at smarterer.com.