Saturday, March 9, 2013

MOOCs




                        MOOCs

I read in the New York Times this week that the next big thing on college campuses is known as a MOOC.  No, that’s not a new drink or dance, but rather it stands for: Massive Open Online Course.

College courses used to be an on-campus thing that you’d walk to and sit through.  These usually only have as many students as there are seats, and a live professor lecturing in front.  These, like other professional development seminars, are and have been part of the brick and mortar world we’ve known for so long.

But this Internet thing is disrupting this legacy practice just as surely as it’s changed so many other things we do. Think about shopping, reading newspapers, watching broadcasts, researching information, and email. Now, universities like Harvard, Duke, MIT and others are broadcasting some of their best courses and teachers across the Internet to tens of thousands of students who would not otherwise have access to them.  These courses are often free, have proctored testing procedures, and are starting to spread in ways only the Internet can support.

Because the Internet is often portrayed as a waste of time, it’s interesting to see it start to develop in ways like this. The commercial Internet has only been available for less than 20 years but it’s already producing game changing practices that 100 years from now will be seen as remarkable as automobiles, penicillin, computers and airplane travel were and have been.

Every one of us who’ve been hijacked or held hostage by the Internet should start using things like this to truly change our lives.   As the Internet becomes known more for beaming the best rather than just being a tool for foolishness, it may truly start to reach its full potential.  And that will truly be amazing.

And thus the last line in the article really hit home: When outstanding becomes so easily available, average is over!

My message this week is about working together to create something great:

“Great teamwork is the only way we create the breakthroughs that define our careers.” Pat Riley

What kind of breakthroughs have you had in your career?  It’s usually something important that you worked on, like a project or a problem, and often is a bit of a challenge.   Work is mostly the same routine, over and over, but every now and then something comes along that is different, and in that moment you have a chance to shine.  That’s when you need to focus your abilities and energy, and be in that moment when nothing else matters.  It could be responding to a question, or serving someone, or finishing something with others: it will be an occasion when teamwork creates a great breakthrough that defines your career.  That’s when careers are defined!

Stay well!

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