Free Learn

As the world of higher education is changing, there is a lot of confusion on exactly what we should be doing. This blog is here to give you a better idea of how to navigate the information and resources out there.

It may not be easy, but if I can do it, so can you

Eric Thomas, one of the most inspiring and motivating humans alive, talks a lot about sacrifice.  I listen to his speeches quite often because I feel they do a great job of keeping me in check whenever I am feeling like things aren’t really rolling how I would like them to be rolling.

It has been awhile since I have listened to one of his speeches and today I got a chance to listen to probably the one he is most known for – his speech on the secret to success.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WTFnmsCnr6g (link to the video)

I believe depth of vision and having a long term mentality are both topics I have touched on in previous posts but they seemingly are extremely relevant in the past few days.  Coming down here to the SOLE, I knew that I wanted to be in some way or another, connecting the idea of self organized learning environments, massive open online courses, and the fantastic platform of Degreed.com.

Almost three months in, I have made more progress than I really thought I would have, being a “college dropout” and all.  Having really no experience that would make you believe that I would have been able to accomplish what I have already, especially since I am working in a space where we are pioneering uncharted territory.

However, ET also talks about my generation being one of the most spoiled and soft generations that there ever has been.  He talks about not knowing struggle or pain; not having what it takes to get past the honey moon period.  Not having what it takes to make the sacrifices necessary to accomplish whatever it is you are working to accomplish.

This is something that I faced about two and a half – three weeks into being here; worked through and then moved on and continued to get shit done.  I thought that since I had went through the process once, and since I was starting to get some really good things finally into motion, that I would not really run into these blockades again. 

The morning I was leaving home to come back down to North Carolina, I had a very strange, but familiar feeling about me the whole day.  It was like it was game day for football; I was nervous and excited and jacked up and focused, all jittery and energized.  I knew I was heading down for the long haul and that I couldn’t be more excited to have a solid amount of time to be focusing on my projects.

Then I got down here, and for some reason I couldn’t explain to you if I wanted, but all of a sudden that crazy anxiety of missing out on things people back home are doing and not being able to do some of the things that I look forward to so often, and feeling like what I was doing was crazy madness that makes no sense, questioning my own belief of myself in regards to “not being qualified” to be working on what I am, I started to let those demoralizing thoughts creep back in; knowing the honey moon period was surely over.

As what I am working on is in a pivot point and I am reworking some of the details of what I am working to accomplish, the uncertainty and transition has been weighing heavily on my mental.  The options and directions I can move and figuring out what comes next has been keeping my mind extremely preoccupied.

But, after listening to ET and his motivational words, and just taking a moment to breathe, I recalled the phrase “if you want things in your life to change, you need to change things in your life”. The fact that Thomas chose to raise the challenge that we are a soft generation without the will to power through these testing times made me stop and think right there;  I couldn’t get the idea out of my head.

In fact, this is one of the very reasons I am doing what I am doing.  To prove that if you want something bad enough, if you believe in something enough, you can make it happen, no matter what anyone else thinks or says.  Regardless of where you come from, what you know, who you know, you can make it happen if you are willing to put aside the distractions and focus your time and energy on what is important,, you can achieve success.

Speaking from personal experience thus far however, as soon as you make the leap out into the unknown, all of the doubts and anxieties rush in and it’s got to be the hardest part of the whole thing. 

My friends, again speaking from personal experience, it gets better and you’re not going to die because you didn’t get a chance to watch the football game with your buddies and drink beer.  Yeah, you might miss out on a few events or miss out on a few get-togethers.  

And it’s just like riding a bike a long distance through the mountains, the first time you do it it is going to be the hardest.  You have no idea where you are, and after the first incline you’re like “what the hell am I riding my bike through the mountains for anyway?!” and then you get to your destination and you hop off of your bike and all of sudden you feel incredible, on top of the world, and the “well, that wasn’t so hard, WE MADE IT!! I’M ALIVE!” starts to kick in and you realize that you just powered through a 16 mile bike ride through the mountains.  And during the trip you were told that this would surely be the hardest of the trips you would be taking by bike because it was the first one, and you really had no idea what to expect.  Then by trip three you start asking yourself “why the hell haven’t I been biking everywhere my whole life! This is incredible!”

The same rules apply to the emotional and mental stress and anxiety you experience when chartering new territory. The first time I got down here, I had no idea the thoughts and feelings I would go through in terms of wanting to go home, or missing my family and friends.  Now this time coming down, I knew what had happened before and didn’t think it would happen again, but when it did I was prepared and ready for it, and knew that it too would pass. Much faster and with less diversion I might add.

Anyway, with all of this being said, my point here is this; you control the outcome of the life you live.  Every aspect of it.  Sure we all start at a different spot but that doesn’t matter.  And more than ever our world is in need of young people willing to make a few sacrifices in order to catapult us into the next wave of innovation and creation.  We need young people who are sick and tired of the bullshit we have been fed since grade school.  We live in a world unlike any generation before.  Opportunity is abundant, but you have to be willing to make it happen, willing to do what ever it takes, refusing to be told no and powering on.

Just remember, you’re being referred to as the most soft and spoiled generation to ever live.  If you’re okay with being average, not striving for improvement of the general overall quality of life of not only yourself but the greater community as a whole, fine. But understand that if we don’t work to make things better, than who is going to?  It’s time to start thinking about your family, your future family, and their future families.

Plan the Work, Work the Plan

A phrase I have been hearing more and more often lately.  I recent read an article from Forbes Magazine on instead of focusing on arbitrary goals for the new year, focus on establishing a system that will in turn make those goals come to fruition.  S.Y.S.T.E.M. Save Your Self Time Energy and Money.  Makes perfect sense.

Being a self directed learner, and working on multiple projects, there have been times when I have found myself a little inbetween on what exactly I should be doing and have had a rough time focusing on my energy on one thing or the other because there is that constant reminder that I have something else to finish as well.

Well, success leaves clues.  Something that I have also been hearing a lot lately and until now I didn’t really put the two together.  Setting up a schedule and implementing a system will be a nice way for me to focus on each task as I am working through it knowing that there is designated time for the other things I am working on.

I think this is one of the most intimidating things for those in the do it yourself learning world is setting up a system and then sticking to it.  In college, you are essentially given your system and then you only need to add outside the class study time.  Here in the world of do it yourself, you are responsible for all aspects of everything you do. 

To all of you out there making it happen; plan the work, work the plan.

Batch #2

After being complete with my first batch of MOOCs, I have done some reflecting on how I felt about the first go.  I was quite pleased with how the first batch went and thought that it was a very useful allocation of our most valuable asset; time.  I received a certificate of completion for a majority of my courses even though that was not really my intention or goal going in.  The most difficult part was the massive amount of courses I was taking at one time.  Specifically because I am working on other projects as well, I felt I was unable to give either a fair amount of energy and focus. 

My goal going into this second batch was to cut back on the course load and to spend a bit more of my time on the other projects I am focusing on.  Although I had already made a schedule for the second batch, between then and now there have been quite a few new classes popping up so I figured it would be a good idea to do a double check.

I am not sure if this is really a good or a bad thing, but I have once again found myself with a massive course load.  The courses available are just tremendously exciting and interesting.  There are so many good options out there that I was even finding it hard to stop registering for courses! 

I think this is one of the common things that can happen with access to all of these different venues and all of the different options that are out there; it becomes seemingly overwhelming to some – or you just get so excited that you sign up for everything and then once you are taking 12 courses at once you get flustered and drop everything. 

This is a pretty serious problem when talking about alternatives to the standard path in higher education, although I really don’t see this as a bad thing.  What we need is a little bit of guidance along the way someone or something helping us decide what’s important to what you specifically want to learn.

That is where learning pathways of curated content come into play.  After taking over MOOC Campus here as project manager and program developer; I have established a relationship with David Blake and Degreed.com.  What they are doing is pretty awesome to say the least; they are on to some game changing material.  But one thing that stands out is their curated learning pathways.  Currently they have three available and are planning on dropping some more soon.  Yours truly will be working on curating content for Degreed and is going through the process of sifting through the sea of information and gathering it into usable, navigateable, and relevant format that will give you as of right now, a fairly basic understanding of the concept.

However, further down the line, much like what I am doing right now in terms of navigating these open platforms and taking courses with the idea of building some sort of communicable resource to display my learning, Degreed may down the line like to make something like this a place for people to start in terms of subject matter and seeing what other people have thought important in the area.

So, for now, this is what my tentative second batch of courses looks like:

Foundation of Business Strategy
University of Virgina
Coursera
Start: Jan 13 (6 weeks)

Grow to Greatness: Smart Growth for Private Business
University of Virgina
Coursera
Start: Jan 20 (5 weeks)

How to Change the World
Wesleyan University
Coursera
Start: Jan 20 (6 weeks)

Unlocking the Immunity to Change: A New Approach to Personal Improvement
HarvardX
EdX
Start: Jan 20 (12 Weeks)

What’s Your Big Idea?
University of North Carolina Chapel Hill
Coursera
Start: Jan 21 (6 weeks)

History and Future of Higher Education
Duke University
Coursera
Start: Jan 27 (6 weeks)

Was Alexander Great
WellesleyX
EdX
Start: Jan 27

Badge 101: The Discovery of Badging
Accreditrust
Canvas Network
Start: Jan 27 – March 3

Globalization of Business Enterprise
IESE Business School
Coursera
Start: Feb 3 (8 weeks)

*Imagining Other Earths
Princeton University
Coursera
Start: Feb 3 (12 weeks)

*The Diversity of Exoplanets
The University of Geneva
Coursera
Start: March (6 weeks)

What Managers Can Learn From Great Philosophers
École Centrale Paris
Coursera
Start: March (6 weeks)

Practical Ethics
Princeton University
Coursera
Start: March 1 (12 weeks)

The Science of Everyday Thinking
QUX
EdX
Start: March 3

American Capitalism
CornellX
EdX
Start: March 17

These are the MOOCs that I will be taking – tenativley over the next four to five months.  At the same time however, I am going to start exploring the iTunes U platform and take several curated learning pathways and courses from their as well.  This is a bit different than a MOOC because you just have access to the content, there is not discussion board platform or anything like that so it will be interesting to see how this goes. 

Who am I?  Identity, Nationality, and Belonging
The Open Universtiy
iTunes U

Human Emotion
Yale
iTunes U

Death and Dying
The Open University
iTunes U

The Meaning of Freedom
The Open University
iTunes U

Charles Darwin: Reluctant Revolutionary
The Open University
iTunes U

Colonial and Revolutionary America
Stanford
iTunes U

Death
Yale
iTunes U

The New Psychology of Depression
Oxford
iTunes U

Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders
Standford
iTunes U

So, there you have it.  Although I was trying to not overload myself with courses this go, I ended up doing it anyway.  I guess it just comes with the territory.  I am not worried however because this time around I will have some other people here at MOOC Campus taking a similar journey with me.  This is something I am overly excited for. 

Again however, the beauty of taking these open courses is that you’re not tied down.  So if the feeling of overwhelming happens I can always cut back.  I was thinking of saying the same about lack of interest however this is a pretty damn interesting schedule if you ask me!

If there is anyone taking any of these course and would like to set up some sort of thread to communicate and to link up for reviews and discussion I would more than love for you to connect.  My email is tony.rhod3s@gmail.com please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns.

 

The New Year and Why You Need to Start Now

Anyone else feeling more excited for this new year more than any before?  It’s surely a bit scary, but after the last eight months, I’ve learned that if you aren’t doing something that scares you at least a little bit, than why are you doing it in the first place?  2014 is going to be quite a different experience than anything I’ve ever had.  And I think for a lot of people at least in some of my circles, there is a lot of “figuring out” to do.  Whether it be what graduate program to pursue, or “oh shit, I’m graduating in four months”, there is a lot of things to come in this new year.

For about the past thirteen years or so, my new year’s goals, resolutions, expectations, and intentions essentially revolved around one thing; football.  For the first time that I am consciously aware of, none of the things that I am looking forward to have anything to do with football.  Most of them this year have to do with buckling down and focusing on the projects I am working on and working to find the balance between being an enjoyable human and also proving my worth in the space of social innovation and for now specifically higher ed.

I’m sure you’ve heard this a time or two, but where I am now compared to where I was a year ago is a little mind blowing; at least to myself.  Probably like most of you, I had an idea, but that’s literally all I had.  A broke college student working upward of 55 hours a week while going to school full time, with an idea that for the first time since my days on the grid-iron, kept me up at night.  Can you relate?  Like most of us, the idea of finding my way into the higher education space and putting together at the scale I had first visualized, seemed pretty “unrealistic”.

Like many ideas, great or wild as they may be, this is where most of them go to die.  This is where reason and logic set in and sitting there with 10 bucks to balance between beer, food, and rent; your logical human says, “look man that sounds great and all but how could YOU ever make that work?”

A few days before I left Black Mountain to return for the holidays, I was sitting on a bench in downtown Asheville, the sun was shinning and beyond the beautiful new buildings, I couldn’t help but smile at the mountains.  I guess as humans it’s sometimes pretty easy to forget just how lucky we are.  And sitting there taking it all in I thought to myself; “how in the world did I get here?”. 

I couldn’t help thinking back to sleeping on four of my best friend’s couch in their apartment in Lansing Michigan for two months and knowing that is exactly where it all started.  And from that couch basically a year later, I am living in North Carolina with my full focus being on building the program that I could only have dreamed about. 

But it’s not like it happened over night, nor was it as consistent and focused an effort as it could have been from the get go.  But with the new year approaching, I guess I would just like to put my two cents in about getting done what ever it is you want to make happen.

Start now.  The power you have to make things happen is much more vast than you are probably aware of at this point.  Not like I am some guru expert or a master in anything quite yet, I do know that if I wouldn’t have started at least narrowing my focus and being open to opportunities and at the minimum furthering my exploration in things that excited me, I would probably still be working upwards of 50 hours a week, scrapping by, miserable, and still “waiting for the perfect storm”.  Sitting around feeling sorry for myself because I didn’t have connections to large amounts of money, or mad at the world because I wasn’t born into some sort of wealth. 

Somehow though, simply by starting and little by little, focusing more energy where I wanted it to go, here I am now doing exactly what it is I would like to be doing.  Coming out of an economic recession period, the time couldn’t be better for bold and big ideas.  In a time where social innovation is an emerging topic of discussion amongst ordinary people, the opportunity is out there and someone is going to take advantage of it.  

But I don’t know how, but I don’t have the time, but no one wants to help me, but but but.  Bottom line is that there is unlimited access to open source material that is out there, for free.  Why would you not?  Why not make the simple choice to even if it’s five minutes a damn day, to start diving into whatever it is that drives you. 

I had no idea that my original idea would take me to where I am right now.  However, I couldn’t be happier.  Start now, every day make a conscious effort to explore, one day at a time, you’re here in this human one time, why live it feeling anything less than extraordinary?

Radical Freedom

Self organized learning environment.  What does that really even mean?

One of the biggest questions I had coming down here to Black Mountain SOLE.  Quite a wild concept if you can really wrap your head around it.  The basic principle here is, you have the power to organize and create anything you want.  In the most literally way you can interpret that.

There are an endless stream of topics and possibilities that can come with having that kind of power.  My original thought coming into this space was that there would be 20+ people creating some pretty wild and intense stuff.

Radical freedom.  What does that mean?  That means that you have no expectations and are in control of every single thing you do.  The very founding principle of what Black Mountain SOLE intends to do.

Radical freedom however, is not as candy painted as it may sound.  In fact, it very well may just break you.  There are not too many people in the world we live in today that can really cope with this radical freedom.  Think about it, we have grown up in a system of education where the principles are obedience, follow rules, do what you’re told, or any other form of the phrase.  Our minds have been molded to think in such a way where we believe that we have no control.

Since being here the short time that I have I am becoming aware of just how mentally and emotionally tasking such radical freedom can be.  Although the environment I am in is collaborative and supportive and I have more than ample resources to utilize, at the end of the day it comes down to me and what I make happen.  Nobody here is going to make things happen for you and that is becoming more and more apparent every single day.

What this does is create intense mental and emotional stress.  And I do say that very loosely because it’s really how you take the challenge.  And so far I have seen both.

When you hit that wall, that first road block, or what we refer to as “the honey moon is over period”, you are just at the start of your journey within the space of radical freedom.

This is where your “fight or flight” response kicks in.  Truly I still have a lot to experience myself, but from the observations that i have so far with being here, it is becoming more and more apparent by the day that it’s a hell of a lot more difficult than most had anticipated.

Radical freedom, I guess is as foreign a concept as most Americas today have experienced.  Although it may not be butterflies and unicorns, there are some beautiful things that can come from this.  There is room for creation to an extent that I have never really seen possible or even thought could be possible.

There are certainly extreme positives that can happen in a space like this.  one of my biggest questions is; does this radical freedom appeal to everyone?  Can everyone thrive in an environment where they are truly in control of their own every day actions?  Responsible for their success, for creating a life that they want to live, for simply playing the lead role in their own movie.

My initial answer and thought on the topic is absolutely; if there is enough desire and want to, then yes, anyone can do this, most importantly because they won’t have to do it alone and will be surrounded by positive community going through a lot of the same things.

But after being here, I am realizing that everyone is at a different point in their own belief. Ultimately, that is what I at this point believe that it boils down to; belief.  Belief that you are powerful enough to actually act upon the great ideas that you may have in mind and that you may be sharing.

The second point is removing yourself from the feeling of entitlement.  Believing that you are for whatever reason entitled to receive some sort of special treatment, or special help, and not being able to take ownership for every single thing that you do, or that you fail to do.

Before I begin to ramble and talk in circles, I am going to close out this post.  However, as I continue my stay here, this is going to be a concept I will revisit.

Radical Freedom; do you think you have what it takes?

Check In

It is wildly amazing what can happen in an environment in which I am in.

The blessing of being able to be here at Black Mountain SOLE is something that I cannot really put into words.

A little over a year ago I berthed the idea of creating a physical space for people taking MOOCs to be able to co-lean and co-work together.  I remember sitting down for six hours (due to the old habit of procrastination) to knock out my final paper for my English class.  It’s amazing to see what has come from writing that 20 page research paper on education’s connection to overall quality of life, and my desire to connect individuals with minimal options, due to mainly financial struggles and just the sheer lack of available resources and belief that there is another way out.

Over the past two months I have had the opportunity to sit down and make it happen.  And today made me realize that things are really happening.  Three months ago I was just a fed up twenty year old with nothing but a dollar and a dream (quite literally!).  A few very short months later my vision is starting to turn into reality.

After connecting with some of the leading innovators in the higher education space, there are some really exciting things coming.  But more importantly, I am living, breathing proof that if you believe in something enough to go chase it and make it happen, that anything can happen.  The best part is though, I am not the only one.  There are people across the globe fighting the good fight to educate the population as a whole and to instill the belief that you can do anything you want to, as long as you are willing to make it happen. 

By no means are we close to finished.  No, we are barley even getting started.  But the fact alone that things are happening and people’s eyebrows are starting to be raised is proof enough that we are on the right track.

MOOC Campus is going to be operational come the New Year.  We will be running out first shot at having a living and breathing MOOC Campus and my excitement is on a whole new level.  I will be releasing an update here within the next week or so on my second batch of MOOC Courses.  There have been a few new offerings and some different platforms I would like to explore, and to get the program up and running some exchanges of courses to get a better experience in collaborating with others. 

I cannot express my gratitude for the continuous support from the people in my circles.  The next few months pose to be very interesting and will be sure to share my experience with you.

What Will Your Instagram Feed Look Like in Five Years?

Working on this entrepreneurial start up down here in Black Mountain, and looking through my Instagram feed, and also thinking of old friends and wondering what they’re up to, a strange thought popped into my head; what are all of these pictures going to look like in five years?

Currently, it’s either a very interesting mix of cute puppies, selfies, parties, and right now holiday antics.  Meanwhile, as a lot of the people I graduated with and most of the people I have connected with since then are out quite possibly overly enjoying themselves, I am steady nose to the grind stone working on building something that has never been done before. 

Too many times, I have heard that college is supposed to be the best four years of your life.  And I can tell there are a lot of people on my Instagram feed feel the same way.  These are the thoughts that keep me up at night and make me sick to my stomach.  Being twenty years old, a lot of the people I am connected with in my social media are graduating or have a year or so left in their college lifespan.  But what happens next for most of them?  Pictures of a new stapler?  Or excel spreadsheets?

I guess there is just a huge discomfort for me for thinking that the next 65-70 years of my life are just what?  Waking up every morning doing my morning routine and then off to work for someone else, 40+ hours a week for now on average more than 40 years of my life?  I just believe that there is so much more out there. 

Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying I don’t want to work or that I think that 40+ hours a week is a lot.  I’d rather work 100+ hours a week for myself, doing things that I enjoy or that I am passionate about, and do what ever it takes to get to maintain that status of working for myself. 

When I stopped and thought about this today, I wondered if anyone else has thought about the same thing.  Getting connected to this new world of young entrepreneurs gives me at least a gleam of hope.  Hope that there are a rare and hungry breed out there.  And to those drowning themselves in good times, enjoy it while it lasts.  To those with the nose to the grind stone, building, connecting, and making shit happen; thank you.  

SOLE, thoughts, questions, concerns

After a long Thanksgiving “break” it is nice to back at the SOLE and here in Black Mountain.  Although I was pretty much business as usual when I was home, aside from having to put in hours at work, it certainly is nice to be back down here in a space where I have time to put 100% focus on what it is I need to get done.

However, it does feel a bit funny.  After being away for almost two months and then being home for a week, I figured the same growing pains that I faced upon my original arrival would be a none factor when coming back.  However, there is a strange and uneasy feeling I am having for whatever reason. 

Two things happened when I returned home.  I was reassured that I was working on something worth some value, because there are plenty of people out there who would want to partake in something like this.  A place where no matter where you come from, you have the chance to get started in the right direction, and if you have a seasoned idea or project you can fine tune whatever it is you need to work on.  Inversely, after seeing some of my friends and talking to them and explaining in more detail exactly what it is we are doing here, they were really excited.  But for what?  Are they going to act?  Are they going to take the next step and make the decision to take control of their life and get out of the bullshit they deal with every day?  And this is where my discomfort has come from upon returning.  The people here have plenty of other options; they come from families with enough money to allow them to do their own thing, until their own thing runs out.  But for people like myself and those out there who really don’t have another option, what should they be expected to do? 

Are they going to come to MOOC Campus and be able to disconnect from the life they just left?  Who, in their minds, are they letting down by leaving to better their own lives?  I guess my concern is are there people out there who are mentally and emotionally tough enough to do what it takes to make something happen?  Am I mentally tough enough?  Yeah I’m here but what’s next?  Where does this take me?  What can I do with what I am working on?

These are the questions and concerns that have been really running through my mind the last few days.  Although I have been a bit uneasy, the same feeling that is trying to talk me out of what I am doing and go back home and work 60+ hours a week at the liquor store and be around for my mother brother and sister, is the same feeling that is forcing me to silence those thoughts and to continue on. 

Odds are someone at some point is going to do something similar to what I am doing right now.  Making a case for those who are not financially able to go through school without having to work it off for a majority of their lives.  Making a case for young men and women everywhere that if you put the work in, someone somewhere will take notice and something good will happen.  It’s the belief in the end result, that no matter what it is going to work.

Sure taking 9 MOOCs and working on a start up in a world that has never seen anything like it before is pretty mentally exhausting.  But if no one knows that it can be done, then how long will it take for someone else to come along and make it happen? 

As a lot of my first batch MOOC courses are coming to an end, I think that it is important to rethink taking an excess of courses at one time.  I think that it is certainly possible after doing it for this batch, however I think that with working full time on MOOC Campus it doesn’t make much sense because then I won’t be able to put my full energy into either and both will suffer.  For the most part MOOC Campus has taken a hit because I am really working to stay engaged and work on my courses.  Next batch I think I am going to cut back just a bit, and put a little more of my focus on building and running MOOC Campus.

I am here at the SOLE for the next two weeks then I return home again for the holidays.  I will return early January and then if all goes accordingly, I will be here for the duration of the program which goes until May.  My excitement is through the roof.  I understand that these are all part of the growing pains for those that are doing start ups and chasing their dreams and all that good stuff.  So although I have brief moments of “what am I doing this for?”  it is easy to level back out and answer my own question. 

“It pays to know who’s paying”

Taking several innovative thinking courses, there seems to be one common theme throughout that has really grabbed my attention.  Building customer empathy. 

This seems like such a simple concept and something almost anyone in the world of providing a product or service would partake in; however, this must not be the case.

What this does is put the build it and they will come theory to rest.  And this makes sense for the time.  We live in a pretty transparent world, so it would make sense that with exposure to more options than every before it would really make sense to build a very thorough understanding of your customers. 

This has been something that throughout the last few months has really had me curious.  As I am trying building the worlds first MOOC campus, I feel like I have a pretty good understanding of what it is that people would want in something like that, but it is the first of its kind so its really even harder to understand your customer.

This is where the Lean Start Up suggests producing an MVP  – minimal viable product.  This gives you a chance to let people start using your product or service quickly and then you have a chance to gather data and receive feedback.  This is important because you may think that you are producing something for reason x, but in reality people use it for purpose a. 

There are many positives to understanding your customer.  I think the biggest aspect of this is building culture and community around your brand.  If you can build an image, a positive image around what it is you are doing than you have a better chance at producing something that people talk about and back and support what it is you are doing.

In the world of start ups, and even on a much larger scale, it pays to know who’s paying.  This is one of the most vital things I have taken away from everything I have been learning about innovation. 

#EDCMOOC Digital Artifact Project

This is a video project for my E-learning and Digital Cultures course I am taking from the University of Edinburgh.