My friend Dave Davis (aka Hugh L. Davis III) finished his PhD and is now Doctor Dave! Dave’s dissertation was on “The Impact Of Commercial Banking Development On Economic Growth: A Principal Component Analysis Of Association Between Banking Industry And Economic Growth In Europe.” He was very kind and thanked me and fellow PhD students: “To my classmates, Shawn Lowe, Ed Bee, Richard Baker, Greg Bonadies, Patton, Melissa Aho, and Madeline Messick: had it not been because of their friendship, it is doubtful that I would have ever completed this chapter of my life” (pages iv-v). I am sure that Dave would have done just fine without us, but its still nice to be thanked. Thanks Doctor Dave!
After years of not being able to attend, I finally attended the CAEF Gala. The CAEF (Centennial Area Education Foundation) is a non-profit helps “To raise funds to enhance the educational experience. Whether it is helping students attend a camp or a competition, sending a teacher to a training program, or funding scholarships to send Centennial students to college or vocational training, we believe we can help make our good schools even better” (http://www.caefoundation.org/). It was a fun event and it was great seeing friends, some of which I have not seen since high school. The event was held in the Infinite Campus, a new beautiful building, which in part is shaped like the Enterprise and is the tallest building in the northern metro.
Today I received my Certificate in Social Sector Leadership from the Philanthropy University and the Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley. I have been working on their 7 MOOCs classes since March. Philanthropy University is the “first-of-its kind educational initiative helps people working for social good deepen their impact and change the world” (http://philanthropyu.org/). The classes were: LEADERSHIP: TEN RULES FOR IMPACT AND MEANING, GLOBAL SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP, ORGANIZATIONAL CAPACITY: ASSESSMENT TO ACTION, FUNDRAISING: HOW TO CONNECT WITH DONORS, HOW TO SCALE SOCIAL IMPACT, ESSENTIALS OF NONPROFIT STRATEGY, and FINANCIAL MODELING FOR THE SOCIAL SECTOR. All of the classes were very interesting, involving some type of group work, video watching, readings, an assignment, and included individuals from around the globe.
One of the projects I have been working on in the library this year has been with the HathiTrust. The HathiTrust “is a partnership of major research institutions and libraries working to ensure that the cultural record is preserved and accessible long into the future. The mission of HathiTrust is to contribute to research, scholarship, and the common good by collaboratively collecting, organizing, preserving, communicating, and sharing the record of human knowledge” (https://www.hathitrust.org/about). Basically what I have been doing is reviewing UK books and looking to see when the author died and when the book was published to see if the books is out of copyright and can be put into public domain. Its been a very fun project and I have looked at official reports of the sinking of the Titanic, books by Richard Burton, and lots of odd little books. The project is getting ready to end and they sent out a very nice letter of commendation. I am sure everyone got a letter, but its nice to be thanked.
I was even listed on their website as participating (https://www.hathitrust.org/copyright-review):
I recently finished a edX “MITx 14.73x: The Challenges of Global Poverty,” a course of study offered by MITx, an online learning initiative of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology through edX, by Esther Duflo and Abhijit Vinayak Banerjee. It was another MOOCs class that I decided to try and overall it was nicely done, so I guess I would say that it falls in the middle (not the best MOOCs, but not the worst MOOCs). It always drives me a bit crazy when you email whoever is suppose to be running the class and they never respond. Why post an email address if you are not going to respond? It did supplemented some of my PhD classes, so that was nice. The class had videos, tests at the end of each week, and even a little final (25 questions) at the end of the class. I passed the class and so I received a Verified Certificate of Achievement which was issued on December 15, 2016.
You shall not pass! Fail! No pass! Failure!
I was part of Harvard Business School’s HBX June 2016 CORe program (June 7, 2016 – August 18, 2016) and the grades were just released and I did not pass. “Credential of Readiness (CORe) is a primer on the fundamentals of business. It is designed to introduce you to the language of business. It assumes no prior familiarity with business concepts, though it does presume a strong motivation to engage and learn. CORe is comprised of three courses – Business Analytics, Economics for Managers, and Financial Accounting – which must be taken together. CORe is designed for college undergraduates, recent college graduates, and graduate students in non-business fields who want to prepare themselves for a business career or for a graduate business school” (http://hbx.hbs.edu/enroll/faqs#faq-about-core). There was always that glimmer of hope that I would pass, but sadly that did not happen. It was hard, especially for someone with a extremely limited business background. The platform that they used was awesome and I liked the case studies approach, but there were things that I think did not work. HBX’s homepage said “CORe can be appropriate for virtually all majors and is designed to instruct participants in the fundamentals of business. Past participants came from the humanities, sciences, liberal arts, and other disciplines” (http://hbx.hbs.edu/enroll/faqs#faq-coremajor) and I don’t believe that. Many things discussed had an underlining assumption that you had prior knowledge and so things were not explained or covered. As a MOOCs class goes this was a positive experience, I did learn some new things, but I would recommend taking it when you have nothing else to do and certainly not when you are working full time, teaching part-time, participating in a few other MOOCs, and trying to work on your PhD dissertation like I was.
I have been interested in MOOCs (Massive Open Online Course) for a while now (and at one time wanted to do my MEd project on them), so this year I have decided to try out a few different ones, from a variety of different educational institutions, and then possible write a paper about it – which would be tentatively titled “The Year of Living Business MOOCs Dangerously.” Today I finished The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and Coursera’s “Entrepreneurship, a 5-course specialization by University of Pennsylvania on Coursera. Specialization Certificate earned on August 29, 2016.” It was a series of 4 Entrepreneurship classes and a Capstone class.
The technology used was nothing breakthrough or revolutionary (videos and quizzes), the weekly quizzes had mistakes and bad wording, sometimes links to sites did not work, sometimes discussion questions were not answered by the teaching assistant, we never knew who the teaching assistant was (was he from Wharton or Coursera? I eventually learned that he worked with Wharton Online, but had no business experience or at least none was listed on his LinkedIn page), no feedback from any of the Wharton professors (not that I expected a lot, but at least some interested in the class would have been nice), sometimes the platform did not work correctly, and so overall experience was just adequate. I was not the only participant to voice concerns about various issues in these Entrepreneurship classes. Yes, I learned how to do a Pitch Deck and learned some new Entrepreneurship information. Granted it was the first time that they have offered it, but its Wharton, so you think they would have done a better job. I was not impressed with Coursera – which truthfully I had high hopes for. Ahh well, live and learn and MOOC on!
Its always wonderful to receive a new diploma in the mail, but I am sad to say the quality (paper and ink) of the physical diploma has come down over the years.
I learned today that the LT Media Lab had posted “Congrats to LT’s newest M.Ed. graduates!” back on May 15, which you can view here: https://lt.umn.edu/news/med-showcase-2016/. The department does a great LT M.Ed. showcase. I am even in a few of the photos posted, which is always fun to see. All photos and images listed below are courtesy of The LT Media Lab https://lt.umn.edu/news/med-showcase-2016/
Dr Madeline Messick dissertation is now online for your reading pleasure. This wonderful little sentence is to be found in the Acknowledgements: “Melissa Aho, AKA the Citation Goddess, deserves extra thanks for reviewing all my references”