Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Harvard And MIT Join Forces To Become Juggernaut Of Free Online Education

Online education is witnessing its own Avengers-like uniting of superhero forces as Harvard University and MIT recently announced “edX”, a combined $60 million joint initiative to offer their college-level courses online for free. Launching in the fall of 2012, edX is a not-for-profit organization formed by the two universities to bring each institution’s free online course offerings to a broader global audience.
Courses will be delivered through the open source MITx platform in development to host courses that were previously part of the OpenCourseWare program.
As with the MITx initiative, edX plans to issue certificates (possibly costing a small fee) to students for completing courses; however, course completion will not earn college credits at either institution and the certificates will be issued from edX, not through either university.
The initiative hopes that other prestigious universities will join the venture to make the educational behemoth even stronger.
Susan Hockfield, president of MIT, gave an insight into the philosophy of the move poignantly saying, “You can choose to view this era as one of threatening change and unsettling volatility, or you can see it as a moment charged with the most exciting possibilities presented to educators in our lifetimes.’’
Although MIT’s online courses have been well publicized, Harvard was just getting into the game and weighed the best direction to go in, especially in light of competitive programs moving into the space, such as the for-profits Udacity, the Minerva Project and Coursera. Officials at Harvard ultimately opted to keep the program not-for-profit and partnered with MIT to utilize its technology, which is being designed to be much more interactive and supportive than previous course platforms are known to be. Additionally, the MITx technology will include automated grading software, also known as roboreaders, to grade the thousands to hundreds of thousands of essays expected from the sheer number of students in the program.
For either university, giving away its most valuable content for free seems to be the surest way to dilute their programs and on-campus experiences, but the reality is that the universities have much more to gain than to lose. First, MIT has spent years building a much more public educational brand by allowing anyone to take courses through OpenCourseWare, so edX is a way for Harvard to build on that marketing while offering the quality that is associated with the institution. Second, the MITx technology under development is an evolution of the online course software that both institutions have invested in over the years, so they come into this initiative with a clearer idea of what students need. Furthermore, by making the software open source, the global community is only going to help make the technology even better.
But one of the biggest hidden bonuses of this initiative is the research opportunities in education, technology, and online learning provided by such an enormous student base. The initiative is a giant virtual lab that will draw researchers from around the world who are interested in the future of online education and all the areas that it overlaps with.
Online education is ramping up and it’s quickly becoming about which platforms are going to dominate the landscape over the long term. Stanford University has already had some amazing success with online education, with over 100,000 students enrolling in a single artificial intelligence class last August. Although the world could benefit from having multiple options for free education, the possibility of Stanford joining edX would make even the Superfriends jealous.

15 Powerful Things Happy People Do Differently

What is the difference between happy people and unhappy people? Of course, it may be very obvious, happy people are happy while unhappy people are unhappy, right? Well, that is correct, but we want to know what are the things that these people do differently and that is why, I have put together a list of things that HAPPY people do differently than UNHAPPY people.

1. LOVE vs. FEAR. Well, I can tell you for sure that those people who are really happy, FEAR less and LOVE a lot more. They see each moment, each challenge, each person as an opportunity to discover more about themselves and the world around them.

2. ACCEPTANCE vs. RESISTANCE.  Happy people understand that you can’t really change a situation by resisting it, but you can definitely change it by accepting that it is there and by understanding that there might be a reason for its existence. When something unpleasant happens to them, they don’t try to fight it, knowing that this will make the situation even worse, but rather, they ask themselves questions like: What can I learn from this? How can I make this better? and they go from there, focusing on the positive rather than on the negative. They always seem to see the glass half full no matter what happens to them.

3. FORGIVENESS vs. UNFORGIVENESS. Really happy people know that it’s not healthy to hold on to anger. They choose to FORGIVE and FORGET, understanding that FORGIVENESS is  a gift they give to themselves first and foremost.

“Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.”Buddha

4. TRUST vs. DOUBT. They trust themselves and they trust the people around them. No matter if they talk to the cleaning lady or the C.E.O. of a multi billion company, somehow they always seem make the person they are interacting with feel like there is something unique and special about them.

They understand that beliefs become self-fulfilling prophecies, and because of that, they make sure to treat everybody with love, dignity and respect, making no distinctions between age, sex, social status, color, religion or race. These are the great men that Mark Twain was talking about: “Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.” Mark Twain

5. MEANING vs. AMBITION.  They do the things they do because of the meaning it brings into their lives and because they get a sense of purpose by doing so. They understand that “Doing what you love is the cornerstone of having abundance in your life” like Wayne Dyer puts it, and they care more about living a life full of meaning rather than, what in our modern society we would call, living a successful life.

The irony here is that most of the time they get both, success and meaning, just because they choose to focus on doing the things they love the most and they always pursue their heart desires. They are not motivated by money; they want to make a difference in the lives of those around them and in the world.

6. PRAISING vs. CRITICIZING. Happy people would probably agree with Carl’s Jung theory on resistance: “What you resist not only persists, but will grow in size”. They don’t criticize the absence of the behavior they want to reinforce, but rather, every time the behavior is present, even if it’s not that often, they know that by praising the person and the behavior, they will actually reinforce the positive behavior.

When a parent wants to make sure that his 7 years old boy will learn to always put the toys back in the box after he’s done playing with them, he will make sure not to focus on the many times the child won’t do it, criticizing him and his behavior, but rather, every time the little boy does put the toys back, the parent will praise him and his behavior and that is exactly how he will reinforce the positive behavior, and in the end geting the wanted results.

7. CHALLENGES vs. PROBLEMS. Happy people will see PROBLEMS as CHALLENGES, as opportunities to explore new ways of doing things, expressing their gratitude for them, understanding that underneath them all lies many opportunities that will allow them to expand and to grow.

8. SELFLESSNESS vs. SELFISHNESS. They do what they do not for themselves, but for the good of others, making sure that they bring meaning, empowerment and happiness in the lives of many. They look for ways to give and to share the best of themselves with the world and to make other people happy.

 ”Before giving, the mind of the giver is happy; while giving, the mind of the giver is made peaceful; and having given, the mind of the giver is uplifted.”Buddha

9. ABUNDANCE vs. LACK/POVERTY. They have an abundant mindset living a balanced life, achieving abundance in all areas of life.

10. DREAMING BIG vs. BEING REALISTIC. These people don’t really care about being realistic. They love and dare to dream big, they always listen to their heart and intuition and the greatness of their accomplishments scares many of us.

“Dream no small dreams for they have no power to move the hearts of men.” Goethe

11. KINDNESS vs. CRUELTY. They are kind to themselves and others and they understand the power of self love, self forgiveness and self acceptance.

12. GRATITUDE vs. INGRATITUDE. No no matter where they look, no matter where they are or with who, they have this capacity of seeing beauty where most of us would only see ugliness, opportunities, where most of us would only see struggles, abundance where most of us would only see lack and they express their gratitude for them all.

13. PRESENCE/ ENGAGEMENT vs. DISENGAGEMENT. They know how to live in the present moment, appreciating what they have and where they are, while still having big dreams about the future.

“When you are present, you can allow the mind to be as it is without getting entangled in it. The mind in itself is a wonderful tool. Dysfunction sets in when you seek your self in it and mistake it for who you are.” Eckhart Tolle

14. POSITIVITY vs. NEGATIVITY. No matter what happens to them, they always seem to keep a positive perspective on everything and by doing so, they tend irritate a lot of negative and “realistic” people.

15. TAKING RESPONSIBILITY vs. BLAMING. They take full ownership over their lives and they rarely use excuses. Happy people understand that the moment you choose to blame some outside forces for whatever it is that happens to you, you are in fact giving all your power away, and they choose to keep the power for themselves and taking responsibility for everything that happens to them.

(Sources - http://www.purposefairy.com)