Online Open Source Education

Online education is increasingly on the public’s mind with many pursuing higher education during the current tough economic times. Accompanying the growth of the for profit online universities, serving these students, is the open source education movement. This movement, headed by MIT OpenCourseWare and the Khan Academy, seeks to revolutionize education by offering free content to anyone with an internet connection. Bill Gates said in an interview that he believes that within five years the best education will come from the web. Coming from a man who has made billions from investing in innovation, such predictions carry an enormous amount of weight.

There is a huge demand for online education materials, not just for those enrolled in online courses, but for anyone trying to learn. The upcoming generation of college freshman have to think hard to remember a time before Google and YouTube. Therefore, it is not surprising that the first reaction of many young students when faced with a difficult problem is to “Google it.” Interestingly enough, with the plethora of online education materials, it probably is the best strategy. A quick Google search for calculus returns quite a bit more than what one could find in a traditional library. Full textbooks, video lectures, practice problems with solutions, internet forums connecting to thousands of helpful experts, computer programs, and more content growing by the day make a trip to the library seem silly unless you plan on using a library computer to access the internet.

So where is the open source education movement taking us? Despite the enthusiasm of many, I do not foresee the destruction of the over priced higher education system (bubble?) any time soon. Although, it would be an interesting case study to submit a few resumes with a list of watched YouTube videos as one’s education credentials. The open source education movement will have an effect, however, in the industry that produces supplemental education materials. There is a whole section of “Learn Calculus Fast!” style education books that could be disappearing off the shelves of your local book store (if your local book store hasn’t already disappeared). How are they to compete with interactive online materials, video lectures, and discussion forums for these subjects? Quite frankly, I don’t see how they can.

More interesting than the business impact of the open source education movement is the psychology behind it. What is driving people to produce their own YouTube videos solving calculus problems? Or spending their evenings in a forum devoted to organic chemistry, helping students with difficulty understanding the concepts? Economists and psychologists came together to find what motivates people to contribute to open source projects and found three primary motivators. Challenge, mastery, and making a contribution are the driving force behind all open source projects. These three elements are clearly prominent in the case of the open source education movement and one can add in the “joy of teaching” as an additional motivator. It is for these reasons that I agree with Mr. Gates that not only will the best education soon be available on the web, but that it will also be free.

Home Based Business and Self Employment

With today’s dire economic conditions a home-based business may be your answer to financial security. However, with literally thousands of home-based business opportunities to choose from it is critical to know you’ve selected the right company for you. Knowing what to look for is essential.
Here are 4 critical questions you need to consider.1. How long has the company been in business?Studies indicate that approximately 60% of businesses fail within their first 2 years. It is important to make sure the company has been around for a while. You want a company that is solid and stable. The last thing you want is to spend countless hours promoting a product or service only to watch the company collapse. Do your home work and research the company.2. What is the background of the company officers?
The quality of its management has a dramatic impact on how well a company does. You want to look for a company with leaders who have had major accomplishments. Leaders with proven success in prior ventures. Look for an established team where the members have already proven themselves based on their accomplishments.3. Does the Company have exclusive products?
This is one of the most important variables that any company can possess. You do not want dozens of other companies marketing the same of very similar products and services that you’re trying to market. Look for a company whose trademarked products are patterned and cannot be duplicated by another company. Regardless of what you are marketing it is important that the product be legally protected.4. Are you truly passionate about the company’s product?
Be a product of the product, this is how you get paid. Enjoying your products and being passionate about them is absolutely essential. Sometimes people make the mistake of being caught up into how much the company pays out and forget what the business is really all about. Your attention should be geared toward how much you can help others. Be passionate about helping others find the products or services that they need and you will be rewarded monetarily.To your success.

The Difference Between Thriving and Not Just Surviving in Home Based Businesses

As a society and a culture we are programmed to survive. Not to thrive. This applies to home based businesses as much as anything else. It’s all in your head.It takes great intellectual effort to thrive. And, it can be quite painful. Which is why most people don’t do it. We live in a culture of being a spectator. But successful home based businesses are run by true leaders and as a leader you’ll have to take on the source.What do I mean by this? It’s the ultimate in your own personal responsibility.Let me explain… If you bought a TV you have a right to not plug it in, and therefore, you won’t get a picture. What areas of your life have you bought the TV and not plugged it in? Or worse, not plugged it in and are blaming someone else for it not having a picture on it?People blame others for not being liked. It comes from a state of judgment when in reality they are just “asleep” consciously. Well, wake up! Don’t sell out living a transformed life (like being a home based business owner) to be liked.  It’s fear that keeps people from living a transformed life. Fear never wrote a poem or cured a disease. Fear never saved a marriage or a business. It never pulled a family out of poverty. Power did that. Faith did that. Power is a choice, a choice to overcome fear.Choose to be powerful. Tell that little voice in your head to sit down and shut-up. It’s this distinction that creates leaders, that attracts people to you, respect you, and follow you. ALWAYS find a perspective that says I’m a winner.When you’re results don’t match your expectations you get frustrated, right?Frustration is a gift, it’s energy and it’s up to you to turn that energy into something. Turn it into power.  If you think of yourself as a winner then that’s what you’ll create. If you think of yourself as a failure – guess what? You’re turning that energy into a bomb rather than rocket fuel.Be committed to a fearless life. Surround yourself with people who live a fearless life. Choose a fearless journey. It’s how home-based businesses thrive rather than simply survive.