The Pod(cast) people have returned!

satisfactionistThe second part of my appearance on The Satisfactionist Podcast with Ben Olmos has been published. Be sure to also read the blog post about my first appearance.

Once again it was a great experience and, it appears Ben and I might collaborate on future episodes of the podcast; more to come soon!

This is the second of two podcasts in which I will appear (the previous podcast was published one week ago). My interview begins at 22:58; listen to it on SoundCloud below or you can also hear it on Stitcher.

Topics tackled in this episode include:

The “Gig Economy” and my “minor league pitching” experience teaching traffic school where I developed my classroom management skills. This lead to my adventures as an adjunct instructor for 9 years — during which I have taught 3,000 to 4,000 students in 70 courses (with numerous sections) at 16 different universities in 2 countries.

This lead to my work designing curriculum and developing courses that I taught and those I was specifically contracted to create without teaching them. We chat about my favorite word — rubrics — although, as an instructor, I am careful about when I use them to limit students from obsessing about matching their rubric to a specific grade.

We then discuss how I found my way to Dubai where I have been teaching marketing and management courses since September 2014. My expat experience was inspired by the possibility of my participating in a program with UCLA Extension in which I would teach for 30 day cycles in Saudi Arabia.

Unfortunately, that opportunity never came to fruition, but it did make me realize there was an entire world of opportunities outside of the United States — including two opportunities in Kabul, Afghanistan that I decided to pass on.

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We then explore my exceptional experiences living and working in Dubai where I have been widely welcomed by the local population and individuals from elsewhere who call UAE their home. I share details of driving the roads and roundabouts — including some Google Map misadventures!

I discuss the surprisingly temperate weather during the winter months (mid-October to mid-April) along with other aspects of daily life, including the impressive integration of SMS functionality and mobile phones into everything from paying speeding tickets to paying to park.

I also elaborate on my admiration for my students and the effort they invest into their education; they take their role as the next generation seriously and are focused on being prepared for the responsibilities with which they will be entrusted.

Notably, a large percentage of students at my current university — American University in the Emirates (AUE) — are Emirati (approximately 70%) and most of the remaining percentage are from other Arab countries or elsewhere in the world. In total I have students with 30 different nationalities here. It’s a wonderfully worldly experience!

Although it is challenging to be so far from my 10 and 12-year-old sons, traveling 8,000 miles from the life I had known to finally find a foothold in the life I had fruitlessly worked towards in the United States.

Similarly, contrary to the absurdity of the current election cycle in the United States, my experience in Dubai has been a rewarding and enriching one; I am grateful for this unique opportunity and am making sure to maximize the moment.

edx_logo_finalLastly I introduce and explain the ways my book, edX E-Learning Course Development, can be used by teachers and trainers to prepare, produce, and promote a course on edX or Open edX.

I explained my unique approach to starting each chapter with an anecdote, quote, or pop culture reference, additionally outlining how I worked from edX technical documentation, rearranging and re-imagining it in a way that aligns more accurately with the way an individual would create or convert curriculum.

We then boldly go on to discuss my experience as an extra on the upcoming Star Trek Beyond movie where I was on set for 17 hours straight!

Beam me up!

raj-kotechaOn Sunday, November 29, 2015 Raj Kotecha delivered a guest lecture — “Content is the New Oil” — at American University in the Emirates (AUE). Notably, I met Raj  the same night I met Robert Scoble here in Dubai.

This was the first in a planned series of “Business of Marketing” guest lectures from the Department of Marketing, Logistics, and Supply Chain Management in the College of Business Administration (COBA).

Raj is the founder of Creative Content Agency (CCA) where he has designed and implemented marketing campaigns from events to social media for industry leading brands such as The Fragrance Shop, GolfOnline and Carrier Bag Shop.

CCA has also supplied creative strategy and production services for a range of professional institutions including Accenture, Endava, Westminster Business Council, Royal Bank of Scotland and London Business School.

Today is Raj’s 36th birthday and, to celebrate, his lectures are shared in this post. There are five videos of his lecture in total; in the video below I introduce Raj.

In this video, Raj outlines his objective, strategy, and tactics for his guest lecture.

In this video, Raj informs attendees of his guest lecture that they can essentially create their own qualifications for job opportunities by creating content relevant to their career goals.

In this video, Raj informs attendees of his gueate their own qualifications for job opportunities by creating content relevant to their career goals.

In this short clip, recorded just after his 2 hour lecture and discussion, Raj shares his thoughts on which metrics to use for your content marketing campaign and how to measure the impact of your efforts.

Raj’s lecture was engaging, insightful, and most importantly practical. A very interactive experience, Raj spent a significant amount of time answering career and content creation questions from the 40 students and faculty members who attended. Looking forward to having Raj back whenever he is inspired to join us again!

To learn more about Raj please visit:

“Roger, go at throttle up.” — Commander Dick ScobeeSTS-51-L.

Today I showed a The New York Times documentary from June 2014 titled “Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster: Major Malfunction” in my MGT 205, Organizational Behavior class at the American University in the Emirates.

The documentary is about the Space Shuttle Challenger and Space Shuttle Columbia disasters; it explores how poor decision-making resulted in the death of the astronauts in both ill-fated flights.

Notably, the documentary is complimented by an article about the same subject matter from January 28, 2016 titled, “The Challenger Space Shuttle Disaster, 30 Years Later.” I shared this article with my students to provide background information and to ensure their understanding of both tragedies.

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In addition to watching the documentary and discussing the article, I asked my students to get into small groups. I then gave them a worksheet with the following five questions to pair and share:

  1. What was the external image of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) before the Challenger disaster on January 28, 1986 – and how did that influence the internal culture at NASA?
  2. How did the need for NASA’s Space Shuttle program to be self-funded influence it’s organizational culture, managerial operations, and decision-making process – especially as it relates to their willingness to take risks?
  3. How did pressure to launch the Shuttle and “amorally calculating managers” result in the death of the 7 astronauts?
  4. What changes were made to the Shuttle program as a result of the Challenger disaster? Did any of the recommendations address changes that needed to be made within the culture at NASA?
  5. What were the similarities between the Space Shuttle Challenger and Space Shuttle Columbia disasters? Why did NASA’s engineering culture, leadership philosophy, and safety policies still cloud its decision-making and lead to the second disaster?

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After 30 years the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster still brings tears to my eyes; I was 11 (almost 12) when it happened and it affected me profoundly. It shattered my innocence.

The Columbia disaster was equally as emotional, though by that point, I had experienced many other trials and tribulations of adult life, so it was a less shocking. Knowing that many of the same organizational issues caused the loss of a second Shuttle and her crew made me equally as frustrated and sad.

As a child of the 1980’s, the Space Shuttle program was a pivotal part of my early life experiences; it defined my generation to a large degree. When Space Shuttle Atlantis landed at Kennedy Space Center on July 21, 2011, it signaled the end of NASA’s Space Shuttle Program.

Although a troubling topic — one of my students commented that it was “heavy” — challenging my students to think about something significant revealed many insightful observations. They were intrigued and engaged; I’ve never had a class as quiet as the one today.

Hear ye, hear ye!

satisfactionistI’ve been featured on The Satisfactionist Podcast with Ben Olmos; what a delightful experience! What is a Satisfactionist? According to the podcast’s Facebook page, a Satisfactionist is:

…a person who seeks to promote well-being through the act of teaching good people lessons that will enable them to create and do amazing things for themselves and the people they work with.

This is the first of two podcasts in which I will appear. My interview begins at 46:56; listen to it on SoundCloud below or you can also hear it on Stitcher.

During the roughly 1 hour and 20 minute interview Ben and I discuss my professional journey to becoming a teacher and trainer — along with personal experiences that have shaped who I am and who I aspire to be.

Topics we talked about include: living in California, my educational experience at UC Santa Barbara and Woodbury University, a review of early employment including my first job as a paper route “collector,” my odd summer job as a “Christmas Elf,” and my time as a mathematically challenged bank teller.

andydickWe then fast forward to my first “real” job as a technical writer for a medical device manufacturer. This position lead to my marketing career with companies including the publisher of Cat Fancy, City of Hope, and Princess Cruises. Ben and I also discussed my marketing consulting work with clients like Andy Dick and Mike Garson, longtime keyboardist for David Bowie.

Finally we talk about my non-traditional transformation into teaching and the many mentors who guided me to where I am today (including Andrew Posey, Satinder Dhiman, Barry Bailey, and Chuck Lubbers).

I also briefly explain my very brief tenure in the “Ethics Office” at Los Angeles Unified School District, which indirectly inspired me to embrace adjuncting. Ben and I go on to discuss my adventures in academia including best practices and my 7 years when I was exclusively adjuncting in the “gig economy.”

In the second podcast Ben and I discuss my experiences as a full-time faculty member in Dubai; first at Jumeira University and now at American University in the Emirates (AUE). We will also talk about my book, “edX e-Learning Course Development” and a few other timely topics!

Be sure to also read about my second appearance on The Satisfactionist Podcast.

David Bowie sang about 5 years, Brad Pitt (as Heinrich Harrer) lived in Tibet for 7 years, and, as of June 18, 2016, I’ve been teaching for 9 years.

BCkxlyvqjrHTechnically I started teaching on September 2, 2006 when I taught my first traffic school class, but my first academic course was COM 120, Effective Persuasive Writing at what was then called Axia College (University of Phoenix‘s online junior college).

The past nine years have been both an adventure in academia and an exploration into identity. There have been challenges and rewards, but mostly there has been professional development and personal growth.

I’ve come a long way since my first academic class. I’ve continued teaching online and on-campus while expanding into curriculum design and corporate training.

Numerically, the past nine years include the following nine achievements:

  1. 1 book published: “edX E-Learning Course Development
  2. 2 full-time business faculty positions (both in Dubai, UAE)
  3. 4 corporate training courses facilitated in several sessions
  4. 7 refereed conference publications alone and with co-authors
  5. 9 learning management systems used to teach online
  6. 16 universities for which I adjuncted (online & on-campus)
  7. 21 courses developed for online and on-campus delivery
  8. 70 courses taught (plus several sections of each course)
  9. 4,000 students taught (an estimate based on enrollment)

During these nine years I’ve encountered many exceptional — and often unexpected — experiences; I have been as much a student of self as I’ve been an instructor for others. I am grateful for both and look forward to additional lifelong learning opportunities!

One year ago I started a new chapter in my life.

edx-book-nader-cutout-250Technically I published eight of them in my very first book “edX E-Learning Course Development,” a 300 page manual that helps university teachers and corporate trainers design, develop, and deploy an interactive and informative MOOC course for the edX platform.

It walks a reader through eight steps to create an edX course while teaching them about tools and techniques to know as an edX instructor. Those eight steps are presented in eight chapters which include:

  1. Getting Started: an overview of MOOCs and the history of edX.
  2. Planning the Curriculum:curriculum development.
  3. Producing Videos: video production best practices.
  4. Designing Exercises: options for exercises and assessments.
  5. Integrating the Curriculum: options for adding course materials.
  6. Administering Your Course: your course’s administrative options.
  7. Facilitating Your Course: your role as a facilitator of your edX course.
  8. Promoting Your Course:  a strategy to market your course.

Reading the book will teach you:

  • How to navigate edX, sign up for Studio, and create your own edX course.
  • How to use video production best practices and convert your classroom lectures to instructional videos.
  • How to create engaging assessments and effective exercises that achieve your course’s learning objectives.
  • How to publish an announcement, attach a course syllabus, add instructional pages, and upload course handouts.
  • How to establish your edX course settings, view and modify course content, and import and export your course.
  • How to market your course to increase enrollment and create an enjoyable educational experience for your students.

I was invited to write edX E-Learning Course Development by an acquisition editor at Packt Publishing, who contacted me through my LinkedIn profile.

My experience developing and teaching online courses with learning management systems including Blackboard, Canvas, eCollege, Moodle, and Sakai was a factor. I was also creating training courses and overseeing the implementation of Open edX — the open source version of edX — as a training platform for a software company in Santa Barbara, California. That influenced Packt’s decision to offer me the book as well.

My writing process involved first outlining the entire book and then working with a content  development editor along with very appreciated volunteer reviewers to write two to five drafts of each chapter; then I worked with a technical editor for to finalize the proofs.

BGFYtdWqjg4While filled with challenges, writing the book was rewarding because the process gave me a reason to research edX and more fully understand how it works technically and operationally.

As an educator and lifelong learner, it fills me with pride knowing edX E-Learning Course Development helps people better educate others.

Writing the book also gave me the confidence that I could finish a book – a 300 page technical manual nonetheless!

You can learn more about and purchase the book on Amazon or on the Packt Publishing website.

 

edarabia.com-profile-20160607I have been profiled on the EdArabia.com website where I share my thoughts about books that inspire me, the process of writing, and, in answers to 12 questions, discuss details about my experience writing “edX E-Learning Course Development.”

My book, which was published last May, walks a reader through eight steps to create an edX course while teaching them about tools and techniques to know as an edX instructor.

The eight chapters of the book and what they cover include:

  1. Getting Started: an overview of MOOCs and the history of edX.
  2. Planning the Curriculum:curriculum development and
  3. Producing Videos: video production best practices.
  4. Designing Exercises: options for exercises and assessments.
  5. Integrating the Curriculum:
  6. Administering Your Course: your course’s administrative options
  7. Facilitating Your Course: your role as a facilitator of your edX course.
  8. Promoting Your Course:  a strategy to market your course with traditional tools, edX options, and social media.

edX E-Learning Course Development begins with ; details ; explores; addresses; and then reviews .

Lastly, in a special bonus chapter, it suggests

Questions I answer include the following:

1809OS_EdX_E-learning Course Development1. Tell us a little about yourself/ your job? Perhaps something not many people know?

2. Which books have most influenced your life?

3. What/ Who inspired you to write edX E-Learning Course Development

4. Which was your favorite chapter (or part) to write about and why?

5. How would you describe your writing style like and how long did it take you to complete?

6. What advice would you share with aspiring authors – on writing, publishing, marketing?

7. How has your experience been as an author – highlights and lessons?

8. What do you think about the ebook revolution?

9. Tell us a little about your plans for the future. Are you working on another book?

10. If you could write about any personality (fiction/nonfiction) who would you write about?

11. What do you love most about the writing process?

12. Who is your favorite author?

Limited Time Offer: Buy a print or eBook copy of the book now through June 30, 2016 at https://www.packtpub.com/…/edx-e-learning-course… using the discount code edxELCD50 and you will save 50% off of the sales price!