Matthew A. Gilbert, MBA is a teacher, researcher, and trainer with more than 25 years of experience writing, speaking, and consulting. Guided by the motto “learn continuously, live generatively” he develops courses for delivery in person, via blended learning, and online. Leveraging active learning strategies, he facilitates corporate training for entrepreneurs, Fortune 500 employee, and government officials. His research interests include blockchain, entrepreneurship, internet of things (IoT), sharing economy, and social media marketing. A lifelong learner, he is studying for a PhD in Business Administration with the Bryan School of Business and Economics at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. When asked why teaching and research are his tenure he explains, “education empowers me to influence individuals and impact organizations while improving myself in the process.”

On May 30, 2015 I published my first book, “edX E-Learning Course Development,” a 300-page manual for university teachers and corporate trainers designing, developing, and deploying a MOOC course for the edX platform

The book walks a reader through eight steps to create an edX course while teaching them about the tools and techniques they need to know as an edX instructor. The eight steps are presented in eight chapters, as follows:

  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 edX E-Learning Course Development will teach you how to:

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

Learn more about and purchase the book on Amazon or on the Packt Publishing website or read these related blog posts on Doctorious:

I remain grateful for the opportunity to have written this book, especially knowing that it’s helped individuals and organizations learn. One unexpected benefit for which I am also thankful: according to my Google Scholar profile, the book has been cited 16 times in various academic publications!

Here’s to learning continuously and living generatively!

For many months I have been looking for an accurate and affordable AI-powered cloud-based platform that could transcribe audio interviews and allow me to edit the transcription. I finally found that service in Otter.ai, a free voice recording app that offers automatic transcription.

More specifically, according to their “About Us” page, “Otter.ai creates technologies and products that make information from important voice conversations instantly accessible and actionable.”

How does it work? As explained by Otter.ai:

Otter turns your voice conversations into smart notes that you can easily search and share. You can use it to take notes at your meetings and interviews, capture your thoughts and ideas while you’re driving in the car, and transcribe your existing recordings and podcasts. You can even snap photos (e.g. of a whiteboard, or a speaker or presentation slide at an event) during a recording and they will be inserted inline with your transcripts. The possibilities are endless.

https://blog.otter.ai/help-center/

If you’re in need of the same services I can’t recommend this enough. The interface is intuitive and user friendly: it gives you the option to organize your interviews into folders and to create groups into which you can invite others to access your projects.

You can even connect it to your Calendar and Contacts in Google or Microsoft and link it to your Dropbox and Zoom accounts!

And, if you’re a student or teacher you can avail an Educational Discount of 50% off the regular subscription price! Click here to avail a 1-month FREE Premium Pass!

“Disability is in fact the inability to make progress and achievements. The achievements that people of determination have made in various spheres over the past years are proof that determination and strong will can do the impossible and encourage people to counter challenges and difficult circumstances while firmly achieving their goals.”

HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai

On Sunday, October 6, 2019 I engaged my tolerance and diversity students at the American University in the Emirates (AUE) in an exercise about disability which I adapted from an activity from my Bryan School of Business & Economics at UNCG PhD orientation program in July 2019.

In the exercise, which was designed to simulate communication and confusion within an organization, there are typically three roles (I added a fourth to facilitate the exercise in my classroom):

  1. The CEO (who can see, but not talk).
  2. The Manager (who can talk, but cannot see).
  3. The Employee (who is blindfolded).
  4. The Goalie (who holds an object that will be retrieved or interacted with; in this case, it was a service bell you would find on a desk).

The participants are situated as follows:

  • The CEO is facing the manager and the employee (who is placed at some point behind the manager).
  • The manager is directly in front of the CEO, facing him or her with their back to the employee.
  • The employee is behind the manager, blindfolded, but able to move freely in response to instructions from the manager to find it.
  • The Goalie is positioned somewhere in the room; either in a fixed location or is instructed to move at will.

Ideally, the CEO and the manager will develop a way to communicate with each other; the manager also needs to think about how to translate the CEO’s nonverbal communication to the employee. This gets especially confusing when the issue of who’s left or right comes into play. The employee is blindfolded and must listen to the voice of the manager to know where and how to move.

When I participated in this exercise as part of the orientation program for my PhD in Business Administration at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, I was outdoors with my 17 cohort members at the university’s Piney Lake recreational area. We conducted this experiment with several teams going at the same time, creating further confusion and misunderstanding.

In my tolerance and diversity class, we conducted the exercise twice with two different sets of students (who volunteered and agreed to allow themselves to be video recorded).  Both versions are included in this video, one after the other. For the first group the Goalie did not move and remained in the same position; for the second group I instructed the Goalie to move evasively as the Employee got closer to her — thus creating further confusion and frustration.

Following the exercise, we discussed what the experience was like for those who participated (and later, for those in the class who were observing). We then bridged that exercise into a conversation about individuals with disabilities in the workplace or at our university. Students shared their experiences either as an individual with a disability or their interactions with people of determination in their personal or professional lives.

After this, I introduced an article analysis assignment of a Harvard Business Review article titled, “The Case for Improving Work for People with Disabilities Goes Way Beyond Compliance.” The assignment asked them to do three things:

  1. Summarize the main idea of the article.
  2. Identify and Paraphrase the four ways a company can create a culture of support and inclusion.
  3. Propose how you can personally create a culture of support and inclusion in your organization.

During our next class we then discussed their insights and ideas from the article while engaging in a thoughtful dialogue about the topic.