Topics about technology — Internet, Web 2.0, virtual learning, and more!

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!

CPI Media Group and Tahawul Tech present “Evolve – A Digital Transformation Forum” on Tuesday, October 24 from 8:00 AM – 2:30 PM at the Jumeirah Beach Hotel in Dubai, UAE.  Attend this event for free by registering online at http://bit.ly/2kb3fI8!

Digital transformation is defined as the methodology enterprises can use to transform and create new business models and culture with digital technologies. The convergence of new digital technologies, including social media, mobile, cloud and embedded devices is presenting opportunities for businesses to transform their operations to gain competitive edge.

The C-suite plays a critical role in making transformation happen and research shows companies which have succeeded in delivering a fundamental transformation of their business through technology benefit from a significantly better financial performance than their peers. The event, which aims to attract more than 300 C-level digital leaders from public and private sectors, will shed light on the strategies needed for regional businesses to map out their transformation journey and how to go big with digital with the right vision and leadership.

The event will bring industry leaders to share their journey on how they have invested in technology which allowed them to transform their business. Delegates will learn from  speakers and have questions answered through an engaging and interactive forum including key-note speeches and panel discussions. There you will learn how digital and new technologies are disrupting companies and industries.

Attendees will also explore how your organization can progress to the next phase of digital transformation with significant, measurable business impact. Hear from industry luminaries about how they solved complex business challenges with effective approaches and technologies. Review the agenda for the day and register for free at: http://bit.ly/2kb3fI8

Size doesn’t predict significance!

The day after America celebrated its 170th Independence Day in 1946, French designer Louis Reard unveiled a daring two-piece swimsuit that would forever liberate legions of water-bound women: the bikini.

Proclaiming a two piece swimsuit wasn’t a bikini “unless it could pulled through a wedding ring,” Reard capitalized on the sensation of his invention and ensured its lasting success. Although comprised of only 30 inches of fabric, the impact of the bikini was felt worldwide — much like the shockwaves from the nuclear bomb tests that took place on Bikini Atoll (the suit’s namesake).

According to a Smithsonian article titled The Bikini’s Inventor Guessed How Much It Would Horrify the Public, “He chose the name because he hoped that the raunchy two-piece would elicit the same shock and horror that the atomic bomb did.”

The birthday of the bikini is a reminder to small businesses that they can overcome the odds and atomize their adversaries. No matter the size, the potential for success of an organization and the individuals that comprise it is unlimited.

The secret to their success is about captivating people with clever storytelling; once an organization uncovers clarity, embraces creativity, and commits to consistency in its communication, the possibilities are limitless.

“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” — Benjamin Franklin

I am proud to share that San Diego, California based National University​, where I have taught undergraduate communication and MBA marketing courses since 2009 (both online and on-campus), was recently ranked 47th by Online MBA Today! The MBA program is profiled as follows:

“The School of Business and Management at National University features an online Master of Business Administration with an emphasis in Marketing.

This 100% online MBA is based on five pillars of education the school prioritizes from the direction of its administration. The themes valued and taught include Relevance, Accessibility and Support, Specialization, Application, and Technology.

This degree is divided between 63 quarter units of graduate credit and is priced at $416 per quarter unit making the total cost of tuition $26,208. The four courses required for the Marketing concentration include Consumer Behavior, Global Marketing, Market Research, and Strategic Marketing Simulation.

Qualified students can complete this degree with a minimum course load of 16 courses and 63 quarter units while students lacking the required academic experience can expect to take up to 19 courses and be responsible for up to 76.5 quarter units.”

You can learn more about the MBA program here and watch a short video about the value of the degree from Dr. David W. Andrews, President of National University below:

On January 30, 2017, I shared my book, “edX E-Learning Course Development,” to faculty, students, and staff at American University in the Emirates (AUE). Below are videos and photos — along with a copy of the presentation — from that event.

matthew-gilbert-edx-book-presentation-20170130

This was the inaugural “Library Distinguished Guest Speaker Series” event hosted by the Library and Information Resource Center (LIRC) and the Office of Research and Advancement (ORA) at AUE. The event took place in the recently renovated AUE Library; an impressively modern space that encourages education and helps create a learning community.

distinguished_guest_speaker_banner_gilbertI brought in students from my MKT 200-2, Principles of Marketing class and we were joined by an impressive assembly of faculty, staff, and other students — many of whom I am now teaching or have taught in the past. I estimate that, in total, there were upwards of 50 people there. I was honored to be the first speaker at this event during which I:

  • Introduced MOOCs and edX.
  • Shared info about the book.
  • Described my experience.

Below is a slightly edited video of my presentation (from a Facebook Live recording which I filmed with the help of one of my students); it is 26 minutes and 30 seconds in length. I invite you to watch it and learn more about my MOOCs, edX, and my book, “ed E-Learning Course Development.”

You can also review an updated PowerPoint presentation based on the one that I used; it provides a background about the information that I presented, though — just as I do when I teach — the slides were a starting point and not the only point I made.

You can also watch two Facebook Live videos recorded by an AUE staff member:

At the conclusion of my presentation I was awarded a “Certificate of Recognition” from Professor Miroslav Mateev, Interim Vice President of Research and Advancement, on behalf of the Library and Information Resource Center (LIRC) and Office of Research and Advancement (ORA). I was also given a leather attaché case and sincere thanks for my efforts. It was a lovely gesture.

matthew-gilbert-edx-book-presentation-cert-20170130

In summary, “edX E-Learning Course Development” is 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.

You can learn more about “edX E-Learning Course Development” and purchase the book on Amazon or on the Packt Publishing website. I also invite you to contact me with inquiries or opportunities related to this blog post or beyond using the form below.

“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” ― Winston S. Churchill

UNDP_Logo w Tagline_w Textbox

According to a 2014 United Nations Development Programme document, “Arab Knowledge Report,” a state of urgency exists among the 100 million Arab youth throughout the Arab world: increasing unemployment, decreasing career opportunities, growing economic pressures, expanding irrelevance of traditional curriculum, intensifying military conflicts, broadening refugee displacement, and widening threats to the Arabic language are the main challenges.

And yet, there is reason to be hopeful: according to a 2016 Cisco report, “Where to Begin Your Journey to Digital Value in the Private Sector,” the Middle East and North Africa region (MENA) represents USD $363 billion in digital potential! The key to Arab youth unlocking this opportunity is online education. While the infrastructure for online education has only begun to emerge in the Arab world it presents vast potential.

One emerging online education option is Kwn Education. Launched in 2016 Kwn — the Arabic word for ‘create’ or ‘build’ — is an online, STEM focused Arabic language university for Arab youth powered by the Open edX Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) platform.

kwn_education_logo

As defined by Educause, a MOOC is ” a model for delivering learning content online to any person who wants to take a course, with no limit on attendance.” edX is the result of a nonprofit partnership between Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT); Open edX is the open source version of the same platform.

Kwn offers three diplomas all delivered in Arabic that provide Arab youth with the technical knowledge and soft skills they need to capitalize on MENA’s growing digital economy; each three-month course from the 16 course diploma is USD $100 and is accredited by BTEC Pearson.:

  • Digital Transformation in Organizations
  • Digital Entrepreneurship
  • Digital Consultancy

Notably, I met with Kwn’s developer, Mohammed Alsiddiq, a founding partner of Eight Creative Technology, in Dubai last this past July. Mohammed bought my book, “edX E-Learning Course Development” on Amazon.com to help him design, develop, and deploy his edX initiative.

This lead to my introduction to Ms. Hala Alturki, CEO of Kwn, and the rest of her impressive team. I was invited to join them at the Innovation 4 Impact Competition during the Global Islamic Economy Summit on October 11, 2016 in Dubai.  At this event, in which Kwn was one of five finalists, Ms. Hala “pitched” the concept to a panel of judges and the audience members in the hope of winning a $20,000 US prize. Kwn did not win the competition. However, Ms. Hala gave an excellent presentation at the Innovation 4 Impact Competition you can watch below:

Kwn launched its first two courses on October 31, 2016: Introduction to Computer Programming Principles and Computer Interface Design Principles. Additional courses including Visual Communication in Art and Design and Website Creation and Management launched 30 days later.

Shortly after the first courses started, on November 8, 2016 at the Westin Mina Al Seyahi in Dubai, Kwn won the 2016 Enterprise Agility Award for Innovation in Education from Entrepreneur Middle East. A description of the Enterprise Agility Awards follows:

Organized by Entrepreneur MENA, the 2016 Enterprise Agility Awards recognized and honored enterprise leaders and individuals who have distinguished themselves and shown sector significance and outstanding business conduct across a variety of industries that are key drivers of the Middle East’s economies. The Enterprise Agility Awards, Entrepreneur of the Year seeks to acknowledge agility across a variety of industries including retail, healthcare, construction, hospitality, aviation, education, banking, and energy, amongst other key drivers of the Middle East’s economy.

entrepreneur-middle-east-kwn

Evaluating the impact and potential for Kwn Education it appears to echo the idea communicated in the Winston Churchill quote at the beginning of this blog post: Ms. Hala Alturki and her colleagues at Kwn have creatively confronted the challenges facing Arab youth with optimism and innovation.

Mumtaz!

Delighted to have met Mohammed Alsiddiq, a founding partner of Eight Creative Technology, in Dubai last week on Thursday, July 28, 2916. This was the first time I have met a reader of my book, edX E-Learning Course Development, and by coincidence he also lives in the United Arab Emirates!

20160728_230707

Founded in 2015 and based in Twofour54 Abu Dhabi, Eight Creative Technology is Khalifa Fund‘s first initiative focused on digital innovation.

Their services include digital‬ strategy, platform development,‪ social media, business applications,‬ and ecommerce‬. They collaborate with industry leaders to deliver a broad range of training‬ programs and‪ workshops‬ in areas of digital marketing‬, social media and multimedia‬.

Mohammed is developing an Open edX installation for an online learning program that will soon launch here in the UAE. He bought my book, “edX E-Learning Course Development” on Amazon.com to help him design, develop, and deploy his edX initiative.

If you are evaluating (or have chosen) edX as an online learning platform for your enterprise or educational organization consider buying a copy of my book; you can get it on Amazon or directly from Packt Publishing.

Social media offers individuals an excellent environment to promote their personal brand to strengthen their professional platform. However, if engaged carelessly or irresponsibly, social media can sink you faster than the Titanic after it met the iceberg. Certainly nobody is perfect, but if you consider the 7 career-saving social media strategies below you will be more likely to swim than sink in social media.

1. Add Value to Conversations: If all you do with social media is re-tweet and share the ideas of others then it is apparent you won’t offer a potential employer original thoughts and you most likely lack motivation and initiative. In short: don’t be boring!

2. Avoid Smack Talking or Trolling: Politics, religion, and sports are topics about which people are passionate, but when you go overboard emotionally you can get yourself into trouble. Even a casual comment on an article on Facebook or a reply to a Tweet can come back to haunt you. There are countless stories of people getting fired from a job before they even start it due to a careless tweet or flippant Facebook post.

BARkEiwKjvm

3. Don’t Discriminate: 34% of employers in CareerBuilder’s recruitment study reacted negatively to finding social media posts with discriminatory comments related to race, religion, and gender. Another 29% of employers reacted negatively to social media posts with discriminatory comments related to race, religion, and gender. And, even if your intent was to be humorous, keep in mind that comedy doesn’t often translate online or across cultures; something you might think is funny might be offensive to others.

4. Keep Private Info Private: Unless your name is Julian Assange, you’re likely not going to make friends or influence people by disclosing sensitive or confidential information on social media. And, no matter how quickly you might try to delete it, social media remembers. You might also inadvertently share private information in public, especially on Facebook, where most people seem to misunderstand the platform’s privacy policies.

5. Post Appropriate Pictures: 46% of the employers in CareerBuilder’s annual social media recruitment study said provocative or inappropriate photographs are a big red flag. Another 40% said finding information about candidates drinking or using drugs was another reason to pass.  In short: don’t put your faults and foils on display for a future employer to find. Christopher Affsa, an attorney at the Law Office of Daniel F. Affsa in Weymouth, Massachusetts, shared the following:

“I had a drunk driving client tell me she went to one bar and only had one drink. I checked her Facebook and her profile picture was of her raising a glass. Worse, on the night in question she checked into five bars.”

6. Present a Professional Persona: Ironically, one of the biggest errors people make is to overlook the opportunity social media offers them to elevate awareness of their personal brand. According to CareerBuilder’s annual social media recruitment study:

52% of employers research applicants online. Within that group, 60% look for information supporting the candidate’s qualifications; an additional 56% want to see a candidate’s professional online persona.

7. Use Good Grammer, err — Grammar: Learn your homophones! Your and you’re mean different things as do their, they’re, and there. Conversely:

37% of employers in CareerBuilder’s recruitment study  reacted favorably when they discovered that a candidate had great communication skills; 38% were further impressed when a candidate’s social media presence conveyed a professional image.

“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.

Challenger_flight_51-l_crew

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?

20160624_121425

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.