Category Archives: Continuing Education

Free Hillsdale College Course: “The Second World Wars”

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(See my other WWII related posts) – A few weeks ago I came across an online course offered by Hillsdale College on World War II. Hillsdale College is a private conservative college in Hillsdale, Michigan that was founded in 1844.

The Second World Wars is a seven lecture course: The Stakes of World War II, Air, Water, Earth, Fire, People, and Ends. The lectures are each less than an hour in length (346 total minutes) and the suggested reading material took me another 100 minutes in total to complete. The course is free, but you do have to register. This is one of the 27 free courses that Hillsdale offers.

I thought that this was a very interesting course. It wasn’t very long but there were several things that I learned from it. I recommend it to anyone interested in the World War II period of history.


If you are interested in the WWII era of history, you may find these three pages of interest. 

  • The”World War II Sources” page is a constantly growing collection of more than 340 links to museums, memorials, websites, Facebook pages, Twitter feeds and other sources with information on the World War II-era in history.
  • The “World War II Timeline” page expands almost daily and shows events leading up to WWII, as well as during the war. Events are broken down into the Pacific and European Theaters by date.
  • The About WWII page is a collection of links to posts that I have made over the years that are relevant to WWII.

There is a Technique to Remembering What You Read

Books
Reading – I came across the article “How to remember what you read: What to do before, during, and after reading anything” a short time ago and thought it had many ideas worth sharing on how to remember what you read. Among those ideas are:

  • the more you’re able to connect the information you get from reading, the more knowledgable you’ll become
  • if you want to remember what you read you need to be specific and intentional
  • remembering what you read comes down to hitting three factors: Impression, association, and repetition
  • There’s simply too much to read if you don’t curate your reading list
  • forcing yourself to read books you’re not interested in just wastes time (that is why I sometimes call a Rule of 50 to quit reading a book)
  • if you’re looking to remember and use what you read, it’s better to know how you’re going to use it
  • skimming and doing ‘pre-reading’ is a great way to solidify what you’re reading in memory
  • use active reading – the process of reading with determination to understand and evaluate how and if to use the information you’re reading
  • a technique such as marginalia (handwriting notes in the margin and marking up key patterns for follow-ups) or sketchnotes (drawing notes and ideas) will make you a more active reader and help lock information in your memory.
  • as you read and come across new ideas, try to associate them with familiar memories as a means of creating a bond between old and new
  • when we connect memories or thoughts to different experiences those moments are stored in our neocortex—a part of the brain that is much easier for us to recall.
  • one of the best ways to remember what you read is to find opportunities to use it
  • if you’re reading to remember and grow either personally or professionally, you need to be more deliberate

Sadly. a study published in Time magazine found that Americans read, on average, just 19-minutes a day. And that number drops to 10-minutes or less for people under 34. According to a University of Michigan Health study, at a minimum, people should be reading for 30 minutes a day.

How much do you read each day? Generally, I try to spend 2-5 hours reading each day.

Do You Really Know How to Learn?

51LIZ-CU64L._AC_UL436_Do you think you know how to best learn a subject? Even if you think you do you are probably wrong.

I came across the article “Learning how (and how not) to learn” which gave me some new insights into learning.

A team of Colorado State University Psychology Faculty has published the book “A Guide to Effective Studying and Learning” ($25 on Amazon) on how to learn. This is based upon their research. This book forms the basis for one of the most popular courses at Colorado State University.

So what are some of their findings?

  • learning styles exist, but no scientific evidence supports the popular myth that “people learn best according to their individual style”
  • spacing out shorter study sessions over time will improve learning outcomes
  • learning improves when you test yourself on the material
  • you will learn better if you elaborate on the material by forming associations

This is information all can apply, particularly engineers and others in the tech fields who are constantly having to update their knowledge. This is also something to share with High School and College students you know.

Podcast – Manager Tools

I was riding to an IEEE meeting a few years ago with a friend. The trip was going to be about 45 minutes long so he turned on a podcast he regularly listened to, Manager Tools, to help pass the time. After listening during our trip, I was hooked and subscribed to the podcast myself. I regularly listened to it until I retired.

This is a weekly podcast begun in 2005 and presented by Michael Auzenne and Mark Horstman.  It focuses on how managers can be more effective and provides career planning suggestion. There are now over 500 episodes in their library. Each episode of this award-winning podcast is between 30 minutes and one hour in length.

I found this podcast to be very informative and useful. I recommend it to anyone in a leadership role. They can be subscribed to in iTunes.

 

 

IEEE Central Texas Section Newsletter Published

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IEEE – I finished putting together the October issue of the IEEE Central Texas Section newsletter, The Analog, and posted it to the Section web site where you can read it now.

Included in the newsletter is items of interest to area engineers and others interested in technology. Technical meetings for the various Chapters are open to the public. Please join us to learn and network.

Attendance at technical meetings qualifies as Continuing Education credit required for the annual renewal of the Professional Engineer License.

What is Your Learning style?

I came across the article “There Are 7 Types of Learners: Which One Are You?” recently. Those of us in technology and engineering face life long Continuing Education (CE) to keep current with the state of the art. However as we consider the various means of satisfying our CE needs, we need to understand that there are different styles of learning, and what works well for one person, may not for you.

The styles that have been identified are (from learning-styles-online.com: The Seven Learning Styles):

  1. Visual (spatial): You prefer using pictures, images, and spatial understanding.
  2. Aural (auditory, musical): You prefer using sound and music.
  3. Verbal (linguistic): You prefer using words, both in speech and writing.
  4. Physical (kinesthetic): You prefer using your body, hands.
  5. Logical (mathematical): You prefer using logic, reasoning, and systems.
  6. Social (interpersonal): You prefer to learn in groups or with other people.
  7. Solitary (Intrapersonal): You prefer to work alone and use self-study.

We each probably have an idea of which styles are best for us, but we can find out for sure by taking an easy on-line test at Memletics Learning Styles Questionnaire. The results can then guide you to the most effective types of CE content for your learning style.

macOS New Tutorial Plan – Noteboom Tutorials

Product AnnouncementNoteboom Productions, Ltd. of Holland, Michigan has announced Pay What You Want Pricing for their membership site, Noteboom Tutorials. Noteboom Tutorials has over 50 tutorials with over 1,500 easy-to-follow video lessons on the Mac, iPad, iPhone, and Apple Watch designed to give users a better understanding of how to effectively use Apple devices.

Membership is subscription based and includes instant access to all the tutorials. Membership also includes access to new tutorials as they are released. Users can watch the tutorials on any device – Mac, iPad, or iPhone. The site tracks the tutorials users are enrolled in as well as a user’s progress by tracking individual lessons as they are viewed. Select tutorial can also be downloaded in the iBooks format for members.

Mac tutorials include:

  • Tutor for Mac: The Basics
  • Tutor for Mac: Beyond The Basics
  • Tutor for Photos
  • Tutor for iMovie
  • Tutor for Mail
  • Tutor for Calendar
  • Tutor for iCloud
  • Tutor for Safari
  • Tutor for Contacts
  • Tutor for Preview
  • Tutor for Final Cut Pro
  • Tutor for Filemaker Pro
  • Tutor for Pages
  • Tutor for Numbers
  • Tutor for Keynote
  • Tutor for Word
  •  Tutor for Excel
  • Tutor for tap Forms 5

iPad tutorials include:

  • Tutor for iPad: The Basics
  • Tutor for iPad: Beyond the Basics
  • Tutor for iMovie
  • Tutor for Photos
  • Tutor for Calendar
  • Tutor for Safari
  • Tutor for Contacts
  • Tutor for Mail
  • Tutor for Office

iPhone tutorials include:

  • Tutor for iPhone: The Basics
  • Tutor for iPhone: Beyond the Basics
  • Tutor for iMovie
  • Tutor for Photos
  • Tutor for Calendar
  • Tutor for Safari
  • Tutor for Contacts
  • Tutor for Mail
  • Tutor for Apple Watch with watchOS 2

Membership is subscription based and includes instant access to all the tutorials. Users decide what they want to pay for membership. Membership also includes 14-day free trial.

Reading a Productivity Booster

Books

I came across the article “These Startup Founders Swear By The ROI Of Reading” this morning. The net of the article is that by spending time each day reading books that address concerns of their business, these entrepreneurs are able to perform better.

This just reinforces the fact that to be successful and be at the top of our professions, we must be life-long learners. Continuing Education, whether it be from books, on-line courses or at a traditional brick-and-mortar university is essential to staying competitive.

There are so many business and self improvement books available now that a reader will be able to find several in their area of interest. A good way to quickly review a book to see if it merits your full attention is the Blinkist App I reviewed a short time ago.

How ever you approach selecting your books, reading can make a huge difference in your life.

Blinkist Enables You to Read Several Books Per Day

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I am a big proponent of Continuing Education. I saw a Tweet recently by a IEEE colleague (@DevonRyan) extolling the virtues of Blinkist. Blinkist provides insightful summaries of non-fiction books (1000+ and growing) that can be read in about 15 minutes each using your web browser. These can also be read use their mobile App (available for both Android and iOS) and you can listen to the audio versions.

These allow the reader to read and absorb a tremendous amount of information without dedicating too much of our increasingly scarce free time. Now this is a service that does not come free (well, it does sort of).

If you check the available plans, there are three:

  • Blinkist Free (Free), read one pre-selected book per day, browse the catalog
  • Blinkist Plus ($49.99/yr)- any title, read off-line
  • Blinkist Premium ($79.99/yr) – All features of Plus as well as ability to listen to audio

I joined a few days ago and have read their summaries of two books. I can see where it is helpful, but clearly condensing a full book into what can be read in just 15 minutes must skip over a lot of material. However I can see where reading the summaries would be useful to point you at which books you might want to devote more time to.

If you are trying to improve yourself or wanting to learn, but have limited time, this may be the perfect service for you.

 

Unix/Linux SysAdmin Tutorials

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As part of their celebration of SysAdminDay coming up on July 29, Linux Foundation Training  will email you a different eBook tutorial each week over the coming 22 weeks. You MUST sign up by the end of July

Each eBook will give a short overview of one topic that SysAdmins or interested users should know. Topics will include using the command line (CLI), filesystems and storage, RAID and Swap, and Security.

You macOS users should keep in mind that much of this applies to you as well.