Sunday, December 31, 2017

Education: Introduction to Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC)

I’m amazed that so many people still know so little about MOOCs in this day and age.

Before the ‘Digital Age’, distance learning appeared in the form of correspondence courses in the 1890s-1920s and later radio and television broadcast of courses and early forms of eLearning. Typically fewer than five percent of the students would complete a course. The dawn of the 21st Century has seen significant changes in eLearning and distance education solutions, in particular, the development and implementation of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) by a number of innovative educational institutions.

The first MOOCs emerged from the Open Educational Resources (OER) movement around 2010. Over the past decade a growing number of public and private sector universities and educational institutions have developed ever more sophisticated eLearning platforms and ‘free and open’ educational and training courses, e.g. Khan Academy, Udemy, Coursera, edX. Today, many traditional universities are scrambling to join the movement and catch up with these more progressive educational organizations.

If you or your organization want to compete and succeed in the 21st Century ‘Information Age’, you need to check out MOOCs.

* Read blog on Education 4.0

Friday, December 15, 2017

Internet 'Search Engines' Have a Growing Problem

Does Google or other major search engines have a 'non-commercial results' filter? Apparently not. Lately, all I get is advertising and sales information when I search the web. Sometimes that’s good, sometimes its really annoying.

Like most people, I sometimes get fed up with search results that assume I'm automatically looking for something to buy. There are many times I'd love to be able to run a search that turned up pages without any advertising or sales orientation. There ought to be a switch or option to do this.
As Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, and other big name search engines increasingly feed you search results dominated by ‘commercial’ sales information and links, I find myself exploring other lesser known ‘non-commercial’ alternatives. These include lesser known search engines like Netfind, Gibiru, Archive, and many other alternatives.
I haven’t found the single best search engine providing links to ‘non-commercial’ content, but I keep on looking. Let us know if you find one you really like.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Overview of Theory X, Y, and Z Management Styles

Which type of management style is predominant in the organization you work for? Theory X, Y, or Z? Yes, these three styles are real - not something I just made up.

Theory X assumes most people are basically in need of constant direction and control, and are not particularly responsible. Employees tend to be viewed as lazy, disliking work, and needing mixture of financial inducements and threat of loss of their job to make them productive (`carrot and stick' mentality). In general, the Theory X supervisor/manager distrusts subordinates to think and act in the best interests of the organization.

Theory Y assumes most people want to fulfill themselves. They seek self-respect, self-development and self-fulfillment at work, as in their daily lives. In general, the Theory Y supervisor/managers have much more faith in subordinates. This approach works well in many modern organizations that do not require constant supervision of their employees.

Theory Z is the participative management model. The Theory Z manager assumes that employees are motivated by a strong sense of commitment to be a part of something worthwhile.  Building trust among all organizational members is central to raising productivity. This style tends to prevail amongst 21st century ‘knowledge worker’ organizations.

All good managers should understand these three styles of management and use the style best suited for their organization, its culture, and the tasks at hand. 

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Proverbs on Attaining 'Wisdom'

For many years, I avoided reading the Book of Proverbs in the Bible for some reason. But one day, while watching my kids at basketball practice, I picked up my Bible and opened it to Proverbs and began reading. Wow! Many years have since passed and I still find this to be one of the most interesting and instructive books everyone should read and carefully study.

The Book of Proverbs raises questions of values, moral behaviour, the meaning of human life, and right conduct. The repeated theme is that submission to the will of God is the beginning of attaining wisdom. Wisdom involves the ability to think and act using knowledge, experience, understanding, common sense, and insight. There appears to be consensus that wisdom is associated with attributes such as compassion, benevolence, and ethical behaviour.

Check out the following selected excerpts from the Book of Proverbs.

The wise and their rewards

3:35     The wise inherit honor, but fools He holds up to shame.

9:12     If you are wise, your wisdom will reward you;

24:5     A wise man has great power, and a man of knowledge increases strength;

The wise and instruction

9:8       Rebuke a wise man and he will love you.

9:9       Instruct a wise man and he will be wiser still; teach a righteous man and he will add to his learning.

13:14   The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life, turning a man from the snares of death.

  • having the power of discerning and judging properly as to what is true or right; possessing discernment, judgment, or discretion.
  • characterized by or showing such power; judicious or prudent:
  • possessed of or characterized by scholarly knowledge or learning; learned;

The wise and their parents

10:1     A wise son brings joy to his father, but a foolish son grief to his mother.

13:1     A wise son/daughter heeds his father's instruction, but a mocker does not listen to rebuke.

15:20   A wise son brings joy to his father, but a foolish man despises his mother.

10:5     He who gathers crops in summer is a wise son, but he who sleeps during harvest is a disgraceful son.

The wise and their speech

10:19   When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise.

12:18   Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.

14:3     A fool's talk brings a rod to his back, but the lips of the wise protect them.

15:7     The lips of the wise spread knowledge; not so the hearts of fools.

16:23   A wise man's heart guides his mouth, and his lips promote instruction.

29:11   A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control.

The wise versus fools

10:14   Wise men store up knowledge, but the mouth of a fool invites ruin.

12:15   The way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice.

13:20   He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm.

14:1     The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.

14:16   A wise man fears the LORD and shuns evil, but a fool is hotheaded and reckless.

21:20   In the house of the wise are stores of choice food and oil, but a foolish man devours all he has.

The wise and their leaders

10:8     The wise in heart accept commands, but a chattering fool comes to ruin.

14:35   A king delights in a wise servant, but a shameful servant incurs his wrath.

16:14   A king's wrath is a messenger of death, but a wise man will appease it.

20:26   A wise king winnows out the wicked; he drives the threshing wheel over them.

29:8     Mockers stir up a city, but wise men turn away anger.

Whether you are a religious person or not, I highly recommend you take the time to read the Book of Proverbs.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Looking for a Job near Summerton, SC - Spring/Summer 2018

Spring/Summer 2018: Historic Summerton is a small town in rural South Carolina that has become known as a wonderful place to vacation, raise a family, run a business - or retire to, when all is said and done. The deep spiritual commitment and sound family values of its people are reflected in the many churches and close-knit residential communities in Summerton and the surrounding area on the shores of beautiful Lake Marion.

Are you looking for a job in Summerton, S.C., or the surrounding area? Unemployment has now dropped below 5%, but there are still quite a few jobs available nearby in Manning, Santee, Sumter, Orangeburg, etc. Check out the following links:

Summerton and the surrounding Santee Cooper Lake Country are well known across the South for offering a wide range of outdoor recreational activities like camping, hunting, fishing, hiking, kayaking, boating, and golfing to its many visitors. So, make sure you visit the Summerton SC: Nature & Outdoor Recreation web site.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Words of Wisdom on Good and Righteous Behavior for Leaders

We are seeing a growing number of leaders, managers, and many others who don't seem to be able to clearly distinguish between what is good, bad, or foolish behavior. The following are selected verses and words of wisdom from the Bible on good leadership, righteous behavior, 'best practices', and 'lessons learned' from across the past several millennium. Take a few minutes to read the following – it may change your life and the lives of many others around you for the better.

Romans 12:9-16
   Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.
   Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.  Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position.  Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

Biblical Guidance on Being 'Good'

  • 1 Timothy 6:11.  You, man of God, flee from all this [love of money], and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.
  • Galatians 5:22-23.  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
  • Colossians 3:12.  Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
  • 1 Corinthians 13:4-7.  Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:13-18. Live in peace with each other. And we urge you, brothers, warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone. Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else. Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances
  • Titus 3:1-2.  Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and to show true humility toward all men.
  • 2 Peter 1:5-7.  For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.

Words Describing 'Good' Traits or Behavior


If you find yourself in a position of leadership, take heed and try to embody the traits above.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Introduction to the Business of Art

The 'Business of Art' involves dealing and handling art and artisans as though they were commercial commodities. It encompasses the buying and selling of art, the valuing of art through appraisal, and working with artisans, galleries, art fairs, and dealers that market works of art. For those who study art for its aesthetic appeal or its reflection of society, the business end of the art world is a somewhat unnerving and unpleasant experience.

There are currently 905,689 businesses in the US involved in the creation, marketing, and distribution of the arts, employing 3.35 million people, This represents 4.4% of all business in the US and 2.2% of all employees. Art is Big Business! - Creative Industries Report

The following are some selected links to help introduce you to the business side of art:

Art Business - Organizations & Companies

Art Business - News & Information

Art Business - Education & Training

Art Business - Tools & Technologies

For many, art is a passionate sideline. For others, it is their life. If you want to make a living pursuing your passion, this blog may help get you started.