A pivotal mindset shift occurred in my first year of working at TechChange. It was ignited during a check-in with my manager, TechChange Chief Technology Officer, Will Chester, who became one of my mentors.

During our check-in, Will and I discussed opportunities for additional responsibilities in the company. In his kind, patient manner, he talked about the importance of fully executing my current responsibilities and demonstrating capabilities that showed beyond doubt that more responsibility could be added to my plate.

I was initially surprised by our discussion because I felt like I had been checking all the items on my responsibility list:

  • Responding  to clients on time
  • Learning about the online learning platform and troubleshoot issues
  • Passing along feedback from partners to software engineers.

I went back home that day still reflecting on our conversation. Then, it dawned on me! I was doing the exact things listed in my job description; nothing more; nothing less. In a culture, where everyone’s impact can be felt, there was definitely a lot more that I could do. I was barely working at my full potential in my first year. Now, I knew it, what was I going to do about it?

My reflection resulted in a mindset shift. This led me to talk to people to gain ideas about how I could contribute further and leverage my influence to start taking more initiative on tasks. I started testing out ideas, learnt the value of creating processes, and built upon existing systems.

My reformed checklist looked like this:

  • Proactively anticipating our partners needs by scheduling regular check-ins.
  • Implementing internal  processes and systems that were scalable across teams.
  • Finding my voice and becoming more assertive in our tech team meetings as well as being an advocate for our partners.

I believed in and loved our learning platform. It pushed me to creatively think beyond the platform features in the courses that I designed. I became even more passionate about working to shape the platform. Working alongside dedicated co-workers pushed me to be a better version of myself.

In summary, I learnt the value of going the extra mile and this started bearing fruit. I got promoted to Senior Platform Manager in my second year and that was even more of an opportunity to collaborate with the technical team, conduct user tests, inform platform features and deploy platform documentation on GitLab. My promotion was also a chance for me to engage on an even deeper level with the twenty plus partners I managed.

Working at the intersection of our creative design, instructional design and technical teams to deliver accessible courses in healthcare and education across the world has taught me the value of education with technology as a vehicle. This influenced the choice of my next steps and my Master’s program, “Learning, Design and Technology”. https://krootez.com

I’m leaving my role at TechChange with meaningful experiences and I’m grateful for the opportunities. As I transition from work to graduate school at Stanford University, I’m grateful. I’m thankful for meaningful relationships with partners, thankful for coworkers that became friends outside of work, and thankful for managers who became mentors. I’ll miss my TechChange family but I know the relationships we’ve built will last a lifetime.

Me and TechChange bot, Techbot 🙂

Team Photo!

My first tech team strategy meeting!

Family 🙂

 

Social media has become a very important diplomacy tool to engage with the public. Realizing the evolving nature of diplomacy in the 21st century, the Italian embassy in Washington, DC regularly hosts their #digitaldiplomacy series to discuss the role of technology in diplomacy and to engage with all stakeholders and partners.

Today, there are tech tools, beyond social media, that have the potential to promote diplomacy and engagement, so we collaborated with the Italian embassy to discuss the other players in the digital diplomacy field. Moderated by our founder, Nick Martin, our panel included Sarah Frostenson (Vox Media), Heba Ghannam (State Department Professional Fellow), Sarah Heck (White House), Suzanne Philion (Yahoo!), and Jennifer Walsh (U.S. Department of State). Our panelists shared their experience about the impact that data visualizations, digital mapping, and e-learning can have on diplomacy today.

Here are a few takeaways of an evening of great insights and engaging conversations:

Digital maps can tell powerful stories

While important pdf reports may be buried online, maps can tell a compelling story understood by all.

The ongoing refugee crisis has affected many families, but for someone living far away from the region, it can be difficult to see its global impact. Sarah Frostenson from Vox Media presented how putting the refugee story on a map, like The Refugee Project can have a much bigger impact and urge respective governments to work towards a solution.

Mapping has been a great asset in disaster response. Digital maps have allowed international humanitarian organizations to collaborate and better coordinate relief efforts during disasters like the recent earthquake Nepal.

Online education can help bring equal opportunities to people across borders

In 2011, social media brought together thousands of social activists together in Tahrir Square in Egypt to demand change from their leaders. The power of the Internet to create a movement led the founders of Tahrir Academy to leverage the same tool to bring equal educational opportunities to the people of Egypt. Heba Ghannam explained that as the only online learning platform in Arabic, Tahrir Academy was able to influence other learners beyond Egypt, and in the Arab world.

Many refugee communities may not have access to these tech tools in the refugee camps, but the potential for e-learning to help refugees continue their education in refugee camps is undeniable. Heba Ghannam recalled Syrians using Tahrir Academy’s online content for their education initiatives in the refugee camps in Egypt in 2012.

#digitaldiplomacy

From left to right: Nick Martin, Sarah Frostenson, Heba Ghannam, Sarah Heck, Suzanne Philion, and Jennifer Walsh

Online learning and engagement platforms allow the public to engage with decision makers and experts

E-learning initiatives like Tahrir Academy have created bridges between the Arab expat communities working at renowned universities around the world and the eager learners from the Arab world.

The U.S. State Department’s Virtual Student Foreign Service platform engages U.S. citizen students’ by harnessing their expertise and digital excellence in the work of the government. We are excited to collaborate with the State Department on GovUp, an online platform where U.S. diplomats from around the world can engage virtually with other diplomats and get trained.

However, whether it is in Egypt or the U.S., it is always very crucial to localize the content so that it is relevant and applicable for the local population.

An increased need for engagement between the tech and foreign relations experts 

There are tech experts and foreign relations experts, but it is rare that someone can influence both the sectors. After eleven years at the State Department, Suzanne Philion, is now at Yahoo!, where she is able to look at tech initiatives with a different lens. Suzanne and Sarah Heck from the White House, both stressed the importance of breaking out of organizational bubbles, and engaging with parties from other sectors. Tech companies and international organizations need to collaborate more to best use the available technology to meet citizen’s demands, while respecting their data privacy.

 

It was clear that tech tools beyond social media can significantly impact diplomacy today, but there are clearly some important issues to think about when talking about data-driven diplomacy. Diplomacy and decision-making are increasingly becoming more data-driven, and citizens are demanding more transparency from their governments. However, as more data is becoming available online, data privacy becomes an important concern for all. How do you navigate data transparency and data privacy? Also, online content available for all can help raise funds and help populations in need, but are also being used by terrorist organizations for recruitment purposes. Where do you draw the line?

These important questions are being discussed in the tech industry as well as the international relations and development industry today. You can continue the conversation on digital diplomacy by following the Italian Embassy’s #digitaldiplomacy series. We will also be discussing these topics in relation to data visualization in our course on Technology for Data Visualization this month.

Missed the panel? You can watch the recording here.

Education is a powerful tool for diversity. From Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States, which tells narratives marginalized from most American history curricula, to using teach-ins as a form of education as activism, education plays an important role in building empathy and understanding that can promote greater diversity.

Teaching is not neutral
Recognizing that teaching isn’t neutral or unbiased is key to the understanding of education as reflective of diversity. Education inherently embodies an understanding of diversity that the educator has. Whether this educator is a teacher in a formal school, a conference facilitator, or even the media, their biases can work to make their classroom (in all different forms) an inclusive space or a space of marginalization.

Everyone learns differently
Bias in teaching is commonly discussed with the different ways people learn–the three cognitive types of learners: auditory, visual, and kinesthetic. Auditory learners gain information most effectively through listening and speaking activities. Visual learners prefer seeing or reading information. Kinesthetic learners learn by doing. An educator selects course learning activities that embody their own understanding of how people learn; this can be inclusive with activities from the varying learners types or marginalizing and focus on only one type of learner.

Because people tend to fit into multiple learning styles, teaching has adapted to incorporate different activities for different learning styles. Techniques such as active learning are being incorporated into lectures as a way to engage different types of learners and help students be more active. So even though everyone might be able to learn from a traditional lecture, it doesn’t mean that they learn most effectively that way, or that a lecture is creating an inclusive space of learning.

Education can marginalize voices
Recognizing education as an act of diversity means more than taking different learning styles into account. The topics that are discussed or omitted are also important. Omission of marginalized and non-elite narratives in the US history curriculum has been a critique from members of marginalized groups, like the rappers Tupac or Dead Prez, or American historians, like Howard Zinn.

Teaching and education are heavily steeped in social and cultural hierarchies. Paolo Freire brought to light how education can be used as a force of oppression (whether used by the ones with power, or the ones rebelling against the power) in his 1968 publication (first published in English in 1970), Pedagogy of the Oppressed. Education can play a role in keeping marginalized groups marginalized.

Outdoor classroom

So, what can you do as an educator?
The role of an educator is not simply to overcome embedded oppressions, but to actively create an inclusive space of learning. By intentionally selecting various topics and being aware of how course design can marginalize voices is a good starting point.

It also includes structuring the course and assessments (if there are any) in a way that considers social diversity. When I was a graduate student instructor at the University of Minnesota, I had the pleasure of working with Katherine Brink who expanded my thoughts on how designing assessments can hinder students from learning, despite a desire to learn.

For example, time can be a barrier for students who are working part- or full-time and/or need to take care of family members while going to school. Requiring group work can be a burden to those without copious amounts of free time due, in part, to the difficulties of scheduling. As a conscious educator, you can structure group work and collaboration time during the class time to reduce the burden of logistics. Other factors, such as finances, family, and mental health, can all affect a learner’s performance. The course and its assessments need to take these into account as well.

The role of an educator is to create a space of radical inclusion. A space where each individual learner and their unique identities can not only be engaged, but flourish.

Education, Diversity, and the Digital
Technology has expanded the reach of education and the ‘classroom.’ Online courses bring together diverse group of learners from different cultural backgrounds and different educational systems into one learning environment.

Technology provides exciting new opportunities for collaboration and learning. But it also brings new forms of marginalization in the form of access to technology and affordable access to online data transfers. These are new hierarchies that educators in the digital age need to consider and help break down.

While I would love to offer concrete solutions and advice for digital educators, this is a new area that needs to be explored further. As we expand the reach of teaching, we need to remember that technology cannot replace a good educator.

What do you think about the role of education as a tool for diversity? Comment below or tweet at @NormanShamas or @TechChange!

This is the third post in our Digital Pedagogy series, where we will share how we are trying to make online social learning even better with new learning activities. Check out the previous posts here.

 

Should you answer a text message while talking with your supervisor? How do you resolve workplace conflicts with your colleagues? A new online version of IYF’s Passport to Success® life skills curriculum is helping prepare young hospitality staff to answer these kinds of important on-the-job questions.

Educators and employers all over the world have relied on in-person PTS training to equip young people for the world of work. Now, more youth than ever will have the chance to learn, improve, and practice their life skills through Passport to Success for Hospitality Online, the first of its kind web-based, proprietary life skills instruction.

IYF developed this interactive animated course for Hilton Worldwide and their team members. Each of the course’s five modules, summarized in the introductory video below, highlights essential skills in a simulated, fictional hotel:

  • Communication and interpersonal skills: At the Hotel Aquatic, a luxury underwater hotel, learners practice listening, asking questions, and being assertive.
  • The hospitality mindset: This module reinforces having a positive attitude and respecting diversity and personal values at the Desert Oasis, a peaceful desert retreat.
  • Responsibility and ownership: Learners practice setting goals, respecting themselves and others, and managing their time at the first-class Alpine Lodge ski resort.
  • Problem solving and critical thinking: Skills taught in the simulated rainforest Treetop Ecoresort include stress management, conflict resolution, and being a team player.
  • Business etiquette and professionalism: Set at Skyline Suites, top business hotel, this module introduces workplace protocols, the keys to being a good employee, and teamwork.

IYF collaborated with Hilton Worldwide to ensure industry and brand relevance and TechChange, a technology for development company, to build colorful and fun activities to bring the online learning experience to life. IYF has a long history of adapting PTS to meet industry and local needs; now, with life skills online, we are increasing access to this proven program. Under water, in the desert, or in a rainforest, your passport is waiting.

To learn how your company or institution can use Passport to Success to achieve business and social goals, contact Karen Phillips.

Interested to see how TechChange can support your organization’s training? Check out our enterprise page!

(This post was originally published on International Youth Foundation’s blog)

This is the second post in our Digital Pedagogy series, where we will share how we are trying to make online social learning even better with new learning activities. Check out the previous post here.

As an educator, I’m always looking for new and more effective learning activities that fit with my philosophy of learning. Teaching in this digital age is very exciting with the availability of new tools for different types of activities and distance education. Despite these advances and advantages of online learning, it is not always easy or possible to adapt in-person activities into an online environment.

My role at TechChange focuses on our online facilitated courses that we run. All of these courses run for four weeks and are based on our learning model, which uses social learning and game mechanics. Course completion is assessed by interaction (indicated through TechPoints) as opposed to grades.

Introduction to Collaborative Syllabus Building

With all of our courses, we try to be as responsive to the participants’ learning goals as possible. One of the first questions we ask participants in the first week of a course is whether or not we have missed something in the general content or direction of the course. We then try our best to incorporate these topics and resources into weeks three and four.

As we were designing our upcoming course on Mapping for Social Good, we found ourselves discussing the topic of content and scope once again. With mapping, there is a lot that can be discussed, from the very technical (there are masters programs just in digital mapping/GIS) to the ways mapping has been and can be used for social good. Instead of having the course facilitators decide on the content and potentially miss key topics that the participants want to cover, we have implemented a learning tool called collaborative syllabus building (will now be referred to as CSB in this post).

CSB is an activity used effectively in classrooms to improve motivation and performance of students by asking the learners to provide input on the curriculum, grading, course activities, and/or course expectations. For an in-person class this often occurs before the course starts or during the first few weeks.

Collaboration for setting topics is not confined to academia. Unconferences (also called OpenSpace Conferences) have become popular for their participant-driven focus. Typically, the unconference has no set syllabus and the participants set the agenda and sessions. Instead of having a conference organizer decide what the participants want to hear or learn, the participants vote by their attendance.

Educators and facilitators are already using technology to aid this collaborative participant-led process. For instance, educators have used Moodle to administer a survey prior to a course or a wiki for the collaboration. There are a number of other collaboration tools that can be used for this purpose. Most often, these tools are used in conjunction with in-person or hybrid (online and in person) events.

Digital Pedagogy post photo

Adapting CSB for TechChange

At the core of social learning, a key component of TechChange’s learning model, is the idea of collaboration. We decided to adapt CSB for our 4-week online courses and will be trying it out this week for our mapping course!

In order for CSB to be effective, the course participants need to feel comfortable enough to ask questions about the topic. So with all of our CSB activities, we will be providing a short introduction to the topic and forums for participants to explore the content before the course begins. Having enough time to incorporate feedback and allow participants from diverse time zones provide input, we will run the CSB activity for a week prior to the course beginning.

For the syllabus itself, we will have learning objectives and course activities that we feel we need to cover in order to discuss the content. The rest of the syllabus, including additional learning objectives and course activities, will be based on what the participants want. While we can’t promise that everything participants recommend will make the syllabus, we will do our best and share the final syllabus at the beginning of the course.

We’re very excited to be trying out CSB this week with Mapping for Social Good! Have you used CSB in an online course before? Tell us how it went by tweeting @NormanShamas and @TechChange or comment below!

Wondered who designs and teaches our online courses? You met one of our course facilitators Kendra Keith in a previous post, and today we introduce you to Norman Shamas.

As TechChange’s Director of Curriculum and Pedagogy, Norman brings his passion for education to designing online courses. Norman facilitates our popular online course on Technology for Monitoring and Evaluation and will be co-facilitating our newest course on Technology for Data Visualization this summer. He also facilitated our previous Mapping for International Development course and our customized course on Technology for International Development for IREX.

Norman has quickly become a thought leader in the field of technology for social good. He was recently invited to be part of the review committee for the Development Impact Lab’s Spring Innovate Grant. Additionally, he is also helping lead important conversations on gender and digital security and bringing important techniques and technologies from data science into conversations around monitoring and evaluation.

Before joining TechChange last year, Norman was at Creative Associates International where he developed an internship program. He completed his graduate studies at the University of Minnesota (where he was a graduate student instructor) and undergraduate studies at Arizona State University.

Join Norman in his upcoming Tech for M&E online course that begins Monday, April 20!

As an online learning community, we are always looking for ways our students can learn more effectively. Many of our amazing alumni, who take our online courses on top of their full-time jobs, have used what they learned in our courses to accelerate their careers, or successfully launch or complete various projects. But we seldom see how our students are learning. We came across the work of Katherine Haugh in our twitter feed when she posted a picture of her graphic notes for our on – demand course on Mobile Data Solutions.

Since these notes have been helpful for Katherine, we wanted to make them available for the TechChange community, we are excited to have Katherine help us as our graphic facilitator for some of our live events in our upcoming courses. She already took notes for one of our live sessions with guest expert, Vanessa Corlazzoli of Search for Common Ground in our Tech for M&E online course.

A snapshot of Katherine's notes for our guest expert session with Vanessa Corlazzoli in our Tech for M&E online course

Some of Katherine’s notes for our guest expert session with Vanessa Corlazzoli in our Tech for M&E online course

Since taking notes by hand is found to be more beneficial than taking notes on the computer, we sat down with Katherine to learn more about her note taking strategies and any tips she has for those of us who would like to get started.

How did you hear about TechChange?
I heard about TechChange through Twitter. I am new to the M&E field, so I am constantly looking for online courses that relate to evaluation, especially ones that focus on combining technology and international development initiatives.

How long have you been taking notes by hand?
I have been taking notes by hand since I was in the fifth grade. In middle school, I took all of my notes by hand and always carried a bag of multi-colored pens around with me. What I like most about note-taking is being able to use my notes as a learning or discussion tool (for myself and others). When I was in college, I worked as a note-taker through the McBurney Disability Resource Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I worked as a notetaker for a variety of courses–from Microeconomics to Global Health and Poverty–and I loved it. (Not to mention, I was being paid to attend my own classes. It’s hard to beat that!). Drawing out historical events or evaluation plans helps me to visualize and better understand what I am thinking and also allows me to share my ideas and thoughts with others in a concise and creative way. I enjoy taking extremely complicated issues or concepts and making them simple and easily digestible.

Why handwritten note taking? What are the pros and cons?
Many of my friends and professors asked me this same question. There are countless pros to taking notes by hand:

  • You understand better. It requires that you understand and think through what you are writing because everything you do is intentional when you takes notes by hand.
  • You have more control over the style and layout of your notes. There is more room for creative expression.
  • It forces you to learn as you write — which is the main purpose of taking notes.

The major downsides to taking notes are hand cramps (yes, this is a thing) and not being able to catch every word, detail or concept. You have to work speedily and you run the risk of missing some points.
However, if you are able to capture the major points (for yourself to remember later or to relay to others) you’ve done your job.

What are some of your strategies to take great notes?
The three important strategies I suggest are:

  1. Find the right mix for you (and your audience): For me, writing on a white paper with enough text and symbols works the best. Remember to keep the notes short, and have triggers in key words, images, or symbols to help jog your memory when looking them over.
  2. Get the right tools: Try out different options to know what works best, I like using darker base colors, and bright colors to highlight main points.
  3. Make it personal: Write notes in your own words, I also include dorky jokes in my notes to help me recall what I wrote.

What is your advice for people who want to get started with note taking?
Just give it a go! You’ll be surprised by how easy it is and remember, you don’t have to be an artist to be a brilliant note-taker. Take a concept that you know very well and try to draw it out. It could be in list format or with pictures–whatever makes the most sense to you!

If you want to start taking beautiful notes but can’t stay away from tech, you can also use MindManager as one of our other alumni, Daniel Acosta did in our previous Tech for M&E course.

You can see more of Katherine’s beautiful notes on her blog. Stay tuned to see more of Katherine’s notes for TechChange’s upcoming courses as well!

About Katherine

KHaugh Headshot
Katherine Haugh graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with degrees in Political Science, International Studies, and Professional Chinese Communication in May of 2014. As an undergraduate, Katherine developed an interest in a wide range of security issues—from nuclear non-proliferation to counterterrorism—as well as a regional interest in South Asia. She is currently a merit scholar at the International Student House and works as a Research Assistant at Innovation Network, a nonprofit evaluation firm in Washington, D.C. She is a long distance runner, board game enthusiast, hiker and lover of gummy vitamins.

When setting new year’s resolutions, we often set goals that include getting healthier, improving our relationships, and advancing our careers. We are fortunate to live in an era where the Internet contains an enormous amount of educational content including online courses that can keep our skills sharp and expertise relevant in a competitive global job market. However, it can be tough to keep up with the all the webinars, articles, blog posts, industry publications, and online courses with life’s competing demands.

Here are some tips on sticking with your professional development goals through online learning from several members of the TechChange alumni community.

1. Define your end goal
Be clear on what you want to get out of the online class. Catherine Shen likes to approach online learning by looking at two specific types of benefits: 1) concrete skills or knowledge, and 2) a course certificate to provide evidence of these new skills or knowledge. “By clearly defining what you want from an educational experience, you are more likely to keep motivated throughout the course with your goals you want to achieve in mind. This goal-oriented mindset is especially important to maintain the discipline needed to regularly log into your courses to earn that certificate when you’d rather be eating chili and watching Game of Thrones,” says Catherine.

Perhaps your goal might include getting a new job or switching to a more social mission-driven career. If that is the case, look at an interactive online learning experience as an investment toward achieving these goals by networking with professionals who could connect you to your next opportunity. Maybe your goal might be to get up to speed on any new industry vocabulary/jargon that you need to be aware of for your current or next job.

2. Schedule in your online learning time like you’d schedule a meeting.
Block off a regular time for your outside learning. Routines can be helpful to structure in time set aside, which might be a daily time or a weekly day for a few weeks. With this regimen in place, you’ll mentally prepare yourself and budget the time needed to get the work done.

If your online course has live interactive learning components like several TechChange courses do, make sure to take advantage of these live sessions as much as possible.

According to mHealth alumna, Lauren Bailey, it is very important to “be diligent and set aside time every day to log into the course — even if you can only spend 20 minutes. Try to attend live events and make sure to ask questions that enhance the discussion.”

Serial TechChange serial alumna Carolyn Florey also agrees with Lauren about the importance of live events. “Make attending live events a priority. Look at the live event discussions as part of your continuing education,” says Carolyn. “Rarely will you get an hour of access to these industry experts. “

According to Mobiles for International Development alumna, Ivy McCottry, who now works at AT&T, “The ‘live event’ sessions are very helpful. Even though these sessions are recorded and archived, it’s good to sit in live because you can contribute questions in real time and process the context of what’s being presented. You also don’t have to mull over content independently – you can send questions immediately or expand on an idea that has been mentioned. When attending these events, I always made sure the facilitator knew I was there at the session so my interests would be covered in the presentation.”

3. Focus on what you’re most interested in and what is most relevant for you.
As mentioned earlier, knowing your end goals helps you focus when your time and energy is limited. “The more you know precisely what you want to gain from the course, the more you will get out of it as you can prioritize those topics and ask questions that will focus discussions on areas you care about most,” said Ivy.

According to mHealth alumni, Dr. Layla McCay, “Various exercises [in TechChange courses] are tailored to what I happen to be interested in so I don’t have to complete every single thing. I can just see what’s relevant for me and take a deep dive into that.”

 

4. Integrate and apply coursework into your current (or dream) job

Especially for professionals who get professional development funding from their employers, it can be very helpful to set expectations with a supervisor before beginning a course to discuss how to apply learnings into current or future projects. Applying your new skills/knowledge to your work could mean starting a new project or sharing your learnings with a team-wide presentation or brown bag lunch sharing session. By making your employer aware of your professional development goals and let them know how you’re going to use this class next in your work to benefit an organization, you can further your career.

Mobiles for International Development alumnus, Trevor Knoblich, recommends leveraging TC105 or other courses within your own organization. “If you’re advocating for your organization to adopt new mobile tools and applications, you will have a variety of useful materials from TC105 to help make your case,” says Trevor.

Many TechChange alumni also use their online courses as a testing ground to experiment with new technologies in their current work projects. For example, Sairah Yusuf at Generation for Peace did so by visualizing the participants of a training program by creating a map of participants across the Middle East using MapBox. A team based in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City at FHI 360 Vietnam created mHealth pilots to address HIV based on the knowledge they acquired from taking their mHealth online course as a group.

5. Make connections by participating as much as you can.
Ivy highly recommends networking with guest speakers and course participants. “If speakers represent organizations that you want access to, definitely enroll in the course. The access that TechChange provides at this dollar value is unheard of and a great return on investment,” said Ivy. “Read profiles of other people who were taking the class and alumni as well. I was definitely inspired by the success stories of Carolyn Florey and Trevor Knoblich who advanced in their careers with the help of TechChange courses.”

Carolyn also suggested for online learners to “Read through other participants’ comments and questions. Often, other participants will have experience you don’t, so they’ll have some informed questions and insightful comments.”

According to Trevor, “You’ll ultimately get more out of the course the more engaged you are with your classmates, the professionals who are presenting, and the TechChange staff.”

Lauren agreed. “Be sure to reach out to classmates and find out more about their backgrounds and career paths. It’s great to have connections from all across the globe!” Throughout the duration of the course and even after, there will be opportunities to connect with course participants online and offline, from Washington,DC to Lusaka, Zambia.

 

Any other tips that have worked for you? Please share your online learning tips in the comments or tweet us @TechChange. Don’t forget to invest in your career by taking a course with us.

As 2014 has been a big year for us at TechChange, we celebrate more failures and lessons learned at Fail Fest 2014 with the TechChange band. This year, we had members across our team on perform with vocals, guitar, drums, oboe, and – of course- PowerPoint. From connectivity issues when doing online training sessions on Ebola to unanticipated challenges of moving into a new office, we loved participating in Fail Fest again to share our experiences in providing interactive training for social change.

Stay tuned for a recording of our performance that we’ll post here soon.

Missed our performance at Fail Fest 2013? See how we celebrated lessons learned in launching eLearning courses in Sudan and Pakistan in TechChange’s first Fail Song.

Sara recently joined us as an online instructional designer and works with clients to develop and design online courses, in addition to coordinating and broadcasting live events. Prior to TechChange, Sara taught middle and high school STEM courses at the Barrie School, where she also led an Engineering Product Design program for high school students. Sara graduated from Yale University with a degree in Mechanical Engineering, which sparked her passion for design thinking and human centered design.

In her spare time, Sara enjoys reading, traveling, and perfecting her guacamole recipe.

Welcome Sara!