Tag Archives: Best of lists

5 Great Productivity Tools for The Office Worker

epibestProductivity is the “It” word in the office. With the workload of the average worker increasing in the past few years, there is a pressure to up the productivity of our work. On top of being focused and task oriented at work, you will realise that finding the right tools to complement your workflow does wonders to the amount of time that you can save.

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Or we could just make do with some productivity tools invented by entrepreneurs. 😉

Influenced by the techie that Terence is, we’ve grown to become willing guinea pigs for new apps. Over the years of playing with tools, testing and failing and try new ones again and again, here are 5 tools that our office swears by:

1) Basecamp

Basecamp is a project management app which includes to-do listswiki-style web-based text documents, milestone management, file sharing, time tracking, and a messaging system. When our company first started to grow, we started to explore a variety of project management apps. When Terence first introduced Basecamp to us, we screamed, protested, pulled our hair out, even boycotted the app for a few weeks. After it looked like he wasn’t giving up on this app, we stopped complaining, and gradually resigned to using it. Fast forward a few months, people in the office started declaring that they loved Basecamp and couldn’t live without it. A marked change, yes, but it wasn’t an unfounded one. Basecamp is an amazingly user-friendly and foolproof app that allows you to assign to-dos to others and to manage these to-dos with a commenting and file sharing system. It has helped in reducing the amount of clutter in our email inbox by taking the load of management of tasks off the email and made organising and structuring different projects really easy. Our tech team carries out sprints every week (a list of to-dos) and we use Basecamp to conduct discussions on them during the week and check them off every meeting.

2) Google Hangouts + Docs

Google docs doesn’t need any introduction. Essentially a document collaboration app, it is useful for team assignments and projects, enabling teams to work on the same file without needing to keep track of different versions. Google hangouts allow for group video chats, coupled with file sharing, screen sharing and document sharing functions. This is a super essential tool for days that we don’t work in the office and need to discuss something. Having Google docs side by side hangouts allow us to note-take seamlessly and share our discussion points, bypassing that limitation of not being together in the same physical space.

3) Evernote

Evernote is a note-taking app that allows you to keep notes, web clips, files, audio, images in different “notebooks”. It is available cross-platform and device as well. Our office primarily used Google sites as a resource sharing and learning platform and decided to do a switch because of Evernote’s ease of use on mobile devices. It has only been a few days since implementing Evernote, and our frequency of use has spiked so much! I like it because it allows for easy upload of various mediums like images and audio on mobile devices. (We don’t sell mobile learning without being a mobile learning organisation ourselves.) We use Evernote to share resources that we collect during research all throughout the day (Yes, that includes when we lunch, when we travel, etc). More on this next week!

4) Todoist

Todoist is my daily to-do list manager. While Basecamp manages team to-dos, I tend to like breaking down these to-dos into even smaller tasks, scheduling them every day. This helps me to plan my time daily and also helps me with to-dos in my personal life, like running errands and paying the bills. It also sends me reminders everyday on my mobile phone, and I get immense satisfaction from checking off these to-dos as the day goes by.

5) Feedly

Being an enthusiast for news and constantly needing new information for business development, marketing and blogging purposes, our team uses Feedly as our RSS Feed Reader for news curation. It has helped us a lot in accessing new information throughout the day without having to go through the hassle of visiting websites. Though, it would really be useful if users get to share feeds or categories with other users instead of having to build up personal feeds from scratch.

The best part about having a tiny office (10 people) is the ease of introducing initiatives like new office tools into our workflows. There may be initial resistance against these tools (I’m personally guilty for some of them) but they are generally pretty easily to implement within a time frame of about 3-4 months. And when you find the right tool that blends so effortlessly into your workflow, you will find yourself loving it more and more each day. What tools have you found useful in managing your day-to-day tasks? Do share them with us in the comments below!

20 Great Sites for Free MOOC Courses in Higher Education

epireviewThe idea of distance learning made it debut way before the internet came into place with the popularisation of the radio and the television back in the 20th century. Those who did not have access to formal education could listen to lessons or watch them for free. However, the main limitation of such a development was that there was a lack of interaction between professors and learners.
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Fast forward to the advent of the internet and web 2.0 technologies, it has presented new ways in which people could connect through networks and online communities. MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) allow a common access to knowledge for all and enables that valuable interaction that can take place between any one in the world, making education available to many who never dreamt of being able to go to school. Here are 20 great sites for higher education MOOC courses:

1) Coursera

With 623 courses from 108 partners, Coursera partners with well-known universities and organisations to deliver quality online courses. Some of these universities and organisations include Brown, Duke, Berklee College of  Music, The World Bank and The Museum of Modern Art. They offer a range of courses from Math, Science, Music to Statistics and Art.

2) EdX

EdX believes that online learning is the “ultimate democratiser”. They believe in offering the best courses from the best universities, taught by the best professors. As such, they work with universities like Harvard and MIT to offer a range of courses. They currently have about 165 courses ranging from healthcare to sociology, computer science and chemistry.

3) Academic Earth

Academic Earth has tie-ups with 24 well-known universities with links to many diverse courses from all around the web. It is easily accessible as well and features playlists of courses which are popular in demand.

4) Open2Study

Open2Study provides courses in many disciplines from many universities. Not only that, it provides detailed course information of the module, including the prospects of taking these modules and what other modules or higher education programme students can enrol for if they are interested.

5) Iversity

Iversity is one of the leading MOOC platforms in Europe and is the first platform to offer courses that are worth ECTS (European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System) credits.

6) Future Learn

Future Learn works together with 29 partners to offer many interesting courses. What is great is that it also provides a video introduction of the course by the course professor which allows users to get acquainted with him/her before signing up for courses.

7) OpenCourse Ware Consortium

OpenCourseWare(OCW) provides a library of free and open digital publication of high quality educational materials for colleges and universities. These courses  include course planning materials and evaluation tools as well as thematic content but is not built as a virtual MOOC course where the professor is on the ground carrying out his course through a fixed schedule.

Here are some open courses that are by top universities, hosted on their own sites:

8) MIT OpenCourse Ware

9) Harvard Open Learning Initiative

10) Stanford Online

11) Open Yale Courses

12) Carnegie Mellon University Open Learning Initiative

13) Webcast At Berkeley

14) Online Courses At Cambridge

15) Oxford Online Courses

16) Tufts OpenCourse Ware

17) Harvard Medical OpenCourse Ware

18) Podcast at UC San Diego

19) John Hopkins Bloomburg School Of Public Health OCW

20) New York U Open Course

Hope you enjoyed this list! Do feel free to add on to it by commenting if you have other great sites to recommend.

7 Useful Curation Tools for Teachers and Students

epireviewBack when I was a student, I would open tons of tabs on my browser whenever I had to do research for my papers. More often than not, my computer would crash, only to have me referring to my browser history for these valuable resources that were sometimes lost in cyberspace.

Likewise, teachers sometimes amass a collection of resources that they want to share with their students or fellow teachers. Especially in content-heavy subjects like general paper, science, geography, etc, there are many great resources out there teachers want to include in student resources. They may use bookmarks on their browsers, only to collect these links and share them through an email or by putting them on the powerpoint slides that they use in class.

Here’s where the term “Social Bookmarking” comes in. Social bookmarking allows you to keep a tab of web links and curate resources that you come across, and then you are able to share them with different groups of people. Here are 7 great curation tools that we have come across!

1) EDLE Playlists

Created by none other than the people on this team, EDLE allows you to build playlists of resources that range from websites, videos, documents and images. You can define lesson objectives for these different tasks (and this helps in student reporting, which will be a feature that we’re working on right now!) It even allows you to build quizzes to assess student’s understanding of a particular topic. Playlists can be the collaborated work of multiple users and sharable by public links or through user accounts.

2) Pinterest

Everyone is familiar with how Pinterest work as a visual bookmarking and sharing app. You can also use Pinterest for education by building boards and pinning different images, websites, videos of a category on your Pinterest boards. It is also easy to use if your students are already familiar with using Pinterest.

3) EduClipper

Very similar to Pinterest in its visual design, it is catered towards the educators, with the ability to add PowerPoint, PDF, and image files to your “clipboards” and share these class boards with your students.

4) LessonPaths

Formally MentorMob, LessonPaths allows you to build playlists of links, documents, pop quizzes and add articles. When you share it with students, they are able to access it chronologically by steps to complete a lesson plan. It is now undergoing development and a whole new LessonPaths will be launched soon.

5) Learnist

Learnist is a place for you to build learning lists of websites and videos. It is organised in chronological format and allows for discussion to take place among those in the community.

6) Symbaloo

Symbaloo allows you to build “web mixes” of websites on a visual tiled canvas, allowing you to bookmark your favourite websites and organising them into different categories. Sharing can be done publicly or privately.

7) LiveBinders

LiveBinders allows you to create binders of different types of links, videos and files. It is organised visually as binder files which mimic the workflow of filing resources. Binders can be shared via email, posting to Twitter or Facebook or by embedding it on a website. 

6 Great Sites for Corporate E-Learning

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Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) have been taking the internet sphere by storm these past few years. Having emerged from the open educational resources (OER) movement and leveraging on improved technologies to better connect communities, they are a great form of distance learning, allowing users access to resources and expertise without the constrain of the physical distance.

E-learning is increasingly being used by companies to train their employees as a measure to streamline training as well as to cut massive transportation and other costs. On top of digitizing product developments to educate their sales teams, MOOCs are used for staff development as well.

Here are 6 sites that offer pretty comprehensive courses for skill development!

1) Udemy

One of the most successful e-learning sites, Udemy offers a comprehensive range of non-customisable skills training ranging from email marketing to how to build a crowd fund campaign to design and music related courses. Courses are by practitioners in their field and range anywhere from free to hundreds of dollars.

2) Lynda

Similar to Udemy, Lynda provides a range of non-customisable skill based courses. Rates go by subscription per month, with an offline access option made available.

3) OpenSesame

OpenSesame allows you to purchase courses related to Business Skills, Compliance, Safety, IT, Healthcare, Software, Academic and Industry specific for your company. It also offers bulk discounts for these courses which include a detailed course outlines and deliverables of the course.

4) Alison

Alison is a hosting site for content providers to host their content for learners. It offers totally free certified courses related to business, personal development, soft skills, health literacy and safety and compliance.

5) CreativeLive

CreativeLive offers creative courses related to photography, art & design, music & audio, craft and business. They usually offer free live streaming of courses, but users can purchase archived sessions if they miss these lessons.

6) SkillSoft

SkillSoft provides customised e-learning solutions for SMEs, enterprises, government and education through a partnering with the organisation and giving consultation. Solutions are localised and consists of different components that best suit the organisation’s workflows. Some include interactive and multi-path simulations, live Web-cast lectures, on-demand videos by industry leaders etc.