Professors’ Media Choices in Online Classes

Professors’ Media Choices in Online Classes

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There is limited research regarding the use of social media or other types of media in online courses. In 2013, I surveyed 110 adjunct professors from a Linkedin group to determine if they added media (including social media) to already developed curriculum. Due to the prevalence of online classes, it might help curriculum designers to determine media preferences. This type of study may also demonstrate the flexibility of online courses, the perception of content requirements in online courses, and professors’ best practices.

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Entrepreneurs and Celebrities Use Kickstarter for Funding

 

Kickstarter has been a successful crowdfunding option for potential entrepreneurs to garner cash.  However it has not been without some issues.  According to The Wall Street Journal article The Trouble With Kickstarter, “The only thing worse than having to watch your friend’s arty movie is having to pay for it too.” Aside from the problems associated with pestering friends to donate, there have been some successful ventures thanks to this site.  The following list contains some of names of celebrities who have used the site:

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Researchers Debate Importance of Introverts Acting like Extroverts

 

Several courses I teach include discussion regarding the importance of understanding personality preferences.  Students often take personality tests to determine their “type”.  Part of their type includes whether they are introverts or extraverts (Myers Briggs spells extravert with an “a” instead of an “o”).  In my training to become a qualified Myers Briggs MBTI trainer, I learned that people have preferences for how they like to receive and process information.  We were told it was similar to how people prefer to write with their right or left hand.  That is why I found the recent Wall Street Journal article titled How an Introvert Can Be Happier:  Act Like an Extrovert to be so interesting.  The title contradicts some of what I learned in my training.

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How to Keep Facebook Private

 

Privacy issues have dogged Facebook and other social media sites for years.  There are so many areas within which to adjust settings, it may become so frustrating that people give up trying to figure it out.  The Wall Street Journal article, A Guide to Facebook’s Privacy Options, had a very good graphic that demonstrates where to go to make changes to privacy settings.  It is important that you go to the icon that looks like a lock with some lines next to it at the top right of the screen.  Once you click on that, click on “see more settings”, then click on security (listed at the top left under the word general).

Once you are on that page, the following list contains some suggested ways to improve security:

  • Turn on secure browsing which is listed first under security settings  – if it is on, it will show enabled.
  • Login approvals can be turned on for extra security.
  • Limit app settings (see left side of screen) so that certain things may not be posted to your profile. “Disable instant personalization if you don’t want Facebook to share your information with partner websites”.
  • Adjust ad settings (see left side of screen) to control what information appears in ads.

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Data Reveals What it Takes to be an Entrepreneur

 

The Wall Street Journal recently listed some interesting statistics regarding entrepreneurs.  Ewing Marion Kauffman’s data was used to create an infographic.  According to the article By the Numbers:  Taking the Measure of Entrepreneurs, the following gives more insight as to who becomes an entrepreneur:

  • Age – The average age for an entrepreneur is 40 years old.
  • Education – Over 95% of entrepreneurs hold a bachelor’s degree or higher and over 47% have advanced degrees.
  • Background – Over 71% came from the middle-class and 1% came from extremely rich or extremely poor backgrounds.
  • Funding – For 70% of entrepreneurs, the main source of funding came from savings.
  • Family – First borns accounted for over 42% of entrepreneurs. They had an average of 3 siblings.  Just over half of them were the first in their family to start a business.  Nearly 70% were married and nearly 60% had at least one child.
  • Success – When asked what entrepreneurs felt was important for success, 73% listed luck as an important factor.
  • Location – The highest numbers of entrepreneurs are in Arizona, Texas and California. The lowest numbers are in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Hawaii.

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Avoiding Entrepreneurial Failures

 

It is the American dream to start a business, achieve growth with that business, and possibly someday pass it along to children or sell it for a profit.  In the article, Boomers Can’t Retire, it was explained how some entrepreneurs have found that they are unable to retire. The American dream may not be as easily attainable as some may think.  The Wall Street Journal article, Venture Capital’s Secret: 3 out of 4 Start Ups Fail, listed some unfavorable start-up statistics:

  • 75% of venture-backed US firms don’t return capital investment
  • Around 30% of start-ups fail completely – 95% if the definition of failure is projected return
  • Nonventure-backed companies fail more than venture-backed
  • 60% of start-ups make it three years and 35% make it ten

Author and Professor at Harvard Business School, Noam Wasserman, has some advice for future entrepreneurs in his book The Founder’s Dilemmas:  Anticipating and Avoiding Pitfalls That Can Sink a Startup.  In his book, Wasserman explains, “Often downplayed in the excitement of starting up a new business venture is one of the most important decisions entrepreneurs will face: should they go it alone, or bring in cofounders, hires, and investors to help build the business? More than just financial rewards are at stake. Friendships and relationships can suffer. Bad decisions at the inception of a promising venture lay the foundations for its eventual ruin.”

The new entrepreneur must consider problems they may encounter with people, as well as possible pitfalls he or she may encounter down the road.  By having foresight, the new entrepreneur can learn to be proactive to change.

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Boomer Entrepreneurs Can’t Retire

 

One of the things entrepreneurs plan for is the time that they will eventually sell their company.  Currently many older business owners have found it difficult to reap the anticipated rewards of retirement. As the author of the Entrepreneur Exit Strategies for your Business pointed out, “it’s not enough to build a business worth a fortune; you have to make sure you have an exit strategy, a way to get the money back out.” If businesses were once very successful, the economy may have impacted their current worth.  Even with what may once have been considered a strong exit strategy, plans may have been affected by the economic downturn.

Boomers trying to sell their businesses are receiving offers that are not enough to finance their retirement.  In the Wall Street Journal article The Economy Stole My Retirement, it noted that one small business owner expected to sell for $2 million but recent losses from the recession has made that impossible.  She now has seen offers as low as $250,000.

Business owners who had planned to travel and relax in their golden years are now spending 10-12 hours a day or more working to salvage companies.  Some have no foreseeable chance of selling in the future.  Many have put all of their money into their businesses and would have to live only on social security if they let the businesses fail.

While it is admirable to have high expectations for an entrepreneurial venture, it is the wise business owner who does not keep all of his or her eggs in one basket.  Just as Enron employees learned the hard way, it is not a good idea to have all of your money invested in the company in which you work.  If the company goes under, people not only lose their jobs but their life savings as well.

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Texting Offers Latest Marketing Opportunity

As mobile phones have taken over the way people communicate, it is a natural progression for texting to become a marketing opportunity.  In the Wall Street Journal article Teen Stores Try Texts as Gr8 Nu Way to Reach Out, author Christina Binkley explained, “Like many parents who have turned to texting to reach their teens, some youth-oriented fashion brands like Charlotte Russe, Claire’s Boutique and Vans are finding that young people are most accessible by text.”

Texting now can include more rich content, pictures and video.  Marketers can send shopping passes, discounts, and offers.  Rather than merely being a vehicle for chat, texting now offers a way to get customers to opt in and avoid illegal lists or spam.  Customers can selectively pick who they would like to receive offers from, which leads to a higher chance of the sales message being received.  The article stated, “People are five times more likely to open a text than an email.  Five billion people text on mobile phones, while about two billion people use the Internet.”

This new form of communication has increased the speed of receiving offers and acting upon them.  There is immediacy due to the ability to send messages that state things like “get 10% off if purchased within the next 3 hours.”

One of the hardest parts is to get people to opt in to receive the texts.  Retails often post signs to ask customers to opt in by texting short codes.  For more information, check out Top Links Explaining SMS and Short Codes.

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Patients Unknowingly Risk Their Lives with Fake Meds from Canada

 

Patients who obtain medications from Canadian-based suppliers may be risking their lives. Avastin is a legitimate drug used for cancer patients. Some fake Avastin drug has been discovered in the U.S.  It made its way here from Canada.  Although it originated from Turkey, it traveled through several middlemen.  U.S. citizens bought it from a Canadian pharmaceutical supplier. According to the Wall Street Journal article How Fake Cancer Drugs Entered the U.S., Kris Thorkelson’s Canada Drugs Group of Cos sold two batches of fake Avastin to doctors in the United States.

In my 15 years as a pharmaceutical sales representative, I sat through a number of speeches from company leaders regarding the dangers of obtaining medications from outside of the U.S.  My Arizona territory was close to Mexico. Therefore, I heard a lot of stories about patients going across the border to get cheaper medications.  Mexico seemed a little scary to some people due to the economy and developing nature of the country.  Therefore, later, Canada seemed to be the place people went to get a “good deal” on pricing.

Canada used to be able to obtain good medications more easily.  However the Wall Street Journal explained that, “by 2003, big drug makers seeking to protect their U.S. sales shut online pharmacies out of the Canadian supply chain, forcing them to seek supplies elsewhere.” It was at that point that pharmacies like Canada Drugs Group started looking to foreign countries to obtain medications.  Some of these countries do not have the strict guidelines that we have here in the U.S.

The sad thing about this particular case is that many cancer patients may have received fake medications that could cost them serious health issues.  The fake medication contained no active ingredient to help fight patients’ cancer.  The Wall Street Journal article cited a New York oncologist who claimed, “People who receive a fake medication instead of Avastin could have lost several months of their lives.”

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Marketers Use Retina-Tracking and Facial-Scanning Devices

 

The latest technological advances have allowed for marketers to perform experiments that used to be the things only considered in science fiction.   Shoppers may soon have their retinas and facial expressions scanned to determine their product preferences.  Although these scans are not available on the grocery store shelf, they have been used in product research.

The Wall Street Journal reported, “Kimberly-Clark’s researchers used computer screens outfitted with retina-tracking cameras when testing the newest packaging for its Viva paper towels in 2009. Their goal was to find which designs got noticed in the first 10 seconds a shopper looked at a shelf—a crucial window when products are recognized and placed in the shopping cart. They also wanted to know if the preferences held up on different count packages, from single rolls to multipacks.”

Researchers have found that they may obtain more accurate data this way than through the use of traditional surveys.  The retina-tracking devices are useful because the human eye can detect information very quickly.  It’s not just our eyes that can give marketers important information.  Some companies have used brain scans to determine product preferences.  Now with facial recognition software, even more customer data can be compiled as companies can “track involuntary facial expressions to gauge true emotional reaction.”

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