Sunday, December 6, 2015

Open-Access Meta-Search

After working with universities in Zimbabwe and Suriname, I came to realize that one of the biggest hurdles to education and training is the cost of commercial  study material. This problem exists not only in developing nations but also in nations such as the United States. With the encouragement of many in the developing world I have undertaken to identify means of gathering quality study material from the open-access world. Both computer science courses I taught in Zimbabwe during 2014-2015 were developed using fully-cited open-access material. I began developing this approach to course design in 2011. One result is a prototype Open-Access Meta-Search Engine that has been a great aid to me in my own work, Expanding this tool to others’ use is the next step. Would you please take the time to review this prototype and send comments to me? I dearly need input from professionals on the design of the site and suggestions for new features that would make your searches easier. Thank you all very much for taking the time to provide comments. (An earlier posting on this topic talks about the thinking that led to this prototype (

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Surviving as a Ph.D. in Industry

Within the career development forums in which I participate, there is a growing realization amongst those soon to earn their Ph.D. that there is a severe shortage of teaching and research assignments in academia. This group is also realizing that their academic programs have fallen far short of preparing them for careers outside academia. This is especially true for those who have gone from Nursery through Ph.D. without getting any life or career experience. In this piece I offer my thoughts on the realities of surviving and functioning as a Ph.D. in industry based on 35 years experience.

Friday, February 28, 2014

An Experienced Engineer on Character Traits

Joseph Dabon is a retired engineer who has taken up writing to share with the world his experience in personal improvement during long years in the industrial world. He offers five character traits that lead to career success:

  • Professionalism
  • Enthusiastic and Energetic
  • Self-Confidence
  • Self-Starter
  • Thirst for Learning
From my own travels in industry, I have to agree with Joseph's assessment. See what more he has to say in this article that expands on his thoughts.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

God's Word on Careers

Recently, a forum in which I participate put forth a discussion on a common theme, belief in one’s ability to succeed. My put on the matter was that more than 2000 years ago a very wise person remarked on the possibilities if we were to have faith the size of a mustard seed. For thousands of years before that our elders have spoken and written about what it takes to have a happy life and solid career. We have only to know their teachings and put them into practice. Their words are collected in the Bible, God’s gift of eternal unchanging truth. “The Book of Life” it is called for good reason. He shows us how to live to best effect. If we chose to live otherwise, we should not expect our lives to take a happy route. This is not a punishment from God. Rather, it is our own choice to be unhappy and unsuccessful. It is rather like the fish who leaves the water. The fish dies not because he is being punished but because he has departed the life for which he was made.

A PDF on this topic is available on my website.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Career Discovery Toolkit

The intention of the 3-DVD set Career Discovery Toolkit is to make career assessments and supporting material available to counselors whose centers do not have internet access. The idea is that copies of various documents could be downloaded and printed by a press that can do so inexpensively. Entire assessment kits could be assembled from the material in the set. The contents of such a kit is up to the career counselor who should apply knowledge and experience in the assembly of materials to fit their intended audience. The kit also includes a library of videos, slides, and reading material related to career development.

This toolkit now available online for those with internet access. The collection originated with a request from the Greatness Factory Trust to support tours of schools, job fairs, conferences, and other events in Zimbabwe on career development. Comments were gratefully received from Rabison Shumba and Emily Gurupira.

You are more than welcome to access this toolkit. If you have suggestions for inclusion, please add them to this posting's comments section.

Monday, May 27, 2013

OpenAccess for World-Wide Education and Training

The number of people with the desire, focus, and energy to learn skills that require considerable rigor far exceeds the resources that would be required to educate and train those people. By this I mean that the capacity is there (both in the person and the institutions) but the funding is not. This is especially the case with people in less wealthy countries.
One of the cost issues lies in access to the literature. Many authors and others concerned with education and training have recognized the problems that come about when commercial publishers (for-profit and non-profit) get control of the world's intellectual output. Thus, those who produce that output are increasingly turning to OpenSource, CreativeCommons, OpenAcess, GeneralPublic, and PublicDomain styles of licensing. The internet has created a connected world. Within that world, it is relatively easy to produce, store, and index books, articles, seminars, and even entire courses. Additionally, print-on-demand presents a cost-effective means of producing a physical product when that is desired.
I was asked by the University of Zimbabwe, Department of Computer Science, to design a course that would retain rigor and quality study material while not depending on a traditional textbook. You are welcome to read what I found out about freely-accessible material that maintains quality while controlling costs.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Book Review: Share or Die

Share or Die has the goal of talking about sharing as a means of survival in today's economy. The book presents stories collected from young liberal arts graduates and their post-graduation efforts to establish themselves. The stories are most revealing. There are 26 stories. These come from a broad spectrum of situations involving many types of people. I found that these groups of people include: the totally clueless, the totally rebellious, the achievers, and the survivors. Along the way you will find inspiring stories from people who made something meaningful happen in their lives and careers. They tell about what they did and how they got through the down times. These stories offer a lot to think about and many ways to look at difficult situations. You will benefit from the stories offered in this book, even if some of them are an example of what not to do. A detailed review is posted on my website.