Archive for December, 2013

to the new year…

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photo: Ann Ralston.
(click image for larger version)

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Tuesday, December 31st, 2013 Art and Inspiration, Article Archive, Main Page, Personal Mastery, Photos Comments Off on to the new year…

’twas the Night before Christmas…

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We believe this message is bigger than a single faith.

It speaks across cultures and creeds and diverse communities everywhere.

We are filled with gratitude for all of you in our circle – that you are in our lives.

May this fervent wish be realized for you, your family and your caring community.

In warmth and love and peace,

Ann and Gary
December 24, 2013


photo: Ann Ralston.

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Tuesday, December 24th, 2013 Article Archive, Main Page, Values Comments Off on ’twas the Night before Christmas…

Shake Up Your Biases and Preconceptions with a MOOC!

MOOCs are opening more than higher education to the world – they can open the world to you

This fall I participated in my first MOOC (Massive Open Online Course – see sidebar). The course, Behavioural Economics in Action 101x, is offered by the prestigious Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto, for free. I’m accessing this course through EdX, a non-profit online initiative of 30 of the world’s top universities, created by founding partners Harvard and MIT. Their mission is expand access to the best of higher education for students around the world – and this in part means reducing or eliminating the barrier of cost.

If my class is any indication, EdX has proven its global reach. I was blown away – each pin on the world map below represents one of my over 2100 fellow learners!

BE_101X_-_over_2000_people-5

Now it’s great that EdX is bringing this course to the world. Absolutely. But early into the course it dawned on me that through this MOOC, EdX had brought the world to me! While I found the course content interesting, I was much more intrigued by the varied points of view from different cultures.

A bit about the course content

What was your BIGGEST class at university?MOOCs are bigger…

A MOOC is a Massive Open Online Course – a relatively new development in the world of online learning that is generating significant buzz, and no small amount of angst about their possible impact on the business model for higher education.

Top universities are offering top-notch interactive courses to large numbers of students at once, taught by excellent faculty, many for free, and some for-credit, at a fraction of the cost of a conventional university course.

In case you are wondering how many students per class is large… according to Wikipedia, ‘Udacity’s CS101, with an enrollment of over 300,000 students, was the largest MOOC to date.’

Behavioral economics explores, from a psychological point of view, why people sometimes make irrational decisions, and why and how their behavior does not follow the predictions of economic models. Further, these behavioral insights can be used to influence decisions in many ways, from the obvious – drive up consumer spending by offering “bargains” – to the more subtle – lose weight by doing nothing more than taking a picture of everything you consume. Such techniques or strategies, designed to subtly influence decisions toward a given outcome, are commonly referred to as “Nudges”, and there has been much interest in applying such behavioral insights to larger policy and societal issues.

Many of our class discussions (held in web-based discussion forums) focused on social issues, with the intention to explore how to influence or “nudge” behaviors that increase health and overall well-being of people and societies.

Some of our early topics…

  • disrupting the transmission of AIDS in Uganda,
  • quelling noise pollution from overuse of car horns in large cities in India, and
  • shifting a nation’s personal debt and spending / saving patterns.

And the conversations were fascinating! The richness and diversity of views and the insights from different countries, socio-economic backgrounds and fields of study opened a much wider world to me, creating a deeper and more engaging learning experience. There is nothing like discussing a subject with someone from a foreign culture and way of thinking to show up your own assumptions and biases!

If you’ve been missing out on the amazing variety of free, quality education available through MOOCs, and a world of fellow learners, here are a few tips (okay, nudges!) to get you started:

See you in the MOOC-iverse!

– Ann Ralston

© 2013 Ralston Consulting Inc.

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Thursday, December 19th, 2013 Article Archive, Business Insights, Business Models, Corporate Social Responsibility, Main Page, Personal Mastery, Sustainability Comments Off on Shake Up Your Biases and Preconceptions with a MOOC!

Contact Us Today

Let’s talk! – more options, here…

ANN RALSTON

T 614-761-1841 ext 2
Schedule a Meeting

Call me! - Ann Ralston


GARY RALSTON

T 614-761-1841 ext 3
Schedule a Meeting

Call me! - Gary Ralston

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