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Innovation within Higher Education will change the world!

Send your stock soaring at [X]PendaPalooza 14

I love Empire Avenue!

Empire Kred

Send your stock soaring at [X]PendaPalooza 14

[X]PendaPalooza was one of the first (maybe THE first) community-driven events at Empire Avenue. As you probably know, the community has organized 13 of them!  Now that the players have taken the reins, let’s celebrate with an [X]panded [X]traordinary[X]PendaPalooza 14!
[X]Panded  On April 25, 26, and 27 players will converge on the Avenue for a frenzy of buying. Big players run LOTS of missions to give away eaves and shares. New players build wealth by selling shares and doing missions.  Everyone can network and connect at  the [X]PendaPalooza community and at related special events.
[X]traOrdinary  For the first time, the Empire Avenue Leaders Community will co-host the event with the original founding community, [X]Bar.  Omar Habayeb is back to organize the event. EAVLeaders will run special missions, flash contests, and organize fun events…

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KnowU: The marriage of higher education, online learning, and social media is here!

Several of my Harrison College friends and associates have been working very hard over the last two years on a project that was referred to as Project DOVE.  It has been highly impressive and motivating to see my Harrison College teammates putting so much of their heart and soul into the project.  (The DOVE stood for Distinct Online Virtual Environment)   The whole “top secret” feel of giving this particular project a codename has inspired me over the past several months to give other projects that I have been working on project code names (i.e Project Omega, Project Prime Numbers, etc.) as well as assigning names to certain groups (i.e Data & Research Syndicate).  This has all added to my continued enjoyment of my job! =)  This week, my co-workers achieved a significant milestone as KnowU opened up to a few hundred Harrison College students who are taking one or more of their courses online.    You can check out the KnowU video here KnowU: Where Social Meets Learning

As I have previously mentioned, what motivates me in my daily job activities is working towards making Harrison College a place that my daughter will want to pursue her college degree  in thirteen years  by choice due to the innovative programs, instruction, and technology used within the educational process.  KnowU most certainly takes a huge step in that direction.  KnowU creates a unique social learning community experience for Harrison College students by leveraging our ANGEL LMS (Learning Mangement System)  KnowU features three core core components: Learning, Support, and Community.   The Learning component recognizes a student’s program of study and courses, and makes intuitive recommendations for resources based on the student’s unique set of circumstances, learning style, and use of the system.  The Support section gives a student access to live chat, self-support, and human support.  A word cloud will direct students to support for topics most frequently discussed on the site. The Community section allows students to overlay personal Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn pages into the site and allows students to create Harrison-specific networking groups, based on program, courses, location, and other information/interests.

The number of actual students who are accessing their online courses through KnowU will gradually increase over the next several months.  In addition, additional functionality will be added to KnowU.   I have had an opportunity to explore the KnowU site over the past month, and it is unlike anything that I have previously seen.  It’s been great seeing students interact with one another and with staff this first week.   I am proud of KnowU and I am proud of Harrison College and I am extremely excited to share what my college is doing with others.  Watch the video.  Check out the microsite and please let me know what you think!  I will see you online!

 

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My Motivation

My Motivation

Abigail is why I do what I do!

What’s My Motivation Revisited

Happy New Year!  It’s 2012 and once again, I have resolved to start blogging on a more regular basis again.  I guess, I will start with what my motivation in my job is.

 Consider this to be my “Jerry McGuire” memo (which is as close to a sports reference as I can get!) =) 

 One of the main driving factors as  I conduct my daily job responsibilities is the fact that my five year old daughter will be attending college in 13 years.  

  Harrison College has an extremely generous benefit of allowing the children of its employees to attend Harrison College/TCA tuition free after the employee has served the college for one year.   I want my daughter to choose to attend Harrison College/TCA NOT because of the tuition waiver availability, but because Harrison College/TCA shows and demonstrates that it will provide her with the cutting edge, innovative, interactive college educational experience that will assist her in achieving her career goals.   I ask myself each day…am I doing things that will improve upon the overall experience and educational process not only for Abigail, but for all the other worldwide students that Harrison College serves and seeks to serve.   

 I continue to see Harrison College/TCA moving in that direction DAILY with all the different initiatives that are being pursued AND successfully implemented.

I think about this constantly as we ask others externally to embrace Harrison College’s programs and various endeavors either directly or through our various traditional and social marketing channels.  We have an incredible amount of talented alumni employees as well as staff and faculty who have entrusted the education of their children to us.   I have heard it said that “Harrison College/TCA has over 900 staff and faculty members”   My question to anyone and everyone in the Harrison College/The Chefs Academy family is this………regardless of the current age of their children/stepchildren/no children etc.:

 “Would you send and/or recommend that YOUR child attend Harrison College/The Chefs Academy if we offered a program that matched their career interests and needs?

 If not…WHY NOT…AND…what are YOU doing to work towards changing whatever is making you feel the way that you do?  Personally this breaks it down to the simplest level for ME to understand and strive for.  It’s something I can promote and ask myself at the very basic level.   NOT that everyone has to send their children to Harrison College/TCA, only if it would be the best fit for their individual career goals, but at least for me looking at it through that lenses really makes a lot of sense and helps drive me.  Who knows.  It may make sense to others as well.

My first supervisor IBC/Harrison College…Rod Allee.. told me that if I had an idea about how to change something or improve a process, to make sure I wrote the idea down on “my list” and mention it and discuss it at every opportunity within the individual and group meetings that I had with others. He told me to be persistent and understand that it might not happen the next week, the next month, or even the next year, but that sooner or later…”someone”…will say….”Hey…why don’t we do this….” and then the idea, process and/or project is realized and implemented.

The focus point being was to rejoice in the fact that the idea, process, and/or project got implemented and brought positive change as opposed to who gets “the credit” for coming up with the idea.  I am going on  my tenth year of working for Harrison College and I have had quite a few things checked off my list within the last six years .  I still have a pretty big list! =) I look forward to seeing more items from the list get checked off as I collaborate with others.

Thanks for listening to the random marbles rolling around in my head! =)

Omar

Is having a knowledge of sports necessary in being seen as competent and able to contribute?

I don’t watch or really follow sports.  ANY type of sports.  I did not watch the Super Bowl (not even for the commercials)  I did however sit glued to the TV set at around 10:25 p.m. on Sunday awaiting the special “after Super Bowl” episode of Glee. =)   I am happy to attend any sort of live sports game and activity that has a social aspect to it, but don’t expect me to really be into or follow the game.  My friends and work associates KNOW that I am not a sports guy and that often times sports analogies need to be explained to me.

As I have indicated in earlier posts, I don’t watch a lot of TV.  I don’t have cable.  I am currently doing a free trial of Netflix Streaming Only so that Abigail,  Carrie  and I can watch movies on “the Pad” and the Wii.  Movies and selected TV shows are the only things that I watch.  I read alot!  I am reading more now that I did previously due to the Kindle, Nook, and other digital book apps on my IPAD.   I am well versed on a plethra of issues and topics as they relate to higher education.  I also have a decent knowledge base in regards to K-12 education.  I spend at least two hours each day reading the news as it relates to my industry as well as regarding current events, politics,  personal finance, and the economy.  I have found that my knowledge of these items have made me more productive in my job, more productive in my relationships with my close family and friends, and more productive in life.

I am unable to talk to you or anyone else about Jay Cutler, Tommy Rees, Harrison Barnes, or any other talked about sports player or team regardless if the sport is baseball, football, soccer, basketball, hockey, golf, squash, etc.  I don’t know nor do I keep track of any of their statistics or championships.   I just never developed an interest nor did I ever see where spending excessive amounts talking and obsessing about sports ever moved me closer to my personal goals or brought me closer to solving any of the world’s countless problems.  I have read some VERY inspiring sports related leadership and business books.  The Mentor Leader by Tony Dungy and The Gold Standard: Building a World Class Team by Mike Krzyzewski and Jamie K. Spatola to name a couple off the top of my head.

I am only talking about me and my own personal preferences.  If you enjoy all things sports, watching, doing, tracking and talking, then YAY for you!  I am happy for you.   I am glad you have found something that you can get into and gets you excited and motivated.

I would like to make the following requests…PLEASE:

#1.   When arriving and attending a business/work related meeting.  Please don’t spend more than 5 minutes recapping last night’s sporting event and/or player in the news.  If you want to do a deep dive, then have a conversation about the topic at hand with those interested AFTER the meeting’s business and plan of action has been taken care of allowing those with no interest to move about their work day and allow you to discuss.

#2.  Don’t bring sports to the conversation unless it truly relates to solving the problem or advancing the project being discussed.  Don’t throw in unrelated “sports talk” garble as it may throw the discussion and brainstorming off track.

#3.  Don’t discriminate or APPEAR TO DISCRIMINATE against others who show disdain for in depth sports discussions.

#4. Don’t APPEAR to value input from those who are “sports talkers” over those who are actually thinking about the business related issue or problem that you are trying to solve.

Thank you in advance for listening and considering my request!

An Innovative Travel Site-Insider Perks

As I continue to write about Innovation within Higher Education, I also plan to write about different innovative web sites and businesses I happen to come across through my online research and online networking.
Insider Perks is perhaps one of the most innovative and useful travel sites I have come across in a long time.   The company is based near Cleveland, Ohio.  The “See where you want to go before you go!” is my own created tag line for the site and why I think it is more innovative than most.   It is a one stop travel and shopping site with lots of resources that allow you to book your travel and shop for travel related goodies.  The thing that sets  Insider Perks  apart is that they provides REALLY high quality narrative videos of both domestic and international destinations.   You can really get a sense of what a travel destination has to offer without leaving your office and/or living room.  More importantly, before you spend your hard earned travel dollars based on text or photo based reviews you can immerse yourself in high quality video.  This is the site that I will use for vacation planning..someday…when I am able to take a vacation again! =)

Higher Education Innovation Moving Forward in 2011

Wow!  It has been over three months since I last posted on this blog.    Starting today, I will endeavor to post more frequently.     We have actually only had 2 Innovation Council meetings at this point.  The November and December meetings were both cancelled due to illness and/or conflicting meetings.   The Innovation Council and the Innovation Council Subject Matter Advisory Board Members took a list of 135 ideas and narrowed that down to about 40 ideas.  Those 40 ideas have been wittled down even further to a “Top Ten” ideas list with 5 Honorable Mentions that we are going to focus on developing proposals for and potentially implementing.  Harrison College is also in the early stages of its annual Budget/Operating Plan/Strategic Planning period for proposals for the next fiscal year, so it is a great opportunity to refine and present these ideas to bring them to reality!

Top 10 Projects Plus 5 Honorable Mentions

#1.       Published and Updated Learning and Degree Outcomes

#2.       Fully Online Class Demonstration in Personal Finance

#3.       HERO’s Highly Empowered Resource Operatives

#4.       All Inclusive Pricing-Straight Credit Hour

#5        Free New Student Orientation and Preparation Class

#6.       New Student Online Readiness Webinars

#7.       Online Student Retention Pods for Student Regions

#8.       Pay and Benefits Comparative Analysis

#9.       Online Readiness Diagnostic Assessment for Student Regions

#10.     Ethical Behavior Pledges

#11.     Automated Social Media Monitoring

#12      You Tube Staff Intro Videos

#13.     Credit By Examination For All Courses Offered

#14.     Online Student Profile Update

#15.     You Tube Testimonial Promotion Contest

In addition a project request has been submitted for the following:

IDEA SUBMISSION GENERATOR

A project request has been submitted to the IS Project Selection Committee for the creation of an Idea Submission Generator (IDG)which will be based in part (but NOT CONNECTED TO) the IS Project Request Form.   The Idea Submission Generator (IDG) will allow anyone in Harrison Land to submit an idea for development.  Once the  IDG is completed, we will promote its availability to all Harrison College Employees with some incentives for sharing ideas.

Next Innovation Council meeting will be on Thursday February 17, 2011.  I will have more to report before and after that meeting!

 

 

1st Innovation Council Meeting Complete…many many more to come

Meetings are often held in conference rooms

Image via Wikipedia

The first Harrison College Innovation Council meeting was conducted on the afternoon of Thursday October 21, 2010.    Main goal of Innovation Council is to become a “harvester” of ideas from around the total Harrison College community of stakeholders.

One of  the first things that I will remember for next time is to book the conference room meeting space at least 15 minutes in advance of the meeting start time so there is plenty of time to set up the AV and teleconference equipment.   We have a wonderful new space work and meeting space at 500 N. Meridian, but private  meeting space can still be a bit hard to come by if you don’t plan appropriately.

Future Meetings have been scheduled with a 15 minute advance window.  Lesson Learned. =)

The Innovation Council and the specific subject mater expert innovation committees  are comprised of a very diverse, cross functional section of individuals across Harrison College that will all be able to contribute greatly to the Innovation Council’s purpose and mission.    The conversation and insight of those involved was very thought-provoking.

The 1st Take Away “To Do” item that is due next Friday is  a Project Proposal for  creation of an “Idea Tracker” that is mirrored after the Harrison College’s IS team’s Project Request System.  The 2nd Take Away “To Do” item was to develop a much clearer SOP for the process that takes place from idea to concept to project proposal to project to implementation to review.  This SOP will include the different potential “decision steps” and actions that will occur if and when an idea, concept, project proposal, and/or full-fledged project gets implemented or denied by the council.  Both of these tasks will be vetted in more detail through collaboration with the Innovation Council membership.

We want to make sure that there is proper acknowledgement for the submission of the idea and concept as well as consistent note taking that could illustrate why or why not a particular idea may not have been chosen to be further developed.  The great thing about this whole process is that all ideas are captured and categorized and can be referred to later and updated if necessary.

There will likely be numerous enhancements and tweaks to the structure in the future, but beginning the process is exciting!

The Construction of an Idea Generator

I am happy to report that the Harrison College Online Team Building event held on Friday October 15, 2010 at Morty’s Comedy Joint in Indianapolis was well received and the participants appeared to have enjoyed themselves and left knowing some members of the team a bit better than they did before.    Morty’s was an OUTSTANDING venue for this event, and my good friend Chris Bowers of Bowers Success Development was available to deliver a great team building exercise.   I am now focusing on preparing for the 1st meeting of the Innovation Council on Thursday October 21, 2010.

One of the activities at our event at Morty’s involved the showing of a couple of innovative videos and then asking the members of the online team to submit on note cards and thoughts and ideas they might have in regards to improving Harrison College’s internal mantra of “changing lives one student at a time!”    Several of the individuals signed their names to the cards and others did not.  There were several great ideas submitted that I will certainly be added to the “idea que”.  I plan on acknowledging those who took the time to submit ideas and will follow-up with them.   Lots of great ideas from a moderately small group of people.   One of the main goals of the Innovation Council is to “nurture” ideas.  An idea becomes a concept.   A concept becomes a project proposal.  A project proposal becomes a project and a completed project is reviewed to see if it met the goals.

Harrison College has approximately 950 staff and faculty around the United States.   What if we could harness the thoughts and ideas of the total Harrison College workforce?   Harrison College has a current student population of 6000+ students.  What if we could harness the thoughts and ideas of the Harrison College student body?  Harrison College has 75,000+ graduates.  What if we could harness the thoughts and ideas of the Harrison College alumni base?   We need to construct an interaction idea submission form that would allow all of our stakeholders to submit their thoughts and ideas.    The submission form would be online and feed into a searchable, filterable database that could be a feeder for more developed concepts.

What if we could offer incentives to submit ideas?   Submitting an idea would make you eligible for a random drawing for a certain level of award.   Taking that idea to concept form would make you eligible for a random drawing for a certain level of award (a bit bigger than the one received for submitting an idea)  Taking that concept to project proposal form would make you eligible for a random drawing for a certain level of award (a bit bigger that the one received for submitting a concept).   What if completed projects could be submitted and judged for a moderately large award on an annual basis?   Would this sort of incentivizing increase participation in idea generation?

There is only one way to find out.  Try it! =)  I will let you know how it develops.

Knowing How To Use Sharepoint Essential for Innovation

SharePoint 2010 icon

Image via Wikipedia

Approximately two years ago, Harrison College established a college wide Sharepoint system in order to facilitate information sharing, promote collaboration, and become more efficient.   It has been an INCREDIBLE tool and resource.   I hear the phrase “It’s out on Share!” quite a bit when attempting to track down documents involving policies and procedures.    I have uploaded and downloaded documents.  I have participated in Discussion Groups.   I always make sure that my Harrison Share profile is up to date.  I made it a goal to make better use of the Harrison Share system in regards to the sharing of ideas and sharing of information in regards to the Innovation Council.

I wanted to post the following video to the Innovation Council Harrison Share site.  Once I saw this video, I wanted to share it with others to potentially inspire them.

I could not figure out how to do it even after reading the instructions on the Sharepoint Help site.  There are so many incredible resources available on our Harrison Share site and I need to take the time to know how to use them properly.   Setting aside the time to read and explore and test things out on the Harrison Share site is a “must do”.   Proper use of Harrison Share will be essential for promoting Innovatio