July 29, 2016: Friday news roundup

Before getting into the news, I wanted to share a quote from Vice President Joe Biden’s DNC speech earlier this week. Speaking of increasing pay for teachers, he said, “Being a teacher isn’t what they do; it’s who they are.” That line jumped out because it perfectly captures the ethos of instructors on the Udemy platform too. It’s why we created a marketplace where everyday experts can share their knowledge—because there are a lot of people who may not work in schools, but they are teachers at heart.

When it comes to brain function, you “use it or lose it”
Responding to a question on Quora, a neuropsychologist explains that learning one thing doesn’t exhaust your capacity to learn something else. On the contrary, as we’ve said here before, getting into the learning mindset actually helps you open up to new ideas and skills. You’ve got to make learning a part of your routine just as much as regular exercise.

Making it: The hands-on movement that impacts our economy, education and culture
We know lots of Udemy students consider themselves creators and tinkerers, and we love that! Most of them say they started young too. Here, the founder of Maker Media describes how kids today are playing with technology to fuel their imaginations and have fun, but they’re also developing valuable skills around problem-solving, critical thinking, innovation, and more.

The golden age of teaching yourself anything
This is a long but fascinating deep-dive into self-motivated learners and the emerging crop of technology-based tools available to help anyone become an autodidact. The article posits that it’s “neither intelligence nor technique that holds people back from being successful self-taught learners.” Rather, it’s insecurity—fear of not being smart enough. People with a true growth mindset, however, “don’t worry about how smart they are. What matters is their openness toward developing their skills and talents.”

The incalculable value of finding a job you love
Plenty of research has been conducted showing that money doesn’t bring happiness. On the other hand, doing work that’s personally satisfying and aligned with one’s values doesn’t always pay the rent. This columnist advises readers to become experts at something people value highly and that also fully absorbs their hearts and minds, which, he acknowledges, is easier said than done.

eHarmony has a younger, hotter business on the side: job placement
Does it ever feel like finding the perfect job fit is as elusive as finding the perfect mate? Online matchmaker eHarmony sees the similarity and a big business opportunity. They’re using the same software that pairs compatible couples to connect employers with suitable job seekers. Could it be a recipe for true love?

July 22, 2016: Friday news roundup

Lots of news to cover so let’s dive right in!

Dice and Udemy partner to offer targeted online courses for tech job seekers
First up, some cool company news. Dice is a career site for technology and engineering professionals, and this week they launched a curated selection of Udemy courses within their skills center in order to provide personalized recommendations to job seekers. It’s pretty nifty: search for a job skill and get a list of relevant courses available on Udemy.

Why constant learners all embrace the 5-hour rule
This article’s title refers to Benjamin Franklin’s personal routine of devoting an hour every weekday to learning, and it goes on to cite a bunch of other super-successful people who also make learning part of their daily lives.

4 keys to becoming self-motivated
All of us want to increase our productivity, but many of us have trouble finding any extra time in our schedules. But have you noticed, if you’re motivated enough to do something, you always manage to find the time to do it? This author suggests cultivating a sense of purpose, fostering a growth mindset, maximizing your strengths, and identifying the people around you who get you fired up to take action.

How freelancers can keep their skills fresh
Freelance marketplace Upwork is a Udemy partner, and our VP of Content Grégory Boutté contributed this post to their blog. In it, he makes a strong case for why freelancers must keep learning and updating their skills in order to stay competitive and how online courses can fill that need. When you’re done reading Grégory’s post, check out more tips for how to become a successful freelancer from the Harvard Business Review.

This is what your future virtual-reality office will be like
We conclude this week’s roundup with a peek into the (not-too-distant?) future. In a few years, you might be interacting with coworkers while wearing VR goggles and having “hands-on” collaboration with distant colleagues on virtual whiteboards. Decide for yourself whether this sounds like a productivity boon or just a more sophisticated way of filling your calendar with more meetings.

July 15, 2016: Friday news roundup

Hope everyone had a productive week and learned something new! Here’s what people were talking about in the media.

6 ways to make the most of your internship
Yes, we’ve been thinking a lot about interns these days, probably because we’re right in the  middle of our own summer internship program. We really liked the tips offered by this author and feel they apply to anyone in the early stages of their career or even starting a new job. Things like being resourceful, taking on extra work, and having high standards for excellence apply to all of us.

How to revitalize schools with tech
Our own CEO Dennis Yang attended Fortune’s Brainstorm Tech Conference this week and was part of a group of education and technology experts who dug into the opportunities for and challenges of improving schools and learning. This taskforce came up with four priorities for leveraging the power of technology for education, including ensuring high-speed internet access at all public schools and teaching computer science at every level, starting in kindergarten.

For effective brain fitness, do more than play simple games
We shared an article in a recent news roundup that questioned the validity of software that claims to exercise and strengthen its users’ brains. Here’s an article providing better alternatives and cites “novelty and complexity” as mandatory elements for achieving actual brain fitness. Examples include playing board games, learning a foreign language, or picking up a musical instrument.

Solving all the wrong problems
Lots of Udemy students aspire to careers as app developers, but the apps coming out of Silicon Valley have come under fire for being geared to a limited audience of privileged users or just being frivolous and far short of “world-changing.” This columnist calls for hackers, techies, and disruptors to put their considerable talent and intelligence toward solving bigger issues that really would change lives for the better.

A 10-year-old scored a PhD-level fellowship for the sweetest reason
A feel-good story out of France seems like the best way to conclude this week’s roundup. A young girl named Eva submitted her idea for using robots to make people in Paris happy to a  prestigious fellowship in the city. The program’s organizer was impressed with Eva’s passion and boldness and said, “Humility and the willingness to learn in order to go beyond our current limitations are at the heart and soul of innovation.”