Sunday, December 16, 2012

I have a hit! Should I extend?

As I have written about previously, often times marketers get themselves into trouble because they focus too much of their attention on under-performing productions causing them to ignore opportunities to better capitalize on productions which are over-performing.

So, now you have a hit on your hands, and you know you have to strike while the iron is hot. Sometimes hit productions can be few and far between, so what you do next could make or break your season. When a hit does occur, many entrepreneurially minded non-profit producers start to consider an extension to their previously announced runs. Before announcing an extension, here are a couple of things you should consider: 

Feasibility. Is it even possible to extend your run? Oftentimes non-profit subscription houses have another show coming in right on the heels of the previous one, and there is no room to extend. Are your actors available for an extension? Many times actors have other projects already lined up, and they are unavailable for an extension. And if some actors are unavailable, can you continue a run with replacement actors?  

Extension Costs.  How much will it cost per week to run an extension? Make sure that you include all relevant costs, such as:

·         Casting and put-in costs for replacement actors
·         Any increases in fees due to extension clauses
·         Marketing and press fees to promote an extension
·         Applicable overhead costs such as house management, box office, etc.
·         Cost of sales fees such as credit card service charges
·         Increases in royalty payments

The higher the weekly operating costs, the more risky an extension will be. The decision to extend a popular play with a modest cast size will be much easier than the decision to extend a large musical, which can have weekly operating expenses 4 to 5 times higher than a play. 

Current Sales and Inventory. How many tickets did you sell in the previous couple of weeks and how much in single ticket revenue did you realize? Even if you are currently achieving more revenue in single ticket sales than what you are projecting as your weekly operating costs for an extension, it may not be a good decision to extend. For example: production X has sold 2,000 single tickets for $100,000 in single ticket revenue per week for the past three weeks. You have projected that your weekly operating costs for an extension will be $80,000 per week, leaving a $20,000 positive differential between current weekly revenues and projected weekly operating costs leading you to believe an extension is advisable. But, when you take a look at your available inventory for the remaining 6 weeks of your run, you notice that you have 18,000 tickets left to sell in your 1,000 seat theater. Selling at a pace of 2,000 tickets per week with 6 weeks left, you will sell 12,000 additional tickets which represents only 67% of your remaining inventory. In this situation, it may not make sense to extend, as you could avoid additional extension costs and maximize net revenue by selling out your remaining inventory.  [note to reader: I chose to use relatively large round numbers as the arithmetic is easier, and they illustrate arguments in a more succinct manner. These concepts are easily scalable for smaller or larger houses.]

Burn and Sell Ratio. Are you realizing more in single ticket revenue for future performances than you are burning off each week? For example, in your 1,000 seat theater with an average ticket price of $50 and a 60% paid capacity for a performance schedule with 8 shows per week, you will burn off $240,000 in ticket revenue each week of performance. If you are selling more than $240,000 each week for future performances, and your weekly operating expenses for an extension are below $240,000, it is a good indication that an extension is viable. 

Time to Sell.  If you decide to extend a run in your 1,000 seat theater for an additional week, with an 8 show per week schedule, you will bring an additional 8,000 seats online to sell. Do you have adequate lead time to sell the extension? If you have relatively low weekly operating costs, the financial risk may be low, but you don’t want to announce an extension only to play to 30-40% paid capacity because you didn’t have enough time to adequately promote it.  

Other random thoughts…

·        Extending a popular production can ensure an influx of new patrons, which can lead to an abundance of excellent leads to develop new multi-show ticket buyers. That said, scarcity can also be a very valuable marketing tool. Nothing encourages early ticket buying behavior better than sold out houses.
·        Extensions are not always extensions. Some theaters have developed business models which involve “extending” almost every show they produce. At other theaters, extensions are very rare. Why is this? For those that always seem to have extensions, most “added performances” are likely built-in and planned as part of their original run lengths, but tickets are held off sale until a predetermined date, thereby creating the perception that when tickets are placed on sale, the production has indeed extended. It’s quite a clever marketing strategy until you go to the well too many times, and the public starts to understand what’s going on. At which point, I would guess that marketing a production as “just extended” starts to lose some of its value.

Friday, November 23, 2012

6 Essentials of Aseptic Techniques Training Program

Aseptic techniques are an essential part of the healthcare industry. One of the biggest concerns of doctors is to reduce the risk of infection to patients in the hospital. Practicing these aseptic techniques enables them to address this concern. It is unthinkable to think of an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) or operating room of a good hospital without sterilized instruments and hygienic facilities today. The hospital may even lose its license to practice. If you are a healthcare employee, you understand the importance of these techniques in a medical perspective.

It is required of healthcare employees specially those working in the surgical departments to enroll in an aseptic techniques training program. Here are 6 essentials of this training program.

· There are different levels of training available depending on your line of work. The duration for these different courses varies. For e.g. if you are a doctor or surgical nurse, you will need to undertake the specialized course which can take up to two years to complete. There are other aseptic training courses that are more basic and may last for around six months.

· It is not necessary for you to be previously experienced in surgical techniques. This training program consists of many steps and you will be taught everything you need to know as part of the program.

· In case you are sent as a part of a team from your hospital, they may require you to state that you will be serving a bond of certain number of years in their hospital after you complete your training program. This is generally applicable only to larger, well-known hospitals.

· In your training program you will learn about general aseptic techniques like scrubbing, hand washing, proper gloving and gowning for surgical procedures, and so on. Sterilization is a huge part of the course, which includes sterilization of equipments, clothing, and locations. You will be taught using real life situations will practical exposure, to help to understand better. You will also be taught the right way to prepare a patient for surgery, how to clean and sterilize the surgical area and how to drape the patient.

· If you are interested in specializing in a specific surgical field, there are aseptic course available for that too. For e.g. you can learn about aseptic techniques specific to pediatrics, orthopedics, and plastics departments, to name a few.

· Aseptic techniques training requires a lot of your time. It will take at least forty hours per work. It is better to do a good research before you enroll so you can prepare accordingly. You can also enroll in an online program if it is difficult for you to take so much time off work.

Aseptic techniques training includes practical and hands on experience in hospital settings. This will increase your confidence and sharpen your skills to help you be the best once you complete the course and join a reputed hospital. If you are a surgical employee, you will benefit greatly by undertaking this training program.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Is Your Organization Fun?

Last weekend was my annual pilgrimage to the National ArtsMarketing Project Conference hosted by Americans for the Arts. It has become my favorite conference of the year, not only because I get to catch up with friends from all over the country, but because it reminds me that sometimes the most profound marketing decisions are the most basic ones.

I attended a session entitled “The Curated Arts Experience” featuring Ceci Dadisman, Deeksha Gaur and Nella Vera. During this session, Nella started talking about something really fundamental – having fun. She gave several great examples of organizations that went out of their way to create fun and memorable experiences for their audiences. Immediately prior, we were treated to a lunch session featuring cdza, a trio of guys who create musical experiments.  With their experiments, they make classical music fun and accessible, and in doing so have millions of viewers worldwide. I have to wonder how many people have been introduced to classical music via their performances?

Cdza’s success is really pretty simple:

1)      They feature the work of brilliant artists – Michael Thurber is the “chief music guy,” a young man who from age 14 spent his life in a music conservatory and graduated from Juilliard.
2)      They don’t take themselves too seriously
3)      They create memorable and fun experiences 

Their motto: “first build your audience by offering them dessert before you introduce vegetables.” Simple. Clear. Brilliant.  

In previous blog posts, I’ve mentioned that when building audiences, you must program “gateway drugs” – a couple of options that are easily accessible and offer up a fun evening of entertainment in an attempt at proving that the non-profit arts can be a viable entertainment alternative to audiences that currently don’t view them as such. Great art doesn’t have to be devoid of entertainment value. It is possible to have art of the highest quality that is fun. 

Earlier this week, Adam Thurman of Mission Paradox reminded us that we need new audiences more than they need us. And here’s the painful truth – since art is essential to our lives, we like to believe that they are essential to everyone. That just isn’t the case. A good amount of the population does just fine without the arts. That isn’t to say that I believe the arts couldn’t enrich their lives, it is merely meant to point out that in the hierarchy of needs, we’re closer to the bottom. In today’s economy, merely meeting basic existence needs has become difficult, so convincing someone to spend their remaining disposable income on a discretionary item like the arts is harder than ever.  

We have to make our organizations inviting, accessible and fun. And understand that providing a fun experience doesn’t equate to sacrificing artistic credibility. We don’t have to sacrifice the core of who we are to attract new audiences, and those that make that argument, in my opinion, are short-sighted. 

New audiences need to be cultivated carefully. Create a path for them. Give them an easy entry point. Provide an amazing experience. Steward them so they return soon after their first experience. Build their confidence with multiple experiences, and then provide an opportunity to sample something a little more challenging. Introduce them to new experiences. At some point, if you don’t provide them with a challenge, they will grow bored. We are responsible for cultivating our audiences’ artistic growth. If we lack audiences for classical, challenging or new work, perhaps it is because we try to short circuit the system, and ask that new audiences sample what they would at first perceive as vegetables before getting to the dessert.  

In some circles in Washington, DC, the Kennedy Center has been criticized for programming work that isn’t as challenging as some would like. I however, appreciate the role the Kennedy Center plays in our ecosystem. Each year they introduce thousands of people to the performing arts for the first time. This in turn acts as a feeder system to other arts organizations.  

A balanced meal is important, but so too is the order of consumption. Start with dessert, and the chances increase that the full meal will be finished. Roll out complex foods to a novice palate, and you may not make it past the first course. 

Friday, November 9, 2012

Five Things You Didn't Know About Aseptic Technique Training

No matter which area of healthcare you are employed in, aseptic technique training is beneficial, necessary, and required by law. The aseptic techniques help to prevent infection and stop the spread of disease in infectious situation. It helps to protect both the patients and healthcare employees from the risk of infection and spread of disease.

Because of the crucial nature of techniques, all healthcare employees that come into contact with patients need to undergo aseptic techniques to maintain a sterile environment. Even though the training is widespread, there are some things you may not know about training and the options. Here are five things you may not know about training:

1) There are many training programs that available completely 100% online. The online course can often be taken 24 hours a day, 7 days a week allowing for complete flexibility for healthcare professionals. This is exceptionally handy for those healthcare professionals that work nontraditional schedules and constant overtime.

2) Aseptic technique training programs can be taken as a group or individually. With some traditional on-location training programs, a group setting is required. With online courses, you can take the courses online alone or in tandem with your coworkers. Even if the online courses are taken simultaneously by a group, each individual needs a specific log in to ensure the tests are taken individually for certification.

3) The costs of aseptic technique training course can vary greatly. A lot depends on which type of course offered, traditional on-location or online for instance. Different companies offer different prices for different reasons. Also, if an entire group enrolls many programs offer group discounts. Some programs offer discounts for certain types of organizations like non-profits or schools. Online training programs tend to be less expensive than traditional training programs because they have reduced the cost of staff and facilities.

4) Some courses can be completed in under an hour, but there is no need to rush. If you decide to pursue training online, the course can be taken at your own pace. This gives benefits to both those who feel stifled and slowed down by group settings and also those who like to review materials multiple times before taking an exam. The materials can be reviewed as many or as few times and you need to fully absorb the information.

5) If you do not pass the aseptic technique training technique the first time, you can retake it as many times as you need. This helps to relieve some of the pressure from those individuals who experience test anxiety.

Armed with this new knowledge of aseptic technique training information, you should be fully confident in your decision to purse certification whether you are a healthcare employer or healthcare professional. The wide variety of options and flexibility of aseptic technique training programs help to assure that all individual needs can be met within a healthcare organization regardless of hectic schedules and learning style.

Friday, November 2, 2012

6 Objectives of Aseptic Techniques Training

Healthcare employees who are regularly in contact with potentially infected patients are required to undertake the aseptic techniques training. Other individuals whose jobs require them to deal with products that may cause spread of infection must also be trained.

Here are six objectives of this training program.

· The first objective of this particular training is to teach healthcare employees certain guidelines that they must follow to ensure that do not cause further damage to a patient. While treating patients, you want to heal them, but cause further infection from other sick patients. These hospital-acquired infections are known as Nosocomial infections.

· Another objective of this training is to teach employees precautionary measure to practice in order to protect themselves from contracting dangerous diseases from infected patients. For e.g. employees need to be careful and wear protective clothing while treating a Hepatitis B patient.

· Aseptic techniques training for healthcare workers also help in reducing the risk of healthy individuals getting infected. In case of a healthy individual coming to donate blood, there is minimal or no chance of him contracting infection if the technician or nurse follows these precautionary measures while drawing blood. This can also be said for those individuals who come to the hospital for routine tests or those healthy individuals who donate organs and so on.

· This training is especially important for laboratory technicians and microbiologists. It helps the technicians to understand how they can prevent their samples and specimens from getting infecting with microorganisms from outside. Laboratories have seen that with practice of aseptic techniques the accuracy of the investigation increases. As with these technicians, it helps even microbiologists prevent their cultures from getting infected by microorganisms. It also protects them from getting infected themselves by the cultures they work on. Practicing aseptic techniques reduces the chances of wrong results and therefore indirectly benefits the patients too.

· It is not only human blood that can spread bloodborne diseases, but animal blood as well. The pathogens may be transmitted from the animal to a human through bites, licks, cuts and wounds, and so on. Spread of such infection may lead to hazardous results. Therefore, this training is essential for veterinarians too. It prevents cross contamination.

· Pharmacists who work in the laboratories preparing and making chemical compounds will also benefit from aseptic techniques training. if they understand how infections and the risk of contamination, then they will follow measures to ensure sterility of the product. This again benefits patients too as they are now using medicines prepared with the utmost care and safety.

There are so many more reasons that aseptic training techniques are useful listed about are six of its most important objectives. You would now understand that it is not only health care employees who need this training but others too. Several employers are now making this training mandatory for all employees, especially in the health care industry. All these above mentioned objectives can be summed up in one, to build a safe and sterile environment for individuals.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Benefits of Aseptic Techniques Training: 5 Points

Aseptic techniques' training is mandatory for hospital employees and specially those who work in surgical fields. This includes doctors, nurses, and others who are regularly in contact with infected patients. Training teaches you the procedures and measures that you must follow in prevent spread of infections.

Even if your work doesn't involve being a primary care-giver to patients, it is always good to be aware of these precautionary measures in cause you have to deal with an emergency situation.

Mentioned below are 5 benefits of the aseptic techniques training program.

· Practicing these techniques helps in preventing the spread of infection from one patient to another in a hospital setting. Thus, it reduces the risk of nosocomial infections. It also prevents the spread of infection from infected patients to the doctors and nurses who are treating them.

· When employees are trained to follow these techniques, they help create sterile conditions for patients. Aseptic training teaches about cleaning, sterilization, and disinfection, which must be practiced on instruments, clothing, and surfaces. This is all done with the aim of creating an environment free of dangerous microorganisms.

· Surgical staff requires specialized training because it is essential to create a sterile field while operating on patients. Aseptic techniques need to be strictly followed during surgical procedures like catheter insertions, preparation of patient for surgery, intra-arterial line insertions, and endoscopy and so on. Wound and burn care, intensive care, etc. also require techniques. It is necessary that aseptic techniques are followed in all departments in a hospital; however as the risk of infection spread is greater during surgeries, the surgical department needs to be extra cautious. The training will help the surgical employees to understand the seriousness of the situation and comply with the practices to keep themselves and the patients safe.

· Hospital employees are taught to treat every patient as potentially infected. Therefore, these techniques do not need to be practiced with only a few patients, but with every patient. However, there are special cases where a little more care is required as the risk of infection is more. This includes patients who have suffered a trauma, diabetic patients, cancer patients, burn patients, and so on. Every effort should be made to ensure that they do not suffer with a hospital-acquired infection on top of it all.

· Sterilization of rooms is a very important of techniques. Keeping operating rooms sterile is the best way to rid the room of all microorganisms. The operating are first in line for sterilizations, but other clinical areas and wards also need proper cleaning and disinfection. Infectious patients are usually placed in high dependency units and intensive care units and therefore a high level of hygiene and asepsis is required there. The smallest amount of infections can set them off towards their end, and hence extra precautions are taken to strictly adhere to techniques.

Therefore, you can see how beneficial techniques are in maintaining a sterile and clean hospital environment. If the employees are trained in this area, there will be a considerable decrease in hospital -acquired infections. Hence, aseptic techniques' training is important and benefits hospital employers, employees, and specially patients.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

The Plight of the Newspaper (and Preparing for the Future)

A couple of years ago, I was speaking at a conference and someone from the audience asked me what I believed to be the biggest marketing challenge of the next five years. I answered with the death of the newspaper, which surprised many, who thought I would point to declining subscription bases or overall drops in arts participation.  We had just experienced the death of four major newspapers – the Seattle Post Intelligencer, the Rocky Mountain News, the Tucson Citizen and the Christian Science Monitor – at a time when most non-profit arts organizations had important symbiotic relationships with their hometown newspapers.  

So let me pause to ask – if your newspaper were to go out of business today, how would that impact your organization?  

And here’s why I am asking. According to the Newspaper Association of America (NAA):

·        Total print advertising has dropped from $47.4 billion in 2005 to $20.6 billion in 2011 – the lowest print advertising has been since 1983 (not factoring for inflation).
·        In 2011, the total daily circulation of all the newspapers in the United States was 44.4 million, the lowest on record since 1940.
·        Citing a 2010 Scarborough report for adults 18+, 47% of the U.S. population 35 years and older read an average issue of a daily newspaper in comparison to only 26% of the population under 35.

According to The Pew Research Center, since 2003, the Internet has been on par or more popular than newspapers as a news source, and currently just 21% of young adults report newspapers as their primary source of news. As the Internet has become increasingly popular as a news source, newspapers have invested tremendous amounts of resources in building their online presence, but here’s the problem – for every $1 gained in online advertising, newspapers lost $10 in print advertising in 2011. And the reason? In print advertising, newspapers are dominate, but online, they compete in a very crowded marketplace, where Google and Facebook combined will share just under 30% of total online display advertising revenue in 2012.  

Using the statistics provided online by the NAA, in 2005 1,452 daily newspapers shared $47.4 billion in print advertising for an average of $32.6 million in print advertising per daily paper. Six years later, 1,382 daily newspapers shared $20.6 billion in print advertising for an average of $14.9 million in print advertising per daily paper.  

In six years, the average daily newspaper lost more than 50% of its print advertising revenue, placing in jeopardy the entire business model of most newspapers and leading to drastic changes. Newspapers around the nation are slashing their newsrooms, laying off veteran reporters and in the best case scenarios, replacing them with freelance reporters with little experience. In worst cases, they aren’t replaced at all.  Just recently the theater world received news that veteran Philadelphia Inquirer arts writer and critic Howard Shapiro, after 42 years with the paper, was reassigned to cover South New Jersey in what seemed like an attempt to make him miserable enough to leave. And it looks like it worked.

With fewer reporters and less experience, not only has coverage decreased, but quality has diminished as well.  Many of us shook our heads when a small online magazine named Pasadena Nowhired two writers in India to cover local events but just recently we’ve learned of Journatic,a company that outsources journalism to the Philippines for US newspapers.  Others have transitioned from primary reporting to aggregating content from other news sources and then providing commentary on the aggregated material. When I was at the Smithsonian, one such company drew inaccurate conclusions by providing editorial on aggregated stories. When I called to tell them of the inaccuracies and offer to set up interviews so they could report on the story directly, the freelance writer told me they didn’t pay him enough to do any original reporting. Unfortunately for us, other outlets picked up his story.  I understand cutting as much fat as possible from budgets during tough economic times, but at some point, there isn’t any fat left, and what remains is only muscle. Cutting further sacrifices your ability to deliver an excellent product, which is why I advise arts organizations to avoid cutting investments in the artistic product itself if at all possible when making budget adjustments.  By sacrificing quality, I’m afraid newspapers could be pouring gas on an already blazing fire.  

Every great arts city has a great newspaper. Every great theater town, a well respected critic. If your city is affected by cuts to arts coverage, let your voice be heard. Activate your bases. Support outlets with extensive arts coverage with your advertising dollars. That said, I advise non-profit arts organizations to prepare themselves for the possibility that their local newspaper could go out of business.  Cultivate relationships with bloggers, social media mavens and other influentials in your community. Develop online communities where your audiences can speak to one another. Produce and distribute original content yourself. Diversify your advertising strategies. Budget resources to grow your database. Hopefully these efforts will be for naught, but if the day comes that your local newspaper declares bankruptcy, you’ll be better prepared.

Friday, October 19, 2012

The 5 Benefits of Taking an Aseptic Techniques Class Online

One of the most important training programs that healthcare professional need is training. If you are a healthcare employer or a healthcare professional, you may feel completely overwhelmed by all trainings needed to stay up to date on health regulations. It does not have to be overwhelming if you choose the right training programs. Many programs have alternatives to traditional training that can save time, energy, and money compared to extensive and expensive on location training programs.

With training, there is a more convenient option than traditional training. Many training programs are now offered completely online. Online aseptic technique training courses offer a wide variety of benefits including saving time and convenience. With these options, healthcare professionals can easily and quickly stay up to date with aseptic technique training to stop the spread of disease and risk of infection in patients.

Below are five clear benefits of taking an entirely online aseptic technique training course.

1) Convenience of location. An online course can be taken from a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from any place on earth that has an internet connection. This option is great for busy professionals who want to take the certification from home or those healthcare professionals who travel extensively. Eliminating the location often reduces overall costs of training as well.

2) 24/7 time availability. Online courses also offer the flexibility to take the training course whenever works best for you, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. This is a great advantage to healthcare professionals who work erratic schedules and long hours.

3) Work at your own pace. Because an online training course is pre-recorded, you can stop and start the videos and slides as often as you want. Take notes at your own pace and learn at your own pace. If a certain concept is difficult, you can focus on that part longer. This feature allows learning types and speeds of all kinds to be successful.

4) Quick finish time. Many aseptic technique training programs can be completed in under and hour. Compared to many courses who can take days, this is a huge time saver. With this quick time frame, training can be completed over a lunch hour for super convenience.

5) Instant certificate. With a course entirely online, you can immediate access to your certificate upon completion of the course. This means no days, weeks, or even months of waiting to get full certification in aseptic technique training. You can print the certificate directly from the same electronic device you took the training on.

There are many benefits to taking an online aseptic technique training class in addition to those listed here. With all these benefits, it really makes sense to pursue this certification through the convenience online. Keeping up to date with aseptic technique training and others will seem less overwhelming with the option to pursue certification online, from anywhere, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Friday, October 12, 2012

What You Need To Know Before You Join an Aseptic Techniques Training Course: 5 Points

Aseptic techniques training includes information, safety measures and suggestions on protective issues such as hand washing, sterilization, surgical scrubbing, personal protective clothing, and other such aseptic techniques.

This training is necessary for all healthcare employees in the U.S and it is the healthcare organizations responsibility to make sure they have it. The risk of contracting an infection in a hospital setting is great, for patients as well as employees. Hence, certain measures must be followed to ensure that this risk is reduced to a minimum.

If you yet to join an aseptic techniques training program, here are something's you should know about it.

· There are several institutes that offer this course. Some institutes may a number of courses together in a bundle, and if you need to undertake all the other courses as well, it would be economical and time-saving to enroll in the bundle training program.

· Nowadays, training courses are readily available online. All you need is a computer and a good internet connection. With the online course you can complete it from the comfort of your home, anytime you want. You save yourself the trouble of taking time off work and travelling elsewhere to attend the course.

· The fees for the course may vary from institute to institute. Therefore, it is essential that you do a good background research before you enroll. Always pick a reputed but economical program. If you have a number of your colleagues also wanting to enroll, you can avail the discount that is available for larger groups. For an employer, it makes more sense to apply for training for a large number of employees. This enables your employees to get special attention and saves resources as well.

· When you complete your aseptic techniques training program, you will be given an exam with multiple choice questions. Once you successfully pass this exam, you will be awarded a certificate. This certificate proves that you are knowledgeable about all the topics covered in the course. If you have completed the course through the online medium, you can print your certificate yourself. It can also be reprinted in case you lose it. Employers can print certificates for the entire group all together.

· This training program does not have a set duration. The duration of the course is entirely dependent on you. You can take your time to slowly go through each topic and understand it well. There is no hurry to finish it fast and you can complete it at your own time. In case, you fail to pass your exam the first time, you can appear again and again, until you pass it.

These are five important things you should know about aseptic techniques training program, before you enroll in it. There are a number of training institutes available online and you will be able to find a good one easily. There are other classroom-based training programs that are also available and you can choose the one that is suitable for you.

Friday, October 5, 2012

4 Professions That Benefit From Bloodborne Pathogens Training

Bloodborne pathogens are microorganisms that survive in the blood stream and cause disease. These diseases are then transmitted from person to person through the contact of blood and bodily fluids. There are quite a few ways to spread bloodborne disease including sexual contact, sharp objects like razors and needles that have been previously contaminated, contact with an open wound of an infected individual, and other contact of bodily fluid. The severity of many bloodborne diseases makes a training program a necessity for many professions.

Bloodborne pathogens training course offer all the information necessary about pathogens and how to prevent the spread of disease. The course are often offered conveniently online to help busy professionals work the training into their schedules.

Any profession that comes into contact with bodily fluid or blood is at risk for contracting or spreading these pathogens. Because of this these 4 professionals are all at high risk and should take a training course to education and protect themselves from the risk of bloodborne diseases.

1) Healthcare professionals. This is the profession that most people think of when they think of training. Any professional that comes into direct contact with patients needs to undergo training. This will reduce the risk of the employee contacting any disease and prevent the spread of any bloodborne disease between the patients they treat.

2) Blood bank employees. The blood in the name is a big indicator of why these employees need training. The training will help them the donations of blood, handling the donated blood, and the distribution of blood to those patients who need it. Blood bank professionals play a big role in stopping the spread of disease by screening donators and testing blood, but they also need to keep themselves safe in the process. This is where bloodborne pathogen training will help.

3) Fire and emergency medical professionals. These professions often arrive on a scene where there is a high risk of contracting or spreading these pathogens. Training courses will teach these employees the precautions and procedures to follow to lower their risk of contracting a bloodborne disease and lower the risk of them spreading the disease to others.

4) Janitors and waste removal employees. There can be many items that end up in the trash that have bodily fluids on them. These items include hypodermic needles, razor blades, and diabetic testing strips. If they are not disposed of properly they cause a big risk for janitors and for the general public. Waste removal employees can benefit greatly from taking a training course. It will help to keep themselves safe from contracting bloodborne diseases and make them more aware of the risks of the general public.

This list is just a starting point of who can benefit from training. Any person who is exposed to bodily fluids throughout their job should enroll in a bloodborne pathogens training program to protect themselves and prevent the further spread of disease.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Good Intentions Can Interfere with Success

To say that these are challenging times for non-profit arts organizations is probably an understatement. We're still struggling with the after effects of the global economic crisis. Previously viable business models are imploding. The elimination or severe reduction in government funding has resulted in a very quick need to replace public support with private funds. And who knows what is around the corner.

But, artists and arts administrators are a resilient bunch. One of our strengths is our never say die attitude. We confront each challenge head on in a "show must go on" fashion. We are inherently hard working. To make it in this field requires years of rebounding from rejection. When the going gets tough, we redouble our efforts.

After years of struggle, the fight in us undoubtedly begins to wane, as we contemplate the permanency of the current climate. And this isn't necessarily a bad thing. In moments of crisis, we ring the alarm and all hands arrive on deck to face the upcoming challenge, but this response is unsustainable for years on end. After downsizing, one human being can only do the work of three for so long before collapse. Our initial reaction of working stronger, harder and faster must give way to working smarter.

In the past few months, I've seen a couple of instances where hard working marketing departments, desperate to keep their heads above water, were working well beyond capacity, but were resistant to taking measures to improve efficiency for fear that if they took any time away from their current tasks, they would risk imminent financial peril. All while knowing that the current situation was unsustainable, they continued each day just like the prior, hoping that the financial climate would improve before they hit the point of exhaustion.

But for those already at the point of exhaustion, I'd like to offer up a few quick suggestions to improve efficiency in hopes of lightening the load:

Maximize Success to Minimize Risk. Often times marketing departments get into trouble when they have one business line or product performing very well, and a couple of others underperforming. Our natural instinct is to abandon the overperforming product in order to focus our attention on improving the underperforming others. Please don't do this. If you are understaffed and under-resourced (and who isn't), where and how you use your limited resources is incredibly important. If you reappropriate resources to aid underperforming products, at best you will most likely see minimal results, whereas if you applied your resources to the overperforming products, your returns could be exponentially better. High tech firms have built incredibly successful business models off of failure. They expect a very high percent of their products in development to fail, banking on the revenues from the one or two that will take off. And when a product does hit, the entire efforts of the company are focused on maximizing results. A good rule of thumb - spend 75% of your efforts on improving the results on overperforming products, and 25% on improving underperformance. All too often, we do the opposite, thinking that helping struggling products is what is best for the organization.

Analysis & Measurement, Before Action. Just a few weeks ago, I was in a meeting with a senior marketing executive in charge of a sizable national advertising campaign. He had a hunch that he was under-promoting a certain section of his business in the New York market, and had set aside a significant amount of money to test a new print campaign in New York dailies. When I understood what he was trying to accomplish, I asked him how he would measure success. He responded by saying that it was very hard to measure the exact outcomes of his new campaign, and besides, with his reduced staff and resources, he was doing his best just to get the campaign done and out the door. This is a common occurrence. When resources are cut, one of the first things to go is analysis, tracking, reporting and measurement. But when looking to work smarter, the one thing you need is what you have just cut. Before launching any major marketing campaign, make sure you have the tools in place to track results, analyze sales and measure success. Over the years, I have had more than one staff member get frustrated with me when I asked them to set aside the time they would normally spend promoting a production in order to create more sophisticated reporting tools. But without clear and reliable data, your campaigns will never improve, and if you do see an uptick, you won't be able to replicate what worked.

Don't Save Your Way to Trouble. Several months ago, I visited a client that was deep into their subscription campaign. The campaign was going well, but the company was financially struggling for other reasons. The marketing director, being incredibly conscientious, thought that every dollar saved, was a dollar earned for the company, and started to decrease the amount of money he spent on his subscription campaign in order to come significantly under his budgeted expenses. He wanted to save, and give back the money in order to help the company. His intentions were admirable, but his plan would have placed the company in an even worse financial position. His cost of sales reports were showing that for every dollar he spent on the subscription campaign, he was selling five dollars worth of subscriptions. This wasn't the time to under-invest, in fact, this was the perfect opportunity to spend more if cash flow allowed. If your cost of sale is below $1, for every dollar you don't spend, you place your company at additional risk. You only want to consider cutting your marketing expenses if your campaigns are resulting in negative net revenue, and even then, it is risky if you are cutting acquisitions.

Sometimes working smarter means doing the opposite of what's intuitive. Have the courage to challenge systems, the ability to measure results and the good fortune to discover efficiencies.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Law of the Few (and the Future of the Many)

About a year ago, I began designing a graduate certificate program for American University focused on technology issues in arts management, and this past summer, I taught my first course focused on the intersection of technology and marketing. To open the course, I asked students to read Malcolm Gladwell's The Tipping Point, which if you haven't read it, describes how social epidemics evolve, providing a great platform to discuss word-of-mouth marketing and how technology can be used to ignite a movement.

Early in the book, Gladwell discusses "The Law of the Few," which boiled down is a riff on the 80/20 principle - 20% of the people are responsible for 80% of the work. As marketers, we latch onto this principle, as it correctly argues that if we can identify and cultivate relationships with a select group of influential people called "connectors," then our returns can be maximized. One connector can be worth his weight in gold, and easily as valuable as ten non-connectors.

As I was giving my lecture, it struck me that most non-profit arts organizations have designed their business models on the "Law of the Few" principle, not just in their approaches to marketing, but in how we program, fundraise and communicate. A previous supervisor of mine used to say that a grassroots movement begins with the grasstops. But if we are all focused on the few, are we ignoring the many?

I ask this question, because as society shifted away from a one way, web 1.0 world towards an interactive, web 2.0 one, the ways in which we do business and view the world radically changed. Previously companies had much more control of their brands as they could carefully craft messaging, but today, brands have a life of their own in the virtual universe. We used to seek out experts when we needed information, now we rely upon the collective of Wikipedia or Google (when was the last time you consulted an encyclopedia?). At one time knowledge was proprietary, but presently, a growing number of us look to the commons (and companies trying to maintain business models built upon charging for knowledge are struggling). We used to rely on authority figures to inform us, but now in moments of crisis, millions flock to Twitter, where we learned an hour before President Obama confirmed it that Osama Bin Laden had been killed.

I believe that many of us used to defer to the knowledge and experience of a small few, placing trust in their expertise to guide the rest of us. But when a handful of very powerful and experienced bankers plunged the world into a global economic crisis resulting in the loss of 40% of the world's wealth, the masses started to wonder if the few could be trusted to lead. In the web 1.0 world, most were passive recipients, willing to receive content as delivered. Today, the least among us now demands a seat at the table, and via web 2.0 technologies, an even playing field has begun to emerge.

So how will this affect the non-profit arts? Here are just a couple of examples:

The Citizen Critic (and the Future of Arts Journalism)
A couple of weeks ago, Barry Hessenius, former director of the California Arts Council, issued his annual list of the most influential people in the arts. On the list were a handful of notable bloggers, including Ian David Moss, Diane Ragsdale, Clay LordDoug McLennan and Thomas Cott, however not a single traditional journalist was mentioned as there wasn't a category for journalists. Was this an oversight, or a trend? Nielsen recently reported that 92% of consumers trusted word-of-mouth from friends and family, while only 58% trusted editorial content such as newspaper articles. Harvard University recently published a study that contended that average reader reviews on were just as trustworthy as book reviews from professional critics. Even Maura Judkis, a writer for the Washington Post, in her article for the NEA's blog ArtWorks states "readers of my generation, the Millennials, are more likely to want to see a movie or play because their friends like it than because a critic does." Word of mouth has always been powerful, but advances in technology have allowed connectors to broadcast their thoughts to followers instantaneously, and others, the opportunity to feed into social networking, user review sites like So where does that leave us? Ask yourself - if you were visiting New York, and thousands of patrons had described a Broadway play positively in online reviews, would it have more of an impact on you than negative reviews by professional critics? [could this explain the mysterious success of Spiderman?]

Crowdfunding and Microfinancing
In her article "It is Broke, We Should Probably Fix It," Alexis Clements argues that many non-profit organizations chase a few, large foundations, whose money would have been public via taxation but is now controlled privately. She goes on to say that via grants from private foundations, wealthy individuals can "funnel money to organizations that will uphold their personal beliefs." That is a pretty charged statement, but I do wonder how often arts organizations manipulate their missions in order to receive a large grant or donation from a private funding source? How many arts organizations are alive today primarily due to the generosity of one or two major donors, and for those, do the donors in question wield too much influence? In 2008, President Obama demonstrated the power of the collective when he raised unprecedented amounts of money from small donations. As of August, the crowd funding website Kickstarter has raised $275 million in funding for projects, and has grown exponentially since its founding in 2009. And we aren't just talking about tiny amounts of funding either. The top 10 projects funded on Kickstarter all raised more than $1 million. And Microfinance website Kiva has leveraged $346 million in funds from 823,474 lenders to launch projects aimed at combating poverty in 63 different countries.

Crowdsourcing Curation and Programming
When I was at the Smithsonian, an internal debate was occurring about the "Art of Video Games" exhibit at the American Art Museum. The Smithsonian invited the public to help curate which video games would be featured in the exhibit, and in doing so, more than 3.7 million votes were cast by 119,000 people in 175 countries. Pretty impressive. However, questions began to arise about the role of the curator. For the most part, non-profit arts organizations are lead by artists with extensive training and sometimes decades of experience. As the resident experts in their fields, they are regularly called upon to make value judgements on what art to present, and how to present it. In the past, the public has remained a passive receiver of said art, but a growing number of patrons today would like to play a more active role. Technology has changed what used to be a one way conversation into a dialogue, and in turn, many community stakeholders now expect to be able to exercise their voice. I believe this phenomenon prompted Arts Journal editor Doug McLennan to host the "Lead or Follow" debate early this year. If you didn't catch it, here is a good recap.

Understandably, non-profit arts organizations have built models based on the "Law of the Few," and I am not advocating for the abandonment of those models. I am however suggesting that there is wisdom, money and resources to be found in the collective as well. This isn't an either/or proposition between the few and the many; it's a both/and situation. There is a significant role to play for the few and the many. But to tap into the collective, I believe we must become vital and essential to our communities again. I fear that for many non-profit arts organizations, if they were to disappear, we'd barely hear a whimper, when there should be protests in the streets.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Being Psychic - How Psychic Readers Live

Most people who do not have psychic abilities wonder what it like is to be psychic. Do mediums and people with these talents have perfect lives because they know what is going to happen? Are you able to turn your powers on and off at will? Do you constantly see dead people and hear strange voices in your head? Are you afraid to go to sleep for fear of the intrusion from spirits of other realms?

What's it like to be psychic? It may seem like it would be a blast to have powers that let you know things that were going to happen in the future for you or your friends. The truth is that sometimes it is nice when you have a notion of the good things that are going to befall a friend or relative, but not all of your friends and relatives are destined to have nothing but good things happen to them. Some of your friends will have hard times coming and not all of your friends will want to listen when you try to tell them about things they may be going to experience soon.

Most people with psychic powers cannot turn their powers on and off when they wish to. Because of this lack of control at times having the powers to hear voices and communicate with the spirits of the dead can be frustrating. There are times when some of these spirits are determined that the medium hear what they have to say and they are relentless until they are heard. This is not always pleasant.

Some people have powers that are triggered when they touch objects. They might be in a store and touch an object that once belonged to someone that has passed and suddenly be overwhelmed with feelings that the previous owner felt. They may even be flooded with memories the other owner had. This can be surprisingly pleasant at times and terribly sad at times. The mediums with this gift often wear gloves so they have more control over when the impressions will be sent to them.

People often think that individuals who claim to be mediums, or that claim they can communicate with spirits and beings that the rest of us cannot, are crazy. Much of the time when these talented people go to try and help someone they are met with bad attitudes and judgmental comments. This is one of the most frustrating parts of having the ability to make a connection with the spirits that inhabit the world with us.

What is it like to be psychic? It is sometimes scary, and it is sometimes the most pleasant experience that you can imagine. It is never boring and it is often frustrating. It is normal for those that are and they would not change it if they could.

Sarah Saxon works in the psychic and metaphysical industry and offers services Worldwide. Advancing spiritualism and world awareness for psychism. Including other key metaphysical realities which offer self growth and self actualization.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Seven Steps to Improve IELTS Exam Writing

Step One: Identify the Different Tasks

The Different Types of Task One in the IELTS Writing Exam

Task one of the IELTS writing exam can be separated into two key types. Static tasks, which are tasks that have only one time period; and change over time tasks, which have two or more different time periods. Then, task one of the IELTS writing exam includes different types of charts, which should all be looked at to be well prepared. The most common ones are: tables, pie charts, bar charts, line graphs, process diagrams, and maps. Finally, with task one of the IELTS writing exam, you need to use different types of language depending on whether the task consists of numbers, percentages, or steps in a process. Therefore, there are three key dimensions of task one of the IELTS writing exam:

1. static or change over time

2. type of chart

3. numbers or percentages

Identify the Different Types of Task TWO in the IELTS Writing Exam

For task two of the IELTS writing exam the two key elements are the TOPIC and the TASK. In theory, the topic could be almost anything. Although many topics are on the following subjects: education, crime, society, media, transportation, environment, and technology. In addition, many of the past topics seem to be recycled, so if we look at many of the past topics that have come up in the exam, we have a reasonable chance that we will have thought about that particular topic.

Next comes the TASK. I have identified that the task is almost always one of the following three tasks: an argumentative essay, a both sides and opinion essay, or a two question essay. I have talked about these three essays at length on my website. I have observed that about 30% of candidates on any given exam day seem to fail to either understand the topic or identify the task. In this case many people are failing, not because of their English ability, but because of their poor IELTS ability, or ability to know how to respond to questions in the exam. Note that not only your task score will be lower if you don't respond closely to the task, it tends to affect everything. For instance, you might use a lot of academic vocabulary, but if it is off-topic you won't get the full value for it.

Step Two: Read Lots of Samples for Each of the Different Tasks

Reading samples of different IELTS tasks can help you appreciate the differences between each type of task as well as help you learn the language and structure that is required for each particular task. Not every sample will be an accurate response to the task, even if it is written by a native English user; so a little caution is needed. The key point is to read lots of different samples and learn from them. To read samples go to my website and click on the links under Task 1: academic report writing and Task 2: essay writing.

If you would like to practice your essay planning please join my blog or facebook page, you can see the addresses for these in my author's PROFILE.

Step Three: Learn How to Structure your Report or Essay for Each of the Different Tasks

Structuring your tasks well is important to score well on one of the four key grading criteria Coherence and Cohesion. In addition, it also helps you score well on the other three grading criteria. Your Task Response score is enhanced because it is easier for the examiner to assess whether you have responded to the task and topic if you have structured your ideas logically. In addition, errors with vocabulary and grammar may be less serious if the examiner already knows your key point and therefore can guess what you mean, despite their being an error with language. In other words errors are more serious when the examiner is lost and has no understanding of what you are saying.

You can view the structure of the three main types of task two essays on my website.

Step Four: Practice Writing Each of the Different Tasks

In order to fully appreciate the different types of tasks in the IELTS writing exam you should practice writing as many different types as you can. This will help you remember the structure and language that you need to complete these tasks, help you improve your writing in general, and also alert you to any areas of uncertainty for completing the task. To illustrate this last point, imagine you are writing an argumentative essay and then you realize you don't know how to write the last paragraph. In this case you could read same samples or models and see how other authors completed these essays. In this case we should summarise our main arguments and then give our final opinion. We should also send a signal to the examiner that we are summarising our main arguments by starting the paragraph with words such as "In summary" or "In conclusion."

Step Five: Have Someone Check your Tasks

After writing your writing tasks it is best to try to get someone to read them and get some feedback. Most English learners don't seem to like to do this with their classmates, but I would say it has merits. Everyone has different areas of expertise and it can be a good learning exercise for students to check each other's writing. Another choice is to hire a private English tutor and get them to read your essays and give feedback. online editing IELTS essays service. I can correct your IELTS essays for a modest fee.

Step Six: Learn From the Feedback on your Tasks

If you do get your essays corrected by another student or a tutor, it is essential that you pay close attention to the feedback and learn from it. If you have made errors with the task response (for example you wrote an answer that was off topic) or you didn't structure it well, then you should think about what you did wrong in the planning of your essay. Perhaps you rushed to start the essay to quickly or just didn't read the question carefully.

Step Seven: Rewrite Tasks to Avoid Repeating the Same Errors

Sometimes, the best way to make sure you avoid repeating the same errors is to rewrite the same task, using the feedback from your marker to make sure that you are able to correctly produce a response to a particular type of question or task, before moving on to conquer the next type of task. This is especially true if your exam date is a long way off.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Get Certified First Aid Training Online

Life is full of surprises and certainly does not surprise any good. We face certain situations in life where every second is important and the small steps taken at the moment can change the outcome of one of many lives. Medical emergency is an example of this situation. This situation usually arises when medical help is not being accessed. For example, a man down with a stroke at the fair. If immediate steps are necessary not followed, the individual may suffer permanent damage or even death. Basic knowledge about how to deal with someone who suffers a stroke comes in very handy at this stage. And this "knowledge base" called also can be a lifesaver.

These things do not happen every day but when they do occur, usually only a matter of seconds is important. To get a clear idea about the first aid procedure is very easy these days. You can register with the help of online training courses. The courses are widely available online and make life easier for many people. Training program online help can be found in abundance through the internet. However, you need to make sure that you choose one that provides the appropriate tests and certificates. This certificate will come in very handy in the workplace.

If you would for any online course, make sure you go to one that is in accordance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996. HIPAA first aid training courses are equally popular through the internet these days and can be accessed easily. Because the program that complies with HIPAA, you can be sure that the procedures are standardized and taught during the program in accordance with medical norms.

Any first aid HIPAA training course will teach you to deal with a number of situations that may fall under the category of medical emergency. A basic skills that includes the treatment of cuts and bruises from minor injuries, strains and sprains, minor burns, fractures, etc. HIPAA training courses in first aid also includes a more serious medical emergencies such as heart attack, stroke, seizures, near drowning, shock, poisoning , heavy bleeding, etc. If you can equip yourself with knowledge, you will be more than ready to take a medical emergency that might arise from situations that are known or unknown.

Friday, August 31, 2012

5 Secrets Of Learning That No One Ever Told You

Everyone knows that we have two brain hemispheres - the left and the right. Logic and Gestalt.

The left hand hemisphere or the logic hemisphere handles our ability to see the bits and pieces that make up information - our ability to see the trees in the forest. It controls our ability to sequence information and put it in an orderly pattern. It helps us to see logical progressions and to recognise patterns such as number facts (multiplication tables) and rhymes.

The right hand hemisphere or Gestalt hemisphere handles our emotions, our ability to see the big picture - the reason why. It helps us to make sense of the bits and pieces in a meaningful and emotionally relevant way. The Gestalt hemisphere handles intuition and it is what allows us to make intuitive leaps - those flashes of brilliance when seemingly unconnected information comes together into something amazing. It governs our ability to relate to others with compassion and empathy. It is our creative side, our artistic and musically inclined self. Without it, the bits and pieces supplied by the logical hemisphere are meaningless pieces of information.

To learn effectively we need access to both hemispheres of the brain. In children with high stress levels (aka a learning difficulty,) one of the hemispheres is not functioning as it should. It is suppressed by the dominant hemisphere and its gifts are locked away. These children (and adults) are at a disadvantage - they are operating with only half of what they need to learn effectively. Hence some are dreamers - they can see the big picture but have no way of knowing how to accomplish their dream. Sometimes they are called lazy. Others are so bogged down in the details they get lost in what is called analysis paralysis - they can see the bits and pieces but can't quite grasp how to put them all together into a cohesive whole.

Regaining the use of the whole brain - what I call brain integration - is the first step we take when working with a new student.

Secret Number 2 - The Ability To Move Forward

For so many students (and their parents!) feeling stuck, clumsy, confused and lost is a daily experience. It isn't necessarily a physical feeling - although it can be. Mostly it is a mental feeling, one of being stuck in mud, it is a struggle and hard work.

Of thinking you have the answer and then beginning to doubt yourself. Of being unsure that you heard the instructions properly, so you need to check, double check, triple check before you feel confident to move forward with the activity.

Our ability to move forward determines how we approach different situations. If we feel stuck, our self-esteem and self-confidence are eroded over time and our insecurity increases. As it increases we become fearful of making mistakes, of "getting it wrong", of being laughed at.

On the other hand, if we can move forward without fear - we can sometimes have what I term bull at a gate syndrome. We can rush in where angels fear to tread. Sometimes we can lack the caution which allows us to assess the situation fully. We can have what situations like the one that faced Po in Kung-fu Panda 2. We can see our objective - Gongman City Palace, but not see the wolves prowling the streets, we leap into action without seeing the dangers that lie before us. As Mantis said: "What are you doing? The streets are crawling with wolves!"

A balance between the two extremes - feeling stuck and fearlessly moving forward - are needed for our children to learn. They need to be able to make a decision and see it through. In order to do this, our children need the foundation of Secret Number 1!

Secret Number 3 - Ability To Communicate

What is communication? For many people it is our ability to read and write, to speak clearly and succinctly. However, it is so much more than that. Communication is more non-verbal than verbal. It is the way we hold our self, the tone, the pitch, the delivery speed. It is our body stance, our facial expressions, the way we use or hold our hands. These visual cues are what bring meaning and depth to our communications.

Beyond this, communication encompasses our style of presenting information. Are we logical communicators? If so, we start at the beginning and plod through every detail of what has happened, useful for writing reports, but boring in a conversation!

If we are an emotional communicator, we bring in the full range of expressive language options. We rant, we rave, we may be incoherent at times (especially when excited or angry). We tell the story from an emotional point of view - telling what stood out at the time, not necessarily in a logical progression. So we have difficulty sequencing events as we jump around following the emotional trail. This event reminds me of that one (which may have happened a long time ago) which reminds me of something that I thought I heard yesterday and so on.

When it comes to learning, if we are limited in our communication - meaning our communication is controlled by the hemisphere which is suppressed under stress - we may know the answer but have difficulty expressing it. We have difficulty getting our ideas from our head onto the paper. Sometimes we can talk our way through it, but often we feel tongue-tied. We grow frustrated with our inability to express what is inside of us.

This can go on until we literally explode. The child who is limited in their ability to communicate can feel as though they are living inside a pressure cooker. Once they hit critical levels, steam has to be let out - often in the form of tears, tantrums, escapism, or total shut down where they withdraw inside of themselves completely.

For those around them, this situation is just as frustrating. After all, when they are relaxed and integrated these children show us glimpses of what they are capable of. And these tantalising glimpses leave us frustrated that they aren't performing at their best, especially when we don't understand why.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

How to Use Online Education Portals to CBSE Exams

Classes at schools and private CBSE tuitions aren't the only ways to learn and score more marks in your CBSE exams anymore. Online education portals are catching up here in India too, with quality websites being set up here by big media companies. They offer a ton of useful contents and features like CBSE question papers from past exams, sample papers and video lessons. They are the true modern companion to a student's hard work and studies. Using the features to your advantage is easy, and the results are more than worth the time and effort. Here are some of the features available with a typically good education portal, and how to best utilize them to score more marks:

Video Lessons: Video lessons are one of the best ways to learn your concepts and theories with crystalclarity. Using the most modern 3D and 2D animations along with examples set in real life scenarios, they elucidate students in a way that most teachers fail at. Watching these video lessons for half an hour at least each day should help you understand your lessons better and retain whatever you learn for a long time too.

Exam Resources: Good education portals act as homes for a huge amount of exam resources like past CBSE question papers, CBSE sample papers and question banks. These resources are great for familiarizing yourself with the CBSE question patterns and act as last minute reference to the important lessons and questions just before the exams.

Online Tests: Along with CBSE question papers and CBSE sample papers, online tests help you calm those pre-exam jitters. Taking them regularly should train your nerves to get more acquainted with the pressure of exams. Also, you can also get real time performance reports so that you can identify your weaker areas and evaluate them.

NCERT Solutions: These are detailed solutions to the questions found at the end of every chapter in NCERT books. Somewhat like the CBSE sample papers, but with detailed insights on the lessons learnt from each chapter. These can be doubled up as homework help too; you can use them to quick checks for your homework.

Course Plan: Whatever class you're in, you can download a detailed course structure so that you can get easy access to the entire list of CBSE sample papers, CBSE question papers and other resources suitable for you. Using them like the index to your dictionary should make things simpler and faster when you study.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

How To Compare Online Universities?

In order to select the best online university from so many good universities that offer online degree programs, you have to compare them. But, comparing these online universities can be a challenges. You may know the degree you are looking for, but it is not an easy task to narrow down the list to the best online degree program that meets your requirements. Below are the five considerations that you can use to compare the online universities before you select the best one among them.

1. Compare The Accreditation

It is your responsibility to make sure the online degree you earn is worth the value. Don't fall into the trap of diploma mill and earn a fake degree. Therefore, accreditation is the most important factor to consider when comparing online universities. Besides avoiding the scams, the consideration of accreditation is important to make sure you have a smooth start in your future career. For example, if you pursue an online degree program from a regional accredited university, you have an easier time finding jobs, using the degree to further your study or transferring your credits to other schools. Besides the regional accreditation, degrees from online universities that are accredited by DETC (Distance Education and Training Council) are widely accepted by employers.

2. Compare The Admission Requirements

Each school has the admission requirements for online students. It will be a waste of time if you are trying to apply for the online degree program that you are not qualified for. You should compare the admission requirements of online universities for the course you are interested in pursuing. Make sure you can meet the requirements before you submit your application.

3. Compare The Residency Requirements

When comparing the online degree programs offered by different online universities, it is important to compare the residency requirements and make sure you select the one that fits your lifestyle. The education programs may be offered entirely through the internet or require you to attend some hours of physical classroom sessions or face-to-face discussions at a brick-and-mortar university. If there is residency requirements, you may want to consider the online degree programs with physical facilities near your home or workplace.

4. Compare Online Class Schedules

Flexibility is a feature and the advantage of online edtcation. Many online education programs allow students to learn based on their pace of study. But, it may not apply for some programs as they need the online students to meet strict deadlines for every subject they sign up in a semester. Depending on the time you can allocate on online study, you should compare the class schedule for the courses offered by online universities. If you are a working individual and your job requires you to travel frequently from one place to another, you may want to consider the online degree program that gives the maximum flexibility so that you can plan your own schedule to fit your times.

5. Compare The Examination Requirements

Almost all online degree programs require students to complete the examination in order to earn the degree. Each online university will have its examination requirements. Many of the universities have specific examination centers for their online students to sit for the exams. You will need to compare the examination requirements from each online university to make sure you can meet the requirements. There are also online examinations allowed in some degree programs, you can choose this type of examination if it is your preferred method.

The Myth of the Ubiquitous Solution

Today I tread lightly into the “new models” discussion which has recently been at the forefront of chatter among arts managers. For a good recap, please read the following:

Why Arts Managers Short of Cash Are Looking at Detroit,” by Terry Teachout, The Wall Street Journal
Theaters Look for New Ways to Draw in Subscribers,” by Nelson Pressley, The Washington Post
The New Model, Part 2,” by Michael Kaiser, The Huffington Post
Swimming Downstream in the Current of History,” by Adam Huttler, Fractured Atlas Blog

As Michael Kaiser states “the world is changing – but it has always been changing.” I agree with Mr. Kaiser to a point, but I’d like to point out that the amount of change organizations have faced in previous decades probably pales in comparison to the change they have confronted in the past ten years. In a one decade, pretty much everything we have been taught is now in question. How many of us were taught that the key to financial stability was saving money in order to purchase a house? For those of us who purchased prior to 2007, becoming a homeowner could be the dumbest financial decision we make in our entire lives. Who knew that we would experience a global economic crisis so severe that it would destroy
40% of the world’s wealth, or that people would actually opt for negative investment returns in order to move monies into safer investment vehicles? For the first time in the history of the United States, Standard & Poors downgraded the credit rating of the federal government to below AAA status, and the youngest Americans will most likely be worse off than their parents. Staples of American life, such as Social Security and Medicare, seem to be imploding, and new college graduates are entering the work force with record high student loans.   And this is to say nothing of the arts. States and municipalities are slashing funding, arts education barely exists in school curriculums and the lack of discretionary income is affecting ticket sales.
As they say, necessity is the mother of invention. It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that arts managers are engrossed in discussions about new models. Many organizations had reserves to weather a couple of bad years, but recently we’ve begun to ask – what if this is the “new normal?” And how arts managers describe the “new normal” reminds me of the Hindu tale of the Blind Men and the Elephant. As the story goes, six blind men were asked to touch and describe an elephant. Each man’s description varied widely depending on the part of the elephant the man touched, and as the tale says “each in his own opinion exceeding stiff and strong, each was partly right, and all were in the wrong.”
Our descriptions of the “new normal” are as different as our points of views, and thus our responses to our changing environments should be as unique as each of our institutions.  I fear anyone who offers a panacea to all proclaimed from his or her own mountain top, as the view from my mountain may be different. For example, in his mostly excellent article about the Detroit Institute of Arts, Terry Teachout chides theater companies that “cling to the old-fashioned subscription model.” Similarly, in Nelson Pressley’s article “Theaters Look for New Ways to Draw in Subscribers,” Tony Heaphy, Director of Marketing at Centerstage, describes subscribing as “a chestnut.” I have no doubt from their perspectives these comments are valid, but theaters that have experienced significant growth in their subscription base might view the situation differently. What works for one, rarely works for all.

Therefore a customized approach tailored to your institution is wise. When looking at possible adjustments to your business model, I would suggest:
1)      A test a day. Test a new idea, small in scale, each day. Every day that an organization doesn’t test, is a day that it doesn’t learn.
2)      Test small, miss small. Identify a challenge. Develop a hypothesis. Test a solution. But don’t bet the farm on it. Conduct each test fully expecting a negative result.
3)      Test ideas that are easily scalable. In order to minimize risk, I’ve tested ideas that performed very well on a small scale only to realize that putting them into play in a larger way would be cost prohibitive.
4)      Identify your sacred cows, and test those first. Often times we shy away from testing solutions to a known issue simply because that issue is a sacred cow. If you are looking for meaningful impact, identifying sacred cows is a good first step.
5)      Be informed, but question everything – even “experts.” Read everything you can. Follow experiments at other companies. Conduct research. Analyze data. But don’t accept anything or anyone as infallible. Even the best are human, and they speak only from their experience.
6)      Be careful of “one size fits all” solutions. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve heard marketing directors wonder why something that worked so well in one city, bombed in the next. There are few universal truths in the marketing world.
7)      Overcome your fear of change. As humans, we are all programmed to fear change. You’ve identified a challenge. Formed a hypothesis. Tested a solution with impressive results. Developed a plan to scale the solution. And now it is decision time. Some people are paralyzed by fear of change. Be comforted by knowing that if you desire different results, you must act differently. Some difficult decisions are easy because they are demanded by circumstance.