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By Colleen Wheeler | Monday, January 07, 2013

Our team’s New Year’s learning resolutions

Although the New Year’s resolution lists that proliferate in late December are full of worthy goals, my favorite remains “learn something new.” This time of year, I like the theme of giving in to expansion over contraction, generosity over deprivation, and passion over willpower. The staff, authors, and members here at know that our library is a great resource to have if learning is on your life list.

Although many of us on the Content team work in a specific segment of the library, we can’t help but notice the intriguing courses our colleagues are developing in other areas. This year I asked members of the team, acknowledged enthusiasts in their given fields, which areas outside their usual sphere of knowledge are capturing their interest. Here are their answers and some suggestions for where they might want to start (or where you might want to start if you share the same interest).

Morten Rand-Hendriksen, staff author, Web segment “Over the holidays I want to power through all the photography courses in the archive. Because it’s been a long time since I sat down and really tried to improve my photography skills. I also really want to become a more creative designer/artist, so I’ll be looking into any course that helps me in that respect.”

Recommendation: If you can’t get through the whole Photography segment in one holiday week off, you might try Foundations of Photography: Composition to start. Ben Long teaches principles that definitely go beyond photography into general artistry.

Jess Stratton, staff author, Business segment “I’d like to learn something for the sake of a hobby this year—getting back into playing the keyboard and recording it somehow, but I don’t know how to start getting it from my keyboard into the computer. I want to check out the course on recording music using an iPad.”

Recommendation: Garrick Chow’s iPad Music Production series is the place for Jess and like-minded musicians. The first course—iPad Music Production: Inputs, Mics, and MIDI—is a great place to start (although if you’re up for playing on an iOS device directly, the GarageBand installment makes making music on your iPad look really fun).

David Franz, content manager, Audio segment “Social media marketing … I want my music to rock the world! :).”

Recommendation: I’ve noticed David isn’t the only musician who knows that thriving in the music business requires a direct relationship with fans via social media. Until David develops that perfect course expressly for musicians, there’s great material for getting started in our Social Media Marketing with Facebook and Twitter course.

Mordy Golding, director of content, Design and Photography segment “I’ve been teaching myself Processing—the computer language. I’m interested in finding better ways to visualize data.”

Recommendation: A few months ago, our Developer group released Interactive Data Visualization with Processing. Processing is a tool that can literally change data into (beautiful and useful) art.

Elinor Actipis, director of content, Rich Media segmentDoug Winnie, director of content, Web and Developer segment

Both Elinor and Doug mentioned sharpening their advanced Excel skills, particularly with respect to data analysis. (Is it a coincidence that our directors are all about visualization of data?)

Recommendation: Our Excel library is vast and valuable, but for data crunching, one of my favorite courses is Cleaning Up Your Excel Data with Dennis Taylor. Dennis has great tips for efficiently wrangling all those numbers into consistent tables, making analysis both easier and more accurate.

George Maestri, content manager, 3D and Animation segmentMatt Gilbert, associate content manager, Business segmentJim Heid, content manager, Photography segment

These three content managers from three different segments all mentioned wanting to learn about ebook publishing and iOS apps as content containers.

George notes: “I had a few cartoon pitches that got lost in development when I was at the studios. I figure releasing them as books/apps would be a fun distraction.”

And Jim: “Ebook publishing is hot among photographers. And as someone who grew up with tape recorders, movie cameras, and cameras, I have a lot of “family assets” that I’d like to turn into a little interactive memoir for my family.”

Recommendation: We’ve got excellent courses on iBooks Author, iOS app creation, EPUB with InDesign, and using jQuery in your digital magazine. If you don’t know where to start, Digital Publishing Fundamentals runs down the options you have for turning your words and pictures into electronic works of art.

Links: • iBooks Author Essential TrainingiOS app creationEPUB with InDesignjQueryDigital Publishing Fundamentals

Rob Garrott, content manager, Video segment “I’m going to try to get into a bit of coding. I should probably start digging into web coding, but that’s too much broccoli, so I might start with Python. That is a core component of truly advanced 3D animation, and I’ve been afraid to touch it.”

Recommendation: (Mental note: Broccoli is the new spinach!) Many members are happy to jump into Bill Weinman’s Python 3 Essential Training course. For those who want to warm up their veggies slowly, you may try Simon Allardice’s Foundations of Programming: Object-Oriented Design course.

Links: • Python 3 Essential TrainingFoundations of Programming: Object-Oriented Design

Cynthia Scott, director of content, Business segment “Top on my learning wish list is the On Camera series.”

Recommendation: The first of this series, On Camera: Develop Your Video Presence, immediately had me thinking of uses beyond straightforward video (it also had me knocking on Cynthia’s office door to share how valuable I thought it was to Business folk). In the days of Skype-based job interviews and high-stakes video conferencing, many of Rick’s suggestions prepare you for time in front of any camera, not just those destined for edited, produced video.

Ben Long, author, Photography segment Finally, since so many of my interviewee colleagues mentioned Ben Long’s photography courses, I thought it would be interesting to ask Ben himself what he might be interested in learning from the library in 2013. True to his polymathic nature, he mentioned several things from iPhone development to Maya to WordPress. But perhaps he summed up the width and breadth of the library (and the voracious appetite of any lifelong learner) when he asked:

“And where’s that course for adding 12 hours to one’s day?”

When we release “Changing the Laws of the Universe,” Ben, we’ll be sure to let you know. In the meantime, there’s Time Management Fundamentals.

What are your New Year’s learning resolutions? Let us help you find the courses to get you on your way.

By Tom Schultz | Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Brandon Hall Group and to present webinar on innovation

This week, Brandon Hall Group and present a free webinar for users in business, education, and government. In Exploring Innovation in the Learning Landscape, Laurie Burruss, senior director of education at, and David Wentworth, senior analyst at Brandon Hall, will explain the key tenets of innovation. They will discuss the role and benefits of questioning, experimentation, observation, associating seemingly unrelated concepts, and sharing.

Join the webinar to

  • • Explore teaching and learning strategies that foster innovation
  • • Discover practical ways to incorporate innovation into your work
  • • See how to produce innovators, not just subject matter experts
  • • Discuss lessons from curious and creative risk takers and real-world leaders
  • • View case studies and best practices

Webinar details:Tuesday, November 13, 2012 FREE

Time:1 to 2 p.m. ET 10 to 11 a.m. PT[register now]

By Tom Schultz | Saturday, October 13, 2012 to host a webinar on user tips and tricks

This week, presents a free webinar for users in business, education, and government. In User Tips and Tricks: Learning with, Laurie Burruss, a professor of interaction design and director of the Digital Media Center at Pasadena City College, explores the library of instructional videos as an organization-wide resource for learning and professional development. Discover new features and rewarding tips and tricks—from managing course queues and bookmarks to strategies for spreading the word among employees, students, and faculty.

Join our webinar to

• Speed up projects or research • Share courses with teams or classes • Learn about content pedagogy and curation • See how the site accommodates distinct learning styles • Explore how the timecode-enhanced search engine “thinks

Topics to be covered include transcripts, video player options, course histories, meta tags, certificates of completion, and using with a variety of desktop, laptop, and mobile devices. Q&A session to follow.

Webinar details:

Friday, October 19, 2012 FREE

Choose your time:

7 to 8 a.m. PT 10 to 11 a.m. ET[register now]

11 a.m. to noon PT 2 to 3 p.m ET[register now]

By Tom Schultz | Friday, September 14, 2012 to host a webinar on personalized education

This week, presents a free webinar for members and educators as well as corporate and government trainers. In Personalized Education: A Roadmap to On-Your-Own Learning, see how teaches learners to evaluate where they are now, where they want to go, and the tools they need to get there.

Rising tuition costs, a volatile job market, ever-changing technology…

Today’s learners face real challenges. They want a student-centered education that gives them skills, helps them solve problems, and lets them benefit personally.

They want

  • • customized, self-directed learning that reflects their interests
  • • dynamic, adaptable instruction for just-in-time answers
  • • anytime, anywhere access via desktop, laptop, or mobile device
  • • education that’s relevant, affordable, and fun

Webinar details:

When: Friday, September 21, 2012 Cost: FREE

Choose your time:

10 to 11 a.m. ET

7 to 8 a.m. PT

Register for time-slot one

2 to 3 p.m. ET

11 a.m. to noon PT

Register for time-slot two

By Starshine Roshell | Monday, August 13, 2012 to host a free webinar on online learning

This week, presents a free webinar for educators as well as corporate and government trainers. In Online learning: How video changes and enhances the way we learn, discover how a great online video addresses the “why” of each lesson, presents the big picture of the subject matter, and supports the big-picture idea with granular details and steps.

In the last three decades, education has moved beyond the four walls of the classroom to the infinite possibilities of the Internet. Training resources using rich media are everywhere: YouTube, Vimeo, Open Education Resources, lecture capture inside learning management systems, and third-party rich media libraries.

Educator and digital media expert Laurie Burruss leads our free webinar, explaining how these factors affect our learning:

• transcripts and closed-captioning

• playback controls

• anywhere/anytime access

• personalization and customization

• repetition and failure in a private setting

Webinar details:

When: Thursday, August 16, 2012

Cost: FREE

Choose your time:

7 to 8 a.m. PDT

10 to 11 a.m. EDT

Register for time-slot one

11 a.m. to noon PDT

2 to 3 p.m. EDT

Register for time-slot two

By Chelsea Adams | Saturday, July 21, 2012

Congratulations to our Adobe CS6 Master Collection winner

In June 2012 we offered our Facebook fans a chance to win a copy of the Adobe CS6 Master Collection. Please join us in extending a big congratulations to member Trish S., the lucky Floridian who took home the prize! Adobe CS6 Master Collection giveaway winner with software package. If you weren’t the lucky winner, fret not! Thirteen Adobe CS6 courses are currently live on, including five Photoshop CS6 courses, and full-length courses covering InDesign, Dreamweaver, After Effects, Illustrator, Flash, and more. To see all 13 CS6 offerings, visit our Adobe CS6 page on

Interested in more? • All 13 Adobe CS6 courses on • All five Photoshop CS6 courses on • All Fireworks CS6 and Premiere Pro CS6 courses on

By Starshine Roshell | Friday, July 13, 2012 receives Green Business certification recently earned Green Business certification from the Green Business Program (GBP) of Santa Barbara County. The largest company ever to be certified by the program, we’ve taken critical steps to reduce the environmental impact of our Carpinteria campus. Some of our efforts include:

  • • Reduced energy use through window glazing, motion-sensor lights, on-demand water heaters, and office equipment that is programmed to shut off during inactivity.
  • • Reduced water usage. Outside, the company saves an estimated 1 million gallons of water per year with sensors that regulate the sprinkler system based on weather. Inside, low-flow fixtures and dual-flush toilets save an estimated 2,000 gallons per month.
  • • Reduced solid waste. In addition to providing reusable dishes for lunch, and compostable and recycled paper cups in place of polystyrene coffee cups, a food-scrap composting program in the cafeteria diverts an estimated 60 gallons of food scraps from landfills each month. also uses 100 percent recycled copy paper, encourages double-sided printing, has donated more than 7,500 pounds of office equipment and fixtures to Habitat for Humanity of Southern Santa Barbara County, and has recycled more than 4,000 pounds of e-waste.
  • • The instatement of an employee commuter program that includes more than 100 participants (45 percent of on-site employees). In just two months, the commuter programs collectively saved almost 600 gallons of gas and reduced emissions by more than 11,500 pounds.

“As we continue to grow, is committed to improving its sustainability and setting an example in the community,” says Jacqueline Burge, director of facilities at “Our campus is in such a beautiful setting, and as a company we are striving for continuous improvement in our impact on the environment.”

The GBP of Santa Barbara County aims to recognize, through certification, local businesses that go beyond required measures to serve as models of sustainable business. Earning a certificate from the program means that a company has made a commitment to the community to go above and beyond typical green measures and stand on the cutting edge of sustainable business practice.

“We are proud to have join the ranks of our certified green businesses in Santa Barbara County,” said Frances Gilliland, program director at the GBP. “Environmental sustainability is so obviously an important part of the corporate culture at Management and staff have undertaken significant efforts at their facilities, particularly in the areas of ridesharing and water conservation. We look forward to working with them well into the future, and look to them as both an example and resource for other local businesses working with the Green Business Program.”

Let us know what you think in the comments section below. We’d love to see your comments and questions!

By Colleen Wheeler | Wednesday, May 30, 2012

This week’s featured five: Going mobile! From using your device, to developing applicatons

It’s no secret that computer engagement is going mobile, with access via mobile devices predicted to surpass desktop computers in the next two years. So for this week’s collection of featured videos, I’ve chosen five free movies that focus on the theme of mobility, whether it be creating a WordPress site that behaves properly on mobile devices, learning to use your mobile phone or tablet more productively, or learning to develop your own mobile applications.

1. Customizing WordPress for smartphones and tablets In this video from chapter nine of the WordPress Essential Training course, Morten Rand-Hendrickson shows you how to use built-in responsive themes and useful plug-ins to ensure that your content is presented in a usable form, regardless of screen size. The main takeaway? With a bit of appropriate planning, you can greatly improve your overall user experience by saving your viewers from the pain of having to zoom or scroll to view your carefully constructed content.

2. Accessing Evernote on a mobile device Evernote is a great application for organizing and accessing your electronic notes, links, and other bits of critical information. (Admission: I use Evernote to collect interesting free movies from the library that I want to use in my featured five blog posts.) In this movie from chapter one of Up and Running with Evernote for Mac, David Rivers shows you how to get Evernote set up so that you can add notes via your mobile device. If you’re primarily working in a Windows environment, there’s an analogous movie in chapter one of David’s Up and Running with Evernote for Windows course, as well.

3. Using the iPhone and iPod Touch Maps app Admittedly, using the iPhone (or iPod Touch) Maps application is a fairly straightforward proposition, but in this excerpt from chapter nine ofiPhone and iPod touch iOS 5 Essential Training, Garrick Chow shares some insights into using the compass feature that I always found confusing. Not only can the Maps app help you discover what is around you, and how to get there, it can also help you orient yourself by showing you which direction you are facing in your current location. After all, it’s always good to start out heading in the right direction!

4. Identifying the four pillars of iOS development For the developer types who have already figured out how to use their mobile devices, going mobile is more about focusing on the creation of mobile applications. As with any metaphorical or physical journey, it’s always good to have a scope of where you will start, where you will end, and how you will get there. In this excerpt from chapter one ofiOS SDK Essential Training (2012), Simon Allardice shows you how to approach your iPhone application development, and elaborates on why tools, language, design, and process are the four pillars—or, the four important areas of content—that you need to have all together in order to build the applications that you want to make.

5. Exploring the mobile site Finally, a collection of mobile tutorials wouldn’t be complete without a look at how you can take the library with you wherever you go via your own mobile device. In this movie from chapter one of the How to Use course, Garrick Chow demonstrates the features and functionality of our new mobile site, so you can get to learning wherever you are:

We’d love to know more about how you are using your mobile devices, and how mobile technology is changing the way you work, and play. Which activities have gone mobile in your computing life? Are there some jobs that still feel best done at your desk? Tell us a little about your relationship with your mobile devices in the comments section below.

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