Archive for August 4, 2010

Providing social infrastructure for Open Courseware

My colleague Ashwin Ram was one of the founders of OpenStudy, which aims to be a social network aimed at supporting student learning, e.g., through online study groups.  It’s just been announced that the MIT OpenCourseware initiative is going to partner with OpenStudy, so that students viewing the OCW material might work together to support learning (including for MIT’s Python course).  This is an exciting and important idea, to provide an infrastructure for learning beyond the raw content provided by OCW.

OCW has partnered with OpenStudy to offer an online study group for this course. 6.00 Introduction to Computer Science and Programming and two other courses (18.01 Single Variable Calculus, and 21F.101 Chinese I) have been selected for this pilot project. We need your feedback to determine whether more study groups should be offered for OCW courses.

These study groups are not moderated or managed by OCW, and you cannot earn credit for participating in them. To participate, you will need to register with OpenStudy or log in with your Facebook account.

About OpenStudy

OpenStudy is social study network for students to ask questions, give help, collaborate and meet others. Founded by professors and students from Georgia Tech and Emory University, and funded by the National Science Foundation and the Georgia Research Alliance, OpenStudy believes that students can teach other students through collaborative learning.

via MIT OpenCourseWare | Electrical Engineering and Computer Science | 6.00 Introduction to Computer Science and Programming, Fall 2008 | Join a Study Group.

August 4, 2010 at 8:45 pm 1 comment

Employers are only hiring narrowly

This report supports the hypothesis that I’ve heard from many people explaining the contradictory messages, from employers saying there aren’t enough candidates, to unemployed workers saying that they can’t find jobs.  Employers are getting more picky.  This report is particularly scary.  Not only is industry unwilling to teach skills, they want people who know those skills from the same industry sector.

A top recruiter says engineering positions are getting more specialized, which doesn’t bode well for job seekers

Mike Delaney, an EE and founder of the recruitment firm Global Network Recruiting (GNR), which specializes in the high-tech industry, recalls what the engineering job market was like when he first got into the business in the early 1990s: “We were going through this tech bubble and things were just exploding. There was a ton of money and a ton of engineers. Everybody was changing jobs–I was taking engineers from the defense industry who were doing chips and embedded software and putting them into telecom jobs and vice versa.”

Not anymore.

And that doesn’t bode well for engineers who’ve been caught up in a lay-off or are simply looking for a change, as their skill sets alone (with the exception of analog power management, which is in huge demand) may no longer be enough to impress hiring managers. Delaney does note that individuals fluent in embedded software, C, and core processors are likely to have better luck, as these skills are more transferable and in demand.

But with seemingly their pick of qualified candidates, Delany says that companies are increasingly less willing to cross individuals into industries. “There’s a learning curve with anyone starting a new position, and it’s exaggerated when that person is also moving into a new industry,” says Delaney. “Ideally, hiring managers want to hire people from the same sector.

via Employers getting more picky hiring engineers.

August 4, 2010 at 4:01 pm 5 comments

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