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Should you refer your friend to your employer?


You may not have thought deeply about it yet, but there are actually not one but several things to consider before you are recommending your friend to your boss. It’s not like you can actually go on to refer him to your boss arbitrarily just because you guys (i.e. your friend and you) belong to similar work field.

Should you not consider your friend’s request for referral at all?

Now, we are not really asking you to dismiss requests of friends (to refer them to your boss) outright. They are doing what they should be doing in order to get their proverbial foot in the door. They are networking. And, who better to network with rather than their friends themselves? However, you just cannot afford blast your friend’s resume blindly. There’s no harm in your friend bagging a job but you should “know” who you are referring. After all, bad referrals can indeed put your reputation at stake. Given below are a few factors that you should keep in view before referring your friend to your boss:

How “knowledgeable” are you?

The first thing to do would be to put your own knowledge under the radar – i.e. your knowledge about your friend’s credentials as a professional. How much do you know about his work experience? What kind of a work record does he have? Is there any avenue of getting an idea about his work ethics? If you have little idea about his work ethics then it would be important on your end to have a more complete sense of the same before referring him to someone.

Consider what your colleagues will think

Consider how your colleagues will perceive the appointment of your friend (if at all he is appointed at the first place). If you are already a favorite of your boss (of course, owing to your professional credentials) then congrats you already are a cause of envy for many. In such a scenario, if your boss ends up hiring your friend, then your co-workers may view the move as favoritism. This is one factor which makes it all the more important for you to consider investigating the credentials of your friend. Steer clear of a blind referral so that even if your friend is hired, it is proved that there has been no workplace favoritism at play.

Is your friend serious about getting the job?

Last but not the least; consider referring your friend only if he is serious about bagging this job and not merely checking out options.

Trends that will dominate the future of e-Learning


With our students securing access to some of the most exciting e-learning technologies today, it is indeed the right time to explore the future of this particular form of education. No, we aren’t really spelling out flawless predictions but are definitely looking at trends that will possibly shape the future of e-learning. So, let us explore.

Future of eLearning: Looking at a few trends

With e-Learning getting unprecedented mileage in recent years, there’s hardly anything which can be more interesting than gauging its future. Here is a look at a few possibly dominant future trends to throw light on.

Automated Course Authoring will only grow from here

Today, automation stands as a fairly less explored concept. Expect it to enjoy a much more significant position in the coming years. Thanks to the eLearning authoring tools, you do have access to a plethora of e-Learning templates and themes today but the future is definitely about the introduction of many integrated codes that facilitate process automation. With their help, you can actually go on to create eLearning assessment methodologies and games with minimal effort.

Mobile Learning: How can you miss that?

You possibly cannot miss out on the possible expansion of mlearning or mobile learning while you are discussing the future of e-learning. Experts opine that the growth of mlearning is only going to facilitate informal learning in a major way. Mobile learning supports informal learning to a great extent – so much so, that with the growth of mobile learning, it has been opined, more informal learning can be incorporated in the curriculum.

Growth of gamification in learning

Much to the delight of kids, gamification in learning is well poised to become one of the most influential trends in e-learning in the years to come. In fact, that time is not far when gamification will actually become an integral part of e-learning. Organizations offering services to corporate clients employ gamification to motivate unmotivated learners. Games often involve points, badges and leader boards to drive learner engagement.

There are a few people who believe that universities (i.e. traditional universities) will not even exist in 2075! Learning will transcend edifices by then. The teachers’ jobs will not be at stake because they are the ones who are going to pass on knowledge through generations just as they are doing now – only with a difference. Schools and universities will transform to mobile and desktop screens then!

Dress code: Does it affect a student’s overall performance in school?


For teens who love strutting around in their low-riding jeans or ultra-miniskirts, the strict dress code enforced by schools, is, at times downright oppressive. Though not all, there definitely are many students – irrespective of which country they hail from- who resent school uniforms.

Does school uniform affect your grades?

While enforcers argue that school uniforms have definite impact on students’ behavior and academic performance, students fail to actually fathom the “connection”. Let us find out what the truth is. In fact, instead of drawing an arbitrary conclusion, we will try to substantiate our claims with the help of results of a few studies, brought to light from time to time.

Right at the onset, we will try and bring the very basic function of school uniforms to the fore. A school generally has students hailing from diverse financial backgrounds. With the absence of a dress code in school, students flaunting more expensive clothes will unwittingly turn out to be a constant source of envy for those who can’t afford equally expensive clothes. Think about it! That’s not really a good space to be in – not for the one envying or the one being envied!

What do the studies have to say?

School uniforms do have distinct benefits. As per an article published in a famous magazine way back in 2009, uniforms play a major role in reducing gang aggression – primarily because every student of a particular school sports the same hue and style. Plus, there is no room for students using their dresses as status symbol. It renders an ambience conducive to harmony. Students can approach studies in a more serious way.

Mandate clothing can actually keep certain fashion out of the school premises without really “spelling out” a ban on the same. For instance, a student knows that he will have to comply with the dress code of the institution no matter how badly he wants to sport a pair of ripped jeans or pajamas. The school hasn’t officially banned them but has spelt out its mandatory dress code clearly.

Studies have even gone on to suggest that school uniforms do impact students’ grades, behavior and attendance. Around 160 schools in an urban district were surveyed and it was established that both male and female students demonstrated improvement in middle and high schools. Though girls in general showed higher rate of improvement, both the genders showed some kind of betterment nonetheless. In an academic year, girls missed one day less in school.

Is your child struggling with the absence of his favorite school teacher?


Quality mentorship is rarely to be found and is more rarely cherished as well. It is a special virtue which best manifests itself in student-teacher bonds. Not every day does your child end up lamenting a teacher leaving the school. Not every day do you find your child grappling with a subject because his favorite teacher isn’t teaching it any more.

Is your child finding it hard to cope with the absence of his favorite mentor?

However, there are instances when students find it really difficult to cope with their favorite teachers’ absence in school. What if you discover your child trapped in similar situation? Here are a few tips that will help you figure out the correct ways to assist your child in coping with his favorite teacher’s resignation. Read on to explore!

What can you do to help your child?

At first, try to make him understand that “distance” is the harsh reality of life. Why is your child so attached to his teacher? Is it because he/she taught well? Is it because he/she was extremely patient with his/her students’ needs, weaknesses and academic demands? Try to find out the reason and develop similar attributes if you don’t already have them. For instance, if your child is missing his teacher because of his/her patience, then try to be more patient yourself.

Try to get across the message that you are trying to create the same comfort zone for your child as his school teacher did. Let him know he is not alone.

Find out if your kid’s teacher is ready to stay in touch after resigning or not. Is there a possibility of your child recording his progress for two or three months after the teacher has left and sending him/her the recording? Will there be avenues for suggestions? Will your kid’s teacher get back with his feedback and guide your child as he/she had always done?

With the advent of technology it shouldn’t be that difficult for the student and the teacher to stay in touch irrespective of where he/she has located after resignation.

Plan a gift package for the leaving teacher. Engage your child in preparing the entire package. This is just a way to build up efforts towards a happy farewell instead of a sad one.

Do track your kid’s equation with the new teacher as well.

Taking these measures will definitely help your child cope with his favorite teacher’s absence at school better.

How to avoid bad reviews


Referrals go a long way in shaping your career. Recruiters since time immemorial have attached considerable importance to this factor while getting new recruiters on board. The form of reviews has undergone sea changes with the progress of time. There was a time when employers primarily had to depend on word of mouth or for that matter personal recommendations from a close and trusted circle before getting an employee on board. Today, however, there are so many channels to help them with their cause- LinkedIn, Facebook and Google Plus are a few of the digital channels from where your potential employers can see how your present and ex bosses have reviewed you. LinkedIn is definitely the most used referral channel since it has a dedicated profile summary section where you can request your employers to review your work.

Can anyone in your professional network actually review your services poorly?

When it comes to Facebook and Google you can just request them to share their experience with you in the form of updates. There are a few organizations that might even require you to provide names of a few ex-bosses and colleagues whom they can contact via e-mails or phone to find out about you. This happens after you are successful in acing the board interview. The referrals are a part of the final stage of their decision.

Now, you might not really be able to secure a new job at the first place if you end up garnering bad reviews. What if your boss chooses to absolutely put you down while offering his feedback to your potential recruiters? What if that colleague of yours does a volte-face too?

How should you act?

You would definitely like to provide a well-thought out list of reviewers or referees to your new employer. Do not take a job opportunity for granted – thinking that you can randomly present names because you know that whatever your co-workers say about you the job is yours. We have already conveyed the importance of these reviews above – so act in accordance. Avoid putting forward names of colleagues with whom you had shared an equation ruled by animosity – at least, at some of point of time, if not now.

Tell your colleagues or boss in advance that your potential employees might call them for their feedback. Ask them to be good to you.  Remember these tips without fail. They will definitely facilitate your attempts at avoiding bad reviews.

Steer clear of these career mistakes


Somebody has put it very aptly – you don’t realize you’re committing a career mistake when you are actually committing the mistake itself. It happens with most of us. The first career lesson would be to ensure that we don’t let these mistakes linger for long. We are not asking you to jump from one job to the other right on the first month of joining itself. All we are asking you is to at least be on the lookout for other jobs and settle for something in six months or a year, if you are not happy with your present job. Here is a rundown of the major career mistakes that one should avoid.

Don’t think that your job is going to last forever

There are not one or two but many of us who actually believe that our jobs will last if we perform well. In the process, what we do end up doing is rejecting job offers left, right and center. “I’m not considering a full time opportunity as of now since I’m quite content with my present job” is the answer we often end up offering to the HR teams of different organizations calling us up. How can we afford to take our jobs for granted? What if the managerial body has completely different plans for you? What if the organization itself ceases to operate? Make sure you’re leaving no stone unturned to keep your job hunt on even while you’re working. Grow your network. Connect with people on a regular basis so that you don’t end up hitting the proverbial dead end while you’re being laid off. Don’t let your present workplace become an overwhelming comfort zone for yourself.

Don’t burn the bridge with anyone in your professional network. You might as well be irritated with your boss beyond repair. The only solution to this problem would be to embark on a patient and well thought out job hunt. The more desperate you’re to leave the job, the more careful should you be with your job hunt – there’s no room for any brashness out here. You simply wouldn’t like to be stuck with another bad job. Maintain a perfectly amicable equation with your boss – no matter how irritable he/she is- quite simply because one bad relation comes with a huge baggage including overall ambience of animosity and workplace and others.

Last but not the least- don’t trust someone too much. Today, you might as well be too eager to leave your present job to be a part of a start-up floated by your favorite colleague. However, do you know that there are instances of such colleagues or friends turning out to be bad bosses later? The key is not to let emotional equations but only prudence govern your job search.

African-American studies: Is the future bleak?


With the so much being talked and (and done) about emancipation and consequent empowerment of the black population– a recent report highlighting the dismal “black studies figures” at an Illinois university comes as a rude shock.

All about African American studies and more

Western Illinois University cut its African American studies this year. The graduation and enrolment figures turned out to be notably disappointing. During the 2015-2016, only 13 students chose black studies as their main field of study. What more? Only 3 students had graduated with Bachelor of Arts in black studies this year. The university data thus retrieved reflected a lot on the sorry state of affairs as far as African-American studies are concerned.

Kelly Harris, (the associate professor and coordinator of African-American studies , Chicago State University) has admitted that the struggle of the African American studies to stay afloat in the academic scene has always been evident – since the time it was formed. The African American studies are yet to find acceptance in an environment where universities are increasingly demonstrating a business like mentality as far as higher education is concerned.

Illinois Board of Higher Education: What does it have to reveal?

As per the Illinois Board of Higher Education figure, only 14 students belonging to different public universities and colleges got a bachelor’s degree in this particular field in the state in 2014. 2012 is regarded as the best year for this field when 21 students graduated with a degree and 68 of them selected it as their major.

It was in the year 2015, the IBHE asked the twelve state public universities to submit the changes in academic degree programs. They were also asked to submit their plans for the graduate programs for fairly new students. There were five schools that had listed their four-year programs in black studies. It was quite clear that the Africana studies remained “low-producing” between 2009 and 2013. Here’s more about them.

African-American studies: The inevitable concern

The aforementioned findings raise concerns regarding black studies. What is it that has hindered their growth? Lack of substantial funding is definitely cited as one of the reasons. In fact, there are academic experts who admit that news like this will further affect the future of black studies. Going by the present scenario it is difficult to comment on a substantive future of black studies before 2020. We can only hope for the best.

What does it take to become a scholar?

Young man assisting his little son with some home work

Let us admit it. As much as we are exploring opportunities to unearth, tap into or quantify the impact of unconventional jobs – there have been times when we have all wanted to be a scholar – an academician par excellence who will top school mid-school, high school, college and university. Not all of us are noted academicians and that hasn’t really stopped us from doing great things in other fields of life.

Is it so easy to become a scholar?

Whatever it is- today, however, we will be talking primarily about scholars. What does it take to be scholar? You might already have identified the signs in your kid. He loves to study and is quite interested in exploring his academic opportunities in future. He does well in school as well. However, college is quite a different ballgame from middle school or high school. Only when your child is able to excel in college and university will he be called a true scholar. Given below are tips which will help your child become one. Read on.

How can you guide your child to become a scholar?

Teach your child to question everything which in conflict with his comprehension of a subject, lesson, story or fictional character. Teach him to clarify everything that he does not understand, everything which does not help him secure a complete understanding of his subject. Scholars never take anything at face value even if others around them are doing so.

If your child is demonstrating natural curiosity about everything around then you are in all possibility seeing a future academician in front of you. Make sure you are making an honest effort to fulfill his curiosity without fail. As he grows up, he might as well need a similar ambience at school to ensure that his plans reach fruition. Make sure you’re selecting an educational institution for him which is known to be backed by the services of teachers who are patient with the needs and different academic demands of kids at various stages of education.

Are you selecting the right academic institution?

Choose a school which you think will provide him the right educational tools to help him to make his mark in the modern academic fabric– for example smart learning tools, reliable mentoring, counseling (if needed) and so on.

As he grows up he will be ready to choose the college or university best suited to his needs – all by himself.

Gym Classes: How important they are for Middle School students


Not many of us may have realized it but students do require a certain degree of exposure to gym while in middle school. Middle school (that is when they are 11 to 12) signifies a transition  – which is not only manifested in their  curriculum but also in an altogether different level of academic demand that is best met by confidence and collaboration. No longer are they required to be constantly watched over. They do need a different kind of guidance nonetheless.

Gyms and Education: The much-effective “connect”

Why is there an absolute need for gyms for students in their middle schools? We will try to explore the reasons in the course of the post.

At the core of success as students are three factors:

  • Confidence
  • Communication and collaboration
  • Self-care

Details discussed

Let us tell you that you a gym can help your child a lot to get a better hang of the whole concept called Middle School. One of the foremost merits of gym classes is that they inculcate confidence in children. Gym classes involve a lot of different activities that help students identify their strengths- from ping pong to basket ball to soccer, expect a lot of opportunities to identify your kids’ niche. He might not be too great in soccer but has great basket ball skills. The ability to discover your strengths itself can turn out to be a great confidence booster. The confidence demonstrated by your kid in his gym class can translate to the classroom as well. There’s a renewed sense of responsibility with which your kid will be able to handle his school assignments.

Gym classes require children to collaborate and communicate at different levels as well. Talk about reaching out to others to help you get your physical exercises right to just participating in team sports, you will need to communicate at every level. We all understand how important it is for students to develop a sense of community as they are growing up.

Even the moderate exercises in gyms require the children to adopt a string of healthy habits. They’re advised not to have junk food at the drop of a hat, to exercise their discretion while choosing their diet etc – all of which contribute to overall health. Your child is less prone to sickness. Plus, Middle School also implies longer hours of sitting on chair. An hour of exercise will help them burn calories and stay fit.

Career advancement: Know all that you should know

Career Growth

Designation hike doesn’t come easy. So doesn’t a salary hike. At times, it gets even difficult for employees to figure out what exactly career growth is. Is it all about periodical pay hike? Is it only about job changes for “better” salary and diversification? What is career growth all about?

Ideally, a desired professional trajectory is determined both by your pay and wider avenues of exploration. You might be stuck with the same company for years – receiving customary pay hikes after every two three years. Would you call that growth? May be not- unless and until there’s an associated designation jump (if not every time but at least a few times) with added responsibilities. Provided below are a few tips for desirable career advancement.

How can you aim for career growth?

When we speak about growth – we are speaking about an all encompassing proposition which includes due retrospection at crucial junctures. We’re talking about career planning here. It is not something which you do only once or twice in your life – in school or in college. You should do this on a regular basis – right from the start of your job life through every one or two year at job till your retirement. Do not treat this as a dreaded obligation but as a fulfilling exercise. The more you retrospect the better will you be able to identify flaws (if any), areas that need improvement, areas that have been ignored and of course the rewarding experiences as well.

Do it before others say it!

Career advancement is also about taking the initiative yourself and doing things before anybody else asks you to do it. For instance, you might as well try to identify your shortcomings while at work and address them as well. Are you too afraid to try out things that are technical? Are you not being able to communicate with your team properly? Are you too afraid to convey the difficulties you’re facing at job to your team leader? You should be able to identify these flaws all by yourself and work on them.

Opportunities: Where are they?

Keep your eyes and ears open for every avenue of growth. Is there an online course aimed at helping candidates overcome their fear of board interviews? Or for that matter, to enhance their digital marketing skills? Do make sure you’re keeping yourself constantly updated with the latest in business to see yourself move up the career ladder.