10 tips for first-time homeschoolers

homeschooling

If you had a hundred home educators in a room, each of them would likely have a different approach, but there are various steps you can take to get the most out of homeschooling.

With schools across the country closed for the foreseeable future, Oxford Home Schooling, one of the UK’s leading home education providers, has given its 10 tips for how to effectively homeschool.

1.Take breaks

A bit of experimentation should identify what works best for you and the child. You might find 30-minute blasts followed by 10-minute breaks help to keep your concentration up. Alternatively, you might prefer to work for longer periods at a stretch and then enjoy a longer break.

Boring as it might sound, giving your learning a predictable structure and routine does help to make sure you get everything done!

2.Make a routine

Children get the most out of homeschooling when parents decide when and what they should be studying. At school, the typical day might consist of seven 40 minute periods – four in the morning and three in the afternoon. So should parents try to emulate this?

It’s important to remember that most children (and adults) are not able to concentrate for long periods of time, whatever the learning environment and kids do not concentrate on their studies for five hours a day at school. The average lesson is filled with interruptions and irrelevancies and the real ‘work’ might be condensed into 10 minutes. The same is true at home. Even if you have assigned 40 minutes to a subject, do not be surprised if the useful work is done in just 10 minutes and the rest is spent in (apparently) less productive activity.

Organisation is not simply a matter of time slots. It is a combination of timetabling and study objectives. By setting routines, children will find it easier to stay focused, engaged and make progress.

3.Get rid of distractions

It’s really hard to focus when the TV’s blaring, the radio’s on or there is lots going on in the place you’re working, so try and get rid of the distractions. Also, concentrating is easiest when you’re in a quiet, comfortable place, so play around with how you and your child study – sitting, standing or lying down; inside or outside; with lots of light or without – and find a method that helps them concentrate.

4.Divide up the work

Sometimes it can be difficult to motivate yourself when faced with a really big or difficult task. The best solution is to break it down into smaller pieces, planning out the various stages that need completing before you start. This way, your child will know what needs doing and you’ll both get a good sense of progress as you work.

5.Get lots of sleep

It’s an accepted fact that if you don’t get enough sleep, you’ll find it harder to concentrate, learn and retain information. The trick is pretty simple – get some sleep! Most people between the age of five and 11 need 10 to 12 hours of sleep per night, while 11 to 18-year-olds need 8 to 10 hours.

6.Don’t multitask

Sometimes, particularly when there’s a lot of work to be done, it can be hard to resist the urge to multitask and try and get lots of jobs done at once. This is best avoided though, as, in essence, you’re dividing up the amount of brainpower you have available to a given task, meaning you might miss out on important bits of information.

7.Meditate and reduce stress

Plenty of scientific studies have shown the benefits of sitting silently, with your eyes closed and the mind focused on the present. This can dramatically reduce stress levels – a factor that’s been proven to exacerbate tiredness and reduce memory retention.

8.Utilise TV and online learning

Technology is a massive part of education both in schools and at home. Sites like BBC Bitesize and Geography Games are great for delivering educational content in a fun, engaging way.

It can also be used to keep in touch with the homeschooling community to share tips and advice.

If you’re temporarily homeschooling, then tools like Google Classroom can help you interact with your class and teacher from school.

It’s also important to keep active, so consider watching Joe Wicks’ new online PE class for kids on YouTube, which goes out at 9am every weekday.

9.Stick to the curriculum

It’s important to try and cover all of the subjects your child is used to learning about, but don’t worry too much about spending an equal amount of time on each.

You will naturally have greater knowledge in some areas than others and it’s fine to lean on these more heavily. However, your child may have interests in subjects you are less familiar with, and it would be a shame if they were unable to continue learning about these during this period. Avoiding these topics altogether could result in your child losing their passion.

If you are unsure about any content, it can be quite refreshing to do some research yourself and learn something new, before passing on the information to your child.

10.Make it fun

Learning doesn’t have to be a chore, there are hundreds of games you can play to exercise your brain, including the following memory tests.

There are card games where you have to match pairs or groups of face-down cards, flipping two each turn and reverting them face-down if they’re not a pair.

You could also place a number of small, random items on a tray, memorise the items for a minute, then cover the tray, listing as many of the items as you can remember in a given time period.

Then there are two-player games, such as Memory Master, where one player stares at a picture (magazines, books or photos all work) for a minute, after which the second player quizzes them on all aspects of the picture.

Ten of the best online learning resources:

  1. BBC Bitesize
  2. Geography Games
  3. Google Classroom
  4. YouTube
  5. Science Journal For Kids
  6. National Geographic For Kids
  7. Fun Brain
  8. Quizlet
  9. Carol Vorderman’s Maths Factor
  10. Seneca

For more information on homeschooling, visit: https://www.oxfordhomeschooling.co.uk/

The impact of smart technology on driving?

The impact of smart technology on driving

Technology continues to have a major impact on our everyday lives, with new innovations constantly being introduced to make like ‘simpler’.  All industries strive to innovate, not least the automotive industry that in recent years has seen the introduction of dash-cams, key finders and in-car Bluetooth systems.

But, what might be next on the agenda for car tech?  These predictions below from Audi dealership Vindis offer some interesting insight:

Self-driving cars

For a long time, we’ve been envisioning a world in which cars will be able to drive around by themselves. This idea once seemed futuristic and farfetched, but the tech is now being developed and tested by leading automotive companies such as Audi. Similar to the idea behind inter-car communication, self-driving cars are set to reduce the risk of human error on the road. The result? A safer and more reliable way to travel. The Google Self-Driving Car project was initiated in 2009 and has since been rebranded as Waymo. After ordering a Waymo on an app, a self-driving car will pick you up and take you where you need to be — a journey which promises to be both extremely safe and very comfortable. The idea behind Waymo is that you can ‘ride with confidence’ and these vehicles have been branded as ‘the most experienced drivers’. Embracing self-driving cars feels like taking a leap of faith, but in the next few years, this tech is likely to feel much more common place.

AR dashboard displays

Augmented reality dashboards will soon provide all the information you could possibly need to enhance your driving experience. Giving your dashboard a video-game aesthetic, AR displays will show any information you need to know about the car itself. They will also give you other vital information about the road, such as how quickly you’re approaching another car, and how best to avoid collisions. 

Inter-car communication

Cars that are hooked up to the internet are now fairly standard in the automotive world. Soon however, these internet-enabled cars will have the ability to communicate with one another, transforming our driving experience. Communication between cars will help prevent collisions, with precision that human error has never before allowed us to achieve. Before a collision can occur, the car-to-car communication system will foresee the accident and alert the driver to the potential consequences. They will then be able to react quickly and avoid catastrophe.

The world’s leading car manufacturers are currently using this technology to develop fully autonomous models. Which leads us on to our next smart technology…

3D gesture technology

Imagine changing gears or winding down your car windows with a simple wave of your hand. Like magic, you will soon be able to control many elements of your vehicle with mere gestures. As well as being futuristic and fun, this tech is set to make driving easier and safer. Instead of jabbing at buttons on the radio, or being tempted to reach out for your phone, you will soon be able to point at the screen of your infotainment system to accept an incoming call — a simple solution that means you’ll never have to take your eyes off the road.

Full integration with phones and smart watches

We have already seen a huge integration between our cars and our smart gadgets, and this trend is set to continue. Recent innovations have seen car manufacturers such as Hyundai, pair up with the Android Wear app which allows users to complete a number of commands from your smart watch. From your watch you can start your engine remotely, lock your car’s doors, sound your horn, and turn the headlights on and off.

What’s more, built-in integration with apps is set to become more commonplace with new car models. Many models now integrate popular apps into the infotainment system, making it look just like the usual screen on your phone.

Automated parking systems

Finally, for those who are tired of searching for a parking space to riskily squeeze into, let us introduce automated parking systems. Parktronic systems that allow cars to find parking spaces and navigate to them already exist, but with new infrastructure around automated parking systems forecasted, the future looks bright for those who hate parking. This infrastructure will allow passengers to drop off the car at the entrance to a garage, allowing it to venture off and find its own parking space. And when you’re ready to be reunited with your wheels? A simple tap on an app will signal to your car that it’s time to journey back to the drop-off point.

Some of these innovations may seem straight out of science fiction, but every day we are inching nearer to a world in which smart technology drives cars by itself. It may take some getting used to, but our future roads are set to be safer than ever!

Sources

https://www.petra.com/blog/what-is-smart-technology/

https://thewiredshopper.com/7-mind-blowing-smart-car-technologies-that-will-hit-the-road-soon

https://www.germanautolabs.com/blog/5-future-smart-car-technologies-youll-love

https://waymo.com/

Are you Cyber Essentials accredited?

Covid-19 has forced companies up and down the country to operate remotely while the Government tries to reduce the spread of the virus. Some businesses have been better set-up for the temporary change, with a smooth transition to their entire workforce working from home; others have struggled. While remote working has many fantastic benefits, if it’s not done securely then you’re leaving the door ajar for the hackers to slip in and steal your most valuable assets. 

Hackers will exploit anything they can and Covid-19 is no exception. Businesses will be so busy trying to stay afloat right now that the cybercriminals will make the most of the distraction, and they are. Earlier this month The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) urged the public to follow online safety advice as evidence emerged that the hackers are exploiting the virus online. 

Phishing attacks seem to be the most common form of exploitation, with bogus emails in circulation with links claiming to have important updates. Once clicked on, the device becomes infected. This is being seen across the globe and hackers are even impersonating official bodies including the UK Government, World Health Organisation (WHO) and the US Center for Disease Control (CDC).

Are you Cyber Essentials accredited 2

Firms of all sizes are at risk right now, but SMEs in particular as they’re the ones most likely to forget to lock the door behind them, so to speak. One of the easiest things firms can do right now to protect themselves is to take advantage of the Government-backed Cyber Essentials scheme, which can help them to identify and prevent around 90% of the most common attacks.

Despite Cyber Essentials’ launch back in 2014, around 30,000 certificates have been awarded to businesses and organisations – out of around 5.9 million companies in the UK. We’ve answered the most common questions on the scheme to help firms take action, and fast.

How do you get the Cyber Essentials accreditation?

There are two certificates that can be obtained – Cyber Essentials and Cyber Essentials Plus. The former is self-assessment based, with the certificate giving you peace of mind that your defences will protect against the majority of common cyber attacks. The process is easy, and that’s what businesses need right now, but it does cost around £300 for Cyber Essentials. Gaining the Cyber Essentials Plus is a more rigorous process, with a third party vulnerability assessment. The price will also depend on the scope and size of your organisation.

What is the process?

The process has changed slightly from April 1 2020; before, businesses would apply for accreditation through one of five Accreditation Bodies. In order to make the process simpler and more consistent, there is now one Cyber Essentials partner in place, as opposed to the five Bodies. That partner is the IASME Consortium. 

Once you’ve contacted the Consortium you will need to verify that your IT is suitably secure. You can see the requirements for IT infrastructure here. If you fall short of any of the requirements then you will need to make sure these are up to scratch before you can proceed.

After this you will need to fill out a self-assessment questionnaire, if submitting for Cyber Essentials. Your CEO will then need to sign that self-assessment to confirm your answers are a true representation of your security controls. Once submitted, you should get a response within days. 

How can I get my business prepared for it?

First of all you should read the detailed set of requirements for your IT. You need to assess yourself against the five control groups: 

  • Boundary firewalls and internet gateways (used to prevent attackers coming directly over the network)
  • Secure configuration (to reduce the risk of malware being able to get on to your end user devices)
  • User access control (to make sure users only have the right to do what they need to be able to do, this constrains any attackers that try and get in)
  • Malware protection (to further reduce the risk of malware being able to get on to your end user devices)
  • Patch management (to keep ahead of the attacker, who will try and exploit a weakness)

This process should be treated as an internal audit; once you have a list of areas where you are not meeting the standard, you can implement a corrective action to resolve it.

Will my certificate run out?

Yes. This is another recent change. Prior to April 1 2020 there was no expiry date on Cyber Essentials certificates. Now they have a 12-month expiry date. This will help companies to continually maintain and improve their cybersecurity processes.

Not only will Cyber Essentials help protect your business from losing valuable information, and as a result money, it will also make you an attractive company to buy from, or work with, with the reassurance that you have the correct cybersecurity measures in place.

By Colin Robbins, managing security consultant at cybersecurity specialist Nexor.

5 steps to keeping your business thriving during remote working

Amy Robinson at Esendex
Amy Robinson, senior brand development manager at telecommunications provider Esendex

By Amy Robinson, senior brand development manager at telecommunications provider Esendex

Across the UK, millions of businesses have shifted their practices to remote working during the Covid-19 pandemic. Firms that already offered flexible or remote working will have been well prepared with the equipment and software their employees need to stay in contact with colleagues and clients, but for others, being forced to adapt their operations has presented a challenge. 

To keep up, companies must harness this opportunity to grow and adapt their services in this new environment. Flexible working provides firms with a means to collaborate effectively, increase productivity and limit absenteeism, making it a key benefit for businesses.

With remote working on the cards for the next few months, here are some of the key target areas to focus on right now.

1. Provide multiple communication channels for employees and clients

Remote working can cause employees to feel isolated from their team, especially in a period of uncertainty. Virtual chats and video calls can aid in replacing the interaction which employees will be missing from their day to day role in the office, while communication platforms such as SMS can help to keep staff in the loop with important updates, such as the Government’s daily briefing.

Management holds a responsibility to ensure the communication channels between their team are open. Taking the time to stimulate collaborative conversations between employees will not only help to minimise isolation, but it will also maintain important social contact between the team.

Whilst instant messaging and emails are key, the use of video calls should not be undervalued. Video calls provide physical cues and gestures which are lost during non-visual contact. Team wide video calls should be scheduled regularly to ensure the context of any points is not lost through translation.

For clients, it is crucial to engage in frequent and transparent communication. Clients will be evaluating their own financial status, which is why it’s key that firms reassure their clients that their services will continue to operate. Regular contact is invaluable during this time, and with SMS you can abide by the principles of little and often to ensure people are kept up-to-date, without feeling overwhelmed.

Some businesses may find they need to utilise some of these platforms more than others, for example, those that run pubs, cafes and restaurants and are still offering takeaway may find themselves using text messages to communicate to customers when their order has been dropped off on their doorstep.

2. Focus on creating a secure IT infrastructure

Whilst the vast majority of employees in the UK are working remotely, the risk of a large scale IT breach has never been so prevalent. 

The security level of a business’ IT infrastructure significantly impacts the ability of that firm to work remotely. Businesses must ensure their IT security practices are up-to-date and that they have invested in effective protection – ideally by gaining accreditation through the Government-accredited Cyber Essentials scheme.

Employees must be trained on the importance of security whilst they work remotely. Ensuring employees are using strong passwords and changing them frequently is a start, as well as taking measures to protect any documents from being shared externally. Firms who will be using chat rooms to communicate with their staff should ensure they are separate from those they may use in their personal time. 

3. Schedule practice runs for remote working

With businesses around the country struggling with the shift to remote working, systems have been overloaded for firms that failed to prepare for the event of a full office lockdown. 

To combat this in the future, management should consider organising remote working practice drills 2-3 times a year, with every employee working from home. This will allow for the identification of any flaws in IT infrastructure, communication, software or productivity and enable them to be improved upon in good time.

4. Draw up a business continuity plan

Firms should invest resources into preparing their employees and systems for unprecedented events which may occur in the future. As a crisis can range from something as seemingly simple as a power cut, to something much larger scale, like the current pandemic, they are more common in business than people think – it’s not a case of if, but when.

Business continuity plans are designed to assess the risks to the operations of a firm from a crisis and how these can be mitigated. With this in place, management will feel better prepared to stimulate their remote working plan when an unexpected event occurs. 

5. Appreciate the benefits of remote working

Whilst many businesses were not prepared or keen on switching to a remote working environment, the current circumstances have left most with little choice. As this becomes the new normal, it can be helpful to reflect on some of the benefits remote working can have for a business.  

With less time spent on commuting for employees, lower operating costs and increased productivity, remote working is widely documented to benefit both staff and businesses. Whilst the sudden change has been unsettling for many, the shift to remote working may just become a more permanent move for many. 

What Does Emergency Management Mean for Businesses?

The recent outbreak of coronavirus has shed light on the specialism of emergency management. Despite being vital to society, emergency management isn’t typically a major mainstream focus. Until it’s needed, that is.

Businesses and large organizations play a critical role in maintaining public order, so it’s important that they are ready to respond to potential emergencies. If retail companies can’t stock the bare essentials, for example, it can lead to rioting, looting and food shortages.

As people become more aware of the need for contingency plans, businesses are placing more emphasis on their emergency management. For today’s students and existing professionals, this opens up a whole new world of career possibilities.

What Is Emergency Management?

Emergency management refers to the organization of resources for dealing with critical situations. By enhancing the framework for dealing with major hazards, emergency management professionals protect vulnerable groups within society and society itself. The types of emergencies businesses, public organizations and countries need to be prepared for are varied and include:

  • Environmental disasters, such as flooding and bushfires
  • Man-made threats, such as terrorist attacks and riots
  • Biological threats, such as pandemics and endemics
  • Financial disasters, such as recessions and depressions

Given the varied nature of potential hazards, effective emergency management requires input from a wide range of resources. While businesses are tasked with creating their own emergency preparedness strategies, many corporations work closely with government bodies to deliver successful emergency management.

Although many businesses play an important humanitarian role in times in times of crisis, there is, of course, a corporate agenda at play. When potential hazards pose a threat to trading or spending, companies want to ensure they can weather the storm and maintain their profits.

Being unprepared puts companies at risk of reduced sales, a dwindling customer base and bankruptcy. Due to this, businesses have a major financial incentive to prioritize emergency management.

Working in Emergency Management

Emergency management is such a varied area that there are a wide range of career opportunities within the sector. The need for professionals with a diverse range of skills can be seen in the four stages of emergency management:

  • Mitigation
  • Preparedness
  • Response
  • Recovery

The ultimate aim of emergency management professionals is to minimize the harmful effects of disasters and hazards. To achieve this, the sector calls on the expertise of a range of professionals, such as:

  • Researchers
  • Scientists
  • Data analysts
  • Developers
  • Communications experts
  • Security specialists
  • Medical professionals

While being an Emergency Response Manager is a defined role within the sector, there are millions of people around the world contributing to the industry. From government workers and employees of private firms to non-profit staff and volunteers; working within the emergency preparedness sector is much more common than you might think.

Building a Career in Emergency Management

As the need for first-class emergency management has become more widespread, an increasing number of people are choosing to focus their careers on this area. Indeed, there are now bespoke courses and degree programs aimed at developing the next generation of emergency response specialists.

However, a career in emergency preparedness isn’t only open to graduates who have completed this type of degree. In fact, there are many routes into the industry. Perhaps one of the most successful ways to enter to the sector is following a career in policing.

As police forces around the world are inextricably involved in every aspect of emergency management, moving into the sector is a natural progression for many serving officers and civilian support staff. Click here to learn more about how police forces have evolved throughout history and what role they’ve played in emergency management and national security.

On a day-to-day basis, police officers deal with a range of emergencies and crises. For catastrophic events, such as building collapses, to logistical issues, such as failing traffic infrastructure; police officers are ultimately responsible to maintaining public order and safety.

People working with the emergency services gain experience at all levels when it comes to effective emergency management. New police officers typically work in the field; implementing emergency preparedness strategies in towns, cities and villages, while more experienced officers operate at management level to create these strategies and manage resources.

Is the Corporate World Prepared?

The current spread of coronavirus may have taken the public by surprise but those within the emergency management industry have been preparing for this type of threat for many years. As such, big businesses and governments are already working together to facilitate an appropriate response. This cross-organizational response is indicative of the strategies needed to managed crises. As Dr. Eric Whitaker maintains:

‘Emergency preparedness is a team sport’

To date, most developed countries have been able to contain or mitigate potential threats before they become too widespread. The alarming rate at which the biological threat of coronavirus is spreading means that the emergency management cycles of response and recovery will be more visible.

For most corporations, coronavirus is a timely reminder of just how important emergency preparedness is. Due to this, it’s likely that firms will recruit increasing numbers of emergency management specialists in both the short and long-term. For police officers who want to explore alternative career routes, the need for experienced responders will present an attractive opportunity.

Moving forward, businesses are likely to use emergency management specialists to carry out a number of tasks, including:

  • Risk analysis of potential threats
  • Building an inter-organization team
  • Creating contingency plans for different types of emergencies
  • Training staff and employees
  • Simulating emergency situations and assessing the response

Although companies will want to protect their investments and financial performance, more visible emergency preparedness measures will also play a role in reassuring the public that they are safe. This means that non-profit organizations, private firms and government departments are likely to engage in more publicized emergency preparedness activities. As a result, the emergency management sector is likely to grow considerably as companies, governments and countries seek to implement effective crisis management schemes for every eventuality that they could face.

Key(hole) to Success

DOME Medical Technologies Inc

Laparoscopy surgery, or keyhole surgery, has been increasingly popular amongst surgeons. As minimally invasive surgery is commonly performed, finding a way to improve the technique is a challenge. This is just what the team at DOME Medical Technologies Inc. have achieved. However, DOME’s vision is laparoscopic surgery access, simplified. Recognized as Corporate Vision’s Most Influential Leader in Medical Device Operations 2020 – USA, we look at how this firm is changing the face of medicine the world over.

Laparoscopy is one of the more straight-forward operations that surgeons undertake, but like all procedures, it still holds the potential for serious complications. DOME Medical has committed itself to ensuring that every laparoscopic surgeon has the tools to make this minimally invasive operation even less dangerous. For them, access to the body can still be made safer, easier and more efficient.

The way that DOME Medical has done this is through the design and development of cutting-edge and next-generation surgery access devices. Taking it’s considerable portfolio of intellectual property, the team worked on the development of new medical devices that can be used to access the body for surgery and other medical procedures. The focus has recently been on LapDome, an innovation that could change the way that laparoscopies are performed.

LapDome has been designed specifically to provide a more sophisticated entry into the abdominal cavity for patients undergoing surgery in this region. It’s telling that the act of performing the surgical access has not really altered for roughly thirty years, with clamps manually lifting the abdominal wall and a Veress needle injected into the gap. This can cause complications, with injuries caused to major blood vessels, abdominal wall hematomas, bowel perforation and puncture of the aorta and a reported injury rate of 2.1%. These are acute or intra-operative complications. This does not include unreported access complications which present at a date following the surgery.

Through the use of a carefully designed molded polycarbonate dome, with a port that can be attached to a suction system and a port through which surgical equipment can be inserted like the Veress needle, when placed over the operating area, negative pressure suction from standard or suction systems raise the abdominal wall above the critical organs.

As the abdominal wall is raised above the vital organs, the Veress needle can be inserted into the newly created space with minimal risk of harming the vital organs that can be found in the abdominals. As inert gas is delivered to replace the negative pressure, the LapDome is removed and it is possible to begin the surgery. Everything is carried out without using manual clamps, which means the surgeon can perform the procedure without the aid of any assistants.
LapDome is an entirely proprietary creation, meeting the high industry standards of ISO 13485. Despite being a Class 1, non-intrusive device, it is designed for single use, with features built in to discourage re-sterilisation and reuse. This means that there is less chance of cross-contamination between operations, reducing the possibility of complications further down the line.

While laparoscopies are often held as one of the least intrusive and more minimally risky operations, this is a ground-breaking development that represents a new and significant advantage to surgeons. It not only reduces the time needed for insufflations, but it minimises the need for multiple access incisions and potentially reduces the risk of injury to underlying vessels. Current access modalities are not only labor intensive, but clearly contain inherent risks. Even the most routine and low-risk procedures can be improved, and it’s clear that this is the mindset with which the team at DOME Medical have approached the problem. It is a new way of tackling an old problem, addressing a clinical need that is not immediately obvious. Understandably, it has been well received throughout the medical community.

LapDome is a veritable boon to any surgeon, being the preferred option for anyone performing the operation. It means that there is a clear market wanting to use the product, namely laparoscopic surgeons, especially GYN surgeons, and the medical centers at which they practice. With over a hundred procedures successfully completed using LapDome as an intrinsic part of the process, every surgeon that has taken part has indicated that they would use the device when it was generally available, and more importantly, that they would recommend its use to junior surgeons.

In many ways, the success of LapDome, and the work of DOME Medical, is in finding new ways in which to innovate the medical industry. With its justifiably high level of regulation, there are major challenges for anyone wishing to work in this industry while also trying to find a commercial angle. It’s important to remember that these regulations are not arbitrary, and ensure that the medical community, and indeed the community at large, are served to the best of their ability. Devices that enter this sector are sure to be of the highest standard, both safe and effective in their function. The expertise of DOME Medical’s executive staff guarantees that the company is able to maintain these high standards, as well as it serves the medical community.

Looking forward, DOME Medical has been working on a series of exciting plans for the new year, starting with the team’s intention to launch LapDome on a limited basis across the US and Europe. This is naturally dependent on the attitude of the regulatory bodies in these two territories, specifically the US FDA and the notified bodies in Europe. This commercial launch would be preceded by DOME Medical conducting the Rapid and Positional Insulflation Device Registry. This is how the company intends to introduce the LapDome platform to the GYN surgery community, as well as measure the critical criteria such as safe use, ease of use, and other clinically significant points.

While LapDome has been the lynchpin of DOME Medical’s operations to this point, the culmination of the project will allow the company to explore new areas of commercial medical science. Having found a way to improve laparoscopies for the general population, the intention is to address more specialist needs in the future too. This means looking towards paediatrics, bariatric surgery, and other specialty patient applications.

To this end, the company intends to release a range of LapDome, each adapted to suit different needs and purposes. The LapDome™ Mini is the second version of the platform designed to fulfil the requirements of patients who are of a smaller body size than the original LapDome was designed for. The LapDome™ Pedi is similarly adapted, this time to suit the somewhat smaller and special clinical needs of pediatric patients. Laparoscopic surgery for this group is rising quickly, yet the specialized needs of these patients means that specialist tools are required to ensure a successful operation. LapDome 2.0 has design features which address the open access technique employed by General Surgery. Finally, the fourth iteration of the LapDome is the LapDome™ Plus, adapted to provide efficient access to the bariatric patient.

The best solutions are those which seem obvious once carried out, and this could be said of DOME Medical. Instead of pushing into uncharted territory, this firm has focused on perfecting what is already being done. Helping patients in the long run and providing a product that medical practitioners will be crying out for, the LapDome is set to take the market by storm.

Contact: Arthur Malvett
Website: www.domemedical.com

Luxcore’s Legacy Secured with Superb CEO

Luxcore, an American firm dedicated to paving the way forward for the future of semiconductors, has the privilege of playing host to the recipient of Corporate Vision’s award for Most Influential CEO of the Year 2019 – USA: Mr Gerald Ramdeen. We had the pleasure of speaking with Mr Ramdeen following his recognition, in a bid to learn more about Luxcore’s success under his wise and discerning leadership.

Revolutionizing and disrupting any industry requires more than just an outstanding product. There has to be a collaborative team, exceptional talent, and an influential leader overseeing it all. For Luxcore, that influential leader is Mr Gerald Ramdeen. Establishing Luxcore at the turn of the millennium, Mr Ramdeen has since acted not only as founder, but also as chairman and chief executive officer, ensuring he remains as involved as ever with the daily activities of the work he started. Headquartered in Atlanta, GA, Luxcore has collaborated with a highly talented team of research scientists in materials science and a group of highly experienced telecommunications equipment engineers from Bell Labs, Nortel, and Tellabs to revolutionize semiconductors. The results are nothing short of exceptional.

Following Mr Ramdeen’s success as such an influential CEO and leader for the team at Luxcore, we at Corporate Vision had the privilege of speaking to him more about his tenure at the company, as well as its ongoing mission. As the conversation began, Mr Ramdeen shared with us the vision behind Luxcore, and how it has evolved over the last twenty years.

“With an organizational corporate development and capitalization history spanning nearly two decades, the original vision for Luxcore then and today is still the same. Our purpose is to ‘Change the Way the World Communicates.’ Looking back, our first generation was all about designing, developing and proving fundamental, underlying core photonic integrated circuit (I.C.) or ‘optical semiconductor’ technologies that make ‘all-optical’ networks commercially viable. This, our second generation, is focused on fundamental architectural changes to the global Internet backbone infrastructure and the technology-enabled disruptive business model that need to be brought to market to fulfil our vision and purpose.”

Even before founding, chairing, and leading Luxcore, Mr Ramdeen had accrued a wealth of experience in telecommunication, I.P. Routing, optical systems, and A.I., having held various positions with organizations such as NASA and the U.S. Department of Defense. Upon founding Luxcore, Mr Ramdeen then proved his ability to recruit and lead a world-class team of more than 120 hardware and software engineers from Bell Labs, Lucent Technologies, Nortel Networks, Cisco Systems, Fujitsu, and Tellabs.

Just one year after its establishment, Luxcore introduced the world to the multi-terabit G1 LambdaRouter™, an integrated switching, routing, and transport system based on a fundamentally new type of proprietary semiconductor microprocessor chip technology. Revealed at the Optical Fiber Conference in Anaheim, CA, the LambdaRouter™ was the world’s first all-optical wavelength switching, routing, and integrated transport system based on photonic I.C technologies at its core.

This radical new invention was set to change the game for semiconductors, proving that electronic conversions were not necessary for switching wavelengths of light or photons. It was a breakthrough that would forever change the underlying technology of the global phenomenon we know today as the Internet, as well as the economics of allowing billions of people around the world to access that same Internet. However, just a few short months after the monumental success that Luxcore was experiencing for its innovation, there came an unfortunate change in circumstance. Mr Ramdeen shared with us a time when his leadership was tested.

“Here we are in the spring of 2001 winning the show’s top awards, including “Best New Product.” A few months later in May 2001, the dot com and telecom bubbles had clearly burst. Our three Beta Test customers met their demise. One of the world’s largest telecommunications services providers filed for bankruptcy, another filed for bankruptcy reorganization, and our third was acquired. Literally, overnight, our market had disappeared! We developed a product for a big market that didn’t exist at the time. I would say that it was a failure that taught me a lesson of perseverance.”

It might have been easy for that to have been the end of Luxcore’s story. But Mr Ramdeen’s leadership and determination to succeed carried the firm through. Any great leader has faced times of difficulty. What separates and elevates them to exceptional levels is the perseverance to push through them.

“Have faith, believe in your team, and stay committed to your purpose and vision even in the face of adversity.”

Whilst the last two decades have seen fundamental shifts occurring in the communications industry, they are ones that Mr Ramdeen and his team have been keeping a careful eye on. Following the implosion of the dot com and telecom bubbles in Spring 2001, the firm watched carefully for signs that could pave the way for a new global revolution in the use of semiconductors. That time is now. Mr Ramdeen shared us with some statistics of the last ten years that offer an opportunity to revolutionize the way semiconductors are used in global Internet technology.

“We’ve witnessed a substantial increase in the amount of data that travels over the Internet backbone. For example, Cisco Systems had predicted that there would be a 6x increase in data traffic in the Cloud alone from 2012 to 2016 to an annual data traffic volume of 6.6 Zettabytes! That’s equivalent to 7 trillion hours of H.D. video streaming or 2.5 hours of H.D. video streaming for each man, woman and child on Earth each day for an entire year (source: “Cisco Global Cloud Index Forecasts Cloud Traffic to Grow Sixfold by 2016”: News Release, Cisco Systems, October 23, 2012).”

“Today’s Internet backbone was never designed to support this type of explosive growth in data. What happens with the deployment of 5G mobile wireless communications, the coming of the “Internet of Things” (IoT) and the demands of big data analytics? How will today’s global Internet backbone cost-effectively keep up with this exponential growth in data?”

More and more people than ever before are using electronic devices with them wherever they go, and the need for semiconductors that can get the job done has never been more prevalent. In this era of inescapable digitalisation, the use of semiconductors has become impossible to avoid. For many years, silicon has been the primary semiconductor of choice for discrete devices and integrated circuits, given its relatively commonness and excellent conductive properties.

However, Mr Ramdeen and the team at Luxcore had other ideas. Instead choosing to use Indium Phosphide (InP) as its primary semiconductor material of choice, Luxcore had its sights set on dominating the market once again, without the disastrous implosion. Indium Phosphide proved a superior choice for a semiconductor that would be used in high-power and high-frequency electronics, thanks in large part to its electron velocity being greater than that of elements such as silicon and gallium arsenide.

As our time with Mr Ramdeen comes to a close, it has become more apparent than ever why he has been duly recognized as the Most Influential CEO of the Year 2019 – USA. His sagacity, tenacity, and determination is nothing short of admirable, and his ability to lead a team through some of the most difficult economic conditions is unparalleled. Closing out the interview, Mr Ramdeen shared with us some words of wisdom for his fellow peers; words which many of us should take to heart.

“I want to tell my peers that the key is ‘perseverance and adaptability.’. Have faith, believe in your team, and stay committed to your purpose and vision even in the face of adversity. Be open to the unconventional. The path to success does not come without obstacles and challenges. I had the difficult tasks of trying to find and lead strategic initiatives to keep Luxcore operational during some of the most challenging economic conditions in recent history and prevailing through it was gratifying.”

Contact: Gerald Ramdeen
Website: https://luxcore.com/

Keeping your business afloat amid COVID-19 confusion

By Natasha Frangos, Partner, haysmacintyre & Shalini Khemka, Founder and CEO, E2E

The spread of COVID-19 across the world has had truly devastating effects for  businesses of all sizes across the world. With the situation changing on a daily basis, there is still little clarity as to when the world will emerge from the pandemic. In the face of this crisis, business leaders and owners need to act proactively and practically, in order to help protect the long-term future of their organisation in the face of this crisis.

Keeping things on track: business continuity planning

To help businesses survive this crisis, keeping tabs on profit and loss and cash reserves is particularly important. In order to make fully informed decisions about how to move forward, business owners need to understand where income and costs are the highest. A number of businesses are now looking at their cash flow forecasting, and how the crisis will be affecting this.

As an important first step, businesses need to factor in how costs can be reduced, whether this be through assessing the existing staff head count; delaying new supplier contracts or reviewing existing contracts. And with COVID-19 impacting on cash income through sales or services for a large number of businesses, many will need to consider how far their existing cash resources will take them. To help manage cash flow, some businesses may need to draw upon alternative resources, such as collecting as much from debtors as possible, actively managing build-up on inventory, or even negotiating better payment terms with suppliers.  

Over recent years, there has been a noticeable shift in how businesses operate, with many moving their offerings to online platforms. And with consumers, clients and staff staying at home because of COVID-19, the need for businesses to make the move to digital platforms is now more vital than ever. Not only will allowing the business to operate online drive engagement on social platforms and retain client and customer relationships, but it can also allow them to generate income through digital services or online stores.

 Understanding the financial support on offer  

The various financial support packages that have been announced by the Government have been welcomed by businesses as they consider how to mitigate these testing times. However, there is still significant ambiguity surrounding how and when the promised support will reach those who are in need of it, and we’ve had a number of queries about the measures and schemes themselves. It’s a challenging time with the situation changing on a daily basis, and there is a considerable amount of technical information to be deciphered.

The Job Retention Scheme

With many businesses across the hospitality, leisure and retail sectors having locked up for the foreseeable future, there is little doubt that many business leaders or owners are concerned over the workforce they have invested time and money into. The Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme offers a small reprieve, in this case. Employees that are no longer able to work can be registered as ‘furloughed’ due to COVID-19 on HMRC’s online platform, meaning that HMRC will reimburse 80% of their wages (at a maximum value of £2,500 per month). On top of this, the scheme will now also reimburse businesses for the related employer national insurance and minimum auto-enrolment pension scheme contributions: a development that could save businesses a further £300 for each furloughed employee. This is a particularly welcome step that has eased the pressure for many businesses who may be forced to cut their workforce to reduce costs – however, furloughing itself is quite restrictive on small businesses who may not have a large workforce, as furloughed workers cannot provide any further services to the business while they are in that status. Perhaps, a middle-ground scheme could be considered by the Government, offering to cover the costs of wages but lifting restrictions on individuals completely ceasing involvement in the business.

And for those who are directors of their own company and are no longer able to work, HMRC has stated that, provided they are paid through PAYE, support will also be available through the Job Retention Scheme. However, as directors would need to qualify as furloughed, meaning that they should not work during the ‘lay off’ period, there is uncertainty as to how directors with ongoing duties will be eligible.

Business Interruption Loan Scheme

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme is now open for applications, and it’s something a number of clients have sought advice on. Currently, businesses are recommended to contact their existing banks to confirm if they are eligible. But some banks are viewing the scheme as too risky, and still require business owners to give a personal guarantee. This means that if they were to take out a loan of £50,000, while the Government may pay back 80% of it, the business owner would still be liable for 20% against their personal guarantee. Perhaps, a better solution would have been for the Government to fully cover a limited number of loans themselves.

Additionally, there are a number of questions surrounding the grants available for small businesses. Whilst a welcome relief for many, it is still unclear what applies for smaller businesses based in serviced offices. It seems that businesses are only eligible for the grants if they themselves pay business rates, thereby excluding such businesses.

Deferral of tax

Businesses that are UK VAT registered will also have the option to defer VAT payments for three months, between 20th March and 30th June 2020. For businesses that defer VAT, we understand that HMRC will be in contact in June to agree a payment plan to clear the outstanding VAT by 31st March 2021. A dedicated COVID-19 helpline has also been set up to agree bespoke Time to Pay (TTP) arrangements, and it is important businesses make use of this early on. We are aware of a number of queries surrounding changes to the timing of payments, and as yet HMRC is willing to allow tax payments to be deferred; in fact, HMRC is aware that the current deferral advice may change and is therefore not setting up any TTP arrangements yet. It’s particularly important for all businesses to keep updated with the situation as it develops, so they are able to remain compliant.

The support provided by the Government is much needed, but any delay to payments will only add to the pressure on businesses that are already haemorrhaging cash. Despite the recent announcement of the relaxing of insolvency rules, the primary concern of many business will doubtless be the cash flow conundrum, as they seek to avoid administration. Throughout these troublesome times, advisors and support networks can provide a helping hand to offer guidance and clarify the confusing technical details.

Smoothing out the logistics

On almost every day of the crisis in the UK so far, new measures or restrictions have been announced. It’s therefore vital that businesses are able to adapt quickly to changes, and have the logistical challenges planned out to allow for smooth adjustments to new working environments. The vast majority of workers will now be based at home, so businesses will need to have all the practical details considered: are employees fully equipped with the relevant tools and technology they need? If information and confidential documents are being shared between remote locations, is the software secure and is the data fully protected?

And whilst maintaining relationships with employees and clients is vital throughout these challenging times, it’s particularly important to keep investors and stakeholders involved, too. By remaining visible and transparent, these key players will be able to see how the business is adapting to survive, and offering valuable guidance and advice where needed.

The road ahead may be wrought with obstacles and challenges, but business leaders need to plan for recovery, too. Acting proactively, and seeking external advice, can help you best ensure that your business is fully protected in the short term, and prepared for the long term.  

Regularly updated guidance and advice can be found on haysmacintyre’s dedicated COVID-19 page, and support can also be found on E2E’s helpline: +44 (0) 7969 161 805.

Best CFO, Direct Reports and Teams Recruitment Company – Germany

FINANCE People Solutions

When it comes to filling a CFO position, or indeed that of any top-level executive position, it can be hard to find the right person. Whether a role is permanent or interim however, it is imperative for both parties that the person and position is right to ensure maximum productivity and positivity. Focused entirely on recruiting CFOs and their teams all over the world, one German firm is ensuring that when opportunity arises, there is no better teammate than “ The CFO Partner”.

Founded in 2014, Finance People Solutions does exactly what it says it does. For more than five years, the firm has been helping corporations in need of a Chief Financial Officer fill their positions with the right person, who is qualified and highly motivated to do the best job possible. Under the sage guidance of founder and CEO Paul Taaffe, the firm has grown from strength to strength organically, working hard to become one of the country’s best for interim and permanent recruitment within financial departments.

A specialised globally-operating direct search firm offering interim and permanent positions alongside career advisory services, FPS is renowned for its ability to identify and match the perfect prospective CFO with the right firm. Not content to simply place an individual within a firm however, Paul and his team also specialise in hiring those who would report directly to them as well, giving them a strong and able support network to maximise the chance of growth and continued success.

“Realising that there are two sides to every employment situation, Finance People Solutions offer the same level of care and attention to both parties.”

Realising that there are two sides to every employment situation, FPS offer the same level of care and attention to both parties. For companies, Paul works hard to put himself in the shoes of their CFO and understand exactly what they require from a candidate. On the other hand, open and honest dialogue with candidates can foster strong relationships from the earliest stage and ensure that the candidate gets all the available support they need when career planning or searching for a permanent position.

Support comes in many forms, all of which are aimed at establishing and cementing those strong relationships throughout the process. Through their professional aptitude and experience at partnering clients with candidates, the team at FPS know that it is often more about the person behind the CV. Fitting with a culture and an ethos is just as important as having the technical prowess to do a job, which is why initial phone calls to get to know the candidates are so important.

The career advisory services offered by FPS complement the search and recruitment services perfectly, designed by CFOs for CFOs, or those who aspire to be. Ensuring that the chief financial officers of the future can access a truly beneficial coaching programme, the process differs amongst individuals, but often includes an interview, personal and CVfocused analysis, and advice on what to do next in achieving goals. After a few hours of personal meetings, each set of tailor-made results are ideal for specific situations and how best to progress in search of that perfect CFO role.

One of the ways that FPS continues to stay ahead within its niche field of specifically finding CFO candidates for top-level, executive financial roles is through recognising what the future holds. Innovation is constantly happening, and big companies are finding it harder to move fast enough in an ever-evolving world. Having remained small, agile and versatile within their market, Paul and his team have gradually grown alongside the innovation to increase their presence in the market. Despite the rise of automation, digitalisation and other tech-savvy innovations permeating industries across the world, recruitment is perhaps one of the industries where human interaction will always be better. People make companies great, and recruiting the perfect candidate into a CFO role will always be best done through people like Paul and his team at FPS.

Understandably, it can be hard for those who have not been in executive positions themselves to know the details of the tasks and challenges that a CFO will have to face. That’s the experience that stands FPS apart from their competition. Championing the firm himself, Paul brings a wealth of experience and expertise to identifying the right person with the right skills for successfully running and supporting a company.

Beginning his journey almost thirty-five years ago, Paul is one of the most experienced CFOs and business executives working in the world today. Having worked alongside global companies such as Pepsico, Nike and DELL, it is almost effortless for Paul to step into a CFOs shoes. That way, he can begin to truly understand a firms needs, and how best to offer them a solution that fits with their practice and ethos. For companies who need an experienced individual to identify needs and offer pragmatic solutions, they don’t come much better than Paul.

Paul’s experience working as a global CFO stretches far beyond the usual duties. Having constantly driven himself and those around to succeed, Paul has also overseen turnaround and restructuring work, as well as the implementation of new growth strategies to maximise the chances of success. From his own extensive personal experience in doing everything he can, Paul knows the requirements that the modern CFO must live up to, and FPS set about making sure that all of its clients receive the right candidate who is capable of delivering nothing but the best.

Contact: Paul Taaffe
Website: www.financepeoplesolutions.com

The Five Best Tips to Know Before Starting Your College Adventure

Have you received your acceptance letter to the college of your choice and are you ecstatic to begin your college adventure? We definitely want to begin with a word of congratulations and kudos for continuing your education. 

Before your semester begins, there are a few pieces of information that can help you be better prepared for college life. We’re going to tell you what you need to know to avoid any surprises and what you might expect during your first semester. 

Keep reading for all the necessary details to help you prepare for the upcoming semester!

Plan for the Long Haul

You might be feeling a bit ambitious about starting school and want to take as many classes as you can fit into your schedule while still keeping your sanity. While this might work for some people and upperclassmen, it’s important to pace yourself. 

The
length of a semester will vary between schools. Typically a shorter semester will mean more intense classes while a longer semester allows for a bit of a slower pace but possibly more in-depth coverage of a subject. 

If a semester is really short (like a winter intersession) it is not advisable to take more than one or two classes at a time. No matter how long your semester is, all of your classes will be measured in credit hours. It can be tempting to take a large number of credit hours in order to get a jump start on your college career – be careful doing this as it can cause you to burn out before you get into the true ‘meat’ of your degree!

You can schedule your classes around work or work around your classes, but try to pick a style of scheduling and stick to it. This will help your employer adjust to your needs as you progress through your degree. 

If you are attending a physical university, as you are scheduling your classes have a map of the campus near you. Having classes that are back to back and across campus for each other will end up giving you an unintended workout.

Start Saving Now for Your Books

The Five Best Tips to Know Before Starting Your College Adventure

Even if your tuition is covered by a scholarship or financial aid, there is a chance that this money won’t stretch far enough to cover your books. Unfortunately, brand new books are super expensive and it seems like every semester a new version comes out which keeps the cost high. 

Ideally, you can start saving now for your books. If you can email your professor before the class starts, find out if the newest version is necessary or if a book that is a few years old will suffice. Opting for an older version means that you might be able to
find the book online at a cheaper rate than the brand-new text at your campus bookstore. 

Sometimes the newest version is necessary. Find out if the book can be downloaded instead of purchasing a hard copy. Typically a downloaded version will be cheaper and you can print off the pages as you need them if you choose to do so! 


Expect Less Oversight

If you’re starting college the semester after you graduate high school, you might be expecting to have teachers breathe down your neck and constantly as you about your assignments. In college, you won’t be micromanaged.

It will be up to you to get organized, know when projects are due, when the exams are, and generally be able to keep up with your readings as they are assigned. Chances are, your professor won’t even know your name unless you happen to be in a very small class or you make an effort to introduce yourself.


Take Advantage of Office Hours

When you’re enrolled in a class that seems overwhelming, you can ask for help during your professor’s office hours. Most of the time, you won’t need an appointment and can just pop in as you need. 

Meeting your professor outside of the classroom will show that you are interested in the topic and are trying to do your best. Often a professor will go the extra mile to ensure you understand complicated lessons and be a bit more lenient with grading if they see that effort has been made.


Attend Class 

When you’re enrolled in a class that seems overwhelming, you can ask for help during your professor’s office hours. Most of the time, you won’t need an appointment and can just pop in as you need. Meeting your professor outside of the classroom will show that you are interested in the topic and are trying to do your best. Often a professor will go the extra mile to ensure you understand complicated lessons and be a bit more lenient with grading if they see that effort has been made. Yet, have in mind that every professor has to make enough consultation time for every student and at times responsiveness is not their sharpest tool in the shed. 

If it means the world to you to be a part of a thorough education process with the professor’s much needed supervised hands-on experience every day, a vocational school may be another interesting option for you.
The trades have a long history in the US and even the newest wave of vocational trades is in high demand. Make sure to take your time and evaluate all options and possibilities before making a final decision. 

Making the Most of Your College Career

The Five Best Tips to Know Before Starting Your College Adventure

Even if you were a shy kid in high school or weren’t quite as popular as the cheerleaders and football players, attending college will be your time to shine! You can become whoever you’d like and join clubs or intramural sports teams without the fear of judgment. 

There are professional societies, Greek fraternities and sororities, and even religious clubs. All of which will be open to you because you’re a student!

Most campuses are so big that people won’t necessarily know you but such a large number of people will make it easy to find your niche, make friends, and really live the college experience. Get involved in various activities and clubs; attend the sporting events to cheer on your team. 

It will ultimately be up to you to ensure that you enjoy your college adventure and learn as much as possible about your chosen field. Have fun and enjoy it! 

11 Great Benefits of Online Education

When it comes to earning a college degree, the benefits of online education can’t be disputed. 

If you’re thinking about taking a college course online, we’re offering a list of 11 amazing benefits of online education plus this list of
affordable online colleges to make your decision easier!

Mortar board and a graduation diploma

1. Flexible schedule

One great benefit of online learning is the opportunity to study while working full time or taking care of your kids. Whatever responsibilities you have during the day, you can always study at the time that is most convenient for you. This means that you won’t have to sacrifice sleep, commute to a physical classroom, or arrange (and pay) for childcare.

2. A variety of programs to choose from

Any course you can think of – you can take it online. You can study business administration, sociology, history, English, computer science, accounting, fine art, sport management – you name it! The greatest part about this option is the fact that the world is your oyster. You can truly choose a subject that is close to your heart, even if it’s originally taught on the other side of the planet. Don’t let geographical coordinates stop you anymore.


3. It’s cheaper

By choosing online learning you can save hundreds of dollars! In the case of online education, the traditional costs associated with using equipment and physical classrooms don’t apply. All you need is the right software and hardware in order to be able to log on and complete your assignments. 

In addition, by not having to commute to a university or college to take the course, you will save money on gas and car maintenance. Finally, you can use this saved ‘commute time’ to study and take tests in the comfort of your home.


4. Multiple channels of communication

One of the best things about online education is the flexibility of communication. As seeing your online college professors isn’t always possible, you can communicate with them via various channels including email, phone conversations, live chat, etc. This means you get multiple chances for constructive feedback, as well as an opportunity to ask questions at any time. 


5. Create a perfect learning environment

Whether you’re studying at home, during lunch break at work, or while visiting relatives, you have an opportunity to customize your learning environment according to your preference. You don’t need to use crowded places like libraries any more! 

You can dedicate an entire room in your home where you’ll be able to study in peace and quiet. For those who are rather shy – you don’t have to worry about having to interact with other students. 


6. Learn at your own pace

With online courses, you no longer have to compare with other students or pressure yourself to keep up with them. In some cases, you might get through your assignments and exams in record time because the material is easy for you to understand, whereas, in others, you might need more time in order to comprehend the concept. Be as it may, the important thing is you’re in charge of your own progress! 


7. Access course materials any time

With online courses, you can review your course materials however often you like and at any time you want – even at 2 in the morning. You have access to a variety of materials like written materials, podcasts, and videos. You can take online notes that will help you to better understand the class materials, flip through screens with ease, or use the “find” function to quickly pinpoint relevant paragraphs. 

You can even take online exams and quizzes and get your score right away. Online education systems have immediate scoring systems to inform you how you did on the test and save you from lots of stress.


8. Transfer your credits

Want to transfer your college credits? No problem. All you have to do is conduct careful research of the universities and colleges you’re interested in and you should be able to arrange credit transfer.  

Contact the admissions offices of the institutions you’ve chosen to get a list of the online courses they accept for credit transfer and get your degree faster.


9. Improve your career advancement opportunities 

Is advancing your career conditioned by having a higher education degree? Then, you can easily upgrade your skills and knowledge by taking online courses. Compared to traditional courses which usually take years to complete, now you can get an opportunity for a raise or promotion in a matter of months!


10. Development self-discipline

When people aren’t forced to attend classes at a physical location, they have to manage their own tasks and time and develop some serious self-discipline. If this seems impossible for you, you can use a time management tool and online calendars. 

However, if you do manage to boost your self-discipline, you’ll have a great skill that will prove very useful even after you complete your college education.

Graduation

11. Connect with fellow students

Online colleges provide an opportunity to discuss classroom assignments using live online discussion sites or chat forums. This way, you’ll be able to converse with fellow students, swap ideas about assignments, or get your questions answered without having to go to a physical meeting place. 

In addition, you can join online study groups. People who study online often form study groups using free online tools such as Skype or Google Hangout in order to be able to study remotely with other students. All you need is a computer and a headset. You can present documents, share screens, use virtual whiteboards, organize your study projects, etc. 

 

In Conclusion

Online learning offers a great number of benefits, but these are the top 11 ones to help you figure out if online courses are the right choice for you. 

7 Steps to Make the Best Conference Room for Your Office

The decisions made in a conference room can be some of the most
important ones your staff makes. They might be hosting distinguished colleagues
or determining significant aspects of the company’s future. That should happen
in a space that is clean, bright and lends itself to effective work and
communication. Productivity, focus and appearance are vital.

When it’s time to design a conference room, you want
to prioritize creating an environment conducive to the work your staff needs to
do. Take the following steps to help your conference room become a productivity
powerhouse.

1. Determine Your Colors

Conference rooms should be sleek and straightforward. You want the
focus to be on the meeting, not necessarily the place. Make it tie into the
rest of your office and use your company’s signature colors where appropriate.
Don’t let them be garish or obtrusive, though. A bright neon green wall is not
very calming, but a simple pop of color can be energizing. 

2. Have Plenty of Seating

Employees should be able to focus on work, not where they can sit and
place their belongings. Try to maximize seating and include lots of table
space.

3. Include Functional Items

Conference rooms are more than just places to discuss things — they
are where people work through problems. Include tools they may need, like
whiteboards, markers and a strong Wi-Fi connection. You’ll also need a
projector or screen for employees to give presentations on and space for them
to stand.

You may also want to include a food and drink area for those long
meetings and notable guests. Install a water machine and coffee maker for a
stimulating pick-me-up corner. Veggies, nuts and fruit are also good snack
options that won’t distract
others during a meeting
. Make sure there is a tabletop area for
things like sandwich platters or pizza if you plan on holding large gatherings.

4. Use Natural Light

You’re not imagining things: Fluorescent lighting is an incredibly damaging force to
your workday
. It can make you less productive, sleepier and
stressed out. Natural light, on the other hand, wakes you up, puts you in a
better mood and can help you focus. Try to incorporate large windows in your
conference room to reap these benefits.

Another positive aspect of natural lighting is that it can save you on
energy costs since sunlight brightens up the room instead of electricity.

5. Make It Soundproof

The distracting sounds from the breakroom down the hall can make it
hard to focus. Soundproof walls are an excellent start, but many modern offices
use lots of glass windows to separate rooms. Try using soundproof glass to keep
the noise down. It isn’t 100% quiet, but it can significantly reduce the amount of sound
transmission
, especially if paired with a special framing
system.

6. Use High-Quality A/V Equipment

Conferences involve lots of presentations, and poor equipment can make
or break a meeting with an important client. Supply employees with reliable
technology and help them impress your guests. The machinery should be powerful
enough to run all the software it needs to, whether that’s a videoconference or
a PowerPoint. It should also be easy to use. Stick with similar technology to
what your employees use regularly, so they can get it up and running quickly.

7. Add Plants

Being in a stuffy office all day is enough to make anyone feel a little
“blah.” Greenery can help reduce stress, increase productivity and
boost creativity, among many other benefits. Just a handful of plants boosted
productivity by 15%
in one study. Consider a simple leafy addition to
your conference room to help staff members focus and enjoy the space more.

Beef up Your Conference Room Design

Taking the time to focus on your conference room can mean a world of
difference to your staff. Use these tips to create a space that will help them
focus, be more productive and make better business decisions.