- Participants must be at least 18
- Membership at LinkedIn is required.
- Capable of exhibiting consistently
behavior and a constructive temperament.
What kind of item on your résumé
carries the greatest amount of weight? Experience,
of course. Education is vital, too; but a lot of
young college grads are discovering that education,
alone, does not get the job. It's education AND
experience that boosts career opportunities.
You have probably heard this old complaint:
can't get a job without having some experience, and
I can't get experience if I can't get a job
... because I don't have any experience ... because
I can get a job... because ..."
Fortunately, that particular dilemma
is quickly fading into oblivion. How so? The prevailing
information-driven workplace of our time regards
"unpaid" experience as a bona-fide career asset. You can
see this described on career websites and in the new
breed of career guidance books. Volunteer work and
internships usually appear at the top of any list of
suggestion for "unpaid experience." In any case, the
experience must be verifiable to a reasonable
degree--letter from a director, for example.
Tangible evidence is even better—hardcopy
reports and journals, blogs, e-mails, and so on.
Free-Ed.Net is offering a powerful new career asset
builder that combines learning with hands-on workgroup
experience. You can use this program to build your
and first-hand experience—through
the remainder of your working life.
It's really a very simple idea, but one that could
not possibly work until the technology was readily
Ok. Here are a couple of features that are easy to
understand (because they really aren't new ideas at
- It is a well-established fact that most people
learn more and more effectively as members of an
organized study group. Study groups are the heart of
Free-Ed.Net's CSG program.
- The GSGs are organized by "course" titles.
(I put course in quotes because they aren't
really courses of study, but more like group
projects that are similar to workgroup projects
in today's workplace.) The first test groups
will be built around sets of learning objectives for
And the next two features are also straightforward.
They are navigation issues common to most online social
- The main communication portal is an online
Core Study Groups at Free-Ed.Net
That's where prospective group members can check out
the public group action and sign up for the program.
- Once a member arrives at the groups board,
they select the study program—General Psychology, for example. This is where
the members who are doing general psych projects
- Free-Ed.Net provides the portal (described in
items C and D), core objectives for the study group,
and a lot of high quality learning resources.
Okay, okay ... don't leave us now. Here is were we turn the corner:
It is the responsibility of the members to
organize themselves into functioning groups. As
people join the groups and begin communicating among
themselves, strategies for meeting the core
objectives begin to emerge. And soon the project
begins to soar, with the participants learning
cooperation and people skills as well as the subject
- Free-Ed.Net acts only in an oversight capacity,
making certain the groups are not
violating legal statutes (copyright infringement,
for instance) and taking steps to council or
remove troublesome members from the program.
This would have been impossible less than a decade
ago. But the workplace has undergone some tsunamic
shifts (as evidenced by the flotsam and jetsam of
careers that have been broken and washed away). it's a
whole new working world with new standards and
Anyway, it's time to finish off this
Being part of a successful study group—one
that strategizes, allocates tasks, and brings
everything together in the end—is
no small accomplishment. It clearly demonstrates the
qualities that employers are so desperately
seeking these days. (Of course part of the group
strategy is to devise ways to verify the role and
contribution of each member).
- Not only have you strengthened your résumé with
proven workgroup experience, but have extended your
education portfolio with a significant academic
I forgot to mention that each group maintains a
public portfolio (a blog) of its plans and progress. The
portfolio also includes an open profile for every
participant—you know: your
name, a thumbnail photo, a link to your LinkedIn
account, and a brief description of your role in the
Now, why do you suppose we would ask you to do that?
(Well, we can't actually compel you do it. You can
remain anonymous if you like). The purpose is to provide
verification for your listing the work as legitimate
career "experience" on your résumé. A recruiter or job
interviewer can look up your group portfolio and
immediately understand what you and your group managed
to accomplish. It can be very impressive.
I am keenly aware that this CSG program is in its
infancy and, as yet, has no proven track record. But
if we (and especially you) do our jobs here, there
will soon be a time when recruiters are scouring our
public portfolios for suitable candidates for their
companies. And they can actually see what you have
||You can go away and think
about it ... or not
||You can review
the short list of rules
||You can look at available
groups and maybe join one
||You can submit
a proposal for starting a new group
By the way, this is likely the closest thing to a
multiple-choice question you might ever experience