Getting Started Writing Continuing Education Courses

Online continuing education courses have gained in popularity among licensed professionals in recent years mostly because of their affordability and convenience. There are literally hundreds of thousands of state licensed professionals across the country who are required to complete continuing professional education in order to renew their licenses. This creates an equally huge market for authors of continuing education course material.

In an earlier article, Become a Continuing Education Author and Earn Mailbox Money!, I described the benefits to licensed professionals, such as architects, engineers, land surveyors, interior designers and landscape architects, in sharing their expertise and experience with others by becoming an author of continuing education courses. In this article I will explain in more detail just how to go about doing it.

First, select a topic in which you are both interested and experienced. It is much easier to write about something that interests you and you have experience with than something outside your interest and experience. Be careful to choose a topic that is neither too broad nor too specific. Your course must be broad enough to appeal to a wide audience, but specific enough to provide useful information.

For instance, if you are an architect who specializes in retail interiors in shopping malls you probably have a lot of experience dealing with the property management’s Tennant Coordinator who reviews and approves your designs. A course that covers the general process of complying with the landlord’s technical and submittal requirements, sprinkled with real-world examples of common pitfalls and solutions could be of great interest to other architects and interior designers who also work on projects in shopping malls.

Once you have a topic in mind prepare a brief outline of the issues you want to talk about. This doesn’t have to be a formal outline, just enough to get your basic ideas on paper. You can then begin to expand upon each item.

At this point you should consider writing what are known as “Learning Objectives.” Learning Objectives are basically what the student can expect to learn by taking the course. Nearly every state licensing board requires that Learning Objectives be clearly and concisely spelled out at the beginning of a continuing education course. There should be at least three Learning Objectives for each credit hour of the course. So a one-hour course should have at least three, and a three-hour course should have at least nine. Learning Objectives should be no more than one or two sentences in length.

With your basic outline and Learning Objectives in hand you can now begin to break up major headings into subheadings and further expand upon those. Your outline and course should flow naturally and logically from the broader topic to the more detailed specifics and examples.

You should consider including pictures, drawings, diagrams or charts as visual aids to help explain your points. Asking a student to read one paragraph of text after another, page after page, without graphic aids to reinforce and break up the text is not a good idea. Use only non-copyrighted graphics and never plagiarize someone else’s work. You should also use major and minor headings in your text and pleasing combinations of bold and italicized text to further break up and reinforce the concepts you are explaining. And be sure to proof read your course for spelling and syntax errors before submission.

The last step in creating your course is to prepare a test. Tests should be in the form of True/False and multiple-choice questions. Both types may be used, however, True/False questions should not make up more than 50% of the questions. Multiple-choice questions should contain no fewer than three and no more than six choices. The test questions can be either part of the course document or a separate document. You will also be required to provide the course provider company you are submitting to with a copy of the test with the correct answers highlighted in some fashion.

The number of test questions required will depend upon the credit hour length of the course. A one-hour course should contain no fewer than ten test questions. Each additional hour should contain at least five additional questions. So a two-hour course should contain no fewer than 15 test questions.

Continuing education courses are generally assigned credit according to the length of time an average student can read and understand the material and take the accompanying test. The universally accepted units are the “PDH”, or Professional Development Hour, and the “CEU”, or Continuing Education Unit. One PDH equals one hour of professional development. One CEU is equivalent to ten professional development hours. So if your course takes an average student two hours to read and comprehend and take the test it should be rated as worth two PDH or 0.2 CEU.

You are free to include at the end of your course a list of references for further study and a bibliography. Be sure to give appropriate citations to any quotations used from other sources. You should also be prepared to submit a short biography of yourself along with your first course.

Each course provider company has their own submission requirements and pay scales. Generally speaking, you can expect to either be paid outright for the copyright to your course, or to receive a commission of around 20% of the sales of your course for some period of time. Again generally speaking, the shelf life of a continuing education course is three years. After that period of time many providers will require that you update the course and possibly sign a new contract to extend your commission for another period.

There are a variety of online continuing education course providers easily found through an Internet search. Each serves certain target professions, such as architects and engineers, or mechanical and electrical contractors. Find the ones who serve your profession and contact them. You will want to be familiar with their writing guidelines, commission rates, contracts and submission requirements before you attempt to prepare a course for them. They may also have course topic suggestions and even restrictions. Most providers will not accept a course on a specific topic for which they already have a course. So check it out before you invest your time and energy.

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The Education Deception

Like many things: the food industry, the medical-pharmaceutical establishment, the mainstream media… the elite corporate/ banker hidden controllers have also standardized the education system through funding. For example, many years ago in the USA, much money was poured into education by the Rockefeller created National Education Association with the help of the Carnegie Foundation and later on the Ford Foundation and this was not done out of the kindness of their hearts. -The result of the efforts of such organisations can be seen worldwide today in the real purpose of the education system which is to teach children and young people:

1. Conformity to authority figures.

2. Acceptance that ‘truth’ and what is ‘real’ comes from authority.

3. Reward comes from accurate memory recall from heavy repetition.

4. Non-compliance will be punished.

Thus, the real purpose of the education system is to cultivate conformity and prohibit critical thinking about anything of real importance.

Starting at 4 years old (and what could be a better age to start a mass indoctrination) then by the time an individual comes out of the education system, some 12 years plus on, they would have had more than their fair share of programming and brainwashing, unable to really think for themselves. -As Einstein said, ‘real thinking is to think the unthinkable.’ Any genuine outside-of-the-box thinking having significant humanitarian or mother Earth friendly benefit, if pursued, may well be ignored, quashed, ridiculed or suppressed by the influence of those hidden controllers if it is perceived as a threat to any of their businesses:

Unsung Heroes

Here’s a list of just some of history’s truly great humanitarian outside-of-the-box thinkers with their innovative ideas/products that have never been able to see the light of day due to the above reasons. I bet you never studied these ‘taboo subjects’ in your formal education training:

Raymond Rife and his Universal Microscope for curing cancer.

After successfully curing cancer patients, the Rockefeller owned American Medical Association later had this work laid down to rest by closing down Rife’s set ups.

Nikola Tesla

Wardenclyffe Tower Project- free energy. Due to undercutting the cost of the conventional electricity grid system, Tesla’s funding was stopped. His equipment and lab was burned down.

Linus Pauling

‘Unified Theory’ cure for heart disease. Due to greater interests in corporate profitability and perceived financial threat, this highly successful cheap alternative therapy has not been allowed that much attention.

Adam Trombly

Free energy dynamo.

Proven free energy by accessing electrical power from air, but never allowed to see the light of day…

Wilhelm Reich-Cloud bursting and weather control.

Again this workable mechanism for producing rain clouds for crop irrigation in drought areas was stopped by those ever watchful lackeys for the hidden corporate /banker controllers.

Allowing something like this could lead to food abundance and greatly contribute to ending world hunger. However, the controllers don’t want world hunger to end. If this happened it would make it more difficult to control these people in what would no longer be third world countries… Don’t forget, their hidden enslavement agenda.

Thus, essentially, the corporate based education system with its carefully selected curricula covertly serves to impede or stultify real human growth.

The corporate funded education establishment just wants you to fit into the system. This is totally consistent with the Pink Floyd song ‘All in all, you’re just another brick in the wall.’ Those individuals most programmed and brainwashed by the education system are likely to be more successful than others. Take for example, at job interviews. Having a greater corporate mindset is more likely to get the job than others: This ‘mindset’ resonates with interviewers of similar disposition…

On the subject, too-big-for-their-boots-corporations are soulless greed machines with all the hallmarks of a psychopath. Don’t be deceived by the effrontery, they care very little about the planet and the people on it. Coldly, to the corporations an employee is just a resource, no more than a piece of office equipment, equally expendable, hence the department human ‘resources’. To the corporations, ‘making enough money’ doesn’t exist in their vocabulary. How can it possibly exist when it’s not in their thoughts?

There is so much poverty in the world: A billion people having to live on a dollar or less a day, roughly every 5 to 7 seconds a child dies of hunger… Ultimately, this is a result of the corporation’s lack of investment. -I digress.

We are living in a corporatocracy; a corporate run and controlled world. Given that the Presidents and Prime Ministers, i.e. most senior politicians are not in power to serve the people, they are ultimately there to do the deeds of the corporate agenda, then it fully stands to reason that the education authorities serve to follow corporate directives.

Filtering In Academia

Carefully monitored by the controllers over the years, academic institutions have taught science with some major assumptions. These assumptions are more than ever receiving challenges questioning their validity. However, anyone in academia who dares to seriously challenge the official indoctrination; walks too far away from the white line laid down by the authorities, posing a major threat to the establishment’s iron-clad beliefs, then they could find themselves getting shown the door. Indeed, this has happened before.

Here are the assumptions in science that have received some serious challenges

1. Darwin’s Theory of evolution as an explanation for the origin of life.

2. Human civilization is around 5000 years old.

3. Louis Pasteur and the Disease Theory.

4. In physics it is said that consciousness is separate from our physical world.

5. The space between things is just emptiness.

All false, I say! I will be writing about this in later messages. -All creditable challenges to the above 5 things receive little attention in academia or mainstream media: This kind of filtering, whether it’s in science; not giving the whole picture, or with any other subject, is done as part of a plan by the controllers to keep us in ignorance, misinformed and in a ‘no growth’ situation.

The higher up in academia, the more specialised and therefore more blinkered a person becomes. These individuals may be unaware of the full picture and ignorant of the facts that contradict the official established line. Unfortunately, these people such as the old fart professors, instead of having an open mind and willingness to see beyond their limited beliefs, indoctrinations… they tend to rather arrogantly defend themselves and ride roughshod on those who dare to challenge.

The Solutions

Don’t blindly accept what the authorities tell you or anybody else. Instead of acting like blind slaves, believing you’re free and oh so educated, as Einstein said, do not stop questioning. When you are satisfied with what you have found and if it is different to the official line, have the courage and integrity to speak up, spread the word. As more people become aware of the suppressed knowledge in academia and the benefits it could bring to society, there will be greater chances of these findings getting acted on: There are such things as free energy and successful cures for all sorts of diseases… They have been about for many, many years.

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Local Authority Spending

Local authority spending may be divided into categories based upon the expenditure. Common expenditures include education, social services, procurement, subsidies, grants, capital expenditures or social services. Each economic category is decided by the Office for National Statistics. Experts define the spending by measuring the contribution of the local authorities to Total Managed Expenditure (TME). This amount is measured through national accounts. This amount usually excludes capital grants paid to public corporations or interest paid to central government.

The expenditures are usually analysed by evaluating the central government support for the local authorities within the Departmental Expenditure Limits (DEL) and Departmental Annually Managed Expenditure (AME). Currently, capital grants and other supported capital expenditures comprise the central government support for local authorities. Revenue supported grants are the largest grants offered. Other departments also offer grants.

Annually, local government expenditures are recorded in the Public Expenditure Statistical Analyses (PESA). This is published in Chapter 7 of the publication. Though much of the focus is on spending in Great Britain, some of the spending relates to Northern Ireland’s district council spending. Most of the expenditure data is collected via the following sources: Northern Ireland (NI), Scottish Executive (SE) and Welsh Assembly Government.

In the UK, both outturn and planned spending expenditures are included in the local authority spending budget. For example, the estimated spending for 2011 is £681 billion pounds. The expenditures were allocated towards Health, Welfare, Pensions, Education, Defence and a Miscellaneous or Remainder Group. These expenditures are planned expenditures. The local authorities have estimated the potential costs for the year. A budget is also allocated for outturn expenses that are more difficult to plan for or predict.

Local Authority Spending

Currently, the budgeted expenditures in the UK for 2010-2011 totals £121.9 billion. This is a 6% increase from previous years. Thirty eight percent of the budget was allocated to education. While 17% was spent on social care, 14% on housing benefits and 10% was spent on police. All of these statistics were provided courtesy of the UK Statistics Authority.

In the coming years, the UK may expect some cuts in government spending, according to the Liberata. Nearly 97% of the local authority chief officers are planning cuts in government funding. Many of these cuts will be between 10% and 20%. Nine out of 70 local authorities expect there will be some sharing of services to cut government spending. Twenty-one expect sharing in the next five years. Joint working may also become more popular in the next five years according to 30% of those polled. Off-shoring services are expected to only receive 1% of the interest.

The UK wants to outsource some jobs, but desire to keep most of the jobs within the UK. The local authorities are developing strategies for balancing outsourcing with local jobs to minimize the effects on the UK communities and local economy. When the council must pay unemployment benefits because of outsourcing, this increases the public costs. Local authorities devise plans to delicately balance outsourcing with local jobs.

Total Place Initiative

The UK implemented the Total Place initiative to monitor public spending within the local areas. This initiative helps authorities identify how public money could be used to better the community. Councils are encouraged to gain control of local delivered services in their area. Total Place gives the local authority the governing power to make decisions regarding sharing or not sharing in their area. Some local authorities are concerned that sharing the staff diminishes the authorities’ ability to think strategically.

Since the Total Plan was implemented, nearly half of the local councils were prepared to take direct control over locally delivery services. Some of these services may include local health services, benefits or jobs advice from Jobcentre Plus. Some of the local councils would also like control over house building and the Homes and Communities Agency. Nearly 43% of the local authorities believe that significant savings will be achieved by restructuring services. Some local authorities cite that this type of plan will save them over £70 million over the next three years.

Other Effects of Local Authority Cuts

Some suspect that elderly care may also suffer due to budget cuts. Since elderly care is dispersed across many different departments the fund is harder to protect than other funds. For instance, most elderly care is comprised of social services, housing and government benefits. Without a formal, fundamental review of funding, many experts worry that state funded care for elderly people may collapse within four years. Many experts recommend appointing a government minister to oversee the elderly funds to ensure that these funds are not completely depleted.

Local authorities serve as monitors or gatekeepers to those who assess elderly for health care. Officials of the local authorities assign a fee for services regardless of the provider’s costs. Local authorities may ensure that elderly are able to receive the care they need without paying exorbitant costs.

Local Education Authorities

Since education comprises a large portion of the 2010-2011 budget, this topic will be discussed primarily as an example of local authority spending. Currently, the UK has allocated 38% of the total budget to education. Education is expected to comprise 12% of the total government spending in 2011. This percentage represents a significant cut in allocated revenue. In 2009 and 2010, the gross planned expenditure on education totaled £41.2 billion.

Local education authorities (LEAs) are responsible for distributing funds and resources for schools in the UK. This organization retains a portion of the funds to maintain their operational duties which include supporting students with special education needs, psychological needs, or home-to-school transport. LEAs promote the growth of academies and “Free Schools” by the new Coalition Government.

Many academies receive funds directly rather than through LEAs. Some experts are concerned that by increasing academies the role of LEAs will be diminished. However, the local authorities still provide services that would not be affected by an increase in academies and direct funding. Those searching for additional information on LEA budgets may find additional information in the Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Act 2009 or in the data archive section of the Department of Education’s website. Educational local authority spending may be found in the children’s services section.

Local Tenders

Compulsory Competitive Tendering (CCT) was introduced in the 1980s. This method of tendering improved the services and health care through competition. Incentives were needed to stimulate reform. However, some of the incentives were resisted by the local government. This method provided a compromise.

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Education and the Learning Revolution

It sometimes seems to be the case that education in the UK often becomes a bit of a political football – so much so that there is a danger that we lose the essence of what learning is all about.

Many commentators have spoken of the need for not simply educational reform but for educational revolution.

In the 1980’s the authors Dryden and Vos made the observation that we were teaching young people to face a future in which they will have to solve problems that we do not know will be problems yet, with technologies that do not exist yet and undertake roles and jobs which we have no concept of – yet.

A few years ago a presentation called SHIFT HAPPENS highlighted some of the ways in which change is happening exponentially – what we know, what we think we know – what we understand, what we think we understand – is all in a state of flux. In short technological and scientific developments are redefining the skills that we will need to engage fully in our futures.

As technology and scientific discoveries shape and mold our understanding of the world they bring with them new and different moral and ethical questions which will need to be addressed.

The real question is whether or not our current education systems, which Sir Ken Robinson maintains stifles creativity and are really ‘one long university application process’, can meet the challenge of the future.

For the most part education systems are linear, attempting to homogenize learning experiences by creating academic targets that are based upon chronological age and not social-emotional-intellectual readiness. At the same time teachers are being presented with a host of ‘learning initiatives’ that are often little more than coverings for a crumbling system; hence they are met with cynicism promoting a real lack of joined-up thinking.

This is not about the teachers and the quality of their work. It is more about the structures within which they are working or are expected to work.

Talk to teachers about teaching and learning and one of their first observations will be about the ‘crowded curriculum’ followed by a disheartening reflection that “admin work” is taking them away from the process of engaging with young people in learning challenges and conversations.

At the start of this academic term I was invited to talk to a group of parents and eager Year 10 students about the ‘fresh start’ they could make on their chosen examination subjects. The focus of my talk was about being emotionally engaged, and therefore, motivated by their own learning. All went well and my presentation was well received, but perhaps would have been so much more ‘real’ if had not been preceded by a senior member of staff in the school talking about ‘target levels’, ‘projected’ and ‘expected’ grades and the need to ensure that grades were in need of constant improvement in order to ensure that colleges of further and higher education looked favourably on future applications.

Surely there are several questions here…

The first is the motivational nature of ‘targets’ in the first place. There is a world of difference between having targets ‘imposed’ and having targets developing from personal goals and interests.

Secondly is the assumption that further or higher academic education, based upon GCSE or A level grades, is the right path for all.

So much for personalised learning!

Of course a cynic could say that the subtext for such targets, and the striving for ‘good grades’ is not about the education of our young people, but about the political hoops that need to be jumped through in order to be recognised as a ‘good’ school or ‘excellent teacher’.

Many of those working at the ‘chalk face’ are aware of the tension that can exist between ‘teaching and learning’, as a philosophical ideal, and ‘education’ as a political agenda where funding and performance are so often linked.

Any Education Authority, School or Teacher daring to take revolutionary view of teaching and learning, must not only face the challenges dictated by central government, where academic progress (i.e. examination performance) is ‘king’, but also the perceptions of parents who cling to more traditional approaches to teaching and learning with the honest intention of wanting their children to ‘do the best they can’.

The truth of the matter is that, in terms of subject knowledge and personal skills, what was valuable in the past may not be that relevant in the future.

In essence, perhaps, there are only four key skill areas in which revolutionary educators need to focus.

1) The Ability to Access and Assess Information

2) The Ability o Communicate Effectively in a Variety of Ways

3) The Ability to Manage and Lead Self

4) The Ability to Manage Chang

Each of these areas have within them other, more generic skills, and the issue is that all can be developed within the framework of a curriculum that is not necessarily divided by ‘subjects’ but linked through ‘context’.

I heard Richard Dawkins comment recently on the decline in the standards of scientific literacy in our society, and the fact that science itself may have been marginalised by a more egalitarian education system wherein personal opinion was perhaps more valued than collective understanding based upon empiricism and reasoned argument.

In many respects I echo this sentiment.

We need to address deficits in critical thinking and encourage the fundamental question ‘how do we know’?

But this cannot be done at the expense of creativity and personal expression.

Artists do not have the monopoly on creativity and personal expression in the same way that scientists do not have the sole rights to analysis and rationality.

The Learning Revolution, the one that has stalled several times, demands that young people are asked questions about what they THINK and how the FEEL in equal measure – and be given the skills to REFLECT upon those questions.

It insists upon encouraging young people to identify their TALENTS and their PASSIONS, which may have little to do with university entrance or academic results.

It requires parents, teachers and politicians to recognise that the skills and knowledge that served them for the NOW may not be the same as those demanded by a society of the FUTURE

“A student can win twelve letters at a university without learning how to write one” – Robert Maynard Hutchins

Dr Alan Jones in an NLP Trainer, Motivational Speaker and Educational Coach who has worked with a wide range of clients including international organisations, education authorities, professional training providers and individuals. He is an Accredited de Bono Thinking Skills Consultant.

His colleagues recognise not only his particular skills as a trainer and presenter but also his eclectic interests. He is a magician (Member of the Magic Circle), mentalist, writer and broadcaster.

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Become a Continuing Education Author and Earn Mailbox Money!

Most states in the country require that licensed professionals, such as architects, engineers, land surveyors, interior designers and landscape architects, complete a certain number of hours of continuing education each year in order to renew their professional license.

In years past most licensed professionals had to expend hundreds or even thousands of dollars each year to attain their state-mandated continuing education. Opportunities were limited to a handful of in-person venues lasting a day or more. Most of these seminars were held only in large cities, requiring many professionals to travel and stay overnight, costing both large sums of money and their valuable time.

With the rise of the internet more and more state licensing boards allow what is known as “distance learning.” Distance learning, as the name implies, is learning from a distance, without the need to travel to an in-person venue in another city. Mail-order courses, webinars and internet-based courses are common examples of distance learning.

As you can imagine, many professionals are opting for distance learning over in-person seminars not only because it saves them both time and money, but because it is much more convenient, allowing them to acquire their continuing education credits on their own schedule and at their own pace. Naturally, this has increased the demand, nation-wide, for internet-based continuing education course material.

Most professionals have more than enough expertise in their field to become an author. They just may not realize it. Writing these continuing education courses can be both rewarding and profitable. With a little up-front work an author can reap the rewards of his or her courses for years to come with little or no effort. Simply write a course for one or more professions, submit it to an online continuing education provider and sit back and collect your “mailbox money.” Typically, authors receive 20%, even 30%, of the sale of each course. While each provider sets the price of each course the more successful and reputable providers can charge up to $ 35 or $ 40 dollars for each one-hour course. That translates into a commission of $ 7 to $ 12 dollars to the author each and every time the course is sold! With hundreds of thousands of licensed professionals across the country constantly in search of fresh, interesting online continuing education material the potential market for your courses is huge.

Most courses are from one to three hours in length and can target more than one profession. For instance, a course about the use of heavy timbers in architectural design can qualify for continuing education credit not only for architects, but for engineers and interior designers as well, thus tripling your potential audience. A one-hour course is usually between 12 to 15 pages in a default Microsoft Word document, or about 6000 words. There is generally a test at the end of each course consisting of ten or more true/false and multiple choice questions pertaining to the course content.

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