Binary

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I was browsing Reddit this morning and happened across a conversation about binary (http://www.reddit.com/r/thebutton/comments/34dm3d/oh_my_goodness_i_actually_clicked_and_got_red_and/cqtqlyi)…you know, the weird language of 0’s and 1’s? I’ve known *what* binary is for a long time but up until today I never understood how it worked, in the sense of how do you represent a number – say, 300 – in 0’s and 1’s. But thanks to a very clear explanation in that Reddit conversation, I think I’ve finally got it.

When you write the number 300 you are using *base 10*. There are zero 1’s, zero 10’s, and three 100’s. Every place value bumps earlier place values to the right.

When you represent the same value in *base 2*, or binary, you start with 1’s, then 2’s, then 4’s, then 8’s, then 16’s, and so forth. It would show up as 100101100 because you have zero 1’s, zero 2’s, one 4’s, one 8’s, zero 16’s, one 32’s, zero 64’s, zero 128’s, and one 256’s. Get it? Remember that each new place value bumps previous place values to the right, so your 1’s is the furthest place value to the right and the 256’s is the furthest place value to the left.

It’s so easy!

My UoPeople Story

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Every now and then I’m asked to document my experience as a University of the People student. As I was writing it down this morning, I thought it might be helpful to post on this blog as well.

My experience at the University of the People has been better than I ever could have imagined.

After graduating high school in 2003, I made two attempts to earn a degree. In both cases I was only able to complete a few semesters before having to drop out for personal reasons. I felt like a failure and to make things worse I had racked up nearly $20,000 in student loan debt. At that point in my life, I felt as though I would never be able to get a higher education and earn a degree that would open up new doors, personally and professionally.

In 2011 I read an article online about University of the People. UoPeople claimed to be the world’s first tuition-free online university. I was skeptical – a tuition-free college education sounded too good to be true. But the idea stuck with me and from time to time I would search the internet for any news or reviews about UoPeople. After seeing a few more articles about how UoPeople had partnered with reputable partners like Hewlett-Packard and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation I decided it was worth the $50 application fee to take a risk and apply for the first term in 2012. I was accepted shortly thereafter.

I have thoroughly enjoyed my classes at UoPeople. The 100% online format, use of Open Educational Resources, and focus on peer-to-peer learning under the tutelage of highly qualified instructors have allowed me to study on a flexible schedule while still ensuring that the courses are rigorous. I also appreciate the fact that my classmates come from all over the world – where I first thought that such a blend of perspectives might be difficult to deal with, I have found that exposure to so many different cultures and ways of thinking has only improved my own learning.

In July of 2014 I graduated with an Associate of Science in Business Administration. I proudly display my diploma in my office at work. My employer values my higher education and the fact that UoPeople is an accredited institution. Just this past year, I was able to use my degree to obtain a professional registration (Pennsylvania Registered School Business Specialist) which verifies my expertise in the profession. I could not have done this without my degree. I am continuing my education through University of the People and hope to complete my Bachelor’s degree within the next two years and, if it becomes possible, an MBA as well.

Next Term – GO

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I pushed it right to the last minute, but I did sign up for Financial Accounting through University of the People. I have four more classes to complete in order to finish my junior year, and then there are eight or so additional classes to wrap up in order to earn my Bachelor’s degree. The new term starts on April 9.

Try out the Degreed bookmarklet

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Degreed is my go-to tool for aggregating all of my learning in one place. Whether it’s logging my UoPeople credits to running daily imports from my Goodreads, Khan Academy, or Udemy accounts or just using the Degreed bookmarklet to catalog videos and articles I’ve found online, Degreed can track it.

If you haven’t seen it yet, visit the bookmarklet download page here and install it in your browser of choice. It makes cataloging your learning as easy as the click of a mouse.

For example…while browsing Reddit I found a video of the new “beer mile” world record holder. Good stuff.

Or, if you would prefer, a more scholarly video on the future of Parkinson’s disease research.

Getting Caught Up

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Here’s what I’ve been learning lately:

University of the People

  • just took the final exam for BUS 3006 – Business and Society
  • just took the final exam for PSYC 1504 – Introduction to Psychology
  • getting ready to register for the April 2015 term

Udemy

  • I’m on module 14 out of 235 in Rob Percival’s Complete Web Developer Course

CodeAcademy

  • I’m 26% of the way through the course on HTML and CSS
  • I’m 16% of the way through the course on Python