Wednesday, September 12, 2012

DIY Education: Save some dough and take our classes!

Published in the Portland Phoenix; these are my contributions to a piece co-written with Deirdre Fulton and Nicholas Schroeder

In light of recent budget cuts in average Americans' bank accounts, and the increasingly skyrocketing cost of higher education, Phoenix University (we regret the acronym, but University of Phoenix was taken) has opened its (paper) doors. We will be offering the following classes for the fall semester. Enrollment is free, homework is optional, tests may involve life-threatening danger, and credit is not redeemable for actual university degrees. Nevertheless, what you learn here at PU will help prepare you for the rest of your life.
Here's our list of syllabi. (You didn't think you'd ever see that word outside "real" academia, did you?)

Underwater Basket Weaving
After years of use and abuse as a joke gut course on campuses throughout the English-speaking world, Phoenix University is offering this as a real class.
• First you'll need to learn the basics of weaving baskets.
Basic Basket Making: All the Skills and Tools You Need to Get Started edited by Linda Franz, Stackpole Books, 2008.
Weaving Country Baskets by Maryanne Gillooley, Storey Publishing, 1996.
• Then you'll need to get familiar with spending time underwater.
Scuba Diving by Dennis Graver, Human Kinetics, 2009.
The Certified Diver's Handbook: The Complete Guide to Your Own Underwater Adventures by Clay Coleman, International Marine/Ragged Mountain Press, 2004.
• For more advanced reading, or if you plan to spend extended periods of time at this activity:
Ocean Outpost: The Future of Humans Living Underwater by Erik Seedhouse, Springer, 2010.
Diver Down: Real-World SCUBA Accidents and How to Avoid Them by Michael Ange, International Marine/Ragged Mountain Press, 2005.
• Getting to know the underwater materials that may be available:
Illustrated Key to the Seaweeds of New England by Martine Bohnsack-Villalard, Rhode Island Natural History Survey, 1995.
Seaweeds by David N. Thomas, Smithsonian Books, 2002.
Seaweed Biology: Novel Insights into Ecophysiology, Ecology and Utilization edited by Christian Wiencke and Kai Bischof, Springer, 2012. (Particularly Part V, which relates to economic and industrial uses of seaweed.)
• Should you wish to take your efforts beyond the introductory level, consider choosing your work location from this book.
Fifty Places to Dive Before You Die: Diving Experts Share the World's Greatest Destinations by Chris Santella, Stewart Tabori and Chang, 2008.
Advanced Burger-Flipping
A lab course, this involves not only lecture on the physics of momentum, friction (those burgers are slippery!), and thermodynamics (you have to cook with something), but also extensive on-grill work to ensure those who complete the course are proficient at keeping themselves safe, hygienic, and healthy while serving simulated food to paying members of the public.
• We start with the basics:
Hamburger: A Global History by Andrew F. Smith, Reaktion Books, 2008.
The Hamburger: A History by Josh Ozersky, Yale University Press, 2009.
Hamburger Heaven: The Illustrated History of the Hamburger by Jeffrey Tennyson, Hyperion, 1995.
• We also survey the hamburger landscape:
Hamburger America: Completely Revised and Updated Edition: A State-by-State Guide to 150 Great Burger Joints by George Motz, Running Press, 2011.
• We explore the economic and nutritional issues at hand:
Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal by Eric Schlosser, Harper Perennial, 2005.
Chew On This: Everything You Don't Want to Know About Fast Food by Charles Wilson and Eric Schlosser, Houghton Mifflin, 2007.
Food Inc.: A Participant Guide: How Industrial Food is Making Us Sicker, Fatter, and Poorer — And What You Can Do About It edited by Karl Weber, Public Affairs, 2009.
• Then we delve into direct workplace preparation:
Fast Food, Fast Talk: Service Work and the Routinization of Everyday Life by Robin Leidner, University of California Press, 1993. Still the classic study of McDonald's Hamburger University. (No, credits don't transfer!)
In-N-Out Burger: A Behind-the-Counter Look at the Fast-Food Chain That Breaks All the Rules by Stacy Perman, HarperBusiness, 2010.
• And finally we discuss recipe innovation:
Burger Bar: Build Your Own Ultimate Burgers by Hubert Keller and Penelope Wisner, Wiley, 2009.
Architecture 201: Illuminating Basement and Garage Dwellings
Architects are known for spending lots of effort placing and sizing windows. But many spaces have limited daylight available. We explore the theory and practice behind providing ample illumination in otherwise dark spaces.
• From the foundations:
Lighting Design Basics by Mark Karlen, James Benya, and Christina Spangler, Wiley, 2012.
The Architecture Of Light: A textbook of procedures and practices for the Architect, Interior Designer and Lighting Designer by Sage Russell, ConceptNine, 2008.
• We build to specifics of residential areas:
The Home Lighting Effects Bible: Ideas and Know-How for Better Lighting in Every Part of Your Home by Lucy Martin, Firefly Books, 2010.
Studio Lighting Anywhere: The Digital Photographer's Guide to Lighting on Location and in Small Spaces by Joe Farace, Amherst Media, 2011.
• And then narrow to basements and garages:
Basement Ideas That Work: Creative Design Solutions for Your Home by Peter Jeswald, Taunton Press, 2007.
Ultimate Guide to Basements, Attics & Garages: Plan, Design, Remodel by the editors ofHomeowner magazine, Creative Homeowner, 2007.
• With an ending on the topic of how to light the ultimate dark room, a theater:
Stage Lighting Design: The Art, the Craft, the Life by Richard Pilbrow, By Design Press, 2000.
New Techniques in IPO Promotion: Standards and Practices of Cardboard Sign Usage
If you're going to stand on the side of the road asking passing drivers to invest in your latest lifestyle opportunity, you need to know how best to present that opportunity. Most people are discerning about which initiatives they back. We explore the successes — and failures — of seeking public investment via cardboard sign.
• Get a glimpse of the life you could achieve:
The Man Behind the Cardboard Sign by Viola Daugherty, FriesenPress, 2012
• Hone your strategy and campaign message:
Getting Results From Crowds: The definitive guide to using crowdsourcing to grow your business by Ross Dawson and Steve Bynghall, Advanced Human Technologies, 2011.
CrowdFund Your StartUp!: Raising Venture Capital using New CrowdFunding Techniquesby Rupert Hart, CordaNobelo, 2012.
Unlocking Kickstarter Secrets: Crowdfunding Tips and Tricks by Mario Lurig, Amazon Digital Services, 2012.
How I Raised Over $35k in 30-Days To Write My Book by Jim Kukral, Digital Page Launch, 2012.
The Crowdfunding Revolution: How to Raise Venture Capital Using Social Media by Kevin Lawton and Dan Marom, McGraw-Hill, 2012.
• Get technical, and go beyond the basics:
Initial Public Offerings: A Practical Guide to Going Public by David Westenberg, Practicing Law Insititute, 2011.
The Entrepreneur's Guide to Raising Capital by David Nour, Praeger, 2009.
Progress on a Shoestring: Introductory Non-Profit Management
In the event your existence feels like a non-profit for some time after graduation, we delve into the important issues relating to making a difference even when you're not making a living.
• We learn to make the best with what you have right now:
Living on Angel Hair Pasta: How You CAN Live on a Thinner-Than-A-Shoestring Budget by Joy Eclaine, Discover, 2007.
Life on a Shoestring: Living Within Your Meansby Julia Reece, CreateSpace, 2012.
• We look at ways to further your education and live even better, and more cheaply:
How to Go to College on a Shoe String: The Insider's Guide to Grants, Scholarships, Cheap Books, Fellowships, and Other Financial Aid Secrets by Anne Marie O'Phelan, Atlantic Publishing, 2008.
Living Homes: Stone Masonry, Log, and Strawbale Construction by Thomas Elpel, Hops Press, 2010.
• And then we delve into building your resources for the future:
Nonprofit Kit For Dummies by Stan Hutton and Frances Phillips, For Dummies, 2009.
Leap of Reason: Managing to Outcomes in an Era of Scarcity by Mario Morino, Venture Philanthropy Partners, 2011.
Nonprofit Management 101: A Complete and Practical Guide for Leaders and Professionals by Darian Rodriguez Heyman, Jossey-Bass, 2011.
The Nimble Nonprofit: An Unconventional Guide to Sustaining and Growing Your Nonprofit by Trey Beck and Jacob Smith, Trey+3 Media, 2012.
Starting & Building a Nonprofit: A Practical Guide by Peri Pakroo, Nolo, 2011.
Nonprofit Sustainability: Making Strategic Decisions for Financial Viability by Jeanne Bell, Jan Masoaka, and Steve Zimmerman, Jossey-Bass, 2010.
• We close the semester by studying how others move from shoestrings to shoe leather.
The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America's Wealthy by Thomas Stanley and William Danko, Taylor Trade Publishing, 2010.
Deal Dyamics: Sociological Implications of Groupon, Coupons, and Bargain Hunting
The core course in economics required of all students, this class will teach you how to get the most for your dollar.
• Introduction to extreme couponing and economizing:
Coupon Quick Start Guide - The Easiest, Fastest Way to Serious Savings and Free Groceries by Angela Newsom and William Chad Newsom, Family Lore Publishing, 2011.
Coupon Millionaire: How to Save Money and Make Money with the Art of Couponing by Nadine Brown, Amazon Digital Publishing, 2011.
Pick Another Checkout Lane, Honey: Learn Coupon Strategies to Save $1000s at the Grocery Store (2nd edition) by Joanie Demer and Heather Wheeler, Krazy Koupon Lady, 2012.
The Lazy Couponer: How to Save $25,000 Per Year in Just 45 Minutes Per Week with No Stockpiling, No Item Tracking, and No Sales Chasing by Jamie Chase, Running Press, 2011.
Cut Your Grocery Bill in Half with America's Cheapest Family: Includes So Many Innovative Strategies You Won't Have to Cut Coupons by Steve Economides and Annette Economides, Thomas Nelson, 2010.
• Learning about Groupon and social marketing:
The Trend For Using Coupons, Groupons And Incentive Cards To Save Money And Stimulate Business In This Unstable Economy by Lee DeAngelo, Webster's Digital Services, 2011.
Groupon's Biggest Deal Ever: The Inside Story of How One Insane Gamble, Tons of Unbelievable Hype, and Millions of Wild Deals Made Billions for One Ballsy Joker by Frank Sennett, St. Martin's Press, 2012.
To Group Coupon Or Not: Small Business Guide to Groupon, Google Offers, LivingSocial and Others by Rags Srinivasan, Amazon Digital Services, 2011.
Groupon: You Can't Afford It — Why Deep Discounts are Bad for Business and What to do Instead by Bob Phibbs, Beyond the Page Publishing, 2011.
Inside Groupon: The Truth About The World's Most Controversial Company by Nicholas Carlson, Business Insider, 2011.
• Turning your bargain-seeking mindset into cash:
Barcode Booty: How I found and sold $2 million of 'junk' on eBay and Amazon, And you can, too, using your phone by Steve Weber, Weber Books, 2011.
• Extra credit: If you wish to explore the five-finger discount savings methodology, please first read Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky. Then explain it in one sentence, of between 14 and 30 days.