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Video Gaming Professor — Middle-Aged Ultra Runner — Virtual Restaurant Owner

We shouldn’t waste the opportunity to change education.

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Who should I hire?

To everyone’s surprise, applications for my program next year rose by more than 100%, and I was asked to look for a new colleague to better deal with the increased workload.

In the past, the answer to the “hiring” question was obvious. The classroom was the center of the teaching and learning experience. I needed people who were qualified and knowledgeable — they had to be able to communicate complex information — but they also had to capture the audience’s attention.

Right now? I’m not so sure. Everything feels different.

What Do Next-Gen Students Want?

I love conferencing tools and applications…

Why long-distance running is the killer app.

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When I was young, working out wasn’t my thing. I loved sports for the competition and camaraderie. The long-term benefits of fitness and exercise were not the point.

Health just wasn’t on my mind when I was twenty. I was living on fast food and Dr. Pepper without gaining an ounce. I was in good shape. Who isn’t at that age? So, it was easy to disregard health and fitness.

My attitude changed when I hit thirty. I remember teaching a class. The light of the overhead projector cast my silhouette on the wall.

“Who is that big guy blocking…

Back to Life, Back to Reality.

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Last week was worrying.

Every discussion, every email was about going back to normal. Going back to the office. Going back to the meeting room. Going back to the classroom. The subsequent discussion annoyed me.

“Working from home was temporary. We will be so much more productive when we are back in the office.”

“Virtual meetings don’t work. They should always be the exception.”

“Great news! We can start to prepare to go back to campus next school year.”

It could be my gamer mindset, but I am not so sure about any of this.

The Gaming Mindset

The Progress Bar

If there is one thing…

We must all prepare for the gamification of everything.

My Retro Games — Photo courtesy of author

“Your way of teaching and introducing the topics has made me super enthusiastic about the subject matter! Kudos for the way you respond to the younger generation.”

The first sentence of my student’s email made me smile. It only got better from there.

“We loved watching your short videos. They helped us focus. And your way of speaking makes it so much fun to listen to the content. The subsequent Q&A sessions and dialogue were fantastic. They have given us plenty of opportunities to discuss the topics in more detail.”

And it didn’t stop here.

“I’ve learned more from your…

I don’t think I’ll be packing my bags anytime soon.

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“Perfect. Back at the airport. Where is it this time? A two-day trip to Vancouver. At home for a day, and then Singapore for the weekend. And later this month? Seoul and Sydney.”

Traveling had become an addiction. A month without at least two or three international gigs made me feel uncomfortable and a little nervous. I was convinced that a life without travel was a boring life.

“Oh. The Posh, Posh Traveling Life … The Traveling Life for Me”

I dreamt about travel as a child. I would spend hours checking out maps and my parent’s encyclopedia, imagining visiting mesmerizing places.

A position at the university enabled me to make this…

A professor finds inspiration in an unexpected place.

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Daily life is full of information about living, working, and surviving in an unstable world. Life hacks and predictions are everywhere. You can spend day after day consuming content on what to learn and not to learn from the most successful people.

Because teaching and learning are my passion, the algorithm helps me find the most relevant content on education.

The algorithm is convenient, but you also run the risk of getting more and more of the same type of content — getting lost down the “rabbit hole.”

But every once in a while, the algorithm throws up a surprise…

Boomers be warned. Are you ready for the information multiverse?

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“We need help.”

My boss sounded concerned.

“We need to do more with less. Remote work is taking its toll. We must think about making plans to return to the office soon. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see an increase in burnout.”

He paused.

“Do you think your students might be interested in an internship?”

So, we posted two internship vacancies.

It didn’t take long to find students for these positions. Even though most work is still being done remotely, it’s an excellent opportunity to look inside a big company.

My colleague browsed through the CVs and quickly found…

Activities that don’t really matter often matter enormously.

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“When I turn 52, I want to run 52k”

I announced my plan to my wife, over breakfast, one week before my birthday.

“Oh no, you won’t,” came the reply. “That’s crazy.”

So, the negotiations began.

My plan was to wake up at 4:30 AM and get back later in the morning. There would still be plenty of time to celebrate my birthday.

She thought I was joking. “Since when do you care about your birthday.”

It is true. I am not a birthday kind of guy. But I wasn’t kidding about the run. …

How higher education is disrupting itself. But there is a way out.

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Occasionally, you receive an email that makes you stop and think. It touches on a topic that you care passionately about.

One of my former students sent me such an email last week.

“I am seriously considering enrolling on The Power MBA. You should consider it too. The program only costs $995. Besides the price, the flexibility is another big plus. It’s an all-online program that consists of more than 250 classes. The content is delivered in 15-minute classes. And you’ll be learning from the “best of the best” — authoritative founders and business executives.”

As a university professor, I…

If you don’t have anything to say, it’s better to pause, listen, and learn.

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Have you ever been in meetings or attended discussions where the “loudest man” dominated the conversation?

I am sure you have encountered the loudest man. He is everywhere. Restaurants. Airports. Planes. Trains.

In the old “in-person” days, you had to be polite, nod, smile, and keep your head down. It was frustrating.

Why doesn’t anybody else notice that we are wasting our valuable time? Am I the only one in the room who is being driven to madness?

An advantage of the online world is that you can let your frustration run free and scream at the loudest man. …

Erik P.M. Vermeulen

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