The Brandeis GPS blog

Insights on online learning, tips for finding balance, and news and updates from Brandeis GPS

Tag: Brandeis GPS Courses (page 1 of 8)

Project Management in the Government

By Mike Gauthier

Mike Gauthier HeadshotDo you work for the government? Is the public sector a career you may be interested in pursuing? Are you a contractor currently servicing the government? Do you have a passion for non-profits?

If these questions resonate with you, I would highly suggest pursuing professional development opportunities in government project management.   

Every year, Brandeis Graduate Professional Studies offers special topics courses that touch upon subjects that are popular, interesting, niche, or just unique in general. Project Management in the Government is certainly niche and popular these days, with public projects either being criticized or politicized. If you are a project manager, program manager, contractor, or administrator, this class may provide some insightful lessons learned and considerations when planning, budgeting, managing, closing out, and maintaining a project.    

The fully online course covers the framework of a government project’s entire lifecycle, but you will also explore the particulars of federal, DOD, state, local, and non-profits as it relates to these endeavors. We will look at case studies, and recent articles of the challenges project managers may face. One week of the 10-week course covers best practices in government and contractor vendor management (prequalification and after action reporting), while another hits upon capital budgeting, financing, and fundraising of projects.    

Here is what you can expect from taking this course with me:

  1. There is no textbook. I plan to run the class like a seminar where what you learn can immediately be directly applied where you work.   
  2. Your semester assignment is real world based. You will be able to use it for actual projects that you manage
  3. You will be able to perform a variety of framework analysis on planned and reactive government projects.
  4. You will be able to identify government and non-profit areas of importance to successfully work within their rule sets.
  5. You will be able to apply best practices in contractor management.
  6. You will be able to identify and analyze the proper use of project financing and debt management.
  7. You will be able to recognize and adjust to future trends in government and non-profit project endeavors.

This 10-week, fully online course will run from April 10 to June 18. Start the registration process here or contact 781-736-8787 or gps@brandeis.edu for more information.

Mike Gauthier currently serves as a Team Lead in the Contracting Services Department at MIT Lincoln Laboratory. He provides oversight, direction, and leadership to a group of contracts professionals in accordance with FAR, DFARS, and MITLL policies and procedures. He is also the Vice President for Education for the National Contract Management Association – Boston Chapter.   Gauthier is an Adjunct Faculty Member at Brandeis University Rabb School of Continuing Studies (Division of Graduate Professional Studies) teaching Negotiation, Procurement & Contract Management, and Project Management in the Government.   

Previous to MIT and Brandeis, he was the Chief Procurement Officer for the City of Woburn, Guest Instructor at the Massachusetts Office of the Inspector General, Procurement Analyst for City of Somerville and worked for many years servicing the Federal and State Governments as a contractor.  

He is certified as a Massachusetts Certified Public Purchasing Official (MCPPO) and as a Certified Professional Contracts Manager (CPCM), and Certified Federal Contracts Manager (CFCM) by the National Contract Management Association. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Boston College, a Master’s in Public Administration at Framingham State University, and trained extensively at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  Gauthier was a presenter at the 2016 NCMA World Congress and 2015 March Workshop. He is a published author in NCMA and Massachusetts Office of the Inspector General publications.

Faces of GPS is an occasional series that profiles Brandeis University Graduate Professional Studies students, faculty and staff. Find more Faces of GPS stories here.

Communication for Effective Leadership

It may go without saying, but communication is a prevalent and critical component of today’s workforce. The skillset is especially essential for professionals seeking to excel in a leadership role. Regardless of industry, professional communications is imperative for leading effective meetings, mitigating crises, and navigating negotiations and conflict resolution.

“Communications is a critical part of doing business, especially in today’s environment. News travels fast. A bad customer experience can become a social media sensation before the CEO is even informed of the problem,” said Mary Caraccioli, Chief Communications Officer for The Central Park Conservancy. “On the flip side, you can use the power of social media to engage directly (and more deeply) with customers, employees and other stakeholders. You can use the power of the communications revolution to work for you by making communications part of your business strategy.”

Mary Caraccioli HeadshotCaraccioli is teaching a master’s-level course in Communication for Effective Leadership, a fully online, 10-week class that will help students build on their critical thinking skills and apply oral and written communication strategies to solve organizational problems and drive organizational change. Throughout the course, students will focus on topics such as negotiation and facilitation, crisis communications and public relations, virtual and global communications, and stakeholder management.

By the end of Communication for Effective Leadership, students should be able to:

  • Develop, execute and measure communication plans to manage stakeholders, solve organizational problems and drive organizational change.
  • Adapt communication strategies and use digital technologies to align with organizational, cultural, virtual, and global needs.
  • Build a portfolio of communication campaigns including crisis response, company positioning, and media statements.

This course is available for professional development or as part of several GPS graduate programs, including Technology Management, Information Security Leadership, Digital Marketing and Design, Strategic Analytics, and Project and Program Management.

At GPS, you can take up to two online courses without officially enrolling in one of our 12 online master’s degrees. This is a great opportunity to get to know our programs and approach to online learning. If you’re interested in exploring one of our graduate programs, or would like to learn more about effective communication for professional development, submit your information or contact the  GPS office for more information or to request a syllabus: 781-736-8787 or gps@brandeis.edu.

Avoiding black hat marketing

From healthcare to insurance to local boutiques, most companies today use digital marketing to drive business. As organizations find new ways to target users online and face increased access to customer data, digital marketers often find themselves at an ethical crossroads.

Black hat marketing techniques

“Black hat marketing” most often refers to certain SEO techniques. According to Omnicore, search engines drive 93% of all website traffic. To get ahead, companies will sometimes use black hat marketing to trick search engines into awarding their website a higher ranking, and getting it on the front page of search results. Other types of black hat marketing really fall into more of a grey area, and today’s digital marketers should have a plan for mitigating the risk of inadvertently executing unethical marketing strategies.

Ethics in Digital Marketing and Design

Brandeis GPS will be offering Ethics in Digital Design and Marketing as a part-time, fully online course during our Spring 2 session beginning in April. During the 10-week course, students will be presented with ethical dilemmas in digital marketing and work through the implications of various actions, including tricking search engines, posing as customers in social media, making false or exaggerated claims and using questionable or sneaky channels. Throughout the course, students will develop a set of principles and values through dialogue examining multiple perspectives.

At Brandeis GPS, you can take up to two courses before enrolling in one of our 12 online master’s degrees. If you’re interested in exploring the MS in Digital Marketing and Design, or would like to learn more about ethics in digital marketing for professional development, contact the  GPS office for more information or to request a syllabus: 781-736-8787, gps@brandeis.edu, or submit your information.

How to stay current in your field in 2019

Technology’s impact on the world around us is undeniable and constant. From content marketing to e-learning, dabbling in the digital space is no longer optional for the majority of today’s industries. For those of us whose career advancement relies on staying on top of the latest trends and tools, flexible professional development options can be a saving grace.

The following online courses are built to help professionals keep abreast of some of the most anticipated trends of the upcoming year. What steps will you take to stay on top of your industry in 2019?

#1 Launching FinTech Ventures

Financial technology is a rapidly growing industry as new ventures continue to capitalize on technological innovations. According to FinTech Global, 2018 was a record year for global FinTech investment, with the sector raising $41.7 billion in just the first half of the year, far surpassing 2017’s total global investment. Launching FinTech Ventures provides a window into the world of FinTech innovation and FinTech startup financing. The course explores different options of venture capital investments, including crowd-sourcing and self-funding, and develop the skills needed to pitch your product, coming to understand financing from the perspective of both the investor and the entrepreneur.

#2 Robot Sensing and Perception

Artificial intelligence is at the forefront of technological innovations primed to change the world as we know it. Robert Epstein, senior research psychologist at the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology says that, “By 2030, it is likely that AIs will have achieved a type of sentience, even if it is not human-like. They will also be able to exercise varying degrees of control over most human communications, financial transactions, transportation systems, power grids, and weapons systems…and we will have no way of dislodging them.” This course in robot sensing and perception provides an introduction to Computer Vision and AI, with several topics relevant to robotics such as SLAM, 3D Geometry, 3D Reconstruction, object recognition, speech recognition, classification, and RANSAC. In the course, you’ll design, implement, and test programmatic solutions for solving robot perception tasks such as vision and speech.

#3 Writing for Digital Environments

Companies are always seeking ways to be better, faster and stronger to gain an edge over their competition. With developing technologies and growing staff, it’s important to have the skills needed to excel in a digital world. According to the  Strada Institute for the Future of Work, “There is a discernible labor market demand for agile and resilient thinkers who have a handle on digital literacies—basic technical skills like data analysis and digital fluency.” Writing for Digital Environments is a great course for learning how to excel in the art of content marketing for a digital audience. You’ll also learn to craft copy and messaging for a variety of online formats.

#4 Adaptive and Game-Based E-Learning Design

In addition to the rising trend in adaptive and game-based e-learning in higher education, the growth rate for game-based learning in corporate segments is very high with a five-year compound annual growth rate of 53.4% globally according to Meetari. In Adaptive and Game-Based E -Learning Design, you’ll learn how adaptive learning techniques, technologies, and platforms can be used to support personalized and customized learning and training. You’ll also have the opportunity to plan, storyboard, and prototype an adaptive learning game or interactive module.

Part-time, online professional development courses are a great way to stay current on what’s happening in your industry  while allowing you still balance your personal and professional commitments. At Brandeis GPS, all courses are asynchronous, allowing a lot of flexibility for students throughout each week, and students can eventually apply the graduate-level credits they earn toward a master’s degree.

Students interested in eventually pursuing a master’s degree with Brandeis GPS can take up to two courses before applying. To learn more, contact gps@brandeis.edu, call 781-736-8787 or visit www.brandeis.edu/gps.

Cloud Computing

Data hubs are becoming increasingly virtual. According to the most recent annual cloud computing survey by North Bridge venture partners, 50 percent of organizations had either a cloud-first or cloud-only policy and 90 percent used the cloud in some way. As the cloud continues to grow, it is essential that software engineers looking to advance in their field have a working knowledge of cloud-based services.

Brandeis GPS will be offering Cloud Computing as a part-time, fully online course this October. During the 10-week course, students will explore cloud-based services, using internet-based software suites such as Google Docs or Salesforce.com, through platform-based systems (PaaS), such as Microsoft’s Azure environment, that make it easy to focus on developing new apps or services, to complete cloud-based infrastructure (IaaS), such as Amazon’s Web Services.

The course also explores how use of the cloud changes how we “do” IT. Cloud-based services are especially well-suited to Agile development and Lean Startup thinking. This leads to new ideas such as DevOps and “continuous deployment.” In addition, use of SaaS security systems changes how we integrate systems, how we handle identity and access management (IAM), opening up new threats and new opportunities to keep data secure. Finally, the course looks at how the cloud enables us to work with more data than ever before, “Big Data”— NoSQL databases and scalable infrastructure (e.g., Hadoop).

Throughout the course, students will learn how to evaluate the various cloud-based services and how to communicate that evaluation to decision-makers in the organization.

It also includes a hands-on practicum using Amazon Web Services (AWS). Students will explore the most common features of Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), and how IaaS, overall, differs from older paradigms of systems management and program architecture.

At the end of the course, students will be able to:

  • Describe the major categories of cloud-based services and the major trends in cloud computing and be able to explain the impact of cloud computing on the role of corporate IT;
  • Describe new roles and approaches to software development tuned to the cloud, starting with DevOps and the idea of continuous development;
  • Assess specific services, evaluate whether or not they are appropriate to specific challenges, and plan their implementation, where relevant;
  • Describe how the cloud has enabled enterprises to rethink how data are gathered, analyzed, and processed, using NoSQL databases, and scalable infrastructure such as Hadoop;
  • Evaluate security challenges in the cloud and understand current best practices;
  • Successfully carry out backup, system imaging and disaster recovery;
  • Successfully set up, monitor, and maintain a reasonably complex web-based service on Amazon Web Services (the course practicum).

At Brandeis GPS, you can take up to two courses before enrolling in one of our 12 online master’s degrees. If you’re interested in exploring the Master of Software Engineering, or would like to learn more about cloud computing for professional development, contact the  GPS office for more information or to request a syllabus: 781-736-8787, gps@brandeis.edu, or submit your information.

Healthcare Delivery in the U.S.

The healthcare system in the U.S. is made up of both public and private programs. Clinicians, hospitals, patients, insurance plans, and regulators intersect to form a complex, interconnected network. To navigate the U.S. healthcare system successfully, health and medical stakeholders must have a fundamental understanding of the events and policies that have shaped the current environment in which they operate.

Brandeis GPS will be offering Healthcare Delivery in the U.S. during our upcoming October session. The fully online, 10-week course will provide an overview of how the U.S. system has developed, and place a substantial focus on how healthcare data has developed over time and informed changes to the delivery system.

The course examines how health informatics supports, influences, and is influenced by the business side of health care. It is an introduction to health care business systems and models with a particular emphasis on the value of health information technology (HIT) to the organization. Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  • Discuss knowledgeably the state of health care in the United States
  • Evaluate options for measuring health status and financing health care and examine options for
    providing health care both acute and chronic
  • Examine public health care and the role of the government in the delivery of health care
  • Explain the role of information systems in providing health care and measuring health care quality

At Brandeis GPS, you can take up to two courses before enrolling in one of our 12 online Master’s degree programs. If you’re interested in exploring the MS in Health and Medical Informatics or would like to learn more about healthcare delivery in the U.S. to fill a skills gap, contact the  GPS office for more information or to request a syllabus: 781-736-8787, gps@brandeis.edu, or submit your information.

Molecular Biology, Genetics, and Disease

Biotechnology and pharmaceutical organizations are increasingly viewing bioinformatics as an integral part of their research processes. Biomedical industries are seeking to make use of vast amounts of genomic data to produce complex and accurate biological models.

Brandeis GPS will be offering Molecular Biology, Genetics, and Disease  as a part-time, fully online course this October. The 10-week course will introduce students to the basic concepts of molecular, cell, and developmental biology. It will cover classic genetics, from Mendelian inheritance to quantitative and complex traits, associations and population genetics. It will address the anatomy and function of genomes from humans and model organisms. Using the Human Genome Projects as an example, students will learn sequencing and mapping technologies. Basic sequence analysis methods will be introduced, along with techniques to navigate genome browsers and other relevant databases.

At the end of the course, students will be able to:

  • Navigate genome browsers and databases relevant to genetics and genomics.
  • Analyze pedigrees and apply genetics to identify disease associations.
  • Use techniques of physical and genetic mapping and sequencing.
  • Use comparative genomics to detect homologous sequences within and between organisms and to define evolutionary relationships.
  • Predict possible consequences of mutations and genetic variation within and outside of genes.
  • Use examples from developmental biology, human disease and immunology to illustrate genetic control mechanisms and mutations.

At Brandeis GPS, you can take up to two courses before enrolling in one of our 12 online master’s degrees. If you’re interested in exploring the MS in Bioinformatics, or would like to explore molecular biology to fill a bioinformatics skills gap, contact the  GPS office for more information or to request a syllabus: 781-736-8787, gps@brandeis.edu, or submit your information.

Cognitive and Social Psychology of User-Centered Design

For those who build things designed for human use, the understanding of human behavior is critical, and the design and development of digital properties is no exception. More and more designers are working to produce technologies that adapt to the user rather than attempt to force behavioral change. It is important for these designers to apply social and psychological principles to predict user responses.

Brandeis GPS will be offering Cognitive and Social Psychology of User-Centered Design as a part-time, full online course this October. The 10-week course will  explore the behavioral, cognitive and social aspects of human activity. Throughout the course, students will examine the psychological and social aspects that impact human interface interaction in both physical and virtual environments. Topics will include Signal Detection Theory, Gestalt Theory, Cognitive Load Theory, and various motivational theories as well as the cultural and social implications of design.

By the end of the course, students will be able to:

  • Identify the cognitive and social psychology principles that impact the use of a particular design, and offer design solutions that will ensure effective user experience
  • Explain Cognitive Load Theory, apply the theory to designs, and explain the whys and hows of reaching optimal cognitive load
  • Explain Signal Detection Theory and apply the theory effectively to designs
  • Make reasonable predictions of human behavior with regards to a user interface and/or design by applying their knowledge of perception, attention, and cognition
  • Apply knowledge of emotion and motivation theories to designs in order to make them more effective, and explain the choices and applications
  • Identify where a particular design may create a cognitive error, or why a particular design may have caused a cognitive error, and offer solutions to reduce error
  • Effectively communicate design solutions to stakeholders

At Brandeis GPS, you can take up to two courses before enrolling in one of our 12 online master’s degrees. If you’re interested in exploring the MS in User-Centered Design, or would like to learn more about cognitive and social psychology as part of your own professional development, contact the  GPS office for more information or to request a syllabus: 781-736-8787, gps@brandeis.edu, or submit your information.

FinTech in Boston

With hundreds of startups and some of the world’s largest asset managers, custodial banks, and insurers, it’s no surprise that Boston is a hub for financial technology. Boston is home to many companies in the financial services industry, large and small, including Circle, MassMutual, Flywire, and FinTech Sandbox. In the upcoming week, September 10-14, 2018, these organizations and more will come together for Boston FinTech Week 2018. The theme of this year is: Moving Beyond Volatility.

As part of a collaboration between Boston’s accelerators, institutions, startups, universities, firms, and co-working spaces, events will highlight content on new models and technologies that move markets forward. Throughout the week there are more than 35 free events across downtown Boston celebrating FinTech innovation. Events range from Fintech for Social Impact to Innovation in Insurance. See the full list of the events taking place and register for each event individually here.

For those in the financial sector looking for the technical skill-sets necessary to build a FinTech career, Brandeis GPS will be offering the following course this fall: FinTech: The Evolution of Technology for Financial Services. The 10-week, fully online course will explore FinTech as a solution to challenges facing an inter-connected global marketplace. It will address the evolution of the financial industry landscape, the challenges and opportunities this new era presents, and the drivers behind the change.

At Brandeis GPS, you can take up to two courses before enrolling in one of our 12 master’s degrees. If you’re interested in exploring the MS in Digital Innovation for FinTech, or would like to explore technology for FinTech as part of your own professional development, contact the  GPS office for more information or to request a syllabus: 781-736-8787, gps@brandeis.edu, or submit your information.

How to be a successful leader

Word Cloud of RMGT descriptionThere are many factors that determine the success of an organizational leader, from personal attributes such as leadership style and emotional intelligence to communication, decision making, and conflict resolution skills. Then you have external factors, including organizational structure and the influence of corporate culture. Regardless of external influences, successful leaders have a strong moral code, are able to motivate a team, and can provide effective feedback when necessary.

Brandeis GPS will be offering Organizational Leadership and Decision Making during our Fall 2 session, starting in October. The fully online, 10-week course will focus on leadership as a process by which one person influences the attitudes and behaviors of others. Topics covered include various leadership theories and models, differences across cultures, ethics and attributes, organizational change and development, and the role of the leader in establishing organizational culture and facilitating change. Students will deepen their understanding of these concepts through group projects and leadership simulations.

At the end of the course, students will be able to:

  • Gain insight into their own strengths and weaknesses as a leader and create a plan for continued introspection and improvement
  • Describe the nature of leadership and assess the basic functions of management and the complexities of leadership
  • Analyze the role of moral reasoning and ethics in organizational and team decisions
  • Examine multiple viewpoints for differing frames of reference, perspectives, and orientations to the same situation
  • Employ leadership, team-building and decision-making concepts; examine how teams make high-stakes decisions in stressful situations, why individuals and teams make flawed choices and how leaders shape the context and the process through which teams make decisions
  • Critically reflect on leadership style and their own experience within a team and its leadership
  • Understand the role of leaders in setting strategic focus and direction

At Brandeis GPS, you can take up to two courses before enrolling in one of our 12 online Master’s degree programs. If you’re interested in exploring the MS in Technology Management or would like to learn more about leadership and decision making as part of your own professional development, contact the  GPS office for more information or to request a syllabus: 781-736-8787, gps@brandeis.edu, or submit your information.

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