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Lesson One -
Ecommerce and Telework Readiness Skills

Lesson Goals

NOTE: To begin this lesson, you already should have read the "Welcome to the Class" bulletin at http://lone-eagles.com/ecommerce-welcome.htm.

Learning Effectiveness, Human Nature, and Humor

It's a funny thing about people, if they think something is difficult, they will have a hard time with it; but if they relax, they often have far less trouble. Humor is a great way of helping people relax. "If you learn to laugh at yourself, you're guaranteed a lifetime of laughter."  Let's begin this course with the perspective of reviewing a few humorous historical insights and aspects of human nature. Often when frustrated with technology, our only recourse is to laugh at ourselves.

Historical Leaders Who Didn't Get "IT" (Information Technology Possibilities)

In the early 1800's, the federal government didn't see the potential of the electronic telegraph. The whole idea of transmitting information electronically, though repeatedly demonstrated, did not receive any federal funding for the first 30 years. The potential was literally invisible, as odd as that may seem today. Future applications of new communications technologies are often hard to imagine.

The inventor of the telephone, Alexander Graham Bell, had a vision that the telephone would be used to listen to opera. Once citizens became involved in using the telephone, they literally reinvented how it could best be used. It took 25 years for the invention of the telephone to become widely accepted in American society. The future potential of information technology is often missed at first, due in part to it being simple human nature to be comfortable with what is already familiar. Few people today are threatened by the telephone, yet half the population on the planet have yet to make their first phone call.

At the Smithsonian Museum of American History in Washington DC is a wonderful display on the evolution of communications technology from the first days of the telegraph to modern day Internet. There's an exhibit where an audio tape of a sermon runs continuously on how electronic communications will help humankind "keep up to the same instant of progress on global events" and how electronic communications will allow humankind to transform the world and support one another as a caring global community.

Whereas the sermon sounds thoroughly modern, it was actually given in 1867, celebrating the first trans-Atlantic telegraph cable. This historical cable broke a few weeks later, attributed to sharks attracted by the electric current. But another cable with appropriate shielding quickly replaced it. This vision of over 100 years ago has yet to be fully realized despite the fact that the technology has improved a thousand times over. Articulating the need for a shared human vision for the best application of today's telegraph, the Internet, is very much the essence of this course.

As recent as the mid-seventies, one of the leaders of IBM confidently stated he thought there was no market at all for personal computers. Thomas Watson will be most remembered for his famous mistake, but IBM then became a world leader in the production of personal computers. Bill Gates, the infamous head of Microsoft, initially missed recognizing the importance of the Internet, but learned from his mistake, too. Microsoft is today innovating with Internet applications on many fronts. So, you're in good company if you're feeling a bit threatened by what you don't know; perhaps you'll make important mistakes that you'll learn from, too.

A few years ago, technology stocks were soaring with the optimism that technology would save us. Today, we're in a slump, perhaps due to the fact we've learned that it is what people learn to do with the technology that will ultimately make a difference - not the technology alone. Ten years ago the vision for community networking possibilities over slow modems was generating excitement, similar to the sermon of 1867. Today, many view the Internet as a timewasting toy best suited for kids. What happened? 

Throughout this class you will find a vision of the Internet focused on the unlimited potential for realizing your own self-empowerment and Ecommerce possibilities. You are in a position to make history.

Less is More - in the Age of Information Overload

It is easy to feel threatened by information overload when using the Internet. When you are learning about computers and the Internet, it is important to focus first on an overview of what's possible - without trying to learn all the details of the technical how-to's. From this overview, you'll select those specific applications truly worth your time to learn. Specific skills are easy once you know how. Learning from the experience of others can be a painless and enjoyable experience. Investing lots of time to learn many technical details which you'll rarely use doesn't make sense at all. "Less is more" in the age of information overload. You need to know what NOT to bother learning as a first strategy for combating information overload.

"Knowledge is of two kinds: we know a subject ourselves or we know where to find information upon it."
Samuel Johnson 1709-1784

This class will provide an accurate overview of the key trends, skills, and possibilities related to Ecommerce and Telework.  You'll review what has already been proven to work and will learn where to find specific information when you need it. If you're an adult, please try to loosen up and approach the lessons with a sense of play and exploration. Perhaps find a youthful tutor to help you learn a playful approach to online learning as you move through the lessons. If you let the information simply wash over you, you may find that what is most relevant to you will usually stick in your mind without forcing yourself to try to remember everything. When learning about computers and the Internet, adults often suffer needlessly from trying too hard.

"We don't stop playing because we grow old . . . we grow old because we stop playing."
an unknown Alaskan philosopher

Learning to sink or swim with the Internet will require knowing what it's like to jump in the deep end (information overload) before you've learned how to swim (stay afloat). You will need to develop specific strategies to keep from feeling you are drowning in too much information. Understand also that splashing a little water on your face won't really help you understand swimming as much as really getting wet all over. When you learn to use search engines to find what you want when you want it, that's when you'll really be swimming. In this lesson, you'll suffer a dunk in the deep end by taking a look at some overwhelming resources, and in the next lesson we'll show you strategies to stay afloat.

Keep a written record of the time spent on each lesson and of the additional time reviewing the resources. Plan on spending one hour per lesson reading the assignments and one hour with the hands-on activities. Keep a personal listing of the strategies you plan to adopt as you progress through the lessons. Go with your gut instincts regarding what sites you like the best, and remember you're looking only for the best-of-the-best instead of everything under the sun. The more great sites you explore, the more naturally picky you'll become, until instead of being overwhelmed, you'll feel confident that you know just where to go, and why.

Most learners prefer to be in control of their own learning. This class provides you that opportunity.

"We're always ready to learn, never to be taught."
Winston Churchill

Enjoy the Journey and Don't Let Yourself Feel Pressured

It may take some time for you to become comfortable and confident with learning-to-learn online. At first, the technology is strange, even foreboding to some. But if it is useful and you use it regularly, soon it becomes second nature. When this happens - the technology becomes transparent and it is the specific applications and benefits which will become your focus. One major strategy for this class is for you to get comfortable learning online in order for you to become a self-directed Internet learner.

Throughout this class you'll be learning to invent new opportunities to create both social and economic value for yourself, your family, community, nation, and the world. You're about to become a globally connected citizen of the world. Becoming a lifelong learner is embarking on a never-ending learning adventure.  Focus on enjoying the journey. Relax. Avoid being in a hurry to get to any final destination.

"Becoming is Superior to Being"

Building Your Internet Collaboration Skills

Imagine the multiplier effect: if we all share what we know, then we'll all have access to all our knowledge. Sharing what we know in return for benefiting what others know makes for a lighter load for all concerned. We'll first learn by individualized hands-on explorations and will then share the best of our discoveries with the others in the class through the class listserv. Our specific strategy will be learning to collaborate and share knowledge through the Internet as one of the most important Ecommerce readiness skills you can develop.

The sustainability of our communities and society depends on creating motivated lifelong learners, proactive citizens who are value-driven innovative entrepreneurs, skilled collaborators - both offline and online - and citizens who are both consumers and producers - both learners and teachers - all the time.

Self-directed Internet learning skills have become essential.   Strategies to make smart personal decisions require that we stay current in our world of accelerating change. Information overload from too much of the wrong kind of information is becoming an increasingly serious problem. Overcoming information overload requires becoming more skilled at being increasingly selective by developing specific online collaboration skills.

During the lessons of this course you'll be invited to explore the following skills essential to Ecommerce. If you have not already learned the following skills you'll need to take the extra time to learn them as an additional part of this course.

Four Essential Skills for Internet Readiness

You may prefer to use the online version of the lessons below or may refer to Section Two of this guide.

  1. Level One - Searching and Browsing Skills
    (The Power of a Self-Directed Learner)

    Successive hands-on experiences are presented to build the basic Self-Directed Internet Learning Skills for web browsing, cut-and-paste, and using search engines to learn anything from anywhere at any time.

  2. Level Two - Creating Your Own Web Pages
    (The Power of Self-Publishing Globally)

    Learn the basics of Web Self-Publishing Skills, creating and posting web pages with text, images, and hyperlinks.

  3. Level Three - Communicating and Working Together
    (The Power of Building Learning Communities Through Internet Collaboration)
    Learn about efficient uses of Online Collaboration Skills. Includes many related resources for advanced learning.

  4. Level Four - Learning-to-Earn for Sustainable Communities
    (The Power of Building Online Communities)
    Learn about using Internet collaborative tools for Teaching, Mentoring, Groupwork, Relationship-building, and Customer Support. 

Observe how these four successive steps lead to entrepreneurial potential.

  1. As searching skills are developed, citizens gain the ability to gather valuable new resources of benefit to themselves and the community.
  2. As basic web-authoring skills are developed, citizens gain the ability to share unlimited resources with the community and the world in a convenient public manner.
  3. As online collaboration skills are developed, citizens become more connected to their community which creates new opportunities.
  4. As mentoring skills are developed, citizens gain the understanding of how to combine email, searching, and web-authoring skills to share knowledge effectively to make a real difference in the lives of others.
  5. As both social and economic value are demonstrated, the entrepreneurial potential of the Internet will become increasingly clear.

"Information condenses to Knowledge which condenses to Wisdom
   and VALUE is created in the information age."

Hands-on Activities

  1. Subscribe to the Class Listserv and Post an Introduction Message
    First, subscribe to the listserv by going to

    http://maillist.isu.edu/mailman/listinfo/isu-ecommerce and following the instructions.
    Write down the password you will give to yourself to allow for your future access to the listserv message archives web site. When you receive the confirmation message from the listserv, simply reply to the message without changing the message in any way. You'll then receive a message welcoming you to the listserv with additional instructions you should save for future reference.

  2. Specific Instructions To Get Your Password so you can view the listserv message archives for the ISU-Ecommerce listserve use your browser and go to http://maillist.isu.edu/mailman/listinfo/isu-ecommerce

     Then go to the very bottom of the page and enter your email address in the white bar and click on EDIT OPTIONS. When that page appears look for the bar that says "Email me a Password Reminder" and click on it. After a few minutes you'll receive your password via email and can then go to back to the web address above and select the first link to "ISU-Ecommerce Archives"

     Enter your Email Address and your new password to see all the class messages. Experiment with the options to see the many ways you can view messages. Search by author, subject, date, etc.

    THEN, write your password down so you'll have it for next time

    Send an introduction message to the class listserv using the listserv's email address: isu-ecommerce@mm.isu.edu  Include an introduction on who you are and your personal goals for this class. Please refer any questions to your instructor -Email: frank@lone-eagles.com.

    You should receive a copy of your message with [ISU-Ecommerce] in the subject line of the message, as will everyone else registered for the class who has also subscribed to the listserv mailing list. You can review past messages and other listserv features, such as subscribing and unsubscribing, whenever you like at the listserv web page http://maillist.isu.edu/mailman/listinfo/isu-ecommerce.  

    One feature you might find of interest if you feel overwhelmed by the number of listserv messages is to select the "digest" option so that you'll only receive a single week's digest listing all postings for the week. Then select only those you wish to read.

    Optional - For easy tutorials on using email and listservs, see the hands-on lesson presented in Lesson Three of this course:
    Level Three - Communicating and Working Together (The Power of Building Learning Communities) http://lone-eagles.com/ecommerce-email.htm


  1. Take a short Ecommerce Web Tour. Spend only a few minutes at each site to first get a quick idea of the vast resources available, then return to those sites you found most exciting.

(The following resources are taken from the Ecommerce Start-Up Training Resources Web Tour at http://lone-eagles.com/entrelinks.htm )

     A. Review the following Ecommerce resources and especially the easy Ecommerce curriculum.

      B. Review the more advanced five Ecommerce classes created by Cisco and the Small Business Administration