Category Archives for society

Who are you here to serve?

Group of people on peak mountain climbing helping team work , travel trekking success business concept

In honor of Father's Day, which just passed, I'd like to send a note of appreciation to all members of the Learn and Get Smarter community who are Dads.

Fathers are powerful teachers, not only in their own children's lives but for the community as a whole, and I'd like to share some wisdom that I learned from my own father, that is relevant to the endeavor we are all engaged in: creating effective and engaging online courses that really teach, at a deep level.

My father had a reservoir of stories and anecdotes, many of which were passed down from HIS father in the form of wisdom tales, and I'd like to share one with you now. It goes like this (and please keep in mind that this is intended purely as a humorous teaching story, and not as a theological treatise or commentary of any kind).

Once upon a time in a faraway land, there was a man who, unlike all of you, did not lead an exemplary life. He wasn't like you at all, because he wasn't kind, he wasn't caring, and he didn't do good things to help others. So, unfortunately, after he passed away he ended up in... well, let's just put it politely by saying, he didn't get to go to a very nice place.

Instead,  he found himself in the nether regions being greeted by a guide who offered to give him a tour of the facilities.  

The man, however, was very surprised by what he saw there! He was expecting to see all kinds of punishments... but instead he saw a lush banquet table piled to the brim with delectable goodies.

How could this be? People were seated on both sides of the table, and in front of them was every kind of delicacy imaginable!

"I'm confused", the man said to his tour guide. "I thought that being down here was supposed to be a punishment?"

"Look closer," his guide admonished, and when he did, the man saw  that the people at the table had been given extra long forks... forks that were longer than their own arms.

Even though all sorts of delicious food was right in front of them, the people were not able get it into their mouths.

"Would you like to see what it's like upstairs?" his kind guide  asked. "You can't stay there, but you can get a quick glimpse of what you're missing."

The man was very curious, so he jumped at the chance to see what the reward of a virtuous life would have been like.  When they got there for the tour, though, he was even more surprised.

At first glance, it looked JUST like what he'd seen downstairs! He saw the same banquet table, piled high with the same delectable treats! And he even saw... the same long forks!

"Now wait just one minute," the man exclaimed in confusion. "How is this any different than what we just saw downstairs?"

"Look closer" his wise guide told him.  

And when the man looked closer, he realized in a flash what the difference was.

Here, the people were not trying (and failing) to feed themselves using those extra long forks.

Instead, they were using the long forks to feed each other across the table."

And that one difference in perspective, the perspective of focusing on serving others, was what made all the difference .


At the Learn and Get Smarter community meetings, and in this blog, we've considered how our own missions and businesses can contribute to overcoming inequities and creating a better world for all.

When I think of the people who make up this learning and teaching community, one thing stands out:

 This is a community focused on using online courses as a way of serving others. 

The courses we are working so hard to create, are our own "long forks". 

At last week's community meeting, we touched on the issue of leadership as an important factor that determines whether individuals, families, communities, nations, and our planet as a whole, can survive and thrive.

The pandemic throws these issues into high relief, creating a learning opportunity--a learning NECESSITY--for our planet as a whole.

When leadership at any level is focused in self-serving ways (trying to feed ITSELF with those long forks), not only is the result unsatisfying, but everyone ends up feeling terrible.

Enlightened leadership, on the other hand, is focused on SERVICE.


Service can include:

  • Promoting physical health and well-being for oneself and others
  • Strengthening positive relationships between individuals and among groups
  • Developing business practices that support the good of all
  • Creating opportunities for others to learn and grow
  • Building communities that enhance the well-being of all their members
  • Working towards local and global economies that sustainably meet everyone's needs

Online learning is at the epicenter of the shakeup that is happening in the pandemic's wake. Creating online learning that truly serves the communities we are called to work with, is not just a job, a profession, or a role.

Transformative online teaching is a calling, and if you're reading this, you have heard, and answered, that call.

In the Course Design Formula® Master Course this week, we will be delving into market research. One can think of market research as a way of learning more about the people we are here to serve, and how we can best serve them. Who are they? What are they dealing with? What help do they need that we are able to provide?

Whether you are in the course, or are able to come to the community meeting next Saturday, or not, let's all take some time this week to reflect on the people sitting across from us at the long banquet table of life. What can we provide them with, to make their lives better? How can we promote perspectives of service in our courses, our businesses, and in the world?

We'll continue to explore these ideas together, at the community meeting next Saturday. I hope you can join us and share your thoughts.

Come to the community meeting

Saturday, June 27th, 2020

9 AM Pacific/ 12 Noon Eastern

many people online in a conference call

Click on the green button to register for the meeting.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Group of Multiethnic Diverse World People

Online education as an antidote to racism

White letters on black background that read

How does the mission of your business address racism?  

What can each of us do as online educators, to address this systemic problem?

At the Learn and Get Smarter community meeting on Saturday, June 6th, in the midst of one of the most tumultuous weeks in American history, we took a hard look at our businesses and our areas of expertise. And we found some surprising and encouraging connections.

For example, this article from the New York Times points out that the African American community is being affected more adversely than other communities, by the move to online learning, for reasons relating to computer ownership and internet access among many others. But while many people don't have computers, most do have smartphones.

What this means for online educators is that it's critical to make sure our online courses are mobile friendly and responsive, so that people accessing them from smartphones have the same opportunity to learn as those using computers.

One might not have thought of "mobile first" as a tool for fighting systemic racism.​

It may be a small tool, but it's an important one.

In fact, while large sweeping changes are certainly required, it may be small micro-shifts that hold the most power. As one of our brilliant community members, Janice Fingler, pointed out, " Microshifts are very valuable right now... on an individual scale. Making shifts in how we interact with each other becomes a way of slowly nudging the system."

What micro-shifts can you make in your business, to contribute to fighting racism?

What is YOUR business mission and your purpose for teaching online?
How do these promote justice, fairness, equality and opportunity for all?

Ben & Jerry's provides an inspiring (and tasty!) example of powerful business values that really pack a punch (as well as a pint). 

While remaining true to their core business focus on providing delicious ice cream, Ben & Jerry's also focuses on promoting social justice. As they explain on the "Values" page of their website, they begin their focus on values "inside the pint", by supporting local sustainable farming. 

I thought about this example with reference to my own business. What are MY main ingredients and how can I use them to fight racism?

My main supplier is my licensed image subscription. I work hard to ensure that the images of people on my website and in my courses and marketing materials represent and include all races, and not just in token ways.

Over time I've been able to train the search algorithm to show me more diverse groups of people and specifically, more African American people, so that my web page and course materials reflect the values I hold of being a place of welcome for all.

Chocolate ice cream in a cone bowl

Being mobile friendly? Showing diverse images? These are small things. These are micro shifts. But they lead to big things, because  online learning must be both accessible and welcoming if people of all races are to benefit from it.

But the big shift that my business makes is the shift to online learning that really delivers on the promises it makes. 

How does that fight racism?

Education has always been a tool in the fight against racism.

Lack of education, poor education, and education that does not contribute to the empowerment and well-being of all people, are the equivalent of missing, broken, or even dangerous tools. 

The Covid19 pandemic has adversely affected people of color more than others due to the effects of systemic racism. The pandemic has also shifted the focus of education online, much faster than would have happened otherwise.

It's critical that education delivered online be not only accessible and welcoming to people of all races, but also highly effective at actually teaching what is promised.

Parents and community members may need to step into the gap to ensure that students of all ages are able to learn as well online as they used to in physical classrooms. 

Helping my students and clients create effective online learning programs helps THEIR clients and students, who can be of any race. My goal is to provide opportunity for all through highly effective online learning that really WORKS.

My mission is to ensure that as you create your own online courses you have everything you need to provide powerful, effective tools that promote positive change and deliver real transformation for the people you are here to serve.

The Course Design Formula Master Course starts June 16th!

Make this YOUR summer to make a powerful difference for the people you're here to serve.


 If you're willing to devote 2 hours a week to class and 2 hours a week to creating your course, you'll be ready to teach online in a way that really makes a difference, by fall.

Write to Rebecca@learnandgetsmarter.com to reserve your spot!

The Learn and Get Smarter community is diverse demographically and geographically, while being united in shared goals of service, transformation, and making a difference through teaching online.

Online teaching can create jobs and promote entrepreneurship  for everyone. Being one's own boss is a great solution for anyone who faces a glass ceiling (or worse) in the traditional workplace. 

There are many role models of highly successful African American entrepreneurs in the online learning space, such as Xayli Barclay and Danielle Leslie.

There are many vibrant, dynamic and successful experts and entrepreneurs of all races and backgrounds, within the Learn and Get Smarter community.

(Perhaps some of them would like to step forward and showcase their work in this space in future weeks. That's an option we can discuss at the Learn and Get Smarter community meeting on Saturday, June 13th). 

I hope to see you there as we continue to explore our work and service in the context of these challenging and historic times!

Register for the meeting

Saturday, June 13th  2020

9 AM Pacific/ 12 noon Eastern

Many people portrait on a tablet screen