Google Unveils a Digital Marketing & E-Commerce Certificate: 7 Courses Will Help Prepare Students for an Entry-Level Job in 6 Months

During the pandemic, Google launched a series of Career Certificates that will “prepare learners for an entry-level role in under six months.” Their first certificates focused on Project Management, Data Analytics, User Experience (UX) Design, IT Support and IT Automation. Now comes their latest–a certificate dedicated to Digital Marketing & E-commerce.

Offered on the Coursera platform, the Digital Marketing & E-commerce Professional Certificate consists of seven courses, all collectively designed to help students “develop digital marketing and e-commerce strategies; attract and engage customers through digital marketing channels like search and email; measure marketing analytics and share insights; build e-commerce stores, analyze e-commerce performance, and build customer loyalty.” The courses include:

In total, this program “includes over 190 hours of instruction and practice-based assessments, which simulate real-world digital marketing and e-commerce scenarios that are critical for success in the workplace.” Along the way, students will learn how to use tools and platforms like Canva, Constant Contact, Google Ads, Google Analytics, Hootsuite, HubSpot, Mailchimp, Shopify, and Twitter. You can start a 7-day free trial and explore the courses. If you continue beyond that, Google/Coursera will charge $39 USD per month. That translates to about $235 after 6 months.

If you don’t want to pay, you can audit each course for free, without ultimately receiving the certificate.

Explore the Digital Marketing & E-commerce Professional Certificate.

Note: Open Culture has a partnership with Coursera. If readers enroll in certain Coursera courses and programs, it helps support Open Culture.

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The Depths of Wikipedia: Enjoy a Compendium of the Online Encyclopedia’s Most Bizarre Pages

@depthsofwikipedia If the authorities kill me for making this tiktok just know I loved you guys #learnontiktok #tiktokpartner ♬ original sound – Annie Rauwerda

What’s your stance on Wikipedia, the free, open content online encyclopedia?

Students are often discouraged or disallowed from citing Wikipedia as a source, a bias that a Wikipedia entry titled “Wikipedia should not be considered a definitive source in and of itself” supports:

As a user-generated source, it can be edited by anyone at any time, and any information it contains at a particular time could be vandalism, a work in progress, or simply incorrect. Biographies of living persons, subjects that happen to be in the news, and politically or culturally contentious topics are especially vulnerable to these issues…because Wikipedia is a volunteer-run project, it cannot constantly monitor every contribution. There are many errors that remain unnoticed for hours, days, weeks, months, or even years.


(Another entry counsels those who would persist to cite the exact time, date, and article version they are referencing.)

Wikipedia has a clearly stated policy prohibiting contributors from close paraphrasing or outright copying and pasting from outside sources, though in a bit of a circle-in-a-circle situation, several noted authors and journalists have been caught plagiarizing Wikipedia articles.

A list of Wikipedia controversies, published on – where else? – Wikipedia is a hair raising litany of political sabotage, character assassination, and “revenge edits”. (The list is currently substantiated by 338 reference links, and has been characterized as in need of update since October 2021, owing to a lack of edits regarding the “controversy about Mainland Chinese editors.”)


It can be a pretty scary place, but University of Michigan senior Annie Rauwerda, creator of the Instagram account Depths of Wikipedia is unfazed. As she wrote in an article for the tech publication Input:

Wikipedia is a splendidly extensive record of almost everything that matters; a modern-day Library of Alexandria that’s free, accessible, and dynamic. But Wikipedia is characterized not only by what it is but also by what it is not. It’s not a soapbox, a battleground, nor a blog.


It’s also becoming famous as Rauwerda’s playground, or more accurately, a packed swap shop in which millions of bizarre items are tucked away.

If your schedule limits the amount time you can spend down its myriad rabbit holes, Rauwerda will do the digging for you.

Turning a selection of Wikipedia excerpts into a collage for a friend’s quaran-zine inspired her to keep the party going with screenshots of oddball entries posted to a dedicated Instagram account.

Her followers don’t seem to care whether a post contains an image or not, though the neuroscience major finds that emotional, short or animal-related posts generate the most excitement. “I used to post more things that were conceptual,” she told Lithium Magazine,  “like mind-blowing physics concepts, but those didn’t lend themselves to Instagram as well since they require a few minutes of thinking and reading.”

The bulk of what she posts come to her as reader submissions, though in a pinch, she can always turn to the “holy grail” – Wikipedia’s own list of unusual articles.

In addition to Instagram, her discoveries find their way into an infrequently published newsletter, and onto TikTok and Twitter, where some of our recent faves include the definition of humster, a list of games that Buddha would not play, and the Paul O’Sullivan Band, “an internationally based, pop-rock band consisting of four members, all of whom are named Paul O’Sullivan.”

Along the way, she has found ways to give back, co-hosting a virtual edit-a-thon and bringing some genuine glamour to a livestreamed Wikipedia trivia contest.

And she recently authored a serious article for Slate about Russians scrambling to download a 29-gigabyte file containing Russian-language Wikipedia after the Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media (Roskomnadzor) threatened to block it over content related to the invasion of Ukraine.

(You can read more about how that’s going on Wikipedia…)

Submit a link to Wikipedia page for possible inclusion on the Depths of Wikipedia here.

Follow Annie Rauwinda’s Depths of Wikipedia on Instagram and TikTok.

via NYTimes

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Ayun Halliday is the Chief Primatologist of the East Village Inky zine and author, most recently, of Creative, Not Famous: The Small Potato Manifesto.  Follow her @AyunHalliday.

How Did the Mona Lisa Become the World’s Most Famous Painting?: It’s Not What You Think

Leonardo da Vinci’s unfinished, five century-old portrait of a Florentine silk merchant’s wife, Lisa del Giocondo (née Gherardini), is, quite possibly, the most famous painting in the world.

And its subject possesses the world’s most captivating smile, inspiring rhapsodies and parodies in seeming equal measure. (Its Italian title, La Gioconda, is a nod to the sitter’s married name, and depending on whom you ask, translates as “joyous,” “light hearted,” or  “merry.”)

The Louvre, where the painting has resided since 1804 (following stints in Fontainebleau, the Grand Palace of Versailles, and Napoleon Bonaparte’s bedroom), reserves a special mailbox for paeans from Mona Lisa fans.


Ask a random person on the street how this comparatively dinky oil on wood came to be so universally celebrated, and they’ll logically conclude it’s got something to do with that smile.

Those with a background in visual art may also cite Renaissance innovations in painting technique — atmospheric perspective and sfumato, both of which Leonardo employed to memorable effect.

Those are good guesses, but the real reason for the Mona Lisa’s enduring global renown?

The public’s love of a good crime story.

As art historian Noah Charney, author of The Thefts of the Mona Lisa: On Stealing the World’s Most Famous Painting, recounts in the animated TED-Ed lesson above, La Giocanda owes her blockbuster reputation to a sticky-fingered Louvre employee named Vincenzo Peruggia.

In 1911, Peruggia, a painter whose day job involved building crates for works in the Louvre’s collection, hid in a cupboard for hours after closing, then escaped via a back door, the unframed canvas tucked beneath his arm.

The police papered the streets of Paris with the Mona Lisa’s likeness on missing flyers, and the press fanned interest in both the crime and the painting. Readers devoured updates that identified poet Guillaume Apollinaire and painter Pablo Picasso as suspects, and steamy theories regarding the nature of the relationship between Leonardo and the lady in the portrait.

As art critic Laura Cumming writes in The Guardian, “Millions of people who might not have seen it, might never even have heard of it, soon became experts on Leonardo’s stolen painting.”

For two years, its whereabouts remained unknown:

(Peruggia) kept her in a cupboard, then under a stove in the kitchen, and finally in (a) false-bottomed trunk. For a while, he rather cockily propped her postcard on the mantelpiece… But fairly soon he seems to have found her hard to look at, impossible to live with; there is evidence of repeated attempts to sell her.

The thief eventually arranged to repatriate the purloined painting to Italy, striking a deal with Florentine art dealer Alfred Geri, who summoned the police as soon as he verified the work’s authenticity.

The Mona Lisa was restored to the Louvre, where eager crowds clamored for a look at a newly minted household name they could all recognize by sight, as “newspapers took the story for a victory lap.”

Find a quiz and customizable lesson plan on the reasons behind the Mona Lisa’s fame here.

Hats off to animator Avi Ofer for his puckish suggestion that Leonardo might have taken some flattering liberties with Lisa del Giocondo‘s appearance.

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Ayun Halliday is the Chief Primatologist of the East Village Inky zine and author, most recently, of Creative, Not Famous: The Small Potato Manifesto.  Follow her @AyunHalliday.

Coursera Offers $100 Off of Coursera Plus (Until January 13), Giving You Unlimited Access to Courses & Certificates

A new deal to start a new year: Between now and January 13 2022, Coursera is offering a $100 discount on its annual subscription plan called “Coursera Plus.” Normally priced at $399, Coursera Plus (now available for $299) gives you access to 90% of Coursera’s courses, Guided Projects, Specializations, and Professional Certificates, all of which are taught by top instructors from leading universities and companies (e.g. Yale, Duke, Google, Facebook, and more). The $299 annual fee–which translates roughly to 81 cents per day–could be a good investment for anyone interested in learning new subjects and skills in 2022, or earning certificates that can be added to your resume. Just as Netflix’s streaming service gives you access to unlimited movies, Coursera Plus gives you access to unlimited courses and certificates. It’s basically an all-you-can-eat deal.

You can try out Coursera Plus for 14 days, and if it doesn’t work for you, you can get your money back. Explore the offer (before January 13, 2022) here.

Note: Open Culture has a partnership with Coursera. If readers enroll in certain Coursera courses and programs, it helps support Open Culture.

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Coursera Offers $100 Off of Coursera Plus (Until January 13), Giving You Unlimited Access to Courses & Certificates

A heads up on a deal: Between now and January 13 2022, Coursera is offering a $100 discount on its annual subscription plan called “Coursera Plus.” Normally priced at $399, Coursera Plus (now available for $299) gives you access to 90% of Coursera’s courses, Guided Projects, Specializations, and Professional Certificates, all of which are taught by top instructors from leading universities and companies (e.g. Yale, Duke, Google, Facebook, and more). The $299 annual fee–which translates to 81 cents per day–could be a good investment for anyone interested in learning new subjects and skills in 2022, or earning certificates that can be added to your resume. Just as Netflix’s streaming service gives you access to unlimited movies, Coursera Plus gives you access to unlimited courses and certificates. It’s basically an all-you-can-eat deal.

You can try out Coursera Plus for 14 days, and if it doesn’t work for you, you can get your money back. Explore the offer (before January 13, 2022) here.

Note: Open Culture has a partnership with Coursera. If readers enroll in certain Coursera courses and programs, it helps support Open Culture.

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Doreen Ketchens’ Astonishing Rendition of “The House of the Rising Sun”: A World-Class Clarinetist Busks on the Streets of New Orleans

Dirtiness has no description. It is a  feeling. — music transcriber George Collier

You may be able to read music and play the clarinet, but it’s extremely unlikely you — or anyone — will be able to play along with Doreen Ketchens‘ “dirty” solo on “The House of the Rising Sun,” above, despite an assist from Tom Pickles‘ scrolling transcription.

Download the transcription for free and keep trying.

It’s what Ketchens, a world renowned clarinetist and music educator, who has played for four US presidents and busks regularly in the French Quarter, would advise.

“You have to practice and be ready to perform at the drop of a hat” she told The Clarinet‘s Ben Redwine, when he asked if she had any advice for young musicians hoping to make it professionally.


She’s also a strong advocate of listening robustly, not throwing in the towel when someone else gets the job instead of you, and letting your personality come through in your playing:

You don’t want to sound like you’re playing an etude book. This is for all types of music – even classical. You want to move the audience, you want to touch them.

Trained as a classical clarinetist, Ketchens cozied up to jazz shortly after she cozied up to the tuba player who would become her husband. “All of the sudden, jazz wasn’t so bad,” she says:

I started to listen to jazz so I could learn the tunes and fit in with his band. I started listening to Louis Armstrong. He is my biggest influence. Some people call me Mrs. Satchmo, I guess because that concept is in my head. I’ll hear something he plays, which I’ve heard thousands of times, and I’ll think, “What? How did he do that?” Then, I listened to the clarinetists who played with him: Edmund HallBuster BaileyBarney Bigard. Those cats were awesome too! Edmund Hall had this thing he could do, where it sounds like he was playing two tones at the same time. People today might hum while they play to achieve something similar, but I don’t think that was what he was doing. Buster Bailey had a similar background to me, starting out with classical music, then learning jazz. Early on, I emulated Jerry Fuller, clarinetist with the Dukes of Dixieland. I would steal so many of his solos just so I could keep up with my husband’s band. Eventually, I realized what he was doing, and it translated into me being able to improvise. I’d start out transcribing solos, then playing by ear, copying what those clarinetists were doing. I don’t remember those solos now, but I’m sure that I still play snippets of them that creep into my improvisations.

However she got there, she possesses a singular ability to make her instrument growl and her command of 32nd notes makes us feel a little lightheaded.

Clarinetists abound in New Orleans, and they probably all cover “The House of the Rising Sun,” but you’ll be hard pressed to find a more exciting rendition than Ketchens’ on the corner of St. Peter and Royal, with husband Lawrence on tuba and daughter Dorian on drums.  Here’s the full versions, sans transcription.

You want an encore? Of course you do.

How about Ketchens’ magnificent solo on “Just a Closer Walk With Thee” for the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra?

Find more astonishing, transcribed solos and a heaping helping of Jacob Collier on George Collier’s (no relation) YouTube Channel.

His transcriptions, and those of collaborator Tom Pickles, are available for free download here, unless the artist sells their own transcription, in which case he encourages you to support the artist with your purchase.

If you’re a music nerd who would like to discuss transcriptions, give feedback on others’ attempts, and upload your own, join his community on Discord.

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Ayun Halliday is an author, theatermaker, and the Chief Primaologist of the East Village Inky zine. Her latest book, Creative, Not Famous: The Small Potato Manifesto, will be published in early 2022.  Follow her @AyunHalliday.

John Cleese Presents His 5-Step Plan for Shorter, More Productive Meetings (1976)

Let’s face it, meetings are boring at best and at worst, chaotic, volatile, and potentially violent. And let’s also face it: to get through life as functioning adults, we’re going to have to sit through one or two of them — or even one or two of them a week.

Maybe we’re the one who calls the meetings, and maybe they all feel like a waste of time. One solution is to have more informal meetings. This can be especially tempting in the age of work-from-home, when it’s impossible to know how many meeting attendees are wearing pants. Fewer rules can raise the spontaneity quotient, but allowing for the unexpected can invite disaster as well as epiphany.


On the other end of the scale, we have the formality of parliamentary rules of order, such as those introduced by U.S. Army officer Henry Martyn Robert in 1876. Robert, whose father was the first president of Morehouse College, gained a wealth of experience with unproductive meetings as he traveled around the country with the Army. One particular meeting became a defining experience, as one account has it:

While in San Francisco, the local leader of his community didn’t show up for a church meeting. Henry Robert was asked to preside over the town hall (without any prior notice). Let’s just say that on this particular evening in 1876, he did a bad job. An hour into the meeting, people were screaming and the church actually erupted into open conflict.

Sadly, this sort of thing has become almost routine at town halls and school board meetings. But it needn’t be so at the office. Nor, says John Cleese in the brief video above, do meetings need to follow the formality of parliamentary procedure.

Cleese’s rules are simpler even than the simplified Roberts or Rosenberg’s Rules of Order, an even more simplified version of Robert’s Rules. Furthermore, Cleese avoids using words like “Rules” which can be a turn-off in our egalitarian times. Instead, he presents us with a “5-Step Plan” for holding better and shorter meetings.

1. Plan — Clear your mind about the precise objectives of the meeting. Be clear why you need it and list the subjects.
2. Inform — Make sure everyone knows exactly what is being discussed, why, and what you want from the discussion. Anticipate what information and people may be needed and make sure they’re there.
3. Prepare — Prepare the logical sequence items. Prepare the time allocation to each item on the basis of its importance not its urgency.
4. Structure and Control — Take the evidence stage before the interpretation stage and that before the action stage and stop people jumping ahead or going back over ground.
5. Summarize all decision and record them straight away with the name of the person responsible for any action

Easy, right? Well, maybe not so easy in practice, but these steps can, at the very least, illuminate what’s wrong with your meetings, which may currently resemble one of Cleese’s many parodies of business culture. Nobody videophoned it in at the time, but trying to figure out who’s supposed to be doing what can still take up an afternoon. Let Cleese’s five steps bring order to the chaos.

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Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

Behold 84 Great Novels Reinterpreted as Modernist Postage Stamps

Ali Johnson and Jim Quail of Liverpool-based design studio Dorothy had a hit with their music-based graphicswhich recast seminal alternativepsychedelicelectronic, and post-punk albums as oversized postage stamps.

Now, they’ve turned their attention and knack for highly condensed visual responses to the realms of literature.

Their Modern Classics collection, above, synthesizes 42 titles into something emblematic and essential.

How many have you read?

How many would you be able to identify based on image alone?

It’s easy to grasp why the horizon figures prominently in On The RoadThe Grapes of Wrath, and The Road.

And understandably, the eyes have it when it comes to 1984A Clockwork Orange, and Slaughterhouse-Five.

Elsewhere, the visual representations create connections that may take readers by surprise.

(Stay tuned for a master’s thesis that teases out thematic parallels between The Color Purple’s quilts and Holden Caulfield’s red hunting hat in The Catcher in the Rye.)


According to Johnson, she and Quail, avid readers both, fell out several times over which titles to include (and, by extension, exclude).

English teachers at middle and high school level will rejoice at the number of syllabus favorites that made the cut.

Potential stamp-themed creative assignments abound.

The conch may be an obvious choice for Lord of the Flies, but what of The Great Gatsby‘s green light?

Why not the eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg?

swimming pool?

Or one of those beautiful shirts?

Discuss!

Then make your own stamp!

Students are far less likely to be conversant in the 42 earlier works comprising Dorothy’s literary Classics stamps, though musical and movie adaptations of Little WomenDracula, and Les Miserables should provide a toehold.

Our ignorance is such, we may need to reread Tess of the d’Urbervilles and Jane Eyre … or at least Google the significance of a spoon and all those orange and red triangles.

(Back in our pre-digital youth, Cliff’s Notes were the preferred Philistine option…)

Dorothy’s stamp prints of Classics and Modern Classics are available for purchase on their website.

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Ayun Halliday is the Chief Primaologist of the East Village Inky zine and author, most recently, of Creative, Not Famous: The Small Potato Manifesto.  Follow her @AyunHalliday.

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