It’s membership renewal time, and if you haven’t decided yet whether to renew, several benefits were introduced this past year that might help you make up your mind. These include a new mentoring program; more continuing education courses; an open-access journal; access to Google apps; and discounted language-learning software, life insurance, and travel. For a complete list of benefits or to renew your membership for 2014, visit IEEE Membership and Services.
If you’re in need of career guidance or would like to impart your own wisdom to someone starting out in the field, consider signing up for IEEE’s MentorCentre. The Web-based program debuted in July. Mentees can look for a mentor by searching through a database that matches participants based on criteria such as areas of expertise, IEEE involvement, and languages spoken. Once a match is made, the pair is encouraged to set goals and develop a timeline for achieving those goals.
Previously the mentoring program was open only to full IEEE members, but this is no longer so. MentorCentre recently partnered with the IEEE Communications, Photonics, and Product Safety Engineering societies to let their society affiliates participate. However, student members are not eligible to participate at this time.
To get up to speed on a new technology, you can check out the eLearning Library, an online collection of short courses and content presented at IEEE conference workshops. It currently holds 375 courses on topics that include bioengineering, communications, and photonics. About 60 more courses will be added in 2014. Those introduced this year included five online classes on professional and leadership training and five 90-minute videos that covered battery- and electric-vehicle technologies.
Members pay US $70 for each course, nonmembers, $140.
IEEE launched its first open-access megajournal, IEEE Access, in May. The free online journal covers a range of disciplines rather than a single field or topic, hence the prefix mega. Articles include “Information Forensics: An Overview of the First Decade,” which examines what’s been done in the last decade to deter misuse of digital intellectual property, and “Technology Advances in Flexible Displays and Substrates.” This last article describes new, flexible LED displays built with thin-film transistor backplanes or active-matrix organics developed by the Industrial Technology Research Institute, in Hsinchu, Taiwan.
IEEE also offers an open-access option for all its traditional transactions and journals. Authors can make their content available for free via the IEEE Xplore Digital Library once the author or the institution supporting the work pays an article-processing fee.
Several IEEE societies also offer open-access-only publications in their areas, known as topical journals.
To enhance networking and collaboration among members, IEEE switched its e-mail forward service to GoogleApps@IEEE. Members now have access to an array of Google tools, including Gmail; Google Drive, a file-storage and collaboration platform; Google+, for building social networks and organizing online events; Picasa, for sharing photos; a calendar; and a contacts database. IEEE members also get 30 gigabytes of storage for e-mails and files. Members who have not yet signed up for Google apps can do so through their membership profile pages. Check out a tutorial for more on what the apps can do for you.
LEARN A NEW LANGUAGE OR TRAVEL
IEEE members can buy Rosetta Stone TOTALe language-learning software for only $219 (the retail price is $299). More than 20 languages are available in the online, self-paced, interactive program, including Arabic, English (both American and British), German, Japanese, Mandarin, Polish, and Spanish (from both Latin America and Spain).
Want to take advantage of your new language skills and explore another country? Or maybe you just need to relax and get away from the office. The IEEE Vacation Center, launched earlier this year, offers discounts on vacation packages, including biking tours. The site features several vacation providers, including CruisesOnly, TNT Vacations, and VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacation. Visit the Vacation Center website for more information on destinations and travel discounts.
Members living in IEEE Regions 8, 9, and 10 can now buy life insurance from Clements Worldwide. With coverage ranging from $25 000 to $500 000, the program is available in 67 countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, and the Pacific. Available to active IEEE members, coverage requires no medical or blood tests. More countries will be added in 2014. New insurance plans that cover accidental death and disability are also expected to be rolled out next year.