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Faculty and Instructional Designers

Kudos to Darren Crone. So true! And funny…unless you’re crying.

What I Didn’t Know About Using Community Source Software (Sakai) in Higher Ed

“How to set expectations for change management,” – that’s it. That’s what I didn’t know.

Consider the kinds of changes one habitually takes from a vendor of proprietary software which you maintain in your own higher ed Data Center.

The hypothetical change is

New cool features advertised to you, or…

  • Bug fixes (you’d found them or you hadn’t, in other words, you cared deeply or not at all), or …
  • Enhancements.

Qualities of the change:

  • The change has already been deployed and tested many times over by the software vendor in environments, with data, very similar to yours.
  • You schedule when you want to accept/install the change and make it available to your users, usually based on your academic schedule.

What your users expect-

  • Won’t get it before the regular schedule break, even if they knew about it.
  • Didn’t know about it anyway because the vendor doesn’t market to them but to the people who manage the system for them.
  • The vendor is an uncaring large collection of cogs anyway, so no point in asking for an enhancement.

What your users do-

  • Blog, tweet and facebook their complaints vociferously but without expecting more than a good venting session.
  • Write you emails about how your vendor doesn’t care.
  • Login after upgrades and harumpf that that the thing that used to annoy them so greatly is finally fixed.

 

Contrast this with open/community source:

What your users expect-

  • They will be heard if they connect with the community.
  • You are connecting with the community on their behalf and that will be meaningful in the community because it must be small.
  • The developers working on their behalf will automatically do a better job than the vendor because they work for higher ed institutions.

What your users do-

  • Demand bug fixes and enhancements.
  • Expect them to be applied frequently.
  • Suggest enhancements and expect them to be executed in amazingly beautiful ways.

Working with the Ents

Enterprise architecture, the endeavor of building technical reference architecture for the business, or, in this case, for higher ed, is a deliberative iterative and s l o w process.

Here I am in Madison, Wisconsin joining phenomenally gifted and wise senior enterprise architects such as Rich Stevens (University of Maryland), Jim Phelps (U of Wisconsin and current chair of ITANA*), Leo Fernig (U of British Columbia) and Scott Fullerton (U of Wisconsin) in creating a Learning Reference architecture for presentation at Educause in the fall. Knock on wood.

Wood, you say? Or trees? Not only the things architects see through on their way to categorizing the whole forest, but really, these deliberate conversations with their careful measured tone …which I am learning from in enormous measure… think before you speak, Laura, hear the rationale of that statement on the inside of your brain before you say it on the outside…, these deliberate conversations make me feel as foolish as the Hobbits among the Ents.

Even my fellow subject matter experts, Jeanne Blochwitz (Asst. Director of Academic Technology, Wisconsin) and Jeff Bohrer (Instructional Technology Consultant, Wisconsin) seem more tuned to this pace than I am.

Remember this Lord of the Rings council of war by the Keepers of the Forests, the Ents? (There are Hobbits in this photo perched in an Ent, but you can’t really see them).

many_ents

*ITANA, by the way, is a constituent group of Educause, an outreach arm for Enterprise, Business, and Technical Architects in Academia.

Look for the presentation of our work at Educause this fall. Knock on wood (but not in an Entish forest) we’ll be done!

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Disruptive Education – Or Encouraging Education?

It is disruptive. But it shouldn’t be. Putting myself in faculty shoes, the hardest part is mastery of this new online stuff, which, really, if I’m being honest, I don’t want to do myself and I probably don’t have time to do myself anyway. I need to just get the gist of it and find individuals or even a team I can work with effectively so that they can find or build the reusuable learning objects, the content bundles and the sequencing I need to supplement and enhance the way I teach and the content I intend to cover.  I remain the subject matter expert, but they advise me and participate with me in finding the best ways to get across the material.

Michael Stanton’s Disruptive Education

I can focus on my research, bring the students into what I’m learning, modeling and mentoring the processes those in our field master to forward our discipline. I may find vital to reaching and engaging my students such online activities as virtual office hours, blogging, or contributing in other public spaces in which my students have their discussions and launch their questions.

But I daren’t be a fearful learner myself.

What happens in the Classroom shouldn’t stay in the Classroom

Your classroom is bigger than that space you reserve to meet in a couple of times a week. It always has been. You can not keep doing what you’ve always been doing and think you’re going to get different results.  Adapting the way you teach is not optional. It’s imperative.

Previously, students read the textbook before class and then came to class and you lectured on the same content. You were impassioned, funny, clever, erudite. Well, maybe not all the time… Your job was never just about getting them to read the text, so much as to expose them to the ideas, processes, cases, and real world applications that came out of the text. Which part of that should keep happening in your classroom? Which part of that is more engaging elsewhere?

It has never been easier to design experiences which take the classroom experience out into the world (24/7!), and there touch, taste, feel, search, discuss, skype, draw, visualize, record, chart, experiment, sequence, hypothesize, journal, create, make, do!

Back in the classroom ask questions, report failures, share conclusions, rale against the gods, rant about the industry, posit a new theorem, get feedback on ones journey, only to go back out and do it all over again having the support, guidance and direction of one or more who have navigated before the construct and sequencing to the inside/outside classroom experiences of the student scholar.

The classroom is a box, long ago converted from a delineated space where scholars and wannabe scholars interacted. Scholars used nothing more than their voices, their timbres, passion, expression, elocution, and rhetoric to incite their students with a desire to gain more capacity in their chosen field.  Thus was born the lecture. It was codified as a rehearsed staple of teaching.  It has a place today.

But the lecture today shares that place with a plethora of techniques, some of them more suited for what once only the lecture tried to do.

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London Sends Christmas Greetings

London Sends Christmas Greetings

I’m gratified to have received this thoughtful Christmas card from Notre Dame’s London Program Staff. Truly honored to serve, Laura

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Education Unbundled

Education Unbundled

Reposting from Michael Stanton, Edumorphology.com.