Monday, December 13, 2010

Wicked Wicked Problem of Learning in the Digital Age

Finals week. Campus is already quieting down as learners and faculty head out for winter break. As we close up, I've decided that the theme of 2011 here at GridKnowledge will be wicked problems (see Rittel and Melvin 1972, and Conkel 2005 or heck, just go to Wikipedia).

Wicked: what we have in higher education as we drag ourselves into the digital age. We're a poster child of a wicked problem regarding our work infusing digital literacy into the HE experience.
Wicked: tough to understand let alone solve, dynamic/ shifting/ elusive, no stopping rules, lots of possible paths to solution. The second wicked of title comes in the resistance to change we're seeing in so many HE stakeholders who just want the world to stay the way it was just moments ago when we were kings of an industrial age and HE was revered through the land.

Maybe I should add a third wicked related to wicked #2: we have a new generation of learners (choose your pocket: X,Y,Z, D+, or iGen) that will NOT have the skills they need to face the next 15-20 jobs/distinct careers ahead of them when they leave the halls of the Academy. We like to pretend that our younger, wealthier learners (sorry you returning and less early-advantaged souls) already "get it," but as a technology researcher and an instructor, I can tell you that they don't.

Sure they FB and FourSquare and 18% of them now Twitter (welcome and what took you so long?). They check for updates and comments on their social plans, bored and disengaged, while we lecture in big, face-forward classrooms. They text and they upload pics taken with their cell phone. Many do so inappropriately and publicly. Many have no idea how to use these digital skills in academic or professional ways. When attempting to think about how they might leverage technology to learn, they experience information overload and frustration. Shirky claims overload is merely poor filters- but WHERE will these generations learn about filters, synthesis, skeptical reflection if not from their experience here?

I see most of my colleagues in HE abdicating any responsibility for the lack of preparation in basic educated digital literacy while we continue our hold-the-line protection of lecture, text, expert, listen to ME culture. ("Only people not like you are experts or should be cited. Wikipedia is not scholarly. Shared knowledge is suspect. The written text is our medium.") I see the business community losing faith in our intentions. I see a government that publicly states the need for a good HE system in the US, but lacks the will to demand or finance one. I see graduates returning to ask me what they should major in next so that they're actually prepared for what's out there. "I see dead practice everywhere," as M Night Shyamalan might say.

We've got wicked, wicked wicked problems to solve and if I thought about it, I'd probably add a few more wickeds. I'm thinking about it in 2011. My new year's resolution, affirmation and promise in the time I have left here. Happy holidays, see you next year!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

ASU End of Semester: Posting Final Grades - With a Little Help

The wonderful thing about digital information is the just in timeliness of finding what you need when you need it. Still, much research suggests that we prefer to reach out to colleagues, friends, and trusted resources when looking for specific information rather than Google the hodge-podge of sometimes wrong-headed help files on the ASU Web site. Perhaps that's what Joe Cocker meant when he said "I get by with a little help from my friends."

Thus, instructors (many teaching larger enrollment courses in past semesters) are now wandering into the halls here at ASU asking "Does anyone remember how to submit Roster Grades from Blackboard??" The information is out there, but not easy to find, and not completely helpful, so after walking numerous colleagues through the process in preparation for the crunch, I'm posting a summary here.

To automatically send your final grades from Blackboard to Roster Grades, you'll need to:
- create a letter grade total column in Blackboard. Instructions here, at the BB help site, for creating a total column. Remember to choose "primary display = letter"

Then follow the ASU Roster Grades Instructions page embedded deep in BB help files:
- designate your created column as the external grade column to export (#1 on ASU Instructions page)
- verify that the Blackboard default letter grade conversion scale is same as your scale (#2 on ASU Instructions page)
- export your BB grades (#4 on Instructions page)
- verify and post grades in Roster grades (#5 on Instructions page)

Note: Ignore step #3 in ASU Instructions. It assumes you're giving up your BB total-pts column after converting the column to a letter grade. You do NOT have to sacrifice this column (an important record) to post grades.

Yes, there are a few steps to muddle through, but much much faster than posting each grade by hand. Congratulations on making it through another semester. Hopefully, you were able to do it with a little help from your friends.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Flip that Lecture

Yeay, Karl Fisch! You go where few have gone before. Karl says STOP LECTURING YOUR STUDENTS and let them learn. Flip the Lecture notion: let your students watch lecture videos at home before the class.

In class: help them, work with them, engage them. Here's the whole story, as told by Daniel Pink (you know, A Whole New Mind, Drive...).

Now, of course I loved the story because I am a strong advocate for killing the lecture. It's not how most of us learn, despite how much teachers love to do it. When a rare teacher embraces the anti-lecture with videos (especially if the videos are then done in short, topical bites like the beloved Sal Khan - yes, beloved by me and many learning designers and funding agencies), then we have a thing of beauty.

The real fun, and added extra in the story, includes the fact that Pink isn't a learning designer, he's a societal scanner so his approach is Flip Thinking everywhere. Yeay to that too. Go Dan!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Nudge Analytics: Knowing and Doing

Things often take time to brew. Awhile back, an economist colleague of mine, Dr. Phil Mizzi, turned me on to Nudge, the work of Thaler and Sunstein (2008) on how a nudge in the right direction can subtly influence people to make good decisions. Their idea was to define a framework for choice architecture that takes into consideration the humanness of people, and how easy it is to not make decisions. When given free will, people often choose not by not choosing. Not to save, not to take care of their health, not to do simple personal, tiny things to protect the common good. In Nudge, the authors look at the economic benefits of nudging people to do the right thing.

A few years later, Phil and I can't help noting how machines have advanced in not just gathering data, but searching for patterns and noting significance. Decision architecture suddenly becomes much easier by eliminating the human-intensive intervention described in Nudge, but also becomes more reliable regarding the architecture piece of the choice architecture puzzle. In the authors' examples, someone is deciding the value and parameters of the nudge, rather than allowing analytics to gather, sort, compare, contrast and determine the objectivity of the nudge toward good. In one example, the authors describe a Save More Tomorrow plan that a number of corporations have implemented to help their employees save money through voluntarily auto-deduction. The authors state that thousands of corporations now use this nudge model, with triple the savings seen previously. But even economists can't tell a company what percent of salary best balances nudge vs. return. Why not let a machine do that? Across an institution or a multi-institutional study, machines could pattern-match and adjust recommended percent that would encourage participation at best savings rate. Nudge analytics: No guessing; no assumptions; no bias.

Close to home, the implications and affordances are deep when we think about the wasted information available in current university systems. The machine knows how many times students log into ALL the sections of ENG 101 in Blackboard. The machine knows the final grade of each of these students. The machine knows what percentage of students that login twice a week receive an A. Not many is our guess, but the machine doesn't have to guess. The machine could send out a note to the student's portal page or email on a weekly basis, letting the student know the likelihood that they'll receive an A based on their performance, matched against historical data. The machine could nudge the student to log in more often and raise their likelihood.

And that's just one idea from our own backyard. Starting to obsess on the idea, I'm beginning to see nudge analytics pop up in the most interesting places. Recently, with days to spare before the early voting sign up closes for the November election, I received an email from Organizing for America (President Obama's initiative to encourage citizens to vote) that is a perfect example of nudge analytics. The letter reminded me of the importance of my vote, and just let me know that AZ has a site online that takes moments to sign up to be on the Permanent Early Voter List.
I was nudged. My decision, my choice, just a nudge to be a better citizen. I gave that example to one of the intrepid reporters at, and they put up the story and the link to AZ PEVL.

Consider their story, and this blog ending, a simple nudge. If you're as lazy, harried, stressed or forgetful as most of us, consider voting early. Sign up at the PEVL site before Monday to early vote by mail-in ballot in November. If you miss the deadline, sign up in time for the next local election.

Nudge analytics on the part of the machines at Organizing for America; just a simple, Thaler and Sunstein type nudge from me and Sign up. Know, then do. It'll be a decision that's good for the common good.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

BB9: Top Ten Responses to the New Look

We're up! A new year at ASU and we've moved to BB9. After 2 weeks of crash and burn, the system seems stable. New instructors are signing up for workshops, searching the Blackboard site for startup guides, taking training classes and asking for help.
Experienced instructors, aren't quite as prepared. They left campus in the Spring with their course copy requests submitted and now, thinking all is right with the world, are once again attempting to get into their BB8 shells. And guess what? They're stumped. Something familiar was taken away and now they're strangers in a strange, oddly familiar and yet mysterious land.

So, based on the 50+ email messages and 12 angry phone calls left for me in the last 48 hours, I appealed to the instructional designers of ASU to compile a quick Top 10 list of BB9 queries. The Training Group at our ASU University Technology Office came through, kindly including a number of suggestions from the faculty of CoPP, adding some they've heard (very helpful, as I hadn't heard those yet...or discovered the solutions) and here you have the collective hive-mind confusion made less confusing. Check it out!

And in case you haven't seen their most excellent Blackboard 9 Instructor Help Site, please check that out too. A wealth of resources, tips, answers, ideas. Again, BB9 is admittedly not the most intuitive interface, and ASU got off to a rocky start, but BB9 is here to stay and has a lot under the hood. Visit the help sites, explore, get over our collective crankiness and use technology effectively to make teaching and learning an engaging, meaningful experience. Cuz that's why we're here. Have a great semester!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

BB9 Redux: Posting Video links

Beginning of semester and ASU goes live with Blackboard Learn. Most faculty here will readily tell you this is a misnomer at our site as it's been down a good deal of the time since the semester started two weeks ago. But let's put that aside and talk about how very different BB9 is and how a few aspects are seemingly not possible in BB9 that were simple in previous versions. This is not to negate a few exciting new features, but focusing today on VIDEO. Especially the desire to stay within the BB environ while watching the video. It used to be rather straightforward to 'Create Item' and choose 'Display media file within the page'. But that was then, and this is BB 9. (ASU tells me that BB wants us to call it BB Learn. Really? I'll call it BB Learn if/when it actually functions at ASU and we can use it to teach/learn. Fair?).

Display media file within the page: Well you can choose that item forever, and it doesn't seem to embed video. Not the way it used to work. So, depending on the type of video link you're attempting to post, your options will now be different. I note that YouTube embed code works, but only because the Blackboard site states they optimized for YouTube and a few other commercial sites. Embed code doesn't work for sites we often use at ASU (like Films on Demand), but we'll get to that in a minute.

For YouTube users wanting to embed inside your course, preserving navigation bar (old look):
you still Create Item, but now you click on html button in the toolbar, and post the YouTube-provided source code. (How to find the embed code at a YouTube site shown here: click on embed button under the video at YouTube and copy source code that appears).

At the BB site, you then click on the html button on the Create Item toolbar, and paste your code. You now have an embedded video just the way you'd expect it to look.

Most other sites, because they're not optimized by BB to work, won't work with html embed code, no matter how carefully you write the code. I tried. Give up. Here's the work-around that isn't the same, as the learner does loose the left navigation back to class content, but allows you to keep the learner in the course framework with navigation back to home page for course at the TOP of the page.

To embed video link in your course you use a full frame embed:
Build menu, create external link.
Copy the link, choose CREATE EXTERNAL LINK.
(You can of course do this with YouTube as well, IF you want only top navigation).

Paste your link, Choose "Display media file within the page." (Feature works in this setting).
Remember to choose "Open in New Window"=NO if you want to embed in course window.
Here's a pic of these two choices on the Create External Link object page.

So, things change. Nothing remains the same. Mostly, we don't like change but in the end we adapt. That's what we do. Happy adapting. When things settle down, we'll talk about the worthy new features in BB9.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Blackboard 9, Fall Semester and ASU Tidbits

Sometimes, when you least expect it, technology actually works. Too busy to drive to the ASU Tempe campus for the Blackboard Course Administrators Fall 2010 startup meeting, but the technology walked its talk this time by making session available via Adobe Connect. We have this virtual meeting software available as a site license here at ASU for just these multi-campus events, and we hardly ever use it for IT gatherings. It would be like the beautician having nice hair or the plumber having time to fix her own leaky faucet.

But use it we did and had a great session, reviewing the full-scale implementation of BB Learn/9 here, as well as the full-scale release of hosting BB off-site at Blackboard. Fingers crossed, wish us luck.

Here's some information that instructors will find useful as we move forward:
The name: BB Learn/9. It's version 9, the one after 8, but stylish people are calling it Learn to mitigate reality that it's still just a course management system, not a learning environment. A rose is a rose, but feel free to call it an orchid.

BB9looks very different, and some helpful navigation to the new look has been provided by UTO at What's New in BB 9.

For support files once we get past new features and BB9 startup, the official BB 9 Guide site is also online.

Reminder: If you haven’t requested your Fall courses, the ‘Blackboard Course Request’link is at and right now, courses are being created within hours. This will slow to a day or so at the beginning of the semester, when requests are in the 1,000s.

If you prefer live encounters when seeking help, I’ll be in my office (UCent 413) all day August 19-20, reserving the time for BB support, questions, and sharing ideas. Stop by/call/Skype/Google chat/or Tweet me!

Quick tips on BB9?
  • The Digital Dropbox is gone. Use ‘create assignment’ for student submissions
  • There is a new “Edit mode” button on top right that allows you to toggle between instructor/course edit view and student view.
  • The Control Panel is now a part of the Navigation panel on left, with all the links bundled by topic. Click the Evaluation arrows to find Grade Center. Click the Customization arrows to find tools and change course look.
  • All the menus are now context-sensitive, available from the pull down chevron next to their names.

Have a great semester!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Change is Painful

As a new semester approaches, some of my favorite faculty are still making claim that they are so good at teaching, they don't need to use technology. Ironically, some are making this claim on a FaceBook conversation I've been following. FB posts are much too short for me to join in with much hope of changing minds, but I'm weighing in here not on 'technology' but on serving our learners.

Perhaps it is true that F2F, low-tech faculty can be very good at years of practiced lecture, buuuuuttttt....there is so much evidence that today's students aren't like the faculty, aren't oral learners, don't learn enough from being lectured at, and that one would hope that change, despite being painful, could still be possible if we note that they are not us. Today's students are often here because they need to be here. They don't love school, they just want the opportunity to climb into the middle class and increasing evidence (like the recently released Tough Choices, Tough Times) says that we now need higher education to get us there.

Michael Wesch tells a story of asking his lower-division students to raise their hands if they liked their classes. Only a few tentatively did. He then asked how many of them liked to learn. They all raised their hands.

There is only so much institutional support services can do to make it easier for "non-traditional" students (now the majority) to succeed. There has to be some effort made it the classroom but ...what? It's hard? Tenure says you don't have to change? Research time is more important than learning to change? Students are captive, submissive, 'tell me what to do to get out of here' voices with no power to ask for change? What stops faculty from making the effort?

A friend of mine uses analogy of the medical community, saying doctors refused to listen to a call for change. And then the HMOs came in and changed them. If society can come for MDs in the morning, you can bet they'll be at our doors by night.
They're here. In the form of for-profits, government commissions, outraged calls for accountability, budget cuts, and increasing evidence that we're not graduating prepared citizens.

I'm not saying we can't do the job without technology. I am suggesting that we can't do the job without engaging the learners we now have in our courses. By all tools possible. The image above suggests we're not even trying. (NO, just using Blackboard doesn't count. It's a course management system!)

Common wisdom (ok, my therapist) says that 'we don't change until the pain of change becomes less than the pain of staying the same'. I'm thinking we're close to that change point.

If you have ideas on how to get there from here, the Next Generation Learning Challenges Initiative will soon be releasing their RFPs to support projects that reach out to NG students with NG ideas and technologies. No pain, no gain.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

3 Before Me!

"Online Teaching: If it's more work, you're doing it wrong!"

I'm taking this workshop to the streets this month, spreading faculty-contributed best practices far and wee, by any means possible. No better time to shout practice from the digital rooftops. August is upon us and we're all beginning to crank up the dusty LMS shells for Fall semester here at ASU. During busiest course development times, seems it never hurts to remind our teaching community of the obvious. So, let's be obvious for a moment:

It's all, and always, about the learning. We know that. But what is the quality of learning, long term, when the instructor is spread so thin, s/he is cracking into tiny bits? Class sizes are increasing, students are less self-directed, and research demands are omnipresent. Plus, we're increasingly facing 24-hour connectivity and 'online teaching' is now a misnomer. Fact: MOST of the faculty at ASU request a Blackboard container. MOST of the faculty are making more materials and communication options accessible online. Many are teaching hybrid (reduced seat time) courses, and quite a few have leaped into completely online offerings. How you do this makes a difference, and I have at least 10 Best Practices to share, but for now let's dive into my new favorite: 3 Before Me!

What does it mean? It means you stop answering simple questions via email over and over in the mistaken belief that this somehow facilitates better learning. It doesn't. Not really. It encourages laziness and continuation of the misguided notion that you're the only source for knowledge. There are other options, including your own materials, and your BB shell. Email should be reserved for personal, not course, correspondence.

I picked up "3 Before Me" from my colleague, Marc Van Horne, over at ASUOnline, and he's right, for 100 reasons. The most important, from the point of view of faculty support is that technology is a black hole of time and energy and your first line of protection is establishing good practice. 3 Before Me is one of the best of these practices. Protect your energy from small, low ROI, repetitive interrruptions. The second reason is that you're requesting self-reliant behavior from your students and this is a great gift to give.

Try it: set a rule, from the first moment, repeated in many places (syllabus, code of contact, first announcement, whenever rule is broken, etc) that the learner must go to 3, yes THREE, that's III, at least 1-2-3 other sources before coming to you with a digital question. I think this is great rule for F2F teaching as well, modeling responsibility/ownership/self-reliance/ thoughtfulness/ respect for others shouldn't be unique to online behavior...but we won't go there. F2F, instructors love to see that adoring, empty, attention-questing gaze in young eyes and in the classroom, the same, adoring question only gets asked once per class. So, let's just stick to protecting your time and energy digitally, where time and energy matter so easily disappear into an online black hole.

So, what are the magic 3?
  1. The syllabus. 80% of the answers are usually there.
  2. The course discussion board. Create an FAQ forum for quotidian questions. (When is the assignment due, where do I post my response, how many pts for this quiz, how long a post is expected, where do I find the reading...). Other learners often know the answer and may be online earlier and more often than you. This also models a learner community of practice that serves well in the academic discussions and collaborative work.
  3. The technical Help Desk. (At ASU, this is 480-965-4800). You're not the best source of tech support and you shouldn't need to figure out why Janey can't open a PDF while running Window XP and Google Chrome on a Dell Notebook. Leave these questions to people who enjoy answering them.
Here's bottom line: if one student has a question or problem, many others may have the same. Don't answer the same questions over and over, don't create a script for those questions that you open/copy/paste over and over, and don't try to solve questions that aren't your area of expertise (computer problems). Your kindness should not be killing you.

3 Before Me: teaching self-reliance and personal responsibility by sending students in a direction that allows them to look for answers in reliable places, places you've created, places where you've already posted the answers. Give yourself the gift of time and your students the gift of independent inquiry. You'll both be the better for it.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A Brand New Lyterasy?

A changing world we live in, and those in higher education seem to be running faster and faster while barely keeping up. Seems Cornell is thinking deeply about this new digital literacy realm and digging into making explicit the tricky new definitions and student understanding of academic integrity, internet research, privacy and reputation, and new modes of technology applied to teaching and learning.

Their Digital Literacy Resource site rocks and should be a required site for those thinking about teaching undergraduates anywhere. A great site and a great effort by Cornell at change management, deep thinking, transformational practice.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Blackboard 9 Redux

It's taking time for the word to get out, but by now most instructors at ASU are discovering that the Drop Box is gone in BB9. Yeay! Hurray! It's about time. We hated the DropBox. It was ugly, clumsy, inelegant and stupid. The Assignment feature is much better, as it automatically integrates with the Grade Center (GC) and allows us to view individual contributions from that student's cell, or to download all submitted contributions for that assignment as a zip file.
More on Assignment feature (creating, using, grading)

Now, everything elegant has a quirk or two, and many are discovering that this is true with the Assignment feature. Namely, that you go to download from the GC and the screen seems to freeze, blow up, or give you an error message. Why, you ask? (After swearing, kicking your PC, or waiting for hours for a response from Help Desk).
Because you broke the old file naming convention rule. Sometimes, one forgets that new Web apps are still a part of the old world of files and commands and naming conventions.

Spaces. Periods. Funky symbols. Hash marks. Don't do that. So what if you forget that age-old rule? Rename the assignment. DO NOT rename the column in the Grade Center, rename the assignment itself. The problem should go away.

So, a bite-size recap of golden rules for happy computing with BB:
#1. If something seems broken, try another browser.
#2. If that doesn't fix it, remember to only use computer-friendly naming conventions for files, or for objects that will turn into files.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Enjoyable eLearning

Is "enjoyable eLearning" an oxymoron? I don't think so, or I wouldn't do what I do. It saved me, and brought me back to the education table long after I'd hardened my heart and thrown up my hands in despair. Now, I do what I can to send out the word to other knowledge-hungry souls that there IS an alternative to butt-in-seat/bored to tears. The question on all the minds of my CoP, though, is what does really good eLearning look like? How do we know?
Take a look.
This short, Pecha Kucha format piece by Clive Shephard (one of my favorite thinkers on the topic) pulls together some good research and great ideas to answer the question. Need a hook to lure you in to Clive's presentation? Here's a summary of why he thinks eLearning is seldom enjoyable, and how we could it make it more so.
why eLearning is seldom enjoyable:
policy constraints, design faults, problems in the blend (not enough social), isn't for everyone, sometimes learning hurts
Now, how we can make (e)learning more enjoyable:
challenge conventions, tell interesting stories, provide engaging challenges, don't overdo the self-study, express yourself!
But don't stop there. Watch Clive's Pecha Kucha and decide for yourself.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

What was I writing about, again?

Anyone thinking about emerging technologies recognizes the "blessing and the curse" being brought about by the overabundance of "anytime, all the time" information falling down on our heads. We love it and it wears us out as we learn to be a different type of person, learner, chooser, reader, scanner, thinker.

This month, a very thoughtful article in the Digital Humanities Quarterly takes a deep look at some of the research and implications of the fire hose nature of information flow, especially as it affects teaching in a higher education setting. The day of "turn off your laptops" as solution is so very behind us, but it doesn't seem that very much of HE is even thinking about how to change, adapt, do our job differently.

For those of us willing to enter that murky water, do read Gordon and Bogen's (2009) interesting and challenging expedition into deep seas.

Gordon, E., & Boden, D. (Spring 2009). Designing choreographies for the new economy of attention. Digital Humanities Quarterly, 3(2), 1-8.

Monday, February 22, 2010

TechBytes Recap: Multimedia

Every two weeks, my colleagues gather informally in a small room over cookies and chocolate to talk for 20+ minutes on technology-enhanced teaching and learning. It's called TechBytes and it's come on-come all-come just a few in very busy and stressful schedules. Thus the 20-minute framework and the cookies.

Last week, we talked about more effective use of media in covering subject matter. A story tells the story better than a lecture. The challenge is to find material and here's a few great places to start:
  • For open material, visit Jane Hart's post of 25 free instructional video sites. As always, Jane researches, inquires, gathers and delivers some excellent links for instructional and educational videos.
  • Tony Hirst put together a "How Do I...?" search engine of instructional video sites that brings it all under one umbrella if you're looking for these.
  • For ASU affiliates, the Library pays for access to excellent resources in multimedia. My favorite is Films on Demand (aka FMG, from the Films Media Group), which include feature-length documentaries and academic videos. These resources are often impossible to find at the Library site, so start at the subject librarian's ASU streaming video guide page.
We also talked briefly about the UCLA vs. AIME lawyers' attack on HE Fair Use practices, but that's a messy can of worms for a short recap on fair and easy use of media. For those wishing to dig deep, I can't more highly recommend the work of my favorite fighter for the common good and 'copyleftist' Lawrence Lessig:

"In real libraries, in real space, access is not metered at the level of the page (or the image on the page). ... You get to browse through the whole of the library, for free. You get to check out the books you want to read, for free. The real-space library is a den protected from the metering of the market. It is of course created within a market; but like kids in a playroom, we let the life inside the library ignore the market outside. This freedom gave us something real. It gave us the freedom to research, regardless of our wealth; the freedom to read, widely and technically, beyond our means. It was a way to assure that all of our culture was available and reachable -- not just that part that happens to be profitable to stock. It is a guarantee that we have the opportunity to learn about our past, even if we lack the will to do so."
Lawrence Lessig (2010). "For the Love of Culture: Google, Copyright, and Our Future." The New Republic, January 26.

The same is true of schools and thus the "Fair Use" section (107) of US copyright law. Just because the world is rapidly changing from flat text to many media options, from paper to digital, from doc to mp3 & mp4, from the classroom to the world room, doesn't mean Fair Use changes for vendors based on form of media or place of the classroom, nor that our access to knowledge should be newly limited or available only to the wealthiest among us. Just the opposite should be true, and if there were anything higher education should be willing to fight for, it is the inalienable rights of everyone to have access to the content that shapes our ideas, our lives, our limits.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

ELI: When you can't be there...

Wasn't that an old Hallmark slogan? Well, it's much better suited to the value of streaming media and I made much use of the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative's live and archival streaming of their keynote and featured sessions this week.

I don't always agree with the "technology at all costs" agenda of ELI, seen in the choice of topics and speakers (proud self-titled Edupunks, geeks & dweebs) at the meeting, but if you're curious about the leading edge of technology-infused educational practices, these are the sessions to watch.

While you're at it, check out some of my favorite thought leaders -- including the passionate teacher Gardner Campbell, innovation king Cole Camplese and assessment superman Chuck Dzubian. You'll also find a very fun overview of leading trends in the "lightning round" of commentary/presentation regarding the latest Horizon Report on emerging trends.

If watching tiny people talk isn't your thing, do be sure to check out the Horizon Report 2010.
It's always released at the annual ELI meeting, and always an exciting, collaborative understanding of what's happening (and will be happening up ahead) for higher education. I've always loved the thoughtful, research-based and transparent way that the New Media Consortium (NMC) chooses and uses an advisory board to select and describe "emerging technologies likely to have a large impact on teaching, learning, orcreative inquiry on college and university campuses within the next five years."

Why I think they're the best research out there on technology use and futures in HE: their board is more than 40% international; they use a Delphi Process to select the trends, and the board drafts the report via a wiki. It's the "we smarter than me" that I write about so often now. Would that we could incorporate their processes into our courses as the teachable moment.

Speaking of transparency: It's true I have reason to be biased and love NMC. They let me host my "Shared Knowledge" Wiki project at their site. Recognizing the value of my dissertation research in collaborative, shared, and distributive knowledge makes me deeply