Thoughts on Michael Nielsen’s “Reinventing Discovery”

Last week’s New Media Faculty Seminar reading was “Reinventing Discovery” [Chapter 1 in Michael Nielsen’s Reinventing Discovery: The New Era of Networked Science. Information on the book may be found here http://michaelnielsen.org/blog/reinventing-discovery/.

The notion of using online tools for collaboration is not a new one. Employees in many organizations use collaborative tools as part of formal or informal knowledge discovery/knowledge sharing activities.

Knowledge management at Buckman Laboratories is perhaps the best-documented. Information on their efforts which date back to the 1980s may be found here http://www.kmbestpractices.com/buckman-laboratories.html, http://www.ikmagazine.com/xq/asp/sid.0/articleid.44FF64FD-A164-44D2-AC71-6668AA61E195/eTitle.The_knowledge_Robert_H_Buckman/qx/display.htm, as well as on their own Knowledge Nurture site http://www.knowledge-nurture.com/.

Another well-documented case goes back to 1997: “KMPG Peat Marwick U.S.: One Giant Brain”. It is Harvard Business School case 397108-PDF-ENG; a brief description is found here http://hbr.org/product/kpmg-peat-marwick-u-s-one-giant-brain/an/397108-PDF-ENG.

What is critical is employee buy-in and organization strategies to support the effort. What Peat Marwick found is that a reward system based on individual performance was at odds with knowledge sharing. Similarly, the strategy at Buckman is “we should use our systems for communication to share our tacit and explicit knowledge as widely as possible so that no individual will stand alone in the face of competition, but will always have the full global force of the company behind them.” [http://www.kmbestpractices.com/buckman-laboratories.html].

What Nielsen is proposing is collaboration across all boundaries. What about intellectual property?

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April 22, 2012 at 7:42 pm Leave a comment

Thoughts on ECAR “National Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology 2011”

This week’s reading for our New Media Faculty Seminar is the ECAR “National Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology 2011” found at http://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/ERS1103/ERS1103W.pdf.

The several College of Business faculty who are working on a Technology Initiatives Task Force met this week. What is interesting is how we think we might help our colleagues become more effective users of instructional technology coincides with several of the recommendations in the ECAR study.

For example, Recommendation 1 is to “Investigate your students’ technology needs and preferences and create an  action plan to better integrate technology into courses and help students access institutional and academic information from their many and diverse devices and platforms.” Our NMFS and Technology Initiatives Task Force has the same approach to help our faculty: we need to ask them how they want to use technology in their courses.

Recommendation 2 is to provide professional development opportunities for faculty. We are planning brown bag lunches and/or seminars, early evening workshops followed by dinner, and an ongoing Desire2Learn course for all faculty and staff.

Recommendation 6 is to nail the basics: “Help faculty and administrators excel at supporting students’ use of core productivity software and applications for academic use, including, e-mail, word processing, spreadsheets, content or learning management systems, library sites, and bibliography tools.” Exactly what we said; we want to help our colleagues comfortable with these tools so they can make their students comfortable as well.

Regarding Recommendation 10 on moving “strategically toward blended/hybrid learning environments to meet students’ preferred styles of learning.”, here, too, we want to encourage our colleagues’ use of technology to engage students between face-to-face meetings.

April 22, 2012 at 7:19 pm Leave a comment

Encouraging use of new technologies among business faculty

One of the outcomes of the March 5 brown bag seminar “The Reluctant Technologist” was the idea for a Technology Initiatives Task Force within the College of Business at Benedictine University.

A few of the issues identified at the seminar as obstacles to faculty adoption of new technologies were time, trust, teaching, and training. To clarify some of the issues: Time…who has extra time to explore something new, with no guarantee of success? Trust…what about the faculty member who tries something new and does not meet with success? Teaching…how does a faculty member identify a new technology or a new application appropriate to his/her discipline? Training…just-in-time and directly applicable to a course.

The objective of the task force would be to address these. We have done a bit of brainstorming and hope to organize our thoughts in the next couple of weeks. We would like to kick off our work with a brown bag lunch during April or May in which we would like to pose these questions to interested faculty:

  • What kind of help would you like from us?
  • Should we help with instructional technology, social media, and/or Office software?

We have identified at least two strategies:

  • Technology tips of the week to include something of general interest, something related to instructional technology, and something related to the use of social media.
  • Periodic brown-bag seminars where we might do some show-and-tell and/or have a question-and-answer session.

April 1, 2012 at 4:20 pm 1 comment

Thoughts on “The Epic Win” in Cathy Davidson’s Now You See It

Cathy Davidson discusses the use of games in Chapter 5 “The Epic Win” of her Now You See It.

As readers may already be aware, I am director of a master’s degree program in management information systems at Benedictine University.  The capstone MBA course, MBA671, Strategic Management, includes a large-scale business simulation game, where teams of our students compete against thousands of teams across the globe. In the last few years, M.S. in Management and Organizational Behavior students have participated along with MBA students. Beginning with Fall 2012, my M.S in Management Information Systems, students will also participate.

Some years ago, this capstone course was shared among several programs: MBA, M.S. in MOB, and M.S. in MIS. We did not have an integrating experience like the business simulation and, eventually, MOB and MIS Programs went back to offering their own capstone courses. The business simulation has made us reconsider. Why not include information technology and management students along with business administration students in teams running a company? The benefits to all students should be significant; different groups of students bring different talents to the experience. How should these different talents be leveraged to make their virtual company more successful than other students’ companies?

April 1, 2012 at 3:51 pm Leave a comment

Thoughts on “How We Measure” in Cathy Davidson’s Now You See It

In the last few years, I have considered asking students in our M.S. in Management Information Systems program to construct an electronic portfolio. I have thought this would be valuable for our students; they would have a way to organize what they have done in all their courses and would reflect upon their work. Chapter 4 “How We Measure” in Cathy Davidson’s Now You See It gives me some support. Why not have a way to present accomplishments to current or future employers? Why not have a way to understand what a student has accomplished?

April 1, 2012 at 3:29 pm Leave a comment

Thoughts on “Project Classroom Makeover” in Cathy Davidson’s Now You See It

Given this upper respiratory infection that is lingering too long, I am a bit behind in our consideration of Cathy Davidson’s Now You See It.

I have a different perspective than most of my colleagues in the New Media Faculty Seminar in that I teach in a graduate professional program–the M.S in Management Information Systems, not in one of the traditional undergraduate disciplines. Our students are primarily working adults; some are looking to move into information technology and others are looking to move up within information technology. They are focused on specific content and specific skills.

Does this mean that Davidson’s Chapter 3 “Project Classroom Makeover” does not apply? I believe that it can apply.

As an example, one of the assignments in the MIS545, Computer Organization & Architecture, course is a technology project. The idea is to explore a topic in information technology, be it hardware- or software-related. The paper is to be submitted to me via a course management system dropbox. What I should have considered is, why not make the technology project be an amended Wikipedia entry? The most valuable piece is that students “could contribute to public discourse” (Davidson, p.100).

The second example is the second major deliverable in this course: the systems project. The idea here is to describe and evaluate a business system. There is a checklist for the hardware and software, but the important objective is to evaluate its effectiveness by talking with those who use the system. Perhaps sharing the results with these people would be beneficial for students and for those who were interviewed. Again, students could contribute to public discourse.

A third example is the course project in another of my courses, MIS689, Strategic Information Technology Management, our capstone course. The objective of the course project is to take everything a student has learned in the program and apply it by developing and/or evaluating an organization’s technology plan.  Why not share results with the company?

April 1, 2012 at 3:13 pm Leave a comment

‘Innovators, Early Adopters, Early Majority, Late Majority, and Laggards’ or ‘Digital Natives and Digital Immigrants’?

In my previous post, I used the terms innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority, and laggards. These are psychographic profiles that have been used for over five decades; these profiles were originally developed to characterize the purchase patterns of hybrid seed corn. These profiles are routinely used in information technology as part of the technology adoption lifecycle.

More recently, the terms ‘digital immigrant’ and ‘digital native’ have been used to describe different sets of computer users. Marc Prensky discusses these at length in his 2001 On the Horizon article titled “Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants”.

Do these two sets of terms really describe the same phenomenon? Are digital natives the innovators and early adopters and are digital immigrants the early majority, late majority, and laggards? Is there some other difference being described? I prefer a behavioral distinction rather than a distinction based on birth year.

February 26, 2012 at 4:55 pm Leave a comment

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