Archive for April 22, 2012

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

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,, as well as on their own Knowledge Nurture site

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

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.” [].

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

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

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


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