Why is “Social Networking” like “Global Warming”?

March 12, 2014 author: No comments

There are obvious reasons why academic communities can be resistant to adopting a new technology, more resistant than other other disciplines.

Step aside from the political and economic reasons why acting on “Global Warming” hasn’t seen a bigger initiative in the United States, and consider the failure of “Golbal Warming” to capture the overall dynamic of the situation. By no means am I the first person — more accurately like the 5000th — to talk about the failure of the term to accurately describe the issue, with “Climate Change” being a more useful label.

“Social networking” is a label like “global warming.” It is not entirely misapplied, but it fails to represent the bigger picture. Again I am not breaking new ground here, but I would prefer to talk about these tools in the context of “collaboration and communication.” The paradigm shift is not based in the ability to move a rolodex to the cloud.

The origins of the technology are social and flat, but the models currently being deployed emphasize a different set of tools that foster a different model of communication and work.

One of the failures of Facebook is the complexity in managing Lists of people who fall into different categories. The biggest — and most ballyhooed — change that arrives with Google + is the much more straightforward Circles interface.

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Department of Energy Creates Online-Learning Platform for Technical Training – Wired Campus – The Chronicle of Higher Education

June 22, 2012 author: No comments

Department of Energy Creates Online-Learning Platform for Technical Training – Wired Campus – The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Interesting piece today from Wired Campus in the Chronicle about a new open-source online learning platform used to build 3d models…

Categories: Design, General, Ideas, News Tags:

Hundreds of Open Source, Indexed, Peer-Reviewed Pedagogical Best Practices! – Magna Publications

June 15, 2012 author: No comments

Hundreds of Open Source, Indexed, Peer-Reviewed Pedagogical Best Practices! – Magna Publications.

The latest edition of the Magna Publications newsletter Distance Education Report discusses the Teaching Online Pedagogical Repository (TOPR) at the University of Central Florida. It’s a public resource for faculty looking for online teaching strategies – content in TOPR  is licensed under a Creative Commons License. Check it out at http://topr.online.ucf.edu/index.php/Main_Page!

IIT Online Fall 2011 User Survey

January 3, 2012 author: No comments

Happy New Year!

As we prepare for a next week’s first new semester of 2012, I’d like to thank all of our Illinois Tech students who took the time to complete our Fall 2011 IIT Online survey.

A record-setting 540 students responded! That’s the largest response since IIT Online started formal semester-end surveys after the spring 2010 semester.

And to toot our own horn, most of the response ratings are overwhelmingly “satisfied,” “very satisfied,” or better yet, a combination of the two. Credit goes to our staff who each strive to ensure an excellent online experience for every student. Take a peek at the results and see for yourself: IIT Online Fall 2011 User Survey.

Where the responses and suggestions are not so overwhelmingly positive, please know that we take them all seriously. Suggestions help us to improve our workflows, processes, and technology, and bring you the best service possible.

So once again, thanks for ending 2011 on such a positive note – look for even better and bigger things in 2012!


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SLATE ’11 – photos, videos, notes, handouts, and reflections shared by participants at 2011 SLATE Conference, October 13-14, 2011

October 17, 2011 author: No comments

SLATE ’11 – photos, videos, notes, handouts, and reflections shared by participants at 2011 SLATE Conference, October 13-14, 2011.

Last week a few IIT faculty and staff attended the SLATE (Supporting Learning And Technology in Education – Midwest Blackboard User’s Group) Conference held in downtown Chicago, at the University of Chicago’s Gleacher Center. The conference provided forums for all participants – faculty and staff from several neighboring institutions -to connect and learn from each other, by discussing best practices and implementation strategies for not only the Blackboard LMS, but for online learning in general.  As an institution moving toward the next generation of Blackboard within the next year, IIT Faculty and staff took the opportuntiy to learn more about what to expect and what to plan for, and how to make the transition a successful transition for everyone involved. Check out this year’s notes, conference run-down, and comments from the link above.

SLATE not only discusses issues and concerns related to Blackboard, but also fosters discussion of broader issues in areas like online learning and pedagogy, program integrity, and faculty development. Meetings are hosted regularly throughout the year by member institutions. For more information about SLATE, visit SLATE at http://slategroup.uchicago.edu/.

Supporting Bboogle: BbWorld 2011

August 17, 2011 author: No comments

Bboogle? With so many things going on at the start of semester, the last thing faculty need is a new word… So, what is Bboogle? Blackboard (Bb) + Google.

Supporting Bboogle: BbWorld 2011.

Our colleagues on the north side, at Northwestern University, have been developing a free building block for Blackboard integration with Google apps. Here at IIT, we may want to take a closer look – especially in light of our transition this semester to Gmail for students and Google Apps for Education for everyone.

This past year IIT Online has taken an active role in becoming part of the larger Chicagoland education community around Blackboard and technologies in education, by participating in SLATE, http://slategroup.uchicago.edu/. Today’s meeting was hosted by Northwestern and gave IIT Online a chance to network with and learn from other institutions. One result was a discussion of Bboogle and its possibilities.

Take a look and let us know what you think!

Also too – Faculty, please be on the lookout for our IIT Online survey of faculty needs and best practices. As we’re looking to deliver innovative and excellent education to our students, we need to better understand the needs of our faculty. If you don’t have the link, please let me or Brad Katz know.

Wishing all of our faculty (and students) the best for the new semester!


Categorizing Online Behavior

July 12, 2011 author: No comments

In association with the book Empowered by Josh Bernoff and Ted Schadler, Forester Research provides an online tool for helping companies define their clients using a set of seven overlapping categories. They call this “Social Technographics.”

This tool is really directed at B2B and B2C, rather than an educational context but the underlying taxonomy makes sense when narrowly considering individual students and faculty behavior using technology, and more broadly in examining the underlying dynamic in the classroom.

Bernoff and Schadler’s categories are

  • Creators
  • Conversationalists
  • Critics
  • Collectors
  • Joiners
  • Spectators
  • Inactives

They organize this as a hierarchy, with the following explanations of what defines the behavior in each category.

Social Technographics Ladder

One reason this descriptive model seems so apt for the educational context is the loose correlation it has with models which advocate for greater participation, collaboration, and application. This is the whole argument behind the power of Web 2.0 technologies, where passive consumers become active creators. It also echoes the underlying argument against purely lecture-based models of teaching in lieu of more collaboration and student-centered, interactive work.

One of the critical areas we are going to be asking faculty at IIT as we reach out to work more closely with them is how this kind of hierarchical description applies:

  • Where do faculty themselves fall, both personally and professionally among peers?
  • Where do faculty think their students fall and what are their expectations?
  • What kind of environment do faculty cultivate to meet those student expectations about being able to participate and collaborate?
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A “Drinking from the Firehose” Post

July 11, 2011 author: No comments

A member of the the LinkedIn “Instructional Designers & E-Learning Professionals’ Group” posted a question, seeking advice on useful tools.

I have not had the opportunity to evaluate each of the tools thoroughly (or even all of the sites) but these were some of the more useful looking ones cited in the responses.

Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies


GO2WEB20 (Web Applications Index)

Please reply with comments regarding any of the sites or specific tools.

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Bridging a Distance in Education

July 6, 2011 author: No comments

Scientific American is backing a new STEM education initiative that tries to connect scientists, mathematicians, and engineers with public school teachers and classrooms.

The mission is to “seek scientists who are willing to volunteer to advise on curricula, answer a classroom’s questions, or visit a school”for instance, to do a lab or to talk about what you do.” The initial goal is a directory of STEM professionals by the 2011-12 school year and say “How much you choose to participate will be up to you.”

Overall they want to make “it easier for scientists and teachers to connect.”

For a brief post on the program visit GOOD or visit Scientific American for a direct link to more details and the registration information.


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Engineer Guy

June 14, 2011 author: No comments


Website of Bill Hammack — engineer, educator, and advocate for innovative engineering education.

Worth a look.

In addition to videos and white papers, he provides a link to a free pdf of his book Why Engineers Need to Grow a Long Tail, which explores using new media in engineering education.

The site also includes audio and video clips that he podcasts via rss and itunes.


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