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Who needs a plan

Page history last edited by PBworks 12 years, 10 months ago

Who needs a plan?


Some rough notes:


What does the small pieces loosely joined offer a campus? 


Can you plan for the rapidly developing tools that are being released on an almost daily basis? Probably not on a  micro-scale, yet you can design an infrastructure that fosters access and integration to the best possible tools at students, faculty, and staffs disposal on a macro-scale. 


  • Creating an open, dynamic publishing platform.


  • Users can fashion their own online presence. 


  • Sharing ideas, giving back to the public, exploring the possibilities.


  • Becoming a wider resource, populating the web with valuable content.



How best could a university infrastructure foster and encourage such a reality?


To quote my hero Brian Lamb:


I’m reminded of something George Siemens said at a symposium on distributed tool strategies: that schools should be in the business of managing data flows rather than in supporting an end to end user experience. We can only dream what might result if the energy going into the campus-wide LMS’s would go into creating flexible and easy to use 'syndication buses' or to addressing pragmatic instructor challenges to using the 'small pieces' approach — things like student management tools, gradebooks etc. And what about providing the service of institutional archiving and data backups to mitigate the risks of using third party tools?


Comments: Interesting. You still need a plan, you just need a kind of plan that is different than what we've always imagined a plan to be in the past. You need a plan that creates frameworks and opportunities rather than that dictates solutions and products. You need a plan that empowers leadership rather than merely "defining" it. You need a plan that has some ability to "self-heal" and adapt. Ultimateley, a plan like this has values and vision at it's core, not answers.


What I worry about is that if we push the conversation about the potential of technology to it's current limit, then we ultimately need to push our converation about higher education to a similarly precipitous limit. (And I worry that we're both not doing this or we are doing it and then not knowing where to go next.)


We need to question our values, not about technology, but about education, learning, knowing, sharing, community, activism, citizenship -- and we need to find a place for higher education to occupy in that conversation that makes the use of its inherent strengths (leadership, knowledge, passionate commitment) not its weakness (administration, management, standardization). Increasingly, we play the game in higher ed. of trying to fix our weakness isntead of trying to value our strengths, and in doing so we dilute ourselves and we allow a conversation to emerge around us about what we're doing (and if we're doing it well) in which we play little role.


Technology could be the transformative agent in this conversation. It could help us shift the conversation back in a rigorous (but not stifling) direction. Instead, more and more institutions seem to approach technology merely as an administrative panacea or a tool for collecting, analyzing, and regurgitating more data and information in a desperate attempt to justify our existence.


Kudos to Keene for wrestling with these issues.




Comments (5)

Anonymous said

at 4:36 pm on Oct 30, 2007

Hooray! Jim's here!

One thing your note reminds me is we have to be concerned with creating an environment where evolution happens, rather than set goals -- or rather, I know that's what we are trying to do (see for example the quotes to guide us) but it's an interesting trick to write the Plan-that-is-not-a-Plan.

Anonymous said

at 4:41 pm on Oct 30, 2007

Hey Mike, currently listening to your ITConversation with Jon -great stuff. These are just rough notes, I am going to pull in some of Gardner and Martha's ideas to make the plan make sense, so my disclaimer is really just a warning if anyon takes this as something coherent.

Anonymous said

at 6:07 pm on Oct 30, 2007

Thanks on the conversation. I give Jon credit for how good it came out, he really does do a nice job of finding the ways someone's experienc intersects with the core issues of his audience, enough so that when I listened to it I was struck with a lot of "You know, I guess a lot of people don't know that...that *is* interesting..."

But that interview is very related to this AT vision project -- becuase what we have to do is almost exactly what we did at BH -- create a Petri dish with the proper material in it and watch our experiment grow. It's so much about environment, culture and ecosystem -- not just emergING, but emerGENT -- a huge distinction.

Anonymous said

at 6:07 pm on Oct 30, 2007

man -- no para breaks!!??!!? Pbwiki, you disappoint me!

Anonymous said

at 10:17 pm on Oct 30, 2007

Yeah, and hearing about the work you did for Bluehampshire makes me think how much of the success or failure of UMW Blogs has much more to do with community than technology. And this is already a pre-formed community, which should make it easier, you made yours from scratch -bravo!

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