Knowledge – Internet or Books June 24, 2012Posted by afoote in : Knowledge Management , add a comment
Is knowledge found on the internet or is knowledge found in the depth of a book? This seems to be the question debated by David Weinberger and Nicholas Carr. Nicholas Carr in his book, The Shallows, presents the idea that books are needed to develop a deep understanding of a subject. He suggests that the internet and Google is making us stupid because we no longer take the time to read books and develop that deep understanding that books can provide. The internet only provides the short summary and you do not appreciate the complete work of literature. He is concerned for the current generation of college students because they do not read the complete book.
David Weinberger in a sense disagrees with Nicholas Carr. In his book, Too Big To Know, he agrees there is great value in reading the complete book, but there is so much information on a subject that a book does not always provide complete information. He also sees the value in reading the necessary piece and using the hyperlinks of the internet to add to the knowledge. Not all knowledge of a subject is contained in one particular book and the value of a hyperlink is to add to the knowledge. He also suggests that books cannot be updated with new information and cannot connect the reader with different opinions on the subject of a book. Those items are very much available on the internet. He refers to this type of knowledge as networked knowledge.
Having the ability to connect knowledge is not always the best idea. Frequently in today’s world we have too many groups that connect knowledge from one source to another without the idea of understanding the other side of the debate, but to reinforce only one side. This leads to groups that are adamantly opposed to the views of others. They are not interested in debate to find answers agreeable to everyone. They are only interested in pushing their view as being the one and only right way. Take a look at Congress.
The other issue is who is being connected together. There is no filtering process as discussed by Clay Shirky. It is very easy for anyone to add information to the internet, but not process to suggest that the information is reliable and worthwhile for connections to be made. That process is left to internet user and all too often there is a problem. The alternative to this is limiting use of the internet, but that is contrary to what the internet is all about – an open conservation.
Knowledge has many different forms. Both books and the internet can add to it. Neither should be devalued in the world and each has its own place.
BYOD (Bring your Own Device) at Stevenson May 17, 2012Posted by afoote in : Information Systems, Online Learning, Virtualization , add a comment
In a previous blog, I commented on the use of online courses and last year I discussed the use of Apple iPads at Stevenson. Both of these developments are having an effect on computers in the classroom at Stevenson. With more courses moving online, the physical classrooms are needed less than in the past. With the increased use of iPads, the huge desktops that are in computer classrooms will not be needed. Students will start using iPads to access the Stevenson website and Blackboard site for courses. The virtual environment, vlab, will be used for students to develop applications and other activities that were done in the past on the desktop computers. The blackboard environment for courses is being updated this summer and there is a mobile version of it for students. Blackboard can be accessed by iPad, smart phone or android tablets by the mobile apps.
With students using iPads that they will carry with them to class, computer classes can be scheduled in any room. Computer classes will not be limited to the special rooms with the desktop computers in them. Students will not be limited to only iPads for a course; there are a number of tablet computers that could be used. With the ultra computers that are coming, there will be a wide variety of options. In some cases students could use their smart phones to access the internet. The major problem with that is the very small screen, but it may be an option.
In the future at Stevenson students will bring their own devices (Bring Your Own Device – BYOD) for accessing the computer network. This process has already started at Stevenson, but an issue to be resolved is vlab. Next year the vlab, the virtual computer environment, is being discontinued by VMWare. There are a number of other options that are being explored. One option is for students to create their own virtual environment on their individual computers. Another is to use a cloud alternative that does not reside on the Stevenson Campus. However the resolution of the issue, a virtual environment is necessary for this BYOD environment.
Over the next few years, the classroom computer environment is going to change. Technology is changing education again. It never seems to end and that is a good thing.
Online Courses Fall 2012 April 19, 2012Posted by afoote in : Information Systems, Online Learning , add a comment
Stevenson University is making a major effort to place a large number of its courses online over the next few years. I am going through the process of placing my IS481 Project and Knowledge Management, my IS345 Java Programming and the IS386 E-commerce Solution courses online for the fall. This has caused me to closely examine my courses and determine if changes are needed for the online environment.
For my Java Programming course, I am wondering about web development in this online course. This course is an advanced programming course that involves coding in a GUI environment and developing web applications. I am not comfortable with doing all of the web server development in the online environment. There are some things that may just work better in the classroom and not online. The IS481 Project and Knowledge Management online course is very similar to the classroom course. The main difference is the need to have different formats of file that work better for different Web Browsers. The IS386 course is a new course that I will be developing it from a general description. All of the courses must be completed and ready by August 1. There is quite a bit of work in putting this all together and we are all learning what is involved in the process.
There is only one section of the IS481 and IS386 courses being offered in the fall and they are online. The IS345 course will have two sections, one online and one in the classroom. Although I have not heard of any student complaints about my courses being offered online, there has been some concern about some of the other IS courses being only offered online. This fall semester will be a little different and we will have to see what happens.
Making Change December 26, 2011Posted by afoote in : Knowledge Management , add a comment
Last week, Ron Shapiro and the Shapiro Negotiations Institute presented a seminar on Negotiating with the Power of Nice. The seminar started with the dollar bill game in which two parties were to evenly divide ten one dollar bills. They could not divide the ten dollars five dollars each and they only had 60 seconds to make the deal or the house kept all the money. A deal was made with one party receiving four dollars and the other party receiving six. The deal was made within the 60 seconds and both parties walked away better off then when they started. This is in contrast to the ultimate dollar bill game in which one party should receive 9 dollars and the other 1. Both parties walked away feeling they had made a fair deal.
Was that deal really fair? In the discussion that followed a number of scenarios were presented in which the deal could have been fairer. Fairer in this case is defined as being closer to 50/50 instead of 60/40. One idea was having one party add a dollar to the ten dollar pot and the split being 6 to the party adding the dollar and 5 to the other party. Another idea involved the concept of making change. Change could be made by breaking the dollar into 100 cents. The two parties would break the ten dollars into 6 and 4 dollars and the party receiving 6 dollars would give $.99 to the other party. This makes the split $5.01 and$4.99 which is even closer to 50/50 then the deal that did occur. Frequently the concept of taking information and dividing into smaller units can create a better solution. It is not always two distinct separate options. There are techniques to divide the options into change and discover a better deal.
Managing knowledge within an organization also includes awareness of how to make change. By making change there is an opportunity to be creative and discover new options. It may even be a fairer option. There is a need to understand the opportunities for making change for innovative solutions and not just doing things the ways they have always been done.
Entrepreneurialism and Innovation October 21, 2011Posted by afoote in : Information Systems, Knowledge Management , add a comment
It was extremely sad to hear of the death of Steve Jobs earlier in this month. He was an incredibly creative and brilliant man. He was not always the most considerate individual and I certainly question some of his management of people techniques, but there is no denying the tremendous impact he had on the technology world. In my last blog I was discussing the iPad and the changes it is having on education. He did change the world just as he told John Sculley that Apple would do.
“Do you want to sell sugar water for the rest of your life, or do you want to come with me and change the world.”
Steve Jobs to John Sculley -to convince Sculley to accept the position of President of Apple Computers.
In the entrepreneurial spirit of Steve Jobs, earlier this month I attended the final presentations for the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship program. The program works with high school students for developing new businesses and entrepreneurialism. The presentations were just amazing. Their ideas were brilliant and their passion for what they were doing was very real. A friend of my daughter, Halley Hoverter, won the event for her business, Sweet (Dis)Solve, that uses dissolvable paper for sugar packets at the local coffee shop. She was not the only student with great ideas and to display these ideas they created one minute elevator speech videos. There were a number of creative and innovative ideas.
It was a fascinating event and reaffirmed the concept that entrepreneurialism and innovation are the keys to getting the US and the world out of its economic mess. Attempting to cut taxes and cut spending and cutting government can only do so much. There is a need for innovation and businesses to take advantage of innovative ideas to create jobs and improve the economy. Maybe even change the world.
Tablets and iPads – Stevenson Computing August 29, 2011Posted by afoote in : Virtualization , add a comment
As we are getting ready for the fall semester, one of the interesting items is the number of faculty members that are using tablet computers and in particular the iPad. Of the IS faculty, half of them are using an iPad and a few others are using android tablets. During the faculty/staff meeting, four iPads were given away as door prizes. Tablet computers are changing teaching. The mobility of these computers gives teachers the ability to access the internet from anywhere. Books are now electronically available on tablet computers. Many people are asking if traditional books are going the way of newspapers.
This semester the Office of Information Technology (OIT) has added a web portal to the university website, SU Now. With this portal all of the needed applications for students and faculty are located in one placed. Everything that is needed is available from the internet. Tablet computers give faculty and students access to the internet from anywhere.
With tablet computers and the new portal maybe this is the time to start getting rid of the Windows PC computers on the first floor of the School of Business and replace them with Tablet computers, perhaps even iPads. A more outrageous idea might be to get rid of the computers all together. Students can access the network with whatever device they have – netbook, tablet, cell phone, ipod, and get rid of those expensive PCs are not needed. Maybe all the computers in the School of Business cannot be eliminated, but perhaps one lab or two. The amount of time and money spent on the computers on the first floor is extensive. One of the major tasks of OIT’s Desk Top support department is the computers on the first floor. If the work in that area could be reduced, OIT would have more resources for security and cloud development. Those areas are the current issues in the computer world and should be a focus of Stevenson. Desktop support was a focus ten years ago, but is not the current issue.
A number of significant changes are occurring to the Stevenson computer network. The virtual environment, portal and Blackboard are making everything students need available on the web. Security is being added to make the network safer for web access. Now is the time to update the computer hardware on the first floor of the School of Business.
Group Motivation August 4, 2011Posted by afoote in : Knowledge Management , add a comment
In a previous blog, the topic was motivation. The approach has been focused on autonomy, mastery of the subject and purpose. Providing the individual with the autonomy to master the subject is a central point in this approach. In a recent series of articles, the Harvard Business Review has presented the idea that individuals can also be motivated by collaboration and being part of a group. By having a common purpose for the group, the individuals in the group can be engaged and find a common purpose. This group collaboration can be intrinsically motivating even more than the traditional carrot and stick approach of financial rewards.
Contrary to the belief that individuals will behave in a rational self-interest approach, there is evidence that frequently will behave in the interest of the group. Accordingly to one of the articles in the Harvard Business Review, individuals will behave for the benefit of the group 50% of the time and only with self-interest 30% of the time.
The ultimatum game in economics in which two players interact to divide a sum of money is an example of want happens when the players do not behave in a manner that is not to the benefit of the two players in the group. Depending on the division of the money and the participants consider it unfair, the entire distribution of the money is cancelled. Fairness and concern for both players in the group is more important than self-interest. Being part of the group and fairness to each member can be an intrinsically motivating factor.
By the examples of Linux, Wikipedia and Yelp, groups working together for a common purpose can be of benefit to everyone. It is not only the individual working alone. A common purpose, shared values of fairness and the engagement of all the group members, can be intrinsically motivating and the results can be of valuable for all of us.
Creating Communities July 7, 2011Posted by afoote in : Knowledge Management , add a comment
My family just got back from a trip to Ireland. Yes, it did rain, but we had a wonderful time with a fantastic group of people. We heard a lot of music with guitars, fiddles, banjos, bagpipes and accordions. On a few occasions we did join in and sing. We heard a lot of stories about the suffering that has occurred in Ireland over the past 200 years with the potato famine and the cruelty of the British. Although those stories are very sad, the result was that a large number of Irish people came to the United States and brought their music with them. The Irish influence on American music is very apparent today in bluegrass music and even rock and roll. The Irish influence is not only present in music, but they contributed in a variety of ways including building the railroads, fighting in the military and working in the coal mines. The United States really benefitted from all of the suffering that was occurring in Ireland.
Ireland was not the only country that has encountered suffering. Many European countries experienced tremendously difficult times in the past two hundred years. It was not only Europe, but Africa and Asia had challenges. These difficult times caused many people to immigrate to the United States. The cultures from the different countries gathered in the United States. Communities in the United States became meeting places for these different cultures from around the world. The result of these meeting places in one country has been a very strong economic and cultural nation. With the Internet the gathering of people is not just in one country, the United States, but throughout the entire world. The Internet provides the gathering place for people from all over the world and no one has to endure the suffering and immigrate to another country. The number of people that are connected by the Internet far exceeds the number that could gather in one location. The opportunity is there to connect more cultures and ideas together. The possibilities for music and business are even greater than what has happened with the United States in the last two hundred years.
Dan Pink – Drive May 26, 2011Posted by afoote in : Information Systems, Knowledge Management , add a comment
Daniel Pink, author of Drive, was at Stevenson on May 25, 2011 and gave a presentation on motivation. In the past to motivate employees, the organization gave the employee rewards such as money. From current research this technique for motivating employees has been shown to not always be very effective. There may be a need to find another way to motivate employees.
Mr. Pink presented the concepts of Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose as being used to motivate employees. Employees need autonomy without someone looking over their back to be able to perform at their best. He referred to the idea at Google of giving their employees 20% of their time to work on whatever they want. This technique has caused Google to create a number of new products that were not started by the organization, but by autonomous individuals in the firm. Mastery is the idea that employees will do whatever is needed to get better and better at something that matters. They want to master it. Being successful at one thing is a motivator for going on to the next item. Purpose is the concept that the employee wants to know why they are doing the process they are performing. Employees want to know why they are doing something and if they do not they probably will not be motivated to perform the task. Mr. Pink spoke about management in organizations focusing on compliance for the employees and maybe a better focus would be on engagement. What can the organization do to increase the employee’s engagement with its work? These three factors of autonomy, mastery and purpose can make the change for the organization.
These three concepts may be very appropriate for the classroom also. Students seem to want to be able to work on projects without constant scrutiny from the instructor. They are motivated by successfully completing one task and are ready to move to the next. They seem to have a desire to master the subject. The need to know why is extremely important to students. How frequently have I heard “Why do we need to do this?” when I give an assignment? Maybe these ideas on motivation are not only for the workplace, but also the classroom. Students need to be engaged in their work and not just compliant to the demands of the instructor. With the internet and the changing classroom environment, there may be a way to change the format and include student autonomy, student mastery and purpose in the education process.
End of Spring 2011 May 14, 2011Posted by afoote in : Information Systems, Virtualization , add a comment
This week the spring semester for 2011 has ended and the graduation occurred on Friday, May 13. With the economy picking up, the graduates are having an easier time finding jobs than in past semesters. It seems as if most of our graduates in the information systems programs this semester are finding jobs. It seems that employers are looking for potential employees and they should be able to find some good opportunities with our graduates. There are even a number of our students that are graduating next year that have employers interested in hiring them.
The spring semester did not see the number of changes that had occurred in the fall and a lot of the changes have become very reliable and important parts of our programs. My XML programming course, IS443, was done completely on the virtual environment and there were not any problems. The virtual environment worked without any major issues that held back the course. Having the virtual environment when the school was closed for snow in February was a real blessing. We did not miss anything although the class was cancelled on account of the weather. After this semester, I have tremendous faith in the environment and it is a new way to conduct my IS443 course. My experiences with the virtual environment have been very positive and even more courses will be using this environment for the fall semester.
One of my biggest complaints about our website at Stevenson was resolve this semester. We have a number of applications associated with the Stevenson website – email, blackboard, webexpress, library, virtual environment and help desk applications. All of these applications required a user login and password. The username and password were all the same, but the process of logging into every application was a bit painful. This has been fixed by sucloud (sucloud.stevenson.edu). There is one login and password and the user has access to all of these applications without logging a second (or third or fourth) time. This is fantastic, but my complaint now is that I do not have anything to complain about.
The other part of sucloud that is fantastic is the application now provides web access to files on the Stevenson network servers. This is great because users have access to those files from anywhere they have web access. With this application I am not sure of the advantage of ever logging into the Stevenson network. All applications and files for the network are available through the internet. Unfortunately for students there are even less excuses that are acceptable for not getting assignment completed. Everything on the Stevenson network is available over the web and students should be able to get assignments completed. Bad weather is not even a good excuse.