EDUCAUSE Follow-Up: File-Sharing Amendment Dropped

July 25, 2007 § Leave a comment

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Higher Education Reauthorization Act: Update

July 24, 2007 § Leave a comment

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July 20, 2007 § Leave a comment


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Are We Achieving Anything?

July 20, 2007 § Leave a comment

Recently EDUCAUSE released results of their annual “Top Ten IT Issues.” Looking at the 2007 results, it’s interesting to reflect back on the top ten issues from the first survey in 2000. Can you guess which of the following lists is from 2000 and which is from 2007…?

List “A”
1. Funding IT
2. Security
3. Administrative/ERP/Information Systems
4. Identity/Access Management
5. Disaster Recovery/Business Continuity
6. Faculty Development, Support, and Training
7. Infrastructure
8. Strategic Planning
9. Course/Learning Management Systems
10. Governance, Organization, and Leadership for IT

List “B”
1. IT Funding
2. Faculty Development, Support, and Training
3. Distance Education
4. E-Learning Environments
5. Enterprise Administrative Systems
6. IT Staffing and Human Resources
7. IT Strategic Planning
8. Online Student Services
9. Advanced Networking Challenges
10. Support Services Demands

Are any of these issues (on either list) also some of yours?

The number one issue, IT Funding, is still the leading issue seven years later. In fact, it seems that many of the issues that were present in 2000–although labeled differently or actually a subset of issues defined in 2007–persist. What is even more interesting is to look at the advise EDUCAUSE provided in 2000 and that offered most recently, it looks remarkably similar, just like the lists.

What have we been doing for seven years?

By the way list “A” is from 2007.

Sorry Mr. Mossberg: A Little Push-back,

July 15, 2007 § Leave a comment

A few posts back I provided an example highlighting Walter Mossberg’s, assertion that IT Departments can be The Most Poisonous Force in Technology, not only a barrier to end-users’, but a barrier to the organizations they are charged to support. In my example, I mentioned several key requirements defined by, not technologists, but those end-users who actually provided the “business service” of teaching on-line; faculty, instructional designers and academic coordinators.

In that example, a new architecture for a learning management system was recommended based on the unique business processes within the university system and on each campus (module/simple sequencing, Learning Design, centralized hosting and support, cross-campus enrollment, common course catalog, off-line development). The final technical design was based on the end-users’ needs (as described through current business processes), exemplifying Mossberg’s ideal; what could be called user-driven design.

However, just as IT departments have a responsibility to user-driven design, where individuals can explore and implement the technology products best suited to their own needs, end-users (and their organizations) also have responsibilities. One particular responsibility, often ignored or deferred (often, ironically, to the IT Department) is requirements gathering.

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The Impact of Open Source Software (OSS) on Education

July 5, 2007 § Leave a comment

Back in March, Ken Udas, Executive Director of Penn State’s World Campus, began a series entitled The Impact of Open Source Software (OSS) on Education on the Penn State World Campus’ blog, Terra Incognita. The topics of the series while focusing on OSS on Education have evolved to include open educational resources (OER), open courseware (OCW) and governance.

Ken has assembled quite a who’s who of thinkers and practitioners from both the open source software and education communities from around the world. I strongly recommend it.

The Most Poisonous Force in Technology

July 5, 2007 § 11 Comments

Earlier this month an email sent out to the Educause CIO Listserv sparked a brief, but heated, discussion among academic CIO’s from across the country. The post that started it all stated:

Walter S. Mossberg, personal-technology columnist for The Wall Street Journal, spoke Monday to more than 250 college presidents and other administrators attending the Chronicle Presidents Forum. “…he began his speech by calling the information-technology departments of large organizations, including colleges, ‘the most regressive and poisonous force in technology today.'” They make decisions based on keeping technology centralized,” he said. “Although lesser-known software may be better,” he said, “technology departments are likely to use big-name products for their own convenience. That may keep costs down for an organization,” he said. “but it puts consistency above customization, preventing individuals from exploring what technology products are best suited to their own needs.”

Obviously no one liked the comments (including me), and we all (I would assume) liked even less the presumption of responsibility for running such “regressive and poisonous” departments. But after the sting from the slap to my face subsided, I reflected, just how far off was he, if at all? After some thought, I realized, a few months ago, before stepping into the role of a CIO, I might have been Mr. Mossberg’s strongest supporter… « Read the rest of this entry »

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