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Why MOOCs are like Farmville, Part II
On January 18th, I laid out my concerns with Massively Open Online Courses (MOOCs), understanding their rapid ascent within the confines of Gartner’s Hype Cycle. In doing so, my purpose was to suggest that the true innovations posed by MOOCs will be much different than what is commonly presumed.
Three Vexing Problems and their Common Origin
Walk around any institution of higher education, even those well known for effective delivery and use of information technology, and you will find the following to some degree or another.
The 'Sage on the Stage' and the End of the Classroom Lecture
I remain a traditionalist, a traditionalist in the sense that I believe the most important relationship on any college campus – the one with greatest potential to impact students in a positive way – is the relationship between students and faculty. I also believe that, at its core, this relationship has to be about the processes of discovery and innovation. There is nothing more impactful on students than faculty who conduct research in the lab, in the field, or in the library, and who then bring their innovations into the classroom each day.
Why MOOCs are like Farmville
Another day, another report from one of the thought leaders on higher education. This time it is from Moody’s, which proclaims the death of the traditional model of higher education. While the concerns raised by Moody’s are real – diminished resources due to state budget cuts, declining family incomes, and less willingness by students to take on debt – we should hesitate before leaping to the conclusion that these challenges necessitate a radical change, through massive adoption of online learning technologies such as MOOCs. Count me among the skeptical – I’m not yet convinced that MOOCs are going to lead students to jettison a traditional higher education experience anytime soon.
My Report Card for 2012
A year ago, I set out my resolutions for 2012. Here’s my report card.
What I said I would do: Write more. Use both blogging and twitter as a part of my overall leadership and communication strategy for the IT organization I lead at the University of Georgia.
What actually happened: My performance was inconsistent; sometimes I would write a new blog each week and tweet daily, but in some months – not much happened at all. Earlier in the year, I was asked to start contributing my blog The Accidental CIO as a part of EDUCAUSE Review Online, which is a great platform and opportunity to spread some of my ideas. Over the next year, there is an opportunity to contribute more. My grade: C+
Why I’m Looking Forward to EDUCAUSE Next Week
Next week is the annual EDUCAUSE conference, with this year’s event returning to the Colorado Convention Center in downtown Denver. Attending the annual EDUCAUSE event remains one of the highlights of my fall semester. Here are some of the things I am looking forward to next week.
A Vicious Cycle
This past week has seen considerable discussion on the EDUCAUSE CIO listserv regarding a recent CIO piece by Bryson Payne, who is soon stepping down as CIO at North Georgia College and State University and returning to its faculty. In this piece, Bryson asks a powerful question we don’t often think about – what will your institution’s next CIO focus on first and why aren’t you working on those issues yourself? He suggests three general areas:
Telling your Organization's Story
One of the most important responsibilities of a Chief Information Officer is to communicate the story of their organization, it's work, what drives its strategy, and most importantly - how it is succeeding. Over the past ten years I have found that a simple status and activity report, written for senior executives, can be an important and effective tool for doing just that. On a monthly basis, I compile this report and distribute it to the president, vice presidents, deans, and other campus leaders. Starting this August, this practice begins at the University of Georgia.
Here is a link to this month's report for Enterprise Information Technology Services (EITS) at the University of Georgia.
What ConnectUGA is About
One of the more memorable experiences from earlier in my career was sitting with the Director of Human Resources at Texas A&M and hearing her recount a frustrating experience she had had with the IT director managing the University’s payroll system. She and I were talking about a project to better manage the University’s classification and employment records and she was telling me about her need for authoritative data about employees. What she got from the payroll system wasn’t quite what she wanted and certainly was less helpful than expected. When Susan asked the IT director about what some of the data meant he responded by saying “what do you want the data to mean?” And that was one of my first real lessons on why authoritative data is really, really, important.
Clarity, Honesty, and Steadfastness
Don’t expect a lot of consistency if you ask CIOs whom they should report to.
Is reporting to the President (or Chancellor / CEO) necessary to be effective as CIO? Some CIOs I know aspire to report to a President because of the perceived credibility and political heft that comes from reporting to the top. Others I know say that it only needs to be one of the three primary C-level executives (President, Provost, or CBO/CFO/COO) but not necessarily the President. The latter view is one that I tend to agree with. Reporting to one of the three chief executives helps to ensure that the CIO is positioned to weave IT strategy and facilitate IT operations effectively throughout the entire organization, consistent with the organization’s unique culture and the CIOs established credibility (which is probably the biggest long-term driver of CIO effectiveness).