Category Archives: higher education

What to make of these questions about teaching?

A survey (HERI) that Bucknell asked me to take included the following question: during the past year have I ever in class…

I can’t imagine a class at a liberal arts class that is not frequently in about all of these?  The fact that the question is asked is odd to me.  Am I that odd?  Are most faculty only lecturing and never asking students to write or do group projects or support arguments?  Who would say not at all to more than a few of these?

 

Frequently Occasionally Not at All
Ask questions in class
Support their opinions with a logical argument
Seek solutions to problems and explain them to others
Revise their papers to improve their writing
Evaluate the quality or reliability of information they receive
Take risks for potential gains
Seek alternative solutions to a problem
Look up scientific research articles and resources
Explore topics on their own, even though it was not required for a class
Accept mistakes as part of the learning process
Seek feedback on their academic work
Work with other students on group projects
Integrate skills and knowledge from different sources and experiences
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A perfect moment under the cherry blossoms

Just wanted to reflect on a lovely meeting I had with my presidential fellow, a student who is paid to work on extra projects with a faculty member.  Carolina and I are working on something we are calling these days emPOWer: this is a working title for an emerging project to document, support, foment, and study social innovation and entrepreneurship in, around, and through Bucknell.

I’ll blog more on that later.  But this morning, we sat under the cherry blossoms on a glorious Spring day and had the easy exchange of people with roles, with goals, and with common passions.  My mind was alive with ideas and actions to see those come to fruition.  The verve, blessed by a suspended snowfall of pink petals, underscored this is one of the best jobs ever.

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Filed under higher education, Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship [SiSe]

Ideas for Questions and Themes for Arianna Huffington

Today, as part of the tech/no Forum series at Bucknell, we are hosting Arianna Huffington.  I had imagine I would do some deep research on her background, her role as founder of HuffingtonPost, her role as CEO of the merged AOL-Huffington company  her ideas on the relationship between media, democracy, and profit, the death (?) of the newspaper, and so on.

Well, that didn’t happen.

Instead, I’ll have to generate some from what I have in my head (as opposed to research-based).

If you are coming to the afternoon session, feel free to read these, use these, modify these, and so on.

Business and Technology

* Is the content-for-eyeballs formula of the Internet dying?  Are advertisers not willing to pay?

* Are we at the end of an innovation burst as the Internet and mobile platforms are merging?  Is the heady period of “social media” and its rapid expansion done?

* Who are HP’s or AOL’s competitors?

Media and Profit

* Is it the responsibility of the media company to provide what “customers” want or what they need?  Does a media/news company create its own demand and then project that onto the audience.  “See, they want _____________ (tits, blood, murders, horse-race politics)?” Continue reading

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Filed under Business, economics, Future of Technology, higher education, Information and Communication Technology, innovation, Media, Network Society, Politics, Power, Activism, Social Networks, sociology, technology, Technology history

The Schedule Rules- Schedule Reform Ideas for Higher Education (Bucknell)

I have a conflict.  I can’t go.  I have a meeting.  I have to be with my kids.

Read on to take the poll!

These are the various reason why students, staff, and others can not come to various worthy events at Bucknell.  For example, Tuesday nights are the one day without classes at night (lol except Friday, Saturday, and Sunday).  So the Bucknell Forum, as well as others, use Tuesday as the ideal night for these events.  Guess what?  It is also when students schedule their various clubs and organizations including the powerful Greek orgs.

At the same time, I have ahd students avoid 4-5 or 02-5 commitments because of sports practices or games/events.

Meanwhile, no one likes 8 a.m. classes.

And, most weeks there are 2-3 events which I would like to participate in but can’t because they are in the 7-9 at night window when I am with my family.

The schedule rules.  It is not sexy.  It is not “cool” like smart boards in classrooms, service-learning, or student-led expeditions to tag pythons for an ecology class.  However, I suggest that in terms of making life better AND using current resources better (as in more attendance at more events), the schedule is the most over-looked and also most urgent area of reform.

I have imagined various STRUCTURAL changes to the schedule which might help lessen some of these inherent conflicts.   Continue reading

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Filed under higher education, liberal arts, Org Design, Uncategorized

How to use laptops in a classroom…

Some ideas I am including in my syllabus for today about how to manage technology:

Digital Copies and Classroom participation.  The reality is we live in a mixed technology environment of digital formats for materials and concrete classrooms of boards, overheads, and each other.  I am figuring out how to balance the two.  These policies are a work in progress.

1)      Expect you to be ready to discus and share the materials.  You will have to figure out what this means for you.

2)      You may bring a laptop.  I reserve the right to ask you to put it away for certain activities.  I reserve the right to call you out for letting it distract you in class.

3)      I expect you to be good citizens of the information world.  Pay for protected copyright.  Respect other content’s creators by citing them, ALWAYS.  Any image, presentations, link or whatever should be somehow noted or cited depending on the context of the usage.  SO, on a power point lisde, pu a little note at the bottom.  On a blog post, hyperlink.  On a paper use normal citations, and so on.

 

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Stoves and Service

Two bits of Bucknell News intersect with some of my interests.

First, the “Service” movement for lack of a better term continues with BU showing up at an interfaith call to service the white house.  I like how food is being incorporated thematically.  We live in an agricultural area.  Plus, wasting less is just good old fashioned American thriftiness.

In contrast, students in a spring 2011 waste audit found that about 850 pounds of food per day were being discarded in Bucknell’s main dining venue, Bostwick Marketplace. Bucknell Dining has addressed the waste issue in part through a composting program and the removal of trays, but, Fujita said, there are more opportunities to help students learn about consumption and waste.

I am not sure how no trays cuts down on waste.  People take less?

I wish there were some legal/organizational way to share unused food.  People usually say they can’t give it away due to safety regulations.  Well, then, is it possible to shield more food from being un-givable?  DO we need to shift attitudes about abundant food spreads?  Or, is it possible to have a way for recipients to agree to take on the risk of food problems in exchange for access to mostly fine food?  A way to have a middleman broker of unused food?
Second, in the general theme of experiential education that links service and this story,  we have BU students working with a local manufacturer to see a super-light-weight stove come to market.  What if this was the norm instead of the exception for our students? I don’t mean they all design objects, but that they all do a project with real world potential value before they graduate.  What would that look like?  Would it produce a generation of hackers, entrepreneurs, and “makers.”

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Filed under Hacker ethic, higher education

Finding Journals

For awhile, I have been trying to assemble a list of journal outlets for myself.

If we think back to what journals we follow, I think many might have a similar story to mine.  I recall as an undergrad and in grad school in sociology and management, I would hold in high esteem what professors gave me.  I quickly learned to “read backwards”: to take a new article and glance at the citations (or to look at the intro and lit review) and start taking mental notes of which articles and authors seemed most central.  From this, I had a preliminary list of journals that seemed important.

And those handful of journals I tended to follow more carefully since I already had a toehold in their conversations and streams of discourse.

Meanwhile, keyword searches in article databases exposed me to reading lots of abstracts.  Quickly, I started making snap decisions about journals worth paying attention to and which not.

Since then (1990s), I have the feeling that the number and volume of published material has increased.  Overwhelmed is an understatement.  This is compounded by my own multi-disciplinary interests in networks, social theory, and organization theory.

Finally, I have realized that some of my own writing, if it is ever to see the light of published day, due to approaches or ideas that are out of the mainstream, will need to find journals that will take risks, are in the interstices of academic fields, that consort with subaltern, or embrace eclecticism.

How does one find new journals?  That is the immediate problem.  This morning I tackled this as I wondered who might look at approaches to innovation that are more unconventional.  This often means abandoning the fool’s errand of a quest for the holy grail of The One True Formula for Success™.  I was kind of hoping that maybe I would find the Amazon equivalent of list mania.  You know, you find some new book and you see that other users have made this lovley lists like “Best mashups of Harry Potter and Literary Theory” or “Teen Vampire Stories that Don’t Suck” or “How to make social media work for you.”  I guess I wanted “Journals that Think You, _____________ (insert name), Are Brillant.”

The good orgheads at orgtheory.net tried to make a crowd source list, but it seems to have run aground.

Loet Leysdorf does lots of work of co-citation data to make centrality measures of journals, like this one.

A colleague once gave me  this list that is pretty comprehensive: the Harzing list. I like it since it includes several different quality metrics.

There are lots of outfits that provide various lists and analyses of journals.

But I am looking for a little more editorial content.  Shorter lists that are more targeted and not hide-bound to overly rigid disciplinary boundaries.  More opinion.  More oomph.

Why don’t they seem to exist?  I say this based on two dangerously self-referential observations. 1) I don’t already know about them. 2) 20 minutes of basic web searching failed to turn anything up.  Sociology of Knowledge by the inmates is probably a bad idea, but I can’t help myself.  Maybe they don’t exist because opinion and oomph are not rational career strategies?

For example:

Where can I submit theory articles?

Where can I submit articles on innovation that are interested in inter-disciplinarity?

Mixed method articles?

I’ll start making my own here.

Meanwhile, feel free to post ideas or suggestions below.  Thanks.

 

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Filed under higher education, Research, social theory, sociology

What I Don’t Like About Theory Writing I

Inspired in part by the idea of an on-going series at org theory.net, (grad skol rulz), and my own desire to blog more frequently, I would like to launch a semi-recurring series of what I don’t like in theory writing.

I am reviewing conference submissions for a conference, and I have come across an example of the kind of figure or image I don’t like.

The Curse of the Everything-Is-Connected Figure.

This type of figure is usually used in a conceptual article.  And, to make matters worse, it is usually in the kind of article I am quite sympathetic to.  The author wants to get past static or overly-reified depictions of organizations.  They talk about the need for multi-level analyses which means looking at process, and, more often than not, mixed types of data.  They probably cite Gareth Morgan’s Image sof organizaions of book, or Mar Jo Hatch’s Organization Theory or Joel Baum (and others?) use of the metaphor of a fish scale to discuss org studies as a multiscience.

But, when you look at the figure, you realize that it explains everything and hence nothing.

Full disclosure: I am probably guilty of this kind of figure and when I find one, I will poke fun at myself too.  Here is mock-up I made of the type of figure.

Mock-up of the Everything-Is-Connected Figure. Are You Guilty of Producing One?

One problem with these is that they don’t specify what is moving between cells/circles/whatever-other-shape-tickled-one’s-fancy-in-insert-shape-in-MS word..

A second problem is they don’t deal with time.  Does sequencing matter?  How do changes agglutinate or accumulate?

So, throwing caution to the wind, have you seen one of these in published work?  Do they drive you a little nuts too?

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Filed under higher education, humor, organization studies, organization theory, Orgs Stuff (theory, science, studies), Research, social theory, sociology, Uncategorized, visualization

What Is “Interesting”? What is the Half-Life of New Ideas?

I have been recently revising for submission an article about the filed of virtual worlds and why is was very turbulent from 2007-2009, (working title is “Code Rules” and this is a paper I presented at EGOS 2010 with my collaborator, F. Ted Tschang from Singapore Management University).

We have realized that the “interesting” contribution we can make is to discuss the emergence and change in the field.  Now, honestly, this insight came from looking at the data and the influence of the classic 1991 New Institutionalism book edited by DiMaggio and Powell, a chapter by Thornton and Ocasio from the Sage 2008 Handbook on Institutionalism, and the 2005 special forum in Organization Science on the future of Organization Science, especially Davis and Marquis article calling for a turn to studying fields and mechanisms as especially apt for reinvigorating a study of contemporary capitalism.    I am not doing full citations since this is really the level of familiarity for me of these pieces.  These are pieces of scholarship that I know backwards and forwards, have annotated, have re-read, and have grasped lovingly as I stoop over a desk peering deeply for the meaning behind meaning of words.  Old school scholarship.

I suspect, without having ever discussed it much with other scholars, that we have similar habits.

In fact, I feel a little confessional about this whole post.  Am I pulling back the curtain?  Am I exposing my inner workings too much?

Setting aside my trepidation, the story continues…

I know that these pieces of scholarship are not self contained and are like crests on waves or currents of thought, discourse, and scholarship.

And in the process of drafting our ideas, I stopped looking for scholarship.  I had found in the past that trying to read everything on a topic was a crutch.  Hence, I had stopped.

So, as I started to revise and look for more citations to improve the framing, it was with a mix of surprise and annoyance I found a whole special issue from 2002 in Academy of Management Journal on this very topic.

So, now I wonder if our argument is not nearly as “interesting” as I thought it was.  What is the half-life of an academic trend?  How long can institutional theorists say “up to now we have looked at stable fields but now we need to look at field dynamics and emergence” as if this is a new idea?

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Filed under higher education, organization studies, organization theory, social theory, sociology

Solution to QDA Needs, Alpha

As I posted here, I was looking for a way to do some basic Qualitative Data Analysis with a colleague who is not co-located (very not!  Ted is in Singapore.)

Thanks to Debra Sarlin, of Bucknell, and this ethnographer’s blog, I isolated some possibilities.

Part of my search led me to Nvivo, an off the shelf product that looks like it has some great properties.  Bucknell has a license, but not the server version.  Without the server version, I am back in square one of needing a way to share data, protect data, and dynamically code data.  Hence, for now, I am proceeding with my Alpha solution.  In a nutshell, this has two parts.

  1. Use Google sites as a private site to create files of our own data like transcripts, chat logs, field notes.
  2. Use Zotero to cite and share third party data like blogs, news articles and so on.

The key to this is that Ted and I develop our  list of tags to identify relevant themes and then find those data points later.  Standard QDA methodology and our own experience tells us that this is an iterative, dynamic process.  There is no one best solution for the tagging piece.  I think our best bet is to keep a “master file” of tags in google sites.  We can each print it up and also access anytime we are on line to jar our memory and cue ourselves as to what is significant or salient in raw data.

Ted and I had a trial run last week and I think we both realized quickly that ideally we could have some sort of a floating box on top of all applications that would allow us to tag almost anything, and tag within documents or files.  This would be linked to the more powerful kinds of QDA tools.  Well, like a platonic ideal, that floats out there as something we are aiming towards in our little jerry-rigged solution.

Our solution has some side benefits

  • Google sites can also be used as a wiki-like creation to share our concepts or coordinate other research.
  • I _think_ if we ever want to turn on part of google sites as a public portal/URL we can.
  • We can use Zotero to share scholarly citations also.

I made the following graphic as a flow chart for this alpha solution.

Comments welcome, of course…

How to use a hybrid of google sites and Zotero to do collabroative QDA

I am not sure if this is legible…

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