26 June 2007

Two Things I Should Think about More Intentionally, and Some Related Thoughts

This Thursday and Friday I will participate in a meeting that will address the topic of whether ATS should have an annual (or other regular) conference for Educational Technologists similar to those they have for development officers, CFOs, Deans, Registrars, and possibly some other conferences I don't know about. I feel a bit odd about this because (1) I am not trained as an educational technologist, though sometimes my job calls for such, and (2) despite that last clause, most of my work involves being the helpdesk, the sysadmin, the database administrator, and the network admin. On the other hand, I've spent the last few years looking for a conference where schools the size of AMBS would be out in force, and a conference for educational technologists would likely fit the bill. Mayhaps I can put in a plug for some workshops on how to do educational technology when most of your job activities involve troubleshooting rather than course design. So that's one thing that I've been thinking about only informally.

The other thing: the outgoing Dean told me I should make a presentation to the faculty about open source education. As he used the term, this means something more along the lines of MIT's OpenCourseWare than it does using Open- instead of Microsoft Office. So I've been contemplating the following: What sorts of things constitute "open source" education? Simply making syllabi available? What about lecture notes? Where does intellectual property fit into that? Is there such a thing as IP -- or should there be? Can I work in a computer lesson or two into this? What about some annoying (and ubiquitous) monikers: Web 2.0? Education 2.0?

That thinking led, today, to this line of thinking about technology, specifically as relates to a "the cat's out of the bag" (or, more precisely, "the horse is out of the barn"): What barn did the horse leave? And where did the horse go? Into the meadow? Into another barn? What does that barn look like, and do we want the horse to stay there or leave? If closing the first barn door will do no good where technology is concerned, are we somehow obligated to keep all barn doors open so the horse can go hither and yon at will, or should we maybe consider closing this new barn door? Whatever it is?


John David said...

I'd be happy just to have guest lectures recorded and distributed online. Maybe I'll have to tell the new dean that alumni demand seminary podcasts!

Robert Martz said...

There is a difference between the horse being out of the barn and the cat being out of the bag. A horse can be safe and cared for in a barn, while a cat is trapped and trying to escape the bag. I have no great fondness for cats, but would still try to help one get out of the bag, where if I came across a horse in a barn, I would tend to leave it alone. How this relates to your blog, well If I told you I would be letting the cat out of the bag, eh?

BMG said...

Well, John David, that's part of it.

And, Robert, does "that train has already left the station" treat you any better than the horse not being in the barn or the cat in the bag?