Research Publications Newsletters Above the Fold Above the Fold - 2 July 2015


This is the Future of College • 18 May 2015

What does the unbundled college experience look like? Jessica Hullinger reports that within the next 10 to 15 years, the college experience will become rapidly unbundled. Lecture halls will disappear, the role of the professor will transform, and technology will help make a college education much more attainable than it is today, and much more valuable.

Those of us at elite institutions (public or private, tech or liberal arts) may wave off the predictions in this article but a lot of it rings true. For those at mid-tier institutions the re-invention along the lines suggested here—shortened campus residencies, disappearing lectures, hands-on interactions and practicums, and a calculated responsiveness to the businesses and employment needs—seems likely to happen within the 10-15 year timeline. Randall Bass, vice provost for education and professor of English at Georgetown University says "Some places won't make it, a lot of smaller places will merge or disappear because the value proposition won't be there." Is he wrong? (Michalko)



Our Schools All Have a Tragic Flaw; Silicon Valley Thinks It Has the Answer

Pacific Standard • 5 May 2015

Can this Silicon Valley approach fix primary education? This article describes in detail a company called AltSchool, founded in 2013 by a former Google executive named Max Ventilla. The company has a big nest egg courtesy of well-known venture firms and a willing audience made up of Silicon Valley parents initially motivated to beat the San Francisco public school lottery system (you may or may not go to school in your neighborhood depending on a lottery). They intend to build a network of micro-schools that offer personalized, child-centered learning experiences. Bring to bear all the other tech trends—constant individual monitoring, immediate feedback, big data collection, real-time analysis—on the primary education process.

Boom. Here you have it. The quantified kindergartner. This might actually be a good picture of how childhood education should be delivered. But can these practices go beyond the elite that can pay $26K and more per year? Will what is learned have any chance of trickling down? And how hard should we be listening to what a five year old has to say? It's not even clear to me how much we should be listening to the 19 year-old students in our universities. See for instance this modest rant "College students are not customers: A political shorthand that needs to die." (Michalko)



Managing Performance When It's Hard to Measure • 11 May 2015

What if my output is a relationship? Jim Whitehurst, the president and CEO of Red Hat, the world's leading provider of open source enterprise IT products, talks about how to do performance management where measuring someone's "output" is about how they managed a team or influenced others or helped people collaborate better. He specifically discusses the challenge of managing someone whose "output" might be a contribution to an external community.

It's true that the library is a service organization within its parent institution and consequently a lot of the traditional modes of performance review and management apply. It is also the case that libraries increasingly have to overtly manage complex cooperative external relationships that are much more like the open source community of volunteers reference here. My colleagues Lorcan Dempsey and Constance Malpas have both talked about the importance of managing these relations referring to libraries' "simultaneous participation in cooperative efforts operating at multiple scales." See for instance this presentation by Constance. (Michalko)



Praise vs. Criticism—Which Is More Effective? • 15 May 2015

Noa Kageyama answers the question by going back to a study of legendary basketball coach and educator John Wooden's coaching behaviors.

I usually avoid the business-workplace-sports analogies. They are usually tortured and reinforce the heroic executive trope which is desperately beyond its expiration date. But this is pretty darn sensible. And actually rooted in an observational study Tharp, R. G. and Gallimore, R. (1976). Basketballs John Wooden: What a coach can teach a teacher. Psychology Today, 9 (8), 74-78. (A 2004 update is here.) (Michalko)



Visualize, Quantify, Rotate

A Stunning New Journal By One Of The World's Top Data Viz Studios
Co.Design | business + design • 19 May 2015

The Quantified Baby
The Awl • 20 May 2015

The Brief History of the Ferris Wheel
Smithsonian • June 2015

The first because you probably won't get one of the 500 copies so look at these pictures (and then look at their portfolio—wow).

The second to understand what happens when you combine a fitbit tendency with modern parenting.

The third because it's summer and thoughts turn to carnivals, vertigo and queasiness. Read The Devil in the White City on the beach for the Wheel's fictionalized history. (Michalko)



Above the Fold Quiz

According to an item in this week's News and Views section, what is an important organizing principle for the future stewardship of the scholarly record?

Get the answer.