Posts by Jeff Young
February 12, 2009, 12:41 PM ET
The business model for campus music services isn’t working. That seems to be the implication of the demise of Ruckus Network, which ceased operations on Friday. An article in today’s Chronicle explores why the company failed, and how colleges and recording companies are now considering radically new models to offer music to students.
Colleges are under pressure from the recording industry and lawmakers to discourage students from illegally downloading music online. But some experts now argue that the marketplace has rejected the kinds of services offered so far. What can, or should, colleges do to encourage legal music consumption online?Read More
February 11, 2009, 04:03 PM ET
In higher education, your rank-and-file IT staff members often feel like second-class citizens. In the latest edition of Tech Therapy, Scott Carlson and Warren Arbogast discuss how folks in IT can find their voice and a leadership role at their colleges.
“We find that communication tends to be a real barrier when people are trying to get work done on projects,” Mr. Carlson says. “The irony here is that we’re talking about the college environment — it’s supposed to be collaborative and collegial. But is it?”
“I think that a lot of people like to say that they have collaborative environments,” says Mr. Arbogast. “But the reality is that the vast majority of people are doing things that are counterproductive.”
In higher education, leadership roles aren’t well defined, which leads to problems. Another issue is that...Read More
February 11, 2009, 02:15 PM ET
A homemade iPhone application at the Georgia Institute of Technology has gained a following — and won its student creators some fans.
The application, called GT Login, is essentially a cellphone-friendly interface to several existing Web-based campus services. With a few taps, users can read their campus e-mail, see which laundry machines are available, or check when the next shuttle bus will arrive using their iPhone or iPod Touch. The application is free, but it requires a Georgia Tech account to access the services.
Adrian Smith, a senior at the university majoring in computer engineering, made the application for fun — because he wanted to learn how to program applications for the iPhone. He has now teamed up with some fellow students to form a company to build other iPhone applications, and he says he spends between two and 10...Read More
February 9, 2009, 09:21 AM ET
The Walt Disney Company announced late last week that it has endowed the creation of two graduate fellowships at Carnegie Mellon University in honor of Randy Pausch, the late computer-science professor who delivered an inspiring “last lecture” at the university about making dreams come true.
Mr. Pausch died of pancreatic cancer last summer, but in his final year he became a media sensation after his final lecture at the university became a hit on YouTube (and was later turned into a best-selling book). The professor had worked for Disney’s Imagineer group during a sabbatical in 1995 and continued as a consultant for the company after that.
One of the three-year Disney Memorial Pausch Fellowships will go to a computer-science student and the other to a student in the fine arts. Mr. Pausch was known for uniting science and...Read More
February 9, 2009, 08:26 AM ET
After the elections in November, I wrote to a small group of colleagues suggesting that those of us interested in education and high-speed computer networking had a once-in-a-generation opportunity to shape a national broadband platform for education and global competitiveness.
The country’s high-speed networking architecture needs an overhaul. Once upon a time America was the global leader in digital networking — and in using those fast data pipes to drive economic growth. Today we have fallen behind, but the right stimulus to our networks could put us back on top technologically.
I have proposed that we model America’s broadband future on the way colleges and universities manage their networks. At colleges we are truly fortunate to have a technology architecture and business model completely unlike that of corporate providers of high-speed Internet services. We could extend the...Read More
February 6, 2009, 09:52 AM ET
I’ve enjoyed much of the e-mail exchange and blog feedback about “The Wiki Way and University Leadership.” While next week I want to focus on the connections between the digital campus and the broadband nation, I thought I would first offer some additional thoughts on leadership.
From my vantage point, the distributed nature of the Net — and the emergence of bottom-up collaboration tools online — has helped advance leadership that aligns and leverages the Internet and its bottom-up ethos. The Net does not respect borders, hierarchies, command-and-control organizational structures, or traditional forms of power (including the power of centralized knowledge). Strong leadership, even charismatic leadership, looks and works differently in the wiki era. Barack Obama’s leadership...Read More
February 5, 2009, 03:34 PM ET
Google today unveiled what could be the largest collection of digital books formatted for cellphones. The company took 1.5 million of the books it has scanned through its partnership with several major college libraries and prepped them for the small screen of iPhones or phones using Google’s Android operating system.
The collection only includes books that are in the public domain, so it highlights classics like Emma and This Side of Paradise.
Developers spent about a year working on the cellphone format, said Frances Haugen, a product manager for Google, in an interview today. One key innovation: When users click on any paragraph of the text, they call up a picture of that paragraph from the original scan of the library book. That’s important for times when Google’s software goofed in turning the picture of the text into a digital file. (Such imperfections are common in any ...Read More
February 4, 2009, 09:07 AM ET
Universities are inherently conservative organizations. Perhaps Clark Kerr said it best when, after witnessing 20 years of social upheaval, he described universities’ deeply-rooted tendency toward stasis. In The Uses of the University, written in 1982 when he was chancellor of the University of California at Berkeley, he wrote:
“About 85 institutions in the Western world established by 1500 still exist in recognizable forms, with similar functions and unbroken histories, including the Catholic church, the Parliaments of the Isle of Man, of Iceland, and of Great Britain, several Swiss cantons, and 70 universities. Kings that rule, feudal lords with vassals, and guilds with monopolies are all gone. These seventy universities, however, are still in the same locations with some of the same buildings, with professors and students doing much the same things, and with governance...Read More
February 3, 2009, 12:25 PM ET
February 3, 2009, 09:32 AM ET
Today a well-known entrepreneur, leaders from NASA, and a futurist known for his claims that machines will soon outsmart humans announced the creation of an unusual academic institution called the Singularity University.
The university’s goal is to encourage the cross-fertilization of ideas across a range of high-tech disciplines in which major breakthroughs are expected in the next decade. The hope is that such communication will speed the use of technology to cure diseases and solve other major problems, while helping to understand emerging technologies to better avoid potential downsides of radical new technologies. Classes will take place at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley, starting with a nine-week program this summer.
The university’s founder and leader is Peter Diamandis, chief executive of the X-Prize Foundation, which...Read More