I was going to post this to your Facebook wall as I am a fan, but the character limits of that environment forced me to do it in my own space. I am hopeful you will see my letter in the spirit it is offered — as a concerned and compassionate plea for action.
First, I want to thank and commend you for opening the online edition of the Press Enterprise in the days after the flood. It was incredibly important to so many people coast to coast. We all have friends and family who have been impacted by this disaster in so many ways.
With that said, I want to understand your decision to close access to the online edition during the days following the disaster that is unfolding in our communities. I believe you should be providing free and open access to your online edition for as long as it takes for people outside the area to know what is happening — there is an obvious lack of national attention to this tragedy. I would also urge you to maintain open access to the archives of the digital issues so other news agencies can cite and point to your reporting. Maintaining an open and searchable archive of the paper in an accessible format will be critical for other news agencies, scholars, and historians in the near to long term.
I have been gathering and posting photos online at Flickr to share with people who want to be connected to Bloomsburg and the surrounding areas. For the last two days alone, I have had over 65,000 views of these photos. I’ve never had more than a 100 views in any given day — ever. My photos are open, licensed as Creative Commons, and will continue to be available as a set on Flickr.
I have talked to friends in other parts of the country who haven’t heard about what has happened and are completely unaware. Who else is going to report this other than our local news? The national news has ignored this event. The Press Enterprise represents our local news and because of that you represent our communities. Please do the right thing and open access to the paper for others to see what has happened and what continues to go on. I seriously doubt it will limit your paid subscriptions in the long haul and sincerely hope your decision can transcend financial issues.
I say this as a Bloomsburg native and as a friend to the Press. Please let me know if I can help or if you’d like to talk about a strategy over the short term. We want you to know that we will support you going forward. Please do the right thing.
I sincerely appreciate your consideration in this matter. Please know that I am posting this widely in hopes that you will consider the imperative.
For 2011 and 2012 I have been asked to act as Faculty in the EDUCAUSE Institute Learning Technology Leadership Program. From the website, “this program is designed to broaden perspectives and develop leadership abilities, enabling participants to assume leadership roles in applying learning technology to improve teaching and learning within their institutions. Designed as a leadership immersion experience, the program is intense, with participants engaged in active learning experiences throughout the day and into the evening.”
Working with my colleagues to design a killer program has been demanding and has already helped me personally grow. I am looking forward to spending the week with such a talented and inspiring group of faculty as well as with the packed house of those attending.
Last Saturday I attended the 2011 Teaching and Learning with Technology Symposium here at Penn State. This event is my responsibility, so I will try to give an unbiased reflection on the day itself — if that is possible. My first Symposium that I attended was in 1998 and it was very different than what has been going on the last few years. We have really upped the expectations of the event on lots of levels — we now attract around 450 attendees, work to recruit the best keynote speakers available, and receive well over a 100 proposals. All of those things are really big changes. I am really proud of the people who work like mad (without “event planning” in their job descriptions) to make this thing happen at this scale every year.
For the last five years we have increased the use of technology in and around the event to try and build more buzz and excitement. Several years ago our hash tag (this year it was #tltsym11) was a twitter trending topic and the use of blogs and iPod Touches (for video capture) has steadily increased as ways to capture and share the event. In the last couple of years I have sensed a huge level of engagement from the staff and a small number of faculty, but this year it was pure energy from the word go across the board. I’m not sure if the community has caught up with the early adopters or if there was something different in the air. Our faculty presentations were without a doubt the best we’ve ever had. Several TLT Faculty Fellows presented their work and their rooms were over flowing. They were like visiting rock stars … so cool to see that kind of energy and change happening on my campus. I can only imagine what our new class of Fellows will bring to next year’s event.
One thing I’ll note is that it seems like the strategy of aligning keynote speakers to annual themes is paying off … the Symposium is now a celebration of the hard work faculty have done through the previous year and a call to arms for the year in advance. I have written about the notion of keynote alignment before, but it seemed evident that Wesch’s keynote last year made an impact on the kinds of talks our faculty gave this year. I am hopeful that our keynote’s talk this year is just as impactful. I will say that Clay Shirky was fantastic and he made several points that are still resonating in my head. His keyntoe is embedded below and well worth the hour. The other thing I think I should mention is that Clay came in early the day before and spent the Friday afternoon with myself and a group of faculty for a two hour conversation … it was an amazing opportunity to engage him in ways that one can’t at a more formal event. If you have the chance to sit down and have a conversation with him, take it! I can’t say enough about his willingness to participate and how gracious he was with his time. I think it made his keynote that much more meaningful to me.
I won’t go into details relative to the sessions I attended, but I will share two more thoughts related to the energy of the day. I have never (and I mean never) seen more people stay from 8 AM until the last bell at our event. The break areas were packed, the sessions were packed, even the halls were packed. The closing session was a panel I moderated on student and faculty expectations of educational technology. What I learned is worth a blog post all by itself, but it was so much fun to get to talk directly to students and compare their reactions to what we do with what we actually think we do. I loved it … It was a great day to be a member of the PSU’s teaching and learning community.
I am looking forward to making a return trip to the University of Missouri to provide the keynote talk for their annual “Celebration of Teaching Excellence” event. I haven’t been to Columbia since I did the closing plenary for the first Apple Digital Campus Faculty Academy in April of 2005. It will be an opportunity to connect with old friends and get a look at how another University celebrates teaching and learning with technology.
I am preparing my closing plenary for the upcoming Educause Mid-Atlantic conference to be held in Baltimore, MD and thought I’d share something I’ve been diving into related to the Blogs at Penn State. My colleague, Brad Kozlek oversees much of what happens with that service and one of the things I ask him to do is to maintain data on the use of the service. He updated our shared google spreadsheet for me today so I could share some of it all at the event later this week.
There are a couple of things I am noticing and am very proud of … one is that the service is really being used and it is being used in so many novel and interesting ways. I’ll try to share some of those during my talk. The other thing we are discovering is that over time it appears that people are becoming more active users … that means they don’t just make a blog and bail. That has important implications — more on that in a future post and at a talk Bart Pursel and I will give at ELI — and those implications include rising GPAs for those who are sticking with writing. Amazing stuff. For now I just thought I’d share the numbers …
My favorite Twitter conversation in days was a result of sharing this …
I was recently invited to be part of a panel discussion focusing on the role of social media in medical education and clinical practice at the Penn State College of Medicine. It is an interesting topic given the realities of HIPAA and all the issues surrounding medicine. It will be an honor to visit with colleagues from the Hershey Medical center for the Social Media Symposium. I have a feeling I'll learn more as a panelist than I will have to offer.
I have been invited to be one of the keynote speakers at next year's eLearn 2011 conference in St. Pete Beach, FL. It is a real honor to be a part of a program that also has Alan Levine and David Wiley. This will be an excellent opportunity to think about how my message plays more deeply within the larger world of eLearning design and teaching.
My friend and colleague, Bart Pursel and I will be sharing what we hope will be a growing body of insights and research related to data analyzed from some of Penn State’s web 2.0 platforms. Our session at ELI is titled, “Exposing Emerging Pedagogies: Can Web 2.0 Tools Influence Teaching and Learning?” We will share stories related to how the Penn State Wikipsaces and the Blogs at Penn State are being used in educational settings through the lens of discoveries from the PSU Data Warehouse.