Extended Perspective

Yesterday I spent time at the Mont Alto campus of Penn State working with faculty to help share the story of teaching and learning with technology. I was strangely intimidated as I sat in the back of the room waiting for my turn to talk. I’m not sure why, given the fact that talking in front of people is typically not something I get uptight about. As I reflect on it now I think it has a lot to do with the fact that I realized just how close I was to our primary audience. The room was filled with faculty who value teaching at such a high level and are repeatedly put into situations that make them question change … these are the people who want so badly to be innovative but sometimes walk without the support structures they need to take advantage of our opportunities.

When I was at IST, one of the goals of the Solutions Institute was to create a set of online course materials that could be used by resident faculty all across the Commonwealth. The materials needed to be designed so they could be easily pulled into a resident section and serve as the basis for each of the core undergraduate IST courses. One of the things I had to do each semester was stand up in front of the statewide faculty and share what was new, what we were thinking about, and talk about how to take advantage of Online IST. It scared the hell out of me each and every time I did it.

But you know what? Each and every time it turned out to be a great experience. Faculty telling stories about how using Online IST allowed them manage four or five sections of courses, how they would never have been able to integrate technology without it, or other inspiring stories related to teaching. Yesterday turned out to be the same way — a packed room of motivated and interested faculty all looking to enhance the story of their classrooms. Sure there were skeptics who pushed back on me when I talked about how critical portfolios are to the reflection process, there were people that rolled their eyes as I shared ideas about using youtube to engage students, and so on. But, without a doubt, it was an engaged and very interested group.

Penn State Mont Alto

Penn State Mont Alto

The thing it reminded me is that when we build new opportunities for our University, we are building them for all of our faculty — at all locations. Just because we don’t see them on a regular basis doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Traveling to Mont Alto and being nervous reminded me that our community stretches well beyond College Ave. and it is our responsibility to include everyone in the mix. You should have seen the response when I offered to come back with more ETS staff to dig deeper into these new opportunities … overwhelmingly, faculty wanted to learn how to integrate new opportunities into their classrooms. I am now more than ever committed to expanding Digital Commons and using it as a vehicle to move more efforts into faculty development across all of our campuses so all of our faculty and students get what they deserve. It was a good trip that will be the first of many I suspect.

Getting Started at the Berkman@10

My colleague Chris Millet and I are sitting in very tight seats in Ames Courtroom on the campus of Harvard University getting set to listen the opening remarks for the Berkman@10, The Future of the Internet event. This is an event that I have been looking forward to for quite some time. I rarely get to attend events that I choose for my own development — I do a ton of travel, but the majority of it is related to University business. Being able to come and listen to people talk about the Future of the Internet is a real treat. I have been following the work of the Berkman Center and several of their fellows for quite some time now … names like Lessig, Jonathan Zittrain, Jimmy Wales, Doc Searls, David Weinberger, and so many others.

Throughout the day I will be doing my best to post thoughts related to the event as it unfolds. I will attempt to capture some salient thoughts that may provide some new opportunities for the work we do at Penn State and beyond. I’ll be on Twitter all day sharing some things as well and welcome any tweets @colecamplese with ideas, reactions, or questions.

Real Life

With all of blogging about Second Life, identity, and my online world I thought I’d share something a little more personal than I typically do. I very rarely, if ever, go this far off blog with things, but I have to say the last two days away from home with my wife and my two children has me realizing more than ever what it is all about. I can say with total honesty that I really do love what I do in my professional life, but days like yesterday and today make me reconnect with what brings me balance and peace. Today in particular was amazing — the sun, the ocean, a quiet walk with my (not so) baby boy asleep in the stroller — all of it was humbling and perfect. After spending some amazing time on the beach with the family, a time my daughter marked by actually getting into the Atlantic Ocean in mid March, I can say that I am completely in awe of what is around me.

The two wonderful and mysterious little people who share DNA with me continue to bring me to my knees in appreciation. I never share public pictures of them, but the setting and their smiles have left me with little choice. So, with that I say I am sorry for inflicting a moment of personal reflection on anyone who decided to show up for this post and want to tell anyone who will listen that life is truly a gift. There will be no talk of SecondLife, RSS, Twitter, or anything else … the images that follow are my meta identity. That’s it.






max looking

early spring


I have been as off the grid the last two weeks as much as possible while on vacation. It has been a wonderful (And even a little stressful) letting go. Things are starting to stack up a bit, but for the most part I have been able to stay out of it all. The only downside to the vacation has been the cold I have had for the past four days or so. Both my wife and I have the same thing and it makes paradise a little less than perfect. Sleeping has been very hard and getting out to do things hasn’t been easy either. Trust me, we’re still enjoying ourselves, but not nearly as much as we would if we were feeling 100%.

I think it has to have something to do with my work schedule taking me to Phoenix, AZ last week. While I was there I felt like I burned the candle from both ends — especially the first day when I did four talks. By the end of the day my voice was a whisper. I really enjoyed it though and felt like they were very well received. The second day I did a single 40 minute talk with abut 30-40 minutes of Q&A related to the Platform fr Innovation in Teaching and Learning stuff I have been working on. Again, I think it was relatively well received, but I did feel a little off my game … maybe it was b/c one of the really smart people in the World was there (Alan Levine), maybe it was b/c I am still working this talk up, or perhaps it was just a little too much the day before. No matter how you look at it, I enjoyed it and was honored to be invited. I have write ups of what I talked about over at my updates blog.

Speaking of Alan, it was sort of surreal to finally meet him (BTW, his words are too kind). We have talked on the phone, I’ve listened to hours of podcasts from him, responded to dozens of blog posts, and shared emails with him for the past several years — but up until last week we had never met face to face. The work he did while at Maricopa is legendary and the work he is doing now with the NMC is setting trends that we’ll be addressing for years to come. A real treat to meet the CogDog!

What else? Let’s see … we went to Disney and had fun, but I will say that spending a few hundred bucks on tickets should at least guarantee a ride on something. Classes began for the Spring semester at PSU this week … that means next Thursday (right before I head to San Antonio for ELI … anyone going and want to meet up?) we have our first face t oface session of our CI 597C class. It should be a lot of fun and it might be worth watching the class blog for updates and all of the activity going on around the course — there will be plenty.

And finally, speaking of blogs … the Blogs at Penn State made the jump to MT 4 this past weekend. A huge step forward for the blogging project and I have to send a huge thank you to the Blogs at PSU team — they made magic happen! More on all this in the coming days. Take care and enjoy the Macworld Keynote later today … I am actually close enough to an Apple Store that if Steve does something big I am going to get it. Maybe.

Happy New Year!

Not much to say at the moment … I am actually relaxing and enjoying being off the grid. I am getting ready to do some travel in the coming weeks — I am heading back to Arizona to give a couple of talks back in the Maricopa system. I did one there last year and really enjoyed the people I got to talk with their. For now, I am staying off the grid and will probably be posting pictures of my travels over at Flickr. For now, I thought I’d share a quick picture of some really bad signage I saw yesterday at Downtown Disney.

Hot Roast Beef Smoothies

Who wouldn’t like a Hot Roast Beef Smoothie?

CIC TechForum and Catching Up

I just got back last night from Indianapolis, IN where I attended the CIC TechForum 2007. The TF is an event sponsored by the Committee on Institutional Cooperation — essentially the Big Ten schools, but with a focus on academics and administration. I was lucky enough to present and Allan Gyorke and I shared a presentation related to using Web 2.0 technologies and philosophies to support innovation. It is a talk I have been trying out lately, only compressed into the short 20 minutes we were given. I really think it has some potential. The talk essentially covers the steps we’ve been taking in ETS to create a culture of innovation. We discussed only a couple of the things we are doing — namely the Hot Team process, the Engagement Process, and the Community Hubs. We had lots of great questions and spent quite a bit of time after the fact talking to people in the halls and at the bar. A good trip … I have posted my slides over at my PSU Updates blog. I’ll be recording some audio over them and will post those as well.

Going away always leads to pain and suffering upon return. Having to catch up on the hundreds of emails that come in while attending sessions is insane. Today I got through about half of it all — if you are waiting on something from I swear I’ll get to it very soon. The trip was a pain as usual — a 4 hour delay heading out and a delay induced sprint from one gate to the next on the return wore me down. Travel is not exotic and it is not fun … what happens in between is great, but if the airlines don’t get any better conferences better start investing in better web-based conference systems b/c I am staying home. Speaking of home, now that I’m hear, I am heading back into the other room to start the weekend with the family!

iPhone Fever

So I’ve been out of the blog limelight (if that’s what you can call it) for over a week now … I have been writing, just not much and not here at all. Work has been crazy, travel has been crazy, and the iPhone hype has been crazy. On the work front we are running as fast as we can to launch the first five Digital Commons Studios, hire new staff for projects, and finalize plans for what will be an outrageously busy and exciting year. The Digital Commons project itself has moved faster than anything I have been a part of since the start-up days — really spinning the whole project up over the last few weeks … who says we move slow in higher education?

On the travel side, we’ve been back and forth to Bloomsburg, PA the last couple of weekends for lead up events to my sister’s wedding. While there last weekend I got to play a little golf — actually 36 holes — with my Dad and some friends. I can’t tell you how much I needed that. Last Friday I had a very bad day professionally … one that really took the winds out of my sails … crazy thing is it started with a call I got as I was getting on my bike to ride to work from one of my best friends in the world. He and his wife had their first child, a little girl. Wonderful news! The wonder of that news was instantly crushed by the reality that his Mother is close to the end of her fight with cancer. I stopped in to see her while out on a walk with my 9 month old son … every time we go to Bloomsburg I try to find the time to stop in and see her … it is heart wrenching knowing that my friend of 25 or so years is trying to resolve feelings that I can’t even imagine — the birth of a little girl who shares his dying Mother’s name.

I feel like an idiot even mentioning the fact that the iPhone comes out today and I will be lining up somewhere to see if I can get one. I mentioned I have been writing elsewhere, well I started an iPhone blog to share my thoughts on the device for a research project I am a part of here at PSU. Several of us are investigating the way the iPhone plays in our enterprise and how we can see its value in education. Hard part is just getting one — I’m a little too busy (and perhaps, normal) to feel good about standing in line for days or even hours. I’ll see what I can do, but I am obviously thinking about it as I have had dreams about the damn thing the past two nights. If I get one, I will share thoughts here and over at my iPhone PSU Blog.

Sorry for the mad recap, but that’s what has been up.

Web 2007 at Penn State

Today I had the pleasure of presenting at the 10th annual Penn State Web Conference. This is the second year in a row that I have presented at this conference and it was just as much fun this year. Jim Leous and I revived our Web 2.0 in the Higher Education Enterprise act for this year … offering a bit of a status update on the state of Web 2.0 stuff going on here at PSU. Sort of cool to look back and see that at this time last year we were presenting dreams about University wide blogging, podcasting, and general Web 2.0 adoption and this year we were able to show what our emerging services look like. What great feeling it is to be talking about reality and not just “imagine if you will …” kind of stuff. I feel like we have made real progress in the last 18 months or so.

I really enjoying getting to present with Jim … he has been an innovator on our campus for so many years and he has insight into why things are the way they are that so many others don’t. He and I try to make it a fun and light session when we do this and I hope we pulled it off this year. It was also nice to see the conference bring a blog online this year as well as encourage people to tag items in del.icio.us and Flickr with “psuweb2007” … walking the talk is an important piece to the puzzle. By all accounts it seemed like a successful day and one that hope continues to push our overall awareness towards emerging web trends forward. I will also say it is so good to see close to 300 people (all from PSU) kicking the web tires. The next step has to invovle getting members of this community together with the learning design community in some sort of un-conference way to really get the conversation rolling. No matter how you cut it, I had a good time today.

My schedule continues to be hectic as tomorrow it is off to Pittsburgh to spend time learning more about Google and what they do … that should be a blast. Back in town Wed and getting ready for another talk at the Technology in Business Education conference. Again, new audiences and new challenges … should be fun and interesting. I will attempt to post thoughts about it all as it happens.