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NEWS & UPDATES: Conversations on Online Learning Continues with Shigeru Miyagawa on Nov 6

The Conversations on Online Learning series continues on November 6th, at 3pm with Professor Shigeru Miyagawa from MIT. Please save the date, and stay tuned for more information. Conversations on Online Learning is sponsored by Columbia University's Office of...
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A Shiny New Edible Garden Project Site

CogDogBlog - Wed, 2014-10-22 22:00

From the Forgotten to Blog Department. And also filed in Last Site That Gets Updated is My Own division. About a year ago, Keira connected me with the folks at the Edible Garden Project (EGP) in Vancouver, who were looking to redo their web site. Check out the site at

In calendar time it took about a year to get from old to new, some of it my schedule getting in the and sometimes the EGP folks were busy, but the thing was, this bothered neither of us. It was great working with Emily and her team, they brought a lot to the table in terms of what they said they wanted in a new site. There were some logistical steps to jump through before we even got to the pretty stuff.

This is the original site, which is now residing at (my web fetish, keep a history alive);

While vintage 2007, the site is not all that horrible. The overlapping leaves on the bottom are nice, and there is a little motion in the top graphic (yikes, it’s Flash).

The previous site arrangement was one where the organization managers were less interested in managing the content, and they did not even have admin access to the wordpress site. So the first step was getting a database export of the original site and a file archive.

I told them my desire is to become un-necessary, to give them full admin access to not only the WordPress site, but the domain as well.

I did make a first mistake; their previous site was set up on MediaTemple, which I had recommended as a web host. But creating a new account was not possible using the domain they owned (because it existed elsewhere), and transferring the nameservers required some steps of the last web developer.

Based on a recommendation from Tim Owens, I went with A Small Orange for their Cloud VPS hosting. I have to say that I have since set up two more clients with them, and recommend them highly for the hosting and the support.

To maintain continuity, I mounted the old site at and set up WordPress for multi-site via subdomains- so I created a development site at for the new site (that now redirects to the main site).

I also had to make the change so their email all worked; dealing with email servers does get me the willies, but they were actually just redirecting all mail to gmail accounts, so all I had to do was set up mail forwarders in cpanel (later they activated a Google services account, so there were a few more fiddly things to do to establish the mail servers. lIke I say, messing up email is not something I want to screw up, but it turned out easy).

What I liked off the bat in meeting via Skype with Emily and her team is that they had already done what I typically asked of clients- they provided examples of web sites that had features/design elements they would like in theirs, and they had even looked at a few WordPress themes that spoke to them.

So we quickly settled on the Woo Scrollider Theme; having worked with another Woo theme on the Thoughtvectors site is helpful in knowing what the themes can do (or what it takes to end around them).

What turned out unique for me in this project is that I did very little theme hacking/modifications; I was able to do everything EGP wanted with plugins and theme settings (I always do projects as a child theme just in case I end up having to do more extensive modifications). The Woo Themes options let me, and eventually the clients, manage a lot of the design changes that typically on other sites they would need to ask me to do in code.

Nearly everything I did was customized CSS, often to hide un-needed elements (e.g. boxes on the slider). Let me be clear:both – the Developer Tools in Chrome (or equivalent in Safari/Firefox) is essential

Inspecting elements and using the Developer Tools to try custom CSS)

It allows me not only to see what is going on in display, but I can experiment with modifying/overwriting the default styles, and once finding what works, I can copy it to my site’s style sheet.

Okay, let me skip ahead to the final site (it’s vertical oriented, but the responsive design makes it all fit smaller screens well:

The clients can easily manage the header slider images (I suggested keeping them to the same dimensions). Below that are three main teaser blocks for major components of the organization (“We Share”, “We Farm”, and “We Teach”) and the slider below is just recent posts pulled to the front.

The three bottom widgets are driven by plugins

  • Calendarize It uses custom content types to populate the events calendar and the left widget. The old site used an older version of the plugin, but was tied to post categories.
  • The Woo flickr widget gaveme troubles, I did find that it was just using calls to the flickr badge generator and wa snot updated to use https urls. I decided to go instead with Awesome Flickr Gallery and really just for this one widget, nice because it let me use a random selection on images.
  • The third widget is a random and changing set of testimonials. On their mockups, EGP included on static quote, but I thought that could be done better, and found a nice Quotes Collection plugin that allows the EGP folks to populate a pool of quotes that are shuffled in with some jquery.

The footer too took some CSS jimmying to get the grey weather van image to bleed off the bottom, but all of the content is done via entries in the Woo Themes panel.

They liked another site that had a dynamic social media stream, so now EGP has their own

This is done with the WordPress Social Stream plugin; which is a premium plugin, but at $18 totally worth it. It let me set up streams for them from Facebook, twitter, and flickr in a dynamic wall of media. The plugin has a lot of options to configure streams from even more services. I’d use this one again.

They were already set up and using a Mailchimp account for their email news letters; we have signup links in the footer of all posts, but adding on MailChimp Campaign Archive plugin gives them an index of all news letters that is dynamically updated (it fetches the data from Mailchimp)

The team liked the front page sliders and were interested in having similar features for their major project areas, such as Loutet Farm, Grow a Row Share a Row, and the Food Hub.

The Woo Theme comes with this just on the front page, but by adding the Woo Slider Plugin EGP has photo banners on multiple sections, and they can easily manage/update the images themselves. For some of the pages, example “Our Story” I set them up with yet another plugin, Display Posts Shortcode, which lets them put a widget like thing in a page to list just a certain number of recent posts in a category.

And then I had them line up a Gravity Forms license ($35) so we could create four different custom signup forms they want for various programs and volunteer opportunities.

A later thing I did was to clean up a lot of their page structure, a lot of their content exists as WordPress pages (most of the things listed on the menus), and they had inconsistent hierarchy structures, and often long URLs. I flattened it out, and tightened up the page slug names.

This can cause a problem for existing links to these URLs, so I used the Redirection plugin to make auto redirects from old URL to new. This is a nifty plugin because it gives you insight to 404 requests generated, and that can help identify bad links.

The final thing was to do some jigging on multisite to change the primary URL ( to point to the content I had set up in the dev space (, and move the old stuff from the primary to

This turned out to be relatively easy, following the multi-site guru Mike Epstein’s tip. The one hitch was getting images to work, I ended up having to copy some of the wp-uploads directories to new locations.

Because the site’s URLs might be very different, I did customize a 404 Not found Page to be a bit more helpful, see it in action for a URL that does not exist

This is done by copying an existing template file in the main Scrollider Theme, like page.php, and putting it in the child theme as 404.php. In the gut of the page, I have a few tricks that use HTTP variables.

The first one uses REQUEST_URI (this is everything after the root URL of the site) to echo the URL the visitor was trying to reach:

echo '<p>We have redesigned the EGP web site and some things may still need adjusting. It looks like you were trying to go to <strong>' . get_home_url() . $_SERVER['REQUEST_URI'] . '</strong>.';?>

And below that we can use that same info, to offer a link to the URL on the archived site

Look for the page on the archived version of the EGP site: <a href="<?php echo $_SERVER['REQUEST_URI']?>"><?php echo $_SERVER['REQUEST_URI']?></a>

I’m likely forgetting some other details we worked through, but what I love most is each time I look at the site, I can see that the EGP staff is really managing their own content, adding new things, designing their pages to reflect their needs.

All without me.

I have not worked on the site since June, and they have taken over.

That was my plan, to be made un-necessary (but not gone, I always offer clients full access to request answers, fixes, etc).

And now that I will be spending some time in Vancouver maybe in December, I look forward to meeting the EGP team in person and seeing some gardening action.

Oh, and it s great project, don’t just drool over the web design, check out what EGP is doing at

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Creative Commons Attributor: Now With License Link

CogDogBlog - Wed, 2014-10-22 18:19

I was roaming around my dashboard and found a 6 month old post lingering in the draft. I am not even sure why it was left in the draft drawer). Oh well.

creative commons licensed ( BY-NC-ND ) flickr photo shared by hawkexpress

I do not think I have ever finished a coding project. That does not bother me.

Thanks for the positive feedback on the new flickr creative commons attribution tool. I’ve been using it a lot myself, after all that is who I made this for.

Apparently someone else has a similar tool. They got boing-boing-ed. That’s cool.

And apparently flickr has made some changes already, going back to displaying the actual license with icons, and moving the info to a more primary area.

I did get a comment from Dr Klaus Graf suggesting that proper adherence to the license means providing a direct link to the license.

That is now available; I just changed the output slightly to the first part (that mentions the license) links to it and the second link (on flickr photo) links to the photo.

And guess what? Since all the work is done on an HTML file hosted on github, you do not need to change anything; the same bookmarklet generates the updated code. Gosh, I think I might be clever-ish.

So if you have a bookmarklet, just keep using it. And new attributions have the new format. If you have not tried it yet, just make your own tool at

I am not quite sure if I should add the license link to the text attribution. I bet Dr Graf would say YES, it just seems to be a long chunk. I guess if the link is at the end, you could delete it. Or I could make it an option when you make a bookmark.

I can make these changes… cause its my code. And if you want it do something else/different- fork it baby.

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Nelson Rockefeller's 1969 Audio Guide Introduction

© 2000–2014 The Metropolitan Museum of Art. All rights reserved.
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Updated Flash Player 15 and AIR 15 betas available on Adobe Labs

Adobe Labs - Wed, 2014-10-22 13:32

Updated Flash Player 15 and AIR 15 betas, code named Market, are now available on Adobe Labs. This beta release includes new features as well as enhancements and bug fixes related to security, stability, performance, and device compatibility for Flash Player 15 and AIR 15.

Learn more about Adobe AIR 15 beta
Download Adobe AIR 15 beta

Learn more about Flash Player 15
Download Flash Player 15 beta

As always, we appreciate all feedback. We encourage you to post in our beta forums or create bug reports or feature requests on our public bug database.

Flash Player Beta forum
AIR Beta forum
Bug database

Back to First Internet Friend Visit

CogDogBlog - Wed, 2014-10-22 08:22

creative commons licensed ( BY-SA ) flickr photo shared by cogdogblog

Last night, in 2014, Tim and I sat in his living room in Eugene reminiscing how we first connected. We both are fuzzy on the timing, but are pretty sure it was 1994.

And it was via the internet. No apps. mobile devices, social networks. It was via a listserv.

Alan and Tim conversation.

Around this time I was active doing multimedia in Macromedia Director, and where I hung out, learned, and shared was the Direct-L listserv. Tim was a counselor at Lane Community College, interested in creating some multimedia tutorials and also curious about this new “web” thing. I guess I might have answered some of his questions in Direct-L, but the part was I had a connection with a colleague at another community college (I was in my first years at the Maricopa Community Colleges).

It would have been around 1994, my second year on the job, that I was already bored of academic conferences. I proposed to my boss an idea to use my travel money instead to do some site visits with other community colleges, and so rigged a trip to the Northwest. I had lined up visits at Seattle Community College, Green River Community College, and Lane.

Note: The only records I might have would be an archive of my old Maricopa email or maybe the Direct-L Archives- the ones online only go back to July 1997, but at home on an old hard drive I think I have copies from when I ran Director Web

So here was the thing. Tim and I had set up my visit and made plans to meet in Eugene. It was not until I was shaking his hand that it struck me that we had never even talked on the phone; all of our communication had been online.

Of course in 2014, this is not remarkable. In 1994, where I relied on payphones and paper maps to travel… it was outlandish.

Tim and I became friends, when he attended the League for Innovation Conference in Phoenix in 1996, I planned a road trip and we visited Lees Ferry and Zion National Park together. My family at the time did a road trip in maybe 1995? to Washington and Oregon and visited Tim in Eugene. He came through Phoenix in 2005 and got to spend a night in Strawberry (when we had the place maybe just 3 years)- here he is standing on my favorite spot of the Mogollon Rim.

In November 2009 I had an NMC meeting in Portland, and flew in early to drive down to Eugene and visit Tim. Not too many photos, some of a hike on Ridgeline Trail, but always liked this autumn shot framed from his guest room window (where I just stayed 2 nights ago)

creative commons licensed ( BY-SA ) flickr photo shared by cogdogblog

It was that first meeting experience that set in motion was is sort of my hobby, of getting a chance through my own or work related travel, to get to visit my colleagues in their homes. This was the premise of my 2011 Odyssey, I’ve stayed with folks all around the US, Canada, and in Australia, New Zealand, and the U.K.

I maybe have stayed at 100 different homes.

The specialness of this experience leads me back to a visual from 2011, at the home of Cindy Jennings in South Carolina

creative commons licensed ( BY-SA ) flickr photo shared by cogdogblog

Our connection was through blogs and twitter and being mutual fans of Gardner Campbell, yet it was still a thing when someone with whom you’ve had only “met” online says yes when he says, “Can I visit and stay in your home?” (Hey Sandy, look at that, punctuation INSIDE the quotes!)

It was that moment sitting at Cindy’s dining room table, having met her husband, son, dog, eaten her food, that it struck me how much it elevated the connective experience, but also blurred that boundary of “online/f2f”. It was powerful to be someone’s home space, to see the things they surrounded themselves with, their gardens, their bookshelves, their bathrooms (!). They have extended their personal space to me. It amplifies the next connective encounters online.

Without really listing it, having these opportunities is one of my favorite things to do.

And it makes those dismissive attitude about online relationships that much weaker.

And so it was with great appreciation last night to return to the place and person it started with. Thanks Tim!

creative commons licensed ( BY-SA ) flickr photo shared by cogdogblog

It’s not all old stuff. I got to see the house Tim and his wife are having renovated. We figure that I might be the last guest in their house in the woods and if I return in March, might be the first in their new place.

Full circle and then some.

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Gone Figuring

CogDogBlog - Tue, 2014-10-21 22:41

modified from Pixabay public domain image

I’ve flip flopped countless times on whether to publish this, and you may never know if the coin toss lands the last time on “no”. In fact, I bailed on it last night, but the damned thing keeps gnawing at me.

I waver because it sounds a bit petty, defensive, and or combative. And it’s none of those (well petty is always a possibility). The point is not even the point described below, but for me, in thinking through this, I have a minuscule taste of the other side of the privilege that comes with being a white male (a state of matter I can’t change).

With my spate of travel I am mostly getting the outer swirls of #Gamergate from second hand comments and references. The outfall of this is beyond ugly, and when things go from rudeness to physical threats and abuse, things have crossed a line into evil territory. Trying to get to an understanding is hard, I gave Deadspin’s comprehensive The Future Of The Culture Wars Is Here, And It’s Gamergate one read, and that leaves me still wondering if I “get it”.

This was triggered by a small, what I would guess is a throwaway, vented expression by Audrey Watters in her recent Hack Education Weekly News story Yes, #Gamergate is an Ed-Tech Issue.

I have no disagreement that we (the collective us) have not been paying nearly enough attention to the unfairness and abuse women and other non white non males face in the online spaces. We don’t usually see it, so many can dismiss it as non existent. Yet the more we hear, the more it seems there is more we do not hear. Even more than more.

So to say it is an Ed-Tech issues is a statement worth reverberating and the points raised are ones Ed-Tech practitioners need to chew on. As well the ones stated by John Spencer.

Yet the statement “is an issue” to me has some ambiguity… “is an issue” that Ed-Tech should be more vocal and acting on, hell yes, but to some “is an issue” to some means perhaps limited to or a direct effect of. #Gamergate is an issue way beyond Ed-tech, and even beyond tech; it is, as much as racial issues, much deeper set in our social fabric that we’d tend to believe.

So maybe I want to have a conversation about what it means to be an issue, not to discount that it’s an issue.

Yet this jumps out me, a parenthetical that I see as understandable as a lash out but really not necessary to Audrey’s point.

And I insist that this is an education technology issue. I received some pushback on Twitter last night (from men, go figure) when I made this assertion and asked why ed-tech publications have been so silent on the topic of this ongoing campaign of threats and harassment against women.

This means, if I felt like pushing back, well… go figure. I’m a man.

Got nothing to say. Go figure.

I had pondered recently some twitter discussions from (I think) Mariana Funes and Frances Bell about people feeling silenced online. I did not doubt it but struggled to connect to an experience I could relate.

Got one.

Actually two.

A while back, trying to again parse through a lot of things to get an understanding of #ferguson, I read a strongly expressed opinion I really had some disagreement with their argument. I wanted to engage perhaps in a disagreement or discussion, yet I stopped. How could I contradict, the author, self identified as African American, without being thought of as a white critic?

So I chose not to comment.

Silenced. Go figure.

But the thing is, no one told be to be silent, and my reactions are purely imagined. I have doubt Audrey would call me a misogynist (a word I cannot even pronounce or spell without copying from elsewhere) nor do I really know the author of the #ferguson piece reject my disagreement based on my race.

It’s in my head.

As they say on some social media platform, it’s complicated. It’s f*****ing complicated.

I’m not looking for Audrey to defend the “go figure” statement, it was in the moment. I am actually appreciative to try on this overly tiny feeling of not having a voice. It dwarfs in comparison to what many others deal with.

And before any of this gets better, if it does, it likely needs to get uglier and more truthful.

I have heard more stories from colleagues who have dealt with ugly attacks I have never been “privileged” with. It’s pretty damned rampant. I’ve accepted it happens, but am feeling like I have completely underestimated the size and reach of the hydra.

It should not, and maybe now will start to… cannot be ignored.

Let’s go figure…

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NEWS & UPDATES: Eric Foner and CCNMTL Featured in Columbia Magazine

Professor Eric Foner and CCNMTL are featured in the Fall 2014 edition of Columbia Magazine.
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Whatever Happened to Whatever Happened to Instructional Technology?

CogDogBlog - Mon, 2014-10-20 11:33

creative commons licensed ( BY-NC ) flickr photo shared by QuestionMark

Has anyone jumped any chasms lately? Once again, the associative trails in my cerebral memex fired off this morning. Via a tweet from Karen Fasimpaur, I watched Wes Fryer’s metaphor rich keynote Igniting Innovation in Teaching and Learning

At 2:41 Wes introduced the Technology Adoption Curve, the notion based on Everett Rodgers Diffusion of Innovation work that there are different groups of people in terms of the way they adopt new technologies.

It got me thinking about a writer in the early or mid 1990s, I was pretty sure he worked with or was affiliated with IBM, and maybe his name was William, who had written a lot about how this was applied to instructional technology, but what he spoke of, and missing from the image that Wes showed, was what missing was the “chasm” between the innovators/early adopters and the larger number of people in the Early Majority

From 7 Storytelling Reasons Why Innovation Fails; Google search says it’s licensed from reuse, I cant find license.

My first searches failed

crossing the chasm rogers innovation "William" crossing the chasm rogers innovation "education"

Then I went into Google Scholar seeking the reference to Roger’s work as a citation:

"citations" "Diffusion of innovations"

And got it when I limited the scope of search between 1993 and 1998. Bingo! Here is the winner:

Geoghegan, Willian (1994) Whatever Happened to Instructional Technology? Paper presented at the 22nd Annual Conference of the International Business Schools Computing Association

The paper is still available as a Word doc download from University of Southamption ePrints Soton.

And hah, they have a typo in his name, it’s William H. Geoghegan from IBM Academic Consulting. I actually remember co=-presenting with him at a conference in maybe Vancouver in the late 1990s.

This paper is from 1994 and quite revealing and relevant (in some ways sadly) 20 freaking years later). The abstract:

During the last decade and a half, American higher education has invested about 70 Billion Dollars in information technology goods and services, as much as 20 Billion Dollars of which has gone to the support of teaching and learning. But despite the size of this investment in instructional technology, numerous examples of innovative and successful instructional applications, and a growing comfort level with technology among both faculty and students, instructional technology has not been widely adopted by faculty, nor has it become deeply integrated into the curriculum. By some estimates, no more than five percent of faculty utilize information technology in their teaching as anything more than a “high tech” substitute for blackboard and chalk, overhead projectors, and photocopied handouts. Promising innovations rarely propagate beyond the innovators themselves. This paper examines the broad range of factors that underlie the failure of instructional technology to penetrate the curriculum more widely than it has. Particular attention is paid to the social barriers that impede the diffusion and adoption of promising innovations in instructional technology, and to the unintended manner in which well-meaning efforts to support the development and diffusion of instructional technology by IT support organizations and technology vendors have frequently undermined adoption by mainstream faculty.

The numbers and technologies have changed, but I’m seeing the same issues Geoghegan described in 1994 as not changing much in 2014. It fits what Brian Lamb and Jim Groom pitched in their Reclaiming Innovation Educause Review article as what has been missed in all of the money spent on vendor products and systems — investing in people.

At this point I am pretty much going to grab quotes from the 1994 article add my sarcastic comments. It’s illuminating and eerie.

The advent of digital computers on college campuses more than three decades ago brought with it a growing belief that this new technology would soon produce fundamental changes in the practice, if not the very nature, of teaching and learning in American higher education. It would foster a revolution where learning would be paced to a student’s needs and abilities, where faculty would act as mentors rather than “talking heads” at the front of an auditorium, where learning would take place through exploration and discovery, and where universal educational access, transcending barriers of time and space, would become the norm. This vision of a pedagogical utopia has been in circulation for at least three decades, enjoying a sort of perpetual imminence that renews itself with each passing generation of technology.

And then there were MOOCs. And promise of “pedagogical utopia”.

But there’s a problem. Despite massive technology expenditures over the last decade or so, the widespread availability of substantial computing power at increasingly reasonable prices, and a growing “comfort level” with this technology among college and university faculty, information technology is not being integrated into the teaching and learning process nearly as much as people have regularly predicted since it arrived on the educational scene three or four decades ago. There are many isolated pockets of successful technology implementations. But it is an unfortunate fact that these individual successes, as important and as encouraging as they might be, have been slow to propagate beyond their initiators; and they have by no means brought about the technologically inspired revolution in teaching and learning so long anticipated by instructional technology advocates.

Like the people who describe the LMS as being helpful for faculty to whom the open web is “too complicated” (a future post brewing there, because that is a crap filled point of view).

Geoghegan cites data way back in 1994 showing that faculty access to technology even than was not a problem, and scuttles the notion that it’s a fear issue (my emphasis added)

The instructional technology problem, in other words, is not simply a matter of technology being unavailable to faculty. It is not attributable to faculty discomfort with the technology itself, nor to faculty disenchantment with the potential benefits of information technology to instruction. In fact, the best evidence we have available today suggests that desktop computing is being widely used by faculty and, more importantly, that it is being used in support of teaching. The problem is that this support is for the most part logistical in nature: preparation of lecture notes, handouts, overhead transparencies, and other types of printed and display material that substitute for the products of yesterday’s blackboard and typewriter technologies. Such usage may enhance faculty productivity, and it may even help student learning (by substituting neatly printed transparencies for blackboard scribbles, if nothing else); but it does little or nothing to exploit the real value of the technology as an aid to illustration and explanation, as a tool that can assist in analysis and synthesis of information, as an aid to visualization, as a means of access to sources of information that might otherwise be unavailable, and as a vehicle to enable and encourage active, exploratory learning on the part of the student. The technology is being used logistically, in other words, but it is only occasionally being utilized as a medium of delivery, and to even a lesser extent do we find it deeply woven into the actual fabric of instruction.

Technology is used mainly as a logistical tool (cough LMS). Same as it every was.

And after dismissing the possible reasons for the lack of deeper adoption of technology -equipment and facilities, institutional support, and unrealistic expectations, he brings it home to a human factor:

I would argue nevertheless that one of the most basic reasons underlying the limited use of instructional technology is our failure to recognize and deal with the social and psychological dimensions of technological innovation and diffusion: the constellations of academic and professional goals, interests, and needs, technology interests, patterns of work, sources of support, social networks, etc., that play a determining role in faculty willingness to adopt and utilize technology in the classroom. The model that we have most commonly used for supporting the development of instructional technology – with its focus on technical support for technically “literate” faculty who often have strong track records of success in this area – may be well suited to the characteristics and needs of technologists, of technically inclined faculty innovators, and even technology vendors. But it is ill- adapted to the interests and needs of mainstream instructional faculty, whose concerns lie more with the teaching, research, and administrative tasks they have to address than with technologies that, at best, may assist in addressing them. The mismatch, in fact, may be so great in many circumstances as to alienate mainstream faculty from the more technically inclined early adopters, opening a gap between the two so great as to reduce or eliminate the likelihood of mainstream faculty actually adopting instructional technology for their own classroom use.

And this was the main part of the paper I remembered -most of the support approaches are focused on the Rogers groups of innovators and early adopters, rather than a multi-pronged strategy for the other groups on the other side of the chasm. And there fore the adoption never diffuses much beyond the leading edge 15%:

The differences between the two groups are extensive, and their importance is magnified in the context of changes that have the potential to make radical alterations in the teaching and learning process. The appeal of instructional technology to the early adopter will be very different from its appeal to a member of the early majority, despite the fact that both may recognize its potential benefits to teaching and learning; and the two are likely to have very different criteria for deciding whether or not to adopt a technology based innovation when it becomes feasible to do so.

And likely the current approach of appeal is still the leading edge —

This gap is so significant in the case of instructional technology that it has so far stymied almost all efforts to bridge it. It has left us in a situation in which the early market seems to have approached saturation in its use of instructional technology; but in which mainstream adoptions are relatively few and far between. This failure to penetrate the mainstream did not happen in regard to technology use in general; the use of personal computers and workstations for personal productivity (especially word processing) is becoming almost universal in higher education. But despite the longer history of instructional technology, it seems to have stalled in its progress where other applications of similar technology have not. What is it about instructional technology as an innovation, or about the way it has been supported and “marketed” by its proponents, that has prevented its bridging the gap?

He cites four reasons why the diffusion of educational technology has not jumped much beyond the gap. Note that it’s not just the presence of technology for a wide group of people- their offices, classrooms, pockets are full of technology. The missing diffusion is into the pedagogy.

The first is “Ignorance of the gap”:

We seem to have assumed a sort homogeneity (in quality if not degree) of faculty willingness to experiment with and use instructional technology, thereby ruling out the possibility of recognizing qualitatively distinct subgroups with different attitudes toward technology and its use in instruction. From this perspective, some faculty simply have a higher degree of resistance to instructional technology than others; and stronger arguments, or greater incentives, or more support, is all that is needed to bring them around (as opposed to different arguments, or different incentives, or different modes of support).

Second is the “Technologists Alliance”

The last decade has seen the formation of an alliance between “technologist” populations concerned with instructional computing. Those involved include faculty innovators and early adopters, campus IT support organizations, and information technology vendors with products for the instructional market. Ironically, while this alliance has fostered development of many instructional applications that clearly illustrate the benefits that technology can bring to teaching and learning, it has also unknowingly worked to prevent the dissemination of these benefits into the much larger mainstream population.

This leads to the third, “Alienation of the Mainstream”

Moore also points out that the “overall disruptiveness” of early adopter visionaries can alienate and anger the mainstream Moore (1991:59). The early adopters’ high visibility projects can soak up instructional improvement funds, leaving little or nothing for those with more modest technology-based improvements to propose; and their willingness to work in a support vacuum ignores the needs of mainstream faculty who may find themselves left with responsibility for the former’s projects after the developer has moved on to other things. And, finally, the type of discontinuous change favored by the early adopter has a tendency to product disruptive side-effects that magnify the overall cost of adoption.

Ahem. Disruption. Totally appealing to 15%.

And finally “Lack of a Compelling Reason to Adopt”

in order to bridge the gap, one must first establish a beachhead on the further side, best done by defining an application of the technology that is of absolutely compelling value in pragmatic, mainstream terms. This is not the so-called “killer app” of high tech legend, but rather an application of instructional technology that offers value substantially in excess of the costs of adoption. The application will be one that performs an existing important task, or solves an existing problem in a markedly better way; or it will be one that enables something new to be done in a way that contributes significantly to instructional effectiveness.

And in 2014, we all know a compelling reason is 100,000 students or harnessing big data.


And in the closing, where we still stand today:

Along the same lines, let me suggest that the technologically driven revolution in teaching and learning that we have sought for so long is probably nothing more than a chimera. Revolutions in teaching, or in anything else for that matter, are created by revolutionaries, not by their hardware; though good hardware properly employed can certainly help them succeed. But no revolution, no matter how well financed and equipped, and no matter how good the motivating ideas, will be successful if the revolutionaries and their supporters fail to convince a significant proportion of the general populace to follow them past the barricades. Absent that, we have nothing but a failed revolution: some interesting ideas, perhaps, and some quaint examples of what might have been, but no revolution.

Long live the revolutionaries where ever they be lurking. Viva the — whatever.

Grab a copy of the paper and tell me how far we have come on this since 1994.

creative commons licensed ( BY-SA ) flickr photo shared by Symic

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Recalling Charles James: Christophe de Menil

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Recalling Charles James: Homer Layne

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Comment on The Stars our Destination (by Gardner Campbell) by linked web page

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Updated Flash Player 15 and AIR 15 betas available on Adobe Labs

Adobe Labs - Fri, 2014-10-17 13:46

Updated Flash Player 15 and AIR 15 betas, code named Market, are now available on Adobe Labs. This beta release includes new features as well as enhancements and bug fixes related to security, stability, performance, and device compatibility for Flash Player 15 and AIR 15.

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As always, we appreciate all feedback. We encourage you to post in our beta forums or create bug reports or feature requests on our public bug database.

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NEWS & UPDATES: Provost's Office Announces Teaching and Learning Initiative for Faculty

A new "Request for Proposals" offers grants of $5K-$20K, and in-kind support from CCNTML, for faculty blended learning projects.
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PUNK: Chaos to Couture

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