Tuesday, January 31, 2012

What pushes a college to the brink of closing? Warning signs? Too late? Can you help? Online Feb3 free tlt.gs/frlv

BOOK DISCUSSION tlt.gs/ABrownChngCrs
Brown, Past Pres. Appalachian College Assoc, will be interviewed by  Steve Gilbert.

“No thriving college is immune from unforeseen disaster, just as no struggling college is irreversibly destined for closure.” Sadly, if you are part of a college or university community -- student, alumni, board member, faculty, president, any other academic professional -- you can no longer be fully confident of the stability of your institution or of your role within it.

In this live online session, we’ll discuss the dangers, the warning signs, and how to deal with them.  Alice Brown will summarize and extend the ideas in her new book Changing Course in which she “... presents stories of colleges in crisis and considers what makes the difference between a college that closes and one that nearly closes but manages to remain open.”   First Brown, then other participants, will be invited to share their observations and insights in response to these questions:
  • What pushes a college to the brink of closing? What are the warning signs?
  • How can a college avoid the brink? Come back from the brink?  When is it too late?
  • What are the differences between colleges that “reinvent themselves” or barely avoid closing, and those that disappear? Who cares? Who should care?
  • When a college is nearing the brink, what info is especially difficult to hear, accept, and act on? For whom? From whom? Who needs to be "shielded from" what kinds of info?
  • How can anyone help? Are there any positive opportunities that can be grasped in these crises?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

"Good enough for other people's children - but not yours?" Innovation, degradation, or rupture? tlt.gs/tltswg

I offer this question as an antidote to fierce claims for defective innovations - innovations less likely to improve than to degrade services and rupture the  social fabric that is already stretched too thin.

I'm tired of listening to the distracting conclusions of Romantic Techno-Zealots (technology as individualizing, self-actualizing), Romantic Neo-Luddites (technology only undermines deep learning, human connections), and  Hyperrational PseudoEgalitarians (everyone should accept what can be provided by the technology  and practices that fit within the boundaries of current methods of observation and measurement)... and self-serving politicians.

You've probably heard the advice about imagining your adversary naked or in underwear when you feel intimidated.  I have similar advice when you encounter someone enthusiastic, articulate, deeply convinced, ... AND  ignorant, inexperienced, and deviously ill-intended.  
Imagine this person stripped naked of superficial statements and shallow understandings, and temporarily unable to deflect your questions.  Imagine asking "Do you believe that what you're proposing is good enough for other people's children....  but not your own?"  
Now that I'm anticipating the arrival of my first grandchild, I've begun thinking:
"Would you want what you're advocating for your own children and grandchildren?"  
"When you claim that your new alternative is more efficient, entirely adequate, and that 'the research' does not support the practices you oppose, and you say that your alternative is good enough, don't you really mean that it is good enough for other people's children and grandchildren, but not your own?"  

Can you imagine people advocating healthcare reform that would provide treatment for cancer patients that is "good enough for other people's children" - but not good enough for their own?  Can you imagine anyone admitting that - even to themselves?

My question about "being good enough for other people's children" may be cynical, but it can reveal and deflate the rising bubble of hypocrisy.  You may find some disturbing similarities between this idea of "other people's children" and the role of "Other People's Money" as described in speeches by Danny Devito and Gregory Peck in the 1991 movie of the same name.

Ender's Test: Is Your Course a Pizza? Who needs teachers? Invitations Jan27 & Feb10 tlt.gs/EndersGameTest TLTGroup

Ender's Test of Artificial Instruction  
Which is real? artificial?  See Magritte!
[with a respectful good-humored apology to admirers of Alan Turing who developed the Turing test of artificial intelligence as "... a test of a machine's ability to exhibit intelligent behaviour" in 1950 - from Wikipedia 20120124]
Even if you haven’t read “Ender’s Game” the short story or novel, and you would like to be prepared for the Feb 10 session about Ender's Test, please join us for a discussion Ender's Game:  January 27, 2012 2PM ET Free Online Fridaylive! 

You are invited to a presentation/discussion simultaneously onsite and online Friday, Feb 10, 3:15PM ET  


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Sustaining New Year's exercise resolutions in spite of 5 (out of 9) common problems

It's not really ALWAYS uphill!
1.  "I'm too far from my goal, so why start?"  "... break up your goal into smaller units,... Little victories, like dropping a pound a week or running an extra minute without stopping, will fuel your momentum."
3.  "I'm bored with my same old routine."...mix activities.
4.  "I don't have the energy." ..."Exercising at even a very easy pace will give you more energy than if you sit it out...."
5.   "No matter how hard I try, something always foils my workout schedule."  ..."People who have a process goal, such as a target number of weekly workouts, stick to their routines with significantly more success than those who focus on a big-picture outcome -- such as losing 20 pounds -- or go along without any specific goal,... they also feel less stressed about squeezing in exercise."
6.  "I just don't have the time." ... try replacing some longer sessions (30-60 minutes each) with several 10-15 minute sessions instead.
- Above quotations are excerpted from "Improve Your Sweatitude: 9 Motivation Rut Busters," by By Liz Neporent in Fitness Magazine Website as of 20120124http://www.fitnessmagazine.com/workout/you-can-do-it/workout-motivation-tips/

Also see TLT-SWG post:  "Already backsliding on New Year's Resolutions? There's hope for our limited willpower! Strategies, Tools,.."

And  see "Beginning a Fitness Walking Program," from the Walking Site

Friday, January 20, 2012

Appreciation of R. W. Grossman (1943-2012) of Kalamazoo College & his article "Encouraging critical thinking using ..”

Link to PDF version of "Encouraging critical thinking using the case study method and cooperative learning techniques," Grossman, R. W., Journal on Excellence in College Teaching, 5(l), 7-20, 1994.

On January 19, 2012, Craig Nelson of Indiana University wrote an "Appreciation" of Robert W. Grossman  of Kalamazoo College who died January 7, 2012. Here are the first few sentences:
"All of us remember with deep affection Bob’s ebullient good humor, his deep intelligence, and his expansive caring for his family, for those who worked with him, and, especially, for people who had drawn less favorable hands in life. 
"I benefited from a king’s portion of Bob’s graces and talents. We first worked together intensively during one of his sabbatical years when he drove to Bloomington regularly (1993-94). This strange choice was motivated by our interactions at Lilly Conferences earlier. He ultimately wrote an important paper on “Hidden Transformations” in teaching based on ideas that began to germinate then. He also graced me with his cooperation on many presentations in national venues. These included a meeting of the Perry Network (1993), NSF sponsored Chautauqua short courses on “Increasing the Retention of Under-Represented Groups—And the Learning of All Groups” (2003-2006), and presentations on similar topics at several of the Lilly Conferences on College Teaching."

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Educ Video Games w Real/Virtual Missiles? DISTURBING VIDEO youtu.be/10N8096MTGg Ender's Test Artificial Instruction

WARNING - DISTURBING CONTENT: When you watch this 90 second YouTube video, ask yourself if you are seeing something entirely fictional or an edited videorecording of a 'real' event. Are you sure?  
Please consider the questions about "artificial instruction," the timeline about real/virtual war at a distance offered below, and read Ender's Game free online  or get the book in preparation for joining us Jan 27 and Feb 10.

USAF Photo 2008
YouTube video excerpt from "Whiskey Tango Foxtrot" episode of TV series "The Good Wife" Season 3 Episode 9 November 2011  "Alicia and Will ...are defending Sgt. Regina Elkins who is charged with disobeying orders and launching a missile attack in Afghanistan that resulted in the deaths of 12 people." -from "Storyline" Written by garykmcd  on IMDb website www.imdb.com/title/tt2103915/ 

QUESTIONS about "Artificial Instruction" please consider:
  • What are the characteristics of a “teacherless” course essential to convince the students who take it that they have a teacher? Why do/don't you care? 
  • When young people are trained to make video-game-like decisions that result in real explosions, what are the educational implications? Why do/don't you care?
Please join us for 2 free online discussions about Ender's Game and Ender's Test
1. Ender's Game (short story and book) in the next free online FridayLive! session January 27, 2012 2pm ET  - read story free online  or 
order book from Amazon
2. Ender's Test (procedure for distinguishing between "real" and artificial courses) on February 10, 2012 at 3:15pm ET

Keep checking tlt.gs/EndersGameTest as we continue to prepare this webpage for these 2 online events.  You can also get more info and register for the sessions at tlt.gs/frlv.


Also, consider this highly abbreviated and selective timeline of observations and stories about real/virtual war at a distance:
  • 1945 "The next war may be fought by airplanes with no men in them at all . . " - Gen Hap Arnold, USAAF – US Army Air Forces, 1945 - quoted in many sources without citation, e.g.,  http://publicintelligence.net/usaf-drones-in-irregular-warfare/ 
  • 1964 Dr. Strangelove movie "...if the U.S.S.R. is hit by nuclear weapons, it will trigger a 'Doomsday Machine' which will destroy all plant and animal life on Earth."  from plot summary Written by Colin Tinto <cst@imdb.com> for "Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb" on IMDb website  http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0057012/plotsummary
  • 1977 Ender's Game Short Story by Orson Scott Card   Plot summary on author's website first published in Analog Science Fiction and Fact, August 1977 
  • 1983 War Games movie.  Plot summary:  "A young computer whizz kid accidentally connects into a top secret super-computer which has complete control over the U.S. nuclear arsenal. It challenges him to a game between America and Russia, and he innocently starts the countdown to World War 3. Can he convince the computer he wanted to play a game and not the real thing ?"  Written by Colin Tinto <cst@imdb.com>  Full plot summary written by Gene Chin (Huggo) for IMDb website  http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0086567/
  • 1985 Ender's Game Novel, Orson Scott Card,  Plot summary on author's website    order book A Tor Book - Published by Tom Doherty Associates, Inc. 
  • 2011 "Whiskey Tango Foxtrot" TV series episode in "The Good Wife"
  • 2011 "Air Force Drone Operators Report High Levels of Stress,... the operators’ jobs: watching hours of close-up video of people killed in drone strikes. After a strike, operators assess the damage, and unlike fighter pilots who fly thousands of feet above their targets, drone operators can see in vivid detail what they have destroyed [many thousands of miles away on another continent]. " - "Air Force Drone Operators Report High Levels of Stress," by Elisabeth Bumiller, December 18, 2011 New York Times http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/19/world/asia/air-force-drone-operators-show-high-levels-of-stress.html

YALSA Outstanding Books for the College Bound.
Yalsa Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults.
Hugo Best Novel winner, 1986.
Nebula award, novel, 1985.
Image selected by Steve Gilbert 20120119
Photo of "An MQ-1 Predator unmanned aircraft, armed with AGM-114 Hellfire missiles, flies a combat mission over southern Afghanistan. The MQ-1 is deployed in Operation Enduring Freedom providing interdiction and armed reconnaissance against critical, perishable targets." U.S. Air Force photo by Lt Col Leslie Pratt 29 November 2008
Permission "This image or file is a work of a U.S. Air Force Airman or employee, taken or made during the course of the person's official duties. As a work of the U.S. federal government, the image or file is in the public domain."

Music used in Good Wife episode: 'Sail' by AwolNation 

Why/how conference on teaching supports better student learning? Lilly Conf Dirs tlt.gs/LillyDirs2012 1/20 OnlineFree

Lilly Conference Directors’ Roundtable “What good is a teaching/learning conference?
How is the van ride home different from the van ride to the conference?” 
Friday Jan. 20, 2:00pm EDT... Free to all Register tlt.gs/frlv
Lilly Conference Directors Milt Cox, Ray Purdom, Laurie Richlin, and Todd Zakrajsek
Moderator Steve Gilbert  For more info, tlt.gs/LillyDirs2012

Those of you who have been lucky enough to have attended a Lilly Conference will appreciate the rare occasion this webcast will be - it took some planetary alignment to get these 4 directors all together at the same time. So come and celebrate Lilly! And join us for a fabulous discussion on teaching and learning in higher education! By the end, we're confident that you'll know why a conference on teaching provides knowledge, skills, and attitudes that create better student learning.

The 5 annual Lilly Conferences on College & University Teaching have long earned their reputation for providing excellent resources for understanding and improving teaching and learning in higher education. For over thirty years, teacher-scholars from across the U.S. and internationally have gathered to share insights and recommendations in these events. Each conference provides a balance of scholarly research, practical guidance, and collegial support. The Conference Directors shape each Conference to provide a context of long-term goals, long-standing truths, and new research in which presenters and participants discuss the most pressing teaching/learning questions and challenges of the day. Most featured speakers and other session presenters participate in these conferences from start to finish - extending their relations with colleagues they know well and building new connections.Join Steve Gilbert in a discussion with the current Lilly Directors about their perspectives on teaching and learning in higher education as shaped by their interactions with conference presenters and participants. We’ll explore the Directors’ views on how participants can make the most of these conferences - the value of attendance by teams, achieving effective mixtures of research and scholarship, and community building.
More about the session and Registration for Jan. 20

IMAGE selected by Steve Gilbert 20120119
Photo of "Decorated minivan, Islamabaf" 13 April 2005, "Author Guilhem Vellut from Paris" 
Permission "This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Happy New Year 2012! My New Year's Resolutions (2 Personal 2 Professional) -Steve Gilbert, TLT Group Jan 18

[Also see TLT-SWG Posting "Already backsliding on New Year’s Resolutions? There’s hope for our limited willpower! Strategies, Tools,.."]
Walk, laugh, ...That's not me...Yet!
My New Year's resolutions for 2012 - Steve Gilbert  
1.  Increase my walking beyond 3 miles per day.  Sustain this commitment by using LogYourRun iPhone app to monitor, record, and goad me.
2.  Publish at least one TLT-SWG blog post per day and at least one email message per week.
3.  Present one pre-recorded answer to the TLT Group's Fundamental Questions and one LTA (Low-Threshold Activity/Application) a few minutes before beginning each of our weekly FridayLive! sessions.
4.  Find more humor.  Laugh more often.

I'm doing well on #1, OK on #4, just beginning on #3, and further behind on #2 than I planned.  Hope you're doing better so far in 2012!
PS:  You can help with #3!

Already backsliding on New Year’s Resolutions? There’s hope for our limited willpower! Strategies, Tools,..

"...the way to keep a New Year’s resolution is to anticipate the limits of your willpower...."With a few...strategies and new digital tools,  [see below]  

Previous sentence and the excerpts provided below are all from "Be It Resolved," by John Tierney, New York Times, January 5, 2012.  Main sections:
"uplifting predictions,"  "not-so-uplifting predictions," introduction of "ego-depletion," RECOMMENDED STRATEGIES, SUGGESTED INTERNET TOOLS, and ENCOURAGEMENT.
Also see:  Baumeister & Tierney, Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength.

"uplifting predictions" for those of us who have made a resolution:"... you’re much more likely to make improvements than someone who hasn’t made a formal resolution."If you can make it through the rest of January, you have a good chance of lasting a lot longer.
"...not-so-uplifting prediction: Most people are not going to keep their resolutions all year long. ...By the end of January, a third will have broken their resolutions, and by July more than half will have lapsed...because they’ll eventually run out of willpower, ...a real form of mental energy, powered by glucose in the bloodstream, which is used up as you exert self-control. "The result is 'ego depletion,' ...state of mental fatigue 

  1. "SET A SINGLE CLEAR GOAL...And limit yourself to one big resolution at a time.
  2. "PRECOMMIT ...bind yourself by [sharing your goal by email or Facebook]
  3. "OUTSOURCE ...self-control by sharing your progress with friends through Twitter posts ... 
  4. "KEEP TRACK ...Self-monitoring is vital to any kind of resolution, and new tools will do the grunt work for you. 
  6. "TOMORROW IS ANOTHER TASTE [postpone indulgence] 
  7. "REWARD OFTEN ...use willpower [not] only to deny yourself pleasures, [but also]...to gain something, you can wring pleasure out of the dreariest tasks.
"Web sites like stickK.com, ...At stickK, you set the goal and have the option of naming a referee to enforce it. You also set the penalty. It might be just an e-mailed announcement to a list of friends (or enemies), but you can also put money on the line. You can precommit to paying the penalty to anyone you designate, including an 'anti-charity,' which for a Democrat could be the George W. Bush library. (The Clinton library is available for Republicans.)
...Withings will log your weight on your computer and notify your friends (if you want) 
... BodyMedia Fit armband and the FitBit clip can estimate how many calories you’ve burned by keeping track of your movements all day long.
...let all your financial transactions be automatically categorized by Mint.com.
"Entrepreneurs are rushing to monitor just about every aspect of your life — your health, your moods, your sleep — ...[see]   Quantified Self and Lifehacker. 
"...One new exercise monitor, the Striiv, will make donations to charity based on how many steps you take.