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Educause: What Was Your Word?

October 24, 2011 at 1:02 pm PST

I love Educause because there’s always buzz.  This year, it seemed to hit a high-pitched fervor.  The show comes alive and takes on a character of its own as technology leaders from across the country and globe share the challenges and issues that each of them is facing.  It takes on even more character in a city like Philadelphia where the sights and sounds of the Reading Terminal Market swirl around bustling show-goers who are trying to get in a quick Ruben sandwich in between sessions.  And, I was thrilled to know that the author of DIY-U, Anna Kamentz, would be there, imparting her unique perspective about students who will necessarily be designing their own unique ways to get a higher education.

One IT afficiando said to me, “It seems like each year, there’s a word that defines the show, and I think this year, it’s ‘cloud.’”  Someone else commented, “No, it’s the whole ‘open’ thing.” Another said, “Well, I think it’s really all about ‘remediation’ and ‘standards’ because our funding is going to hinge on this.”  It seems like everyone wants to find that one thing that will really impact them and their institutions, trying to get ahead of the wave so they don’t get engulfed by it.  Others said, “shared services, video, blended learning.”  I was most impressed by those colleges and universities that seem to be doing it all, driven by a unified vision around what’s really achievable.

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Cisco at EDUCAUSE 2011

October 18, 2011 at 8:53 am PST

Each year, EDUCAUSE surveys IT leaders in higher education to compile a list of Top 10 IT Issues. These issues will be top of mind at EDUCAUSE 2011, which is taking place this year in Philadelphia. Please visit us at booth 1227 to speak directly with Cisco subject matter experts and discuss how Cisco solutions solutions can help you improve student outcomes, increase efficiency, enhance safety and security, and expand research capabilities.

Here’s a summary of the demonstrations that will be featured in our booth.

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Spotlight Sessions at EDUCAUSE 2011

Higher education IT leaders from around the world will be converging in Philadelphia on October 18 -- 21, for EDUCAUSE 2011. One look at the conference program is all that it takes to conclude that “EDUCAUSE 2011 is the best thinking in higher education IT.”

With such a robust program this year, deciding which sessions to attend is harder than ever. Make sure to take in these sessions that showcase the use of video and collaboration technologies to transform teaching and learning and expand education opportunities:

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STEM and the U.S. Manufacturing Conundrum

The Conundrum

In my most recent blog “U.S. manufacturing: is it sustainable?“, I referenced an article about how U.S. manufacturing has been leading the economy out of the depths of the Great Recession.  The authors put forward a thesis with supporting data that suggest Americans believe the manufacturing industry is the basis for wealth creation and is fundamental to a sustained and successful U.S. economy.

The rub is that only 30% of Americans said they have or would encourage their children to pursue a manufacturing career.

Why such a discrepancy? An answer to this question is not simple. However, I do believe we must seek that answer and address the gap, if the U.S. is to remain competitive in the global marketplace. Being an engineer myself--a manufacturing and controls engineer no less--I know the first and most essential step to a solution is making sure we’ve defined the problem well.

A 2009 survey by the American Society for Quality, as reported on manufacturing.net, helps to shine a light on our problem.

According to the survey, the top three reasons why kids aren’t interested in engineering:

  • Kids don’t know much about engineering (44 percent).
  • Kids prefer a more exciting career than engineering (30 percent).
  • They don’t feel confident enough in their math or science skills (21 percent) to be good at it. This is despite the fact that the largest number of kids ranked math (22 percent) and science (17 percent) as their favorite subjects.

Survey findings on the adult side:

  • Only 20 percent of parents have encouraged or will encourage their child(ren) to consider an engineering career.
  • The vast majority of parents (97 percent) believe that knowledge of math and science will help their children have a successful career.

So, while American children and adults both feel that math and science are important (even enjoyable), there is an ironic disconnect (cognitive dissociation?) between recognizing the importance and committing to pursue a career in engineering and manufacturing.

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Turkish University Grooms Students for Roles in Modern Life

September 13, 2011 at 2:16 pm PST

It is heartening to note that education systems around the world are seriously working towards achieving the goal of helping students excel both academically and as members of society. Yasar University located in Izmir, Turkey is one of the leading education institutions that aims at creating an infrastructure and environment that not only has the capacity to meet future growth but also prepare students for their roles in modern life.

Izmir is a large metropolis with a population of 3.35 million, making it the third most populous city of Turkey. Lying on an advantageous location at the head of a gulf running down in a deep indentation midway on the western Anatolian coast, Izmir is widely regarded as one of the most progressive Turkish cities in terms of its values, lifestyle, modernism, dynamism and gender roles. The city has always been governed by fresh inspirations which stems from the readiness of its citizens to adopt novelties and new projects. A modern, cutting-edge, smart education system being one of them.

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