Underground Back Channels

During first couple years at my first real job post-college, a friend of a friend would IM me questions about how to solve computer problems for which he could not figure out the answers. These requests started as me doing the work for him with dubious promises of doing the same for me. (I knew he’d gotten a job over his head and making 2.3x more than me. I also knew he did not know anything about my work and could not help me.) When I did not bite to do this, he shifted to giving him the answers and settled for all that I was willing to do: point him in the right direction. Having worked in a library, pointing patrons and friends in the right direction was something I was used to doing.

This conversation was not officially sanctioned by either of our employers. Neither of us told our bosses about these conversations. Was I leaking the intellectual capital of my employer? Was this friend of a friend leaking his employer’s intellectual capital to me? In any case, it would probably be considered an underground interaction. My boss at the time encouraged my professional participation on web technology email lists as helping others with my knowledge and experience gave me access to others who could do the same. The difference was the lists were sanctioned while the friend of a friend was not no matter how similar.

The Learning Black Market suggests students today use Facebook as a private back channel to classmates for pointers in the right direction on how to work on class assignments. They also secretly use Wikipedia despite it being forbidden as a source. When I was a student, the same sort of back channel activity for pointers would happen but face-to-face in the hallway was the preferred place not Facebook. Instead of Wikipedia, Encyclopedia Britannica was the preferred first source. (Gosh, I am old.) Just like students today are told Wikipedia is not an allowable reference and not to ever use it yet they do anyway, EB was not an allowable reference and yet I saw my classmates using it to figure out terms that would help them find allowable references. Students today sometimes use Wikipedia for the same reason.

Educators want the students to take their time and deliberately work through the assignments the hard way so they learn the most through the process. Students want to get the assignment done in the least amount of time while still making a good grade. Educators lack the oversight to force students to behave except to detect plagiarism or cheating in the produced artifacts.

Because students are engaging in forbidden activity these conversations are underground. Well, the smart ones. Some are having these conversations on Twitter where one party of the conversation is not private and anyone (like a nosy DBA like myself) can see it. If they are used to quasi-cheating, does real cheating become easier? That might explain much of what I see.

Guard Dead Paper?

Seth said, “What we don’t need are mere clerks who guard dead paper.” Whenever, I read “mere”, “only”, or “just” as a descriptor, it makes me sad someone (even me) relies on obvious straw men.

Librarians already do more than guard dead paper. It just makes it easier to knock them down and kick them while they are down to portray them as such. Of course, the point is that Seth wants to see “… a librarian who can bring domain knowledge and people knowledge and access to information to bear…” which describes… every… librarian… I have ever known going back to age 5. Maybe growing up in and working in libraries gives me a different perspective than Seth?

The librarians I know…

  • Help patrons learn how to find information.
  • Learn quickly what the patron knows and how to connect the dots.
  • Have a master’s or doctorate in librarian (information) science but an undergraduate in something else because almost no where offers a bachelor’s in it.

How about this? “What we don’t need are mere scribes who throw words on paper. I want to see an author who can bring domain knowledge and people knowledge and communicate  information.” Yeah. Still just as demeaning without being at all helpful.

Odd Tracking File Recording

Every time a Vista 3 node is shut down without going through the initiated shut down process, there is a chance of incorrect data written to the tracking files (in NodeA/tracking/). Normally it leaves strange characters or partial lines at the end of the file. This is the first time I have seen it write the contents of another log instead of the tracking data.

click – 1.0 – 1244228052889 – 1135588340001 – “nova.view.usg.edu-1244227762853-6288” – SSTU – discussion – “compiled-message-viewed” – “page name” – 558711383 –

click – 1.0 – 1244228052891 – 15.0; .NET CLR 1.1.4322)”

2009-04-23      20:58:35        0.0030  xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx    JxH1zg4fZT1LTGcpmyNW    200     GET     /webct/libraryjs.dowebct        locale=en_US    0       “Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows NT 5.0; .NET CLR 1.1.4322)”

Even better. The node went down on June 5th at around 3pm. The lines from the other log were from April 23rd at 8:58pm.

Why am I surprised to see new incorrect behavior? Especially when the node was really confused?

Higher Ed Twitter List

Karlyn Morissette posted her Master Higher Ed Twitter List. Other than @eironae and @barbaranixon, I didn’t know anyone on the list. So I thought to post a list of higher education professionals I follow categorized by primary expertise.

Blackboard twitterers might be another post.

Those in bold are coworkers.

College / University / Departments

@atsu_its – A.T. Still University – IT Help Desk & Support
@BC_Bb – Butte College Blackboard System
@CTLT – Center for Teaching, Learning, and Technology @ Goucher College
@GeorgiaSouthern – Georgia Southern University
@ucblackboard – University of Cincinnati Blackboard Support

CE/Vista

@amylyne – Amy Edwards – CE/Vista DBA
@corinnalo – Corrina Lo – CE/Vista Admin
@elrond25 – Carlos Araya – CE/Vista Admin, Dr. C
@jdmoore90 – Janel Moore – CE/Vista Admin
@jlongland – Jeff Longland – CE/Vista Programmer
@lgekeler – Laura Gekeler – CE/Vista Admin
@ronvs – Ron Santos – CE/Vista Analyst
@sazma – Sam Rowe – YaketyStats
@skodai – Scott Kodai – former Vista Admin now manager
@tehmot – George Hernandez – CE/Vista DBA
@ucblackboard – UC Blackboard Admins

Faculty

@academicdave – David Parry – Emerging Media and Communications
@amberhutchins – Amber Hutchins – PR and Persuasion
@barbaranixon – Barbara Nixon – Public Relations
@captain_primate – Ethan Watrall – Cultural Heritage Informatics
@doctorandree – Andree Rose – English
@KarenRussell – KarenRussell – Public Relations
@mwesch – Mike Wesch – Anthropology
@prof_chuck – Chuck Robertson – Psychology

Information Technologist / Support

@aaronleonard – Aaron Leonard
@Autumm – Autumm Caines
@bwatwood – Britt Watwood
@cscribner – Craig Scribner
@dontodd – Todd Slater
@ECU_Bb_Info – Matt Long
@ekunnen – Eric Kunnen
@heza – Heather Dowd
@hgeorge – Heather George
@masim – ???
@mattlingard – Matt Lingard
@meeganlillis – Meegan Lillis
@soul4real – Coop

Assessment / Library / Research

@alwright1 – Andrea Wright – Librarian
@amylibrarian – Amy Springer – Librarian
@amywatts – Amy Watts – Librarian
@elwhite – Elizabeth White – Librarian
@kimberlyarnold – Kimberly Arnold – Educational Assessment Specialist
@mbogle – Mike Bogle – Research

Web Design / UI

@eironae – Shelley Keith

Director

@aduckworth – Andy Duckworth
@garay – Ed Garay
@grantpotter Grant Potter
@IDLAgravette – Ryan Gravette
@Intellagirl – Sarah B. Robbins
@tomgrissom – Tom Grissom

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Shoghi Effendi Internet Quote

Many Baha’is hold this quote predicts the creation of the Internet.

A mechanism of world inter-communication will be devised, embracing the whole planet, freed from national hindrances and restrictions, and functioning with marvelous swiftness and perfect regularity.
— Shoghi Effendi, The World Order of Baha’u’llah, p. 203

Perhaps what we know as the Internet is a pre-cursor? After all, the Internet does not yet embrace the whole planet, is very much restricted by nations, and has many issues to work out to reach perfect reliability.

Probably it will in time.

Dance Lessons, Anyone?

The modest proposal of having students help teachers learn to dance makes an interesting point. Suggesting the learners do not want to learn is an easy way to avoid the real problem.

I hear from higher education faculty, students are unmotivated and fail to see the importance of learning. I hear from academic technical support at the campuses my project supports, faculty members are unmotivated and fail to see the importance of technology.

Certainly, I ought not allow myself to think of students as unwilling to learn, faculty members unwilling to use technology, and academic technical support unwilling to help the faculty. Empathy is one of those right brain skills I should be using.

Another Doppleganger?

I have a universal face. People confuse me with others.

  1. In elementary school, a kid thought at first I was in another grade. My classmates attested to my proper grade. Turns out he confused me with someone a couple grades ahead.
  2. In 2000, Le Ann wanted to know the name of the girl she saw me kissing on a street corner. Yeah, that wasn’t me. I was at work.
  3. In 2002, I stopped going to Blimpie because an employee insisted I worked for SAFT. She refused to believe I did not or had not.
  4. In 2005, at a Cracker Barrel in Mississippi on a trip to Arkansas, a guy was staring at me. Eventually he came over to say “Hi” to his friend. It wasn’t until he was a few feet away that he realized I wasn’t his friend.
  5. In 2008, a coworker “saw” me in Atlanta Gwinnett while I was actually at work. I don’t think she has been convinced it wasn’t me. 🙁
  6. Also, in 2008, a hostess is sure I work at a local library.

Obviously I am not distinctive enough.

links for 2007-11-03

RE 2007: USG Digital Content Repositories: Resources to Share

Digital Library of Georgia

  • 60 different libraries and content providers
  • digitizing content, available in various browsing and search options
  • really impressive
  • historical record widely dispersed


Civil Rights Digital Library

  • 65 institutions
  • web access to 25 hours of news photage.

Alternative Media Access Center

  • Some publishers 9 times out of 10 provide an electronic copy. In cases where they do not offer electronic texts (not just an image) or audio recoding. Pick up where these companies have failed students. Publisher lobbying group resists providing electronic texts. Harvard Law Review has blue book distributed by a non-disabled individual to friends causing the loss of thousands of dollars in revenue.
  • Handle 2,000 books a term. Service 109 institutions. Focus on Georgia and may expand to Tennessee, South Carolina, etc. Serve 191 students, but students often unaware as K-12 provides automatically whereas higher education does not.
  • A place that uses guillotines cannot help but be AWESOMEness defined.

Digital Innovation Group

  • iPod Day
  • Representatives at each campus


USG SHARE

  • Learning Edge – Quella?
  • Uses Creative Commons 2.0
  • Federated searching – Google, MERLOT, or Orange Grove
  • Each campus has a contact for providing access, training,
  • MERLOT refers individuals to the content. USG SHARE has the content.
  • Intent to do provide seamless access through GeorgiaVIEW.