Category Archives: Professors

TED Releases Educational Videos | Wired Campus | Disrupt Edu

TED is the latest to directly jump into the education market — offering something for those looking for online learning, open source edu, uncollege, hack edu, or any other angle on disrupting education. They are calling on top educators to step up and join in with a short lesson to share with the world. TED clearly has some understanding of what video learners want (its why I am videoing my research interviews and other events for remixing later into edu assets). From the Wired Campus column at the Chronicle of Higher Education:

The nonprofit group called TED, known for streaming 18-minute video lectures about big ideas, today opened a new YouTube channel designed for teachers and professors, with videos that are even shorter.The new channel, called TED-Ed, was announced a year ago, but its leaders are only now unveiling the project’s first videos. There are only 11 as of today, but the goal is to add new ones regularly. Within three months from now, a new video could appear each day, said Chris Anderson, TED’s curator, in a conference call with reporters late last week.To produce the new videos, the group is connecting content experts with professional animators to create highly illustrated productions. The average length of these videos is about five minutes, and Mr. Anderson said he envisions a teacher playing one in class at the start of a lesson “to ignite excitement” about the topic.

 

via TED, Known for Idea Talks, Releases Educational Videos – Wired Campus – The Chronicle of Higher Education.

As Facebook IPO Nears, Universities Take Aim at Student Startups | Huffington Post

Dylan Reid (@startupchile) reached out to me recently to discuss universities, technology and student startups. The piece is online at the Huffington Post:

While Stanford’s gain from Google is unusual, technology-transfer agreements have long been the primary means by which universities support and profit from startups. However, as Facebook illustrates, more student-founded companies are bootstrapping without university technology, leaving schools without any profit — though that may be changing.

“The university has always been a supplier of both technology and talent,” says Frank Rimalovski Managing Director of the NYU Innovation Venture Fund “and its our job to foster and support that.” Rimalovski’s fund, which was created by the university in 2010, makes seed and series A investments in startups with ties to NYU. To date the $20 Million fund has made three investments two of which — Fondu and numberFire — were started by current students with no ties to university technology. “There’s definitely been a groundswell of entrepreneurial interest from students,” says Rimalovski “and if there’s another Zuckerberg walking around our hallways, we want to be as supportive as we would of a faculty member working on a new cancer therapy.”

“Young people have always wanted to change the world,” says Hugo Van Vuuren, a founding partner at the Experiment Fund (xFund), a new seed-stage investor housed at Harvard’s Graduate School of Engineering. What’s new, says Van Vuuren, is that their turning to startups as vehicles to do so. Van Vuuren’s fund, which was announced in January, has already made a number of small investments in high-profile startups like RockHealth, led by Hall Tecco (MBA 11′) and Omada, co-founded by Sean Duffy, currently on leave from Harvard’s MD/ MBA program.

“The culture on campus is definitely changing,” says David J. Miller, a researcher at George Mason University’s School of Public Policy who studies student entrepreneurship, “universities are under tremendous budgetary pressure in terms of outside funding and also from students paying tuition.” Rimalovski agrees saying “to be a real player as a university today, you have to engage students and faculty who are increasingly interested in starting companies.”

While university investment in startups outside of technology-transfer is fairly new, college campuses have long been a breeding ground for new businesses. Years before Brin and Page, Michael Dell was selling PC kits out of his dorm at University of Texas-Austin and Bill Gates was writing computer applications in his Harvard dorm. “The emphasis on tech-transfer is definitely misguided,” says Miller “when you look at the most successful entrepreneurs, technology is rarely a decisive factor — Bill Gates was definitely not the best coder around.”

via Dylan Reid: As Facebook IPO Nears, Universities Take Aim at Student Startups.

For BShools, Entrepreneurship is a Bridge to Campus | WaPo

Informative piece from the Business Insider of the Washington Post on DC Metro Business Schools (including GMU’s SOM) and their efforts to spread entrepreneurship beyond the business school. By Steven Overly:

But for universities, entrepreneurship itself is relatively new as a field of study. There’s less research and fewer textbooks to support it than other subjects, leaving some schools to struggle with how to best build it into the curriculum.

An academic bridge

Students from across George Mason University’s Northern Virginia campuses were eligible to enroll in a minor program focused on entre­pre­neur­ship at the start of the academic year. It’s an undertaking that was three years in the making.

Mahesh Joshi, an associate professor of management, was one of the program’s architects. The classes build on a growing belief at George Mason that entre­pre­neur­ship should not belong to any one department, he said.

“If business schools said that creative ideas can only come from the school of business, it would be to their detriment,” Joshi said. “They can arise anywhere.”

I have met a few of the students in the new entrepreneurship minor (as well as many business, public policy, humanities, and nursing students interested in entrepreneurship) and students today are ready to go at entrepreneurship. Its exciting to see so much taking place across the DC Metro and watching as it evolves into part of the broader startup and venture community

via For business schools, entrepreneurship is a bridge to other parts of campus – The Washington Post.

MLA Considers Radical Changes to Dissertation | Inside Higher Ed | Disrupt Higher Ed

I am currently in the process of publishing my first two papers and preparing my dissertation — I have been against this academic publication model since entering my PhD program (why I chose a PhD program is another discussion).

Faculty and administrators  always ask why I blog, tweet, participate in online chats, and video record my interviews and ethnographic observations. Its all because I believe other media output and methods of distribution (beyond academic publications and books) are the present and future of knowledge and content. Higher ed is woefully behind in the production and distribution of content (knowledge) when compared to other sectors of society.

Looks like the uber powerful Modern Language Association is coming around to my point of view. From Scott Jaschik of Inside Higher Education:

So much has changed, he said, but dissertation norms haven’t, to the detriment of English and other language programs. “Are we writing books for the 19th century or preparing people to work in the 21st?” he asked.

Leaders of the MLA — in several sessions and discussions here — indicated that they are afraid that too many dissertations are indeed governed by out-of-date conventions, leading to the production of “proto-books” that may do little to promote scholarship and may not even be advancing the careers of graduate students. During the process, the graduate students accumulate debt and frustrations. Russell A. Berman, a professor of comparative literature and German studies at Stanford University, used his presidential address at the MLA to call for departments to find ways to cut “time to degree” for doctorates in half.

And at a standing-room-only session, leaders of a task force studying possible changes in dissertation requirements discussed some of the ideas under consideration. There was a strong sense that the traditional model of producing a several-hundred-page literary analysis dominates English and other language doctoral programs — even though many people feel that the genre is overused and frequently ineffective. People also talked about the value of digital projects, of a series of essays, or public scholarship. Others talked about ways to change the student-committee dynamic in ways that might expedite dissertation completion.

“We are at a defining moment in higher education,” said Kathleen Woodward, director of the Simpson Center for the Humanities at the University of Washington. “We absolutely have to think outside the box that the dissertation is a book or a book-in-progress.”

I will continue to hop through the hoops of the PhD (its too late for me), but will come out armed with multiple output, assets, and skill sets beyond the minimum outdated methods and content required of a 19th century business model. (#bmgen)

via MLA considers radical changes in the dissertation | Inside Higher Ed.

UT TTO Official Resigns Due to Ties to University Startups

Trouble on the technology transfer front from the University of Texas. I will have to learn more, but here is the one line pitch — uber successful California biotech researcher Richard Miller is lured to Texas to lead the way as the first commercialization chief, but quickly runs into conflict of interest issues for being too entrepreneurial! From Kirk Ladendorf at the Austin Statesman.

Miller, a veteran biotechnology researcher and entrepreneur in California, went to work for UT in September 2010 to help turn more of the school’s research discoveries into new jobs, companies and licensing income. As part of his job, he oversaw the work of the Office of Technology Commercialization, which assists companies that are interested in using patented UT technology and negotiates licensing deals with them.

Miller resigned effective Dec. 31 after he was told by UT officials that he could not have a personal and financial involvement in companies that might want to license technology developed at UT.

UT generated $25.6 million in licensing revenue in the most recent fiscal year and completed 29 new licensing and options agreements, according to the commercialization office’s website. The school also received 58 U.S. and foreign patents last year.

Juan Sanchez, UT’s vice president of research, said there was no active conflict of interest with Miller’s involvement with the companies because they had not yet licensed technology from UT. However, Miller “was setting up a scenario in which he would be negotiating with himself, and that would have been a conflict of interest, which we would not allow,” Sanchez said.

“We couldn’t move forward with his expectation of having a dual role” with the companies, Sanchez said. “It was clear that he would have to divest his interest. The resignation was his call. I would have liked him to remain as chief commercialization officer, but he chose not to.”

Sanchez said he instructed Miller in December to divest his interests in three startup companies that he had co-founded with UT faculty members and graduate students. Miller did divest his holdings in the three companies — Wibole, Graphea Inc. and Ultimor — but resigned sometime after that discussion, Sanchez said.

Get the most out of university technology transfer is a common cry, its no wonder we are running into scenarios such as this.

Over the past decade, UT has stepped up its efforts to generate more revenue from technology licensing. Part of the reason is faculty pressure and recruitment of top-level researchers. Both new recruits and existing research faculty have pressed the school’s administration to take a more proactive role in tech commercialization.

Pike Powers, an Austin lawyer and veteran economic development activist, said Miller brought new ideas to UT but might not have understood the constraints of working for a public university.

“He was offering some new ideas and thoughts about ways that the University of Texas could be more competitive,” Powers said. “I don’t think he received as strong a reception as he wanted to receive, so it was frustrating for him. He met with numerous members of the business community, and we advised him to be very careful about what steps he took next and to make sure he had the full support of the business community and the UT administration. But I don’t think he ever heard that message to the extent that he should have.”

What I find interesting is that people are looking for entrepreneurial leaders, but they also demand consensus. That is a little backwards no?

via UT official resigns after questions raised about ties to startups.

Entrepreneurship Education | The University of Delaware

Interesting insight into some of the undergraduate entrepreneurship offerings at the University of Delaware:

As the semester was winding down over the last few weeks, students in Matthew Terrell’s Introduction to Entrepreneurship class ended their fall course on a high note with a special visit from Dansko co-founder Mandy Cabot, who created a $125 million company that began out of the trunk of her car.

The class, which is designed to help students understand the concepts, tools and practices of entrepreneurship and to develop their skills in entrepreneurial thinking, featured a Founders Forum that brought in entrepreneurs throughout the semester who specialize in everything from medical services and information technology, to real estate and footwear.

“Entrepreneurship is a way of thinking and acting,” said Terrell, a supplemental faculty member in the Department of Business Administration in the University of Delaware’s Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics. “This course encourages students to reevaluate their own views of entrepreneurship and the ways they are thinking and acting by bringing in entrepreneurs who share their own stories.”

Cabot, co-founder of Dankso, was one of the final entrepreneurs to share her story with the class.

She explained how a horse-buying trip to Denmark — the home country of her husband and co-founder Peter Kjellerup — over two decades ago turned into a clog-discovery trip, ultimately leading them to sign an exclusive agreement to distribute the shoes in America.

The power of a good class visit, to provide role models, voices beyond the instructors, and simple words of encouragement to students, forms an important part of most entrepreneurship curriculum.

The entrepreneur visit is especially powerful when the entrepreneur is an accessible heavy hitter such as Mandy Cabot that make big success reachable to undergraduates and others that may not be on the “fast track” (ie Stanford engineering, HBS, Wharton, MIT, etc.).

via Speakers share life lessons with Lerner College class.

Joichi Ito of MIT Media Lab on Innovation and Education

Great piece (h/t @auerswald) putting innovation, iteration, and education into context. My two favorite segments 1) “The ethos of the Internet is that everyone should have the freedom to connect, to innovate, to program, without asking permission” (something I have been communicating in my lectures for 3 years and now have a fancy quote for!) and 2) “In fact, it is now usually cheaper to just try something than to sit around and try to figure out whether to try something.” ( something I am now integrating into my class with Lean, Blank, Business Model Canvas, etc..) From the piece by Joichi Ito in the NYT:

Innovators are able to prototype a new product with 3-D printers and cheap laser cutters for nearly nothing. Even complex products can be manufactured with help from supply chain companies that are making their systems available online to anybody. Today we are seeing the emergence of a community of hardware hackers and designers very reminiscent of the developers who wrote the original open standards of the Internet. An explosion of grass-roots innovation in hardware is coming — freely designed and freely shared — as it did in software.What has been a wildly successful model for consumer Internet start-ups in Silicon Valley turns out to be an extremely good model for learning in a wide variety of fields and disciplines. The students at M.I.T.’s Media Lab experiment, create and iterate; they produce demos and prototypes, and share and collaborate with the rest of the world through the Internet and a distributed network of connections and relationships.

I don’t think education is about centralized instruction anymore; rather, it is the process establishing oneself as a node in a broad network of distributed creativity.

The entire piece is well worth reading. Some good thoughts in there.

via Joichi Ito – Innovating by the Seat of Our Pants – NYTimes.com.