The Fascinating Science Of Aesthetics
Interesting notes from the world of cognitive science and biology about how we interpret images. Implications and applications for education? Read the full article here.
6 Telltale Signs of Disruptive Innovation
Michelle Wiese, whom we interviewed on these pages last month, provides a simple “starter kit” to help people make sense of the concept of disruptive innovation. After years of stretching the concept beyond recognition, there seems to be a will to pull it back into its original shape. Useful.
“Weise gave an overview of what the term means and how it has played out in higher ed and other industries, but at the core of her talk were six defining characteristics of disruptive innovations — telltale signs worth posting on the wall of every IT leader’s office:
- They target people who are non-consumers or who are over-served by existing products.
- The innovation is not as good as existing products, as judged by historical measures of performance.
- They’re simpler to use, more convenient or affordable.
- There is a technology enabler that can carry the new value proposition upmarket.
- The technology is paired with a business model innovation that allows it to be sustainable.
- Existing providers are motivated to ignore the new innovation and are not threatened at the outset.
It’s that last one that makes disruptive innovation so insidious — by its very nature, it’s likely to be underestimated and ignored, making it difficult to spot.”
Why Design Matters More than Moore
John Maeda, former President of the Rhode Island School of Design, argues that improvement in design quality is now surpassing increases in computing power (Moore’s Law). We’ve written about the importance of design to online higher education here, here, here, and here.
“Just as you cannot imagine buying a car without design, we have entered an age in which you cannot buy tech without design.”
An Increasingly Popular Job Perk: Online Education
Another university prepares an institutional deal with a major employer. A trend worth watching. Interesting comments, too.
“A partnership between Southern New Hampshire and Anthem Inc., a health-insurance company, will allow some 55,000 Anthem employees to earn associate or bachelor’s degrees through the university’s College for America, a competency-based assessment program.
The announcement is one of several recent deals between a college and a corporation that will expand higher-education opportunities for employees at no or reduced cost, following a high-profile deal, announced last year, between Starbucks and Arizona State University. On Monday, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles announced a similar arrangement with Strayer University.”
I’m a Liberal Professor, and My Liberal Students Terrify Me
I was university faculty when this sort of hyper-vigilance described by the author was just beginning to take shape. It was, as the author of this piece notes, unnerving trying to navigate the shifting politics and sensitivities of the student population while still making sure that the classroom remained an open and honest site for the exchange of ideas.
“I’m a professor at a midsize state school. I have been teaching college classes for nine years now. I have won (minor) teaching awards, studied pedagogy extensively, and almost always score highly on my student evaluations. I am not a world-class teacher by any means, but I am conscientious; I attempt to put teaching ahead of research, and I take a healthy emotional stake in the well-being and growth of my students.
Things have changed since I started teaching. The vibe is different. I wish there were a less blunt way to put this, but my students sometimes scare me — particularly the liberal ones.
Not, like, in a person-by-person sense, but students in general. The student-teacher dynamic has been reenvisioned along a line that’s simultaneously consumerist and hyper-protective, giving each and every student the ability to claim Grievous Harm in nearly any circumstance, after any affront, and a teacher’s formal ability to respond to these claims is limited at best.”
Also see this piece about the reaction to Professor Laura Kipnis (Northwestern) study of discourse on university campuses: Why Northwestern investigated a professor for writing an essay about “sexual panic”