Tag Archives | presentation

Transitioning to Open Government Data

Earlier this fall, I was on a panel at the Association of Public Data Users annual conference. I do love going to DC and being in a room full of people who know what the Consolidated Federal Funds Report is.

The point of the presentation was:

  • Open government data is really exciting and has so much potential.
  • If it’s going to replace traditional sources of “designed” government data, people will be left behind.

Josh Tauberer’s 2nd Principle of Open Government Data says that data should be provided in its most granular form:

This principle relates to the change in emphasis from providing government information to information consumers to providing information to mediators, including journalists, who will build applications and synthesize ideas that are radically different from what is found in the source material. While information consumers typically require some analysis and simplification, information mediators can achieve more innovative solutions with the most raw form of government data

As a data person, I support this principle 100%. That said, it’s a huge change for organizations used to getting pre-packaged government information. Congratulations–you’ve just been promoted to mediator!


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Student Experience and EDUCAUSE 2010

Earlier this year, I took a new job within Wharton Computing: “IT Director of Student Experience,” a position that acknowledges the need for a dedicated liaison between students and the various contingents of our large IT organization.

Students are challenging constituents because they’re transient and incredibly busy—there’s little opportunity to develop long-term relationships.  Aside from that challenge, the whole not-coding-for-a-living thing has been an adjustment.  Now when I do something wrong, there’s no error message to explain the problem.

But so far it’s been a fun ride.  Last week I had the opportunity to attend EDUCAUSE 2010 and, along with a colleague, tell the story of why we created the Student Experience role and what we hope to accomplish.  I’m especially proud that Spock, The Dude, Harry Truman, and Wile E Coyote make appearances the presentation.

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Presentation: How to Engage Today’s Students

Over the summer, a few colleagues and I had the opportunity to present at the 2008 Higher Education Web Symposium, held at the University of Pennsylvania. Our topic was How to Engage Today’s Students: Portals, Instructional Technology & Learning Simulations.

My portion of the presentation was an overview of what we called the New Learner (not the best term, but we liked it better than Digital Native, Millennial, and especially Learner 2.0). Lou Metzger, Jason Lehman, and Erin Wyher followed up with specific examples of how we’re trying to engage this demographic throughout their activities at the school.

Overall, the presentation went well, though we ran long and didn’t have a lot of time to hear ideas from other schools. We also got some feedback that the examples were too Wharton-centric. It’s true that much of the content was Wharton and/or Penn-related, but I hope that didn’t obscure our underlying points:

  • Making small changes or adding modules can promote engagement—you don’t have to AJAX-ify or re-write your existing web applications.
  • Integrate existing information and present it in the context of a task at hand.
  • Animations, avatars, bells, and whistles don’t always translate into a better student experience.
  • Buzzwords can distract from what’s important.
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