Wednesday, October 28, 2009

It's not just the economy that's in a slump

The hardest part of the semester is right about now. The homework, exams, and projects seem to cluster disproportionately, with predictable fatigue, illness, and motivation challenges. And that's just the professors.

The execution of a successful business strategy involves technology and business process that are beneficially and mutually reinforcing. In an ideal world, the adoption of a new technology includes process improvements, so that companies don't automate poor or ineffective processes, as new technology does not necessarily improve an old process. In the predictable mid-semester slump, the excitement of the collaborative learning classroom does little to alter the time-tested strategy used by all students: Take it one day, one exam, one project, one assignment at a time, knowing that some things will not receive the attention they deserve.

And this, too, is a transferable business skill, as sometimes all you can do is juggle your way through the crunch time.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Ubiquity, antiquity, and liquidity

The technology is popping up everywhere. One of the students handed me an October 6, 2009, story in USA Today about how technology is being used at other universities. Detroit Free Press reporters Kathleen Gray and Robin Erb profiled four universities with widely varying approaches and philosophies about the efficacy of technology in the learning environment. I'd not thought, for example, about using technology extensively outside the class room, while abstaining from any use during class. It's another perspective to consider. The article had pictures of the devices in our own classroom, which is just very cool.

And while the details of what changes vary, the patterns don't shift much. We grow, we age, we learn the lessons of our ancestors, we strive, we push against the limits of what we know. Perhaps that's the essence of education.

This week we focused on business plans. Reading, analyzing, and writing. The general consensus was that it's hard, that the devil is in the details, and that, ultimately, it comes down to making a profit.

And our grades on the exam? On par, both historically for the course and presently relative to the other Honors section.