Microsoft and Intel unite to bring blockchain to businesses with Coco Framework – from digitaltrends.com by Lulu Chang

Excerpt:

You still may not know what bitcoin is, but soon, you could be working with the technology that powers the cryptocurrency. Intel and Microsoft are working together to bring blockchain into the workplace, and it’s all contingent on a new framework they’re calling Coco. Heralded as a first-of-its-kind innovation, the goal is to jumpstart widespread adoption, particularly among businesses, of blockchain technology. After all, blockchain allows for secure and speedy transactions, which are key to many modern businesses.

As Microsoft noted in a news release, the Coco Framework is meant to reduce the complexity currently associated with blockchain protocol technology. As such, the company notes, the framework could pave the way for “more complex, real-world blockchain scenarios across industries — like financial services, supply chain and logistics, healthcare and retail — further proving blockchain’s potential to digitally transform business.”

 

Blockchain technology may seem a bit foreign to most, but Microsoft and Intel are hoping to bring it to businesses around the world.

 

 

 

The Platform Chronicles: 10 Questions with Phil Komarny, Chief Digital Officer at the Institute for Transformational Learning at UTx — from medium.com by Bruce Richardson
On the first blockchain app on Salesforce and the pursuit of lifelong learning

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Welcome to the The Platform Chronicles, a new publication designed to introduce readers to some of the most innovative partners that have developed applications on the Salesforce platform. This issue focuses on Phil Komarny and UTx’s plans to dramatically change Higher Ed.

Question #1
Phil, Can you tell us more about the University of Texas’ Institute for Transformational Learning and its relationship with Salesforce?

At the Institute for Transformational Learning we are charged with developing technologies that will power the delivery of educational experiences for our 215,000 students. Though this work we have created a platform that leverages a persistent profile of each of our learners. The platform, Totelic, also has the potential to integrate with each of our 14 campuses student information and learning management systems.

Thinking deeply about the learner’s lifelong journey, we also created a data model that places the learner at the center of the experience. Using Salesforce as our CRM we are afforded a 360-degree view of each learner. The data that resides in many siloed data stores on every campus today has now been wrapped around each learner to create a digital reflection of their abilities and goals.

 

A quick insert of a graphic from DSC:

 

 

Instead of replacing the ERP systems, we enhance them with our integrations so that each of our campuses has an innovation engine at their disposal. Creating new experiences for learners like modular certificates that stack toward a larger credential over time is now a reality for our campus partners.

(Editor’s note: Totelic was created by the UTX Institute for Transformational Learning, and is a “Learner Relationship Management” (LRM) system?—?that is basically a learning environment-agnostic dashboard that monitors a learner’s progress through any connected learning experience, e.g., a 3-credit course taught in Blackboard or a Salesforce Trailhead module. It normalizes the data stream and feeds a few algorithms that provide motivational guidance and track pace, progress and overall performance. It also has an integrated service model that leverages Salesforce communities to provide connection for everything from mentoring to events.)


Blockchains are being used for many things today. From crypto currency to tracking shipping containers and diamonds, the immutability, security and validity of this distributed data store create a new way to think through our current business process, policies and laws of any enterprise.

At a recent event at MIT, The Business of Blockchain, I was stunned to see each vertical represented with one omission?—?education.

After reading Phillip Schmidt’s Medium post about work they were doing at the MIT Media Lab that would effectively store any fellow’s digital credential to a blockchain, I envisioned how that approach might work for our platform.

While on a hike, I was pondering the application and the ChainScript was born. This application would be able to provide every learner in our system a way to own, manage and share a record of their academic accomplishments by storing their information on a blockchain.

To validate this approach we have created our proof of concept as private blockchain to allow us to focus on the different applications of the technology before we take the solutions to a different fabric.

 

 

Microsoft is working on its own commercial blockchain framework, expected to arrive in 2018 — from geekwire.com by Tom Krazit

Excerpt:

Starting next year, Microsoft plans to release an open-source framework that will allow businesses to implement blockchain technologies as part of their business processes.

The project, known as the Coco Framework, aims to help companies use blockchain ledger technologies to facilitate transactions between customers, suppliers, or anyone with whom they do business. Coco Framework will work with any ledger protocol and can run on any cloud provider’s services or on on-premises servers, Microsoft representatives said. The company plans to release more details on its approach later on Thursday.

Blockchain is the underlying technology behind the Bitcoin digital currency, but it has lots of other potential uses that have technologists and venture capitalists excited. It allows users to keep a record of transactions (or really anything that transpires between different entities) in a secure, decentralized “ledger.” Think of it like a database that isn’t tied to a server or public cloud, but rather a cascade of data points that work together to continuously update and verify a record of activity.

 

 

 

The Truth About Blockchain — from hbr.org by Marco Iansiti and Karim Lakhani

Excerpt:

The parallels between blockchain and TCP/IP are clear. Just as e-mail enabled bilateral messaging, bitcoin enables bilateral financial transactions. The development and maintenance of blockchain is open, distributed, and shared—just like TCP/IP’s. A team of volunteers around the world maintains the core software. And just like e-mail, bitcoin first caught on with an enthusiastic but relatively small community.

TCP/IP unlocked new economic value by dramatically lowering the cost of connections. Similarly, blockchain could dramatically reduce the cost of transactions. It has the potential to become the system of record for all transactions. If that happens, the economy will once again undergo a radical shift, as new, blockchain-based sources of influence and control emerge.*

* From DSC:
   “What if…?” comes to mind here…

 

In a blockchain system, the ledger is replicated in a large number of identical databases, each hosted and maintained by an interested party. When changes are entered in one copy, all the other copies are simultaneously updated. So as transactions occur, records of the value and assets exchanged are permanently entered in all ledgers. There is no need for third-party intermediaries to verify or transfer ownership. If a stock transaction took place on a blockchain-based system, it would be settled within seconds, securely and verifiably. (The infamous hacks that have hit bitcoin exchanges exposed weaknesses not in the blockchain itself but in separate systems linked to parties using the blockchain.)

 

 

 

Microsoft Is Working to Make Blockchain Faster and More Popular — from finance.yahoo.com and Reuters

Excerpt:

Microsoft is working on technology that it believes can make blockchain-based systems faster and more private, as it looks to speed up use of the distributed database software by enterprises.

The company said on Thursday that it had developed a system called Coco Framework, which connects to different blockchain networks to solve some of the issues that have slowed down their adoption, including speed and privacy concerns.

Coco, whose names stands for Confidential Consortium, will be ready and made open source by 2018, Microsoft said.

It is currently compatible with Ethereum, one of the most popular types of blockchains and can make it roughly 100 times faster, Microsoft said.

 

 

 

 



Addendum on 8/17/17:

 

 

 

 

The Benefits of an Innovative Culture at Smaller Colleges — from evolllution.com with Shane Garrison | Vice President of Enrollment, Campbellsville University
Smaller institutions are under more pressure than ever to innovate or collapse—weathering the storm is simply no longer an option for most institutions. This requires leaders and staff across the institution to have a creative mindset, and be willing to experiment and evolve.

Excerpt:

There is the reality that if you don’t diversify, if you fail to be creative, if you fail to try new things, you’re on the verge of folding. In Kentucky, two faith-based colleges folded within a span of about three years, and I think that created an urgency to avoid that fate. We have to be willing to try, create and experiment to survive, and that means doing things that we’ve never done before.

Evo: How can an innovative and experiment-focused culture help smaller institutions overcome some of those obstacles?

SG: I think you have to be willing to experiment for short periods of time with strategies that do not fit inside the traditional bubble. For example, for us, our online presence has been fairly strong for about 12 years. However, we had to experiment with placing a good number of full four-year bachelor’s degree programs online, something our university had never done. We had associate programs, we had graduate programs but we had to add bachelor programs online. We did it for three or four years in the experimental phase and noticed these were actually strong and it was building a beautiful pathway between our associate two-year programs and the four-year programs and continuing into graduate programs.

We are experimenting now with an international recruiting partnership and giving it two to three years to see what happens. It has been very successful thus far. This model has created a culture where we can experiment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘Good Jobs’ Still Exist; Most Require Post-High School Education — from campustechnology.comby Dian Schaffhauser

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Good jobs — those that pay at least $35,000 a year — don’t necessarily require a bachelor’s degree. These good jobs have a median salary of $55,000. And 30 million of them exist in this country, compared to 36 million “good jobs” for workers with four-year college degrees. The share of good jobs held by those without a BA has shrunken from 60 percent in 1991 to 45 percent today. Those are the singular findings of a research project undertaken by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce and supported by JPMorgan Chase & Co to understand the impact of economic change wrought by the Great Recession.

 

 

The share of good jobs held by those without a BA has shrunken from 60 percent in 1991 to 45 percent today.

 

 

People without a bachelor’s degree make up two-thirds (64 percent) of all workers. According to the authors of “Good Jobs that Pay without a BA,” many of those workers believe they can no longer find good jobs.

 


Also see:

 


 

 

 

 

Nearly half of companies say they don’t have the digital skills they need — from hbr.org by Jeremy Goldman

Excerpt:

The companies that think their employees’ digital IQs are unimportant are probably few and far between. After all, in just one decade the concept of “digital” has changed from a niche skill set to something that’s mandatory for virtually all blue-chip companies. If you don’t feel that your employees’ digital IQs are competitive, you have a major problem on your hands.

Unfortunately, for many companies, that’s exactly the situation they find themselves in. On a global basis, companies are losing faith in their digital smarts. In PwC’s 2017 Global Digital IQ Survey, 52% rated their digital IQ as strong. Compare that with 67% and 66% in 2016 and 2015, respectively. The survey, conducted among 2,200 technology executives, identified critical skill gaps such as cybersecurity and privacy.

 

 

 

The Future of Coding Bootcamps — from edsurge.com by Jeff Young

Excerpt:

EdSurge set out to answer some of those questions with a series of articles about the future of coding bootcamps. We’ll be adding to the series over the next few weeks, and let us know if you have particular questions you want us to pursue.

 

Coding Boot Camps Won’t Save Us All — from edsurge.com by Jeff Young

Excerpt:

That doesn’t mean the rest of the boot camps are doomed. In fact, there are at least 95 other coding boot camp companies in the U.S., and some say they are still growing. But it should bring a dose of realism to what had been a narrative of unending growth and the idea that somehow boot camps were a silver bullet for what ails higher education.

 

More bootcamps are quietly coming to a university near you — from edsurge.com by Sydney Johnson

Excerpt:

In the last two years, a surge of nonprofit, four-year institutions have hopped on the bootcamp bandwagon. These programs, often on skills such as software development or data analytics, have arrived in a number of ways—from universities partnering with local for-profit bootcamps, or colleges creating their own intensive training programs completely in-house.But while bootcamps are often associated with tech skills, it seems that traditional universities trying out the model are interested in more than just coding. An increasing number of traditional higher-ed institutions are now applying bootcamp trainings to other fields, such as healthcare, accounting and even civics and political science.

 

Online learning startup Codecademy launches paid Pro courses — from techcrunch.com by Ryan Lawler

Excerpt:

Codecademy has spent the last several years building a large community of learners with free lessons aimed at teaching its users the basics of how to code. But now it’s betting that many of them will be willing to pay for more intensive courses.

When Codecademy founder and CEO Zach Sims founded the company in  2011, he did so with the hope of allowing more people interested in programming to gain access to educational content they’d need to get started.

 

 

 

Report: AI will be in nearly all new software by 2020 — from thejournal.com by Joshua Bolkan

Excerpt:

Artificial intelligence will be in nearly all new software products by 2020 and a top five investment priority for more than 30 percent of chief information officers, according to a new report from Gartner.

The company lists three keys to successfully exploiting AI technologies over the next few years:

  • Many vendors are “AI washing” their products, or applying the term artificial intelligence to tools that don’t really merit it. Vendors should use the term wisely and be clear about what differentiates their AI products and what problems they solve;
  • Forego more complicated or cutting-edge AI techniques in favor of simpler, proven approaches; and
  • Organizations do not have the skills to evaluate, build or deploy AI and are looking for embedded or packaged AI rather than custom building their own.

 

 

 

 

Radically open: Tom Friedman on jobs, learning, and the future of work — from dupress.delotte.com by Tom Friedman, Cathy Engelbert, and John Hagel

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Tom Friedman: My thoughts on the future of work are very influenced by my friend, a business strategist, Heather McGowan. She really describes that what’s going on is that work is being disconnected from jobs, and jobs and work are being disconnected from companies, which are increasingly becoming platforms. That’s Heather’s argument, and that is what I definitely see.

[A good] example is what’s happened to the cab business. In Bethesda, we have a [local] cab company that owns cars and has employees who have a job; they drive those cars. They’re competing now with Uber, which owns no cars, has no employees, and just provides a platform of work that brings together ride-needers—myself—and ride-providers. And I do think that the Uber platform model, and the way it is turning a job into work and monetizing work, is the future of work.

And that will have a huge impact on the future of learning. Because if work is being extracted from jobs, and if jobs and work are being extracted from companies—and because, as you and I have both written, we’re now in a world of flows — then learning has to become lifelong. We have to provide both the learning tools and the learning resources for lifelong learning when your job becomes work and your company becomes a platform.

So I’m not sure what the work of the future is, but I know that the future of companies is to be hiring people and constantly training people to be prepared for a job that has not been invented yet. If you, as a company, are not providing both the resources and the opportunity for lifelong learning, [you’re sunk], because you simply cannot be a lifelong employee anymore unless you are a lifelong learner. If you’re training people for a job that’s already been invented, or if you’re going to school in preparation for a job that’s already been invented, I would suggest that you’re going to have problems somewhere down the road.


CE: In a recent report from the National Bureau of Economic Research, some leading labor economists did an analysis of net new employment in the United States between 2005 and 2015, and found that about 94 percent of that net new employment was from alternative work arrangements—everything from gig to freelance and off-balance-sheet kinds of work.

I think that’s why we need to teach filtering, literally, to our students. There should be Filtering 101, Filtering 102, Filtering 103. How do I filter information so I get enough of it to advance, but not so much that I’m overwhelmed? How do I filter news?

 

 

…it seems to me that rule number one is you want to be radically open. And that’s a really hard sell right now, because it feels so counterintuitive, and everyone’s putting up walls right when you want to be, actually, radically open. Why do you want to be radically open? Because you’ll get more flows; you’ll get the signals first, and you will attract more flow-minded people, which I would call high-IQ risk-takers. That’s from a country point of view, but I have to believe that’s also right from a company point of view: that you want to be plugged into as many discussions, as many places, and as many flow generators as possible, because you’ll simply get the signals first in order to understand where the work of the future is coming from.

 

 

[GE] offered $20,000 in prize money — 7,000 to the winner, and the rest split up among the other finalists. Well, within six weeks, they got over 600 responses. The 10 finalists were all tested by GE engineers, and they picked the winner. None of the 10 finalists was an American, and none was an aeronautical engineer, and the winner was a 21-year-old from Indonesia who was not an aeronautical engineer, and he took more than 80 percent of the weight out of this fastener.

No, let’s actually create jump balls and access all the talent wherever it is.

 

 

And what did the best artisans do? They brought so much personal value-add, so much unique extra, to what they did that they carved their initials into their work at the end of the day. So always do your job [in a way that] you bring so much empathy to it, so much unique, personal value-add, that it cannot be automated, digitized, or outsourced, and that you want to carve your initials into it at the end of the day.

 

 



From DSC:
If what Tom, Cathy, and John discuss here is true, think of what that means for our students. Our students need to be digitally literate, online, adaptable, lifelong learners, and they need to be highly comfortable with change. They need to be tapped into the “flows” that the authors describe (what they refer to as flows, I call “streams of content” — if I’m understanding their perspective correctly). They need to think entrepreneurially, as Friedman asserts.

Also, they discuss three new social contracts that need to evolve:

There are three new social contracts that have to evolve here. Government has to incentivize companies to create these lifelong learning opportunities. Companies have to create the platforms for employees to afford to be able to take these courses. And the employee has to have a new social contract with themselves: “I have to do this on my own time; I have to be more self-motivated.” More is on you.

…and thus enters my vision that I call Learning from the Living [Class] Room. A global, powerful, next generation learning platform — meant to help people reinvent themselves quickly, cost-effectively, conveniently, & consistently.

 

 

The Living [Class] Room -- by Daniel Christian -- July 2012 -- a second device used in conjunction with a Smart/Connected TV

 

 

But there is no more important survival skill than learning to love learning.

 

 

…because you simply cannot be a lifelong employee anymore unless you are a lifelong learner.

 

 

Always think of yourself as if you need to be reengineered, retooled, relearned, retaught constantly. Never think of yourself as “finished”; otherwise you really will be finished.

 

 



 

 

 

The Rose-Colored Glasses Come Off: a Survey of Business Officers — from insidehighered.com by Doug Lederman & Rick Seltzer

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

The reality of higher education’s financial challenges is sinking in among college and university business officers.

Now the question is what they’re doing about it — and whether they’re willing to do enough.

Chief business officers increasingly agree that higher education is in the midst of a financial crisis, according to the 2017 Inside Higher Ed Survey of College and University Business Officers. Some are also starting to lose faith in the idea that they can overcome revenue shortfalls using the often-cited strategy of increasing enrollment.

Many respondents were open or supportive of the idea of consolidating programs or academic operations with other institutions. Yet survey results reflected a greater skepticism about their likelihood of actually merging with other colleges or universities in the near future. Business officers were also generally leery of addressing their budget issues in ways that would require them to ask faculty members to change. So although business officers are increasingly recognizing the financial threats they face, experts wondered whether they are being realistic about the kind of strategies they will have to pursue to chart a course forward.

 

 

 

Also see:

 

 

I’d like to make a modest proposal.

What if for 2018 all of us involved in postsecondary learning innovation – edtech and CTL and library folks – spent the entire calendar year learning about the business of higher education?

— Per Joshua Kim

 

 

 

 

 

2017 Ed Tech Trends: The Halfway Point — from campustechnology.com by Rhea Kelly
Four higher ed IT leaders weigh in on the current state of education technology and what’s ahead.

This article includes some perspectives shared from the following 4 IT leaders:

  • Susan Aldridge, Senior Vice President for Online Learning, Drexel University (PA); President, Drexel University Online
  • Daniel Christian, Adjunct Faculty Member, Calvin College
  • Marci Powell, CEO/President, Marci Powell & Associates; Chair Emerita and Past President, United States Distance Learning Association
  • Phil Ventimiglia, Chief Innovation Officer, Georgia State University

 

 

Also see:

 

 

 

Making the future work for everyone — from blog.google by Jacquelline Fuller

Excerpt:

Help ensure training is as effective and as wide-reaching as possible.
Millions are spent each year on work skills and technical training programs, but there isn’t much visibility into how these programs compare, or if the skills being taught truly match what will be needed in the future. So some of our funding will go into research to better understand which trainings will be most effective in getting the most people the jobs of the future. Our grantee Social Finance is looking at which youth training programs most effectively use contributions from trainees, governments and future employers to give people the best chance of
success.

 

Helping prepare for the future of work

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

The way we work is changing. As new technologies continue to unfold in the workplace, more than a third of jobs are likely to require skills that are uncommon in today’s workforce. Workers are increasingly working independently. Demographic changes and shifts in labor participation in developed countries will mean future generations will find new ways to sustain economic growth. These changes create opportunities to think about how work can continue to be a source of not just income, but purpose and meaning for individuals and communities.Technology can help seize these opportunities. We recently launched Google for Jobs, which is designed to help better connect people to jobs, and today we’re announcing Google.org’s $50 million commitment to help people prepare for the changing nature of work. We’ll support nonprofits who are taking innovative approaches to tackling this challenge in three ways: (1) training people with the skills they need, (2) connecting job-seekers with positions that match their skills and talents, and (3) supporting workers in low-wage employment. We’ll start by focusing on the US, Canada, Europe, and Australia, and hope to expand to other countries over time.

 

 

 

 
© 2017 | Daniel Christian