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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Codify Academy Taps IBM Cloud with Watson to Design Cognitive Chatbot — from finance.yahoo.com
Chatbot “Bobbot” has driven thousands of potential leads, 10 percent increase in converting visitors to students

Excerpt:

ARMONK, N.Y., Aug. 4, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced that Codify Academy, a San Francisco-based developer education startup, tapped into IBM Cloud’s cognitive services to create an interactive cognitive chatbot, Bobbot, that is improving student experiences and increasing enrollment.

Using the IBM Watson Conversation Service, Bobbot fields questions from prospective and current students in natural language via the company’s website. Since implementing the chatbot, Codify Academy has engaged thousands of potential leads through live conversation between the bot and site visitors, leading to a 10 percent increase in converting these visitors into students.

 

 

Bobbot can answer more than 200 common questions about enrollment, course and program details, tuition, and prerequisites, in turn enabling Codify Academy staff to focus on deeper, more meaningful exchanges.

 

 

 


Also see:

Chatbots — The Beginners Guide
 — from chatbotsmagazine.com

Excerpt:

If you search for chatbots on Google, you’ll probably come across hundreds of pages starting from what is a chatbot to how to build one. This is because we’re in 2017, the year of the chatbots revolution.

I’ve been introduced to many people who are new to this space, and who are very interested and motivated in entering it, rather they’re software developers, entrepreneurs, or just tech hobbyists. Entering this space for the first time, has become overwhelming in just a few months, particularly after Facebook announced the release of the messenger API at F8 developer conference. Due to this matter, I’ve decided to simplify the basic steps of entering this fascinating world.

 


 

 

 

 

Five lessons for libraries looking to innovate in the 21st Century — from knightfoundation.org by Laura Sue Wilansky

Excerpt:

In June, Knight Foundation sent a cohort of U.S. librarians from institutions around the country to the Next Library Conference, an annual gathering held in Aarhus, Denmark that brings together library leaders from around the world to discuss innovative programs, services and ideas in the field. 20 U.S. librarians from 11 cities joined hundreds of colleagues who attended the conference from around the globe, from China to Kenya to the Caribbean.

The goal was to spread best practices in library innovation, while helping their capacity to meet new digital age demands. The initiative is part of Knight’s larger work to help libraries better serve 21st century information needs. We believe libraries are essential to addressing information challenges and creating opportunities for communities to engage with information, new ideas and each other. The conference was an opportunity to connect U.S. libraries in order to share practices and approaches being used to attract new patrons around the world, as well as gather insights from them that can help to further inform our strategy.

Here are some of the lessons the librarians brought home…

 

 

“We need to focus intently on making our buildings locations for experimentation, innovation, education, recreation and relaxation.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Penn State World Campus implements 360-degree videos in online courses — from news.psu.edu by Mike Dawson
Videos give students virtual-reality experiences; leaders hopeful for quick expansion

Excerpt:

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State World Campus is using 360-degree videos and virtual reality for the first time with the goal of improving the educational experience for online learners.

The technology has been implemented in the curriculum of a graduate-level special education course in Penn State’s summer semester. Students can use a VR headset to watch 360-degree videos on a device such as a smartphone.

The course, Special Education 801, focuses on how teachers can respond to challenging behaviors, and the 360-degree videos place students in a classroom where they see an instructor explaining strategies for arranging the classroom in ways best-suited for the learning activity. The videos were produced using a 360-degree video camera and uploaded into the course in just a few a days.

 

 

 

Campus Technology 2017: Virtual Reality Is More Than a New Medium — from edtechmagazine.com by Amy Burroughs
Experts weigh in on the future of VR in higher education.

Excerpts:

“It’s actually getting pretty exciting,” Georgieva said, noting that legacy companies and startups alike have projects in the works that will soon be on the market. Look for standalone, wireless VR headsets later this year from Facebook and Google.

“I think it’s going to be a universal device,” he said. “Eventually, we’ll end up with some kind of glasses where we can just dial in the level of immersion that we want.”

— Per Emery Craig, at Campus Technology 2017 Conference


“Doing VR for the sake of VR makes no sense whatsoever,” Craig said. “Ask when does it make sense to do this in VR? Does a sense of presence help this, or is it better suited to traditional media?”

 

 

Virtual Reality: The User Experience of Story — from blogs.adobe.com

Excerpt:

Solving the content problems in VR requires new skills that are only just starting to be developed and understood, skills that are quite different from traditional storytelling. VR is a nascent medium. One part story, one part experience. And while many of the concepts from film and theater can be used, storytelling through VR is not like making a movie or a play.

In VR, the user has to be guided through an experience of a story, which means many of the challenges in telling a VR story are closer to UX design than anything from film or theater.

Take the issue of frameless scenes. In a VR experience, there are no borders, and no guarantees where a user will look. Scenes must be designed to attract user attention, in order to guide them through the experience of a story.

Sound design, staging cues, lighting effects, and movement can all be used to draw a user’s attention.

However, it’s a fine balance between attraction to distraction.

“In VR, it’s easy to overwhelm the user. If you see a flashing light and in the background, you hear a sharp siren, and then something moves, you’ve given the user too many things to understand,” says Di Dang, User Experience Lead at POP, Seattle. “Be intentional and deliberate about how you grab audience attention.”

 

VR is a storytelling superpower. No other medium has the quite the same potential to create empathy and drive human connection. Because viewers are for all intents and purposes living the experience, they walk away with that history coded into their memory banks—easily accessible for future responses.

 

 

 

Google’s latest VR experiment is teaching people how to make coffee — from techradar.com by Parker Wilhelm
All in a quest to see how effective learning in virtual reality is

Excerpt:

Teaching with a simulation is no new concept, but Google’s Daydream Labs wants to see exactly how useful virtual reality can be for teaching people practical skills.

In a recent experiment, Google ran a simulation of an interactive espresso machine in VR. From there, it had a group of people try their virtual hand at brewing a cup of java before being tasked to make the real thing.

 

 



 

Addendum on 7/26/17:

 



 

 

 

Want to Build a Culture of Learning? You Need to Embrace Failure — from learning.linkedin.com by Paul Petrone

Excerpt:

Six questions that determine how your company really feels about failure
It’s great to say your company welcomes people experimenting and failing. But does that actually happen in practice?

To assess how your company really feels about failure, Andreatta suggests asking yourself these six questions about your culture:

  • Do people admit when they don’t know something or ask for help?
  • What happens when someone makes a mistake or fails? Are they teased or shamed or are they encouraged to look at what happened and try again?
  • When people make mistakes or challenge ideas, do they ultimately get sidelined, demoted or red?
  • Do people admit their mistakes and take responsibility for fixing them or do they blame others?
  • Do managers and leaders share stories of how they took risks or recovered from a failure?

 

“All of the amazing training programs in the world won’t help if people don’t feel safe enough to stretch and grow,” Andreatta said.

 

 

 

More Than Just Cool? — from insidehighered.com by Nick Roll
Virtual and augmented realities make headway in courses on health care, art history and social work.

Excerpt:

When Glenn Gunhouse visits the Pantheon, you would think that the professor, who teaches art and architecture history, wouldn’t be able to keep his eyes off the Roman temple’s columns, statues or dome. But there’s something else that always catches his eye: the jaws of the tourists visiting the building, and the way they all inevitably drop.

“Wow.”

There’s only one other way that Gunhouse has been able to replicate that feeling of awe for his students short of booking expensive plane tickets to Italy. Photos, videos and even three-dimensional walk-throughs on a computer screen don’t do it: It’s when his students put on virtual reality headsets loaded with images of the Pantheon.

 

…nursing schools are using virtual reality or augmented reality to bring three-dimensional anatomy illustrations off of two-dimensional textbook pages.

 

 

 



 

Also see:

Oculus reportedly planning $200 standalone wireless VR headset for 2018 — from techcrunch.com by Darrell Etherington

Excerpt:

Facebook is set to reveal a standalone Oculus virtual reality headset sometime later this year, Bloomberg reports, with a ship date of sometime in 2018. The headset will work without requiring a tethered PC or smartphone, according to the report, and will be branded with the Oculus name around the world, except in China, where it’ll carry Xiaomi trade dress and run some Xiaomi software as part of a partnership that extends to manufacturing plans for the device.

 



Facebook Inc. is taking another stab at turning its Oculus Rift virtual reality headset into a mass-market phenomenon. Later this year, the company plans to unveil a cheaper, wireless device that the company is betting will popularize VR the way Apple did the smartphone.

Source



 

 

 

 

Realizing the Potential of Blockchain: A Multistakeholder Approach to the Stewardship of Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies — from the World Economic Forum

Excerpts:

Like the first generation of the internet, this second generation promises to disrupt business models and transform industries. Blockchain (also called distributed ledger), the technology enabling cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and Ethereum, is pulling us into a new era of openness, decentralization and global inclusion. It leverages the resources of a global peer-to-peer network to ensure the integrity of the value exchanged among billions of devices without going through a trusted third party. Unlike the internet alone, blockchains are distributed, not centralized; open, not hidden; inclusive, not exclusive; immutable, not alterable; and secure. Blockchain gives us unprecedented capabilities to create and trade value in society. As the foundational platform of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, it enables such innovations as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, the internet of things (IoT), robotics and even technology in our bodies, so that more people can participate in the economy, create wealth and improve the state of the world.

However, this extraordinary technology may be stalled, sidetracked, captured or otherwise suboptimized depending on how all the stakeholders behave in stewarding this set of resources – i.e. how it is governed.

At the overall ecosystem level, we look at the need for a proper legal structure, regulatory restraint, diversity of viewpoints and scientific research in tandem with business development. We introduce each of the eight stakeholders in the ecosystem: innovators, venture capitalists, banks and financial services, developers, academics, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), government bodies, and users or citizens.

The internet is entering a second era that’s based on blockchain. The last few decades brought us the internet of information. We are now witnessing the rise of the internet of value. Where the first era was sparked by a convergence of computing and communications technologies, this second era will be powered by a clever combination of cryptography, mathematics, software engineering and behavioural economics. It is blockchain technology, also called distributed ledger technology. Like the internet before it, the blockchain promises to upend business models and disrupt industries. It is pushing us to challenge how we have structured society, defined value and rewarded participation.

 

 

From DSC:
Institutions of higher education need to put the topic of blockchain-based technologies on their radars, as blockchain could impact how people get their credentials in the future. It could easily turn out to be the case that community colleges, colleges, and universities will join other organizations in terms of being able to offer credentials to their learners.

 

 

 

 

From DSC:
After reading the item below, I wondered:

Should technical communicators, trainers, and help desk personnel get trained on how to design and develop “workbots?”


 

Forget chatbots — you should create a workbot instead — from venturebeat.com by Oren Ariel; with thanks to Thomas Frey for his tweet on this

Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

But what about employee-to-company interaction through bots? Chatbots designed for the work environment, or workbots, could become the next step function in work productivity.

Workbots could be the cure for what’s often called “app fatigue.”

They work within the corporate messenger environment (such as Jabber, Skype for Business, Slack, and others) and respond to commands and questions in natural language, whether typed or dictated. They have access to all the corporate information needed to get the job done and can perform complex tasks across multiple systems. The workbot knows what tasks are executed in which back-end system, so the user doesn’t have to know. Because bots rely on natural language processing (NLP) — the ability of humans to interact with computers using free-form language — workbots can help an employee get to the starting point quickly and without any training, in the same way a search engine would, and then help guide the user through the task in a step-by-step fashion.

Chat is no longer just about communication, it’s about bringing the user information.

 

 

 

AIG teams with IBM to use blockchain for ‘smart’ insurance policy — from reuters.com by Suzanne Barlyn

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Insurer American International Group Inc has partnered with International Business Machines Corp to develop a “smart” insurance policy that uses blockchain to manage complex international coverage, the companies said on Wednesday.

AIG and IBM completed a pilot of a so-called “smart contract” multi-national policy for Standard Chartered Bank PLC which the companies said is the first of its kind using blockchain’s digital ledger technology.

IBM has been partnering with leading companies in various industries, including Danish transport company Maersk, to create blockchain-based products that can streamline complex international dealings across sectors.

 

Blockchain technology, which powers the digital currency bitcoin, enables data sharing across a network of individual computers. It has gained worldwide popularity due to its usefulness in recording and keeping track of assets or transactions across all industries.

 

 

From DSC:
Why post this item? Because IBM and others are experimenting with and investing millions into blockchain-based technologies; and because the manner in which credentials are stored and recognized will most likely be significantly impacted by blockchain-based technologies. Earlier this year at the Next Generation Learning Spaces Conference in San Diego, I mentioned that this topic of blockchain-based technologies is something that should be on our radars within higher education.

 

 

 

 

 

 
© 2017 | Daniel Christian