Academy 2.0: December 2006 Archives


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As the regular reader will remember, this year's MLA kicked off with a stirring rendition of the second chapter of my book manuscript, with the unusually expository (for me, at least) title "The Rhetorical Canons as an Ecology of (New Media) Practice." Gee, I wonder what the talk was about?

Hee. Today was also the 3rd step in the epic self-transformation that will see me turn from a reader of conference papers to a speaker of conference presentations. I worked from an outline and from the slides, but otherwise, did not script the specifics. I think it went okay, but I do have to confess that the fellow in the 3rd row who used his cameraphone to take snapshots of each of my slides, and whose phone rang not once but twice during our session, was a bit of a distraction.

And yet, it was he who inspired me to go ahead and try out SlideShare, which is basically a YouTube-like service for PP presentations. Keynote exports to pdf, which I can then upload and turn into a shareable Flash doodad.

(Update: The doodad was taking serious download time, so I'm replacing it with a link to the SlideShare page instead. Those readers uninterested in unnarrated PP slides may now breath an appropriately grateful sigh of relief.)

The pdf option, far as I can tell, preserves original layout and font better, and has the virtue of being about 1/10 the size of a PP export. So even though there's no support for a Keynote native presentation, it works out just fine.

The slides themselves are probably a little oblique without commentary, so I'll use ProfCast when I get back to Syracuse and offer a full-service version. In the meantime, suffer in silence. I'm done with my talk, and have a much more leisurely conference ahead of me.

That is all.

The Strength of School Ties

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A necessarily quick entry, but one I wanted to dash up here for later thought. Over at Centrality, a report on a study by Christine Beckman that compares Silicon Valley startups by examining the strength of their internal ties prior to startup. The findings:

When the team members were previously employed at the same company(ies), the new firm introduced its product to the market more quickly than firms founded by teams with more diverse previous work experience. Additionally, these companies tended to develop products that competed with existing products through lower costs or product enhancements. Further, the final product of these companies more closely resembled the product envisioned by the team at the start of the firm.

In contrast, firms founded by teams with diverse previous work experience took more time to bring their product to market, but that product was more innovative and leading-edge. The product, however, had changed form the product the founders initially intended to bring to market.

Sorry for the long quote. There's more at the entry, including a link to the study itself. Here's what I want to think about, though: Are there implications here for classrooms, particularly at the graduate level? We're a very small program, with classes ranging from about 5-10 students, often at the low end of that. And in the fall, we have a gateway course that is only for the 1st years (the equiv of a "team with diverse previous work experiences").

It's not exactly the same, of course, since a grad course isn't exactly focused on bringing a particular product to market. But I know lots of folk who, by the end of coursework, feel constrained in the grad classroom because they feel like discussions, regardless of topic, tread and retread over the same ground.

I don't have a fully formulated thesis here, but it might be worth asking what effect strong/weak ties have on the learning process--my guess is that it might actually be an axis along which people locate themselves variously. Might also correspond to someone's preference for reading broadly vs. reading deeply. Might also connect to teaching style--certain folk might make better teachers given one type of "team" rather than another. Etc.

Like I said, more thoughts than thesis. That's all.



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This page is a archive of entries in the Academy 2.0 category from December 2006.

Academy 2.0: November 2006 is the previous archive.

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