(#FunFriday) Word Up!

The English language has never been my forte. I was recently listening to a terrific article on this very topic on Umano, one of my favorite mobile apps. The article was titled 25 Common Words That You’ve Got Wrong and indeed I often use all 25 of those words incorrectly. I guess I can take solace in the fact that I am not alone in my abuse of the English language. Too bad these common misuses had not been pointed out to me earlier, but I am grateful for those out there that can help me out from time to time. And apparently I can now add “Weird Al” Yankovic to my list of those to thank. Hey Write Place I think we found you a new theme song!

StarID Launched!

StarID LogoFriday evening SCSU renamed users’ accounts and began syncing users’ StarID from MnSCU. Let’s cover some of the frequently asked questions.

What is StarID?
Everyone has a username and passwords in the MnSCU system dubbed their StarID. The StarID is a random username using two letters, four numbers, and two more numbers (i.e. ab1234cd). At SCSU we’ve renamed our accounts to match the username assigned by MnSCU and then sync’d the password. Moving forward we’ll leverage the MnSCU system as our source of truth.

Why StarID?
I was able to spend a day at in the HuskTech support area at the beginning of the school year. I can tell you that for folks new to SCSU it is very confusing to need several IDs. The most confusing part is the activation. For many just remembering their Social Security number is a chore. Add to that the various ID’s, pin numbers, passwords, etc. and things start to compound. The StarID is a common username that will be used across the MnSCU system. It will also be activated via the MnSCU website. Moving to the StarID will cut out an entire layer of complexity both for our users and for our support staff and that is a huge win for everyone. For faculty, staff, and students that have spent time at other institutions they’ll experience an even greater benefit being able to leverage a centralized account.

Why Now?
There is not a perfect time to make the transition. In the summer there are very few people on campus and we want to be sure that we can provide in-person support to as many as possible. The beginning and end of the semesters are usually very busy and we didn’t want to make a big change during an already busy and stressful time. That led us to the Spring Break timeframe.

This was a huge project for ITS. We had a great team of people focused on making the transition as easy as possible for our customers. We had terrific support from other institutions in MnSCU (Mankato in particular), as well as our early adopter faculty, staff and students. The process is far from complete as we still need to work with our users as they return to campus, but we’ve already learned a lot through this process and we’ve made some significant leaps as an IT organization. This project has forced us to come together, focus, challenge each other, and learn to move quickly. This will help ITS become an even better resource for our community. Thank you to all who worked so hard to make this project successful, and thank you to our users for your support and patience as we rollout StarID – change is never easy.

October is Connected Educator Month

October is Connected Educator Month! This exciting initiative is driven by the Office of Educational Technology at the U.S. Department of Education and is focused on K-12, but has great applicability to Higher Education too. Interestingly, due to the government shutdown they’ve already had to postpone some of their scheduled events. The goal of the initiative is to connect educators across the United States via online communities and social networks. The hope is that educators will compare best practices, engage in conversation, become mentors, find mentors, and more. Here are my suggestions for getting started participating in the Connected Educator community. I encourage you to watch the video below to get inspired!

And finally, here are my suggestions for getting engaged in the Connected Educator community.

  1. Explore the Connected Educator site here.
  2. Sign up for emails here.
  3. For those of you that teach in K-12, take 15 minutes to sign up for a profile here.
  4. If you are on Twitter follow #ce13, or even better join in on the conversation.

(#FunFriday) Growing and Printing… Food!

Self-driving cars, tornado analyzing drones, computer-embedded glasses, and now both growing and printing food are realities! Lab grown hamburgers and printed milkshakes may just be in our future.  It’s starting to feel like the Star Trek and The Jetsons are not so far out.  Would you eat a lab grown hamburger?  How about a printed cookie?  What other new technology is coming?

Library Innovation

Bobbi Newman runs a great blog on all things library related.  Recently she posted a great slide deck titled Set the World on Fire, keynote, Colorado Association of Libraries. I like the deck because it is simple and really applies to a broader audience then just librarians.  Give it a quick look!


Set the World on Fire, keynote, Colorado Association of Libraries/strong> from Bobbi Newman

Are you inspired yet?  Need more?  Read on…

The James B. Hunt Library at North Carolina State University describes itself as the library of the future.  That is a pretty bold statement.  But if their promotional videos are reflective of the real life experience they may be understating their status.

Now check out the article below from Fast Company featuring the library.  There are some great pictures as well as another video discussing the innovations they’ve implemented.

Fast Company: This New Library Of The Future Brings You Your Books Via Robot 

A “Quiet” Creative Friday

Last Friday ITS held a Creative Friday event where there was a viewing of author Susan Cain’s TED talk, The Power of Introverts (see the video at my earlier post here). The viewing was followed by a guided discussion with faculty Suzanne Stangl-Erkins and Wendy Bjorklund. I’ve been fortunate enough to sit in on a few talks from Suzanne and Wendy in the past and they always have insightful thoughts. This time they talked issues that can arise when extroverts are managed by an extrovert and conversely the benefit of an introverted manager allowing extroverted employees to run with their ideas. They also talked about the disadvantages to modern work spaces that they explained can have both negative psychological and physical impacts. Another area they addressed was the adverse impact that impromptu group work has. They explained that often a few individuals dominate the discussion and good ideas don’t end up being brought forward by the majority of the group. They gave a great method for collaboration that involved the distribution of index cards and idea ranking. I hope that we can test this process as a part of a future collaborative event.

We ran out of time to get into a deep discussion on the topics, but there were some holes that I was hoping we could have discussed. Here are some of the questions I still have.

  • I’ve noticed benefits to a collaborative work environment. Do the experts see value? What about the creative environments popping up at Google, Citrix, and other big companies?
  • What are approaches to build environments that support both introverts and extroverts?
  • If there are issues with extroverted managers managing extroverted employees, are there also benefits? In my experience there certainly are. What are mechanisms to minimize the negatives? What can be done to capitalize on any positive elements?
  • If impromptu group work and brainstorming has a negative impact on ideas, do group discussions in an online setting (i.e. D2L) share these issues? Would there be benefits to having group discussions online asynchronously vs. synchronously? Might backchannel tools help break down some of the issues presented by group conversations?

Those were just some of the questions bouncing around in my head. I also would have loved to talk about the questions that I had raised in the earlier Quiet post. Below are the discussion questions for Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking

  • What are the merits of working in a team vs. working alone? Is there a way to structure work to receive the benefits of both?
  • What can be done in a workplace to foster what works best for both extroverts’ and introverts’ success?
  • What does it mean to show leadership? How do the strengths of introverts and extroverts align with those characteristics? How does the situation intersect with those characteristics?
  • How do you feel about open floor plan office spaces? How do you like to work?
  • What could you achieve by assembling groups of introverts and extroverts? How would those achievements be different from those of more homogenous groups?
  • What can we learn from one another as introverts and extroverts?
  • Do you think your job suits your temperament? If not, what could you do to change things?
  • How might ITS take into consideration students’ tendencies for introversion and extroversion and the ways in which that impacts the types of technologies we deliver? For example, how can we address both introversion and extroversion when we are designing learning spaces? What might that look like?

Do you have more questions?  Do you have feedback on the questions or topics that were posed?  Add your 2 cents in the comments section below!

Lastly, if you are interested in taking a quiz to see where you land on the introvert/extrovert spectrum checkout the quiz on Susan Cain’s site here.