Saturday, October 08, 2005

Old Friends...

... have a way of cutting to the chase. You know, you've been gone a while, doing a bunch of different things that you're excited about, you meet a bunch of new people who show polite interest in what you're doing. But your old friends push you a little harder, trying to get to the meat.

So when I was back in Iowa, I met a bunch of old pals that asked me how things were going down here in the desert. We talked scorpions of course, and dry heat (so's your oven!!! hahaha!!!), but they really wanted to know how things were going.

"Done anything?" they ask, in that way only old friends have. "Have they run you out of town yet?". You know, those 'right to the point' kinds of questions that clarify one's thinking. I guess two months in is a good time to take stock, so this is what I told them.

  1. We're experimenting with a new, open process for devloping ASU's strategic technology plan, based on a blog and a wiki. The process has nearly 200 named participants, a large number of unnamed participants, and its only two weeks old. As of last Friday, the wiki contained about 97 content pages. There have been a total of 27,898 page views so far, and 2,187 page edits since the wiki was setup. That comes to 1.74 average edits per page, and 12.76 views per edit.What's exciting about this is that it represents a new approach to strategic planning that -- if it works -- will be faster, more inclusive and more open than traditional approaches.

  2. On the academic technology side, some momentum is building behind the 1:1 vision. We've outlined a 1:1 based approach for the legislature in a program called ATLAS -- the Application for Technology-based Learning and Support. We're also developing a pilot program for 1:1 at the Downtown campus -- "Downtown 1:1". The idea behind Downtown 1:1 is to develop the support programs and partnerships needed to make 1:1 an effective educational tool at ASU in the microcosm of the Downtown campus.1:1 is more than just another a laptop program. Its about establishing a web-based administrative and educational platform to enrich the academic experience at ASU.

  3. Momenutum is also building behind the ASU/NAU 'Regent's Vanilla' strategy. As news of the plan to investigate the applicability of NAU's system to ASU's needs has spread, groups throughout ASU are showing serious interest. The next three months will tell I guess, but I'm reasonably optimistic that a solid strategy is developing.

  4. Amazondotcomification -- one of the most contrived nouns not in the English language -- is also making some headway. There seems to be pretty broad agreement that should be reconceptualized as:

    • a comprehensive, seamless, role-based, transactional portal,

    • with a consistent look and feel,

    • single sign on,

    • that is customizable by individual or by unit. does not reveal the organizational structure of amazon, nor does a user need to understand amazon's organizational structure to effectively use their website. At present the converse(?) is true for Not only does reveal ASU's organizational structure, but in many cases a user needs to know that structure in order to effectively use

    No we just need to figure out how to make that happen for us.

  5. I've met a lot of people in the past 9 weeks that are passionate about technology in the service of ASU. Some of them work in schools, colleges, departments and administrative units throughout ASU, others work for central IT. All of them looking to do the most good they can do. However, I feel they are often working at cross purposes or duplicating effort. If we find a way to fix that, it will be a major force multiplier.

There's still a lot of work to do of course, but I'm enthused about the beginning. I'm meeting with the moderation team this Tuesday to take stock of the SWOT charts and see how far we are. We're not near final on these, but we're off to a good start.