Mythology, Belief, Analytics, & Behavior

I’m at loose ends after graduating. The Dean for Student Affairs, whom I’ve gotten to know through a year of complicated political and educational advocacy, wants to know more about MIT‘s nascent pass/fail experiment, under which first-year students receive written rather than graded evaluations of their work. MIT being MIT, “know more” means data: the Dean wants […]

DMCA Notices to Colleges and Universities, 2014

Under certain provisions from the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, copyright holders send a “notification of claimed infringement” (sometimes called a “DMCA” or “takedown” notice) to Internet service providers, such as college or university networks, when they find infringing material available from the provider’s network. I analyzed counts of infringement notices from the four principal senders […]

Network Neutrality? Again? What’s Different?

The last time I wrote about network neutrality, higher education was deeply involved in the debate, especially through the Association of Research Libraries and EDUCAUSE, whose policy group I then headed. We supported a proposal by the then Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman, Julius Genachowski, to require public non-managed last-mile networks to transmit end-user Internet traffic neutrally. […]

The evil that men do lives after them. The good is oft interred with their bones.

Lunch with an old friend, beautiful day in Washington, seated outdoors enjoying surprisingly excellent hamburgers. We’re going to talk about our kids, and what we’re doing this summer, and maybe even about working together on a project some day (as we did decades ago). But as is so often the case for those of us who work […]

Notes From (or is it To?) the Dark Side

“Why are you at NBC?,” people ask. “What are you doing over there?,” too, and “Is it different on the dark side?” A year into the gig seems a good time to think about those. Especially that “dark side” metaphor.  For example, which side is “dark”? This is a longer-than-usual post. I’ll take up the […]

Streaming TV: New Tricks and Old Problems

I like to read mysteries. No surprise, I also watch lots of TV cop shows and mysteries. Some good reads turn out to be not-so-good TV, and vice versa. Ian Rankin‘s Rebus mysteries and various of Peter Lovesey‘s are an example of the former, and, in my view at least, David Suchet’s Poirot is a lot […]

Perceived Truths as Policy Paradoxes

The quote I was going to use to introduce this topic — “You’re entitled to your own opinion, but not to your own facts” — itself illustrates my theme for today: that truths are often less than well founded, and so can turn policy discussions weird. I’d always heard the quote attributed to Pat Moynihan, […]

Story of S, and the Mythology of the Lost Generation

Dinner talk turned from Argo and Zero Dark Thirty to movies more generally. A 21-year-old college senior—I’ll call her “S”—recognized most of the films we were discussing. She had seen several, but others she hadn’t, which was a bit surprising, since S was an arts major, wanted to be a screenwriter, and was enthusiastic about her […]

Three Fallacies: Optimal Diet, Best Practices, and Key Indicators

Just before writing this (and then losing most of it to a Chrome freeze, and then rewriting it), I had a sort-of-Ploughman’s lunch: a couple of Wasa Wholegrain crackers spread with about 1 ounce of nice smelly Buttermilk Blue cheese, and a Pink Lady apple, and a glass of water. For yesterday’s lunch I mixed […]

The Importance of Being Enterprise

…as Oscar Wilde well might have titled an essay about campus-wide IT, had there been such a thing back then. Enterprise IT it accounts for the lion’s share of campus IT staffing, expenditure, and risk. Yet it receives curiously little attention in national discussion of IT’s strategic higher-education role. Perhaps that should change. Two questions […]