Blogs@Baruch Milestones: Part 1, Active Directory Integration

“Milestone,” cc licensed ( BY NC SA ) flickr photo by Dandelion And Burdock: Link.

This past summer saw a number of important milestones for Blogs@Baruch, Baruch’s online publishing platform, which we at the Schwartz Institute launched in 2008 as part of a Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) initiative. Initially, the idea was to give faculty members an option for teaching on the open web and to offer blogs as occasions for more student writing, particularly for low stakes assignments. In the spirit of WAC, we argued (and still do) that any opportunity students have to write and to receive feedback, is potentially an opportunity for them to grow as writers. Many faculty members did embrace B@B precisely in this way, but it became clear shortly after launch that the system would evolve in ways we didn’t expect. In addition to course blogs, B@B now hosts a broad range of sites including department and program websites, community resource sites for faculty, Z*Port, an e-portfolio system and professional network for MBA students (launching soon), publications (including the Writing Center’s iMagazine, Baruch’s award winning Dollars & $en$e, and the College’s alumni magazine), student projects, the Colege’s last strategic plan, online CVs, and many others.

Early in the summer, we broke 10,000 users and now there are almost 12,000. By all accounts, this makes us one of the biggest and most active academic online publishing communities anywhere. In early August, after about a year of development and planning and all kinds of back and forth with our colleagues at BCTC, we successfully added Active Directory (AD) integration to Blogs@Baruch. This means that Baruch users can now log into and publish on Blogs@Baruch using their Baruch IDs — the IDs they use for all of the College’s other web services (except for BlackBoard, which requires users to open a CUNY Portal account). Users no longer need to create local accounts to use B@B. And finally, as of a few weeks ago, B@B users can now log in to the system using a quick link on the Baruch College homepage — from the same drop-down menu they use to access a number of other essential services including the student information database, the e-roster system, student, faculty and staff email services, Blackboard, and the CUNY Portal.

So why and how is all this important?  In this post and the one that follows, I’ll try to make sense of these milestones as they relate to the history, development of Blogs@Baruch as well as to the political and institutional implication of its growth and wide scale adoption at Baruch. First, Active Directory:

While AD integration provides a valuable bit of convenience for users, it is significant in several other ways as well (Luke Waltzer, who ably took the lead on the AD integration project with Tom Harbison and Craig Stone, has already reflected on some of these here, as did Jim Groom in the context of University of Mary Washington’s UMWBlogs).  First, this was a very heavy lift that took lots and lots of planning and preparation and an unprecedented collaboration between the Institute and BCTC, which spanned most of the last year. One major challenge was to associate all the unique local accounts with existing Baruch AD accounts. We were able to accomplish this relatively simply thanks to a tremendously useful plugin created for this migration by the one and only Boone Gorges, who was extraordinarily helpful throughout this entire process.

Part of what was valuable about this long process was learning how to work with BCTC. Of course there were bumps in the road, miscommunications and the occasional clash of personalities, but, in the end, we managed to figure out how to work as a team and succeeded in doing something which, let’s face it, is very hard to pull off. That we did manage to pull it off, speaks to the dedication, patience and perseverance of the people involved and bodes very well for future collaborations, of which I hope there wil be many.

AD integration in WordPress at colleges is still a fairly rare thing though becoming more common. While desirable, it is a serious bear. Many institutions, especially those whose instances of WordPress have lots and lots of sites and users opt to not bother with it, partially because the tools for associating local WP users with AD accounts didn’t exist until now. When we first started experimenting with blogging in the curriculum in 2006, AD integration was initially a precondition for BCTC’s full support of the project. After playing around with the only available and very buggy AD integration plugin and after having been pitched by a now defunct Silicon Valley firm which offered to provide AD integration on an enterprise scale for approximately $30,000 for 1,000 users, we recognized AD integration as cost prohibitive and decided to move on without it. Now, not only have we achieved AD integration at very minimal cost but, thanks to Boone’s hard work, have now developed and shared tools that enable other institutions to do what we did with very little or no cost at all.

There has been some talk lately (see the posts by Luke and Jim (as well as the comments)) about the political implications of integrating open source projects like B@B and UMWBlogs, built on free software and borne of an edupunk spirit and a will to democratize ed-tech, with an institution’s official authentication system. I intend to spend some time on this and what it means to finally be able to access B@B from Baruch’s website in my next post. To be continued.

 

Talons: A Case Study in DIY Educational Technology

On June 9, 2011, students in the music program at Gleneagle Secondary School, a high school in Vancouver suburb Coquitam, BC, played its spring concert to a packed house in a 450 seat auditorium. A first in Gleneagle history, the performance was broadcast live over Internet radio to listeners all over the world. And while  that might sound like a huge undertaking requiring serious AV and IT infrastructure, it was not. Not at all. In a brilliant feat of do-it-yourself EdTech (or what some folks might have once called edupunk), the concert was streamed live by Bryan Jackson, a Music and English teacher in the school’s TALONS program, and graduating senior Olga Belikov, with a Macbook, some free software and a USB microphone. That’s it. That’s all it took to broadcast the spring concert to anyone anywhere who wanted to hear it. And it sounded great.

Gleneagle’s Principal was aware of what was going on but wasn’t entirely clear on the details. During one point in the concert, he  walked backstage where Bryan explained all the moving parts: the unremarkable laptop and microphone, the free software, the web radio station (DS106Radio — read about it in my last post and herehere, here, herehereherehere, and here), how he and Olga used Twitter to build a live audience of listeners from from all over the US and Canada, and  that the broadcast was being recorded and would be posted for posterity to Soundcloud, a free audio sharing site, so that anyone in the Gleneagle community or anyone else anywhere could listen to and respond to any part of the performance. Bryan also explained how he had been using various other social media tools at Gleneagle including YouTube, Flickr, Twitter, blogs, and web radio to enhance lessons, to share performances, and to communicate with students and colleagues. His Principal was duly impressed. The administration had been aware of and supported Bryan’s and other teachers’ use of social media but had never up to this point fully engaged their potential to increase engagement, promote programs, and share and interact with parents, teachers, students, and district administrators or anyone else. While they had an inkling of what teachers were doing with free web tools, this broadcast, its recording, and the new interest at the school in webcasting were, according to Bryan, probably the first tangible outcomes of Gleneagle teachers’ experiments with creating and sharing on the web. Here is a one minute audio clip of Bryan describing the Principal’s visit backstage:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

I love the irony here: Bryan tells us that he was able to experiment with various social media and web publishing tools and explore how their use might benefit his program and school only because one of the school’s IT people gave him his computer’s administrative password, which he really wasn’t supposed to have. It’s fairly common practice for IT departments in companies and educational institutions to withhold admin access to computers from end users for fear that they will go messing where they shouldn’t and damage the computer, contract a virus, install unauthorized software, or do things on their machines of which the IT department or the institution does not approve. This also ensures that end users have to rely upon IT personnel to perform simple maintenance tasks, modify configurations, and to update or install software. This is the traditional model where IT is in control of who has access and who does not while the end users are disempowered and must rely upon IT to make any changes to their machines. Here’s a wonderful example of a teacher who was trusted with full access to his computer and was able to use it to break new ground without hinderances imposed from above. When creative teachers have the latitude to experiment with the technology that’s readily available to them, wonderful things can happen. If there was ever an argument in favor of rethinking the model of how and to whom administrative access is granted at educational institutions, this is it.

I don’t know much about the general feeling at Gleneagle toward the privacy and security implications of web publishing and social media in instruction and for promotional purposes so I can’t speak to that. But it seems to me that, generally, there’s still quite a bit of trepidation about such things among educators. That trepidation, I’ll argue, tends to grow out of 20th Century notions of public exposure and our relationship with mass media and their roles in our lives. Privacy and security are certainly real concerns (FERPA exists for a reason), but it does appear that the discourse around them is often animated by outdated ideas about the production and consumption of media. It used to be that if you appeared on TV or radio, or in print, you had done or were involved in something a small group of editors and producers felt it was their imperative to broadcast. It had to be fairly remarkable, for good or for ill, to make the papers. Having your image or story broadcast to the world via a mass medium like radio or television, was special — something fairly unusual in the “look, Mom, I’m on TV!” sort of a way, unless you were among the relatively few who made a living in front of a camera or microphone.

Now, when anyone can shoot a video on a mobile phone and upload it immediately to YouTube, where it can potentially be seen by thousands, if not millions of people within just a few days, there’s a real banality to this sort of exposure. Most of our students share their lives on the internet in some way  every day. More and more of them live their lives in both physical and virtual space — this is something that those of us in their 30s and 40s who teach and administer programs are just now getting our heads around. Whats more, the means of media production, it has been said again and again by new media thinkers like Jay Rosen, Clay Shirky and a host of others, are now in the hands of everyday people, no longer just media professionals. With relatively little effort and technical expertise, anyone can publish to the web. Anyone can broadcast audio or video to the internet on a mobile phone and an application that costs almost nothing. Heck, a bunch of us edtechhers built an open community radio station out of nothing more than a $25/mo server and a desire to play radio DJ.

Bryan Jackson and his colleagues at Gleneagle understand this well and are making amazing use of it. Thanks to a leadership that seems to appreciate the possibility the new media order offers educators, they have been empowered to use a combination of social media to do on their own what once was the province of AV professionals and marketing departments and required substantial infrastructure. While we’re by now used to seeing inklings of this sort of thing on the post-secondary level, it is encouraging and inspiring to see in happen in K-12. Bravo, Gleneagle Music! Bravo!

[This post is cross posted at my personal blog, thisevilempire.com]

Dear Cac.ophony

This was in my inbox this morning.

Dear Cac.ophony,

My name is XXXXXX from XXXXXXXXXX. We have a client who would like to pay you for the opportunity to sponsor a blog post that you have recently written. We know that blogs can be expensive to run and our client would like to opportunity to support you in that endeavor.

In return our client is asking for one link that they specify placed into the body of the blog post(no porn or gambling). Feel free to contact me with any concerns or clarifications you may have.

If you would have any questions or would like to start the process, please email me at XXXXXX@XXXXXXX so we can begin.

Sincerely,

XXXXXXXX
Outreach Manager – XXXXXXXX

Product placement? Not here. Sorry. Though I am curious about which is the post in question and who the client might be. My revulsion to this aside, it seems that this sort of thing is quite common, especially on sites that feature product reviews. See this 2009 NYT article on sponsored blogging.

How Should the University Evolve?: Debate at Baruch, 11/18/2010

Last Thursday, we at the Schwartz Institute hosted a debate between authors Anya Kamenetz and Siva Vaidyanathan, two of the most relevant and engaging thinkers about the current and future state of higher education. The discussion (billed by some as a “smackdown”) was moderated by Dean David S. Birdsell of Baruch’s School of Public Affairs. The video of the event is below in two parts: first the structured debate, and then the lively and at times confrontational Q&A:

How Should the University Evolve?, part 1 of 2 from BLSCI on Vimeo.

How Should the University Evolve?, part 2 of 2 from BLSCI on Vimeo.

The idea for this conversation emerged organically, from Anya and Siva themselves with a little help from the Twitterverse. (I tell the story of how the event came to be at the beginning of the first video, but it’s worth a quick mention here as a testament to the way public discussion on the Internet, this case in Twitter, can easily move to meat space and lead to something remarkable that will resonate in many ways for some time to come.)

In his keynote at the Digital University conference at the CUNY Grad Center in April of this year, Siva critiqued Jeff Jarvis’ and Anya’s arguments about what higher ed ought to look like. (The video of the entire keynote is here.) Several of us tweeting at the conference noted Siva’s critique. Anya, who saw that her twitterstream was now chock full of people talking about Siva’s dressing down of her argument, remarked that she wanted to know more and was up for a debate. I suggested having the debate at CUNY and both agreed (SIva publicly and Anya in a DM later).

Given everyone’s ridiculously busy schedules, it took a while to happen, but it finally did. We hope you find Anya and Siva’s conversation as stimulating and provocative as we did. Enjoy. Please feel free to comment.

So you want to get a PhD in the Humanities?

Here’s a tragically-funny-because-it’s-true video that speaks to some of the concerns Talia raised in her most recent post. Discuss.

Besides deflating grad students and recent PhDs, this video is great example of what you can do on Xtranormal.com, a fun site that allows anyone to easily create animated movies, about which Lauren posted some time ago.

Remembering Jerry Bornstein

I was saddened deeply yesterday to learn that a colleague, an old and great friend of the Schwartz Institute, Jerry Bornstein passed away suddenly. A true champion of communication-intensive instruction and information literacy, Jerry was the Deputy Chief Librarian at Baruch College. There from the very the start, he was instrumental in making our Newman Library the incredible resource we now know it to be. His intelligence, warmth, and dedication to serving the needs of Baruch students made a huge impression on me and on all of us who had the pleasure to know and work closely with him. Here’s a video of Jerry being Jerry, talking about why he loves his job on the occasion of the 10 millionth visitor to the Newman Library in 2003.

[flv]http://cac.ophony.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/jerry3.flv[/flv]

Link to the full video with some wonderful stories from Jerry’s long tenure at the library.

Baruch College to Host WordCampNYC 2009

After a remarkable confluence of events and serendipitous circumstances over the last two weeks, I am happy to announce that WordCampNYC 2009, the flagship WordPress event on the East Coast, will be held here at Baruch College on November 14th and 15th. The Schwartz Institute has been asked to facilitate this event on behalf of the College and we are working hard to make sure all the various pieces come together as they should.

WordPress, for those of you who don’t know, is the open-source online publishing platform on which this blog is built. Blogs@Baruch and runs on WordPress MU (multi-user), a version of WP that allows any number of blogs to be generated from a single install. WordPress, in its various incarnations, is widely regarded to be the best-of-breed blogging software and is getting quite a bit of use throughout CUNY (the Journalism School, Macaulay Honors College, and the CUNY Academic Commons also rely on it to great effect.)

This is really exciting news for Baruch and CUNY, more generally, as we have always been big supporters of open source projects like WordPress and are thrilled to be involved in WordCampNYC. Because of the interest in open source instructional technologies throughout CUNY (as evidenced at last May’s CUNY WordCampEd which brought together about 100 people from across most, if not all, CUNY campuses), we expect quite a bit of interest in the education track at the conference which promises to be rich and varied. For example, we’re currently organizing an open roundtable discussion between Matt Mullenweg, the founding developer of WordPress, and a number of prominent educators and instructional technologists to consider on the future of WordPress and other open-source tools in education. You can expect lots of conversation about the various WordPress projects at CUNY and at other institutiions, local and otherwise. We’re especially looking forward to catching up with the folks from the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University who have been working on a ScholarPress, a set of plugins that add all sorts of course management functionality to WordPress.

Once the schedule is set, we’ll link to it here. In the meantime, some details about the event are available here.

The Video Oral Communication Assessment Tool and the Question of Openness

It recently occurred to me that in the almost 4 years of this blog’s existence very little has been said about the Schwartz Communication Institute’s most ambitious and potentially most promising project, our Video Oral Communication Assessment Tool, or VOCAT. I have presented on VOCAT a number of times over the years (most recently at the 2009 Computers and Writing conference in June), but have not yet written about it here. So it’s high time to remedy that.

VOCAT is a teaching and assessment web application. It is the fruit of a collaboration between the Schwartz Institute and mad genius code-poets at Cast Iron Coding, Zach Davis and Lucas Thurston. It is still very much in development (perpetually so) but is already in use in introductory speech communication and theater courses as well as a number of assessment projects. Our career center used it effectively a few semesters ago as well. To date, approximately 3200 Baruch students have used the tool.

VOCAT was developed in recognition of the principle that careful, guided review of video recordings of their oral presentations (or of any performance, for that matter) can be remarkably effective for aiding students in becoming confident, purposeful and effective speakers. It serves as a means for instructors to easily provide feedback on student presentations. It enables students to access videos of their performances as well as instructor feedback and to respond to both. It likewise aggregates recorded presentations and instructor feedback for each user and offers an informative snapshot of a student’s work and progress over the course of a given term or even an entire academic career. Presentations can be scored live, as students perform, or asynchronously once the videos have been uploaded. (Our turnaround time at this stage is between one and seven days depending on how many sections are using the tool at once — once some of the key steps happen server-side, turnaround time will not be as much of a concern.) Built on the open source TYPO3 content management system, it is a flexible, extensible and scalable web application that can be used at once as a teaching tool and as a means of data collection for research or other assessment purposes. (Screenshots are available here. I am also happy to share demo login info with anyone who would like to take a look — please email me at mikhail [dot] gershovich [at] baruch [dot] cuny [dot] edu.)

While VOCAT is quite feature-rich at this early stage, especially when it comes to reporting, data export, and rubric creation, we are always thinking about ways in which the tool can be made more robust and flexible. Currently, we are playing around with adding a group manager feature for group presentations, tagging for non-numeric assessment, moving from QT to Flash video, video annotation, as well as server-side video processing and in-line video and audio recording. We are also considering allowing users to choose to enable social functionality to take advantage of web 2.0 tools for sharing and commenting on one another’s work. And since, at its core, VOCAT is a tool for aggregating and responding to anything that can be uploaded, we’re thinking about other uses to which it could be put. It could easily, for example, be adapted for writing assessment. And someone once suggested that it could be useful for teaching bedside manner for medical students. Adapting VOCAT for these purposes is hardly a big deal.

The platform on which VOCAT is built is open source but the tool itself is not yet open. Right now, it is Baruch’s alone. Whether it should stay that way is a question much discussed around here. Here at the Institute we face several critical issues around open education, not the least of which is conflicting views on student access of Blogs@Baruch. In regards to VOCAT, however, the one thing constantly on my mind is the tension between an internal drive to share the tool as an open-source web application and build a community around it (there are no shortage of interested parties) and the pressures (or maybe a pernicious institutional common sense) that seem to compel us to keep VOCAT proprietary and use it to generate as much revenue as possible. I have heard arguments that VOCAT should be Baruch’s alone — that we should charge for its use and seek private funding for its deployment and development. This is a business school, after all, and I’m sure promoting and marketing VOCAT could be an interesting project for an upper division Marketing course.

Yet, I am inclined to believe that VOCAT should be shared freely and widely with other institutions and that other developers should be encouraged to develop for it. A great many more students would benefit and development would certainly be accelerated as more and more schools add features they need that could then be adopted for use here. Were VOCAT open, in other words, it would evolve quickly and probably in ways we haven’t even imagined. And that is very exiting.

In the coming months, I hope to continue to present on VOCAT and to gain insights into the roles it can play in communication intensive courses or in a communication-focused curriculum of any sort. More importantly, I would like to move towards opening it up and will work with our developers on the features and functionality that facilitate sharing. I hope also to draw upon the tremendous expertise of my friends and colleagues involved in the open education movement and learn from those who have worked with and developed various open source tools for teaching and learning. Listening to others’ ideas for VOCAT has been invaluable to thinking through what this web app could ostensibly do with the right sort of development. could be and how to best realize its full potential as a teaching tool — both in terms of deployment, training, and development.

Draft Learning Goals for Writing and Speaking

I was reminded today that I once drafted a set of learning goals for writing and speaking at the undergraduate level for a project headed up by our office of advisement and orientation. While these goals implicitly inform the curricular support and development work of the institute, they have not been codified beyond the document I created in 2006 (before I learned about Bloom’s taxonomy). These goals have not seen the light of day beyond their very limited original context. With that, I thought I’d post them for discussion. Take a look and let us know if you find these useful and/or whether you’d recommend revisions. Here we go:

By the end of their undergraduate experience students should be able to:

  • comfortably pose pertinent questions to faculty both in and out of class
  • demonstrate proficiency in a number of everyday written genres (email, letter, etc.)
  • demonstrate sensitivity to audience in oral and written communication – write and speak in a manner appropriate to audience – articulate similarities and differences in addressing different audiences (email to peer vs. email to faculty, conversation with parent vs. conversation with prospective employer)
  • demonstrate awareness that all communication is purposeful – each individual communication is meant to accomplish a particular goal or set of goals – sensitivity to purpose
  • grasp rhetorical purpose of own written work (what is this paper, email, memo, etc. meant to accomplish? What do I need it to do? What should it accomplish?)
  • articulate how they might go about accomplishing purpose of given communication (in order to accomplish X in my email to my professor, I need to make clear that Y and establish Z before making the argument that A)
  • work responsibly and productively as a member of a group – to communicate appropriately with all group members
  • comfortably speak before an audience – impromptu and prepared presentations
  • articulate own understanding of how they can become better communicators (what do I need to work on to become a better writer/speaker?)

Discuss.

Blackboard, This Song is Not About You: More on CUNY WordCampEd

It has been two weeks since the first ever CUNY WordCampEd, an event co-sponsored by us at the Schwartz Institute, New York City College of Technology, and the Macaulay Honors College. I have been meaning to reflect on this remarkable conference in this space but, seeing as how way leads on to way, I haven’t been able to get around to it. Plus, the need for yet another reflection seemed to diminish as the days passed since several smart and insightful people have already blogged the event. NYCCT’s Matt Gold, York College’s Michael Cripps, and Dave Lester of George Mason University have posted excellent recaps of the conference. Jim Groom, our inimitable keynote speaker, wrote a powerful, very personal reflection on the day’s conversations and why they matter to CUNY, and our own Luke Waltzer recently posted to this blog a terrifically engaging and forward looking exploration of some of the ideas that animated the events of that day and, most importantly, what they mean to the future of instructional technology at CUNY.

This week, though, the Chronicle of Higher Education published a piece by Jeff Young on CUNY WordCampEd. Since the picture the Chronicle paints of CUNY WordCampEd doesn’t fully jibe with my experience of the event, I figured this was reason enough to enter the fray.

What’s especially striking about the Chronicle piece is that it presents CUNY WordCampEd as motivated by the flight of a cadre of CUNY professors from Blackboard to blogging software as an ad-hoc alternative. “The meeting’s focus,” writes Jeff Young, “was an idea that is catching on at a handful of colleges and universities around the country: Instead of using a course-management system to distribute materials and run class discussions, why not use free blogging software — the same kind that popular gadflies use for entertainment sites?”

I take issue with this description on a number of levels, not the least of which is that it trivializes the tremendous pedagogical power and content management capabilities of a fully-realized, highly extensible, open source web publishing platform like WordPress and characterizes the event as animated by a simple opposition: blogs vs. Blackboard. In fact, CUNY WordCampEd was driven by something much much bigger and far less simple: a collective recognition that 1) the open, social web offers rich possibilities for transforming teaching, learning and the sharing of knowledge and creative work that we are only beginning to tap in a meaningful way here at CUNY and 2) that proprietary, closed learning management systems (LMS), in addition to their various other deficiencies, cannot keep up with the ways in which the social web is continually changing.

A good deal of the conversation at CUNY WordCampEd revolved around three very different yet exemplary projects, all of which are either built on or incorporate WordPress Multi User (WPMu), the “blogging software” to which the Chronicle refers. These are the CUNY Academic Commons, a multi-faceted online community space for CUNY faculty and students that seamlessly integrates WPMu as well as several other open source tools; our own Blogs@Baruch, a publishing platform for Baruch College intended initially to enable faculty to facilitate additional occasions for student writing and founded on the principle that that any opportunity to write is potentially an opportunity to grow as a writer; and Eportfolios@Macaulay, an adaptation of WPMu that allows Honors College students to collect their work, reflect upon it, share it with others if they choose to, and keep it for posterity — it likewise allows faculty to holistically assess student work. None of these important projects were mentioned in the Chronicle piece. Neither was ScholarPress, a set of impressive course management tools for WordPress developed by Dave Lester and his team at George Mason University (the same folks that gave us Zotero and Omeka), which Dave demonstrated at the opening of the event. (If there was a true, similarly capable alternative to Blackboard as LMS discussed at the conference, this was it, gradebook and all.) By excluding any discussion (or even a mention) of these projects, the article reduces and simplifies the thrust of day’s discussion of open source tools so that it ultimately comes off as merely speculative and not rooted in actual, substantive work already underway here at CUNY (excepting, of course, of the recognition of the wonderful work Zoë Sheehan Saldaña is doing here at Baruch).

Though the themes of Blackboard as 1) replicating an outdated pedagogical model and 2) and barely working recurred throughout the day, the conference was much more about experimenting with open source web tools based on their own merit than as any kind of real alternative to Blackboard that could or should be adopted centrally. As we have seen in the Clarion article which Luke cites, CUNY’s flirtations with alternatives to Blackboard in the wake of repeated outages seem to be more about showing Blackboard Inc. that CUNY means business and is not to be taken for granted than they are about finding a real, viable, working alternative that enhances both teaching and learning. Jim’s cry to “Open up CUNY!” did not mean “let’s all dump Blackboard and start blogging.” Rather, it was a call to breathe into our use of technology for teaching, learning, and sharing the spirit of free access and openness on which CUNY was built. CUNY WordCampEd was not an occasion to think through ways blogs could displace Blackboard in the classroom, but, in his words,

to imagine the possibilities of an open source CUNY, a CUNY that is not only re-investing in people rather than corporations to steer the future of education for this space, but a vision of imagining the technology as a way to make visible and accessible the work happening at the most diverse collection of urban campuses in the nation: a vision of open education that trumps courseware or videos or blog posts, a vision that brings 22 disparate campuses into some real communication with one another fueled by a community that believes in the irrefutable value of open, affordable, and relevant education in the 21st Century.

CUNY WordCampEd was not about blogs. It was not about Blackboard. It was about CUNY. This may not be of interest to those readers of the Chronicle who do not yet care about what is happening at The City University of New York, but it matters to me and to all of us who learned so much from the presentations and the conversations at CUNY WordCampEd.