RAA#4: Education Generation Net – Can U.S. Engineering Woo and Win the Competition for talent?

Chubin, D., Donaldson, K., Olds, B., Fleming, L. (2008). Education Generation Net – Can U.S. Engineering Woo and Win the Competition for talentJournal of Engineering Education, July, 245-257.

Purpose:  The purpose of this research was to determine what matters to the next generation of engineers when considering long term life after school.

Methods:  The method used for the study was a comparative study looking across generations for attributes based on data collected from a wide variety of studies.  Some of the comparisons put forth were anecdotal in nature and did not have data to support the comparisons.

Main findings: There were MANY findings in this study, but here are some key points:

  1. Generation Net students are self-directed learners who want outside classroom experience
  2. Active and collaborative learning had the highest learning outcomes for Generation Net students
  3. Generation Net more outwardly focused on how to impact the world.
  4. Generation Net is increasingly interested in global experiences

Analysis:  This was one of the first pieces I came across in engineering education that began to discuss and think about engineering not as a homogeneous group, but as distinctly different people with different value systems, etc.  The literature review does an excellent job setting up the problem and creating a sense of urgency for the problem.

While there is little real analysis, there are some light statistics and one correlation table to highlight relationships found between students reasons for entering into engineering and their interaction with faculty.  I feel this piece was probably an icebreaker to get the conversation started by using a lot of highly regarded reference materials.

It really was a “call to action” piece for engineering educators to begin thinking about what we need to do differently to engage this new generation for the long haul.  I enjoyed seeing how these engineering educators viewed the situation from inside the academic setting out.

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RAA#3 The Impact of Goal Focus, task type and group size…Collaborative learning discourses

R. Pfister & M. Oehl(2009). The impact of goal focus, task type and group size on synchronous net-based collaborative learning discoursesJournal of Computer Assisted Learning, 25, 161-176.

Purpose:  The purpose of this research was to determine if goal focus, type of task and group size affect learning outcomes and the use of chat based tools.

Methods:  The method used for the study was never specified however it was a form of mixed methods study involving 140 students volunteering to participate in learning group experiments in which their responses to various instructions were monitored and tracked.  Student  filled in a questionnaire regarding their computer experience, e-learning, chat and web enagement, and lab activity.  From that a regression model was formed.

Main findings: The main finding of this study suggest that task type and goal focus influence the overall collaboration effort, and the type of referencing and coding of messages.  Further, the addition of optional learning protocols assisted/supported collaborative learning.  Goal focus did NOT however have an impact of improved learning.  The type of task did NOT impact the type of referencing and typing activities.

Essentially, the learning protocol is more beneficial tor teaching tasks than learning tasks, and the larger the group, the better the learning outcome.

Analysis:  When I read this piece I was really hopeful to find some new nugget of information related to web based/collaborative learning; in particular so I could think about how to carry it forward to the industrial setting.  Unfortunately, the heavily jargoned study made it difficult to follow in spite of the fact that the researchers did a noble job of providing jargon definitions.

No where in the abstract or methods section did it discuss if the study results would be qualitative or quantitative in nature; you had to read through the entire article and review the tables to finally see it was a quantitative regression analysis.  In addition, the experiment was limited to a single recorded incident of about 45 minutes.  I am not sure how you assess if an intervention impacts learning after 45 minutes of time, so that was a bit of a problem for me with the study.

The origin of the article was Germany, so perhaps some of the nuance explaining the study was lost in translation.

There were some interesting findings and in the last 3 pphs of the study, the researchers finally shared the “so what” of the finding – of which were very clear and instructional to follow.  There seemed to be a lot going on in this research, and simplifying it may have not only lead to a clearer study, but cleaner results also.

Dumb – No, Distracted – Maybe, Impatient & Lazy – Definitely!

Maggie Jackson’s intro to her book Distracted, and Nicholas Carr’s article “Is Google making us stupid” definitely makes you take a step back and reconsider the effects that social media is having not only on our culture but on our physiological beings.  I for one can say that the thought of my brain being altered because of my recent Tweeting, Blogging, and time on the internet is more than a little unsettling.

Do I really believe these tools make us dumb or distracted, I say no to maybe on the short term.  It is something new; we can’t possibly understand what the long term affects might be to our eyes, brains, reflexes, etc.  If the use persists we need to be concerned.  Like the loud music hippies and Yippies of my GenX generation, they really did suffer long term hearing loss…   it was real, even if they didn’t believe it at the time.

What I am positively sure of in the short term, is that these tools have made us lazy.  Does anyone actually walk into a library any more?  How about write a long hand letter on special stationary? I feel that their is value in taking time, taking stock and reflecting in a moment that is all ours.

Definition of impatient: Updating Facebook in the bathroom stall…and sending photos to a friend.  Yep, I heard it all “going on”.

That I am especially sure can wait…

E2.0 – Because Users Matter

I just read the blog Enterprise software under attack posted by Elena Galitskaya .  In that blog, a Sr. VP of Infosys is quoted as saying:  “Enterprise software still doesn’t care about users. Its focus continues to be serving executives, rather than employees, because executives make buying decisions. Therefore, we see all the song and dance about BI and in-memory computing, while employees continue to suffer with terrible UIs and no options.”

This made me think a bit about comments made by our guest Leonardo from this past week in class.  One of the interesting stories he told was about use of E2.o software and a grassroots adoption effort proving its value before introducing it to the boss (and asking for approval).  I don’t remember if he said the boss would have rejected the idea or not, but I am sure if she would have, she would have only been following some established corporate policy for IT adoption/implementations within the firm.

When the executive leadership team takes the step to invest in a big $$ IT system – no body will to follow up by saying “aw, shucks – you found an E2.0 alternative that you can customize, adapt to work just right, and it costs $9.99/mo – sure, you go ahead and use it”.  Sadly, it becomes more important to save face for the leadership team, then to save the time, energy and frustration of masses under served by corporate IT and those that take them to sales lunches.

I am far from believing that E2.0 will solve all IT needs or problems facing industry; that said, one size  – one IT system doesn’t fit all, but if the only thing the enterprise software guy has to sell is enterprise software…you can bet that is the only game in town.  As for the users – well, they really just don’t matter, that is until they become CIO’s and begin writing the checks.

Research Progress… road bump

Looking for advice,

At this point in the process, I have been continuing to look for business cases that discuss the launch in ENT2.0 for the purpose of my content analysis.  Part of the difficulty I have seen is the raw cases don’t really exist in press of any sorts – they have all be “pre-synthesized” by the authors such that an attempt toward coding seemed like I was coding the RESEARCHER/AUTHORS words and not the actual participants words.  I had not worried too much about this, because I had requested a journal 3 weeks ago from the Purdue Library that touted 70 cases of businesses….that I felt confident I could garner text from…

That was until I read this note from the LIBRARY yesterday!!

—–Original Message—–
From: Purdue Libraries Interlibrary Loan [mailto:ill@purdue.edu]
Sent: Thursday, November 03, 2011 2:30 PM
To: XXXXXXXX
Subject: Automated Interlibrary Loan Notification

Dear XXXXXXX,

A request you have placed:

Journal or Conference Title:  International journal of knowledge and learning.

Volume: 6  Issue:  4  Month:    Year: 2008

Pages:  595 – 612

Title: Enterprise 2.0: what models are emerging? The results from a 70 case-based research

Author: Mariano Corso A1, Antonella Martini A2, Andrea Pesoli A3

Year of Publication:

TN: 1015475

has been cancelled by the interlibrary loan staff for the following reason:   We could not fill your request by your deadline.

I am not someone that puts all their eggs in one basket, but I have to say I had never been let down by the univ. Library.  After picking myself up off the floor, I need to regroup and come up with a new plan to get some data, and get it fast.  I feel I have lost serious time; time I don’t really know how to get back.

Would love anyone’s advice…  meanwhile, I am thinking #occupyPULibray

RAA#2 Web 2.0 Implications on Knowledge Management

Levy, M. (2009). Web 2.0 implications on knowledge management. Journal of Knowledge Management, 13(1), 120-134.

Purpose:  The purpose of this research was to establish a connection between Web2.0 and the topic of knowledge managment (KM)in hopes of finding ways that Web 2.0 tools could be used to support and enable KM.

Methods:  The method used for the study was a methodological critique and comparison of articles related to Web 2.0 and KM from the time period of 2005-2007

Main findings: The main finding of this study suggest that Web2.o offers a new way of approaching KM, including a fresh batch of tools that might enable KM in ways not previously conceived.  The author suggests that both Wiki’s and Blog’s offer a way to capture knowledge and find experts, but in general Web 2.0 should be used because it is new and different from old

Analysis:  I found this study informative in terms of providing a lot of background and coverage of the various articles and themes reviewed.  That said, part of the issue for me with this study was my ignorance of never having read a research article using this methodological approach.  I really had no idea of what a “good” study should look like using this approach.  To me, it read more like a long literature review, followed by a commentary of claims by the author, of which these claims had very little research support.  To that end, it was beneficial to look comparatively at the Web2.0 principles verses the KM principles, to see where the overlap and similarities exist between this new and old approach.

While the detailed literature review sections seemed well done, the summary section seemed brief (~1 pg) in proportion to the total critique (11 1/2 pgs) and it felt very informal – even opinion like.  I would have liked more meat in this section in terms of why these differences and similarities are so important going forward.  Having the author say “something is out there, something is changing, adopt it smartly” leaves more than a bit to be desired.

Perhaps this is how these type of reports read, but after reading mostly quantitative based research I wasn’t sure what to make of the results.

Making the best of both “worlds”

The article CSCW & Enterprise 2.0 – Towards an Integrated Perspective (Kach, 2008) is a reminder that some processes, ways of doing business or thinking about business collaboration etc. considered “old” can really be made valuable again if rather than tossing them aside completely we consider carefully what we have learned from them and bring forward  their beneficial aspects into the “new” processes and practices.

The case that this author makes is that Group Support Systems and CSCW research has advanced our way of thinking about how IT can enable collaborative/group work within the business context; he adds that Social Software is really an extension of that learning, which allows us to take the best of both approaches/systems rather than make a choice of one over the other.

The ah-ha moment in this reading for me, is that having to select one platform/system/process in business over another is really a false choice that has been promoted and actually served no one well.  This way of thinking creates factions of followers and non-followers for the various systems/platforms, and only serves to build walls that make for missed opportunities to leverage the best of all approaches.

Its not about “my system/platform” or “your system/platform”, its about finding the “right system/platform” to do the job – serving the users, clients, customers and business most effectively and efficiently.