Category: The Future

  • RMUG 2017 Presentation Materials

    I am honored to be entrusted with not just one, but two presentations at the RMUG 2017 conference.  I wish my colleague, Chad Marley, CIO at Laramie County Community College were able to join us, but we will try and do him proud.  Thanks to him for the work throughout the project and for building the foundation for the slide deck Dallen, Josh and I will be using.   If you are bored come see us in Cheyenne WY, June 8-9 2017.

    Business Continuity at Casper College and Laramie County Community College
    Kent Brooks and Dallen Griffith, CC, Josh Barrere, LCCC
    Addressing systems continuity in the event of an emergency or disaster is not simple.  It’s tempting to cite budgetary constraints and look the other direction and not do anything.  In the past few years, College Information Systems have moved from very important to mission critical.  Even a minor downtime can cripple institutional operations.

    As part of the facilitated discussion in the summer of 2016 Casper College (CC) and Laramie County Community College (LCCC) selected to investigate a shared services project for backup and Disaster Recovery solutions.   This session will provide an overview of the CC/ LCCC proof of concept experience in reviewing and choosing tools and establishing shared protocol.   A main goal of the project was to identify a solution that works for CC/ LCCC and would be scalable to additional college.

    Why Colleges Should Take a Page from Amazon to Meet Student Expectations (General)
    Kent Brooks, Casper College
    College students are accustomed to using highly personalized interactive consumer technologies such as Amazon and Netflix. Enterprise software in higher education has failed to keep up with the personalized nature of software tools. Casper College changed from a traditional campus intranet portal to Classlink’s device agnostic personal cloud desktop for students, faculty, and staff. This cloud-based software tool creates a personalized aggregation point for all campus users to access all their applications and files as well as providing single-sign-on (SSO). The demonstration will reinforce why Classlink provides our users a customized path to all relevant software, apps and files. We will also provide a brief discussion of our experience in developing an integration for Colleague.

  • AACC 2017 Review: I found people who would fight for the hope of me"

    I found people who would fight for the hope of me.

    -Wes Moore, AACC 2017  Opening Keynote

    I personally had a really great AACC meeting for the following reasons:

      1. Wes Moore’s keynote and the quote above set the tone for me. I think he nailed it. That is what community colleges do.  They fight for the hope of individuals who come through their doors.  A great reminder.
    1. My presentation  went great and I do love telling about our experience with Classlink. I even got fun feedback such as this…

    Anything that combines Johnny Cash and student success is a winner in my book! Love the vision and call to action here.

    Here is my Prezi:

    As an added bonus the focus of my talk was featured on the Education Dive Website and they said:

    Providing students with a highly personalized matriculation experience may have more benefits than just providing a shiny-new-toy in an institution’s slate of offerings: It could actually help improve retention and boost graduation rates. Imagine if a student could get app-based advising or career advice from off-site or after-hours to supplement the often formulaic advising that comes with the required face-to-face check-ins. Or the impact phone notifications alerting one to lab availability could have on success in a given course. The ability to combine personalized learning with intrusive advising and allow students to customize their collegiate experiences based on their own preferences could be a game-changer.

      1. I had coffee with my former boss and retired president Walt Nolte,
      1. I saw several other old friends and made a few new ones,
      1. Got a picture with the Ferrari at the Ferrelli booth (too bad I didn’t win the Ferrari for a day drawing but I am excited for Chris Murphy at NE Mississippi CC)

        Ferelli Ferrai
      1. I removed additional ‘dumbness’ from my head about Pathways thanks to the gifted people dedicated to improving people’s lives when they come to the community colleg
      1. The twitter action went well and people were really engaged(see my Twitter stuff below……..and
    1. I left frustrated to a great degree.   I am not frustrated by all the cool stuff I just mentioned, but rather about my connection to the successful implementation of the Pathways concept.

    Basically, Pathways is a Bill & Melinda Gates – funded effort to design and implements structured academic and career pathways at scale. The thing that frustrates me more than anything was ever present at each session I attended.   I sat in session after session that talked about three legs of this which in some form revolve around people, process, and technology.   
    In every single case the bottleneck to doing this is technology at at some point in the process…the bottleneck is all about these crappy antiquated ERPs.   
    The mindset of many associated with rolling our ERP systems doesn’t help either in my view.  They are at least to a degree satisfied with the existing enterprise model.  We really should be providing college APIs, and one click summarys.  In these sessions I saw time after time where the Pathways model is being implemented
    This makes me think of the old Clint Eastwood, Lee Marvin western Paint your Wagons.   In that film there was a song….

    Way out here they got a name for everything
    For rain and wind and fire
    The rain is Tess, the fire’s Joe
    And they call the wind Maria

    NOTE: This may be correct or maybe not because I suffer from ailment known as “lyricosis”  It is a condition in which one can’t really remember the sequence of lyrics in a song and so you just start making stuff up.    
    So how does this song fit in?  ERP is Joe, and if Joe is ‘fire’ then ERP in higher Ed is on fire.  The financial part of ERP is unsustainable and there are no really new options in the marketplace or on the horizon.  
    CC’s are in the political spotlight now…  I guess where K12 failed with common core, there’s now a focus on systemically fixing education outcomes through CC’s. What a great opportunity…and burden.  This is where my rub is at this point.
    The ERP Vendors are so big and complicated that I don’t know if we can get past them in any timely fashion. The whole higher ed ERP market is totally broken in my view as well as financially unsustainable (Read my Kuali blogs where the primary theme is the use of public money to finance a startup if you want to know more about how dysfunctional the higher ed ERP marketplace is)   Huge problem.
    Twitter Stuff
    If you missed it here is my 2017 list of Must Follow Community College CEOs on Twitter

    I have been capturing conference Twitter data for several years and AACC is one of those conferences.  
    AACC 2017 Overall Twitter Activity

    Here is how some of the Twitter Activity has varied from 2013 to now.

    Retweets show what people find interesting. Here is the AACC 2017  listing:
    Day 1

    Day 2

    Day 3

    Day 4

    I am sure there is more I should talk about but I need to move on to other things for now.  

  • RCCA Keynote 2016: Never Rest on Your Technology Laurels: Community College Trends for the Future

    Never Rest on Your Technology Laurels: Community College Trends for the Future is a look at issues which will impact the deployment of technology at the rural community college. Thanks to the Rural Community College Alliance and Dr. Randy Smith for allowing me to share my thoughts on this topic as the closing keynote address for their 2016 Annual conference in Orange Beach Alabama.  For some reason, I couldn’t get the Prezi Embed to work correctly at first but here it is.


  • The Mouse is Watching You

    I always feel like somebody’s watching me


    Keeping up with all of the new technology coming at us is a difficult if not impossible  task.  If you watch this blog you know that I have been privileged to attend some amazing events and participate in some amazing activities which has helped me keep up with some of what is happening in the technology field.  Once again, after attending the Hewlett Packard Higher Academic Summit, I can tell a similar story.  I had a tremendously eye opening week and all I can say is that some of the things I have seen as hypothetical, fiction and futuristic are here. I cannot tell you about most of the event because of a non-disclosure agreement but will share some observations about some products I had the chance to touch which are already on the marketplace.  I will also add a few thoughts about the technology Disney now uses in their Florida resort and my opportunity to present with Berj Akin, CEO of Classlink, on our rollout of the LaunchPad personal cloud desktop at Casper College.
    Immersive Technology
    Immersive reality is getting very real even at the desktop.  I have told some before my idea of good technology will be when I can watch on demand without an expensive monthly TV plan a holograph of football game of my choice without a screen cluttering my living room and it only costs me 99 cents.  I finally think we are almost there.
    During this trip I took an amazing virtual field trip through a human heart this week using HP’s Zvr Virtual Reality Display The display is sold with or without hardware and lets you view stereoscopic 3D content using included glasses.  Using a laser pointing stylus I was able to reach into the screen and pull the heart toward me.   It was like I could hold it on the end of a stick and observe the parts.   With a click here and a click there I was able to touch a part of the heart and have a display window to the right show me the part I was pointing to on a 23.6 in display which puts out a 1080p image into each eye from the 1920×1080 screen.
    A few more clicks and I was able to take a trip inside and through the heart.  Unbelievable.
    The other product I was able to experience was the Hewlett Packard sprout which now brings us a machine that uses a touch mat and in-built 3D camera as its main controls.  The keyboard and mouse are optional extras.  The HP’s Sprout looks like an all-in-one PC with a couple of exceptions. Sitting on your workspace at the base of Sprout is a giant touch pad called a Touch Mat. It is a dual-purpose digital canvas on which images can be scanned and also manipulated. On top of the monitor is A 3D depth-sensing camera/scanner which records objects placed on the Touch Mat. The top cameras are able to scan physical objects placed below it, creating 3D models of them which can then be moved, rotated, resized, edited with the computer.
    I placed my hand on the mat snapped a picture and immediately I was able to drag a digital bracelet which had already been scanned on top of the newly scanned hand and wrist. I was also able to change the color and texture of the bracelet.  I can see a lot of uses for design in visual arts programs for example. I can also see some great applications for interactive video conferencing situations.  According to the sprout website the unites are currently $1899.
    The Personal Cloud Desktop
    The final part of my trip was assisting Classlink CEO Berj Akin with a presentation/ discussion of the Casper College’s rollout of their personal cloud desktop product, LaunchPad.  
    We didn’t have a portal when I arrived at Casper College in 2011.  We also had some serious budget constraints and other priorities when I arrived so the the portal and single sign on (SSO) options we explored…were not an option. We rolled out an instance of Moodle, our campus LMS, as a temporary portal which we called our Gateway. However, we knew our search was just beginning.  
    A one stop self serve environment has also been a desire.  Our temporary Gateway (aka portal) mentioned above quickly headed where every portal seems to go.  A cluttered collection of junk worse than that mess of a storage shed in your back yard. (My apologies to those highly organized people without this cluttered shed problem). Our search continued in 2013 and after doing a proof of concept with LaunchPad we moved  students faculty and staff in August 2014 to  “a personal cloud desktop” from ClassLink .
    LaunchPad has provided a single place to access core resources without having to use multiple logins.  Currently those core resources are defined as:

    1.    WebAdvisor
    2.    Moodle
    3.    Gmail & related tools
    4.    Digium Switchvox (Phone)

    Other resources for which Classlink has connectors already built numbers in the hundreds of applications and can be added at the users discretion to the default core services discussed above.
    launchpad screenshot
    We recently worked with Classlink to add functionality which we are calling the Casper College Resource Library.  This is an area that would provided access to resources tools etc specific to Casper College.  I tell users to think of this as your Casper College “App Store” for the Casper College resources that you use everyday.   The best part is:

      • If you want to add a link to the Library but your co worker doesn’t, you can add it and they don’t have to.  
    • If you want quick and easy access to the campus forms but someone else doesn’t,  it is easy to add it as a resource to your LaunchPad Desktop and they don’t have to.

    You can create a virtual work space that allows you to work the way you want to work.
    We  started with 21 resources in the Casper College resource library and we can work with our Classlink to create more when you find a resource you would like added.  If there is a login required to access a resource we  can also work with our vendor to create a connector for single sign on (SSO) so that you do not have to remember  “one more login” for that resource.   Below is a link to a short video we created which introduces our users to steps they can take to begin customizing their work space.
    In general we have found LaunchPad provides the following benefits:

      • Same “portal” for students and employees
      • Single Sign On (SSO) capabilities
      • New modern interface
      • Users are now able to manage their individual Google Apps password
    • Google mobile apps started working for users

    Cool Tech On the Edge of Creepy
    Now for a piece of my visit which is on the border of magically creepy. Upon checking at the Grand Floridian I was given something Disney calls a MagicBand. Forbes stated in a 2013 article that the MagicBand,

    will make tickets, hotel keys, cash and credit cards as unnecessary for its visitors as pants are for Donald Duck

    Indeed I discovered that the MagicBand was my passport to my room, purchasing food, and all else that is in the Disney proclaimed happiest place on earth. For purchases I did have the option to attach a credit card number to the account and band.  I thought the wristband shown below interesting and so I began a quick search about the Disney rollout of the Magicbands.  As I learned more I keep thinking- creepy is now becoming normal.  The one piece they don’t really tell you about at check-in is that the band also is used to track everything people do in the parks and personalize the experience for visitors.  The two most common phrases in articles I read about the billion dollar MagicBands which were:

      • Orwellian
    • Mark of the Beast

    The Orwellian adjective was popularized when the book “1984” was published in 1949 and discusses the official deception, secret surveillance and manipulation of recorded history by a totalitarian or authoritarian state.  Other common terms coming from “1984” include Big Brother, doublethink, thoughtcrime, Newspeak, Room 101, telescreen, 2 + 2 = 5 and memory hole.    
    The Mark of the Beast is in reference the Bible’s Chapter of Revelation where the mark acts as a seal for the followers of Antichrist and the false prophet (the spokesperson for the Antichrist). The false prophet (the second beast) is the one who causes people to take this mark. The mark is literally placed in the hand or forehead and is not simply a card someone carries. The primary passage in the Bible that mentions the “mark of the beast” is Revelation 13:15-18. Other references can be found in Revelation 14:9, 11, 15:2, 16:2, 19:20, and 20:4. This
    The recent breakthroughs in medical implant chip and RFID technologies have increased interest in both Orwells 1984 and the Mark of the Beast spoken of in Revelation chapter 13.    After my most recent experience in “the happiest place on earth” my thoughts really were going back to training earlier in my life on both 1984 and the Bible.   
    Many good teachers of Revelation disagree as to the exact form of the mark of the beast. However, it certainly seems that implanted chips, an ID card, a microchip, a barcode that is tattooed into the skin, or simply a mark that identifies someone as being part of an Orwellian society or faithful to the Antichrist’s kingdom is certainly possible with technologies we are seeing today.  
    Everyday is a learning experience.   I am thankful for the opportunity to get to see new and innovative products and how it will impact what I doing as we continue to look for new and improved solutions for higher education.  

  • The High Cost of the High Cost of Higher Education

    Future discussion of President Obama’s proposal for free community college will be ugly whether you support the idea or not.  It’s how our political system seems to operate.  Personally, I will be watching as I don’t yet know enough to say whether or not I support any specific proposal although I do generally agree with the concept of bringing college costs down and trying to minimize student debt load. The high debt load our students are taking on is simply enslaving many of them.   
    In a recent post about our Casper College visit to CDW in Chicago I listed as one of our reasons for pursuing a Chromebook 1:1 initiative as follows:

    • Reducing a students overall cost and/or student debt load is a moral responsibility for all in or related to higher education.    

    Shortly after posting I stumbled on an article  in which New Jersey’s second-largest public university, Montclair University, is spending $210,000 for a 17-foot tall bronze statue depicting the school’s red-tailed hawk mascot to help improve school spirit.
    Monclair State indicates that half the statues cost will be paid for by mandatory student fees. In response Monclair State University student Jo Landau said school spirit would improve if,

    If tuition weren’t so high, if there were parking spots for everyone, if everyone actually knew who their academic adviser was, and if the administration actually listened to students like they say they will.

    When I read stories such as this I realize we have failed our students completely on this issue of keeping student costs down.  
    A 2013 GAO report tells us that more must be done to curb the rising cost of textbooks.   Findings in that report include:

      • Efforts by publishers to disclose cost information to faculty have not impacted prices.  
      • New textbook prices rose 82% between 2002 and 2012
    • Textbook costs are rising an average of 6% per year and approximately three times the rate of inflation.

    The College Board says the average four-year college student spends $1,200 a on books and supplies and that introductory texts often costs
    The following chart is just scary:

    Source: US Department of Labor Statistics as reported in “The Economist, Sept, 201o
    In our proposed Chromebook Initiatives we hope to reduce the overall student cost of enrolling in some of our programs by replacing several hundreds of dollars of cost from textbooks to a couple hundred dollar Chromebook.  The instructors will provide content online they have developed and not require any texts for specific programs.  (NOTE: Before you tell me how much work this is going to be please note that for the programs we will pilot the electronic content is already built)   
    With that background I think is very important to carefully consider each and every resource we are adding to a students list of required resources for their education.  
    We ALWAYS say …well if a resource is required then the student can make it part of their financial aid package. We almost flippant when we say this but in reality we are just deferring costs via their financial aid package which will directly impact their quality of life when and if they graduate.  You might say…

    It’s just one Chromebook  

    This issue to me is that we are continually adding to the cumulative student cost because we use this line every single time for every single cost that comes along.  I think it is high time for us to more seriously consider a student’s ability to repay and how the debt burdens impact on their future quality of life.  I was one who was always told …. get your education …  borrow the money if you have to.
    Sounds easy enough, however, since we have a system in which student loan debt is very difficult to discharged in bankruptcy I think we need to be really really careful about dishing out this advice.  Karl Denninger says about our system,

    Student loan debt holds a privileged position above all other kinds of debt.     It was both Republican and Democratic Congresses and Presidents that went along with it.  
    The basic laws of supply and demand responded to the fact that student loans became “fog a mirror” loans, just as did these loans in the housing bubble. Since there was no risk you could avoid the debt in bankruptcy there was no reason for a lender to care if your chosen path for both debt and vocation had any reasonable congruence with the ability to pay. With this influx of “students” that were preyed upon in this fashion, demand outstripped supply and price went to the moon, exactly as basic economics tell you that it will. The Universities actively engaged in these acts, as did the lenders and government. They screwed this individual and all others in this situation on purpose by taking steps they knew would radically inflate the cost of college and screwed with the law so students would get hosed when (not if) those loans went bad while they would be protected from making those intentionally-bad loans.

    If you get a high paying degree and job you can pay it back.  If you get a low paying degree and job you may not be able to pay it back.  However,  all degrees regardless of ability to pay have access to generally the same monies for education.
    Denniger adds…
    “It is criminal to enforce the payment for the bad borrowing  decision only upon the student, and yet protect the utter stupidity of the lender and university involved who both acted with superior information and thus must stand accused of making the loan in an intentionally-predatory fashion with absolutely no care in the world as to whether it could be paid or not.
    You might say,  I thought this was about Chromebooks?   It is not just the Chromebook but rather about what is described by some as a higher education arms race.  It is about reflecting on how every single decision higher education practitioners make for students is part of a cumulative effect which could impact that student for decades.   It is the cumulitive  effect of the Chromebook requirement, requiring various resources, building buildings, adding statues which might improve school spirit  and in general thinking we must not only provide everything a student  needs but also what they want.  Gordon Winston, states,

    An arms race has no finish line that indicates success. It is a continuing process that can be ended only by ending the process itself.

    This  does create this predatory lending mentality and if those of us in the best position to advise students and dictate the direction of our institutions don’t take this seriously who will.    I  think I agree with Denniger.

  • Why Higher Ed must change and how IT can help

    There are truly monster sized challenges in effectively delivering quality technology services in higher education. The size of the monsters small schools are facing are smaller than the larger institutions, but proportionally the threat is the same.  We  really need each other and we need options…and we need to understand Dragons.  Why do we need to understand dragons?  Lets start with the Urban Dictionary definition for dragons:
    Definition # 1:  The Beast of all Beasts
    Example:  Thou shalt not slay thy dragon, thy dragon shalt slay thou.
    Definition # 2:  A mythical creature resembling a reptile. Usually huge and ridiculously powerful; often flies or spits fire and/or venom out of its mouth. May be benevolent or pure evil; usually depends on what part of the world the legend is coming from. People often like to role play these creatures online.
    Example:  “I have a plastic dragon on top of my monitor.”
    Definition #3: A large lizard who’s only weakness is medieval swords
    Example:  I tried to shoot the dragon, but the bullets just bounced off, so i just poked him with my iron sword instead.
    I like number three the best for today and I think that many see the recent merger between Datatel and Sungard as a digital dragon.   So that we may begin sharpening our digital medieval sword in case this really is a dragon let’s first look at what is going on in higher education
    – See more at:
    Rising Cost of School
    The rising cost of tuition and fees certainly doesn’t bode well for higher education in the U.S.. A In a recent blog post by Michael Feldstein (2011) he uses a single slide by Anya Kamenetz shown below to sum up the problem:
    This picture is very sobering for all of us in higher education and we should not underestimate the challenge. Why do I bring this up this issue? Sid Hudson, long time Vice Chancellor for Legislative Relations for the Oklahoma Regents for Higher Education told the Oklahoma Council for Information Technology shortly before his retirement in 2009 that IT was in a better position to save money for institutions of Higher Ed than any other organizational area in higher education. While this may be true let’s transition for a moment and bring up what I see as the heart of the issue. The expanding demand for technology services in combination with flat or declining budgets is arguably the greatest core challenge facing education information technology ( IT) during the next few years.
    An additional related issue is our stakeholders are also changing. Many publications and authors have chronicled the rise of “The Millennials” the digital ready students of today and their expectations for college and university IT services. Although I don’t necessarily agree that it is just the younger users of technology who have greater expectations what is true is technology users coming on campus no longer care about network use policies, disk quotas and other limitations because public services offering free, practically unlimited storage for e-mail, videos, and other services abound. IT faces pressures from other directions. Many functions which in the past may have been solely the domain of IT are also being pulled into other areas. For example, an institutions web strategy and marketing efforts a few short years ago may have been under the sole control of IT as a institutions public relations function may have been more focused on traditional media. It would be very difficult today to not involve the PR director and possibly other institutional resources in the development of the digital marketing strategy. A few years ago this would have inevitably been called “One of those IT things”.
    In almost every functional area greater technical expertise is now available with many constituents interested and capable in the use of technology. In the past the IT manager may have been able to assert from a basis of unquestioned expertise a point of view on technology, that point of view might be now more frequently challenged by faculty, a dean, vice-president or even president. The perception by users is that campus IT should enable the same type of services that a user can find online for free or for a low cost is very real. Information Technology departments must learn to adapt.
    What are the kind of pressures being exerted on IT you ask? Tucci (2011) says, vice president of IT at the Business Development Bank of Canada Chantal Bezile’s,IT shop complains that the business departments within the bank are building their own applications. A few years ago, however, when these business lines first took matters into their own hands, central IT didn’t want anything to do with the effort. “It was small technology. It was not robust, but it met the business’ needs,” she said. Now there are business units that pretty much “have their own IT shops,” she added. “
    This is very relevant to the monumental change and the phenomenon Clay Christensen (2008) talks about when describing disruptive innovation. My favorite disruptive technology tale is the story of disruption and US Steel. This often cited story (one of many examples of disruptive technology) tracks the growth of American minimill steel makers, such as Nucor and Chaparral. Over time steel minimills displaced traditional American steel-makers such as United States Steel and Bethlehem — the integrated mills. The minimills entered the market at the low-end in undemanding applications such as rebar. Over time, and incrementally, the minimills improved their manufacturing technology until they were capable of manufacturing top-quality, high profit, steel. Inasmuch as the minimills had a cost advantage relative to the integrated mills, the traditional steel companies closed their mills and were driven from the market (Lawerence 2010).

    Figure (Phipps 2007)
    Essentially the moral of the story is this. “If we don’t wake up we will become obsolete.” Think of US Steel, add DEC computers, vacuum tube technology from the RCA TV and then think about education and how we have applied new exciting technology to an old outdated model. One thing that really stuck with me watching the acceptance of the open source world(probably because this so fits the open source attitude which has driven the core of my recent professional career) is the discussion of the concept of Peer Production. Peer production is a new way of producing goods and services that relies on self-organizing communities of individuals who come together to produce a shared outcome Benkler & Nissenbaum 2006). Peer Production relative advantage over that of the Industrial Model is Identifying the best available human capital using it collaboratively to highly refine and increase production. Dr. Jason Cole (2009) states that with a big enough network of people we can self Identify and allocate our self to the areas that we can add value. SCHOOLS are not set up on the peer production model. We as instructors are allocated to a Classroom! The teacher next door to you can’t remedy your problem because we are set up on an industrial production model and they are allocated to their classroom only!
    I have adapted the following chart over time (sorry I don’t remember where I originally got the idea) and it could possibly be relabeled “An Amazing Fact” rather than “An Amazing Trend” it might be more accurate in 2012 but at any rate it explains much of the disruption we see when describing disruptive forces in the higher education IT environment and it perfectly describes what I have seen in my career as an IT director in higher education.

    Quite simply many of the services I could provide at the enterprise level only a few years ago end users can get FOR FREE online in a number of places. The poster child for this is robust wireless access. A variety of internet cafes, cable services and other resources are but a few of the examples of what people now consider normal. In 1997 no one could come close to the 45MB connection to the internet we had. Now That doesn’t seem like that big of a deal,
    The other example I have seen relates to Learning Management Systems. In 1997 it was totally an enterprise application. Now ownership of a domain name at $10/year with a hosted account at any number of services at maybe $10/month any business who wants can create a training service/business if they have content which is of interest to their proposed audience. (Hey this sounds like the title for another post…How about “Become a School in a Day”)
    All of this is a drastic change for those who have been in IT management for awhile. It simply has not dawned on many IT directors in higher education that what they do can do can often be duplicated at a fraction of the cost. Mageau (2011) indicates IT directors are generally a conservative bunch. She quotes a colleague who says “They don’t want to make a mistake,” he explained. “They have responsibility for huge, complex infrastructures upon which their entire institution depends. So they’re pretty conservative when they have to make a decision.” I have found this very true. When we began the move to the open source learning management system, Moodle, very few institutions really wanted to hear about this free product. It was probably safer to pay the support contract and not risk making a mistake. Mageau also says, “That was an eye-opening insight for me. I associate technology with change; so IT leaders, it stands to reason embrace change, don’t they?”
    This brings me back to the Campus Technology Summit and what I view as a great opportunity for another open source tool, Kuali.   Although I have moved my institutions to various open source / free tools and admired the open source ERP systemKuali for quite some time afar, I have not been in a situation where switching ERP systems has been an option. At this meeting there were several sessions which talk about Kuali and I in particular which gave an overview of the University of Southern California’s conversion to Kuali.
    I think in many ways I am happy about not changing ERP systems…however, many of my peers over the course of my career have not been so fortunate.  I do have friends and peers who became unemployed when an ERP conversion/ project was over budget and beyond schedule   It appears to me with the merger of Datatel and Sungard (aka Ellucian) many more institutions will get that opportunity in the near future.   Kuali, certainly needs to be on the radar as a serious contender.
    There are several challenges for us is in effectively sorting through the multitude of options and choosing the correct mix of commercial and open source technologies and tools to be used in conjunction the commercial products we already use. The challenges are fundamentally the same in any size of institution or at any level of education as it relates to the deployment of technology and specifically open source solutions. These challenges include: 1) Can IT adjust and accept that cloud-based or open source solutions can work. 2) changing the mindset and culture of an organization so it can understand low or not cost does not always mean low value and 3) meeting high expectations with limited financial resources and finally and maybe most importantly 4) It is OK if you can’t control every aspect of every technology used at an institution.
    Benkler, Yochai, and Helen Nissenbaum. “Commons-based Peer Production and Virtue.” Journal of Political Philosophy 14.4 (2006): 394-419. Print.
    Christenson, Clayton, Curtis Johnson, and Micheal Horn. Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns. McGraw Hill, 2008. Print.
    Cole, Jason. “Innovation and Education: Surfing the Coming Waves of Disruption.” ASTE 2009. Streaming Meda, Anchorage Alaska. 24 Feb. 2009. Speech.…
    Lawerence, Katherine. “Rethinking the LAMP Stack — Drupal Disruptive Open Source Part 2 | PINGV Creative Blog.” PINGV Creative | Web Strategy • Design • Drupal Development. PingV, 2 Dec. 2010. Web. 20 Jan. 2012. a href=””>…;.
    Mageau05/01/11, Therese. “Making Decisions in a Sea of Change — Campus Technology.” Campus Enterprise Networking & Infrastructure — Campus Technology. Campus Technology, 01 May 2011. Web. 16 May 2011. a href=””>…;.
    Phipps, Simon. “The Wrong End of the Paint Stick (Simon Phipps, SunMink).” Oracle Blogs | Homepage. Oracle, 30 Aug. 2007. Web. 20 Jan. 2012. a href=””>>;.
    Tucci, Linda. “The CIO’s Dilemma? Disruptive Innovation vs. Performance Improvement.” CIO Information, News and Tips –, 30 Mar. 2011. Web. 14 May 2011.

  • Why IT Departments need a 12 year old on staff

    In the later part of the summer in 2012  Google replaced Gmail video chat with Google+ Hangouts. “Unlike the old video chat, which was based on peer-to-peer technology, Hangouts utilize the power of Google’s network to deliver higher reliability and enhanced quality,” explains Gmail team blog post.   
    At Casper College we have been using Hangouts extensively  in recent months trying to determine the best ways to collaborate with this tool.  When I excitedly mentioned this experiment at home the other day my 12 year old, Jake, said.  I don’t see the big deal,  Elijah (his cousin) and I have been using that for years.  Of course I was dumbfounded.  All of our brilliantly executed experimentation blown out to the water by a twelve year old.
    As I quizzed him I did come to the realization that yes he had been using Gmail video since 2008 and maybe more importantly he has been around internet  video his whole life (2001) as I have been involved in distance learning and IP based video conference since the late 1990’s when Intel introduced the Team Station.  
    I asked Jake to jot down a few of his observations, since he is an old school Google video chat user and here are his thoughts:   

    Dad still thinks video is a big deal, but I consider it an every week use. my cousin and I use Google hangouts and have used it ever since we learned about it. You see, we don’t share screens or anything, we use it to chat and thats all. We do not have a Google+ account, we use our email accounts and do video only and as far as I know you can not share screens using google hangouts on your email, I believe you must have a google+ account for that.

    I had not thought about this but when using Google Hangouts for video only you don’t need a Google + account.  What you miss out on is the collaborative tools used for sharing screens, Youtube videos and other features.    
    Being twelve in today’s IT environment would many times be an advantage.  All of the capabilities  which have been added through the years seem normal.   The next best thing…..add a 12 year old to your staff.  It would provide invaluable insight

  • Are You Ready for the Digital Dark Age?

    Data Storage and the Digital Dark Age
    “Back when information was hard to copy people valued the copies and took care of them. Now, copies are so common as to be considered worthless, and very little attention is given to preserving them over the long term. “(Brandt, 2003)
    —-Danny Hillis
    It is a valid concern as to whether there is enough storage space, but focusing only on space, and not on retrievability, let alone what problems are in fathoming the relationship of the various data, can overshadow what the implications, both good and bad, of having so much data with which to deal.
    More and more people and groups such as the Internet Archive are discussing the potential vacuum of  historical photos and digital materials from this era  because of rapidly changing technologies and lack of process for saving these treasures, but on the individual level we would argue the gap is going to be even greater. The Internet Archive is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that was founded to build an Internet library. Its purposes include offering permanent access for researchers, historians, scholars, people with disabilities, and the general public to historical collections that exist in digital format. This is great but is it enough?
    Personally, I have started retrieving and scanning photos which I found in my moms basement and photos such as the one below of my Aunt and Frank “Pistol Pete: Eaton (the real life character behind the Oklahoma State University mascot “Pistol Pete”.   One of the treats in getting to sort through boxes and boxes of photos, letters and cards is finding treats such as this one.

    Experts in the Dark?
    “The very significant downside to this change in process is not something any of us will immediately recognize. we’ll just notice, thirty years from now, that we won’t have anything to casually leaf through and remember the important bits”(Grey, 2010)
    Max Gerber
    Digital preservation is defined as the maintenance of digitally stored information. This is different from digitization which is the process of creating digital information. Digital librarians, archivists, and related experts use the following methods to preserve digital content:
    Data migration: this is the transfer of data to newer systems. Through this process experts ensure continual access to digital content despite ever-changing technologies and formats (Breeding, 2012).
    Data refreshing:  it is a fact that digital data will degrade over time. One way to combat this phenomenon is to transfer or copy the data from one storage medium to another. Through this process the data lifespan is increased (Groenewald and Breytenbach, 2011).
    Data emulation: this process allows older digital artifacts to be accessed from newer computers. Emulation focuses on the application software as a solution and seeks to develop software that can still access older digital artifacts (Besser, 2007).
    Data replication: digital information that exists in only one location could be lost if there is a hardware or software failure. To guard against this threat of data loss experts in digital perseveration will typically back-up digital content in several locations (Thomas, 2000).
    For at least a decade digital librarians and other archival specialists have struggled with digital preservation.  For example, Harvey (2012) identifies four challenges facing any digital preservation expert: changing from intermittent to continuous preservation practices, continuous professional development of experts, development of “best practices” that are applicable to anyone, and funding. The importance of this last point cannot be overstated.
    The sad reality for digital preservation experts is that we are not living in a Star Trek utopia. Educational institutions, organizations and experts typically do not provide services without accounting for cost. Infrastructure, staffing, and continual upgrades of both are not free. Digital preservation practices are not a one-time cost and require continuous funding. Unfortunately even the “experts” are often underfunded, lack training or lack the manpower to consistently preserve digital artifacts. If the expert faces these challenges then what can we realistically expect of the average person?
    Which brings us to a great paradox of the digital universe:  As our ability to store digital bits increases, our ability to store them over time decreases.  Think about this, the Dead Sea Scrolls, thousands of years old, are made of animal skins, papyrus and one of copper  are thousands of years old( 25 Interesting Facts)  There are many instances of clay tablets thousands of years old,  photographs and microfilm a hundred years old. But can we read a 8-track tape from 35 years ago, a floppy disk from 20 years  ago, or a VHS tape from 10 years ago?   The life-span of digital recording media is nowhere near as long as stone or paper – the media degrades and the  playback mechanisms become obsolete. The design life of a low cost hard drive is 10 years, USB drives 10 years, the usable lifespan of magnetic tape has been estimated to be as little as 10 years,viii and the life expectancy of CDs and DVDs may be as little as 20 years, while DVD technology is 100 years Keep in mind that DVDs may be worthless not too far into the future. How many people still own Record Players? ZIP drives?(Grey 2010).
    In short, the life of stored data follows two conflicting curves: one where capacities go up and one where longevity goes down.  For the moment the solution recommended to digital archivists by the National Media Lab is to transcribe digital records to new media every 10-20 years – a tough assignment for all but the well-organized.
    Due to the relentless obsolescence of digital formats and platforms, along with the ten-year life spans of digital storage media such as magnetic tape and CD-ROMs, there has never been a time of such drastic and irretrievable information loss as right now.  I am very excited by some of the things that are happening in the digital world, but I also wonder what it means 10,50 or 100 years from now.   For example one of my favorite companies in the educational realm is Flat World Knowledge.  Their mission per their web page is:  “We are a college textbook publishing company on a mission. By using technology and innovative business models to lower costs, we are increasing access and personalizing learning for college students and faculty worldwide.”  I know as a college administrator we have to do something about rising costs before we price ourselves out of the reach of students and become irrelevant, however a part of me  becomes nostalgic about those textbooks which are in museums, libraries and even my bookshelf.  There is something comforting about holding a book, even a crummy ol’ textbook, in your hand.  The images below are from a well hidden secret part of my academic life…I have about a dozen graduate hours in taxation.  Yep I agree yuck!

    I kept this book, which I can hold in my hand, because I have never studied one topic ( a graduate class on “Federal Taxation of Corporations” ) so hard and understood so little. Notice the soiled and marked pages. I really did peruse this book more than any other book I have ever had.   I keep it on my shelf and pull it out to remind myself of why I did not go into accounting and it makes me happy when I get a little whiney about not going that route as I assume would have made a whole lot more money  over the course of my career doing that vs. going into education. Do you think I would have access to that reminder if I would have had an eBook for this course?  I don’t know.
    The half-life of data is currently about five years. There is no improvement in sight because the attention span of the high-tech industry can only reach as far as next year’s upgrade, and its products reflect that.
    The loss is already considerable.  For a long time I had sign on my wall that said, “Things are really going to take off when everyone has dual floppies”  Oh my was that a long time ago and really pretty funny statement for those in the tech field.  However,  you may have noticed that any files you carefully recorded on 5l/4″ floppy disks a few years ago are now unreadable. Not only have those disk drives disappeared, but so have the programs, operating systems, and machines that wrote the files (WordStar in CP/M on a Kaypro?). Your files may be intact, but they are as unrecoverable as if they never existed. The same is true of Landsat satellite data from the 1960s and early 1970s on countless reels of now-unreadable magnetic tape. All of the early pioneer computer work at labs such as MIT Artificial Intelligence is similarly lost, no matter how carefully it was recorded at the time  (Wilson 2005).
    The increasing status of social networks as a repository for photos is an ever increasing storage dilemma.   Myspace used to be the biggest social networking space on the web.  The question becomes are there backups or archives of all the photos that people shoot and post immediately to their favorite social networking site. We are a right now people and I am afraid the consequences of losing a piece of our corporate or individual self and or culture is closer to our doorstep than many may think.
    Background Reading and References
    Arthur, Charles. “What’s a Zettabyte? By 2015, the Internet Will Know, Says Cisco.” The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 18 June 0029. Web. 01 Oct. 2012. a href=””>…;.
    Brand, Stewart. “Escaping The Digital Dark Age.” Published in Library Journal Vol. 124. Issue 2, P46-49, 20 June 2003. Web. 22 Jan. 2012. a href=””>>;.
    Besser, H. (2007). Collaboration for electronic preservation. Library Trends, 56(1), 216-229.
    Breeding, M. (2012). From disaster recovery to digital preservation. Computers In Libraries, 32(4), 22-25.
    Grey, Tim. “Losing Memories to Digital | Tim Grey’s Blog.” Tim Grey – Digital Imaging Expert., 23 Mar. 2010. Web. 22 Jan. 2012. a href=””>>;.
    Groenewald, R., & Breytenbach, A. (2011). The use of metadata and preservation methods for continuous access to digital data. Electronic Library, 29(2), 236-248.
    Kozierok, Charles. “The TCP/IP Guide – Binary Information and Representation: Bits, Bytes, Nibbles, Octets and Characters.” Welcome to The TCP/IP Guide! Charles Kozierok. Web. 22 Jan. 2012. a href=””>…;
    Harvey, R. (2012). Preserving digital materials, 2nd ed. Berlin: De Gruyter Saur.
    Krynsky, Mark. “Wired Article on Lifestreaming Pioneer Gordon Bell.” Lifestream Blog. Wired Magazine, 24 Aug. 2009. Web. 22 Jan. 2012. a href=””>…;.
    Lawerence, Katerine. “Rethinking the LAMP Stack — Drupal Disruptive Open Source Part 2 | PINGV Creative Blog.” PINGV Creative | Web Strategy • Design • Drupal Development. PINGV, 2 Dec. 2010. Web. 22 Jan. 2012. a href=””>…;.
    Melvin, Jasmin. “Mobile Device Boom Sparks U.S. Net Address Shortage| Reuters.” Business & Financial News, Breaking US & International News | Reuters, 28 Sept. 2010. Web. 22 Jan. 2012. a>…
    Sutter, John D. “Microsoft Researcher Building ‘e-memory’ –” – Breaking News, U.S., World, Weather, Entertainment & Video News. CNN, 24 Oct. 2009. Web. 22 Jan. 2012. a href=””>…;.
    Thomas, C. F. (2000). Replication: the forgotten component in digital library interoperability? Technicalities, 20(4), 3-5.
    Wilson, Carson. “Longevity of Film versus Digital Images.” Apples & Oranges: How Digital and Film Cameras Differ., 13 Sept. 2005. Web. 22 Jan. 2012. a href=””>…;.
    “25 Fascinating Facts About the Dead Sea Scrolls @ Century One Bookstore.” Archaeology | Biblical Studies | Dead Sea Scrolls | Religion | Century One Bookstore. Century One Bookstore. Web. 22 Jan. 2012. <>
    “KB, Mb, GHz, and All of That Stuff.” Coolnerds Home Page. Web. 22 Jan. 2012. a href=””>>;.
    “The Expanding Digital Universe.” EMC. Web. 22 Jan. 2012. a href=””>…;.

  • Are you Ready for the Zettabyte?

    NOTE:  I have really enjoyed discussing techy stuff with our new Casper College librarian Brad Matthies since he arrived at Casper College and asked him to add his 2 cents to this blog post.   He contributed some really great stuff related to the Digital Dark Age section of this post and greatly reduced the number of  Okieisms such as “uins” yontoos, and ya’lls” this post would have had otherwise.  Thanks Brad.
    A Zettabyte is a billion Terabytes...there I said it. The Zettabyte or zettabytes is a term that that Microsoft Word spellchecker does not recognize.  I suppose I have always loved the challenge of getting good and appropriate technology to the end user at the institutions where I have served and data storage is certainly one of biggest challenges.  Cloud computing, SAN (Storage Area Networks), big data, data transfer, bandwidth and data warehousing are all terms related to this conversation.  At my previous position we worked on an ARRA grant that will eventually bring a 10GB connection to Western Oklahoma State College (that is 10,000MB).  I always stated I was excited to get this much bandwidth because I would now be able to “fax a pizza” to all my friends.  At my current job with Casper College we have moved to a 100MB connection in the fall of 2011 and then to a 200MB connection in the spring of 2012 so for a little while I will have more bandwidth than we had at my previous stop.   How exciting is that?  Very exciting actually, but what does all of this mean?
    Well, one thing it means is that we are learning new numbers and sizes.  In a recent Reuters article, an author tells us the iPv6 standard will allocate a “trillion, trillion, trillion.” addresses. Wisely, the author did not use the word “unodecillion.”(Melvin, 2010)   Unodecillion?   I had never heard of “  Unodecillion”  prior to writing this post.   Are you ready for the Zettabyte?  As of 2011, no storage system has achieved one zettabyte of information (you will learn how much that is shortly). The combined space of all computer hard drives in the world was estimated at approximately 160 exabytes in 2006. (EMC)  Interestingly we are learning about these numbers without actually knowing or understanding what the old ones are.  No matter how much storage space we think we need we can put it into terms we understand.  The naming of the little company we know as Google is a perfect example.  Back in the day when their little company was founded Larry and Sergi named their new search engine for the biggest number they could think of and…it wasn’t big enough.  Similarly, that is where are at with data storage?
    One of the most common work-related discussions I have had in the past couple years is about appropriate and available storage for the ever increasing digital stuff we are always creating.  You are also seeing a proliferation of professional development opportunities in the area of Data Warehousing.  Many people I have spoken with toss around the term “Big Data”   It all revolves around the rapidly expanding data inventory we are facing.  Yes, I can really start to see the time of the Zettabyte.    An email this past week from our director of distance learning Ana Thompson reinforced for me the challenges we have with storage:
    “At this time, I would like to ask all of you to please check your accounts and delete any recordings that you do not need.  You have the option to download any of the WebEx ARF files to your computer…”
    I often have thoughts such as “How does Google provide so much space for my Gmail accounts” and “how do they provide enough space to put up all of those photos everyone posts to Facebook and all those videos to Youtube”.  And think of this…those applications have only taken off in the past few years.   In 2006 prior to the golden age of the previously mentioned media rich applications, the amount of digital information created, captured, and replicated was 1,288 x 1018 bits. In computer parlance, that’s 161 exabytes or 161 billion gigabytes (keep reading for more on these terms). This is about 3 million times the information in all the books ever written (EMC,2007).
    At Casper College we have begun a rapid expansion of storage which by the time our next fiscal year will be about 100 times (see below) what it was only 4 years.  This does not even count the space we are using for distributing data via sources such as YouTube and Vimeo.
    Life Logging
    Beyond the institutional need for storage personal data storage is rapidly changing.  For the past dozen years or so Gordon Bell, of Microsoft has been attempting to store all the information he creates and captures. The project originally stored encoded archival material, such as books he read, music he listened to, or documents he created on his PC. It then evolved to capturing audio recordings of conversations, phone calls, web pages accessed, medical information, and even pictures captured by a camera that automatically takes pictures when its sensors indicate that the user might want a photograph. The original plan was to test the hypothesis that an individual could store a lifetime’s worth of information on a single terabyte drive, which, if compressed and excluding pre-recorded video (movies or TV shows he watched) still seems possible. By 2009 Bell had collected more than 350 gigabytes worth, not including the streaming audio and video — this collection is considered by Bell a replica of his biological memory (Sutter). However, in one experiment where TV programs he watched were recorded, he quickly ran up 2 terabytes of storage. So the one terabyte capacity is considered reasonable for text/audio recording at 20th century resolutions, but not full video. In his experiment, Bell mimicked one of the trends we forecast for the digital universe. In 2000 he was shooting digital camera pictures at 2 MB per image; when he got a new camera in 2005 the images swelled to 5 MB. Along the way his email files got bigger as his attachments got bigger. So let’s see, at one terabyte per person, if everyone on the planet recorded everything Gordon Bell did, that would mean we’d need 620 exabytes of storage – about 30 times what’s available today (EMC 2007, Krynsky 2009, Sutter 2009)
    First I think it may be time for a review of what we already know.  Lets go with some basics first (WOW I feel like I am getting ready to teach my Introduction to Computer Class 20 years ago…CP101 I believe it was).
    The basic numbers

    Abbreviation Stands for Spoken as Approximate # Actual #
    K Kilo kay or killa 1,000 (a thousand) 1,024
    M Mega meg 1,000,000 (a million) 1,048,576
    G Giga gig or giga 1,000,000,000 (a billion) 1,073,741,8

    The pattern is fairly simple.  Each time you move up to a bigger number K to M to G, you stick another ,000 onto the end of the preceding number.
    Bits, Bytes, Kilobytes and beyond.
    A “bit” is the smallest unit of information that can be stored in a computer, and consists of either a 1 or 0 (or on/off state). All computer calculations are in bits.  It is pretty easy to picture a byte – it’s the equivalent of a character on a page – or even a megabyte, which contains about the same amount of information as a small novel.
    The byte is a unit of digital information in computing and telecommunications that most commonly consists of eight bits. Historically, a byte was the number of bits used to encode a single character of text in a computer and for this reason it is the basic addressable element in many computer architectures.  Formally, however, an octet is the correct term for exactly eight bits, while a byte is the smallest number of bits that can be accessed in a computer system, which may or may not equal eight. In practice, modern computers use 8-bit bytes, and the terms are used interchangeably (with byte being more common in North America, and octet often being preferred in Europe
    Please note that all numbers are an approximation, but I have included actual numbers on KB, MB and GB for emphasis. Here is the progression:
    Old Familiar Data Terms
    Bit (b) 1 or 0
    Byte (B) 8 bits
    Kilobyte (KB)  approximately 1,000 bytes or A thousand bytes  (Actual 1024)
    Megabyte (MB) approximately 1,000 KB  or A million bytes (Actual 1,048,576 bytes)
    Gigabyte (GB)  approximately 1,000 MB or A billion bytes 1,073,741,824 bytes)
    Terabyte (TB) 1,000, GB
    New Data Terms
    Petabyte (PB) 1,000 TB
    Exabyte (EB) 1,000 PB
    Zettabyte (ZB) 1,000 EB
    In 2007, the digital universe was 281 exabytes. That is: 281 billion gigabytes, and in that year, for the first time, the data generated exceeded storage capacity. Next year, one prediction says it will be 1,800 billion gigabytes. That is 1.8 zettabytes — again this is a number so unfamiliar that Microsoft Word spellchecker does not recognize it.  A zettabyte is a billion terabytes (Lawerence 2010).  You can also say a zettabyte is roughly 1000 exabytes. To place that amount of volume in more practical terms, an exabyte alone has the capacity to hold over 36,000 years worth of HD quality video…or stream the entire Netflix catalog more than 3,000 times. A zettabyte is equivalent to about 250 billion DVDs.”(Aurther 2011)
    Aurther (2011) says, “Cisco sees the movement towards the exabyte as an inevitable endpoint of the growth in video traffic online. Its analysis suggests that we’ll have shifted into the zettabyte age by 2015″
    How does this relate to my life?  It depends, but if you participate in common Internet activities such as posting to Facebook, uploading Youtube videos, etc., then you are part of the challenge in providing enough storage.  The point is it takes a defined amount of “space” to store information outside of our brains.  That’s because the information which needs to be stored such as words, numbers, pictures, or something takes up space. In a computer, it is this basic “unit” of measure  as defined above is a byte.   This is basically the amount of space it takes to store one character, like the letter “A” or a punctuation mark such as the semi colon;  So it takes about four bytes to store the word “Kent”. It takes about 2,000 bytes to store one double-spaced page of typed text.
    When you see an uppercase letter “B”, that stands for “byte”. So instead of saying it takes “four bytes” to to store the alphabetic representation of my name  “Kent”   I would say it takes about 4B to store the word “Kent”.     To carry this example further I could say it takes about 2000B to store a typed page of text or with the understanding that 1000B = 1 Kilobyte or 1KB I would probably say this document takes up about 2KB of storage space.    If you had a 5  ¼ DD (Double Density) floppy disk which had a storage capacity of 360KB then you could simply divide 2KB into 360KB  and determine that you could hold approximately 180 typed pages of text ( I vaguely remember giving this example every semester while teaching the introduction to microcomputer computers class many years ago).  The formula is not quite so simple once you start adding images, highlighting and complicated formatting to a document.   Let’s look at an example.  If you already have files stored on your computer, and know how to get around in folders, you can see that every file has a size. You’ll need to use the Details view (choose View > Details from the menu bar above the file icons). The figure below shows an example where you can see the sizes of some pictures in a folder on my computer.

    Now lets take some common 2011 applications for data storage and see how this information can be applied.
    Examples of Gigabyte Sized Storage

    • One hour of SDTV video at 2.2 Mbit/s is approximately 1 GB.
    • Seven minutes of HDTV video at 19.39 Mbit/s is approximately 1 GB.
    • 114 minutes of uncompressed CD-quality audio at 1.4 Mbit/s is approximately 1 GB.
    • A DVD-R can hold about 4.7 GB.
    • A dual-layered Blu-ray disc can hold about 50 GB.
    • A Universal Media Disc can hold about 0.9 GB of data. (1.8 GB on dual-layered discs.)

    These numbers are beginning to look small as shown in the following:
    Examples of Terabyte sized storage:

    • Library data – The U.S. Library of Congress Web Capture team claims that “As of April 2011, the Library has collected about 235 terabytes of data” and that it adds about 5 terabytes per month.[1]
    • Online databases – claims approximately 600 TB of genealogical data with the inclusion of US Census data from 1790 to 1930.[2]
    • Computer hardware – Hitachi introduced the world’s first one terabyte hard disk drive in 2007.[3]
    • Historical Internet traffic – In 1993, total Internet traffic amounted to approximately 100 TB for the year.[4] As of June 2008, Cisco Systems estimated Internet traffic at 160 TB/s (which, assuming to be statistically constant, comes to 5 zettabytes for the year).[5] In other words, the amount of Internet used per second in 2008 exceeded all of the Internet used in 1993.
    • Social networks – As of May 2009, Yahoo! Groups had “40 terabytes of data to index”.[6]
    • Video – Released in 2009, the 3D animated film Monsters vs. Aliens used 100 TB of storage during development.[7]
    • Usenet messages – In October 2000, the Deja News Usenet archive had stored over 500 million Usenet messages which used 1.5 TB of storage.[8]
    • Encyclopedia – Wikipedia‘s January 2010 raw data uses a 5.87 terabyte dump.[9]
    • Climate science – In 2010, Germany’s Climate Research Centre (DKRZ) was generating 10,000 TB of data per year, from a supercomputer with a 20 TB memory and 7,000 TB disk space.[10]
    • Audio – One terabyte of audio recorded at CD quality will contain around 2,000 hours of audio. Additionally, one terabyte of compressed audio recorded at 128 kB/s will contain about 17,000 hours of audio.
    • The first 20 years worth of observations by the Hubble Space Telescope has amassed more than 45 terabytes of data. [11]
    • The IBM computer Watson, in which Jeopardy! contestants competed against in February 2011, has 16 terabytes of RAM.[12]

    Examples of the use of the petabyte to describe data sizes in different fields are:

    • The world’s effective capacity to exchange information through two-way telecommunication networks was 281 petabytes of (optimally compressed) information in 1986, 471 petabytes in 1993, 2,200 petabytes in 2000, and 65,000 (optimally compressed) petabytes in 2007 (this is the informational equivalent to every person exchanging 6 newspapers per day). [4]
    • Computer hardware: Teradata Database 12 has a capacity of 50 petabytes of compressed data.[5][6]
    • Internet: Google processes about 24 petabytes of data per day.[7] The BBC’s iPlayer is reported to use 7 petabytes of bandwidth each month.[8]
    • Telecoms: AT&T transfers about 19 petabytes of data through their networks each day.[9]
    • Physics: The experiments in the Large Hadron Collider produce about 15 petabytes of data per year, which will be distributed over the LHC Computing Grid.[10]
    • Neurology: The adult human Brain has been estimated to store a limit of up to 2.5 petabytes of binary data equivalent.[11]
    • Climate science: The German Climate Computing Center (DKRZ) has a storage capacity of 60 petabytes of climate data.[12]
    • Archives: The Internet Archive contains about 5.8 petabytes of data as of December 2010.[13] It was growing at the rate of about 100 terabytes per month in March 2009.[14][15]
    • Games: World of Warcraft uses 1.3 petabytes of storage to maintain its game.[16] Steam, a digital gaming service developed by Valve, delivers over 30 petabytes of content monthly.[17]
    • Film: The 2009 movie Avatar is reported to have taken over 1 petabyte of local storage at Weta Digital for the rendering of the 3D CGI effects.[18][19]
    • In August 2011, IBM was reported to have built the largest storage array ever, with a capacity of 120 petabytes.[20]


    Every year the data mass increases 60-percent

    Let’s backtrack for a moment, earlier we said that in 2007, the digital universe was 281 exabytes. That is: 281 billion gigabytes, and in that year, for the first time, the data generated exceeded storage capacity. Next year, one prediction says it will be 1,800 billion gigabytes.
    Lawerence (2010)  sites a 2008 IDC study,which indicates the data universe will have increased 10-fold from 2006 to 2011. Taking the 5th root of 10 (fold) gives just under 60% compound growth
    The IDC in 2008 provided some data about the growth of data. In a IDC states that from 2006 to 2011 — five years — that data will increase 10-fold.
    Digital Information Created, Captured, Replicated, Worldwide Exabytes Log
    As I think about the past few years we have been adding a terabyte here and a terabyte there to address the need to store data (Actually the very recent past few years).  We have been offloading data to video services such Youtube and Vimeo.  The array of devices with which we are dealing are absolutely overwhelming but make the data storage needs obvious.   My incomplete list of data guzzling tools include:  digital TV, digital movies, OCR,Scanners, document imaging, digital HD videocameras, digital cameras, VoIP surveillance cameras, smart phones, Internet access in emerging countries, sensor-based applications, traditional PC activities such as email and IM, videoconferencing, gaming, GPS, datacenters supporting “cloud computing,” and social networks.

    Moore’s Law

    In April, 1965, still a relatively unknown physical chemist, Gordon Moore, wrote a three-and-a-half page article in the journal, “Electronics.” on the accelerated increase in computing power provided by integrated circuits which will ultimately lead to machines that can process data faster.  He said integrated circuits will lead to such wonders as home computers or at least terminals connected to a central computer, automatic controls for automobiles, and personal portable communications equipment.  The timeline below sums up what we have seen in this area since 1965.
    Machines capable of processing data faster will also generate data more quickly. Moore’s Law suggests computer power that grows geometrically will produce data geometrically and I believe that is exactly what we have seen.
    Background Reading and References
    Arthur, Charles. “What’s a Zettabyte? By 2015, the Internet Will Know, Says Cisco.” The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 18 June 0029. Web. 01 Oct. 2012. a href=””>…;.
    Brand, Stewart. “Escaping The Digital Dark Age.” Published in Library Journal Vol. 124. Issue 2, P46-49, 20 June 2003. Web. 22 Jan. 2012. a href=””>>;.
    Besser, H. (2007). Collaboration for electronic preservation. Library Trends, 56(1), 216-229.
    Breeding, M. (2012). From disaster recovery to digital preservation. Computers In Libraries, 32(4), 22-25.
    Grey, Tim. “Losing Memories to Digital | Tim Grey’s Blog.” Tim Grey – Digital Imaging Expert., 23 Mar. 2010. Web. 22 Jan. 2012. a href=””>>;.
    Groenewald, R., & Breytenbach, A. (2011). The use of metadata and preservation methods for continuous access to digital data. Electronic Library, 29(2), 236-248.
    Kozierok, Charles. “The TCP/IP Guide – Binary Information and Representation: Bits, Bytes, Nibbles, Octets and Characters.” Welcome to The TCP/IP Guide! Charles Kozierok. Web. 22 Jan. 2012. a href=””>…;
    Harvey, R. (2012). Preserving digital materials, 2nd ed. Berlin: De Gruyter Saur.
    Krynsky, Mark. “Wired Article on Lifestreaming Pioneer Gordon Bell.” Lifestream Blog. Wired Magazine, 24 Aug. 2009. Web. 22 Jan. 2012. a href=””>…;.
    Lawerence, Katerine. “Rethinking the LAMP Stack — Drupal Disruptive Open Source Part 2 | PINGV Creative Blog.” PINGV Creative | Web Strategy • Design • Drupal Development. PINGV, 2 Dec. 2010. Web. 22 Jan. 2012. a href=””>…;.
    Melvin, Jasmin. “Mobile Device Boom Sparks U.S. Net Address Shortage| Reuters.” Business & Financial News, Breaking US & International News | Reuters, 28 Sept. 2010. Web. 22 Jan. 2012. a>…
    Sutter, John D. “Microsoft Researcher Building ‘e-memory’ –” – Breaking News, U.S., World, Weather, Entertainment & Video News. CNN, 24 Oct. 2009. Web. 22 Jan. 2012. a href=””>…;.
    Thomas, C. F. (2000). Replication: the forgotten component in digital library interoperability? Technicalities, 20(4), 3-5.
    Wilson, Carson. “Longevity of Film versus Digital Images.” Apples & Oranges: How Digital and Film Cameras Differ., 13 Sept. 2005. Web. 22 Jan. 2012. a href=””>…;.
    “25 Fascinating Facts About the Dead Sea Scrolls @ Century One Bookstore.” Archaeology | Biblical Studies | Dead Sea Scrolls | Religion | Century One Bookstore. Century One Bookstore. Web. 22 Jan. 2012. <>
    “KB, Mb, GHz, and All of That Stuff.” Coolnerds Home Page. Web. 22 Jan. 2012. a href=””>;.
    “The Expanding Digital Universe.” EMC. Web. 22 Jan. 2012. a href=””>…;.

  • What makes an Effective Technology Committee in Education

    NOTE:  I adapted this work from a Tech Planning Model from a Law Firm for use in an education setting.  The link broke where I referenced this and I haven’t yet found it again.  If someone sees something similar let me know as the core idea certainly isn’t mine. 
    Working as chair of the technology committee at Casper College makes my third go around as the chair of the technology committee at an institution of higher education. Working in the chair capacity and with technology committees at other institutions (K12 & higher ed) in the role of a observer/consultant I have  seen large committee and small committees operate at differing levels of effectiveness.    My experience in working effectively with a campus technology committee is it can be a positive experience and technology projects which have been most successful, are those which have been endorsed and driven by an institutional Technology Committee.    IT directors usually describe the transition of major enterprise systems in not so flattering terms.  However, it is possible to make this a relatively pleasant experience.  My favorite example of this was the successfully transition from WebCT to Moodle(a major enterprise system) at my previous intuition. This was in large part because of a really engaged technology committee participating in all phases of the process : brainstorming, research, evaluation, testing, piloting, training, conversion, and most importantly communicating with each other and the larger campus community.   There is not just one standardized formula for making a technology committee successful.  There are simply too many personalities, expectations, technology “crises” and other issues to state that this model or that model will work in a given situation.    Flexibility and a willingness to work are the key factors for membership on a given technology committee.  A few things to keep in mind:

      1. All ideas are good.  There are no stupid questions.
      1. It’s easy to be conservative and stay years behind the technology curve
      1. Watch each others technological back.  Lean on each other for consolidation of knowledge about information technologies.  There is simply too much out there for any one person to be able to filter.   
      1. Technology is often one of the largest expenditures at a college and seems to be one of the least controllable costs for an institution.  
      1. Technology suffers from “acronyminitis” explain acronyms when possible
      1. Technology often becomes one of the least understandable issues on campus
      1. Technology is a mission critical component at every level of the institution. Everyone is almost totally dependent on computers. So technology is a management issue. Technical considerations should yield to management goals and expectations.
      1. There is infinitely more technology available than the IT department has time or resources to make available to the institution. As such, there always seems to be an extensive backlog of projects.
    1. The “consumerization of technologies make the previous issue even more challenging with an ever swelling array of tools and concepts to filter through.
    There are a lot of benefits to a smoothly running committee. For the CTO/ IT director, and the institutional administrators, the committee is a useful way to help channel the many demands for IT products and resources. A well run technology committee is an effective liaison between the user community and the IT department. The technology committee can explain and define the user community’s requirements to the IT staff. A good technology committee understands the role of the IT staff and can effectively explain IT potentials and issues to the institution. Finally the technology committee can see to it that the IT department receives the credit it deserves for a job well done.
    There are a number of possible functions of a technology committee. Among them are to:

      1. Review and endorse strategic technology strategic plans.
      1. Advise as to the appropriateness of the technology plan to the overall campus strategic plan
      1. Provide input on utilization of institutional financial resources for technology.
      1. Work with the IT management to establish institutional priorities and update the strategic plan regularly.
      1. Review and endorse technology annual budgets.
      1. Develop, review and approve technology policies (not procedures).
      1. Review and endorse major technology projects/initiatives
      1. Provide input on business requirements for technology initiatives (let the IT staff find products to meet those requirements).
      1. Review and approve major technology decisions (e.g., the selection of a new ERP system).
      1. Review and approve plans for major technology projects.
      1. Have oversight responsibility for the user-related aspects of major technology projects – including user involvement in requirements, roll-out planning, acceptance testing and service level agreements.
      1. Set priorities and adjust as necessary (always considering opportunity costs on time, staff and money).
      1. Be informed of the status on major projects and major project changes.
      1. Communicate technology issues they should be addressed to IT management and administration.  the management of the institution (problems that they are aware of, issues that they believe should be addressed).
    1. Support technology management with administration.

    Note that all of these responsibilities assume that the committee will work at a reasonably high level. The committee exists to represent the end-user community on campus.  So a good technology committee limits itself to defining and prioritizing IT requirements (for products and services), setting IT related policies, and providing general oversight for the technology functions in the institution.
    The technology committee does not directly manage the IT department. The effective technology committee does not engage in a lot of “day-to-day” activities. Among the activities which the technology committee should avoid are:

    1.      Setting technology procedures. The committee sets policies. They do not define the procedures to implement policies.
    2.      Making specific hardware decisions(input is reasonable). Extended discussions on specific PC brands and features are a sure sign that the committee needs to rethink its role.
    3.      Reviewing technology staffing decisions (except the lead position). Leave it up to the IT director to run the department.
    4.      Managing the specifics of technology projects.
    5.      Approving purchases for previously budgeted items.
    6.      Acting as the Help Desk. They should not involve themselves in “day-to-day” IT questions and problems.
    7.      The technology committee is not the first level escalation path for IT problems. This should be left to the IT department.

    The composition of the technology committee should not necessarily be filled with “uber” geeks, should not assume that younger employees, since they use computers all the time must somehow magically know how to deal with tech issues and must not be fill with members who are the biggest complainers as a way to appease them with a thought process which says since they are included they can at least be heard and if not then its their own fault.   All of these strategies are almost sure to lead to failure. They indicate a failure to properly understand the role of the committee. Consider some of the attributes of the successful committee members:

      1. They put student learning and success above all else in technology recomendations
      1. They understand the role of technology in the strategic direction of the institution. This implies that they have some understanding of the institution’s strategic plan. This, in turn implies that there is a strong link between the technology committee and the institution’s management committee. Good practice suggests that at least one member of the technology committee also serve on the institution’s highest executive committee/council.
      1. They appreciate the use of technology in the institution; they likely use the technology themselves; but they are not necessarily the interested in having “the most” or “the latest and greatest” or “the first.”
      1. They represent and can speak for the interests of the end-user community – administration, faculty, staff and students. This implies that they have some engagement and /or tenure with the institution and are well respected by others in the end-user community.
    1. They have enough vision to appreciate how technology may help the institution achieve its strategic goals. On the other hand, they are not “technological visionaries” – they understand that technology only works within the cultural confines set by the institution. They know that simply adding new technology for the sake of adding technology does not result in worthwhile change.

    There are a lot of advantages to having the membership consist of those with similar backgrounds and management interests. However, the defining mark for technology and its use in any institution is set by the students. Their needs must be met first.
    Few faculty understand or appreciate technology from the perspective of the secretaries. Few administrators understand or appreciate technology from the perspective of the IT staff.   Few IT staff  understand or appreciate technology from the perspective of the the physical plant.  Few college employees understand or appreciate technology from the perspective of the student.   The higher education technology committee must have connections to the entire institution. Technology committees come in various sizes. But every group, no matter how large, must have champions who will represent the needs of their particular area.  
    Our Challenges:

      1. Our biggest challenge is to not give ourselves off target affirmation that we have done our job well if we do not add value to the strategic plans mission and vision of the institution.
      1. To communicate with those who do not have the enthusiasm we may  have for all things technical.  Geek talk and Acronyms must be translated so the end user can benefit from our efforts.
      1. Embrace the power of consumer oriented tools when appropriate (blog, Twitter etc)
      1. Using technology to stabilize costs, increase revenue and stop rising tuition
    1. That which we always thought is stable…may not be.

      1. The Human Side: Working with people to develop a shared vision, being an effective communicator, marketer internally, relationship manager, developer of human capitol, partnership builder
      1. To accept failure…but fail quickly and cheaply as possible and move on.
      1. Hiring nice, smart adaptable, non-risk adverse people  
      1. Cloud computing enables end users to gain access to tools and technologies which allows end users to solve their own IT issues.
      1. To not over “Technify” technical solutions as well as solutions that don’t need technology
    1. Aligning IT goals with Presidential and Institutional Goals ( recent literature indicates they more often than not do not match, see below)
    Educause 2011 Top IT List
    (IT Leader Perspective on What IT Issues are most important)
    Inside Higher Ed 2011
    (Presidential Perspective on the Effectiveness of Campus Investments in IT)

    1.   Funding IT

    2.   Administrative/ERP/Information Systems

    3.   Teaching and Learning with Technology

    4.   Security

    5.   Mobile Technologies

    6.  Agility/ Adaptability/Responsiveness

    7.   Governance, Portfolio/Project


    8.  Infrastructure/Cyber infrastructure

    9.   Disaster Recovery / Business Continuity

    10.  Strategic Planning

    1.       Online/ Distance Ed Courses & Programs

    2.       On-campus teaching and instruction

    3.       Library resources and services

    4.       Administrative Info Systems & Operations

    5.       Data Analysis and Managerial Analytics

    6.       Academic Support Services

    7.       Student Resources and Services

    8.       Student Recruitment

    9.       Research and Scholarship & Development efforts

    10.   Alumni activities / Engagement

    The group should meet regularly—at least monthly and sometimes more often on projects which will have a major impact on the institution.  A formal (regular) agenda should be set for each meeting. Notes should be kept, action items formulated and reported on at subsequent meetings. The IT committee chair should have responsibility for organizing the meetings and for follow-up as required.

    Finally, it takes time for a good technology committee to learn to work together. It takes a long time to learn enough about technology and its application in the law institution. Since technology cuts across every area of the institution, technology committee members must be allowed the time to learn about the issues and concerns in every area of the institution (including the administrative areas). Don’t expect results overnight. Practice and patience will bring rewards.
    Background Reading
    Anderson, Larry, and John Perry. “Technology Planning: Recipe for Success.” National Center for Technology Planning. National Center for Technology Planning,Mississippi State University, Mar. 1994. Web. 20 Jan. 2012. <>.
    Brooks, Kent. “A Great Big Pile of Perspective and The Current Challenges Facing IT in the Educational Environment Part 1 – Kentbrooks.” Kentbrooks – I Was Just Thinking., 22 June 2011. Web. 20 Jan. 2012. <>.
    Green, Kenneth. “Presidents Confront Technology | Inside Higher Ed.” Inside Higher Ed | Higher Education News, Career Advice, Events and Jobs. 04 Mar. 2011. Web. 20 Jan. 2012. <>.
    Ingerman, Bret, and Catherine Yang. “Top-Ten IT Issues, 2010.” EDUCAUSE Review, Vol. 45, No. 3 (May/June 2010): 46-60. Educause, May 2011. Web. 20 Jan. 2011. <>.
    Koester, Jolene. “Information Technology and Tomorrow’s University.” Http:// Educause, Jan. 2011. Web. 20 Jan. 2012. <>.
    Lederman, Doug. “Perspectives on the Downturn: A Survey of Presidents | Inside Higher Ed.” Inside Higher Ed | Higher Education News, Career Advice, Events and Jobs. Inside, 04 Mar. 2011. Web. 20 Jan. 2012. <>.
    Reilly, Rob. “The Technology Committee: Building a Foundation for Assessment.” Information Today, Inc. The Net Works. Web. 20 Jan. 2012. <>.
    Wiley, Sandra L. “Building a Successful Technology Team.” MACPA – Maryland Association of CPAs | For the Maryland CPA. Maryland Association of CPA’s. Web. 20 Jan. 2012. <>.
    “Technology Planning in Transition.” Web. 20 Jan. 2012. <>.