Timsons, Molloys, & Collective Efficiency in Higher Education IT

It’s 2006, we’re at Duke, it’s a Common Solutions Group meeting. On the formal agenda, Paul Courant seeks to resurrect an old idea of Ira Fuch‘s, for a collective higher-education IT development-and-procurement entity provisionally called Educore. On the informal agenda, a bunch of us work behind the scenes trying to persuade two existing higher-education IT entities–Internet2 and National […]

Posts On Usage and Such

A while back I wrote here about hyphens, and some related usage issues. Since then I’ve taken that line of commentary over into my LinkedIn posts, and I’ll update this post periodically with the relevant links. Here’s what they are so far: Carrots, Pigs, Hyphens, Style, & Boston Red Lights Writers who care about commas […]

Revisiting IT Policy #3: Harassment

The so-called “star wars” campuses of the mid-1980s (Brown, Carnegie Mellon, Dartmouth, and MIT) invented (or at least believe they invented–IT folklore runs rampant) much of what we take for granted and appreciate today in daily electronic life: single signon, secure authentication, instant messaging, cloud storage, interactive online help, automatic updates, group policy, and on and […]

You Report. We Decide?

“It’s one of the real black marks on the history of higher education, ” Leon Botstein, the long-time President of Bard College, recently told The New Yorker’s Alice Gregory, “that an entire industry that’s supposedly populated by the best minds in the country … is bamboozled by a third-rate news magazine.” He was objecting, of […]

Notes on “Swag”

(…with apologies to Susan Sontag, of course.) Visiting the trade show at the EDUCAUSE conference requires strategy. At one time it was simple: collect every pen being given away (having some conversations with vendors in the process), so that back home the kid could give them to his friends at school. Kid grew up, though, and […]


Kim reread the message from Jack Oiler: My concern is about one Michael Zareny, who is using his University identity to post comments in Reddit and elsewhere and to send messages with extremely derogatory claims about gay men. Normally I would be most solidly against censorship, but if similar remarks about the immorality of Jews […]


“All I really wanted to do last night,” Kim complained to a friend, “was find out how badly the Red Sox had lost in the afternoon game.” Then, the way these things unfold on the Internet, one thing led to another. I started looking at blog posts about the game, then at game pictures random […]


“You can’t possibly be serious!,” Jamie shouted, near the end of a long meeting, one that no one thought would turn out so controversial. “Are you saying that privacy is more important than security?” The issue was whether to put surveillance cameras in the campus’s parking-lot stairwells, in the hope that the cameras would discourage […]


Is there a computer cluster somewhere where someone can be safe from pornography and harassment? I’m sick of this. Kim, the University’s Director of Academic Computing, knew from a conversation with the University Ombudswoman what Judy Hamilton was complaining about: she had gone into a public computing cluster and sat down next to a male […]

Mythology, Belief, Analytics, & Behavior

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