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October 28, 2010
The success of the project bundling technique I touched on depends entirely on being able to mix short-payback projects in with the long-payback ones. One thing that can go wrong is that whatever department schedules your regular maintenance and upgrade efforts might issue plans to do a bunch of short-payback improvements without labeling it a sustainability improvement. After all, that's probably part of their job -- enhancing buildings to drive down operating costs.
October 28, 2010
International academic events are always a good laboratory to observe not only the various schools of thought, national educational orientations and current trends, but also opportunities to think about about language and understanding. Not less importantly, they represent occasions to think about the need for permanent education, independently of our sometimes impressive academic degrees and professional performances.
October 28, 2010
I ran into a former student a few days ago who said that, since she took the required college math course, she is now better able to help her son with his homework. I had to laugh, because I often get into struggles with my own daughter about whether to help her with her homework, which she would rather not do in the first place.
October 28, 2010
Any campus which is trying to become more sustainable has to get there one step -- one project -- at a time. Or, at least, one set of projects at a time. The importance of submitting project proposals for approval and funding in sets or bundles is something a lot of sustainability administrators learn early on.
October 27, 2010
This year our college selected a common theme, "Leadership,” and as part of that theme we assigned all our freshmen seminar students to read Soul of a Citizen by Paul Loeb. Since my freshman seminar is “The Culture of Food,” we discussed parent groups advocating school lunch reform, the early food coops, food pantries, and animal rights groups. Many of my students are horrified by the treatment of animals in slaughterhouses that Schlosser documents in Fast Food Nation.
October 27, 2010
The introduction of the $249 B&N Nookcolor signals the initial point of acceleration towards a digital textbook future. Why:Device Prices: A $249 price tag will decline rapidly over the next two years, as Amazon and Apple compete and the technology advances. Expect a $100 Nookcolor within 2 years.
October 27, 2010
(First, an incident that might be slightly off-topic but which I found amusing: ) Last night I get in my car to drive to the local high school seven blocks away for a town hall style meeting with the superintendent of our enormous school system. As I drive up our block, a car turns out onto the street directly in front of me – our new neighbor (at-home father of three young children). He turns, I follow. He turns again, I follow.
October 27, 2010
Editor's note: the entry below was kindly provided to us by James Vernon, a professor of history at the University of California, Berkeley.
October 26, 2010
5 Things Netflix Streaming Can Teach Higher Ed:1. Replace Yourself: Offering unlimited streaming for $8.99 a month (1 physical DVD out at a time) may seem like the best way to cannibalize a core business of charging people $16.99 a month for 3 DVDs. But Netflix knew that if it did not take this step then someone else would. Much better to grow the customer base by offering a superior product at a good price than to try to hold on to a limited number of customers using a legacy product. Where can we replace ourselves in higher ed, before someone else does it for us?

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