Blog Pile

Scoping Out Penn State

2009/365/123 Scoping Out Old Main
2009/365/123 Scoping Out Old Main by cogdogblog
posted 3 May ’09, 2.49pm MDT PST on flickr

Penn State University- a lovely campus even on a grey rainy day.

In a 3 day visit it’s not even close to possible to take in a place like Penn State University. I’d like to say there is a big purpose on this blog post (actually that is an every day wish), but to be honest, this blog is going to show up in my presentation today, and I want to have a contextually relevant post.

Oops, I keep violating that rule to not blog about blogging. I’ll blog more on that next Tuesday.

This visit has a multitude of purposes, one to hang out with my best friend from Mr Murray’s 9th grade Biology class (the losers at Milford Mill who got in the section where they did dissectCole Camplese (nod to Cole for pushing me up the base of the Twittter Life Cycle, and another as part of working with some 300 institutions that are NMC members and seeking ways to know what goes on locally.

Yesterday was jam packed with great conversations about (and in the space of) a new game lab being set up in the basement of a residence hall, where the Educational Gaming Commons is to open over the Summer. It’s great just to tap into and listen to the ideas of people like Brett, Jason, Bart, Chris, and Steve.

I got to visit the hub of ETS in the Rider Building and chat with the people who fuel all of their projects like Blogs@PSU, the podcasting effort, the TLT Symposium, but really those are just iceberg tips of what they do. I recall with not much nostalgia the mantra I heard over and over again when I was at Maricopa ‘We are 10 colleges and too big to be able to do ________” yet PSU has twice as many institutions spread over a larger geographic area– and they have rolled out more than a few highly successful initiatives that have advanced from development to widescale implementation. Maybe it’s in the water (which I observe falls form the sky all the time).

A prime example is the Digital Commons, the team led my Chris Millet I met in the Digital Commons. They have established a very unique model of tech support in putting in place centers at all PSU sites designed to support both faculty and students in creating media projects– which were more than just a Field of Dreams setting up equipment. They have an ongoing and regular support presence through several channels from screen sharing to trouble shoot to in person support people who drive all over the state to “be there”. What was most impressive is that they have a model of supporting any student coming in who has an assignment to create a video. And it also wraps in some of the experiments they are doing in Learning Space design. It was worth it to be there right in the hubub of students working away at traditional computer lab stations, in small breakout rooms with flexible furniture.

You can learn more about it in the paper Chris wrote for the NMC 2008 Summer Conference Proceedings.

And I’ve not mentioned the fun I have had with our evening social activities. Okay, I may not be at liberty to blog those details, though if I were I might draw a diagram….

It’s been a great visit and looking forward to today’s big session. It was funny they way this all developed. I emailed Cole and asked to drop by his office on this visit, so next thing I know he has a wiki going with ideas, and 125 people signed up for today’ session.

Yep, there is *something* in the water here in Central PA, something that has whipped their faculty into an innovation frenzy.

And like most visits, I know I will leave with more than I gave.

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Profile Picture for Alan Levine aka CogDog
An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.


  1. that’s a really awesome looking photo, great shooting there. always glad to hear there’s so much going on in the world of next gen technology. despite the near constant rain that has pretty much swarmed in out of nowhere over the last week or so, i hope your presentation (or presentations?) goes well. teach these rotten kids somethin’ so they don’t screw things up too much (more)…

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