June 3, 2013


Volume 7, Issue 34 – June 3, 2013


Settling Back In

The worst thing about going away is coming back and finding the huge pile of paperwork that has invariably accumulated while you were away.  This time was no different—the pile was impressively large and varied.  It took two days just to whittle it down, interspersed with the usual meetings and issues to deal with.  It’s back to normal now, but there’s only one problem:  I’m about to go to Boston for the 5th Polytechnic Summit, and for a bit of vacation after that.  When I return, I’m sure the pile will be twice as big as before.  Oh, well.

I’m looking forward to the Polytechnic Summit.  I’ve always liked the idea of all the polytechnics working together, and give great credit to the Chancellor Charles Sorensen from University of Wisconsin—Stout (Wisconsin’s polytechnic) for coming up with the concept.  Jeff Ray and I attended the first Summit (the first two were held at Stout) and presented a paper called “Expanding the Polytechnic” which was well received.  I still remember when President Rossbacher and I attended the second Summit, and when the discussion arose as to who was going to host the third one, looked at each other, nodded, and volunteered.  Of course, most of you will remember the 3rd and 4th Summits that we hosted—there were so many faculty and students presenting papers, and both Summits were great successes.

I’m certain that Wentworth Institute of Technology will do a great job with the 5th Summit.  I’ll be presenting two papers there—one called “Good Design is Good Citizenship II” with Richard Halstead-Nussloch and William Carpenter as coauthors (part one of this was presented at the AASCU American Democracy Project meeting) and one called “Space, Modality, and Technology: A 3-Dimensional Framework for Converged Learning” with coauthor V.P. Samuel Conn.  I know that there are a number of other SPSU presenters who will also be at the conference.  I’ll give a full report on the Summit when I return.



ALC Items

Speaking of reports, we had an ALC meeting this past Wednesday.  There were the usual updates such as SPSU had programs in Environmental Science and Environmental Engineering Technology approved, and Georgia Tech will be offering its Computer Science degree by MOOC.  The most interesting item was the discussion of the draft prospectus for establishing an online campus.

There are a couple of things that were asked that I’d like to take the opportunity to clear up.  First, some folks apparently think that the prospectus means that we’ll be offering MOOCs at SPSU through the online campus.  I can assure you that there are no such plans.  My own views on MOOCs (good for course supplementation, bad as courses themselves, unimportant until a university gives its own credits for participation) have appeared in several previous BLABs.  If you want to read the most recent ones, you can look here and here.

Second, a missing item in the prospectus was brought up—how will the budget work, for both the faculty and the departments involved in the online campus?  As I’ve mentioned before, there are several elements of how the online campus would operate that still need to be fleshed out.  Over the next several weeks a model will be developed that will show how the budget will work for various scenarios, and we’ll share it then for comments.  The budget model will clarify a number of points that people are wondering about.  We’ll probably hold off on the next open forum until this key item is available, hopefully around the end of June.  Just as a reminder, another open forum will be held in the fall.



Good Stuff I’ve Heard or Seen Lately


  • The Bollywood movie Veer-Zaara is available on Netflix, and it’s well worth watching.  It’s a love story (what else?) but much more, involving an Indian squadron rescue pilot and a Pakistani girl.  Three hours long, every one of them riveting.   Great story with some unexpected twists, stunning photography, beautiful costumes, and terrific music.  It won every Indian film award in 2005.



  • Ahmad Jamal:  I Remember Duke, Hoagy & Strayhorn.  Great jazz piano.
  • Yehuda Poliker:  What Do You Call My Love?  Great fusion of Israeli and Greek music.
  • B.B. King:  King Biscuit.  Who wouldn’t like a B.B. King live concert?
  • Ricky Nelson: Live 1983-1985.  A compilation of live tracks from just before he died in a plane crash.  Trust me, it’s great.
  • String Cheese Incident:  On the Road—Red Rocks 07-06-12.  Recent concert by my favorite jam band after the Grateful Dead.
  • Armed Forces Radio Show: Jubilee.  Got this on eBay—more than 150 episodes of a radio show from the 1940’s meant for black servicemen, featuring great jazz performances.  The sound quality is quite good on most of them, and the music is live and unbelievably good.  Some interesting guest appearances too.  Well worth ordering–$15 for tons of great stuff.


Last Week’s Trivia Challenge

Last week’s trivia challenge focused on “The Big Bang Theory”.   The winner, for the second week in a row, was Jennifer Louton (Biology), who got all five correct in just a few minutes from when the BLAB was posted, despite the fact that I posted it at almost 11:00 PM.  Jen is obviously a night owl!  Here are the correct answers:

  1. He went into outer space.  Howard Wallowitz.
  2. How Sheldon knows he isn’t crazy.  His mother had him tested.
  3. Penny’s home state.  Nebraska.
  4. What happened to Leonard’s first (and only) girlfriend before he met Penny.  Joyce Kim defected to North Korea.
  5. Why the elevator doesn’t work in their apartment building.  An experiment of Leonard’s was going to explode, and Sheldon threw it in the elevator.


This Week’s Trivia Challenge

Today’s trivia challenge focuses on Mickey Mouse.  No looking up the answers now!  SEND ALL ENTRIES BY EMAIL TO zszafran@spsu.edu, since if you put them as a response on the BLOG, everyone will be able to see them!

  1. Mickey’s girlfriend’s name.
  2. Mickey’s dog’s name.
  3. Name of first cartoon distributed starring Mickey.
  4. What name Walt Disney originally wanted to give Mickey—his wife talked him out of it.
  5. Cole Porter song featuring the words “Mickey Mouse”.
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3 Responses to June 3, 2013

  1. khopper2012 says:

    This seems like a perfect opportunity to employ and display the collaborative power of online tools. If this discussion were online, discourse would be possible during summer and faithfully recorded. I read in the initial announcement that faculty would be involved in considering the concept but things seem to be beyond that point. David Stone has expertise in online technology, what tool might he recommend for us?

  2. spsuvpaa says:

    Hi Keith,

    We haven’t had an open forum since you made the suggestion. I’ll get together with Dave Stone and see what can be done before the next one.

    In the meantime, you are welcome to post comments or questions here.

    • khopper2012 says:

      Thanks Zvi. I want to be clear that what I propose is that the discussion take place online, asynchronously, using text but possibly also recorded comments (D2L does this)…not to broadcast, record, or podcast a live event from campus.

Comments are closed.