This Week in LIS - 20 December 2013

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Headline of the Week: Connected Learning Platform

The EDUCAUSE Review magazine issue for September/October 2013 bubbled to the top of the morning “read-me” pile this past week.  It is an extraordinary issue. The subtitle is “Higher Education in the Connected Age.”  It got me thinking about connections.

The Luther College experience is one rich in connections of many types.  This has been true from the beginning and long before digitization and networks and EDUCAUSE. Students make connections with ideas daily. Faculty and students make connections with one another as they wrestle complex topics in and out of the classroom and build relationships that endure well beyond their years as a student. Interdisciplinary activities help students connect concepts and issues across academic disciplines. Extracurricular activities help students connect mind and body and spirit. Work-study and internships and seminars and classes help students connect to their callings.  The library, as a place, has always been a powerful enabler for connections. Luther College is a place to make important connections.

I found this particular EDUCAUSE Review issue special because it helped me connect and integrate a number of threads in my own mind. They include the “Five Disrupters” conversations into which Dr. Tiede has invited us - with particular focus on the digitization of learning and managing the cost and debt spiral, our LIS intentional efforts to identify and manage IT risk driven by our growing leverage and dependency on information resources and databases and information systems in the support of our teaching and learning mission. Our ongoing efforts to enable rich Internet connections through our wired and wireless networks to meet the growing needs of students, faculty and staff as they use/bring several devices to campus per person and expect to connect locally and beyond Luther College to the broader world to connect and collaborate. These thoughts were brought into focus because our LIS leadership team had a planned meeting with a team from the Development Office to talk about needs our Library and Information Studies academic department and our LIS team had for them to consider.

Digitization and networks provide opportunities for making additional connections.  These technologies are especially useful making connections that would otherwise be difficult due to time and distance. Abstracting a bit then, almost all of what we do within LIS is for the purpose of making and enabling connections. Many are of the traditional type.  Many others are of a technology-mediated type.  More are on the horizon and will come with change; but they are connections nonetheless. In a way we can think of our mission as one of providing portions of a Connected Learning Platform on which the community implements the teaching and learning mission of the College and the associated operational systems that support that.

The Connected Learning Platform needs to anticipate the future, be responsive and agile in its enablement of experimentation and prototyping, provide sufficient bandwidth for an ever growing set of connections, balance physical and information technology risks, and provide the business continuity to support the level of dependency students, faculty and staff have on the platform and enable rich connections locally and to the broader global world.

Suggested Reading/Viewing/Listening:

EDUCAUSE Review, September/October 2013


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LIS Blog Highlights from the Week

The following articles are sampled from those available on the LIS Blog:

Notes from LIS Council

LIS Council is the leadership team within LIS.

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This Week in LIS is published most Fridays by Paul Mattson, Executive Director of LIS at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa.

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