This Week in LIS - 28 September 2012

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Headline of the Week: Makers and Robots

A couple of interesting articles captured my attention this week in Bloomberg’s Businessweek. Both of them provide evidence in support of the idea that the boundary between what machines can do and what people can do continues to change. Our challenge is how to process this as inspiration for innovation in our offerings in support of teaching and learning for our students and faculty.

The first article was about smarter robots. Typically robots require sophisticated programming. Using robots requires a substantial capital investment (although falling) as well as sophisticated programming. Robots come with functional primitive capabilities. They are customized to do specific things (e.g. welding metals, painting cars) by human programmers. Programming is a high skill job.

These new robots “learn” by pattern. That is the “programmer” moves the arms of the robot, physically taking the robot through the motions of what is required. The robot has logic that captures what has been done and “learns” to do it from that direct manipulation. I imagine there is a point where this breaks down and the robot needs more traditional programming, but if this is successful it fundamentally relaxes a key constraint on use of robotics. This will expand the market. Larger markets attract competition and allow economies of scale leading to lower prices that in turn make the approach more applicable to other applications thus further automating work for more manufacturers.

The second article was a book review on a book entitled, “Makers: The New Industrial Revolution”, by Chris Anderson. Open collaboration and lower cost 3D printers and digitally controlled milling machines (robots of another sort) have led Anderson to claim “In Short, the Maker Movement has arrived.”

Both of these technologies have changed the boundaries between people and machines and in so doing have increased the value of some work and provided an alternative that in some cases changes the economics of other work. In this case they are machines that use information to do physical things. What are the implications on our students and their prospects after they graduate? What might Luther and LIS provide to enable their learning and differentiation given these trends?

Suggested Reading:

Smarter Robots, With No Wage Demands, Brad Stone, Bloomberg Businessweek, September 24-September 30, 2012.

Book Review, ‘Makers’, Daniel Grushkin, Bloomberg Businessweek, September 24-September 30, 2012.

Paul
paul.mattson@luther.edu


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. Among the topics discussed this past week were:

  • LIS Operational Agenda
    • Council members will be reporting on LIS operational views (metrics for processes and status of projects) regularly at LIS Council meetings. This week’s reports included the following:
    • Archives
      • Rachel shared a pair of interesting stories of students using Archives for research. These are candidates for possible publication.
    • User Services
      • Counts of work orders created since 5/31/11, by month, were shared. As of September 25, there were already 140+ more work orders than last September and the month is not yet over.
      • We discussed metrics that are most useful for future LIS Council conversation including wireless, AV recording and streaming, KBOX items that are specifically Help Desk calls and comparing year to year to identify trends and possible issues that need addressing.
      • Project Updates
        • Olin is now closing at midnight and student occupants may stay only if they are on a pre-approved list.
        • User Services continues to work on start of year equipment issues in classrooms and meeting spaces.
        • Staff Computer Roll for 2012-2013 is underway. First offices are Facilities Services, Custodial Services, and the Book Shop.
        • Veteran’s Kiosk location determined to be in Loyalty; touchscreen interactive monitor and Mac mini planned. Review of website next week with Tom Murray. Goal is to have it up and running by November 1.
        • Sophos false positive has been fixed for Luther-owned workstations, but we need to get updaters for other software back for the Luther-owned Windows workstations on which they were deleted. In addition, we are working on a plan for the personally-owned (non-Luther) Windows devices registered on our network.
    • Network & Systems
      • The question was raised if there are monitoring tools that would help analyze the next round of WebTix sales on Oct. 10th to learn all we can about demand, the application behavior and customer experience.
      • Projects
        • Continue to work and monitor Towers wireless network performance.
        • A request has been made and options are being considered to install an outdoor webcam to monitor the new Aquatic Center construction.
        • We discussed fiber to the sports fields and its relationship to fiber to the new solar field for data collection and monitoring.
  • New Items
    • LIS Annual Report
      • We are moving to fine tuning the annual report with focus on the new objectives.
    • Additional LIS Student Workers
      • We discussed student workers on board, the budget and what additional student workers we justify.

Upcoming LIS Training, Instruction, and Professional Development Opportunities

Click on the event below for specific information and for a link to register. More information on training and development events is available.

Course Format Date Location Enrollment
Six Essential Attributes to Create a Culture of Innovation in Organizations: ELI Fall Focus Session Online Conference Oct 2 2012 – 11:00am 12:00pm Dahl Centennial Union – Mott Open
Learning Organizations and You: ELI Fall Focus Session Online Conference Oct 2 2012 – 12:00pm 1:00pm Dahl Centennial Union – Mott Open
Creating a Culture of Innovation: ELI Fall Focus Session Online Conference Oct 2 2012 – 1:00pm 1:30pm Dahl Centennial Union – Mott Open
Working with Emerging Technologies and Innovation Activity, Part 1: ELI Fall Focus Session Online Conference Oct 2 2012 – 1:30pm 2:05pm Dahl Centennial Union – Mott Open
Hot Teams – Rapid Investigations of Emerging Technologies: ELI Fall Focus Session Online Conference Oct 2 2012 – 2:20pm 2:50pm Dahl Centennial Union – Mott Open
The Long Tail of Innovation: ELI Fall Focus Session Online Conference Oct 2 2012 – 2:50pm 3:20pm Dahl Centennial Union – Mott Open
Edupreneurship – Engaging Students in Mobile Learning: ELI Fall Focus Session Online Conference Oct 2 2012 – 3:20pm 3:50pm Dahl Centennial Union – Mott Open
Piloting Innovation Via Faculty Development Programs: ELI Fall Focus Session Online Conference Oct 3 2012 – 11:00am 11:40am Dahl Centennial Union – Mott Open
Developing and Testing a Framework for Analyzing Innovation: ELI Fall Focus Session Online Conference Oct 3 2012 – 11:40am 12:25pm Dahl Centennial Union – Mott Open
Engaging Stakeholders in Pilot Evaluations: ELI Fall Focus Session Online Conference Oct 3 2012 – 12:25pm 12:55pm Dahl Centennial Union – Mott Open
What's Next for Emerging Technologies that Support Teaching and Learning? – ELI Fall Focus Session Online Conference Oct 3 2012 – 1:10pm 1:45pm Dahl Centennial Union – Mott Open
Working with Emerging Technologies and Innovations Activity, Part 2: ELI Fall Focus Session Online Conference Oct 3 2012 – 1:45pm 2:20pm Dahl Centennial Union – Mott Open
Simple Works: Why Technology Innovation Means More of Less – ELI Fall Focus Session Online Conference Oct 3 2012 – 2:35pm 3:05pm Dahl Centennial Union – Mott Open
The Five Dimensions of Attaining Scale: Implications for Innovation in Higher Education – ELI Fall Focus Session Online Conference Oct 3 2012 – 3:05pm 3:50pm Dahl Centennial Union – Mott Open
ZOTERO Workshop Workshop Oct 3 2012 – 7:00pm 8:00pm Preus Library – Hovde Lounge Open
Norse Apps Tips & Tricks Workshop Oct 9 2012 – 9:45am 10:45am Olin 301 – Round Table Room Closed
Creating a Faculty Website Using Reason Workshop Oct 15 2012 – 2:00pm 4:00pm Olin 301 – Round Table Room Open
ZOTERO Workshop Workshop Nov 7 2012 – 7:00pm 8:00pm Preus Library – Hovde Lounge Open
ZOTERO Workshop Workshop Dec 5 2012 – 7:00pm 8:00pm Preus Library – Hovde Lounge Open

Training and instruction is provided to the Luther Community through Faculty Development Sessions, Library Instruction Sessions, Product Demonstrations, Skills Training, Workshops, 1-on-1 Sessions, and Online Materials. To schedule a session, contact the LIS Technology Help Desk at x1000 or enter your request online at http://help.luther.edu.


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

Content is made available under Creative Commons license. Creative Commons License

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