Category Archives: Enterprise

Case Study: I F***ing Love Science & Rare Diseases

"Did you know 1 in 10 people have a rare disease?"

“Did you know 1 in 10 people have a rare disease?”
http://globalgenes.org/rare-diseases-facts-statistics/

If IFLScience didn’t know before that 1 in 10 people have a rare disease, they do now! Last Saturday, IFLScience put up a post on rare diseases. In this post, they chose 10 conditions to highlight, evidently because the popular names for the conditions were reminiscent of Halloween and monsters.

10 of the Strangest Known Medical Conditions
Here is the link:
http://www.iflscience.com/health-and-medicine/10-strangest-known-medical-conditions

I’m no fan of zombies or gore, and had my own issues with the images selected for this post, but am trying to see both sides. For the record, IFLScience has done a lot of good work engaging and educating the public around science, fostering science literacy and awareness. They are very popular, and (overall) popular science education is a good thing for science. Those of us working in science and in STEM/STEAM education and outreach want people to be willing to learn about science.

This particular article, however, was not received well by many in the rare disease community. Because the article was perceived as misrepresenting not only one rare disease, but TEN, many people in the community banded together, even though these were not conditions that they necessarily had themselves. The rare disease community objected to several points, and have been actively using social media to spread the word in attempts to get IFLScience to take down or withdraw the post.

In the meantime, the rare disease community is also finding themselves in the awkward position of attempting to manage the largely offensive comment stream, educate, correct, and respond, but are having to do this as interested outsiders, not partners, and without the support or cooperation of IFLScience.

The primary concerns I’ve heard from the rare disease community are these.

1) The post was written in a way that provoked unkind comments and trolls, setting up persons with rare diseases as an object of ridicule.

2) The unkind comments (on the post, Facebook, and Twitter) have failed to elicit any response, clarification, management, or revision on the part of IFLScience. There is no acknowledgment of any error of content or presentation. Similarly, there is no response to the rare disease community’s concerns.

3) The images were selected as “clickbait.” The images are themselves offensive, or provoke offensive comments. Evidently, IFLScience has a prior history of not providing attribution of images and not getting a license to use images, although those don’t *appear* to be issues in this particular post. I take it back. They did use several images that specified no commercial use; they use Getty Images without a link back to the source; and they used “share alike” images which is even more strict than a non-commercial use requirement.

4) The content provided contains inaccuracies, which were not being corrected. There are no sources given for where they got the content which is being identified as inaccurate by patients with the conditions mentioned.

Evidently, the issues of non-response, questionable images, and questionable content are simply part of the IFLScience ‘charm’, or modus operandi, as these have been reported several times before.

“After finding one of my photographs posted to IFLS yesterday without permission, I surveyed the most recent 100 images in the IFLS stream and tallied the percentage of images that were credited (26%), uncredited but with the linked site giving a credit (15% – hint: still not legal), and not credited at all (59%). Most of the material on I F*cking Love Science is pirated.” Facebook’s “I F*cking Love Science” does not f*cking love artists
http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/compound-eye/2013/04/23/facebooks-i-fcking-love-science-does-not-fcking-love-artists/

“Uncharacteristically, Andrew was silent on social media. Her lack of response suggested less media savvy than I’d begun to give her credit for; it smacked of a hobbyist, someone who doesn’t hold herself accountable.” Do you know Elise Andrew? http://www.cjr.org/cover_story/elise_andrew.php?page=all

“A string of posts this summer suggested that IFLS endangers facts on a fairly regular basis; these included a photoshopped, uncredited image of a snake (“…this gorgeous creature is found in California” – except it doesn’t look a thing like the over-saturated, edited version the site posted), a re-posted cracked.com photo suggesting spiders had taken over trees in Japan (and showing what was actually a landscape in Iran), an astronomy news story that misstated the entire premise of the discovery in the first sentence and went on to bungle facts throughout.” Guest Post: Elise Andrew, science popularizer with a spotty attribution record, gets a pass from CJR. https://ksj.mit.edu/tracker/2014/09/elise-andrew-science-popularizer-with-a-spotty-attribution-record-gets-a-pass-from-cjr/

Because I’m such a fan of all-things-science, I really did not want to believe anything bad about IFLScience. From what I’ve been reading it sounds like most people, even those who complain about some of their less desirable qualities, mostly love the idea of what they do and just want IFLS to commit to doing it responsibly and ethically. Most of the posts excerpted above at some point say something along those lines.

In the conversation with rare disease advocates on Twitter, I was trying to defend IFLScience, as a source that successfully promotes science literacy in the public, presumably for the right reasons. I argued that the piece was intended as educational, not to be hurtful. That you can’t always control who posts comments. I argued for the importance of an open dialog rather than censorship and removing content. This became much harder to do when the conversation went on, and on, and IFLScience did not respond to either the concerns, complaints, or kudos. They didn’t respond to comments on the blogpost. They didn’t respond to posts on their Facebook page. They didn’t respond to any of the myriad comments on Twitter.

Here is what I posted on Facebook:

Concerned about the lack of response from “I f***ing love science” to reactions from the ‪#‎raredisease‬ patient communities to their blogpost by Lisa Winter. Extensive commenting on the blogpost and a rich discussion on Twitter. Hard to defend them as good folk with a heart in the right place when they don’t stand up for themselves.

It was about that point in time when I found a way to track down the author of the piece on Twitter, and made contact.

UPDATE September 20, 2014: The author’s comment has been removed from the end of the blogpost and is no longer there.

I don’t know if these will content the persons who were concerned, but I hope it shows a good faith attempt in that direction, and keeps the door open for future dialog.


LESSONS LEARNED?

Those changes and the response from the author are a good start, and certainly better than no response. There are, however, obvious lessons to learn.

1) Contact information easily findable.

By the time I was engaged in the conversation, there were a LOT of comments on the original post, and the comment thread along meant scrolling, and scrolling, and scrolling. There evidently IS a “Contact” link in a small font at the very bottom of the page. Sounds like they are working on fixing this problem.

2) Respond in a timely manner.

This is one of the easiest & most common ways to avoid getting into news media trouble for your social media buzz. I have a Pinterest board where I collect educational stories and best practices for social media troubleshooting, and this shows up a lot there. Consider it fundamental.

3) Social media policy posted where it can be found.

When we found that IFLScience wasn’t responding to our hails, I went hunting for a social media policy on their web site, in case they actually say, “We don’t moderate comments, and don’t reply to comments, and don’t reply on Facebook or Twitter, but here, this is what we do.” Actually, I was hoping that they would have some sort of guidelines for participation in the community, something along the lines of “Yeah, we’re all wild and crazy characters, but let’s play nice anyway, eh, folk?” I couldn’t find one. There may be a social media policy that I couldn’t find, and I hope so, but perhaps make it easier to find? Certainly, for a company that has based their entire operations on social media, they need a proper social media policy up front and center more than most traditional companies.

4) Pictures: Licensed, & Attributed. Information: Researched & Cited.

I know, I know. This has come up a LOT. They are young, they are new, they are learning. Please, IFLScience, go visit your friendly neighborhood university library and talk with one of the librarians who specializes in intellectual property of images. Most universities have someone who knows about this. Aside from the concern of whether or not the images were appropriate or inflammatory, I should not find as many images problems as I did in this post. IFLS is a commercial entity. They sell stuff and make money from their web site. They have advertising / sponsored links. They are not authorized to use images that are licensed non-commercial (as was the case for 4 of the 10 images in this post) without negotiating licensing before using the image. I know you’re trying to fix this ongoing problem, but you either need a lawyer on staff to review every single post before it goes live, or you need to learn your stuff, and make sure all staff who post images also know the rules.

And citations? Many of the complaints about the quality of the content could have been addressed by having credits for your information sources. “Oh, you said this wrong thing because you used this source that is famous but out of date.” People may cut you some slack for those types of errors if they can see how they happened. Also, it provides a service for your readers, if they want to go learn more about what you just said. Win-win! Protects you, and serves the best interests of your audience.

5) Style guide! Or Checklist!

It’s obvious that IFLScience has a publication calendar, and some rudiments of a style guide. I can’t be certain, but would love to see them take a leadership role in transparency about how they create and share science information, setting an example for others. I was hoping to see a checklist at least, if there wasn’t a style guide.

Since I couldn’t find one on the IFLScience site, I started looking for other science blogging guides. I found some excellent ones, but will make that a separate post. For today, and here, suffice it to say that having one is another strategy that might help protect IFLS from complaints as well as helping to ensure quality control for their content.

6) Say Sorry

If you make a mistake, say you’re sorry, and fix it. Science knowns all about retractions and corrections. Don’t be afraid of them in science blogging. It’s cool, and actually makes you look more cool. Not being afraid to say you made a mistake makes you look more competent and confident, and can inspire confidence in you. Another win-win!

FINAL THOUGHTS

There was one checklist I found that I thought rather relevant to this particular situation: The Alternative-Science Respectability Checklist. Why? Because a big part of what caused the problem this past week was a clash of cultures, and that is what this checklist addresses.

Discovery: Cosmic Variance (Sean Carroll, June 19, 2007): The Alternative-Science Respectability Checklist http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/cosmicvariance/2007/06/19/the-alternative-science-respectability-checklist/

IFLScience is trying to be edgy and catchy and engaging, fun and funky and funny all at the same time. They are focused on science, but break boundaries all the time there, and have made a name for themselves (literally) based on breaking some of the standard assumptions and rules for science communication.

In this post they crossed the boundary over into healthcare, where the culture is a little different. It might still be fun, funky, catchy, edgy, etc., but within an overarching framework of CARING. Compassion is at the heart of most of healthcare communication, and that is what was missing (albeit inadvertently) from this post.

What the The Alternative-Science Respectability Checklist recommends is taking the time to address issues of different cultures when you try to communicate across these invisible boundaries. Here’s how Sean Carroll said it.

1. Acquire basic competency in whatever field of science your discovery belongs to.
2. Understand, and make a good-faith effort to confront, the fundamental objections to your claims within established science.
3. Present your discovery in a way that is complete, transparent, and unambiguous.

To paraphrase:

1) LISTEN. Get to know something about the audience for the content you are communicating. Get to know their culture, standards, expectations. Expect to make mistakes, and expect to apologize. Be good-humored about it.

2) TRY. Understand, and make a good-faith effort to be authentic and respectful (even if you, like IFLScience, are famed for your snarkiness — you can be snarky without being mean, even accidentally). If you don’t have time to do this well and thoroughly, be up front about that in the piece, and ask for forgiveness in advance. Yes, you can be entertaining about it, if you are creative enough. You’ll figure it out.

3) SHARE. Present your thoughts & information in a way that is complete, transparent, and unambiguous. Be honest. Be inclusive. Be open. Let them know about you, and that you want to know about them.

MedX, and TEDMED, and the Inauguration, Oh, MY!!

MedX, UM Inaugural Symposia, TEDMED

Last week I was privileged to listen in on a press conference for the upcoming TEDMED. Tomorrow is the Symposia for the Inauguration of UM’s new President, Mark S. Schlissel, with Harold Varmus as a guest speaker! Later tomorrow and this weekend, I’ll be watching Stanford’s Medicine X (#MedX) through their Global Access program. Next week the UM Medical School will be hosting a viewing of TEDMED. I feel like I’m swimming in an intellectual biomedical broth!


President Schlissel Inauguration Symposia with Harold Varmus

Inaugural Symposia: Sustaining the Biomedical Research Enterprise and Privacy and Identity in a Hyperconnected Society

HASHTAG: #UMPres14
LIVESTREAM (1): http://umich.edu/watch/
LIVESTREAM (2): http://www.mgoblue.com/collegesportslive/?media=461850

The Inaugural Symposia for President Schissel’s investiture (8:30am ET to 12:00 noon ET) are composed of two very interesting topics and even more interesting collections of speakers. The first part, “Sustaining the Biomedical Research Enterprise,” is the section including the famous Harold Varmus, but also five other notable researchers from on campus, experts in chemistry, genetics/genomics, neuroscience, statistics, and biomedical imaging. (I’m excited that three of the five have expertise related to genomics!)

The focus of the first symposia centers around a recent article from Varmus and colleagues entitled, “Rescuing US biomedical research from its systemic flaws.

The provocative abstract states:

“The long-held but erroneous assumption of never-ending rapid growth in biomedical science has created an unsustainable hypercompetitive system that is discouraging even the most outstanding prospective students from entering our profession—and making it difficult for seasoned investigators to produce their best work. This is a recipe for long-term decline, and the problems cannot be solved with simplistic approaches. Instead, it is time to confront the dangers at hand and rethink some fundamental features of the US biomedical research ecosystem.”

Those three ‘simple’ sentences imply an enormity of challenges which impact both locally and globally. I guarantee it will be fascinating to hear this panel discuss these and brainstorm ways in which the University of Michigan might work towards addressing them here.


Stanford Medicine X

Stanford Medicine X 2014

HASHTAG: #MedX
LIVESTREAM: Available with pre-registration through the MedX Global Access program: http://medicinex.stanford.edu/2014-global-access-program/.

Lucky for me, the Stanford Medicine X event is on the other coast, so our local event will be almost completed when they begin livestreaming at 8AM PT (11AM ET). However, Medicine X conference lasts a solid three days, and includes topics from self-tracking to self-awareness, from entrepreneurship to partnership in design, from compassion to PCORI, from pain to clinical trials to games. It’s intense. A lot of my friends will be there, too many to name, but they include doctors, patients, geeks, and more. MedX is a powerful diverse community, and this is an exciting event.

Schedule: http://medicinex.stanford.edu/2014-schedule/


TEDMED 2014

TEDMED 2014

HASHTAGS: #TEDMED; #TEDMEDlive; #TEDMEDhive; #GreatChallenges.
LIVESTREAMING OPTIONS: http://www.tedmed.com/event/tedmedlive

TEDMED is a little different from the other two events in that it isn’t sponsored through higher education and the livestream isn’t usually free. For folk here in Ann Arbor, there is a way to watch it on campus. What you’ll see if you come includes very little that is expected. Even when someone has a job description that might sound like regular healthcare folk, what they are talking about will probably be a surprise. Beyond the idea of doctor, patient, nurse or neuroscientist, you will also hear comedians, musicians, athletes, bioethicists, military, philosophers, inventors, and more. But what else would you expect, when the theme of the event is “Unlocking Imagination”?

The TEDMED event is a little more complicated than in prior years because they are having presenters and events on both coasts — in Washington DC and in San Francisco. Some parts will overlap. Other parts won’t. You can check out the schedules for both coasts here.

Washington DC Stage Schedule (pdf)

San Francisco CA Stage Schedule (pdf)

To watch locally, details are given below.

Watch the Live Stream of TEDMED Conference, September 10-12

The Medical School will host a live stream from the TEDMED conference, which takes place September 10-12 in Washington DC and San Francisco. The focus of this year’s program is “Unlocking Imagination in Service of Health and Medicine.” Presenters include some of the most respected and undiscovered names in science, journalism, education, business, and technology. Click here to see the conference schedule. Viewing times and locations for watching the live streams are:

Wednesday, September 10: 8am-5pm: University Hospital South (Old Mott) 8th floor lounge
Thursday, September 11: 8am-12pm, 1pm-5pm: University Hospital South (Old Mott) 8th floor lounge
Friday, September 12: 8am-11:30am: University Hospital South (Old Mott) 8409 Conference Room
Friday, September 12: 11:30am-5pm: University Hospital South (Old Mott) 8419 IDTT Collaboration Space

What To Do About Bad Guys in Your Twitter Events

How To Block On Twitter

We’re having a big event, as you already know. We’ve used social media a lot in the planning and preparation of the event, and we want social media used during the event. We want to be able to show engagement, a diverse community, a virtual community as well as the face-to-face folk who come in person. We want people to upload pics to Instagram and Flickr, videos to Vine and Youtube; we want people to blog, and to tweet like crazy.

But anyone who has spent much time on Twitter knows what happens when you get a really active hashtag going. Spammers show up. And sometimes trolls. And sometimes people get confused about your hashtag and start sending content they think is relevant (but really they’re confused and it isn’t at ALL appropriate). And some people are just nasty or snarky on purpose. So what do you do?

There was a manager who instructed a social media team exactly what he expected them to do if a hashtag was co-opted like this. His instructions were for EVERYONE TO STOP TALKING. Yeah, really. That was completely the wrong thing to do, but you can’t blame him too much. He wasn’t at all experienced with Twitter, and was trying to work out his own practical interpretation of the popular Internet trope:

DON’T FEED THE TROLLS!!!

Troll

Of course, it’s not that simple.

For starters, just because you don’t like what someone says doesn’t make them a troll. There are many different types of people who can cause trouble in a Twitter stream (and each one requires different handling). Not to mention that telling everyone talking on an active stream to shut up and stop talking is hugely impractical and unworkable. Face it, it’s like a five year old shouting in a large crowd to shut up. No one hears them.

So what CAN you do? Have a plan. Here’s what I’ve seen work.

BEFORE THE EVENT

1) Have a Team
You really need 3-4 people to handle livetweeting an event. You want a team approach so that you are not just one person trying to make yourself heard, but that there are others who have your back in case of trouble, and who will backup what you are saying and retweet it and repeat it and rephrase it to help the important messages get heard. Remember, if you have multiple locations, you want two people in each room, unless the crowd is really small. The bigger the crowd in the room, the more livetweeters you want there from your team. That may mean that you need more than a 4 person team to handle lots of locations

2) Have a Backup Hashtag
When planning your event and choosing a hashtag, have a backup hashtag, just in case things go south. Don’t publicize it in advance, but make sure you have a core team of people tweeting who know what it is. The idea is, “Hey, people, we’re moving the party to a different room.”

3) Strategize
Make sure your team knows how to spot the different types of problems, and what to do in each case. If the point person is in another room, you don’t want the rest of the team waiting for them to come back. So, here is my long time favorite piece on how to identify different types of problems and how to respond. This was written for blogs, but transfers over fairly well to other types of social media.

Air Force Blog Assessment

4) Prepare
Identify the most likely types of problems you expect. Prepare in advance tweets that describe what to do in case of those events. Have a text file with those prepared tweets. Make sure everyone on the team has a copy. Ideally, have a web page prepared with the info. Don’t share the web page until needed, but when it is needed you can share it with everyone on the stream if you want. If not, it is right at the fingertips of everyone on your team, with all the info right in one place, easy to update on the fly.

DURING THE EVENT

1) OPTIONAL: When the event starts, announce general guidelines and assumptions. These might include general behavior guidelines (don’t be preachy); “we assume your tweets are your own and not your company’s”; who is on your team; what the event is about and what the hashtag means; and other things that might matter to your organization.

2) If you aren’t sure if someone is a spammer, and think maybe they are just accidentally being rude, take the conversation out of the hashtag stream. You can use direct messages (DMs) or personal tweets (using the at-sign (@) and their account name). You can nicely ask them to be careful privately without putting them on the defensive. This often works.

3) When it doesn’t work, or when there is nastiness involved (porn, swear words, aggressive marketing), block them, and tell people on the hashtag stream to block spammers. The way Twitter works is that if a hashtag suddenly has a lot of people blocking a lot of other people, things get fixed faster.
– 3a) If a lot of people block the same account, the account tends to be locked down and will disappear.
– 3b) If a lot of blocking activity is happening in a Twitter hashtag stream, the folks at headquarters tend to notice and start monitoring that hashtag for spammers. Suddenly it will all be cleaned up. But it takes a lot of people working together to get this to happen.

4) If none of that seems to be working, break out your backup hashtag and move the party.

HOW TO BLOCK

I was surprised to find out how many people don’t know how to block someone on Twitter. This is really important for shutting down a flood of spammers in a stream. Here’s a little infographic I whipped up to walk people through the process. Feel free to share it.

How To Block On Twitter

OTHER RESOURCES

Social Media Troubleshooting
Pinterest: Rosefirerising: Social Media Troubleshooting: http://www.pinterest.com/rosefirerising/social-media-troubleshooting/

Troubleshooting Portion of: Twitter Hashtags by PF Anderson
Twitter Hashtags (by PF Anderson) http://www.mindmeister.com/270101756/twitter-hashtags-by-pf-anderson

ABOUT #MAKEHEALTH TROLLS

Nature: Don’t Feed the Trolls http://www.nature.com/news/don-t-feed-the-trolls-1.15343

20 Ways to Reuse Repository Content (Infographic of the Week)

20 ways to reuse repository content
Image source: Ayre, Lucy and Madjarevic, Natalia (2014) 20 ways to reuse repository content. In: Open Repositories 2014, 9-13 June 2014, Helsinki, Finland.

Last week, I was pleasantly surprised to find an infographic within a research article. This week is less surprising, but still a very practical application of infographics — a research poster! I can absolutely see using this idea myself, and actually saw a number of infographic/posters at a recent convention. The take home lesson from that is that infographic design and best practices are becoming a core competency for academics of all stripes.

This particular infographic struck my fancy because it provides interesting insights into ideas and strategies for maximising the impact of academic products. Create your research article and deposit a copy with the local institutional repository (which is, here, Deep Blue).

Deep Blue, 2014

Then you are done, and on to the next project. Right? Or not. One thing I’ve learned is that talk to a researcher around campus and most of them have a story about their favorite project that never got the attention they think it warranted. This infographic is chock full of ideas for what to do about that. Placing a copy in the repository is only the beginning.

On My Radar: “Reverse Innovation”

Ethnic Box

“Reverse Innovation” is a concept that came across my horizon a few months ago, and for which I immediately went into high alert. This is important. I want to push today’s Twitter chat on this topic, so I’m going to keep this post very short, and hope to come back to this more soon.

Briefly, then. What first brought this to my attention was a blogpost at Biomed Central which was closely followed by an article in Smart Planet.

Reverse Innovation in Global Health Systems: Building the Global Knowledge Pool http://blogs.biomedcentral.com/bmcblog/2013/04/12/reverse-innovation-in-global-health-systems-building-the-global-knowledge-pool/

Dehydration cure from developing countries comes to U.S. hospitals http://www.smartplanet.com/blog/bulletin/dehydration-cure-from-developing-countries-comes-to-us-hospitals/27991

The basic idea of “reverse innovation” is this, as expressed through my ill-informed novice point of view. The past century or two have largely seen scitech and research and cultural innovation flow from the first world countries to the third world countries. This has resulted in unrealistic expectations and unsustainable processes which are making life harder for all of us, everywhere across the planet. In the interests of increased sustainability and the desire to create innovation that will integrate more efficiently with the broader systems of the planet, the idea is that problem-solving partnerships between first world and third world researchers can result in innovations that are both effective and sustainable, with the innovations flowing from the third world countries to the first world, thus reversing what has been the recent pattern.

You can discover more information about reverse innovation through these resources.

JOURNAL:
Globalization and health: http://www.globalizationandhealth.com/

KEY ARTICLE:
Developed-developing country partnerships: Benefits to developed countries? http://www.globalizationandhealth.com/content/8/1/17

SOUNDBITE:

“Developing countries can generate effective solutions for today’s global health challenges.”

SPECIAL ISSUE / ARTICLE COLLECTION:
Reverse innovation in global health systems: learning from low-income countries http://www.globalizationandhealth.com/series/reverse_innovations

HASHTAGS:
– Primary
#revsinv
#reverseinnovation
– Other
#revinno
#revinnov
#innoverse

Every Day In Many Ways: Solving “Wicked Problems” at the University of Michigan

Horizon Report 2014 Trends & Challenges
Horizon Report 2014: http://www.nmc.org/publications/2014-horizon-report-higher-ed

The past couple months, the Cool Toys Conversations group has been discussing the Horizon Report, as we do every year. This year we decided the collection of technologies was perhaps not as interesting as the trends and challenges they identified (screenshot above).

Yesterday, over the lunch hour, the group became particularly interested in the wicked problem of “Keeping Education Relevant.” There was a lot of good conversation, and I unfortunately did not take notes, so I am going to trust my memory (HAH!). The gist of it was encapsulated in a couple points. David Crandall pointed out that there is a strong relationship between the so-called solvable challenges and the so-called wicked (or unsolvable) challenges, with the hint that perhaps solving the solvable challenges might actually take us a long way towards solving the unsolvable challenges. (Yes, it’s ok to giggle – that’s a lot of the same word.)

Next was the observation that “Keeping Education Relevant” is distinct from keeping learning relevant, since learning is ALWAYS relevant. So the question is less about how to keep learning relevant, but more about how to position the kind of education that happens in higher education as an active participant in the broad open amorphous space that is comprised of all those glorious online and offline social learning spaces that people love so much.

Last but not least was the interjection that, Hello! Maybe it isn’t so unsolvable after all, since so many folk here are already doing such exciting things to position us, as academics, in ways to show relevance to the public and to engage with the public. Actually, I suspect that all major universities are engaged in similar kinds of activities, and working hard to make clear the ways in which academia is not only relevant, but makes possible research and learning opportunities that benefit the broader communities and which would not be possible or practical in other types of spaces and structures.

Here are just a very FEW examples of activities around campus that are, frankly, not atypical and which illustrate ways in which we are making academia relevant here, every day, as a routine part of business.

UMSI MAKERFEST

#UMSIMakerfest !!! | #UMSIMakerfest !!!
#UMSIMakerfest !!! | #UMSIMakerfest !!!

Today, the School of Information had a Makerfest in the Union. As you can see from the poster, they had a lot of cool stuff going on, from Google Glass and Rasperry Pi to video games and cookies. Among their partners for this event were multiple community makerspaces, both the campus and local public library, individuals with special talents or resources, and of course, campus groups. Was the audience just college students? No way! Students were there, but also parents and kids, teachers, staff, community, and I don’t know who else.

#UMSIMakerfest: https://www.flickr.com/photos/rosefirerising/sets/72157642967068393

TEDXUOFM

DSC_0149 | IMG_6735
3O5A9174_Kimwall | TEDxUofM
IMG_5416 | eak.FEA.TEDxUofM.4-8-11.044.

A couple weeks ago (less, actually), the campus had our TEDx event (TEDxUofM). TEDx events are gatherings of fascinating people sharing innovative and creative ideas. They are spinoffs from the large TED organization where TED stands for Technology Entertainment and Design. My brain keeps trying to change the “E” to “Education”, since that’s what my brain associates with the TED videos, but when you think about it, “Education” and “Entertainment” are pretty closely related in many important ways.

With our local TEDxUofM event, it ALWAYS is highlighting topics that connect academia and the real world, projects that make a difference in the lives of real people, stories that touch hearts and lives. It doesn’t accomplish this by just making a forum for faculty to preach to the choir, but by giving prominence to projects by students and alumni as well, and by getting faculty to talk about their passions beyond their official job duties. In this sense it is like most other TED and TEDx events. Here, of course, the event connects the campus and the town and community. There isn’t just one TEDx event locally, but several — TEDxDetroit, TEDxUofM, TEDxEMU, TEDxSkylineHS, TEDxArb, TEDxYouth@AnnArbor, TEDxUMDearborn, and probably more I haven’t covered/discovered. TEDx events are partnerships with the community, ways to bring information out of ivory towers and into public spaces. They engage, emote, intrigue, and inspire. They foster awareness, and through awareness future collaborations.

RISK BITES

In Andrew Maynard’s recent presentation, “Should Academics Get Down and Dirty with Youtube?,” he illustrated the power of Youtube to reach the public, to educate, to inform, and to potentially inform policy and decisionmakers. This insight of his was reinforced by President Obama’s recruitment of video bloggers (vloggers) with strong reach among the youth audience in order to disseminate critical information about the Obamacare registration deadlines.

Andrew highlighted a number of influential vloggers who present content on science and research, but who are not themselves from academia, then asking what is it that they are doing that we are not? Why is it that the general public obviously have a passion for information about science, but find science information more persuasive when presented by someone who is not a scientist? What are we not doing that we should be or could be doing? These questions are what inspired him to create the Risk Bites series of science videos, in which he endeavors to position academic and heavily evidence-based science information in a public space in a way that will hopefully reach those who need the information. Here is the most recent video from that series as an example.


What’s the difference between hazard and risk? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_GwVTdsnN1E

ROAD SCHOLARS

Goodwill-Industries | Chateau-Chantal
Cascade-Engineering | Discussion-with-legislators

The University of Michigan Road Scholars program has been going on for DECADES. The idea was, yet again, how to make academia relevant to the communities in which we find ourselves. More than that, it was how to create bridges, connections, and partnerships between the University and the people of our state. In the Road Scholars program, faculty travel the state on a kind of pilgrimage to various communities around Michigan, developing a genuine and personal connection to the people and places, learning about the initiatives and work that is done around the state, and fostering opportunities for outreach, partnerships, mutual regard and learning.

GHANA EMERGENCY MEDICINE COLLABORATIVE
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Ghana-Michigan Conference Nov 2009 023 | Ghana-Michigan Conference Nov 2009 024
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The Ghana Emergency Medicine Collaborative is another project that has been going on for a while. These images are from an early event in 2009 which laid some of the groundwork for this collaboration between the University and medical programs in Ghana. The collaboration involves individuals from both schools going to the other country to learn more about needs, resources, and opportunities. This innovative partnership drove much of the initial development of the University’s creation of open education resources, and has proven to have a large and lasting impact far beyond the original scope of the project.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

Are you here at the University of Michigan? Are you interested in a campus-wide conversation about barriers to innovation in education and what we are already doing to solve these problems? Do you know of some amazing work people are doing to help keep us relevant? Please add your thoughts in the comments.

Tracking the Trends: Emerging Technologies 2014

Emerging Technology Trends 2014

I’ve been working on this for a while. What you see above is my very first infographic, which I eventually made at Venngage.

E-Tech Trends 2014 [Infographic]: https://infograph.venngage.com/infograph/publish/b097d0b8-8d2f-4ca5-a339-f6ede2bdf8c7

The only problem was that Venngage wouldn’t allow me to export a copy of my work unless I pay them money, and since I don’t have moola to spare you get the low-resolution hard-to-read copy above unless you go to the Venngage site.

BACKGROUND

Briefly, to make this, I took a batch of my favorite white papers, annual reports, and similar resources that choose the most important new tech for various fields. I compiled their lists, and looked for overlaps to identify what seems to be most important across all of them.

WHAT I FOUND

Of the ten reports I examined, there were never more than 5 in agreement on any one technology, and over half of all the technologies are listed in only one of the reports. Of course, that’s the part that is most interesting to me, but that isn’t what will be most important to my bosses. So here are the levels of agreement, as reflected in the infographic.

5 of 10

3d printing
learning analytics

4 of 10

Additive manufacturing
Big data
Flipped classroom
Games & gamification
Social media
Virtual reality
Wearable technology

3 of 10

Artificial intelligence
Mobile learning
Personal agency (learners, patients)
Personal genomics
Social networks

2 of 10

3d bioprinting
Affective computing
Augmented reality
Biometric authentication
Bitcoins & digital currency
Brain-computer interfaces (BCI)
Cloud computing
Drones
Global collaboration
Holographic displays & inputs
Human augmentation
Internet of things (IOT)
Maker culture / makerspaces / consumer to creator
Mobile health monitoring
MOOCs
Newborn genome
Open content
Personal learning networks
Power, renewable
Quantified self
Quantum computing
Robotics
Sensors
Smartwatches
Speech recognition
Speech-speech translation
Virtual assistants
Volumetric Displays
Wearable user interfaces

HOW I DID THIS

I follow a LOT of blogs, Twitter streams, journals, databases, archives, etc. to scan for emerging technologies. My brain sorts these into various categories, informally noted for what level of awareness I feel they need and who I should tell about them, and whether I should tell folk now or if it can wait a while. But that’s all fairly soft and ill-defined. I had a question recently for which I wanted more of a crisp idea of what are the most strategically important emerging technologies.

I could immediately suggest several thinktanks, organizations, and thought leaders who track emerging technologies and push out their annual list of what’s most important. I’m not one of those people, but I watch them. For this question, no one of those reports had what I wanted. I needed education, sci-tech, and healthcare. I wanted to be able to pluck the best from across several reports, and I wanted to be able to do this in a way that went beyond “because I feel it in my gut.”

I made a spreadsheet, entered the technologies mentioned in each report, and checked off which ones appeared in which reports, tallied them up, and this gave me what I put into the infographic. Below, you can find a list of the ten sources I used, and all of the technologies listed that appeared in more than one report.

There are several Horizon Reports, of which more than one might be of interest. Here I used the main Higher Ed report and the Australian report for “tertiary education” (which is basically also higher ed). As a side comment, even though I didn’t use the Horizon Project K-12 education report I often find that the real bleeding edge of tech adoption in education is there, in grade schools. Worth checking out.

There is another fascinating parallel resource to the Horizon Report from Australia (CORE-Ed). And of course, the Gartner Hype Cycle is a must, even though it isn’t education specific, as is the MIT Tech Review’s list of “breakthrough technologies.” The SETDA report for 2013 isn’t out yet, but the 2012 one might still be of interest. Audrey Watters did a rather interesting series in her Hack Education blog on her selections for the top ten edtech trends of 2013. She includes so many use cases and examples in her blog that it is a goldmine of resources to dig through. Berci Mesko’s white paper on the future of medicine is a similar rich resource that points to far far more than is mentioned at the top level.

SOURCES

Here are the links, in alphabetical order.

1. CORE-Ed: http://www.core-ed.org/thought-leadership/ten-trends

2. CORE-Ed Science: http://blog.core-ed.org/blog/2014/02/digital-technologies-and-the-future-of-science-education.html

3. Gartner Report, Hype Cycle: http://www.gartner.com/newsroom/id/2575515

4. Guide to the Future of Medicine: http://scienceroll.files.wordpress.com/2013/10/the-guide-to-the-future-of-medicine-white-paper.pdf

5. Hack Education: Top Ed-Tech Trends of 2013: http://hackeducation.com/blog/tag.php?Search_Tag=ed-tech%20trends%202013

6. Horizon Project: Australian Tertiary Education: http://www.nmc.org/pdf/2013-Technology-Outlook-for-Australian-Tertiary-Education.pdf

7. Horizon Report: http://www.nmc.org/publications/2014-horizon-report-higher-ed

8. MIT Technology Review: 10 Breakthrough Technologies 2013: http://www.technologyreview.com/lists/breakthrough-technologies/2013/

9. Popular Science: 2014: The Year in Science: http://www.popsci.com/article/science/year-science-2014

10. SEDTA National Educational Technology Trends 2012: http://www.setda.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/SETDANational_Trends_2012_June20_Final.pdf