Future shock, adhocracy

Future shock
Toffler argues that society is undergoing an enormous structural change, a revolution from an industrial society to a “super-industrial society”. This change will overwhelm people, the accelerated rate of technological and social change leaving them disconnected and suffering from “shattering stress and disorientation” – future shocked. Toffler stated that the majority of social problems were symptoms of the future shock. In his discussion of the components of such shock, he also coined the term information overload.

Adhocracy
[A]dhocracies will get more common and are likely to replace bureaucracy. … Downsides of adhocracies can include “half-baked actions”, personnel problems stemming from organization’s temporary nature, extremism in suggested or undertaken actions, and threats to democracy and legality rising from adhocracy’s often low-key profile. To address those problems, researches in adhocracy suggest a model merging adhocracy and bureaucracy, the bureau-adhocracy.

Keeping busy

Current ISMS projects at Anglia Ruskin University

Anglia Ruskin University looks to have a very smart, comprehensive, well-resourced project office within its IT Services section. I’m very jealous of its Current Projects page, especially the E-Administration Programme. Some great project management / presentation ideas there.

100 terrific productivity tools for the bored or unemployed
Whether you’re bored out of your mind at the office or don’t have an office to go to, there’s no reason to sit around idly when there’s so much you could potentially be getting done. With the web at your fingertips, you can find numerous ways to keep your mind and body engaged and active. These 100 tools will help you get busy doing just about anything from organizing your DVD collection to planning your potential future, giving you no excuse to be bored or unemployed for long.

From the leaders of Google’s data visualization research group

HINT.FM / Fernanda Viegas & Martin Wattenberg
As technologists we ask, Can visualization help people think collectively? Can visualization move beyond numbers into the realm of words and images? As artists we seek the joy of revelation. Can visualization tell never-before-told stories? Can it uncover truths about color, memory, and sensuality?

Animating magazines

Don’t make me scroll
This is the short version of a presentation on online magazines we’ve been working on here at Redub. It ends with a link to an in-development demo that features content from GOOD’s Transportation Issue 015. Casey Caplowe (GOOD’s Creative Director) generously gave us the InDesign files for the entire issue and we re-figured some of the content so it fit on the screen natively. We even had to re-imagine the Transparencies because they just didn’t work just throwing the original (for-print) image up on the screen (which is what most publishers do sadly) — since we didn’t have the high resolution of print, we took advantage of the screen’s native attributes, namely, animation. I’d even posit that what the screen lacks in dots per inch it more than makes up for in dots per inch per second.

SLC resignations

Two directors of Student Loans Company resign
Two directors of the crisis-hit Student Loans Company have resigned over errors that led to tens of thousands of students starting term with no cash this autumn. Wallace Gray, who was in charge of the company’s computer network as IT director, and Martin Herbert, director of marketing and customer services, have left the company, SLC’s board said today. The firm’s chief executive, Ralph Seymour-Jackson, will stay.

Tired Twitter

Why we can never rest: a year in the life of Twitter
Although we are already a few years into our latest collaboration, this has been the year the world took note of a simple service that has profound promise. For us, it has been a year during which we realised that no matter how sophisticated the algorithms get, no matter how many machines we add to the network, our work is not about the triumph of technology, it is about the triumph of humanity.

Raising fees

Call for universities to charge well-off students £30,000 a year
Others gave a cautious welcome to Blanchflower’s intervention. Bahram Bekhradnia, director of the Higher Education Policy Institute, said that a progressive system which supported those who were less fortunate was needed to stave off a funding crisis. But the American fees system could not be imported unchanged, he added. “In the US, higher education is seen as an investment. Here it is seen as a right.”

A love of lists

Times Higher Ed Book of the week: The Infinity of Lists, Umberto Eco
And if you think the previous sentences were a little clogged, repetitive, extravagant, wasteful, prodigal, lavish or over-egged, then it is just possible that this is not the book for you. To anyone, however, who takes pleasure, delight, joy, gladness, glee, satisfaction, gratification, contentment, enjoyment or amusement in contemplating excess, it may be just the ticket, pass, authorisation, permit, token, coupon or voucher.

Meditation, 2009 blogs

Stepping towards enlightenment
The mind can do wonderful and unexpected things. Meditators who are having a difficult time achieving a peaceful state of mind sometimes start thinking, “Here we go again, another hour of frustration.” But often something strange happens; although they are anticipating failure, they reach a very peaceful meditative state. My first meditation teacher told me that there is no such thing as a bad meditation. He was right. During the difficult meditations you build up your strength, which creates meditation for peace. We may want to spend much time—months or even years—developing just these first two preliminary stages, because if we can reach this point, we have come a long way indeed in our meditation. In that silent awareness of “just now,” we experience much peace, joy, and consequent wisdom.

Best new blogs of 2009
Editors Kevin Nguyen and Nick Martens and fellow bloggers talk about the latest and greatest additions to their RSS readers.

E-admin

e-Learning Focus – e-administration and enterprise resources
Resources in the area of e-administration.

E-Administration
e-Administration, or electronic administration, refers to any of a number of mechanisms which convert what in a traditional office are paper processes into electronic processes, with the goal being to create a paperless office. This is an ICT tool, with the goal being to improve productivity and performance.

e-Administration
e-Administration is ‘the effective management of the coordination and control of business processes and the electronic information they create’. It has two fundamental objectives: to increase the efficiency of administrative processes within institutions and to lessen the administrative burden faced by all staff during this process.

Twitter: The virtual loud hailer
I can’t help visualising Twitter as a loud hailer. And… it doesn’t necessarily matter how witty and apt your tweets might be if you’re stuck talking down the wrong end of it! As you tap your 140 characters into the Twitter dialogue box it is as if you are talking aloud to yourself, but with the added echoing effect of a loud hailer, broadcasting to all those – virtually – around you.

Student loans, university funding

Next year’s student loans delayed
The launch of the loans and grants service for students starting in September 2010 should have been at the beginning of this week. But the Student Loans Company says that this has now been postponed. A review of loan delays for students who began courses this autumn found “conspicuous failures”. The delays in payments facing tens of thousands of students, which have dragged on for months after the start of term, have now caused a knock-on effect for next year. The intended starting date of December 7 has been withdrawn – with no new date so far set to replace it.

Universities warn that budget cuts will be challenging
Earlier this year the government asked universities to find £180m in efficiency savings by 2011. Professor Steve Smith, president of umbrella body Universities UK, said: “The university sector has provided an excellent return on the last 12 years of public investment. “However, the sector is already absorbing considerable efficiency savings and the announcement that by 2012-2013, £600 million will be cut from higher education and science and research budgets will be extremely challenging for universities.”

Academy denounces £600 million funding cut
Alistair Darling, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, revealed in his pre-Budget report on 9 December that there will be a £600 million reduction in the higher education and science and research budgets in the two years 2011-13. The report says the savings will come from “a combination of changes to student support within existing arrangements; efficiency savings and prioritisation across universities, science and research; some switching of modes of study in higher education; and reductions in budgets that do not support student participation”.

Deleting e-mails

Advisor: Deleting emails could make you happier
If people were just more aggressive about deleting irrelevant things and relevant things aren’t that important, they would probably be happier. Because I’m happier. So there must be something to it.

I love the idea of deleting everything. As in, *everything*. Don’t know if I’ve got the nerve though. Perhaps here’s a possible New Year’s Resolution, for when I come back after the break, all rejuvenated and enthusiastic.

Student loan woes

Financial Support to Students, Statement by: David Lammy MP, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
I am now clear that decisive action is required to change the service and that the key to this is strengthening the leadership of the Company and ensuring that the customer is at the heart of everything the Company does. The Chair of the Student Loans Company has confirmed that the senior management team of the Company will be strengthened and reorganised.

Includes a link to the Hopkin Report.

Head of Student Loans Company under pressure to resign
An independent inquiry into this year’s fiasco, which saw tens of thousands of students start term with no cash, blames the delays on “management indecision and over-optimism” as bosses failed to act when a new computer system collapsed this summer. When the problems became apparent it operated a shut doors policy, refusing to engage with student unions, universities or the press to explain the problems.

Twitter networks, HE finance, HE admin

Explore your Twitter network with Mentionmap
Asterisq just released Mentionmap, an exciting web app for exploring your Twitter network. Discover which people interact the most and what they’re talking about. It’s also a great way to find relevant people to follow.

Study reveals lack of awareness over university bursaries and scholarships
The scope and clarity of information provided by universities and colleges about bursaries leave a lot to be desired, says the study. Almost one-half of students (44 per cent) thought there was too little information about how to apply for a bursary, though higher education institutions think they provide enough. Many universities need to do more, says the study. Three-quarters of students and two-thirds of parents did not realise that universities and colleges must give a minimum bursary to students receiving the full state maintenance grant. And, almost half the students surveyed (47 per cent) thought bursaries were one-off payments given to students in their first year.

V-c: scholars should lighten the administrative burden
Answering a question on “blended roles”, which mix academic and administrative tasks, she said: “I would like to see young academics accepting that is part of their contracts. I would like to change this sort of attitude that all you really do is teach or research, or in most cases both, and that you don’t have a sort of common responsibility towards helping to run the institution.”

The academic v administrator debate rumbles on, and still doesn’t get anywhere…

Paperless meetings, urban meditation

Paperless Committee project
The “Paperless Committee,” is an electronic meeting system that was designed to increase the efficiency of the Committee on NGOs. It allows the delegates to view the documentation in all six languages of the UN; to have continuous document updates from the Chair and the Secretariat, wireless connectivity, and electronic vote counting. In the last stage of the “Paperless Committee,” the documents were also accessible for the delegates to view via the Internet days before the Committee on NGOs started.

From 2003.

Urban meditation designed for you – The Hear and Now Project
Many of us could do with the benefits that come with regularly practising meditation – as it can help develop qualities such as calm, focus and compassion. And perhaps nowhere are these qualities needed more than in the hustle and bustle of modern city life.

VC award

Professor Dianne Willcocks, Vice-Chancellor of York St John University became the first woman ever to receive The Press’s Lifetime Achievement Award
She stepped up to receive the award after a tribute to her work that comes to an end when she retires from her post at the end of April, although she does plan to focus on her involvement with other educational, cultural and public service organisations in York and North Yorkshire.

Missing student data

Scandal of the students who never sat exams
There was widespread belief in the sector prior to 2004 that the rule was impractical and not applicable in its literal sense to higher education institutions with modular degree schemes and, in particular, to those with a strong widening participation ethos, many of whose students progress through university at an intermittent pace.