August 30, 2013


Filed under: Uncategorized — Frank Polster @ 2:53 pm

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October 13, 2012

What’ s a W&M degree worth? #CFHE12

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — Frank Polster @ 6:45 pm

“What’s a W&M degree worth?”  was the lead headline on this mornings print version of the “Virginia Gazette”, here in Williamsburg VA.  You will notice that in the web addition of the article the subtitle reads, “New W&M grads not top earners, but data likely failed”. I do not know for a fact that the data for the article is the same data that Jeff Selingo (The 5 Disruptive Forces That Will Change Higher Education Forever) cited, which was from the state of Virginia’s unemployment records. But my guess is that there is not much of a difference if any. The article’s database is from the State (Virginia) Council of Higher Education that compared salaries 18 months after graduation, based on majors from dozens of two-year and four-year colleges.

W&M economics professor David Feldman, and Bob Archibald co-authored the book, “Why Does College Cost So Much?” stated in the article that the database used “doesn’t include grads working outside Virginia or those working for the federal government, including in the military.” There are a lot of Virginia grads working for the federal government in northern Virginia.

I assume from this that the unemployment data from Virginia, that Jeff Seliingo, cited, did not include grads that are unemployed outside of the state of VA or the population of grads who went on to graduate school right after graduation.

Ok the data may be flawed and this is nitpicking but at the end of the day it does not alter the validity of Jeff Selingo’s over all argument – there are disruptive forces that are changing HE and there are risks and opportunities.

I for one, am looking for the opportunities.

Ed Futures #CFHE12

August 29, 2012

Intro Video for EdStartup

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — Frank Polster @ 4:53 pm

I haven’t blog since CCK08 and then some on LETSI in 2009 so this is almost brand new again and so we are off on a new adventure with EdStartup 2012.

Thanks Frank

April 19, 2010

Open Course on Education Futures -Introduction “Frank’s why”

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — Frank Polster @ 5:50 pm

As I looked through the first week’s assignments I got kinda of excited like when I first started the CCK08 – something new, a new perspective, a new set of tools, a new set of skills, a whole new set of connections and a new adventure. I am back to my blog, that I used during CCK08 and it’s nice to be back after sporadic usage.
I come to this course not as a educator but as a life long learner who is on the informal learning side of the spectrum. I also approach the “problem” from a HPT/performance/ Joe Harless perspective where the answer to the “problem” is not necessarily a training solution. “Learning” is not the end goal – specific “Performance Competence” is.

So my last touchstone with learning theory comes from CCK08 and 09/Connectivism. During the CCK08 I was exposed to and used a whole new set of tools within the context of a connectivism pedagogy. As I have followed the conversations over the last two years the future of higher education and it’s high costs are headed in the same direction as vinyl records,CDs and printed newspapers. EDUPunk/OER and folks like Siemens and Downes are pointing to an alternative path/future.

At the end of the day, I am looking for a continuation of the conversation that began, for me with CCK08, and I am very much interested in participating in the formation of an “alternative” path.

Thanks frank

April 13, 2009

Part III- Web Services API for SCORM Run-Time Communication

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — Frank Polster @ 9:14 pm

For those that were on spring vacation I wanted to update you all on our last meeting which was highlighted with a tour of the project’s software development site on SourceForge.

There was a great discussion led by Mike Rustici, Chuck Allen and Schawn Thropp on the project concept model. There is general agreement on phase 1 and the notion that the authentication by a web services by separating the SCO from the server side opens up a whole set of new possibilities and solutions to known problems e.g. cross domain scripting, synchronous vice asynchronous, multi player access to a SCO, access to multiple LMSs, etc.

Exciting possibilities and it brought back to mind the great set of discussions that we had last summer with the SCORM 2.0 200 plus white papers. From my point of view we have passed from talking about issues and embarked on taking the first set of steps to solving those issues we discussed last summer and came to a consensus about in Pensacola.

As most of you know, one of the things that make LETSI different from others is the notion that we will develop open source software solutions in parallel to pursing a standard. An innovative approach and consistent with our community’s idea that “working code trumps all theories” To that end we discussed our first stab at an IP Agreement.

Simply stated, the IP agreement says:

* You retain ownership/rights over everything that belongs to you that you contribute.

* You grant LETSI and others in the LETSI community who has access to your contributions a royalty-free license to such contributions.

* In turn, LETSI makes its work available under the Simplified BSD license. This is a “business permissive license” that allows derivative works. Under BSD, you are free to modify, use, redistribute LETSI work as you see fit.

Occasionally, members may want to volunteer use of a system or content for testing or similar purposes or might otherwise want to reference or discuss a proprietary system or approach as an example of industry practice. These situations can be accommodated without such materials/systems being deemed contributions — If these situations arise, simply be explicit as to your intentions, record in meeting minutes, memo agreement, etc.

If you are interested in contributing to this effort download and sign the IP agreement. As necessary, bring to the attention of those within your company who need to review. See:

Sign and email to or fax to: +1 919-573-9124

Please cc Frank at

If you are interested in participating but not quite sure dial in to one of our online meetings this coming Wed at 1200hrs EST (15 April) the project’s software developers will meet and the following Wed 22 April the general project members will meet at 1200hrs EST.

The project documentation and dial in information for the Wed 1200hrs EST is:

Project Documents – see:

Date: 15 & 22 April Time: * 16:00 UTC * 9:00am U.S. Pacific * noon U.S. Eastern * 4:00pm UK * 5:00pm France/Germany Duration: 1 hour

Skype phone: +9900827049304412

Conventional phone: local number + access code 9304412

US 201-793-9022 Austria 0820 401 15470 Belgium 0703 57 134 France 0826 109 071 Germany 0180 500 9527 Ireland 818 27 968 Italy 848 390 177 Spain 902 881 270 Switzerland 0848 560 397 United Kingdom 0870 0990 931

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April 3, 2009

Part II- LETSI Project – Web Services API for SCORM Run-Time Communication

Filed under: Uncategorized — Frank Polster @ 4:48 pm

We kicked off the project 25 March, with 16 folks joining us for an overview of the project and its goals.  Documents and minutes are posted on the project site.
One of the key discussion points was the need for a conceptual model for the web services API to manage run-time communication between learning content and a LMS or similar system.
Chuck Allen, Mike Rustici, Schwan Thropp, and Chris Guin have sketched out an outline and approach for the conceptual model which will be discussed at our second working session 8 April 09 1200hrs EST. If you have the time dial in and “brown bag” it with us (see below for details). We are looking for developers to participate in the project.
Conceptual Model –
Below is a rough breakdown of the phases and the requirements that would be handled within each phase. One of the key items for discussion I think will be signing up developers that are willing to look at different implementations – WS* or REST.  If you are interested contact us or attend this upcoming session on 8 April.
Phase 1
The first phase would be narrowly scoped. The work would largely be based on the conceptual model for the SCORM RTE as it exists today. Essentially, this can be thought of RTE web services designed within a SCORM 2004 context. However, certain extensions are contemplated for deployment within web services and to meet high priority requirements. Phase 1 itself would iterative and include several milestones and associated deliverables.
Within Phase 1, the scope of the initial round of work might include:
1. Working with essentially the same a set of operations as in the BBN web services RTE prototype. The BBN design would be updated so that it was “wrapped, doc/literal” style and conformant with WS-I basic profile.
2. Examining any necessary extensions to content packaging. These might include:
* An indicator to let the LMS know that the content will support the web services API.
* Elements to support the communication of credentials for access control. For example, an LMS ID and shared secret.
3. A number of RTE-specific details need to be defined or clarified. These include:
* Authentication of valid web services calls to the LMS. This might involve specifying use of some subset of WS-Security security tokens or simple convention using a share secret.
*  Defining how the launch of the content occurs. This initially would look at scenarios where the initial launch of content (whether browser-based and non-browser based) was browser-based. However, launch details for non-browser based content (e.g., Adobe Air) also would need to be considered.
* The web services API would need to be scalable. Of particular concern are the GetValue, SetValue operations. In the BBN prototype based on the ECMAScript API these are designed to communicate single parameters. Some notion of batching the communication of these items is necessary to minimize the number of calls across the network and optimize performance.
* There is the need to support asynchronous scenarios and sessions across extended time periods. The initial focus may be on scenarios involving content that was initially browser launched.
A second round of work, still within Phase 1, may bring in additional issues, such as:
* Sequencing
* Asynchronous/extended session support for content that wasn’t initially browser launched. (WS-I Reliable Secure Profile?).

Phase 2
Phase 2 would not be bound by the current SCORM conceptual model.
This Phase might incorporate new concepts being explored by other LETSI working groups (e.g., Orchestration).
Phase 2 might be more “resource-oriented” from the ground up. Design the RESTful web services first.
1. The need for speed. The goal is to have some Phase 1 working code in near term and to work in an iterative manner to fulfill the above requirements and those that may emerge.
2. Roles
* Architect
* Developers/Testers (need access to SourceForge?)
* Domain Experts
* Community of Practice Representatives. Need to come up with the right division of labor and meeting cycles to support the project.
3. The two-phase plan doesn’t necessarily imply that the work occurs in sequence.

4. Where to set up end points for testing? Content for testing
5. Many and various architectural and technical requirements.

8 April Project Agenda Details:
Concept Model Update – Chuck Allen et al
Source Forge Update – Frank Polster

Project Documents – see:
Date: 8 April 09

*  16:00 UTC
*   9:00am U.S. Pacific
*   noon U.S. Eastern
*  4:00pm UK
*  5:00pm France/Germany

Duration: 1 hour
Skype phone: +9900827049304412
Conventional phone: local number + access code 9304412
US 201-793-9022
Austria 0820 401 15470
Belgium 0703 57 134
France 0826 109 071
Germany 0180 500 9527
Ireland 818 27 968
Italy 848 390 177
Spain 902 881 270
Switzerland 0848 560 397
United Kingdom 0870 0990 931

January 16, 2009

2009 Prediction – – LETSI will get off the ground

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — Frank Polster @ 2:54 am

With the start of a new year, the learning and education blogosphere is full of 2009 forecasts. Predicting the future is tenuous at best, but talking about is a bit of fun especially when there is the prospect of looking back a year from now and seeing if you were even close. (Some famous bloggers even attempted to review their predictions from 1999, and surprisingly a couple of them fared well even 10 years later.) So her we go – LETSI will get off the ground and promulgate a set of open web services for the Learning, Education and Training community in 2009 is my prediction.

Blogging is a new thing for me so I am going to attempt to give it a bit of a go and hopefully, add to the dialogue of learning, education and training. For those of you that are first time readers please take a look at some of the other postings below that were part of the CCK08 course. I am a big fan of informal learning, Stephen Downes, George Siemens and Jay Cross. I am a recent CCK08 “grad” — I have drunk the “cool aid” and believe in Connectivism. I believe that 80% or more of what we learn occurs outside of formal institutions and the outcomes could be much better on the informal learning side.

I have spent the last ten plus years building automation systems to support Army training in their schoolhouses, and online learning delivery to include training development and training management systems. Throughout this time, I got involved with the standards business as a charter member of SCORM, with contacts to AICC, IEEE LTS, IMS and a bunch of others. At the end of the day standards are interesting but “working code trumps all theories” (Phil Dodd) and that bit of wisdom has grounded me, as well as helped me, to winnow through all of the chafe.

So my first New Years’ resolution is to blog with a focus on learning, education and training (LET) and something called SCORM 2.0. There was a fantastic amount of energy generated over the last summer with the 200 plus white papers and formal comments. I am sure that those of you who attended the SCORM 2.0 Workshop in Pensacola have seen the minutes from the session. Since Pensacola, a small group of folks have attempted to organize your inputs into four buckets – Teaching and Learning Strategies, Architecture, Sequencing and Business Requirements – in order to layout a baseline. All of this is soon to be exposed in the near future.

On the Negative – What not to Build

Now I know folks are a bit bummed out over the depressed economy and I hate to start on such a negative note, but Stephen Downes’s recent post on What Not To Build struck me as a worthwhile starting point as we begin the next phase of describing what SCORM 2.0 could be.

The short version of what Stephen says is – Don’t build a CMS, Don’t build a platform-specific app, Don’t build a Java application, Don’t build a framework, Don’t build an educational game, Don’t build a new standard… WHOA what is this about?

Stephen says, “People are still proposing to develop, or work on, new standards, be they metadata languages, vocabularies, application profiles, and the like. Back in the days when no standards existed, this may have been a good idea. But today, the standards landscape is full. There are standards for every domain under the sun. Things that probably should not have standards – like carrier pigeon messages – have standards. What’s worse, few of these standards projects made any effort to work with or cooperate with existing standards. So the standards landscape is a mish-mash of convoluted over-engineered and competing standards. Unless you absolutely have to, don’t add to this landscape. Work with what’s there and extend it (even if the rules say you can’t).”

As a point in case, I recently  began using a web app called TimeBridge to schedule and coordinate meetings with colleagues – which exemplifies this precise example. They did not attempt to create yet another online calendar program – they instead connected the various online calendars people already use, and let them interoperate (Google, iCal, Outlook, Yahoo etc). The end result is that people can work the way they choose, and still coordinate schedules ACROSS those varied platforms. That is an example of extension and coordination providing added value.

Working with what’s there and extending it needs a little thought on the part of all of us.

Given the diversity of the SCORM 2.0 community, the depth and breath of the participants, the white papers and the emerging notion that SCORM 2.0 will be built on “existing standardized frameworks and service architectures to potentially serve as base of new SCORM functionality”, this bit of advice of what not to build makes sense.

So if you got this far your asking so what is the 2009 prediction – LETSI will get off the ground and promulgate open web services for the Learning, Education and Training community. Maybe it could be along the lines of the e-Framework folks. Here is a sample format/template that also makes the point of extending other folks standards/work e.g. Personal competency profile information service using HR XML

What to you think we/LETSI ought to build in the near term – the next six to twelve months?

Thanks Frank

November 5, 2008

CCK08:Paper #2 From an Industrial to a Knowledge based Economy

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — Frank Polster @ 1:09 pm

I would assert that the migration from an industrial based economy to a knowledge based economy has basically caused a shift in training and education and therefore the roles of instructional developers and educators have shifted. I would further assert that in a knowledge based economy, education becomes more of a valued proposition with increased importance spanning the lifetime of the individual and not just during the first 12-18 years. If you believe that learning is a life-long endeavor and not confined to the first 12-18 years of your life, then it follows that the expansion of training and education opportunities, both formal and informal, are likely to occur and grow in importance in knowledge based economy. Affordance of these opportunities will cause shifts – as technology improvements enable free (or more affordable) opportunities and access to training and education across the entire continuum of a life-long learner. I would suggest that the open source movement, the open course projects, the Open University project, the open text book project, connectivism, etc. enabled through Web 2.0/VTEs/PLEs technologies are the leading affordance indicators.

I am reminded of the anecdote I noted in my first paper based on a keynote address by Chris Dede at the 2007 Conference on Distance Teaching and Learning – “Emerging models of learning/teaching via cyber infrastructure” . He had a story that I thought that was appropriate. His daughter was about to enter college and she asked him what she should major in. He thought it was a gratuitous question since he was paying the bills but he surprised her by saying I don’t care what you major in. He continued to say, that whatever you major in, it ought to be something that machines don’t do well (e.g. history, English).
Chris had earlier discussed the need for literacy’s that provide you with the skills for problem finding (not solving) which are (1) expert decision making and (2) complex communications. His example on expert decision making was taking a car to the dealership and finding that it still doesn’t work after the machines performed all of their diagnostics. That’s where the mechanic/expert decision making came in and the problem finding. Problem finding in a knowledge economy will come from a person’s ability to navigate through that connected network of people and appliances. The shift for instructional designers and educators are centered on this knowledge worker literacy’s. The complexity and interdependencies of these literacy’s will require a more interdisciplinary approach in education and research projects seeking to understand the hows and whys.

I have noted a shift in some universities which have implemented this interdisciplinary approach in dealing with the complexity of the domain, both for instruction and with research projects.  The Cognitive Science Program at Indiana University,  as an example of a domain, has a faculty and research team with members from the School of Education, Department of Speech and Hearing, Instructional Systems Technology, Computer Science, Psychological and Brain Sciences, Human Performance, Mathematics, etc.
Since learning is a life long pursuit on the part of a knowledge worker, we see shifts occurring in the Governmental and Corporate institutions as they attempt to adjust their formal and informal training and education programs to meet the needs of our knowledge economy – existing within a complex and often chaotic environment. It is from this side of the continuum that this paper seeks to describe role changes, impediments to change, and current trends.

As within the university domain, structures within the governmental and corporate environment are transforming to a more interdisciplinary approach. The emphasis on people has led to development of Human Capitol strategies that have drawn training and human resources departments closer together, jointly focusing on performance measures, competencies, training and education enablers, accession planning, on-boarding and recruitment, etc.  Within both governmental and corporate structures you see the trend of adding to the C -level staff (COO, CFO, CEO, etc) a new position called the CLO, Chief Learning Officer (as well as the Chief Knowledge Officer and even Chief Education Officer, as listed in the Wikipedia entry for C-level officers). The elevation of learning to the executive management level of these structures is not only an indicator of the importance of learning to the “bottom line” (i.e. ROI) of the endeavor but also an indication of learning taking a more integrated position in the operating structure of the organization, providing value, innovation, and solutions to complex corporate problems encountered by the organizations.

For governmental and corporate educators and instructional designers, the last ten years have seen an increase in the investment and development of online content (courseware, reference material, job aids, electronic performance support tools, etc.), the development of both brick and mortar and virtual corporate universities, and the implementation of Knowledge Management to capture both the explicit and tacit knowledge of the institution.
Whether these investments have provided a positive Return on Investment (ROI) is still generally unknown. There are a few documented cases of ROI showing increased human performance and corresponding increased sales attributable to a human capital strategy of on-boarding and training. The training and educational trend now is more of a blended learning approach, utilizing both face-to-face classroom and virtual learning activities. What is also clear is that the use of technology to enable online learning activities is often a complex process beyond the talents of solely an instructional designer. In most cases an interdisciplinary team approach is the norm, with a project manager, instructional designers, game designers, instructors, script writers, graphic artists, videographers, editors, system administrators, computer programmers, etc. This interdisciplinary trend is likely to continue along with the issues of high cost, a lack of simple, standard tools, and lengthy developmental cycles. The addition of new Web 2.0 technologies could offset some of these issues by leveraging the corporate workforce both as participants and creators of content. However, the tension of control and structure to minimize risks, both in governmental and corporate environment by imposing security constraints and the protection of corporate intellectual property rights, are issues that are diametrically opposed to the current open environment of the Web that has enjoyed a “rip, burn and mash” approach to content creation.

The centrality of the instructional designer or an “instructor-centered” instructional approach has shifted over the last decade to accommodate the literacy’s of a knowledge economy. A knowledge economy requires skills for problem finding (not solving) and requires skills for (1) expert decision making and (2) complex communications. The emergence of connectivism, Web 2.0/3.0, PLEs/VLEs, etc. afford and enable this shift toward more user-participation in learning / co-creation of content, and at the same time pushes the corporate and government toward investing in projects with a positive ROI.  One result is that the “value” created by this shift is measured in knowledge – instead of physical output as before (during Industrial Economy), and it likely requires an interdisciplinary instructional design approach.

September 5, 2008

Hello world!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Frank Polster @ 8:26 pm

Welcome to This is your first post. Edit or delete it and start blogging!

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