Six Weeks of World Flattening and Higher Ed Disrupting
March kicked off with a visit to Salt Lake City and the CAMEX bookstore convention. As we prepared our booth with our bookstore partners to present our digital All Access Pass, I was invited to speak on digital delivery and other innovative bookstores practices with Jeff Nelson, director, Bookstores & Enterprise Services, Bowling Green University; and Todd Summer, Campus Stores Director, Aztec Shops Ltd., San Diego State University. Todd and Jeff are two of the real leaders among bookstore managers throughout the country. It’s always good to be in the company of true innovators.
Next stop was Austin for the second annual South by Southwest EDU, aka SXSW.EDU, which is turning into one of the stronger education technology conferences. I was a judge for their new company showcase event, which was one of the major draws of this conference. I didn’t get a chance to present, but look forward to doing that next year. This is an important forum for our company.
Later in March, on a trip to Atlanta for the 2012 Chair Academy International Leadership Conference, I was invited by the VP of Academic Affairs at Macon State College to speak to a group of deans and chairs from across campus. She had heard an earlier presentation about Flat World Knowledge and needed help spreading the message on campus. We had a great hour-long discussion about the industry and Flat World. This summer, the VP is setting aside a small budget for professors to adopt open education resources (OER). Flat World will now figure prominently in that. This is exactly the kind of campus leadership and action we are seeing more of, and are excited by.
Then it was off to the Chair Academy Conference for another presentation with our customer and good friend Andrew Feldstein, assistant professor of marketing, Reginald F. Lewis School of Business, Virginia State University. Andrew has driven Flat World’s successful institutional agreement at VSU, and he shared the positive results they are seeing in retention and GPA improvements. And then hearing that so far the partnership has saved VSU students about $300,000 in textbook costs convinces me we are on to something very big.
In early April, I was invited by Gerry Hanley, Senior Director for Academic Technology Services for the California State University system, to speak at the Affordable Learning $olutions fair at San Jose State University (SJSU). New SJSU Provost Ellen Junn is a very big supporter of OER, and Flat World in particular. What Gerry and his colleague Brett Christie, in Academic Technology Services, have done over the last six months in support of Flat World is amazing. Gerry wants to now broaden our early success and faculty advocacy throughout the CSU system. We are ready!
Finally, I just got back from Phoenix and Arizona State University’s third annual Education Innovation Summit. This sold-out conference drew 800, up from 200 in 2010, and is likely the premier education technology conference in the country. I made a short presentation with three other companies on Tuesday, and then participated on a spirited panel on Wednesday called, “New Free Ride: Can free models work in education?” I found out afterwards that the moderator, Josh Lewis of Salmon River Capital, is actually a Pearson board member. That just made the exchange all the more interesting.
Up next is digitalNow in Orlando, April 25-28. But first, I want to re-engage with my wife and kids for a few days. Hope to see you on the road soon.
- College Textbooks: The Bubble (flatworldknowledge.com)
- How it Feels to Save VSU Students $300,000 on Textbooks (flatworldknowledge.com)