So it has been almost a month since I last posted. I guess I’m not a natural blogger. I’ve never followed anybody’s blog before, nor have I ever blogged before.
Anyway, progress on developing this course has been slow at best. I do think I have found a good project management book to use with the course. It’s more comprehensive than I really need, but I think that is a benefit for an online course b/c there is lots of extra content in the book for the interested student. Further, the book comes in paperback form and is available through Amazon.com for under $50, so even though I may only have the students read 40% of it for the class, its still a good value as textbooks go.
Other than the textbook, most developments on the course have been in the wrong direction. It remains unclear to me what happens to these courses after the three year NSF funding for the PSM runs its course. It’s not out of the question that the course will only ever be offered once online. Needless to say, the prospect of investing time into the development of a high quality online course that might only ever be taught once is a little disconcerting. I was also informed on Friday that my 2011 position description had been rejected and that I need to reallocate my time. My previous position description had called for me to spend 75% of my time on teaching/advising and 15% on research, with the higher percentage of teaching associated with both a heavier teaching load this spring than last fall (equivalent of 3.5 courses) and the development of two new graduate level courses for the fall (this one, online and Bus 552 delivered on campus). My new positions shifts my effort away from teaching and course development and back to research, so the percentages are more in line with standard position descriptions in the college. I now am to allocate 25% of my time to research and 65% to teaching and course development.
I also made my first attempt to use the timeline website dipity. I was preparing a new case that I’ll be teaching in my capstone strategy course in a couple of weeks. In part, it chronicles the evolution of strategy at Netflix. I thought I could use the timeline software to organize part of my discussion around. I found out two things about dipity (or maybe about me). First, it wasn’t intuitive how to format dipity. I wanted a timeline in three or four layers or rows. One for the various strategy changes Netflix made. One for how the customer and industry context/enviornment was changing. One for resources and relationships that Netflix had to invest in to support their strategy changes. I did figure out that inserting a picture seems to put the event at the top of the timeline. That was helpful until I discovered the system was incredibly slow at uploading pictures. It was taking 2 minutes or more to upload a 500kb image. I was at home on my wireless, but that still seemed totally unsatisfactory. After about 40 minutes, I closed dipity and created a timeline in table format in word. Its not as pretty, but it seemed like it was going to be way faster and I knew how to organize the information.
I’m hopeful my next blog will be sooner than a month from now and more upbeat than this one. Actually, as I finish this, I am now recalling I’m supposed to put up objectives for my class. As a start, here were the objectives for the class when I taught it face to face in the fall. Right now I plan to drop objective (vii). I also plan to add an objective on advancing the students’ ability to understand and work with business people on environmental and natural resource issues. I’ll try to work on these objectives in the coming 10 days and post new objectives for the course for the fall.
Provide students with both the theoretical foundations and the practical skills and tools necessary to:
(i) Analyze and interpret basic financial statements;
(ii) Evaluate the financial impact and attractiveness of a given project to an organization;
(iii) Create and use a project budget effectively.
(iv) Define, organize and plan a project so that the project has the greatest likelihood of being completed successfully.
(v) Monitor and control a project in order to insure effective project execution.
(vi) Evaluate and develop strategies to minimize project risks;
(vii) Develop an introductory understanding of Microsoft Project