Course change, new course objectives

Ok, so its official.  Bus 551 won’t be going online till 2012.  Instead, I will be putting Bus 552 Managing Scientific Innovation online.  As a result, I’ve developed new course objectives, which follow.

10 Course Objectives – What you should be able to do after completing this course:

  • Assess the sources, strength, and sustainability of an organization’s competitive advantage.
  • Critically analyze and assess how organizational practices, policies, structure, and culture contribute to or impede change and innovation within an organization.
  • Use the MARS framework (Motivation, Ability, Role and Situation) to understand the behavior of an organization’s employees and customers in the face of change and innovation.
  • Use the ‘Green to Gold’ framework to help an organization incorporate environmental sustainability into its strategy in a way that produces competitive advantage for the organization.
  • Develop effective strategies to integrate employees, suppliers, customers and collaborators into an organization’s innovation efforts and processes.
  • Lead a team, department, or organization through Kotter’s eight stage change management process.
  • Apply appropriate human resource, leadership and marketing theory and practice to influence employee and customer behavior.
  • Understand the extent to which patent law, trade secret law, and copyright law contribute to protecting an organization’s intellectual property associated with innovation.
  • Translate environmental and natural resource needs/issues into a context that will engage and be meaningful to business people.
  • Understand how your own strengths and weaknesses can impact your ability to lead change and/or promote innovation within your organization.
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Progress (or lack thereof) on my Course

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 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

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About the Process I plan to use

I have taught the Managing Scientific Projects course once, live, in the fall of 2010.  Some aspects of the course worked very well, others need improvement.  I plan to start the process of building the online version of this course by thoroughly reviewing what I did in the fall.  I’m going to look at it both in terms of the content and pedagogical tools/methods I used.  Before I start actually creating anything in the online environment, I’m going to develop an updated and improved syllabus for the course.  Once I’m clear on the content and objectives for the course, I’ll start putting elements of the course online.

I expect that the bulk of the actual creating of the online content will occur in the second half of May and June, after the current semester ends.  I am teaching 3.5 courses this semester, plus trying to keep my research program active and hit several conference submission deadlines, so time is at a premium.  During Feb/Mar/April I’ll be trying to get the big picture of the course correct and learning some of the online tools working with other faculty who are also developing online courses and with the experts in distance and extended education.

The other unique aspect of the development of this online course is that I am also developing a second course from scratch for the PSM program – Managing Scientific Innovation.  This course will be delivered on campus during the fall of 2011.  These two courses, Managing Scientific Projects (Bus 551) and Managing Scientific Innovation (Bus 552) make up the Business content in the PSM program at the UI.  Part of the development process, then, is to get the right total business content for the PSM program into the two courses, and to figure out what content fits best in each course.  I’m hoping over time to get input to better make decisions on the design of these courses from my colleagues in the CBE, from EnvS faculty from around campus; from current PSM students, from organizations likely to employ graduates from the PSM program, and from what other universities around the country are doing in their PSM courses.  

All these things should keep me busy at work for the coming year.

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The Purpose of My Blog

Hi, I will be using this blog to share the process I use to develop the online version of my course.

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