Dr. Charles R. Severance

I enjoy public speaking and am happy to speak to groups on a wide variety of topics that I find personally interesting and exciting.

This is a set of recent talks I have given or proposed. I can easily adapt and or combine material depending on the audience.

Biography: http://www.dr-chuck.com/dr-chuck/resume/bio.htm.

Massively Open Online Courses (MOOCs) - Past, Present, and Future

This presentation will explore what it was like when MOOCs were first emerging in 2012 and talk about what we have learned from the experience so far. Today, MOOC providers are increasingly focusing on becoming profitable and this trend is changing both the nature of MOOCS and university relationships with MOOC platform providers. Also, we will look at how a university can scale the development of MOOCs and use knowledge gained in MOOCs to improve on-campus teaching. We will also look forward at how the MOOC market may change and how MOOC approaches and technologies may ultimately impact campus courses and programs.

Experiences Teaching a Massively Open Online Course (MOOC)
Dr. Severance teaches "Internet History, Technology, and Security" and "Programming for Everybody" using the Coursera teaching platform. He was one of the earliest instructors on Coursera and has been teaching since July 2012. His courses focus on providing an "on-ramp" to students who want learn more about network and computing technology. In this keynote, we will look at at the current trends in teaching and learning technology as well as look at technology and pedagogy behind the course, and behind Coursera in general. We will look at the data gathered for the course and talk about what worked well and what could be improved. We will also look at some potential long-term effects of the current MOOC movement.

Sakai: Building an Open Source Community
This presentation describes the experiences of building the open-source Sakai teaching and learning environment and community from the inside. Sakai was founded by the University of Michigan, Indiana University, Stanford University, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The Sakai project was funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and over 100 Sakai partner schools and companies for over five million dollars over a two year period. The project was very ambitious with an almost impossible schedule for delivery. Almost nothing in the project went according to the plans and yet today, the Sakai software is in enterprise production use at nearly 300 schools world wide with three million daily users and a ten percent market share of top-100 universities worldwide. This is the story of the successes and failures and challenges and recoveries along the way as well as the laughter, joy and sadness as the project went forward from the perspective of the chief architect and later executive director. The book "Sakai: Free as in Freedom (Alpha)" describes this period of the Sakai effort.

An Inside Look at the History of the Internet
This session looks at the history of the Internet and World-Wide-Web paying particular attention to some of the moments where it was not assured that things were going to work out and produce the user experience we have today. Via video interviews, we meet a number of the innovators of the Internet and World-Wide-Web and focus on what might have happened if things had not worked out the way they did. While much of the research in Internet protocols and technologies was very deliberate, until 1994 it was not clear that either the Internet nor the World-Wide-Web had any purpose beyond connecting academics, scientists, and computer scientists. In many ways, both the Internet and World-Wide-Web were lab experiments that escaped into the wild. We look at those moments where the lab experiments escaped and imagine possible alternate realities if things had turned out differently.

My Internet History, Technology, and Security course available on Coursera is an extended version of this talk.

The University As A Cloud: Trends in Openness in Education
This talk and discussion will consist of three separate but related themes about the vision of strategic opportunities for higher education for the next 20 years. The general view is that Universities need to apply the concept of "open" across their entire enterprise. This will result in the boundaries between the university and the world outside of the university becoming increasingly blurry. The move toward a more porous approach across the domain of higher education activity is necessary to maintain the relevance, value, and competitive advantages of institutions, as society becomes increasingly open and open. It is a trait that becomes "expected". We will examine opportunities for universities to accentuate their strengths and positive qualities in an era of openness. The specific topics will include: (1) trends in open technology applied to teaching learning and collaboration, (2) trends in moving toward technology literacy as a core part of the definition of a Liberal Arts education, and (3) trends in content creation and publishing that are beginning to revolutionize how we will create, publish, and curate the intellectual output of higher education. The format of the talk will be a short strategic position papers on each of three topics, a short "lightning talk" about each of the topics and an interactive discussion about each of the three topics.

Clouds on the Horizon: Evolving Teaching, Learning and Technology in Higher Education
This presentation will examine the effects of emerging trends in Cloud Computing on the future of higher education. Cloud Computing is already transforming how we teach and learn, and will further redefine the relationships among Information Technology and other campus groups. We will explore how its initiatives can be embraced and leveraged to better serve those constituencies. Innovations and research in Cloud Computing are driven primarily by the commercial sector; higher education is therefore at risk of waiting too long to understand and fully exploit its benefits. We will take a long-term strategic overview of how higher education can partner with Cloud Computing to take a more active role in harnessing and shaping its future.


IMS Learning Tools Interoperability: What's New and What's Next?
IMS Learning Tools Interoperability 1.0 now has very broad market adoption. Many learning management systems have added LTI support to building blocks, making it very simple to add LTI to a building block. Developers can plug externally hosted learning tools into their LMS with a few lines of PHP. Now that the low-level LTI "plumbing" is in place, what will we do with it? This talk looks at the tools that are available in the marketplace that support IMS LTI and show them plugged into various learning mnanagement systems. We will introduce and describe IMS Learning Tools Interoperability 1.1 that includes support for returning grades from external tools back to the grade book and demonstrate this. This talk also looks at ways to quickly build and host tools that function as LTI Providers and plug those tools into their LMS. This talk also looks at the next release of IMS Learning Tools Interoperability 2.0 that includes even simpler provisioning and installation of tools, expanded grade/outcome services, and improved ability to import and export classes with links to dynamic content and services hosted on the web.

Experiences Teaching a First Programming/Technology Course at the Graduate Level
The University of Michigan School of Information master's program has a programming requirement (www.si502.com) for all students regardless of whether their major is Human Computer Interaction, Social Computing, or Library and Information Science. With a typical enrollment of 70% women and almost no prior programming technical experience for the typical student, this class provides unique challenges in the design and teaching of the course. The course features a textbook specially designed for the course (Python for Informatics: Exploring Information). The course is much broader than most first computing courses and includes topics like database modeling, SQL, HMTL, CSS, XML parsing, security, web scraping, internet architecture, and others in addition to the programming component of the course. The course moves back and forth between programming and conceptual topics throughout the semester. One of the goals of the course is to empower and encourage students to take additional technology courses such as web site design and development. The presentation will describe the course and describe the results of the course to date.

Workshop: Building Learning Tools using IMS Learning Tools Interoperability
The IMS Learning Tools Interoperability standard (www.imsglobal.org/lti) greatly reduces the effort required to integrate an externally hosted learning tool into nearly all of the mainstream learning management systems (Blackboard, Desire2Learn, Moodle, Canvas, Sakai, OLAT, and others). IMS Learning Tools Interoperability uses the OAuth protocol to send identity, course, user, and role data to the external tools. External tools can do roster transparent provisioning and single sign on using LTI as well as return grades to the calling learning management system. LTI allows those who would build innovative tools for teaching and learning an unprecedented simplicity in plugging their tool into any number of different learning management systems. This workshop will introduce the standard as well as demonstrate freely available sample code to simplify the building LTI compliant tools in PHP. Participants will develop and integrate a simple tool into Canvas, Sakai, Blackboard, or Moodle as part of the workshop.

In Progress....

Open Source Governance: The Musical
This presentation looks at open source governance through the lens of some of the iconic characters and musical numbers from Mary Poppins.

Reopening Open - What is the Real Meaning of Open?
It has been over 20 years since the the Gnu Public License (GPL) and Berkeley Software Distribution (BSD) licenses were created. In the beginning, Open Source was a very radical notion and was seen as a way to foment a new social contract around software and later content. In this talk, we look at the motivation and context of the early open licenses and the software development communities that formed as an extension of the activist origins of the Open movement (i.e. the bazaar). We also look at the phase where the notion of Open has moved from radical-far-out to the mainstream as it became clear that these open bazaar-style communities actually had advantages over the more traditional styles of organization. We look at how the concept of "open" has been redefined away from its activist roots so that it can be applied to more traditional and even completely closed-source proprietary solutions. We also look at how the concept of open has moved into content through the Creative Commons and the kinds of new ways of working now that we have a reasonable structure for content reuse and remixing. In addition, we will look forward at the potential problems that "Open" must face going forward and look for a way for us to get back to the roots of open.

Teaching Informatics to Everyone: The End of Dilbert
People will look at old Dilbert comics in 50 years and will no longer understand why they are funny. The word "nerd" will simply be a "funny arcane word" like the word "flapper". In this presentation we look past the time where technology was the domain of the elite few and instead technology skills become basic skills that all educated people must posses. We will look at how a completely new set of courses, curricula, books and teaching methods are needed to reach the point where we all possess necessary technology skills. Examples will be drawn from the new undergraduate Informatics program at the University of Michigan as well as the graduate programs in the School of Information.

The presentation will be a very out-of-the box look at how we need to take technology and move it into the mainstream so we need to revise the old saying to be "reading, writing, and technology". The examples and topics covered will range from the practical and pragmatic design of real courses, books and curricula to the more fanciful imaginary long-term transformation in education that I feel must and will take place over the next 50 years.

Earlier Talks

Evolving Teaching and Learning: Beyond the LMS (Apple Academix)
The LMS market today faces a strange contradiction - few teachers truly *love* their current LMS but at the same time no one wants to endure the pain of switching to a new LMS. The LMS vendors are slowly cloning each other's features and innovation is slowing. At the same time how people teach and how people learn using technology is constantly changing and evolving. Teachers continuously experiment with technologies outside of the LMS system with varying levels of success. When teachers leave their LMS to teach they take full responsibility of the technology experience with varied results for both the teachers and students. In a way we need to have our cake and eat it too. We want the security, stability, and common user interface of an enterprise LMS but with the ability to mix in tools and content from many sources including tools and content produced by teachers, groups of teachers, and from various publishers and repositories. It seems that for the past few years, we have been waiting for a transformative approach that will improve what we can do with technology and teaching without losing the aspects of LMS systems that work well. It is not a question of "will this transformation will happen?" - but only "when will the transformation happen"? This talk will discuss some of the stresses and conflicts in the uses of the current LMS systems and talk about how we can gently evolve LMS systems into a whole new life form without upsetting the LMS ecosystem. The concept of placing LMS systems into content instead of placing content into LMS systems will be introduced and early research into the area will be shown and described.

CloudSocial: A New Approach to Enabling Open Content for Broad Reuse
CloudSocial is a new approach to socially enhanced learning that allows learners to move among any web-based resources and have their learning environment and co-learners move with them. CloudSocial enables web-accessible learning content to be used by a wide variety of formal and informal learning environments without requiring the information to be copied into each of the learning environments. Instead, the learning systems integrate themselves into the content. This will allow dramatic increases in the accessibility, flexibility and interactivity of most all web content, but especially of open content, no matter what its format. It will thus be possible to integrate open content more easily into a wider variety of teaching and learning contexts and potentially increase the use and value of open content. CloudSocial enables the formation of informal learning cohorts who can work together to collaboratively learn a subject using content from a wide range of sources outside of, within, or alongside of current formal learning environments. Courses will add a "map" of Internet resources to access and use---as the learners move between web resources their chosen learning system will follow them. CloudSocial is not a "single LMS' - rather it is a set of extensible protocols and capabilities that allow any LMS to interact with the CloudSocial enabled content. CloudSocial makes use of the IMS Learning Tools Interoperability protocol to integrate the learning systems into the content. CloudSocial is currently under development by the the University of Michigan Medical School and OpenMichigan project. CloudSocial is in its early stages of pre-alpha rollout.