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This reading brings to mind 3D graphs, databases, the sort and compare functions etc. in excel, NVivo, and those great spectacles that overwrite information as you look at stuff. Also that mainstay of chemical engineering – systems analysis.

Interesting that englelbart never takes the human mind out of the equation: ‘It is so nice to be able to tear it apart, establish our own definitions, and substitute, restructure, append notes, and …’. And his ideas also include ways of pulling in other human intervention too. Presaging the wiki model perhaps?

Very impressive for 1962.

And for all those engineering skeptics, check out his goal in the opening preface to the chapter!


Janet Murray

1. Engineers

I know that it’s not the core of what we are reading but I’m struck by Janet’s use of ‘the engineers’ throughout the article, as in ‘The humanities and arts became more visible to the engineers as …’. It is almost as if we are a breed apart. Are we? Why and is it a good thing or is it something that needs addressing?

Knee jerk reaction I know but I see from Wikipedia that Janet is ‘a professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology, where she is the director of graduate studies in the School of Literature, Communication, and Culture. ‘ To good effect, I have collaborated with journalists at UQ on various projects and also built an interdisciplinary course with engineering and journalism students. We obviously need more of this because our ‘communities of communication’ need to work across discipline if we are to ‘understand the world and our place in it’.

2. TV

Interesting that my last TED talk podcast was on TV and how the programming is connected to zeitgeist. See:

This follows on to the fact that I believe we must see the connections between New Media and teaching.


Janet Murray

Janet Murray.

As We Think – Vannevar

I’m posting my thoughts about Vannevar’s article as a bulleted list.  A little bit of a ramble but forgive me as it’s my first post/ blog of any real substance.

  • The memex seems to have a connection to our ‘repositories’ and for me this brings up the question as to why they fail to be used … think of the ALTC attempts, APEL? (a failed engineering repository), and my colleague and friend from RMIT’s (Roger Hadgraft) engineering education site.  I’ve tried to use the UQ SIGEE (Special Interest Group Engineering Education) Blackboard site too – but no one uses it although they said they would – and I appear to be the only person posting resources there.
  • So how do we get on top of all the information that is out there if we won’t use repositories?  How do we make the connections across discipline and across institution to find best practice and incorporate it into our teaching?  How do we move from specialist to generalist?  Do we  perhaps need personal rather than shared  memexes?  It’s certain that these memexes should be linked and not silos but how do we organise this?
  • In terms of the SoTL too, I find a connection with the article.  When we write up our non-educational research for publication, we diligently look at what has gone before and build on it – it’s fundamental to research that we use what we already know and build on it.  But most of the educational papers I review do not do this.  They start with the assumption that the authors have found the wheel and they’re the first to have used it.   How do we connect people with educational research … and I suppose also, would this make them better educators and/ or would this significantly advance education?
  • And my concluding thought is a personal one.  I have always had trouble trying to embrace the vastness of the universe and i find the same problem with trying to realise the amount of data that we are producing and the amount of information available to draw upon. (Who knew Tbytes would exist?  In the mid 80s when i purchased my first computer, it didn’t have a hard drive and i had to use a program to create a virtual hard drive.  My next computer in the early 90s had a 1 Mb hard drive which i thought was huge.)