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Chuck Severance
Works at University of Michigan
Attended Michigan State University
Lives in Holt, MI
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Chuck Severance

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I completely agree with Martin's statement about the competitive landscape w.r.t Canvas (as your graphs show). I think both Moodle and Sakai see Canvas as something to compete with when it comes to the quality and value of our product offering, but we don't see market share as the primary indicator of success or failure. Commercial companies with large staffs and widely distributed and expensive sales, marketing, and support teams need to be very careful to match revenue with expenses (or raise funds from investors or debt) so small twitches in market share trends loom large to commercial operations (as well as to the larger Moodle and Sakai Commercial Partners) - but open source is more patient. Angel, WebCT, Pearson and others are long gone from the market whilst Sakai and Moodle abide. If you look even more closely you will see that other open source LMSs like ATutor and OLAT also are abiding lo these many years. As resources levels ebb and flow we simply alter our forward velocity. In five years Schoology might be crushing Canvas in your graphs - and Sakai and Moodle with still be there - making the market fair and making sure our faculty/teachers don't need to go through the pain of switching vendors every 3-5 years when their IT department happens on some new VC-funded bright shiny object in the market.
At the MoodleMoot in late June in Los Angeles, which serves as close to a users conference for the open source Moodle LMS community as any other event, there was a strong sense of continuity and gener
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Chuck Severance's profile photoPhil Hill's profile photo
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+Chuck Severance Good points. And to be clear (as you describe), small ball is and was not meant to be an insult. It's a strategy that works in many, but not all, cases.
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Reconnecting
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UMSI Programming Waiver
Thu, July 14, 2:35 PM
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Chuck Severance

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Phil, once again a well-thought and balanced article on the topic. Thanks. I would make a couple of observations. I would suggest that the value of an open source community like Sakai and other Apereo projects is that it makes it possible for an organization to control its own destiny. It is too much to expect that the Moodle or Sakai community would somehow guarantee that nothing would ever go wrong with any of the commercial providers. The solution you suggest is more and "better" contracts between the community and its commercial providers. Really? That would not have solved this - there was a solid contract in place that was not met. As you say, had UC Davis hosted their own LMS over these past few years - this would never have happened and there would not be a story at all - they would own their own data all along. Now as they transition to Canvas, their data is just as far away from their own campus control as it was with Scriba. They are depending on Canvas pricing, policies, finances, and longevity, in terms of the long term storage, curation and access to their data for a critical campus IT service. Part of the reason that campus IT organizations want to outsource everything is that they fear some little thing will happen to a locally hosted service and they will get blamed for what they did - even though the ultimate outage of the locally hosted service might be only a few hours and there was never any data at risk - the typical (increasingly gutless) CIOs never want to be responsible for anything - so they outsource thinking that nothing can ever go wrong - it is in the cloud, right? Well - the cloud is just someone else's computer that you don't own and have exactly zero control over. For me what is intriguing was that this is an example of the "outsource everything" strategy that leads to a weakened campus IT organization and one that really can no longer bring talent to bear to directly solve things when they go wrong - they just call the 800 number and hope. The negative consequences of the "best practice" to outsource everything will get worse before it gets better. The good news is that for those who use open source and actually take some responsibility for their campus services, they can avoid all the risks associated with mindless outsourcing.
It's interesting how one phrase can cause such a reaction.There is an interesting angle here in that Sakai is open source yet data is not easily recoverable.This comment came from the original pos
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+Michael Feldstein The key is that regardless of the technical talent of an IT department from a community college up to MIT is to match the amount you depend on technology for critical services to your ability to competently handle those services. An IT department with three part time people simply deploys fewer IT services and the rest of organization knows not to depend profoundly on those services. The organization mitigates risk by using simpler less technical solutions like distributing handouts using a copier instead of an LMS. The problem I continue to point out is when an organization that already has significant dependency of highly linked critical IT services starts to move to an "all outsource" model and loses staff capacity to understand those services. They are irresponsibly putting their organization's core business on thin ice. Technically incompetent CIOs go to Educause and convince other technically incompetent CIOs that "out sourcing is "best practice" - and so it is the new strategy with no real understanding of the long term implications. Imagine for a minute that a school (in the name of best practice) outsources the storage and maintenance of 200 years of student transcripts and 200 years of general ledger records into some cloud provider and has a wonderful contract, does not think they need local backups and then the cloud provider revenues see a downturn and is sold to a private equity firm.... How do you mitigate risk after all your talented IT folks leave because it is pretty unfun to manage 100 SLAs? Keep paper copies of critical records? There is no such thing as a free lunch. In 2016, IT leaders have convinced themselves that outsourcing is a free lunch. Also there is a big difference between outsourcing staff file storage to Box - and outsourcing the general ledger to the cloud. At least with Box I can (and do) make my own backup copies.
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Chuck Severance

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Programming for Everybody Capstone on Coursera.
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Online Office Hours Python Capstone 1-May-2016
Sun, May 1, 11:42 AM
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Jolita Zarnauskaite's profile photoMartin “caubert” Kauber's profile photoDmitriy Kupch's profile photoAdriano Fw's profile photo
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I did´t arrive in time for the hangout due the time difference. So, first, the course is great, and i really hope to see in the future more courses like these, and advanced level versions as well. Great job Chuck.

Some points about what was said in the hangout and opinions/suggestions:

1) 14:35 -  a hardcore mode of the course would be interesting and i would be up for a trial, as i just finished the capstone. But i don´t think that parallel/optional assignments would work, perhaps a separated course would be the best approach - motivational reasons. Many people just skip what is optional to gain time, optional sometimes implies "not important".
2) 40:00 - About review other students assignments: screenshots not always feels very interesting to analyse, some times is speculative, you see a picture of the command line, not an algorithm approach that you could evaluate and discuss, develop deeper thinking on the subject. Screenshots feels somehow "empty".
3) For the end of each course, a small project to be coded from zero, without any code as base, would be interesting, even more in the capstone.
4) I miss some more low level coding and theory, examples: byte stream capture with sockets, "open" packets, performance matters, etc.

Thank you Chuck.
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Chuck Severance

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This is a live office hours for the Python for Everybody Coursera Capstone.
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Office Hours Sunday April 10, 2016
Sun, April 10, 8:39 AM
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Alex Marandon's profile photoAmr Adel's profile photoSantiago Mancheno's profile photoS C Niranjan's profile photo
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How does one post a question on the office hours session going on right now? The Help states "Click on ask a new question" at the bottom right corner of the video window. I cannot seem to find this. Can anyone help? Thanks in advance.
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Chuck Severance

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Michael, nice quote.  You know I love you... But.... Sometimes you hear snake oil from an edtech company and call "snake oil".  Other times you hear edtech snake oil from an edtech company and boldly proclaim "this is the future!".  Here is a simple rule to help you get it right more often, "If you are talking to a new company pitching an some technology that will assuredly improve all learning across the board -  it is snake oil".
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Thanks for enlightening me, Chuck.
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Chuck Severance

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The report summary feels like "click bait" to sell a report that costs money. Saying something in the summary / sales pitch for these kinds of reports that is counter intuitive is a great way to get people to purchase the report just to satisfy their "Huh?" curiosity. Thanks to you and Michael for not playing in that game and actually taking the time to understand what you write about. I wonder if getting a mention from you will increase the revenue for that report :)
New LMS market analysis with a leader list that includes a company that is retiring its LMS and ignores the company who has a 5x lead in new implementations for its core market? Sign me up.Over
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My real purpose was to get a commission check, until you meddling kids got involved.
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Chuck Severance

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Answering questions about the programming courses at University of Information School of Information.
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Programming Waiver Discussion @UMSI
Thu, July 14, 1:46 PM
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This is super cool!
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Chuck Severance

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This is indeed a disaster. It was not caused by open source. It was caused by out-sourcing one's IT infrastructure to a company that over the years was sold, and then sold again and ended up in the hands of a private equity firm that apparently no longer has the best interests of its customers as its core purpose. It is a painful reminder that any contract is only as good as the two sides that are signing the contract. It is also a painful reminder that as higher education IT organizations rush to "outsource" their most core functions to others - it does not absolve them of responsibility for campus IT in perpetuity. I worry about a future where campus IT organizations have outsourced all of their IT needs to a myriad of vendors, and after several decades those vendors one by one decide that their cloud business is no longer profitable. I also hope that UC Davis can find a way to recover some of their terrible financial impact from the private equity firm that has caused it.
In what might shape up as one of the worst LMS outages in recent history, UC Davis has been working without an LMS for the past week and does not expect their vendor to fix the problems before th
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+Chuck Severance Thanks for notes. I do have a question on the statement it was not caused by open source, which I have heard from others. Do we know the cause of the outage and whether it was application software based versus infrastructure and operations? I assume the latter but do not know.
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Chuck Severance

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I would suggest that you either take Canvas out of the open source category or show that actual fraction of their customers that run the open source version.
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US and Canada
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Chuck Severance

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Just some informal office hours for the Coursera Python for Everybody Capstone - from Dr. Chuck's office.
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Google Hangout - Python for Everybody Capstone
Wed, April 6, 1:30 PM
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Rui Dias's profile photoLance Draper's profile photoS C Niranjan's profile photoLaura Ulmer's profile photo
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Howdy Dr. Chuck! Greetings from Seattle.
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Chuck Severance

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Many experienced teachers are not surprised at all regarding these results.  The dream that computers can better understand the needs of a learner than a teacher has made hundreds of millions of dollars for lots of companies.   Research that supports buying their expensive software (usually the positive effects are selection bias or some other factor) is trumpeted at the highest possible volume whilst the situation where harm is caused are swept under the rug.

The important message here is that adaptive learning software causes harm.  Again teachers all know this but they are afraid to stand up to marketers from powerful corporations.   

So in the name of those of us who call ourselves "teachers", thanks for having the guts to tell the truth in a public way.
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just wanted to thank u for your wonderful courses on coursera but was not getting a way to contact u .
:)
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  • Michigan State University
    Computer Science, 1975 - 1996
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Wrote the book - Sakai: Free as in Freedom (Alpha)
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Author of the book, "Sakai: Free as in Freedom (Alpha)" - professor at the University of Michigan School of Information. General purpose evangelist / troublemaker for teaching and learning technology.  www.dr-chuck.com
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  • University of Michigan
    Professor, 1999 - present
  • Michigan State University Federal Credit Union
    IT, 1985 - 1999
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