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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Gradng breaks....

Having remove myself from blogging activity for the past week or so in order to concentrate on grading, I am ready to dive back in. The grading process this semester is going slowly for one particular course since I gave an assignment that involves literally hundreds of separate writing entries to assess. I've decided it's better for me (and much more fair for the student) if I did the assessments intermittently rather than in one or two marathon sittings. This allows me to blog a bit as well...

As usual, I've been doing lots of reading and bibliography building whenever I can. At the moment I'm reading a book found my friend Domonic related to our joint study of the management of the Massachusetts Big Dig Project. The book is Rescuing Prometheus by Thomas P. Hughes, and it turned out that my doorstep from the Amazon yesterday afternoon. Hughes focuses on the various management approach has developed for four post-World War II technology-based "projects". The projects themselves are varied, ranging from the system developed by MIT for ground based defense (SAGE) to the Central Artery/Tunnel (Big Dig) project. Also included are studies of the Atlas rocket project to and the development of ARPANET (the basis for the Internet). The fact that Hughes is located at MIT perhaps influenced his choices, and one could argue that they don't quite make for a coherent group of case studies -- but the focus is an interesting one nevertheless and I am finding it an easy read so far...

Also over the last few days I've been reading David Weinberger's Everything is Miscellaneous. Excellent book and filled with lots of insights into how the "order of things" and essentialism is being challenged by the emergence of digital information systems and related capacities. Really interesting stuff that I hope to use in developing my "nomads" argument this summer. Along the same lines, I picked up Wark's Gamer Theory
-- a book that will demand more concentration than I'm able to devote at the moment...

All this and plans to revitalize my courses on organizational theory and behavior the summer. Obviously I'll have plenty to blog about, and with the weekly commute (by train mainly) to New York and Washington where I will teach the summer I should have the time to get some of this done...



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