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i-Conference 2006:
iSchools in a Flat World

Ronald Larsen (Pittsburgh) started the session on "iSchools in a Flat World" by referring to Thomas Friedman's The World is Flat and positioning iSchools in the 21st century. He then introduced Raymond von Dran (Syracuse), Shalini Urs (Mysore, India) and Martin Weiss (Pittsburgh). Unfortunately, two speakers from India and China were not able to make it.

Von Dran talked about his school's experience offering online courses at a Toronto university that was scuttled by regulatory policies across the border. And then he told his own recent story about flying from New York to China to keynote a conference and getting sent back because his visa was "improper." Finally, he talked a little about the Wise Consortium.

Urs began with a map showing exactly where Mysore is. She then provided an introduction to the Mysore-based, online International School of Information Management (ISIM), and explained why the cluster approach and collaboration are important to ISIM. Eventually, she ran through the who, what, where, when of ISIM. Classes start next year.

Weiss reported on his school's experiment with offering an online course in collaboration with the Beijing Institute of Technology, and covered similar ground as Urs, except that he was talking in the past tense.

Based on the non-mention of the word "library" since the session started, it does not seem as if libraries and librarians are going to be part of iSchools in a flat world. In fact, except for a session about digital libraries later, the sessions I've attended and the remaining sessions seem to emphasize the iSchools' drift away from libraries.

Category: i-Conference 2006

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