Chronic Failure

So, it today’s Chronicle of Higher Education, Marc Perry wrote a brief article about the “irony” of D2L suing over a course management contract in Utah. It’s ironic that the author could not find a distinction between a procedural bidding process that D2L thought was violated, and Blackboard attempting to run all LMS companies out of business by predatory patenting. Yes, all lawsuits are exactly the same, and Desire2Learn should never, ever, sue someone again because they were critical of Blackboards lawsuit happiness. For future reference, patenting something you cannot patent, then suing people who “violate” the patent is equal to suing someone who you think violated the procedure of a public bid. Way to go critical thinking.

OK, now that’s out of my system, I don’t think D2L should have sued but should have just walked away from it – sure it’s half a million dollars – but in the long run if the start-up can’t handle it, they’ll collapse and one of the big LMS players will swoop in and clean it up.

A New Year, A New Job

I apologize in advance if you have no interest in my personal situation, there is a greater point. I just think I’d put it out there in the wake of the Because Manifesto that it rang true with me as well. My position as a contract worker has always been rarely about the money, and more about the work. I’m a very skilled, web and media savvy guy, who really loves what he does. So I feel that I should, and can, be choosy about what work I do. I’ve been asked to do some work outside my skill set, and frankly below it as well. In fact, it’s a lot like the job I left two years ago to move into the one (which I’m now leaving). I’m sad it’s over. I’m lucky to have been employed in a good job that was satisfying. So it was with some reluctance I’m giving it up with no real safety net.

I’m sure all of the edtech people and academics that are out there that feel this way at one time or another; underappreciated, underutilized, undervalued. I know I have. It’s not anyone’s fault, though. Systematically, I have seen the brightest professors come into the institution, and either through neglect or sheer impatience, they never get in. They burn out, they fade away, they give up, they become bitter. Unfortunately, many of them never teach again. That is the great loss.

My loss is much less. No one will really see the impact of me leaving except the many faculty I know and the few people I work with on a daily basis. I’m the guy who catches co-workers errors and fixes them, making them look good. I’m the guy who gave up his holidays so that courses were in place at the start of semester. I’m the guy with a wealth of experience using a system that the College has pinned part of it’s success on. I’m not alone in this, lots of people do this sort of unheralded work. If you know one of them at your institution, hunt them down and thank them. They deserve it.