A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to be a guest speaker for the third time in an IT class at DePaul University.  On this occasion, I spoke to the IS356/IS456 class on Knowledge Management Systems, taught by Professor Alan Burns.  This was a return appearance to the IS456 class, with the last time being in February, 2006.  What a difference a couple of years makes.

I think conceptually, a lot of what the students are learning today is similar to the 2006 version.  My story, though, was somewhat different.  I think that was one of the key points, from my side anyway ... that it is important to understand IT at a base level, but to be ready to adapt to a quickly-changing landscape.  What we were talking about then is different than now will be different than 2010....but not everything changes.

I haven't talked with Professor Burns since lecturing two weeks ago, but in a big change from 2006, I've had a fair amount of feedback on my presentation.  Each of the students in the class is required to blog about the class!  So far, Google Alerts have found five of the students' writeups from that night.  Very diverse, very honest feedback.  My dad has been a professor for over 40 years...I'm not sure how he does it....students are just as...no, more open with their opinions than customers!

From Adam:

I thought Ed did a great job with an overview of knowledge management and IS management in the first quarter of the presentation. ... I also liked many of the practical experiences that Ed shared with us. ... I thought his devotion to IBM and Lotus was incredibly off-putting and toed the line of inappropriate for the classroom.
There are two points that Ed Brill brought up that really touched home for me. One of them being the whole idea of the virtual workplace. It is amazing how it is more common place in today day and age to not only be able to work outside of the office but not have to meet with your management team on a regular basis. ... The other quick point that Ed brought up in his presentation was how a company's assets walk out the door every day at 5 PM. That was such a great line when you think about it. We all agree that Knowledge is an asset. A lot of organizations knowledge is stuck within its employees because it is tacit knowledge that cannot be easily dispersed.
Pyatt :
I'll have to say that he really impressed me. The introduction about him definitely made me respect his work. Having a blog that represents IBM is really impressive. His reader base instantly gives credence to his work. ...At the end of class after Ed had left, it was said that Ed has a very limited scope on his knowledge. ... Sure, he focuses on Lotus Notes daily, but he talked about how technology is evolving and gave great insight.
I think that Ed does a very nice job going over the tools but he does still sound like he is doing a sales pitch, I guess he can not get too far away from his everyday job.
I tried, I really did...

Today we had a guest speaker, Ed Brill from IBM, contrary to what I was expecting, he kept the IBM sales pitch down to a low key. I noticed he got a little defensive on the subject of Exchange versus Notes but that goes with his territory is my guess.  ... The highlight of the evening was his discussion on the power of the blog to mobilize the masses. His story about "searchdomino.com" that was advertising Micorosft's migration tools, was in my opinion very insightful. The outcome of this episode was credibility damage that led to searchdomino loosing its subscription base and in turn its advertising revenue. The pen is indeed mightier than the sword!!
I think it's great that IBM encourages participation in the academic community, and I want to again thank the faculty at DePaul for being so interested in hearing from the business community.  It certainly helps us all learn from each other.

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