Sunday, November 17, 2002

Harvard Wrap-up

Still ruminating on the full day of Harvard's Digital ID conference yesterday. I'll fill in more soon, but here a few subjects I want to write about. Also, there's killer detailed blog coverage elsewhere. I'll find the links and add them.

Brand Panel The branding guys were good. Jeffrey Rayport calling Harvard a big amusement park for smart people (this is a dreadful misquote, but he was going so fast, it's hard to catch the exact words.) was incredibly spot on. The issues of prestige and excellence and reputation continued to rear their not-so-ugly heads. Without trying to be too snobby, there is something extremely precious about having some of the world's best teachers and students all in the same place. We all tried to pin down that ineffable quality of inspired classroom activity that can't be made digital and stuffed down an ethernet cable. Something happens in the room that distance learning just can't do.

Underground World of HLS Big thanks to John Palfrey who showed me a way to follow the mysterious underground snaking hallways lined with fiesta-ware colored lockers UNDER the Harvard Law School buildings, saving me from freezing as we went to another building for lunch. That was very cool.

Esther Dyson Unannounced, unscheduled Esther appeared and had some choice comments, per usual. I liked her suggestion when a student mentioned that although the classrooms are WiFi enabled, the professors turn it OFF so they keep the attenion of the students. Esther says, "Tell the professors to try being more interesting."

How much fun can four deans be? Actually a lot. The Deans of the law school, business school, school of ed and extention schools were a interesting bunch.

Lunch: You study WHAT?! and you're at the Graduate School of WHERE?! [The most terrific thing was meeting people who were at Harvard studying the most unusual and fascinating things and I met a bunch at lunch and then a ton the rest of the day too.]

Back later to fill in all the details.