Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Expanding the discourse

When the mountain agrees to be photographed at the UW.

I can see just how complicated last quarter was by the paucity of my posts.

After several weeks of winter break, I am back in harness, reading to begin teaching two beloved courses for winter quarter.

Tomorrow, I meet 25 graduate students to kick off "Information and Operational Risk," a course I designed in 2011 and have taught since.

On Friday late afternoon, I meet 25 mostly other graduate students to teach "Ethics, Policy & Law in Information Use," a course I've taught since 2012, primarily to mid-career students working on their Master of Science in Information Management.

Just because I've taught it before doesn't mean I know how to do it again.  The students are different, and so are the questions. In fact, the real life issues that inform both courses are under rather continuous scrutiny in the real world.  So while both courses involve the presentations of frameworks and theories, they are made relevant by shining a contemporary lens on the issues, particularly on the grey areas. And though the architecture of the rooms and the size of the classes throw up real roadblocks, we're still going to try to proceed in seminar format.

Speaking to incoming MSIM students at orientation, 2014
 For the risk course, we have eight guest speakers from industry, including Jack Sullivan, VP of Safety & Security at Starbucks; Kirk Bailey, UW Chief Information Security Officer; KPMG Partner Michael Isensee; Jim Loter, Seattle Public Library IT Director; PR genius/crisis management expert Dan McConnell; economist/thought leader Bill Longbrake; and UW seismologist Bill Steele.  We have an eighth speaker yet to be announced.

For the ethics, policy & law course, we have guest speakers also, but most of them come from the university, given the topic areas:  Adam Moore, Associate Professor in the Information School (privacy); Ph.D. candidate Michael Katell, UW Information School (surveillance); Ryan Calo, Assistant Professor in the Law School (Tech Policy Lab); Doug Klunder, ACLU privacy counsel (NSA and Snowden); UW Research Assistant Professor Maria Garrido (TASCHA and social justice); UW Professor of Law Kathleen O'Neill (intellectual property); UW Assistant Professor Megan Finn (net neutrality and internet governance); and an eighth speaker, also yet to be announced.

From such courses come papers which in turn sometimes become research notes published by ASA, to expand the discourse.  Twenty six such research notes have just been published by the ASA Institute for Risk and Innovation as Reflections on Risk, Volume III, with contributions from 16 different authors.  I could not be more pleased by the quality of work that the volume represents.

For that reason and because of the energy I get back from the students,I'll keep you posted on both of these courses.