Category Archives: education

New Chapter: How writing grades predict student graduation

My co-authored chapter in “Retention, Persistence, and Writing Programs” titled “How Student Performance in First-Year Composition Predicts Retention and Overall Student Success” has now been published.  This was a cooperative project with Bruce Feinstein and Matthew Bridgewater.

The biggest factor we discovered was the relationship between success in writing programs and graduation.  Instead of being an isolated issue safely  hidden in GE, writing courses predict graduation just as well as courses in a student’s major.

The big chart for us was the following.  It shows the grade earned in a single course, separated into major classes and general education writing courses.


The book is now posted on



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Informatics & the Auto Industry

Below is a presentation for the Carl-Benz Academy on May 20th, 2015.

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CAIR Focus Group Presentation

More than just getting input, we used focus groups to build a policy, grow support, and fast-track implementation. For our small tuition-dependent university, admissions standards are a politically charged topic.  A small team began by creating data-driven admission criteria. We then used focus groups to engage with stakeholders campus-wide. Each focus group began with a brief presentation, and then quickly transitioned into a guided dialogue. The meetings allowed the team to find and address points of opposition. By the time the proposal went to the full faculty body and administration, most of the potential critics had already been engaged. This session will present the focus group methodology used to build consensus.

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eLearn 2013 Presentation on Moocs

I was able to present some of my summary work on Moocs at the eLearn conference today. Below is my presentation, but my written paper is also available for download.  This presentation was a collaboration with a Woodbury MBA Student, Yesica Allaya.


How will Moocs influence the college and university system?  This paper examines them with the “iron triangle” principles of access, cost, and quality.  These show that while Moocs have lower cost, they also have reduced access.  Because they reduce person-to-person contact, students must already be skilled life-long learners.  In addition, while Moocs are currently free, this is a result of them being subsidized.  Their actual cost per successful completer is closer to 1/10th of a traditional face-to-face or online course.  As a result, Moocs are unlikely to significantly affect existing face-to-face or online delivery mechanisms.  Instead, they are likely to reach new life-long learners.


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Managing your student files

Woodbury has a number of PPDV100 courses to help students get off to a good start. They’ve been asking professors to put together some short videos, so I created one on how to manage your school files. The short answer is to use Dropbox, organize files by a separate folder for each class, and use file names to track document revisions.

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The Future of Car Marketing

You can also download a PDF version of these slides by clicking here.

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The Future of CRM

You can download the slides as a PDF here.

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How to ask for help

I frequently have friends ask me for help resolving some type of technical problem.  Unfortunately, the following is a typical request:

I am having trouble loading your presentation, it won’t work for me.  It just keeps freezing. Sam

To help Sam, I need to be able to exactly replicate what he did.  This means I need to know,

  • Who you are
    • Your name (and nickname if you use one)
    • You class and section (e.g., if you’re enrolled in my MBA class, or an evening or accelerated class).
  • Software version
    • For a PC,
      • Windows: right-click on “My Computer” and click on “Properties.”  The screen opening should say if you’re using XP, Vista, or 7
      • Office: open Word or Excel, click on the “File” menu, and click “Help”
      • Browser: are you using Internet Explorer, Safari, Firefox, or Chrome?
    • For a Mac,
      • OSX: click on the Apple on the top-left of your screen and click “About This Mac.”
      • Office: open Word or Excel, click on the “Excel” or “Word” menu, and click “About”
      • Browser: are you using Safari, FireFox, or Chrome?
  • What you did
    • For example, he could say “I tried clicking on the link in your email.”
  • What happened
    • For example, he could say “The presentation loads, but only plays one or two seconds at time.”
  • A screenshot
    • For a PC,
      • Press the “print screen” button on your keyboard.
      • It doesn’t like this is doing anything, but it has actually copied a picture of your screen.
      • Open a new Word document and click Paste.
      • Save the document and email it to me.
    • For a Mac,
      • Press the Command, Shift, and 3 buttons at the same time.
      • This will save a copy of your screen as a file on your desktop.
      • Email me the file.

So, to follow our example, here is what Sam should have written me.

Dr. Garrett

My name is Sam Samington, and I’m enrolled in your MGMT 336 F1 section.

I am using Windows XP, Office 2010, and FireFox.

I tried clicking on the link in your email to watch my video.  Unfortunately, it loads, but only plays a few seconds at a time. A screenshot is below.

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Cars, Marketing, and IT

Below is my second presentation at the Carl Benz Academy.  Thanks to Doug Garrett at Garrett Engineers, Inc. for providing some research data.
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End of year on the CMS/LMS

Tony Bates provides a retrospective look at e-learning systems in 2011.  I think he mainly hits the series developments on the head, ranging from the consolidation in the CMS market (aka BlackBoard), to the potentially disruptive influence of Pearson’s Open Class.

From my own experience working in an IT department and supporting faculty, I think that the major problem with the Open Class initiative is that it doesn’t truly address the core IT problems with those systems (training, support, and debugging problems).  We use Moodle at Woodbury, and while it’s a competent system, it is has a lot of odd legacy wrinkles that make using it a learning proposition.

I’ve played with a variety of Web 2.0 alternatives, but the integration of accounts and course enrollment makes a large barrier to adopting a mishmash of 3rd party systems.  Until we get a good standardized API for exporting that data, I think it’s unlikely that we’ll get broad adoption of 3rd party tools into the normal student’s experience.


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