1 June
See a Chronicle article on collaborative writing and some links to other sites

13 May 1999
I awoke this morning thinking about a means to center and structure the Envisioning of Information Technology. Often enough, what's needed for a successful Initiative is a comprehensible, practical and relevant goal to work toward, something expressed in terms that people can recognize and commit themselves to without the discomfort that often accompanies buzzwords and acronyms. Here's my candidate:

Integrated Writing Environment

We have a rich array of tools broadly distributed: What we lack is a coordinated vision of how these tools can (will, must) work together --how to make the full suite available to users (including training, but also delivery and support), how to inveigle (entice, cajole) people to realize the potentials that surround them, how to build toward a future in which these tools (and their successors) are taken for granted.

Creating a campus-wide integrated writing environment is an interesting and worthy challenge, one that so far as I know nobody has already taken on. Once again it's something that a small liberal arts institution is an ideal environment for, something that a larger institution would have much more difficulty accomplishing. It's a project that's made up of many small pieces, a lot of which we already have --it doesn't require a lot of hardware investment, but it does mean a lot of looking around at how others have done various bits. Some examples:

This scheme is really just another facet of the Portfolio and Freshman Web Page projects, or rather it's the environment in which those projects make greater sense. The focus upon writing (which tacitly includes images and structured data) has appeal to all constituencies, and even offers possibilities for longitudinal evaluation of skills. The emphasis on better use of the tools we already have would gladden the hearts of myrmidons of the budget.