Policies, etc.

Stuff happens. Each student is allotted five extension days for use at her discretion during the semester. Beyond these five, assignments submitted late may or may not be evaluated.


  1. Where I Start essay
  2. Stab-in-the-dark Exercise
  3. Book review - titles to be assigned
  4. Innovator's Notebook Summary
  5. Use Your Network to Find Best Education Innovation


  1. Introduction to Design Thinking
  2. Identifying Opportunities (Problems)
  3. Ideation
  4. Prototyping
  5. Fieldwork and Data Collection
  6. Working as a Team
  7. Iteration
  8. Learning from Failure
  9. Real World Constraints
    1. People and Cognitive Biases
    2. Organizations
    3. Markets
    4. Materials
    5. Time/Space/Scale
  10. Ed Tech Meetup
  11. Oakland Tech Shop or similar
  12. Contemporary Innovation in Higher Education
  13. Historical Innovation in Higher Education
  14. The Numbers: Becoming familiar with important statistics about higher education
  15. Techniques
    1. Participatory design (watch users use)
    2. Six hats
    3. Brainstorm
    4. Wireframing
  16. Attitudes
    1. Don't play it safe; unreasonableness; look for maxims, discuss.

Class Sessions and Labs

For first several weeks each student presents one idea of a thing about higher education that could be done differently and better. At least every other one has to be education per se (that is, not something like parking or foodservice).

"Five Discovery Skills that Distinguish Great Innovators" by Jeff Dyer , Hal Gergersen, and Clayton M. Christensen

  • PART I: After reading this post, answer the following questions.
  • PART II: Comment and evaluate two classmates' answers.
  • Associate.Question. Observe.Network. Experiment.

Types of Solutions I: Elegant

What is an elegant solution? (see http://www.juggyboy.com/downloads/books/files/Apple-Design.pdf p 9ff). One definition in math. Is there one in other realms? In design? In article suggestion is that Apple products are elegant solutions insofar as they are things that people WANT to use to do other things. You can present them to folks and their imagination starts running and coming up with things they could do with it.

Generic Tools: Crowd Sourcing

StackOverflow. Ask question of community and record answers with capacity of community to assess answers as more or less valuable.

Generic Solutions: Reputation and Review Systems

Amazon reviews. Yelp. EBay ratings. Power of large numbers. Wisdom of crowds.

Generic Tools: Aggregating Unused Resources

NASA using spare CPU time to look for intelligent life. AirBnB and car share programs that let you rent out your property when you are not using it.

Generic Tools: Facilitation via Transaction Cost Elimination

Task Rabbit. People would like to offer their miscellaneous services but it's too difficult to get the word out to potential clients. People would like to hire people to do various one-off jobs but it's too hard to find folks in general and folks you'd trust. You can ask around in either case but strong network limit.


Crazy idea. What if some portion of work study budget were not allocated to particular student being hired to particular job. Instead students with workstudy would post their interests and qualifications and offices with tasks to do could post their tasks. The employers would rate the person who fulfilled the task and the student would rate the office that employed them.

Generic Solutions: Solving Coordination Problems

A coordination problem exists when two or more parties could obtain a better outcome if they agreed on how to carry out some behavior


Coordination Problems

Generic Solutions: Serious Design of Simple Solution

How simple can we make something. Bauhaus design? Fewer buttons on the mouse without Byzantine command sequences. Educational analogs?

See also: minimum viable product, deferring features to create elegant first release.

Generic Problems: Information Asymmetry

Generic Problems: Adverse Selection

http://mercatus.org/publication/how-internet-sharing-economy-and-reputational-feedback-mechanisms-solve-lemons-problem (note: does not seem to address central problem in original Akerlof article the info asymmetry about THIS car that I am selling.

Generic Problems: Market failures.

Monopoly power
Public goods
Factor immobility
Incomplete markets: failure to produce enough merit goods (e.g. education, healthcare).
Merit goods (don't realize the value)
De-merit or harmful goods (don't realize the cost)
Positive/Negative externalities
Property rights hard to assign
Information failure
Unstable, volatile markets

Generic Problems: Baumol's Cost Disease, Bowen's Revenue Theory of Costs

"Alternative Theories for Rising College Tuition: Baumol’s Cost Disease and Bowen’s Rule"

Learning to Think Like an Organization

[Organizational Challenges by The Live Worker