David Alan Grier and Erin Dian Dumbacher

Forward Slash

Forward Slash is a monthly column that incorporates a multimedia format to profile the lives, trials, and accomplishments of the rising generation of computing professionals, describing the challenges they face and the character they draw upon to do their daily work.

David Alan Grier,  an associate professor of international science and technology policy at George Washington University, is a Fellow of IEEE and the author of the forthcoming book The Company We Keep. Contact him at grier@gwu.edu or on Twitter @dagrier.

Erin Dian Dumbacher is an associate director of research at the Government Executive Media Group, a division of Atlantic Media. Contact her at erin.dumbacher@fulbrightmail.org or on Twitter @erin_dian.

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Teaching the Intangible

Old New England Buildings.  Small Classes.  Frizbee on the Lawn.  Small circles of Friends discussing the great ideas of modern civilization late into the night.  Such are visions that we hold of higher education, visions that are not altogether consistent.  Still, we somehow believe or believed that higher education required close human contact in order to refine and improve character.  

Now we are seeing students flock to distance education programs, especially those for Masters degrees.   Erin can count dozen of friends who are getting advanced degrees on-line, even with they live next to the school that they are attending.  

So again, we are again prepared to ask the question "What does this all mean?" and forced to consider the answer "Perhaps more or less than it might seem?"

From Computer's May 2012 issue.

Learning from the Best

It's not all book learning.  When we prepare for life as a professional, we learn by watching, by doing, and by being mentored.  It's a complex process that's not the same for everyone. We wanted to consider whether things have changed -- if the old roles have somehow shifted in the past decade or so.  The setting is certainly different.  And perhaps, so is the way that such relationships have been established.

From Computer's April 2012 issue.

Free Agency

Once upon a time, a time that seems long long ago, we were told to start our careers by finding a good job with long term prospects. To prepare students for such jobs, we ran them through a series of institutions that taught them about organizations.  We now live in a world in which most of the expciting jobs seem closer to freelance opprtunities and we prepare our students in an open fluid world. The challenge now occurs when we have students prepared for one type of position but are offered the other.

From Computer's March2012 issue.

The New Internationalists

We start with the observation that computing seems to be an international career and that internationalism seems to pull on new professionals.  Behind that internationalism is the realization that we are involved in social endeavor and again our current sense of social enterprise tries to flip the motto, “don’t be evil,” and aim to make good.

From Computer's February 2012 issue.

Vision Clear

David Alan Grier and Erin Dumbacher present their new column Forward Slash and discuss their predictions for where technology is headed in 2012. From Computer's January 2012 issue.

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