A revolution in the sharing of knowledge…

Transforming e-Knowledge  
TABLE OF CONTENTS     Vignettes from the e-Knowledge Future
© SCUP 2003
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Tales from the Not-So-Distant Future (continued)


Chapter 2

Vignettes from the e-Knowledge Future

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On the ambient screens near his chair, Elliott sees a schedule of interactions with individuals (some face-to-face at the ambient and the others face-to-screen with people from around the world) and a list of online resources dealing with the two issues he had identified for the day’s interactivity. Elliott reviews and synthesizes insights from the materials and directs that his syntheses be saved. He converses with the ambient and negotiates several changes in the schedule. He leaves the receiving area and proceeds to the first of several work sites he will visit this day.

Ambient environments have enabled associations and professional societies to enhance and extend their meetings, seminars, and workshops. Physical convening is still important to most society members. Ambient meetings can be held in smaller cities and used to augment programming of chapters and special interest groups. Even large national meetings have a variety of small ambient spaces scattered about that can be used to extend learning and networking opportunities.


From Site to Site, Topic to Topic. The first site consists of three comfortable leather chairs with several large ambient screens in proximity. Two other attendees at the ambient join him. They spend the next three hours engaging with virtual resources displayed on ambient screens, engaging in conversations with other interested participants in ambient settings around the globe. Elliott then spends an hour immersed in two on-site conversations with local participants who want his perspectives on several issues on which he is regarded as an expert. At 15:00 hours, Elliott asks the ambient to put him in touch with the most recent synthesized findings on the application of ambient environments to public policy decisions. After reviewing these materials, he instructs the ambient to direct them to his personal body of knowledge.


The ambient asks Elliott to create a three-page synthesis of ideas for posting to the ambient body of knowledge on these topics; Elliott agrees and completes the assignment that evening. His response is posted that evening and viewed by 2,000 colleagues over the next ten days. He also continues six conversations via e-mail with persons with whom he had interacted during the ambient day, following up on ideas that had been planted and required further exploration.

Reducing the Cost of Learning Materials. In teaching his students at UT Austin, Elliott creates a tailored virtual text from materials available through the CSIEEE or one of the content marketplaces that integrates CSIEEE materials into their offerings. These materials usually cost $50, far less than printed texts with comparable topical coverage, which are not nearly as current. Elliott liberally laces his coursework with new examples and developments gleaned from the CSIEE portal by him or his students, who access the portal through student memberships. Elliott captures insights from his students and practitioners through knowledge management tools, and shares syntheses of them with other practitioners.


Perpetual Learning Through CSIEE. Conrad Elliott has earned both a baccalaureate and master’s degree in computer science from Virginia Tech. Rather than pursuing a doctorate, he is engaged in a program of perpetual learning through CSIEEE. This program is targeted to recognizing contributions and levels of accomplishment of advanced practitioners. It involves participation in topical meetings and tutorials; invited communities of practice that involve senior practitioners, academic experts, and researchers; and contribution of peer-reviewed learning materials to the society’s body of knowledge.


The society has developed a formal professional recognition program tied to the participation of individuals in this range of activities. The various levels of recognition conveyed by participation have become de facto standards for excellence in the profession among senior practitioners.

Resources of Interest

Ducatel, K., M. Bogdanowicz, F. Scapolo, J. Leijten, and J-C. Burgelman. 2001. Scenarios for Ambient Intelligence in 2010. February, IPTS-Seville, 7.


Susan Dixon—
Enterprise Solutions Officer, Virginia Tech, USA

Susan Dixon is the Enterprise Solutions Officer at Virginia Tech, a major research university that has long been recognized as a leader in the use of technology to support academic and administrative services. Over the years, Dixon’s position and responsibilities have changed to reflect the evolving state of technology applications and solutions at Virginia Tech. She reports to the CIO but typically works with solutions teams from academic and administrative units across the university.

Exemplary Transformed Elements

  • Enterprise Solutions Officer
  • ERP, LMS, KM have fused into enterprise applications infrastructure and EAIS — fusion of academic and administrative applications
  • e-Repositories and participation in knowledge marketplaces
  • Value on investment drives ICT developments
  • Enterprise portal-based lifelong relationships with students and alumni
  • New relationships with technology partners, focusing on solutions and services
  • Web based service applications


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