The Echo Chamber and Personal Accountability

@kyenne, a recent ONU grad, tweeted about this blog post, which was scraped from this article published by TheStar on April 30, 2010, about EduMetry's Virtual TA service. That tweet generated a torrent of reaction and calls for an email to ONU's President.Why the raised fur?  The article lists ONU as an EduMetry client.

Let's take a look at the article published by TheStar.com. Basically, it's a nice PR piece for EduMetry's newest product Virtual TA. The article includes a paragraph in which several EduMetry clients are listed.  ONU is included in that list:
A western Canadian college or university is among EduMetry’s dozen clients, but Rajam declined to identify it. The University of Houston director of business law and ethics, Lori Whisenant, is a client, as are professors at the University of Northern Iowa College of Business Administration, West Hills Community College in Coalinga, Calif., Ohio Northern University and George Washington.

That poorly written paragraph could be interpreted to imply that these schools, including ONU, are clients for EduMetry's Virtual TA service. Or, the paragraph could be taken at face value (i.e, taking "among EduMetry's dozen clients" as a clue) and infer that these are schools that have been EduMetry Clients, but not necessarily clients for EduMetry's Virtual TA service.

ONU contracted with EduMetry's D-Cube service to facilitate development of rubrics to operationalize ONU's new general education learning outcomes. I worked closely with EduMetry in 2008-2009 in my role as co-chair of ONU's General Education Implementation committee.  Thanks to the power of EduMetry's web-based D-Cube collaboration system, faculty teams efficiently developed the general education rubrics that have been adopted for application starting Fall 2011, when the ONU's new General Education program is deployed. (Details about ONU's General Education program, and the rubrics themselves, are available here.)

Given the alternate interpretations of the paragraph in TheStar, I spoke with Chandru Rajam, EduMetry's Co-Founder and CEO, on May 4, 2010. In that phone conversation, Chandru expressed his frustration with the article. While thankful for the PR it provided for EduMetry's newest venture, he was concerned about how the paragraph quoted above portrays EduMetry's clients.  Specifically, he expressed his regret that Lesley Ciarula Taylor, the article's author, conflated EduMetry's Virtual TA clients with clients for other EduMetry services. Chandru expressed his concern over any misunderstandings the article might create. Our conversation then shifted to discussing the cultural forces buffeting EduMetry's Virtual TA service.

Those who have recently discovered TheStar article now have the facts: ONU is not an EduMetry Virtual TA client.  It is your responsibility, not the University's responsibility, to spread the facts. You have an ethical obligation to use your personal networks to set the record straight.