Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

Today was my first day of school. The requirement for getting an university email, intranet and wifi account requires a course in netiquette. The course focused on "don't spread viruses." OK.

I showed up a few minutes late as Professor Takeuchi was talking about how tardiness would not be tolerated. (Sorry Professor Takeuchi!) Strike one. I sat in my student chair feeling very guilty.

Next was the session where we were going to get our accounts.

Instructor A: "So does everyone have have ICS IT Handbook?"

I didn't have one.

Me: "No. I didn't get one. Can I have one?"

Scarier instructor B: "Why don't you have one?"

Me: "I didn't get one. Where do we get one."

Scarier instructor B: "Sit down and share with someone." (scowl)

Me: "Umm.. OK."

So we were instructed on how to log in, change our password, etc. I finished a bit early and was messing around with my profiles. I noticed a place on the intranet where we could upload our picture. I started googling around for a good image to use when...

Scarier instructor B: "Are you following the instructor?"

I had clearly been profiled as a problem student by this point.

I turns out that there are only 3 DBA students and I was the only one attending today so I was put in another class. That's why I didn't have the handbook. Scarier instructor B didn't know this so I guess it's not her fault for scowling. But sitting in a classroom being scolded by instructors brought back a lot of memories. ;-) I'm going to have to get used to it and try to fit in a bit better... for now.


Egad. You are being streamlined into conformance. I wonder when they'll find out you have been blogging about them and tell you to stop.

Exact same problem in my Business class. Without the scowling ang scary teachers.

Next time remember to bring an apple on the first day of class, or is that just an American thing? hehe

oh lord, reading that reminded me of how much I am dreading returning to business school! did you get my last email?

I'm looking forward to the next installment. Eagerly.

Hi Joi, I just wanted to drop a comment saying I really appreciate your blog because it's more interesting than some others I read.

Hm, strict teachers aren't unusual in oriental countries (hehe), but I hope they don't punish students like they used to in the old days... eeek.

Actually Jina, I hope they do *snicker*


As a business school professor I feel compelled to say that it is a common trick of the trade to be a bit "tough" in the first few meetings. Its not about power (at least in my case) but survival, because if you appear weak in the beginning those business school "customers" have very creative ways of trying to eat you alive. . . and once their is blood in the water its a long swim to shore! I have never tried the good cop-bad cop approach however (because I don't have the status to have a professor B I guess)

Sometimes I wonder whether it will ever be figured out that it's all for the students.    Other times I think maybe this is some kind of tough-love behavior for getting us to wake up to what is involved in sustaining the kind of commitment you are undertaking.

(I also wonder why every time you mention Professor Takeuchi the name sounds familiar and yet I can't make a connection.)

Meanwhile, your account brings up for me my discovery that I slump every year at the beginning of September, the first days of school almost 60 years ago.    I should not be surprised.   I recently had an amazing insight into how I designed my life as a defense against recurrence of a kindergarten incident.    I'd been wondering about it and I finally saw the pattern.    Wow!    No wonder I am apprehensive about the start of my M.Sc dissertation project.

Thank you for sharing your experience.    It is touching and heartwarming.    There's something for each of us who may someday be the instructor to hold onto as a valuable lesson.

Whatever you do, don't hand in a paper with anything written in red ink on it. I did that once when I was going to High School in Japan, and the instructor tore me a new one. Good luck.

Are all US uni's like some weird grown-up version of a secondary school?
Is somewhat different (although similar in parts) in most UK uni's, where lecturers sometimes attempt to act like overbearing teachers, but quickly find they're outnumbered.

as a kid who keep asking "silly" questions to teachers, this brings back a lot of memories for


Interesting observation about student centered learning. I have spent allot of time designing the teaching model we follow (I teach entrepreneurship, and YES, its fundamentals can be learned) and it begins with a strong professor centered learning model but moves deliberately and steadily toward a student centered model which culminates with out of class coaching where the student is in charge of the agenda.

in case you'd like to know: _a_ university . when you pronounce 'university', it starts with a consonant: 'youniversity'.

I love the contrast between this post and those of Aaron Swartz's first days of school experience at Stanford ( Remove the context and it looks like Joi's having fun as the mischevious 18 year old while Aaron sounds like the 30-something.

I thought the main part of these classes was to get a book out: also, you get access to professors as consultants for writing that book.

what is your first chapter going to be like? i think that is more important: there is something of ones soul that goes into a book, its part of you, almost like a child. It grows and influeces, like this blog, as we imagine persons reading in the future, the writing has to start happening from ones experience. There is life experience that is outside the realm of academia. Professors cannot teach one how to live and how to profit: success is a tricky handful of sand to hold onto.


So, since I wrote one of your recommendations to get into this august institution, I hope you behave better in your next class, or you will bring shame on me and my family. Aaaggh!

Maybe you should shave your head as a sign of contrition before the next class. . .

And all that happened before you brought the Hecklebot to class!

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