Category Archives: Teaching

Scandinavian cases: Call for abstracts

With two colleagues, Gerhard Schjelderup and Mikael Lönnborg, I am trying to create a case collection, to be published as a book. We start with a call for abstracts, with a deadline of June 9. You will find the details in this PDF document.

The main idea is simply to do something about the lack of available teaching cases on Scandinavian (or, for that matter, Nordic) companies. We want cases that are like HBS cases – no theory in the case, a thorough description of an interesting company with an interesting problem. Seems simple enough, no?

See you for the workshop on October 10!

Professor BowTie

My Chinese students (in the BI-Fudan “best-of-both” MBA program) refer to me as “Professor Bow Tie), for obvious reasons (though not in my presence – there, I am “Professor Espen”). On a couple of occasions, they have even showed up wearing bow ties themselves – and looking out over a room with 60 bow ties is rather distracting….

Anyway, since almost all Chinese students have a self-chosen English name in order to make life easy for foreigners, I think it is only fair that I should have a Chinese name for the same reason. So, with a bit of help from the BI-Fudan liaison office, here it is: Băo Tài, pronounced with a very sharp T:

professor-bow-tieI have, obviously, no clue as to what it means (and I am pretty sure mispronouncing it could lead to some hilarity), but have been assured by the office that it is OK. Perhaps someone out there could translate it for me?


Body language essentials for teachers

Amy Cuddy teaches at the Harvard Business School and studies, among other things, the effect of body language – not just on others, but on ourselves. In this TED video, she demonstrates the effect of consciously using body language to change your own mindset:

I occasionally teach teachers how to teach, especially case teaching or discussion-based teaching. A recurring problem for many teachers – particularly the younger ones, when they start out – is a feeling of nervousness, sometimes quite severe. This nervousness makes them want to take control in the classroom, to script their presentations, to make sure that they have every angle covered – precisely the behavior that is most detrimental to running a good discussion-based class, where the teacher trusts the class and relies on the students to provide drive and perspective, facilitating rather than driving the discussion.

Overcoming nervousness is not easy, but I have found that the techniques mentioned by Cuddy work. For instance, I tell teachers to check out the classroom, lecture hall, meeting room, whatever, ahead of time – and make a change to something. When I am giving a speech or teaching a class, I will almost always change something in the room when I come it: I’ll set the boards just so, adjust the lighting, get rid of the “protection table” that so many teachers put between themselves and the students, grab a stack of books or a soda crate to build a stand for my laptop. These changes I do because I want them, but also because they are my way of asserting power in the room – telling myself that I own this room for the duration.

The two-minute power stances advocated by Cuddy work well and should be used by any teacher – go to the bathroom before class, lock the door and stand tall by yourself for a little. The difference can be quite dramatic – and the students will notice it. This is especially important if it is the first time they see you – research has found that the first 30 seconds students see a teacher are extremely important for their opinion about him or her.

Stand tall, that you may teach well. Just a little will go a long way.

MOOC and me: Reflections on a Coursera course

On April 10, I signed up for a course on network theory and analysis with professor Matthew Jackson of Stanford University. That was about one week into the course, which started April 1, so I will have to hurry to finish some of the assignments. The course is both a test in online coursing for me – not that I think I am at a stage where I should create on, but it could be interesting to try – and I chose this particular one because it is a field in which I have brushing knowledge (I have read Burt’s Structural Holes: The Social Structure of Competition, for instance) but never have systematically undertaken any training or done any math.

Signing up was very easy: Name, email address and a password, no cost, off we go. The web site is very simple, well, here we go. Estimated work 3-6 hours per week. Will see if I can make that, especially if I am blogging on the side…


The course (at least the intro) is delivered with a set of slides and the instructor superimposed over them, using on-screen drawing (using a tablet pen, it looks like) drawing lines around or between concepts. The ability to speed up the presentation is useful – I can still follow it at 1.5x normal speed, and used that to rush through some of the examples I had heard before and some of the more self-explanatory slides. There are some problems with the transmission – occasionally, the screen will be garbled (especially when there is movement on the screen, such as the instructor drawing on the slides, which means that I will have to print out the slides for the next week’s lectures, when the formulas become more complicated. i will also have to start taking notes by hand, since my typed comments can’t keep up with the presentation when it comes to creating formulas and drawing diagrams.

The course uses open-source network software (Pajek) and the first homework assignment dealt with basic network attributes such as diameter, density, and average paths. Not too hard so far, but i have a graduate education from an English-speaking university and some intuitive understanding of the topic (plus experience in fiddling with software until it works, including screwing up the Pajek configuration and fixing it by simply erasing the config file and starting over.)

On the positive side, I might be just in the right market segment: Someone who is interested in the topic but does not have the time to sign up for a course in it. Wonder how many other academics there are out there who see MOOCs as a great way to update themselves on a related field…

I’ll be back with more observations in a few weeks, assuming I haven’t dropped out – which many students tend to do in these courses.

Introduction to GRA6834

This is an intro to a course (GRA6834 Business Development and Innovation Management) I am giving in the Fall, open to M.Sc. students at BI Norwegian School of Management, posted here because, well, I couldn’t be there to do the presentation myself. The course description is here, my presentation slides are here, I forgot to say when to turn to the next slide in the presentation (so you’ll have to guess from circumstance), and I do apologize for the rather booming voice, but this is what I could do on rather short notice…

If you have any questions, please email me.

Reflections on teaching case teaching

On Friday and Saturday I had one of the most intense teaching experiences of my life – the Participant-Centered Learning seminar at the Harvard Business School. This two-day seminar, with about 50 students from more than 30 institutions, is an introduction into case teaching – but for the course leaders, it is an exercise in meta-thinking.

When you teach a case, you need monitor processes, in real time, on at least two levels: The case problem itself (and cases can be complicated, you need to know them well); and your own performance as a teacher – are you reaching your teaching objectives, and is the way you lead the discussion furthering them. Practice helps, but like with all things new, leading discussions takes a lot of thinking until it gradually becomes a habit and is done more by in central nervous system that the front cortex.

Teaching about case teaching, on the other hand, introduces many new levels. Not only do you have students who are watching your every step – i.e., how you teach, not to look for airtime opportunities – but the aim of the course it to use case teaching techniques to illustrate the teaching techniques that would deal with the problems outlined in the underlying case. (Adding to that, of course, as any good teacher should monitor him- or herself for ways you can make the teaching better the next time.)

At the end of the course, I felt as if I had just finished a long car drive in a car where the gears and pedals had been switched around, every direction decision and subsequent execution requiring copious amounts of conscious processing. Reputedly, the brain consumes 20-24% of the body’s energy, and I certainly felt that way when I got home, barely able to do anything more than sack out in front of the computer with a glass of good red wine and a few old Top Gear episodes.

That being said, however, the whole experience was also extremely invigorating. The students were interested, energetic, and from admirably diverse backgrounds, from US elite institutions through low-cost regional online educators to universities in China, Turkey and Denmark. It was also interesting to have the full resources of a Harvard case classroom at my disposal – in particular, having ample blackboards (9, as a matter of fact,) old-fashioned but so much better in every way, including sightlines. Having a great room changes how you teach – though I will have learn how to exploit the room better, especially the boards, should there be a next time.

But all in all, a most enjoyable experience. As I have previously written, I think good discussion teaching is a source of differentiation and competitive advantage for both teachers and institutions. I stand by that view, all the more so for my experience this weekend.

A case of teaching case teaching

I am rather passionate about case teaching. Not only does it provide a much richer learning experience for the student, especially within fields that involved in analyzing complex human situations, but it much more interesting for me as a teacher to do case discussions t hat it is to lecture. Not that I don’t enjoy lecturing – do it all the time – but after a while you start to feel like a DVD player on repeat, wondering how much the students get out of listening to you in person rather than seeing a video. In the give-and-take of the case classroom, you learn new things all the time, and so do the students. For example, by about the 15th time I taught a short case about outsourcing, a student came up with a solution neither I nor anyone else had thought about until then. And just a few weeks ago, in China, a mathematically inclined student surprised me with a new solution to a rather long-winded example I use to demonstrate certain aspects of telecommunications competition.

I share that passion with my friend and colleague Bill Schiano, and together we have worked for years on how to do case teaching in situations where you do not have the rich infrastructure, streamlined processes and shared culture of the Harvard Business School – including, in a modest way, trying to influence our colleagues to adopt the method, our students to accept it, and the administration and management of our respective schools to create the infrastructure and processes necessary for it.

In a few weeks (March 16-17, to be precise) we will get an opportunity to further spread the good word, by teaching the course The Art and Craft of Participant-Centered Learning, at the Harvard Business School. We will teach it together with Professor Jim Heskett, a true master of case teaching. The course is over two days – and as of today (March 2) there are still a few places available, details to be found here. (Note that the course is only open to teachers at degree-granting institutions.)

I am quite looking forward to the experience. I have taught classes on case teaching before, but not in this environment and to such an eclectic group (about 50 teachers from many universities and countries.) It feels like giving something back to the institution that taught me, but also as a rather enjoyable challenge, and quite an honor.

It is a sad fact in academia today that good teaching is under-rewarded, at least officially. I think this is a stage we are going through – and that good teaching, specifically discussion facilitation, will be much more important as the competitive climate between business schools hardens (as it will). Lectures and factual information can be delivered over the Internet, in the form of videos, animations, or voice-assisted slide shows. As information can be distributed more and more cost-free, the local lecturer stands in danger of being disrupted – rather than listen to some random teacher on a subject, why not see a video of the best in the field.

The complex interaction of the discussion class room can, as of yet, not be done remotely – at least not with the quality and intensity a co-located discussion warrants. Local institutions of learning, to maintain their competitive place and current pricing, will have to master discussion facilitation and participant-centered learning. Students will demand it, not just in business, but in an increasing number of fields – medicine and social services, public leadership and administration, military, political science, to a certain extent engineering and natural sciences. The case method may be the most explicit of form of participant-centered learning, with its tailored cases and specially built classrooms – but I firmly believe this method will spread out as a way for teachers – even the more average of us – to add value in a unique and enjoyable way way.

Competing online at Lorange

I have just finished (as a matter of fact, I am writing this from the classroom while the students are taking their exam) teaching a two-day seminar called Competing online at Lorange Institute of Business, located in Horgen, a small town about half an hour south of Zürich in Switzerland. Teaching is normally quite tiring, but this time it was a breeze – firstly because it was only 9 students, secondly because they all had interesting experiences and viewpoints on how to use the Internet and Web 2.0 for business and personal purposes. As a consequence, I could run the class as an informal discussion, with less lecturing and quite a bit of learning for me as well as the students.

The diversity of backgrounds was quite interesting – we had three people that owned their own companies (technical textile manufacturing, logistics, and personal credit), three from pharmaceuticals and health companies, one from sports event marketing, one executive from a hotel company, and, last but not least, Isabella Löwengrip, who with her blog Blondinbella could provide very interesting perspectives on how to establish and promote a business on Web 2.0. She did, of course, blog (here and here and here) and Tweet about the experience, occasionally in real time – and she took the pictures you see here.

Linus Murphy, lively and inspiring CEO of, was the main case under discussion after lunch on the first day – and he did a great job talking about the importance of making your company findable on Google. To do this, you have to make sure your content is fresh and not duplicated, that each page is about one thing only (so the search engine is not confused) and design the structure and context of the web site before handing it over to be made pretty by a designer. When most of your traffic is driven by search, you must be both findable and searchable.

Competing online syllabus

Name of course: Competing online
Time: February 7-8, 2011
Place: Lorange Institute of Business, Zürich, Switzerland
Instructor: Espen Andersen, Assoc. Prof. Norwegian Business School

The course, a two-day seminar aimed at senior business decision-makers, will give insight into the strategic and tactical choices facing companies going into electronic commerce, whether from a pure online strategy or using an online presence as a support for their regular service and sales channels. The syllabus is not meant to be conclusive – the right to make changes is most explicitly reserved.

If you are interested, you can sign up here.


Tuesday, February 7

Session 1, 0830-1000: Introduction, the promise and peril of online competition
This session will introduce the course and use a short case as a starting point for discussing the impact of online competition on traditional companies. Please read and be prepared to discuss the following:

Study questions for the case:

  • Is eHerramientas a threat to Catatech?
  • What should Marisa do to design a strategy to counter eHerramientas’ competition?
  • What should Marisa to to communicate her strategy within Catatech?

Session 2, 1030-1200: The mechanisms of electronic commerce: Searchability and findability
Google provides the context in which you will need to be found on the web. Amazon shows a company that helps you find the right product when the customer lands on the site. In this session we will study the offerings by both companies, and see how they have evolved over time.

  • Article: Rangaswamy, A., C. L. Giles, et al. (2009). “A Strategic Perspective on Search Engines: Thought Candies for Practitioners and Researchers.” Journal of Interactive Marketing23: 49-60.
  • Article: Andersen, E. (2006). “The Waning Importance of Categorization.” ACM Ubiquity7(19).
  • Google technology overview, “What is AdWords” video,
  • Article: (for the more advanced student): Brin, S. and L. Page (1998). The Anatomy of a Large-Scale Hypertextual Web Search Engine. Seventh International WWW Conference, Brisbane, Australia. (this is the paper that started Google).
  • Amazon: “Inside Amazon” video, as well as this article: Linden, G., B. Smith, et al. (2003). “ recommendations: item-to-item collaborative filtering.” Internet Computing, IEEE 7(1): 76-80.

Session 3 and 4, 1330-1700, with break: Evolving the pure online company
In this session we will study the evolution of, a company that helps graduate schools selectively recruit international students for their MBA and M.Sc. programs. We will be joined in this discussion by Mr. Linus Murphy, CEO of Masterstudies.

Session 5, 1700-1730: An introduction to disruptive innovations
In preparation for the group work for the night, there will be a short introduction to and discussion of the theory of disruptive innovations.

  • Articles: Christensen, C. M., M. Raynor, et al. (2001). “Skate to Where the Money Will Be.” Harvard Business Review (November): 73-81.

Session 6, after 1730: Group work

  • Case: Schibsted (HBS case 707474, Bharat Anand)
  • Article: “More media, less news”, The Economist, August 24, 2006
  • Assignment: On a group basis, prepare a short presentation for tomorrow’s morning session. More precise instructions will be distributed in class.

Wednesday, February 8:

Session 7, 0830-1000: Responding to online competition:

  • Case: Schibsted (HBS case 707474, Bharat Anand)
  • Group presentations, prepared the night before

Session 8, 1030-1200: Responding to the social web: Blogs, Facebook, Twitter

Social media represents many challenges to business organizations – but also opportunities for increasing brand awareness, learning from customers and .

  • Article: Mangold, W. G. and D. J. Faulds “Social media: The new hybrid element of the promotion mix.” Business Horizons 52(4): 357-365.
  • Case: A blogger in their midst (HBS case R0309X, Halley Suitt)
  • Case: Coca-Cola on Facebook (HBS case 511110, John Deighton, Leora Kornfeld)

Session 9, 1330-1500: Responding to the technical threat

Security and disaster management is often ignored by senior management – partly because the issues are, well, technical and difficult. The iPremier case, in cartoon form for your reading pleasure, allows for a discussion of how to think about and prioritize security in an online business environment.

Case study questions:

  • How well did the iPremier Company perform during the seventy-five minute attack? If you were Bob Turley, what might you have done differently during the attack?
  • The iPremier CEO, Jack Samuelson, had already expressed to Bob Turley his concern that the company might eventually suffer from a “deficit in operating procedures.” Were the company’s operating procedures deficient in responding to this attack? What additional procedures might have been in place to better handle the attack?
  • Now that the attack has ended, what can the iPremier company do to prepare for another such attack?
  • In the aftermath of the attack, what would you be worried about? What actions would you recommend?

Session 10, 1530-1700: Short written examination

  • TBA.

Session 11: 1700-1730: Concluding remarks

Trapping the wily professor

I wrote this piece in 2004, and it was published in European Business Forum, a journal sponsored by Boston Consulting Group, which since has disappeared (the journal, not the company!) Hence, I am making it available here in my blog, for your reading pleasure:

Trapping the wily professor
A hunting guide for CLOs
February 2004

Recently, I attended a meeting of senior HR executives from large European companies. The attendants were all engaged in designing and/or running various forms of management training and education in their companies, and a discussion about how to deal with outside suppliers – particularly business schools – came up.  A key problem, it transpired, was getting the good professors to engage in company programs.  While the schools were more than willing to sell their branded programs, most corporations wanted something tailor-made, designed to achieve a specific corporate learning goal.  Furthermore, they wanted it tailor-made by the big names – that is, the professors the students were likely to know.  This had proved very difficult.  These were big, prestigious companies – why couldn’t they get the big, prestigious professors?

Coming from the supply side of this relationship, I have little problem understanding the difficulties these managers have – so I herewith offer a little guide to hunting down and keeping that rarest of animals, the business-savvy and interesting professor.  A warning, though: This is not a task to be approached lightly.  Hunting requires knowledge of the prey itself, its living environment, and its reward structures.  It requires patience and a keen sense of observation, as well as an ability to communicate with the natives – or at least not to offend them too much.

First: Hunt professors on your turf, not theirs.  The best place to hunt for professors is not through the business school sales channels.  Instead, invite the professor to come into your company to give a short talk on some very specific point of interest – half an hour is fine – at some small executive meeting, with lunch and informal discussions thereafter.  Pay the professor for the presentation.  If there is no chemistry, you have listened to a (hopefully) interesting presentation and the professor has made a little money and is likely to think of your company with benevolence.  Incidentally, the best referrers of professors are other professors – so use the occasion to extend your network.  Carefully cultivated, most professors will come when you call and leave you alone when you want them to.

Secondly: Avoid the obvious blunders.  This should go without saying, so the experienced professor-hunter may want to disregard this paragraph.  However, any high-powered and dynamic business executive can unknowingly scare away the wily professor without meaning to – the equivalent of putting on aftershave before the hunt and then ondering why you never see any prey.  Professors are academics, and you hunt them because they are.  Consequently, never use the word “academic” to mean “irrelevant”, “hypothetical” or “impractical”.  Never refer to them as “educators” – in academic cynical parlance, an “educator” is someone forced to live by teaching because he can’t do good research.  And never – never ever – ask them to include that interesting best-seller (“Who drank my café latte?”) you saw in the airport bookshop in their program curricula.  Professors are extremely jealous of outside intellectual competition, and anyone preferring the Heathrow School of Management to them is treated with extreme suspicion, if not outright hostility.

Third: Don’t deal with intermediaries.  Typically, the CLO seeking a management education program interacts with a relationship manager from the business school.  This person is pleasant, nicely attired and means well, will sell you the standard programs and tell you what you want to hear, but is incapable of trapping the wily professor on your behalf.  If you want a program out of the ordinary, talk to the person most critical for its success – and that better be the professor, because if program responsibility lies with the salesperson, you are in trouble. That being said, the school’s relationship manager is very useful as a support person – so let your own support person deal with him or her, and make sure that the minute any content issues spring up, the problem is escalated to you – and the professor. (And, by corollary, don’t fall into the trap of becoming an intermediary yourself, in the case when a business colleague needs a program and asks you to set it up.)

Fourth: Ask not what the professor can do for you, but what you can do for the professor.  Professors are not motivated by money. Actually, that is a whopping big lie – they certainly are, but it needs to come in a form palatable to the world they inhabit. Doing executive education does not help a professor in his or her career – at best, it earns him or her non-tradable brownie points for helping the school. What counts in the academic hierarchy – at least officially – is publishing what to the layman appears as unreadable articles in obscure journals read by few and remembered by even fewer.  These articles are created through back-breaking work and qualified through an evaluation process that makes Purgatory feel like a day at the beach. To do the work, the professor needs money, in the form of research grants.  To get through the evaluation, he or she needs data, obtained by getting access to corporations.  If you can give the professors research money and access to data (i.e., your company,) they will happily create executive education programs as part of the research process. They will even teach them.  (It is possible to bag a few professors through money alone, primarily the younger ones, but on a repeated basis this will yield a lower quality of prey).

Fifth: It is not what you say, it is what you do.  The above will attract and retain professors, but will not earn their undying love. To achieve that, you need to follow through and do what they say. Professors seeing their theories listened to and applied will do anything you ask of them – sit on your Board, talk to your executives, co-write career-enhancing articles with you in trade magazines and even listen to your suggestions for making their theories better.  The danger herein lies in that you may go native yourself – and what a tragedy that would be.

So there you are – to bag a professor, start by wining and dining them, paying them for a small presentation, then lure them with money and access to provide you with tailor-made and interesting executive programs.  It is easy.  You can start now.  My email is at the top of the page.

Cases: How to prepare for and learn from them

These videos have been updated: You find the new ones here.

My versatile and creative colleague Hanno Roberts and I have made a series of five videos on case learning and preparation, originally for students at the BI/Fudan MBA program. This teaching method is difficult both for teacher and student, but highly rewarding provided you give it proper attention – which means effective preparation. Hanno and I talk about the goal of case teaching, how students can prepare individually, how to prepare as a group, how to go through the case discussion in the classroom, and then we sum up with some strategies for how to retain what you have learned. Hanno and I did these videos against a green-screen, with little preparation – we basically met, outlined a structure with some keywords (displayed on the little computer on the table in front of us, decided broadly on who should say what, and dove right into it. Most of the videos were shot twice, and then the very capable Lars Holand picked the least bad clips, added the background and logos, and generated the files in .mp4 and .flv. The lack of scripting was intentional – we did not want the videos to be too formal and stultifying, though the format itself might be. We also wanted to be a bit formal, to make sure we got our main points across. The results is a bit stiff, there are a few repetitions (we intro each clip, to make them more embeddable), but given that these were created also to be understandable for students whose first language isn’t English, I think it kind of works. And it was fun to do, and not too much work. Anyway, the videos are there, free for all to use – and hopefully, our students will watch them carefully, and the result will be better case teaching, more learning, and an even more enjoyable experience teaching. Continue reading

Case analysis contest for NSM M.Sc. students

image image A couple of our M.Sc. students have contacted Boston Consulting Group and gotten their cooperation to arrange a case analysis contest. This is just the kind of student initiative I am very happy to sponsor, so I will a) be a judge, and b) market it here.

So – if you are a M.Sc. student at the Norwegian School of Management – you are herewith invited to participate in a case analysis contest. There are a couple of provisos: You have to form a team of 3-4 students, and at least two of those have to be strategy students (i.e., do the strategy major). The contest will take place at BI on April 14th from 8am to 8pm, and will involve analysis, presentations, feedback and – for the winners – some rather attractive prizes from both hosts.

Be a consultant for a day and test your skills with a real business case – with feedback from both faculty and bona fide strategy consultants!

The application deadline is April 1st. The number of places is limited, so ”first come, first served“ – and please send the application to (And do mention that you saw it here – we are trying to track how information travels about this.)

French version of Catatech

I got a nice email from Jim Denford, who teaches at the Collège militaire royal du Canada. He has very kindly translated the Catatech case (a short teaching case I wrote with Sarah Kaull some years back) to French – or. rather, le français québécois. The case is available as a PDF here.

And that’s the beauty of freely available teaching cases – that others use them, and, sometimes, translate them. By now, this case is available in five languages. Which I think is rather cool…

A case of case teaching

One L: The Turbulent True Story of a First Year at Harvard Law School One L: The Turbulent True Story of a First Year at Harvard Law School by Scott Turow

My rating: 4 of 5 stars Describes the trials and tribulations of going through the first year of Harvard Law School – and stands up well despite the year in question being 1975. I teach by the Socratic method myself – with variations – and the tensions in the classrooms and the reactions to teachers are very well taken. (This book is not the basis for the movie "Paper Chase", which I first thought – though it could have been.) View all my reviews >>

English is tough stuff

This poem by the Dutch writer Gerard Nolst Trenité is called The Chaos and is a frequent floater around the Internets in a slightly simplified form, sometimes attributed to "personnel at NATO headquarters". In the interest of anyone thinking they know English, it herewith reproduced (from the Spelling Society) in its full, glorious 274-line form:

The Chaos

Dearest creature in creation
Studying English pronunciation,
I will teach you in my verse
Sounds like corpse, corps, horse and worse.
I will keep you, Susy, busy,
Make your head with heat grow dizzy;
Tear in eye, your dress you’ll tear;
Queer, fair seer, hear my prayer.

Pray, console your loving poet,
Make my coat look new, dear, sew it!
Just compare heart, hear and heard,
Dies and diet, lord and word.
Sword and sward, retain and Britain
(Mind the latter how it’s written).
Made has not the sound of bade,
Say – said, pay – paid, laid but plaid.

Now I surely will not plague you
With such words as vague and ague,
But be careful how you speak,
Say: gush, bush, steak, streak, break, bleak,
Previous, precious, fuchsia, via
Recipe, pipe, studding-sail, choir;
Woven, oven, how and low,
Script, receipt, shoe, poem, toe.

Say, expecting fraud and trickery:
Daughter, laughter and Terpsichore,
Branch, ranch, measles, topsails, aisles,
Missiles, similes, reviles.
Wholly, holly, signal, signing,
Same, examining, but mining,
Scholar, vicar, and cigar,
Solar, mica, war and far.

From "desire": desirable – admirable from "admire",
Lumber, plumber, bier, but brier,
Topsham, brougham, renown, but known,
Knowledge, done, lone, gone, none, tone,
One, anemone, Balmoral,
Kitchen, lichen, laundry, laurel.
Gertrude, German, wind and wind,
Beau, kind, kindred, queue, mankind,
Tortoise, turquoise, chamois-leather,
Reading, Reading, heathen, heather.
This phonetic labyrinth
Gives moss, gross, brook, brooch, ninth, plinth.

Have you ever yet endeavoured
To pronounce revered and severed,
Demon, lemon, ghoul, foul, soul,
Peter, petrol and patrol?
Billet does not end like ballet;
Bouquet, wallet, mallet, chalet.
Blood and flood are not like food,
Nor is mould like should and would.

is not nearly parquet,
Which exactly rhymes with khaki.
Discount, viscount, load and broad,
Toward, to forward, to reward,
Ricocheted and crocheting, croquet?
Right! Your pronunciation’s OK.
Rounded, wounded, grieve and sieve,
Friend and fiend, alive and live.

Is your R correct in higher?
Keats asserts it rhymes with Thalia.
Hugh, but hug, and hood, but hoot,
Buoyant, minute, but minute.
Say abscission with precision,
Now: position and transition;
Would it tally with my rhyme
If I mentioned paradigm?

Twopence, threepence, tease are easy,
But cease, crease, grease and greasy?
Cornice, nice, valise, revise,
Rabies, but lullabies.
Of such puzzling words as nauseous,
Rhyming well with cautious, tortious,
You’ll envelop lists, I hope,
In a linen envelope.

Would you like some more? You’ll have it!
Affidavit, David, davit.
To abjure, to perjure. Sheik
Does not sound like Czech but ache.
Liberty, library, heave and heaven,
Rachel, loch, moustache, eleven.
We say hallowed, but allowed,
People, leopard, towed but vowed.

Mark the difference, moreover,
Between mover, plover, Dover.
Leeches, breeches, wise, precise,
Chalice, but police and lice,
Camel, constable, unstable,
Principle, disciple, label.
Petal, penal, and canal,
Wait, surmise, plait, promise, pal,

Suit, suite, ruin. Circuit, conduit
Rhyme with "shirk it" and "beyond it",
But it is not hard to tell
Why it’s pall, mall, but Pall Mall.
Muscle, muscular, gaol, iron,
Timber, climber, bullion, lion,
Worm and storm, chaise, chaos, chair,
Senator, spectator, mayor,

Ivy, privy, famous; clamour
Has the A of drachm and hammer.
Pussy, hussy and possess,
Desert, but desert, address.
Golf, wolf, countenance, lieutenants
Hoist in lieu of flags left pennants.
Courier, courtier, tomb, bomb, comb,
Cow, but Cowper, some and home.

"Solder, soldier! Blood is thicker",
Quoth he, "than liqueur or liquor",
Making, it is sad but true,
In bravado, much ado.
Stranger does not rhyme with anger,
Neither does devour with clangour.
Pilot, pivot, gaunt, but aunt,
Font, front, wont, want, grand and grant.

Arsenic, specific, scenic,
Relic, rhetoric, hygienic.
Gooseberry, goose, and close, but close,
Paradise, rise, rose, and dose.
Say inveigh, neigh, but inveigle,
Make the latter rhyme with eagle.
Mind! Meandering but mean,
Valentine and magazine.

And I bet you, dear, a penny,
You say mani-(fold) like many,
Which is wrong. Say rapier, pier,
Tier (one who ties), but tier.
Arch, archangel; pray, does erring
Rhyme with herring or with stirring?
Prison, bison, treasure trove,
eason, hover, cover, cove

Perseverance, severance. Ribald
Rhymes (but piebald doesn’t) with nibbled.
Phaeton, paean, gnat, ghat, gnaw,
Lien, psychic, shone, bone, pshaw.
Don’t be down, my own, but rough it,
And distinguish buffet, buffet;
Brood, stood, roof, rook, school, wool, boon,
Worcester, Boleyn, to impugn.

Say in sounds correct and sterling
Hearse, hear, hearken, year and yearling.
Evil, devil, mezzotint,
Mind the z! (A gentle hint.)
Now you need not pay attention
To such sounds as I don’t mention,
Sounds like pores, pause, pours and paws,
Rhyming with the pronoun yours;

Nor are proper names included,
Though I often heard, as you did,
Funny rhymes to unicorn,
Yes, you know them, Vaughan and Strachan.
No, my maiden, coy and comely,
I don’t want to speak of Cholmondeley.
No. Yet Froude compared with proud
Is no better than McLeod.

But mind trivial and vial,
Tripod, menial, denial,
Troll and trolley, realm and ream,
Schedule, mischief, schism, and scheme.
Argil, gill, Argyll, gill. Surely
May be made to rhyme with Raleigh,
But you’re not supposed to say
Piquet rhymes with sobriquet.

Had this invalid invalid
Worthless documents? How pallid,
How uncouth he, couchant, looked,
When for Portsmouth I had booked!
Zeus, Thebes, Thales, Aphrodite,
Paramour, enamoured, flighty,
Episodes, antipodes,
Acquiesce, and obsequies.

Please don’t monkey with the geyser,
Don’t peel ‘taters with my razor,
Rather say in accents pure:
Nature, stature and mature.
Pious, impious, limb, climb, glumly,
Worsted, worsted, crumbly, dumbly,
Conquer, conquest, vase, phase, fan,
Wan, sedan and artisan.

The TH will surely trouble you
More than R, CH or W.
Say then these phonetic gems:
Thomas, thyme, Theresa, Thames.
Thompson, Chatham, Waltham, Streatham,
There are more but I forget ’em
Wait! I’ve got it: Anthony,
Lighten your anxiety.

The archaic word albeit
Does not rhyme with eight – you see it;
With and forthwith, one has voice,
One has not, you make your choice.
Shoes, goes, does*. Now first say: finger;
Then say: singer, ginger, linger.
Real, zeal, mauve, gauze and gauge,
Marriage, foliage, mirage, age,

Hero, heron, query, very,
Parry, tarry, fury, bury,
Dost, lost, post, and doth, cloth, loth,
Job, Job, blossom, bosom, oath.
Faugh, oppugnant, keen oppugners,
Bowing, bowing, banjo-tuners
Holm you know, but noes, canoes,
Puisne, truism, use, to use?

Though the difference seems little,
We say actual, but victual,
Seat, sweat, chaste, caste, Leigh, eight, height,
Put, nut, granite, and unite
Reefer does not rhyme with deafer,
Feoffer does, and zephyr, heifer.
Dull, bull, Geoffrey, George, ate, late,
Hint, pint, senate, but sedate.

Gaelic, Arabic, pacific,
Science, conscience, scientific;
Tour, but our, dour, succour, four,
Gas, alas, and Arkansas.
Say manoeuvre, yacht and vomit,
Next omit, which differs from it
Bona fide, alibi
Gyrate, dowry and awry.

Sea, idea, guinea, area,
Psalm, Maria, but malaria.
Youth, south, southern, cleanse and clean,
Doctrine, turpentine, marine.
Compare alien with Italian,
Dandelion with battalion,
Rally with ally; yea, ye,
Eye, I, ay, aye, whey, key, quay!

Say aver, but ever, fever,
Neither, leisure, skein, receiver.
Never guess – it is not safe,
We say calves, valves, half, but Ralf.
Starry, granary, canary,
Crevice, but device, and eyrie,
Face, but preface, then grimace,
Phlegm, phlegmatic, ass, glass, bass.

Bass, large, target, gin, give, verging,
Ought, oust, joust, and scour, but scourging;
Ear, but earn; and ere and tear
Do not rhyme with here but heir.
Mind the O of off and often
Which may be pronounced as orphan,
With the sound of saw and sauce;
Also soft, lost, cloth and cross.

Pudding, puddle, putting. Putting?
Yes: at golf it rhymes with shutting.
Respite, spite, consent, resent.
Liable, but Parliament.
Seven is right, but so is even,
Hyphen, roughen, nephew, Stephen,
Monkey, donkey, clerk and jerk,
Asp, grasp, wasp, demesne, cork, work.

A of valour, vapid, vapour,
S of news (compare newspaper),
G of gibbet, gibbon, gist,
I of antichrist and grist,
Differ like diverse and divers,
Rivers, strivers, shivers, fivers.
Once, but nonce, toll, doll, but roll,
Polish, Polish, poll and poll.

Pronunciation – think of Psyche! –
Is a paling, stout and spiky.
Won’t it make you lose your wits
Writing groats and saying ‘grits’?
It’s a dark abyss or tunnel
Strewn with stones like rowlock, gunwale,
Islington, and Isle of Wight,
Housewife, verdict and indict.

Don’t you think so, reader, rather,
Saying lather, bather, father?
Finally, which rhymes with enough,
Though, through, bough, cough, hough, sough, tough??
Hiccough has the sound of sup
My advice is: GIVE IT UP!

                                — Gerard Nolst Trenité

* No, you’re wrong. This is the plural of doe.

There. That should do it.

Wikipedia assignment

(The full text of this assignment can be found here)

This assignment is intended to teach you something about collaborative software – and what better way to learn that than to use it? (A side benefit may be to improve the quality and quantity of information available in the English or Norwegian version of Wikipedia.) Wikipedia is an on-line encyclopedia, written collaboratively (that is, by the readers). It uses wiki technology, and everybody can update everything. Order is maintained by common goals and common behavioral norms.

Assignment: (The following can be done in either the Norwegian or the English version of Wikipedia.) Be advised that this assignment takes time, so a good idea is to start early and work on it consistently over the time of the course.

  1. Register yourself as a user, read some of the documentation about what Wikipedia is and how it is to be used. You will find links to it on the main page. (The material in the English version is most rich here, of course.)
  2. While logged in, start editing and writing articles – anything you do will be tracked. Write on whatever you want, but make sure that you follow the intention of the Wikipedia. (The Norwegian version is probably the easiest to do this in, since many more articles there either are missing or in need of further development).
  3. Go to the course Wikipedia page (English or Norwegian version) and add yourself to the list of students, making sure you use the correct format (for an idea, see the 2005 list). (The intent here is that I should be able to click on each student, and then see what articles the student has worked on.)
  4. Write me a memo, marked with both your student number and your Wikipedia user name, and whether you used the Norwegian or English Wikipedia version. For a total of less than 600 words, answer these questions:
    1. What, if anything, surprised you the most about the Wikipedia?
    2. What uses can you see for this technology in a corporate setting? What does it take for it to be successful?
    3. For which kind of businesses and technologies can Wikis be a disruptive technology?

Plagiarism showcased – and a call for action

image I hate plagiarism, partially because it has happened to me, partially because I publish way too little because I overly self-criticize for lack of original thinking, partly because I have had it happen with quite a few students and am getting more and more tired of having to explain even to executive students with serious job experience that clipping somebody else’s text and showing it as your own is not permissible – this year, I even had a student copy things out of Wikipedia and argue that it wasn’t plagiarism because Wikipedia is not copyrighted.

I suspect plagiarism is a bigger problem than we think. The most recent spat is noted in Boing Boing – read the comments if you want a good laugh and some serious discussion. (My observation, not particularly original: Even if this thing wasn’t plagiarized, isn’t this rather thin for a doctoral dissertation?)

The thing is, plagiarism will come back to bite you, and with the search tools out there, I can see a point in a not too distant future where all academic articles ever published will be fed into a plagiarism checker, with very interesting results. Quite a few careers will end, no doubt after much huffing and puffing. Johannes Gehrke and friends at Cornell have already done work on this for computer science articles – I just can’t wait to see what will come out of tools like these when they really get cranking. I seem to remember Johannes as saying that most people don’t plagiarize, but that a few seem to do it quite a lot.

It is high time we turn the student control protocols loose on published academic work as well. Nothing like a many eyeballs to dig out that shallowness….

Jon Udell on observable work

Jon Udell has a great presentation over at Slideshare on how to work in observable spaces – something that should be done, to a much larger extent, by academics. I quite agree (and really need to get better at this myself):

Clayton Christensen on health care disruption

Here is Clayton Christensen giving a talk on disruptions in health care (but really a good introduction on disruption in general) at MIT:


Note that Clay uses Øystein Fjeldstad’s Value Configurations framework a little before 1:00:00 – a result of many conversations aboard the "Disruptive Cruise" which I arranged last year…. don’t say we aren’t doing our part over here….