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VBA in the cloud = google apps script

Perhaps the most technical thing that all MBA students learn, or should learn is using VBA to automate excel and word. Gove Allen at BYU teaches a fantastic class which does just that, take a look at the creative projects his students have recently completed: Custom ‘mail merge’ for sending SMS messages, importing data into excel from craigslist,   or automating the creation of a work schedule to cover multiple shifts.

Until recently, the cloud-based solutions like Google Docs and spreadsheets have not allowed such automation. About a year ago, Google announced Appsscript. Now, a new code editor has appeared with a few interesting features.

First, you can publish your code as a service, allowing anyone in the world to invoke it.  The service-oriented-architecture fans should get excited about this. See the image:

Second, it ties in nicely with useful google APIs, and hopefully more APIs in the future.

Things just got interesting! It will be fun to see what this enables in the future. It looks like they have recently included a user-interface builder. If anything it is one more reason to move to the cloud. Here is a screenshot of the script editor:

Is education improvement the new “Green”?

time-cover2I saw this post on Gartner’s Hype Cycle Blog. It points to several news sources which talk about how Time’s Earth Day issue was the third lowest selling of 2008, and how people are tired of hearing about Green issues.

As I read Clayton Christensen‘s Disrupting Class book, and saw Rob Preston‘s reaction to it here and again here — I can’t help but think that educational improvement issues are replacing “Green issues” in the press, and thus on their way up the hype cycle.

I recently ran across a disruptive university education technique — the unCourse or Open Studies class which is outlined here. It has been put into practice at BYU already… look at the unclass website.