"Just add an egg"
Betty Crocker Egg Decision

Personalizing Pedagogies

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Personalization: Betty Crocker Egg Decision
Raw Comments, Speculations from Steven W. Gilbert

How much/little should faculty members be required/permitted to adapt a new educational resource when using it?

It is important to balance two often-conflicting goals for educational resources (e.g., Brief Hybrid Workshops).  Can educational resources be both:

1.  Easy to adapt, easy to modify 

2.  Easy to use as is

Consider the famous marketing decision to require home bakers to add their own egg to the new (1952) Betty Crocker cake mix.  See the following paragraphs from: Balmy Duck, The lighter side of Sour Duck.  In "Box cake mix reviews."
[This link was NOT available as of 2007 12 18]

"Box Cake Mix Research"

"I gleaned some interesting trivia from 'Finding Betty Crocker: the Secret Life of America's First Lady', by Susan Marks. Betty Crocker rolled out White cake mix in 1952. (The company also introduced Honey Spice and Chocolate Malt flavors in 1953 and 1955, respectively.)

"At this time, the company was still refining their approach to marketing. While they sought to promote a quick and easy product that still retained a "fresh, 'home-made'" quality, 'the market was slow to mature' (p. 168). The company called upon the market research of Dr. Burleigh Gardner and Dr. Ernet Dichter, both business psychologists:

"'The problem, according to psychologists, was eggs. Dichter, in particular, believed that powdered eggs, often used in cake mixes, should be left out, so women could add a few fresh eggs into the batter, giving them a sense of creative contribution.' (emphasis my own)

"As a result, General Mills (who own Betty Crocker) altered their product, abandoning the powdered egg in their mixes. The requirement to add eggs at home was marketed as a benefit, conferring the quality of 'home-made' authenticity upon the box cake mix. (Whether using fresh eggs instead of powdered eggs actually enhanced taste was beside the point.)"

See also: "Betty Crocker - 'just add an egg'"
[This link was working as of 2007 12 18]

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Raw comments, speculations from Steven W. Gilbert

1. FACULTY CENTERED/BETTY CROCKER CAKE MIX?: Available for integration and “incremental” improvement of MyCourse consistent with my goals? Responsive to unusual aspects of my goals, my capabilities?
Project needs to be easy to adapt.

2. FACULTY PROOF/CAKE: Available for insertion within standardized curriculum, standardized course, independent of special skills or foibles of a faculty member?
Project needs to be easy to use as is.

Learn how to fish vs. buy a Filet-O-Fish
Adaptable project vs. Self-contained, immutable

Project needs to be easy to adapt, easy to modify
Project needs to be easy to use as is.

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