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Liveblogging Educause 2007

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How sad and how web 2.0y of me to do this, but I thought it would be a nice experiment. Attending the Educause conference in Seattle right now and sitting in on a session about faculty training in learning management systems…most likely annoying the person sitting next to me with my tictacky typing. How many people are reading over my shoulder right now?

The sessions opened with a great keynote from Doris Kearns Goodwin about Abraham Lincoln of all people. But she used him as an example of great qualities of a leader that I took to heart. She was an amazing speaker and I was actually sad that the keynote ended so soon.

I plan to try to relax from our school’s big deployment of Sakai and transitioning our faculty and students (and the ever-trusty eLearning Team) to the new platform. What I like about going with an open source system like Sakai is the community of developers, educators, and people like me that hover in between. I want to meet some of these people and swap stories and business cards. I’ll post updates to this as the conference progresses.


UPDATE (10:40 AM): Did you know that most students surveyed at Illinois State University did not consider iTunes a legal download service?


UPDATE (2:20 PM): In the Apple presentation on iTunes U. We need this for our school too. Did I mention that I have gone completely Mac? Yeah, it’s a trip. I used Apple machines all through college until my senior year when I had to use PageMaker (remember that? 1994) for the layout tool for the Santa Clara Review litmag on campus. So 12 years with Windows, and then I jumped back to Mac in July, and then again last month when the iPhone price drop forced me to get an iPhone. ha ha. Here’s a pic with all sorts of Educcuase/Apple lovliness.

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UPDATE (Thurs. 7:30 AM): Attending the CampusEAI Consortium address now to speak with the member institutions about how we worked with them to deploy our new Sakai LMS system at FIDM. Hooray! I guess this puts a nice cap on about a year and a half of research, RFPs, testing, data entry, etc. I really enjoy Sakai as a platform for online learning, it just makes sense for our growth and future goals. Got to meet Michael Korcuska of the Sakai Foundation and also everyone at CEAI face to face finally.

The top floor of the Sheraton is a beautiful place to hold a meeting. Awesome view, no smoke from the LA fires up here, though my thoughts are with my coworkers affected by the fires (as well as educational technology, just in case my boss is reading this!).

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UPDATE (Thurs. 10:30 AM): Listening to another great keynote about the Spellings report from the DOE. For everyone working in education, you should know about this. It is a fairly scathing report on education and how the US is basically failing in it’s goals to be at the top of the game in literacy, student achievement, and completion. There’s a panel up there right now debating the merits and reach of the report and how higher ed should respond or how it should change to meet the DOE’s expectations…whether it’s realistic at this stage or not.

This hits home for all educators and ed-techs. It is one thing to roll out IT solutions for students, but measuring effectiveness and efficiency is important to its success, and it must be done effectively in order to make sure that it makes sense for the school and ultimately the students. People (in the general sense, mind you) get all hot and bothered about accountability and results, and unfortunately a lot of decisions about pedagogy and infrastructure are not made or influenced by people on the front lines with students and teachers. I feel more attention needs to be paid to changing with the times and the students…and all too often in-fighting and politics play to much of a role in how decisions are made. These decisions can be about what curriculum to offer students, what textbook to use, what ERP solution is needed, whatever. At the end of the day, the student needs to learn something and the institution needs to prove that it actually taught the student reliably. Where I work, this isn’t that much of an issue, but I see murmurings of it and I experience it even more when talking to my counterparts at other schools here at Educause. I hope I am not over-simplifying things by saying that everyone should get over themselves.

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