Long, strange trip report: Educause 2010

I made the annual pilgramage to the annual Educause meeting. This year’s event was in Anaheim. Here’s a quick summary of the topics, sessions, projects, and ideas that struck me as most interesting, in no particular order. The program, with lots of links to videos, twitter feeds, slides, and related resources can be found at http://www.educause.edu/E2010

  • Customer Relationship Managment (CRM) as a new tool in our toolchest
    A number of schools both large and small are using CRM to track the on-going contact that they have with prospective students, enrolled students, alumni, faculty, and other stakeholders. Are these specialized tools duplicative of what we provide through Banner and Hyperion, or is this something we need to explore? One instance of how CRM was being used at a virtual high school in Utah seemed both incredibly powerful, but also slightly big-brotherish. How do you balance the improved services you can offer through this sort of data mining with the obvious privacy issues that come with allowing this kind of complete view of an individuals use of our systems and our interactions with individuals?
  • Is MIT obsolete?
    Neil Gershenfeld from MIT gave a fascinating keynote talk (video available) on the future of computing and fabrication. While his vision of things that think may not be anything we need to worry about in the next five years, his views on the future of institutions of higher education in a networked world (see his article Is MIT obsolete? ) provides a fascinating example of how scientific research is changing.
  • fair information practices/privacy frameworks
    Tracy Mitrano from Cornell gave an interesting talk entitled “International Privacy Laws for Global Universities” that compared the US’s fairly lax privacy standards with the far more articulated privacy standards that the EU has adopted. Most interesting for me as we continue to think about shifting services to the cloud was her analysis of fair information practices that focus on informing users of our systems about what use (if any) will be made of their data. Tracy and I will be working on creating a set of privacy questions framed around these fair information practices that we will be able to use as we evaluate cloud providers.
  • seeking evidence of impact
    The Educause Learning Inititiative (ELI) has launched an ambitious program to find what they are calling ‘evidence of impact’. As they write on their website for the project:

    As the pace of technology change continues unabated, institutions are faced with numerous decisions and choices with respect to support for teaching and learning. With many options and constrained budgets, faculty and administrators must make careful decisions about what practices to adopt and about where to invest their time, effort, and fiscal resources. As critical as these decisions are, the information available about the impact of these innovations is often scarce, uneven, or both. What evidence do we have that these changes and innovation are having the impact we hope for?

    More info on the project can be found at http://www.educause.edu/ELI/SEI . I wonder how our own efforts in the Teaching with Technology Blog might both contribute to this, and learn from this.

  • next generation learning challenges grant opportunities
    The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has awarded Educause $20 million to

    “identify and scale technology-enabled approaches to dramatically improve college readiness and completion, particularly for low-income young adults. The program will provide grants, gather evidence about effective practices, and create a collaborative community.”

    We discussed this program at the Oberlin Group/CLAC meeting, and while it wasn’t obvious how this might be applicable to schools like Middlebury, there was interest in how we might collaborate on expanding successful practices on our campuses to reach other populations of learners.

  • idea of order
    At the meeting of CLIR CIOs that I attended, we read in advance CLIR’s recent publication “The idea of order” which contains a series of essays on the future of the library, the future of the book, the cost of pbooks (aka books on paper). Given that we tend to have our heads down with our local problems and projects, I keep wondering how we can create space on campus to look out a bit more into the future in order to understand how the environment is changing, and how we need to prepare for that future.
  • obeclac collaboration ideas
    We had a joint meeting of members of the Oberlin Group and CLAC to explore how these two groups might collaborate. To seed the conversation, we ran a uservoice poll to collect ideas. Those ideas can be found at http://obeclac2010.uservoice.com . From these, we identified two promising areas: identity management and ebooks/ereaders. We’ll be forming two working groups that will we hope generate actual projects or spaces for sharing relevant information. Stay tuned!
  • shared shelf presentation
    Jeremy Stynes from ARTStor and I co-presented on Shared Shelf. Our slides can be found at http://www.educause.edu/ir/library/powerpoint/E10_208998.ppt . Jeremy did most of the talking, as well he should have, since he knows more about it!
  • CNI presentation
    I attended the annual ‘What’s new at CNI’ presentation. Cliff Lynch and Joan Lippincott took us through a whirl-wind tour of the highlights of things that CNI is paying attention to. The list includes

    • data curation
    • archiving the personal
    • special collections: how to connect to audiences, how to curate digital special collections
    • netgen learners
    • mobile devices
    • spaces: libraries, labs
    • how to be responsive to how learners want to interact with info
    • data curation services: how to manage balance of payment, and trust
    • specialized cataloging and collection development for foreign languages
      Of particular interest to me (as always) is the CNI program for the year (http://www.cni.org/program/ ) which lays out their plans for the year. In addition, their website has a growing amount of high-quality content including podcast.
  • NITLE Advisory Board Meeting
    I attended the advisory board meeting for NITLE. I learned more about their efforts to develop a more robust consulting service, their work in digital humanities, and the re-organizational efforts.
  • clir-cio meeting
    I attended a half-day meeting of CIOs from CLIR schools. We talked about ERP systems, CRM systems (see above) , reporting tools, the storage of institutional data, google apps, the changing role of IT and the library on our campuses, budgeting, and other vexing, complicated topics. A few specific ideas for projects were bandied about:

    • a guide to thinking about privacy and the cloud (see above)
    • an unconference on the future of liaison programs
    • opportunities for collaboration around opencourseware (see obeclac note above)
  • Open education, analytics, CRM, and feedback loops
    http://www.educause.edu/E2010/Program/FS16 (video available)
    David Wiley gave a fascinating talk on open education and data, describing an instructional design process that is in use at a virtual high school in Utah, but provides a view into a future of curriculum development more broadly. Through the use of analytics, the model suggests how feedback loops can be created to help improve the quality of open educational resources through tracking their use and their impact on learning outcomes. What is unclear is how applicable this model might be for domains of knowledge that might not lend themselves as easily to this form of instruction. Nonetheless, a fascinating view of how these systems can work together.
  • IdentityFinder
    From the vendor floor, spent some time talking with the folks from Identity Finder, who sell a product that helps make sure that we are properly securing personally identifiable information. (Security team might find this useful.) They are rolling out an update next year to allow scanning of cloud services.
  • Google Apps
    Chris Norris and I spent some quality time on the vendor floor with a rep from Google Apps. We threw our hardest questions at him, and we got back some useful information about how Google handles security and privacy. We’ll be posting an update to the Google Apps blog shortly.
  • Garnter Group
    Chris and I also had a meeting with the folks from the Gartner Group to talk about whether or not Middlebury might want to subscribe to this service. I suspect that they’ll be coming back to campus to provide us further details about how their services might complement our planning efforts.


  • #   Adam Franco on 10.19.10 at 1:51 pm     

    Thanks for the update, Mike!

  • #   Ron Liebowitz on 10.24.10 at 9:55 pm     

    Mike: assuming internet access would be available to make it worthwhile, one possible item for the next generation learning challenges grant comp (the Gates Foundation) might be MIL’s foreign language programs. The initial courses are geared for 9th-12th grade, but it is conceivable materials will be developed for much younger (3rd grade?) students. If so, this is certainly one area (languages) that can help students prepare for college and beyond.

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