a blog about technology management

Educause 2005 – Day 1, Wednesday

With Wilma looming as an unknown, Educause 2005 began.

8:15 am, General Session : Welcome to the Participation Age
Scott McNealy was funny at times. But it seemed more like an ad for Sun. And I don’t think he adjusted for the fact we’re from higher education — he didn’t seem to “get” the audience. It was a rather disappointing start.

10:30 am, Listening to the Client: Connecting IT and the Academy
While this was a good session, it was clearly aimed at institutions that have an almost hostile relationship with their IT departments. This cast IT in a very service-oriented position with respect to the campus and the users. At Augsburg we’re far more collaborative and tend to lead on some initiatives or at least participate fully. The need for data-driven analysis over “death anecdote” was useful. It was also good to point out that IT is a young member, 30 years, of the academy. MIT noted their repeated survey process. Stanford contracted with a survey company. Much info can be found here.

11:40 am, Sharing Learning Designs: Building the LAMS Community Web Site
I was planning to go to Beyond Chalk but felt I had my fill of surveys and made a sudden change to this session. This was perhaps the best session this year I saw. I first heard of LAMs back in May when it was announced it would be integrated with moodle. I thought it was neat, but didn’t really get LAMs yet. In this session we saw the presenter build a LAMs learning design in a minute and had us go through it (many of us had laptops). To understand LAMS you have to understand what they mean by learning designs. A learning design is a sequence of collaborative learning activities. Some activities involve solo work and others are group work. Typically an assessment piece happens at the end. The presenter built a basic linear LD made up of a question, a vote (survey), a discussion and a chat with us in random groups. This was all built with a graphical drag-and-drop interface and looked really easy. It’s mainly flash-driven. The instructor view was very nice — you could monitor where people were in the LD. It was really cool. I think LDs have some great potential for web-based instruction. They beat learning objects because LDs are easily modified and customized by faculty. Learning objects tend to be more closed and “finished” and not easily adapted. He also mentioned the new community site for sharing LDs.

12:30 pm Lunch
Lunch was lunch. Caught up on emails. There was a lack of beverages available — I suspect there is some rule with the convention center that events couldn’t provide them. There were A LOT of pop machines available though! Interestingly the machines took credit cards, nice.

2:15 pm, Instructional Technologists Constituent Group
This was the first meeting of this new group. A lot of time was spent trying to figure out what the group is. There are a lot of different backgrounds and positions in the group. Some people were alone in their role at their institution, some were part of a larger team. A list of key questions was generated. There was good discussion about pedagogy, technology, instructional design, advocacy vs agency, teaching faculty, gaming, products vs philosophy — things were all over the place. I ducked out to go to a session and missed a small-group breakout. I’m looking forward to see what this group becomes. One person who oversees another group mentioned it took 2 years to define the other group. This was a first meeting of more to come.

3:50 pm, When Space Becomes More Than A Place
This session focused a lot on process and issues with planning. One key concept for me was to “build to pedagogy” rather than have a “built pedagogy.” It was important to design a flexible space that doesn’t force a single pedagogy. Emory University’s Cox Hall was noted as a recent good design. Darmouth’s Collaborative Facilities site was also noted as a resource.

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