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Educause 2006 materials

Here are some links to PDFs of my Educause presentation materials. Right now the handouts are 11×17 duplexed. I’ll see about changing them to 8.5×11 form after the conference.

moodle handout

online course evaluations powerpoint

online course evaluations handout


Yes, I am still here.

The summer and start of fall term have been nonstop this year. I’m currently preparing for Educause 2006. I’m presenting a session on online course evaluations called “From Pencils to Pixels: Course Evaluations Go from Online Pilot to Production.” I’m also doing a poster session on moodle called “Moodle for the Masses: Deploying an Enterprise-Wide, Open-Source CMS.” I’m looking forward to connecting with others in Educause interested in these topics.

To Dallas!


Podcasts and exits

I should mention that I did take something away from Scott McNealy’s keynote — the cost of exit. He made the point that when choosing a technology the cost of exit is often not considered. We should all know that any platform — OS, CMS, ERP, etc — will not be around forever and at some point we will “exit” from it. We often as a profession don’t factor that cost into our choices. I think that actually factored into our CMS choice of moodle, though we didn’t exactly think of it that way. With a move from Bb 5.5.1 to 6.x we knew there would be faculty training involved. We surmised it would be equivalent to changing CMSes. Most of our faculty were on the left side of our “Hybrid Environment” spectrum so many of the skills they’ve developed with Bb were transferable to another CMS. In addition we created a means for them to place content in their personal network folders and that content would be displayed within their courses in the CMS. We knew a few years ago that a CMS change would be coming so we wanted to have faculty rely less on the CMS as a content management system, because it does that poorly. The faculty that were using our content system had a transparent move to moodle — their content would be available in the moodle course automatically. Sure, it is displayed in a new window that requires a click by the student, but the faculty member didn’t have to do anything different to have the content displayed there. I’ve rambled enough about this. Basically I think my colleagues in IT are a smart bunch and I’m glad to be working with them.

Ok, podcasts. I just had to say again how great the podcasts are from the conference. I just got done listening to Rebecca Alm from MCAD talk about distance learning, studio learning and online critiques. I wish I had seen her session in 2004! Our department has talked to her department (all 2 of them!) over the past few years so it was great to see (hear) her interviewed. I think it’s important for Educause to highlight the kinds of things being done by small departments at small institutions. Much innovation can spring forth when resources are constrained.


Educause 2005 podcasts

As a followup to my Educause experiences, I’ve been listening to some of the podcasts from the conference at connect.educause.edu. I’ve heard some GREAT interviews with speakers from the conference. I really enjoy hearing these smart people casually talk about either what they presented or what they see as important issues. There is a section just for the conference connect.educause.edu/folksonomy/educause_annual. I think the RSS feeds aren’t going back to the start of the podcasts (10/24/05) so you might have to browse the site to find some of the earlier bits. But there is an embedded flash MP3 player that does a fine job of playing the podcasts on the individual post pages.

I think I’m getting as much out of the podcasts as I did at the conference. And I’m hoping Ann Stunden’s talk eventually appears online. It’s the kind of thing I’d like to send to women looking at the IT field. It was such an amazing talk, I wish it went longer!


Educause 2005 – Day 3, Friday

8:10 am, An Enterprise-Grade Model for Classroom Technology Support
The final day of the conference started with noticeable fewer people around. This session discussed the U of M’s automated system of classroom monitoring. It was quite impressive with complete information on the status of equipment in their 300+ classrooms. They use a system by AMX. Basically, they have completely standardized their classroom setups. They can monitor the status of all equipment from a central location. They have a simple yet complete tactile control pad (no touch screens) in the classrooms. They also have a “hotline” phone that rings the helpdesk where the classroom status can be displayed (and remotely controlled). They have found as they’ve increased the number of these standardized classrooms their calls have gone down. In 4 years they have not had a projector theft — realtime monitoring by campus police, local alarm and siren, and password protection on projectors. With their AMX system they run reports as to total minutes of usage for each item. It’s impressive. Also, one interesting oddity was that the office of classroom management is under the registrar and not IT at the U. They have extremely high uptimes for the classroom and an analysis was done equating that to tuition efficiency and hourly operating cost (the comparison was a little weak). Afterwards a colleague and I thought this talk seemed familiar. Then we remembered we saw him at COTF IX in 2003 talking about “Classroom Technology: Developing The Overall Plan.”

9:30 am, Sakai and the Higher Education Community: The Road Ahead
Well, I didn’t pay too close attention to everything that was discussed. Sakai is framed as a collaborative learning environment — not just for classes. They are working to integrate the 3 P’s – perl, python and PHP – for homegrown modules. Stage 1 was the project, now they’re moving into the next stage of the Sakai foundation to sustain it. Well, since I’m not trained in java Sakai still leaves me in the dust. It’s just not as accessible as PHP and as supportable for smaller institutions without a java focus. Sakai looks like the CMS solution for large Universities. moodle is the solution for smaller institutions.

10:30 am, General Session: Right and Wrong in Cyberspace
This general session wasn’t as stinky as the first 2. Of course they couldn’t hope to cover these topics in an hour, the moderator — Randy Cohen who writes the NYTimes magazine column “The Ethicist” — was quite funny. Many security, privacy, and public information concerns were raised. The session is available online as video and is worth a watch.

And with that Educause 2005 ended. I wasn’t looking for anything in particular this year and perhaps that made it not as rewarding as previous years. But the LAMS presentation was the highpoint for new material for me.


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