Further reflections on EDUCAUSE 2015

EDUCAUSE 2015 annual conference logoLast week was the major EDUCAUSE annual conference.  I already shared materials and thoughts from my various presentations and events.  Here I’d like to offer some more observations.

And they aren’t in any particular order.  They are also personal reflections, since the even was HUGE, hosting around 7000 people, and I’m just one person.

Etextbooks were fairly present.  Sessions discussed them in terms of data analytics.  Even classic publisher Norton is getting into the game, with Smartwork, ZAPS (Psychology Labs), and InQuizitive.

Data analytics were all over the place.  Publishers, LMSes, CIOs all want more of this.

Casey Green takes a question.

Casey Green takes a question, speaking of excellent data.

Course improvement.  The Sydney-led BEST Network is an example of this, as is the very interesting Smart Sparrow (I hope to blog more about them later on).  This might complement, but is different from data analytics.

Open.  Many quiet signs of OER.

Growing integration of virtual and physical: this just keeps happening, despite our popular fears of the internet devouring human life.  I mentioned the nice ELI virtual session, .

Participants seemed eager to work both virtual and face-to-face realms to improve communication. As a small example, I was only able to see a few minutes of Michelle Weise‘s talk, “What’s After “Next” in Higher Education?” On Twitter I asked her for access to the slides, and she promptly webbed them up.  (Thank you!)  We never actually conversed, but being in the same room led to a productive online exchange (for me, at least).

And Twitter!  Things were on fire.  Aras Bozkurt helpfully created this social network analysis of Twitter discussion and influencers, on the fly, during the event itself, because he’s awesome that way:

Twitter ELI15 Aras Bozkurt

In short: the old conference walls are continuing to tumble down, brick by pixel.  Not all the way, but watch this trend.

Gaming.  More talk of gamification, not so much about games.

Who was there?  Demographically and politically, I was pleased to see women and people of color.  I was also delighted to see so many non-US folks in my sessions.  However, that’s what *I* saw.  I don’t know the demographics overall, and I was hunting for underrepresented people.

Institutionally, I’m not sure all of higher education was well represented or addressed.  I saw many R1 and liberal arts campus people, probably above their statistical distribution.  There were state schools, but not much discussion of their politics.  And community colleges seemed underrepresented, as in:

Audrey Williams: "I will try to quantify but mostly I have felt all week this is not the conference for me at a comm college. 1/2 #EDU15"

Audrey Williams: “I will try to quantify but mostly I have felt all week this is not the conference for me at a comm college. 1/2 #EDU15”

It was very much a CIO event, not so much a teaching and learning conference.

Overall mood EDUCAUSE 2015 wasn’t very buzzy about new technologies.  It was neither gloomy nor optimistic about issues (it was very cheerful at an interpersonal level).  It felt as if this community sees itself on the middle of a curve, not at an inflection point.  I don’t know, honestly, if this group is isolated from some political and cultural trends, or just focused very practically in what I saw.

If you were there, does this describe your experience?  If not, please share what I missed!

PS: this post is a little telegraphic, a bit truncated, for reasons that’ll become evident soon.

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2 Responses to Further reflections on EDUCAUSE 2015

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