EDUCAUSE Builds on IT Strengths

By Ojala, Marydee | Information Today, December 2015 | Go to article overview

EDUCAUSE Builds on IT Strengths


Ojala, Marydee, Information Today


It wasn't a theme at the annual EDUCAUSE (educause.edu) conference, held this year in Indianapolis, but LEGO bricks were widely in evidence. EDUCAUSE president and CEO John O'Brien used them as an analogy to explain his view of EDUCAUSE as building new solutions to the problems in higher education, exemplifying the thrill of possibilities, and combating public skepticism about higher education. Attendees created a LEGO mural and used the bricks for an interactive survey. (For news coming out of the conference, see the NewsBreak "IT Trends Revealed at EDUCAUSE" at bit.ly/lkH4uKc).

EDUCAUSE is a nonprofit association for information technologists in higher education. Its membership consists of institutions, corporations, and associations; there's no category for individual membership. The membership currently stands at some 2,300 academic institutions and more than 300 corporations. This translates to at least 68,000 individuals participating in EDUCAUSE. Of these, about 7,000 people from 43 countries attended the conference.

In a keynote speech, author Daniel Pink concentrated his remarks on motivation, noting that money is a motivator but an imperfect one. What's more important is that people feel they have autonomy and are contributing, which leads to employee engagement. In Andrew McAfee's keynote speech on the Second Machine Age, he suggested that science fiction is becoming reality and urged the audience to be geekier, more data-driven, and evidence-based--without surrendering their humanity.

Innovative Projects at Libraries

Most of the EDUCAUSE attendees represented the IT departments of their colleges and universities, many at the CIO level, although a smattering of librarians were also present. The sessions geared toward librarians were few but informative. The Innovation at the Nexus of Libraries and IT session featured initiatives from four university libraries: Hamilton College's interactive student yearbook for the class of 1966 (when the college was still all male), Brooklyn College's sale of book-scanning packages as a reaction to budget cuts, University of California-Los Angeles' (UCLA) Community App Store Architecture (CASA) for instructional web-based course materials, and Earlham College's venture into virtual worlds for language learning. …

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EDUCAUSE Builds on IT Strengths
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