Inquiry through Blended Learning

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Location: Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Monday, November 12, 2012

EDUCAUSE Conference - November 2012

I had the opportunity to travel to Denver, Colorado for the EDUCAUSE 2012 Annual Conference.  This also allowed me to take a a side-trip to Boulder to visit Christy, Charles, Benjamin, and Noah,  I made sure capture the weekend in photos :)

Here my four major conference themes as well as a set of rambling notes from the conference.

1) BYOD (Bring your own devices)
From a student perspective potentially it helps them to personalize their learning through the use and customization of their own devices and potentially it provides cost and space savings to higher education institutions (need for fewer institutional computers, freeing up more computer labs for classroom space).  The Calgary Board of Education is also providing K to 12 students with the option to bring their own devices to schools and has put together an excellent policy website on this issue:

A discussion about the results of the 2012 ECAR Annual Study of Students and IT suggests that fewer students own desktop computers but that they expect to be able to use them at higher education institutions for writing and research assignments.

BYOD Educause Library

2012 ECAR Annual Study of Students and IT

2) Google Apps
Many American higher education institutions have adopted Google Apps (students already using these applications and institutional cost savings).  A fascinating session – a group of 20 something Google employees trying to deal with an angry group of IT and Teaching & Learning Centre Directors in their 50s and 60s. 

The issue – how do you deal with a service provider (Google) that does not charge for their services and has no versioning cycle for their applications (continual change rather than version 1 moving to version 2)

The solution – Google has created the following website to provide IT and Teaching & Learning Centre Directors with updates and opportunities for feedback on their applications:

3) Learning Analytics
American foundations and the federal government are funding large scale projects where they are trying to aggregate student data from multiple higher institutions to identify trends and pathways related to student success and engagement.

Predictive Analytics Reporting (PAR) Framework

Learning Analytics Educause Library

4) Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCS)
This is a trend that I have trouble understanding – from my perspective it appears to be like a quarterback throwing a Hail Mary pass during the last play of the game.  On the one hand – I can see how MOOCs provide free access to learning opportunities to anyone in the world but on the other hand I don’t see what higher institutions (that are already stressed to provide IT and faculty development support) are getting out of the process?  Also, it just looks like massive content distribution to me – not real, meaningful learning opportunities.

There appears to be huge pressure from American higher institution Board of Trustees/Governors to participate in this kind of online initiatives (a number of institutions have even created new Vice Provost of Online Learning positions).

What you need to know about MOOCs – Chronicle of Higher Education

What campus leaders need to know about MOOCS – EDUCAUSE Sept 2012