EDUCAUSE 2018

Here I am, the weekend before the Tuesday morning I’ll be flying out to Denver for EDUCAUSE 2018.  I’m getting ready–I made sure my spouse had my itineraries and conference information, I’m making plans with people, reviewing my schedule yet again, and generally getting in the frame of mind I need to be in to get the most out of the event.

This will be my 13th EDUCAUSE Annual Conference.   My first was in 2004, and I’ve been to every one since 2010.  I’m very fortunate in that I’ve cultivated a great network of people that I get to experience the conference with, and their perspectives continue to educate and amaze me.  I hope that I give something back to them as well.

I’m looking forward to reconnecting with everyone, meeting new friends, learning great things (I’m particularly interested in diversity in the profession, data warehousing, furthering my professional growth, and the future of higher ed).  I also love Denver–I lived in Colorado for a year and a half when I was in grad school, and driving to Denver for shows or tourism was always a treat.  I love the crisp mountain air and the brilliant sunshine (although the weather forecast says that will be in short supply).

As always, most of my conference suggestions are evergreen and are in this blog (just search the EDUCAUSE tag).  Denver’s altitude and dry air means hydration is important, especially for those of us nearly at sea level.   Understand you’ll be going full tilt for 12-16 hours every day, and plan for sleep and exercise to balance that.  And don’t go too crazy with the food and drink (and, I suppose, other things.)  But definitely go to dinner with people, and linger at the bar as well.

If you don’t know me, say hi.  If you do, of course also say hi.  We’ll do lunch, or dinner, or second dinner, or just hang out late at the hotel bar.  Think of deep, profound questions to ask people you meet–they will be primed to give you deep, detailed answers, trust me.  Keep the fires alive after the conference too–you can always meet up later on, and decide to collaborate on other things.  (Related:  Come to our poster session.)  Also, I’ve never met someone–even the biggest “rock stars” of EDUCAUSE, who haven’t been happy to say hi and shake hands with anyone.  That’s why they’re there.

Also, I apologize in advance for my Twitter being full of #edu18 starting Tuesday morning.  If you really don’t care I would understand if you mute me for a bit.  But not only do I like sharing with others, it’s also how I keep my notes of the conference.

See some of you in Denver!

 

EDUCAUSE 2017–Quick Takes

In previous years I’ve done a complete blow-by-blow of the entire conference, and that’s really not useful anymore–many of the experiences are the same or similar from year to year, and honestly, I know and talk to a lot of people and to try and name them all would just be self-indulgent.  I’ll just go over some of my personal observations:

  • I was plagued by a few issues from home which sometimes distracted my focus but also simultaneously gave me clarity on the things I need to be doing to improve the situation on campus.  I have started to formulate a plan.  I know John O’Brien in his opening speech said that “your emails will still be there” when you get back, and that is certainly true, but the job may not be if you don’t address the issues.
  • As always I got to have some great conversations with my Frye classmates.  It was a great time to get a reading and just make sure we’re doing what we need to be and to work through challenges.
  • I was again blown away by the quality of the EDUCAUSE Award winners.  I know that’s funny to say since I helped pick them but to hear them talk just makes me even happier that we were able to select them.
  • I was excited about the opening keynote the most, but it ended up being a lot of “This is what a 1960s futurist thinks of the future” stuff, very optimistic without any sense of the issues that the future he describes would bring; and a few descriptions and terms that felt very outdated with our current sensibilities.  It was fun to watch the Twitter stream slowly start to become more skeptical of the predictions and context thereof as the speech progressed.
  • The second keynote also brought up some issues of big data, but it was interesting to hear how you can be persuasive with data and change people’s behavior.
  • Temple Grandin was an incredible whirlwind and her talk gave us a window into her mind.  She is a powerful example of why people on the spectrum are not “broken”, they’re just different, and helping them use their difference positively is a tremendous benefit to society.  It fit in well with the other thoughts of diversity, equity, and inclusion that I interacted with during the conference.
  • Much of my conference dealt with issues of “diversity, equity, and inclusion”.  I went to a lot of sessions about it, and thought about it a lot, especially in the context of the recent revelations from the entertainment world.   Also, as I am now working in a considerably more diverse environment than my previous institution, the ideas of how to keep the experience of my employees as inclusive of their differences as possible is foremost in my mind, and providing them the opportunities they need and deserve will continue to be a priority.
  • One thing (as I finish up this abandoned draft from a few months ago ;-)) that I’ve been thinking of is what it means to be good at things.  Defining success and whatnot.  I’m still working on that in some ways.  Stay tuned.
  • A shout-out to Tim Chester and his organizing the second annual (unofficial) EDUCAUSE Fun Run.  The obvious choice was up the steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum, and we had about 20 people this time (in Anaheim in 2016 it was three of us!)

All in all, EDUCAUSE remains my premier professional development event, and I will continue to participate fully,  as an attendee, as a volunteer whenever my professional association needs me, and hopefully this year as a co-presenter with some great colleagues.  I cannot recommend it highly enough and hope to see many of you in Denver this fall.

 

EDUCAUSE 2017

I should probably be packing for EDUCAUSE 2017 at this point, but I’m going to blog instead.

Again, go back through the blog for my evergreen observations about the conference.  I’m really looking forward to this year though.  Philadelphia’s a great city for a conference, the conference center is great (although I hope they’ve improved the wayfinding signs since 2011, because they were very confusing back then). I love taking the train to a conference instead of flying (going to NERCOMP in Providence on the train was a treat as well.)  My standard trick of “find people you like to hear, and go to their presentations” worked so well I actually had to cull a few presentations because I had too many choices that way.  I have also found myself making actual appointments with friends and colleagues to make sure I see them (although I almost always find everyone I want to check in with at least once.)  I think I will have to eat dinner 6 times a day though to get to everyone I want to dine with.

If you’re somehow a fan of this blog or my Twitter or whatever, and we’ve never been formally introduced, please take the time to seek me out and say hi.  Certainly saying “I’m a big fan of your blog!” is a great way to break the ice and start a conversation!   I may drag you out to dinner or drinks with whomever I’m with, though, so be warned.   Also, keep in mind the big round lunch tables are a great way to meet people–follow up with someone from a presentation, someone you met briefly in the hallway, etc.  I also usually end up in the CIO lounge a bit, if only because of the high concentration of people I like to talk to, and I suggest you do the same.  I’ll be frequently Tweeting during the conference, and probably sharing my location when I’m somewhere I want company.  And if you’re trying to exercise and want to come out, please join us in the fun run Thursday morning (I’ll be in the slow group).

See many of you tomorrow!

EDUCAUSE 2016 Pre-Departure

Well, the time of year is upon us again:  The EDUCAUSE Annual Conference.  This time, as in 2013 and 2010, it is in Anaheim, California.  I’m finishing up this post from the airport, waiting for my flight to Anaheim.

Continue reading EDUCAUSE 2016 Pre-Departure

EDUCAUSE 2015–Part 2

One thing I forgot to mention about Wednesday is that a few weeks before the conference I got an email from a video producer for EdTech Magazine (published by CDW) asking if I wanted to be interviewed for videos they were making about EDUCAUSE.  I figured the only right answer to that question was “sure!” so I said yes.  I got a call sheet with several questions on it and a warning that they would not have hair and makeup on site so to arrive camera ready.  A few extra brushes of the hair, and a good shave were thus necessities in the morning.

Continue reading EDUCAUSE 2015–Part 2

EDUCAUSE 2015–Part 1

I’ve been home for a while now and it’s a good time to collect my thoughts and musings about the conference. Continue reading EDUCAUSE 2015–Part 1

Miscellaneous EDUCAUSE thoughts

It’s now over a week from EDUCAUSE and I’ve been thinking a lot about its impact on me and how things went.  Here’s a few random logistical, personal, and professional thoughts:

Continue reading Miscellaneous EDUCAUSE thoughts

EDUCAUSE Day 2/3

Read Part 1 here.

Again, I woke up at 4:00 or so on Wednesday, despite being out a bit later the night before.  I understand waking up early when EDUCAUSE is in Denver or Anaheim or Seattle, but it seems wrong on the East Coast.  I guess I just don’t sleep well in hotels.  I did kind of get back to sleep a little bit and got out of bed at 6 to shower and get ready for my first meeting, a 7:00am appointment to be part of a focus group.

Continue reading EDUCAUSE Day 2/3

EDUCAUSE Day 0/1

I had an uneventful flight into Orlando, despite waking up before 4am.  I got my hotel shuttle, was able to check into my room early, and took a nap.  I then got to the convention center around 1:30pm, got my registration badge, and hung out waiting to see anyone I might know.   Sure enough, I found some people and we grabbed a quick lunch at the buffet at the Rosen Center hotel. Continue reading EDUCAUSE Day 0/1

Preparing for EDUCAUSE

I’m just over 36 hours away at this point from being picked up entirely too early by a car service to head to Newark Airport to fly to Orlando, Florida for the EDUCAUSE 2014 Annual Conference.   This will be my 9th EDUCAUSE Annual by my count, and this one is different because it’s my first as a member of the EDUCAUSE 2015 Program Committee.  That means we get to have a meeting with our committee and the 2014 Committee, where they share their wisdom and give us advice for our next year.  There’s a lot to do for next year and it will be great to get started. Continue reading Preparing for EDUCAUSE