Tag Archives: educause


As anyone who was there can attest, EDUCAUSE 2011 was an awesome conference — awesome, and busy. We had a great time chatting with other attendees, demoing our college readiness course in the exhibit hall, and soaking up as much edtech expertise and enthusiasm as possible.

Our video guy Ian put together a time lapse video of people moving through the EDUCAUSE exhibit hall. See if you can spot yourself!


The music in the video is by Dubology.

Dizzying, right?

Beyond marveling at the sheer number of people in the exhibit hall, the other highlight of our conference experience was hearing your visions of the next generation of learning. Our team spent two days roaming the exhibit hall, asking attendees to answer one simple question:

What do you see as the future of education?

From cloud computing to mobile learning to personalized education, your answers covered all the latest tech innovations. Other predictions: “global,” “accessible,” “challenging,” and “very different” (now there’s a vision we can get behind!).

We entered each respondent into a drawing for an iPad; Bob Cape, the CIO of the College of Charleston, was the lucky winner.

What was the highlight of your EDUCAUSE experience?



EDUCAUSE 2011 Speaker Spotlight: Bill Allison, Director of Campus Technology Services at UC Berkeley

EDUCAUSE 2011 is finally here… and along with it, our final Speaker Spotlight post.

Bill Allison is the Director of Campus Technology Services at the University of California, Berkeley. He’s leading a session tomorrow (Thursday, October 20) entitled You Need to Go Mobile Now, but How? The UC/UCLA Mobile Web Framework. Bill was kind enough to answer our questions about the intersection of higher ed and mobile frameworks, EDUCAUSE, and more.

Missed our previous Speaker Spotlight and other EDUCAUSE-related posts? Find them here.

1. What is driving the need for higher education institutions to go mobile?

It’s simple – that’s the platform our constituents are moving to, in droves.  Just this week Response magazine reported that mobile traffic increased 153% last year – with 87% of traffic coming from small screen devices.  We see these findings mirrored in our own traffic and survey data as well.

Second, as the name suggests – mobile means conveniently sized, networked computing that travels with people everywhere.  As an entire ecosystem of consumer services from Amazon to Zipcar has migrated to mobile platforms, people expect to do all their business there.  For a university like Cal, going mobile enables us to effectively reach and engage with students, faculty and staff.

2. What are the biggest hurdles universities face in taking on mobile web framework implementation?

The good news is that implementing technology like the UC mobile web framework or commercial mobile services isn’t that hard in and of itself.   Like most IT, the real barriers arise when a team sets out to enable features that require information and data from other systems.  Integrating multiple data sets is required to deploy many of the more useful mobile applications.  University mobile initiatives languish or drag on because of immature data governance models (read: politics), institutional risk aversion, and because many core systems, especially legacy applications, aren’t hooked up to modern data messaging and middleware technologies.  These challenges are magnified for mobile applications that *write* to systems such as course enrollment as well as reading from them.

Most universities can implement a basic mobile platform itself in a matter of weeks (or even days) – especially for the basic elements of a campus primary mobile presence, such as http://m.berkeley.edu that offer campus maps, campus directory, bus schedules, news, events, links to university videos.  After that, the next wave of capability will bring applications that provide on-demand information with minimal customization.   One of the advantages I’ve seen with the UC mobile web framework is that it is designed so that the current maintainers of any  web-based system can modify their application’s presentation layer and logic to bring mobility into their existing applications relatively easily.  The framework itself is run centrally, but the implementation of mobile applications is distributed, and in parallel.

3. What have been your greatest lessons in developing the mobile infrastructure at UC Berkeley?

The power of a framework in our environment has been its appeal to a widely distributed set of stakeholders and developers, focusing them on being productive on a common technology.  The risk before we had this common approach was that the developers and teams were starting to fragment into many divergent approaches.  Now we have a common strategy that has rolled out across UC Berkeley (and now even more widely across the UC system), and we have focused a single team on improving that framework to leverage the investment widely to benefit everyone.   The framework provides a lot of leverage in that it is a single service that solves a lot of developers’ needs in providing robust mobile content and applications – but the design lets distributed developers work in their existing programming languages with significant control over their content.

Another insight came out as we sought to get more widespread adoption of the mobile framework at UC Berkeley.  We took an approach to training that centered around free classes and workshops in how to use the mobile web framework, coupled with incentives for class participants to take concrete and immediate action with what they learned in class.  We hold contests for class attendees where they can win iPads as prizes.  Response has been great, and staff are better retaining what they learn since they immediately practice what they learned in class.  The net result is that the University has made rapidly accelerating progress in enabling mobile applications compared to where we were a year ago.

4. How do you envision a fully mobile-enabled future for higher education? How far away are we from that future?

We are much closer to this future than you’d think.  With Google’s Chromebook and Android strategy, Amazon’s new Kindle with their family of “cloud” readers and players, and Apple’s iCloud the clear trend is for mobile devices as the tool to use cloud services, and the decoupling of the mobile device from the computer, which has been the paradigm since the Palm was introduced more than 10 years ago.   The criticality of a particular physical device, including concerns like on-device encryption will diminish rapidly as convenience and the benefits of abstraction of these problems prevail.  The expectation is that storage on devices will be volatile. While not common yet, there will be a diminishing need to have a separate computer and mobile device.

With that in mind – let’s step away from the technology side of the equation.   A mobile enabled future means that once challenging problems – like making clickers available to everyone in classrooms, enabling a student to maximize their time by watching a video for a course on their bus ride home, or eliminating the strain of lugging around twenty pounds of traditional printed overpriced textbooks – go away.   The most exciting part of the mobile future is that the focus will be less on the technology itself, and more on creative use of the devices’ capabilities — connected with the disciplines of the faculty and students using them. We’re now seeing the beginning of academic applications we never even dreamed of.  One UCLA professor built an Android mobile application to crowd-source identification and tagging of native trees now being ported to the UC mobile framework.  The volume of information she got from volunteers with mobile phones would have required an army of paid grad students in the past, and the IT resources required to make this all happen? Tiny.

5. Are there any sessions or speakers you’re particularly excited about seeing at this year’s Educause conference?

Yes – there are many.  What I’m most excited about though is the amazing deep conversations I’ll have with colleagues from all over the country and the world.   People in higher ed IT today work in a very collaborative field with some crazy challenges. Most of us are extremely energetic and committed to continually improving ourselves and the field.  Our industry is quite different than the corporate world (where I came from originally), and we benefit from sharing and collaborating.  One of my teams, for example, created the Kuali Ready business continuity tool for the University of California. At first we ran it just for Berkeley for about $100k a year, then we ran it for the 10 UC campuses for a significant savings. We are now a service provider through the Kuali Consortium, and run Kuali Ready on a SaaS model for over 130 institutions that benefit from lower insurance premiums and dramatically lower costs than doing it themselves – somewhere around $4k a year.  In the current climate we get to be very creative, and nowhere is this more focused than when we all get together to compare notes.

Find Us at EDUCAUSE … Win an iPad!

You heard us right.

Attending EDUCAUSE 2011, and want a shot at a free iPad?

All you have to do is this:

1) Find one of our team members in the exhibit hall on Wednesday or Thursday. We’ll either be manning booth 1258, or walking around the hall carrying Polaroid cameras and small whiteboards.
2) Write down your answer to one simple question: What do you see as the future of education?
3) Let us take your picture. We’ll snap a Polaroid of you posing with your answer, then display it on a bulletin board at our booth.

We’ll automatically enter every person pictured into a drawing for an iPad, which will be held on Thursday afternoon. Afterward, we hope you’ll take your Polaroid home as an EDUCAUSE keepsake.

See you in Philly!

For all our EDUCAUSE blog posts, please click here.

10 Tips to Maximize Your Presence at EDUCAUSE

Getting ready for the EDUCAUSE Annual Conference in Philadelphia? Here are 10 ways to help you make the most of the conference. For more EDUCAUSE-related blog posts, click here.

1. Prepare.

Take a look at the program, decide what sessions you want to attend, and think about your goals for the conference. Whether you’re eager to network with a certain subset of people, gain knowledge in a new area, or conduct vendor research, setting out your goals ahead of time will help you create a general plan of action for the conference.

2. Don’t let work distract you.

From October 18-21, your work should be attending EDUCAUSE: going to sessions, networking, and sharing knowledge. Don’t let yourself get so sucked into email and other work responsibilities that you miss the opportunity to learn from others and immerse yourself in the EDUCAUSE experience. Instead, give yourself “assignments” during the conference: consider writing a short summary every night, including lessons learned, action items for once you get home, and any ideas or contacts you want to follow up on. Reflecting and organizing your thoughts for just a few minutes before bed each evening can bring your conference productivity to a whole new level.

3. Put yourself out there.

This one might sound obvious – after all, what are conferences for if not networking – but it can be easy to fall into the pattern of sticking with your colleagues or existing contacts. Instead, take advantage of the opportunity to create new relationships. Spur of the moment chats after sessions or during downtime can be the most productive part of the experience. If you are attending EDUCAUSE with colleagues, make an effort to attend different sessions to bring maximum benefit to your institution once you’re back home.

4. Visit vendors.

The opening reception, as well as daily morning and afternoon breaks, will take place in the Exhibit Hall. Touch base with any vendors your institution currently uses, and make a goal to check out at least one or two new vendors that interest you. EDUCAUSE can be a great opportunity to nurture existing vendor relationships or begin new ones. Even if you’re not in the market for new services, checking out vendors can help give you a better sense of the services and technology that other institutions are leveraging.

5. Attend all different types of sessions.

Does a session sound really interesting — but not very relevant to your job? Attend anyway. Sessions that don’t seem directly applicable may actually end up being the most productive. You’ll gain insight into a new area or issue and be able to offer an outsider’s perspective. The less at home you feel in a session, the more you’ll pay attention — and the more you’ll learn. Be sure to ask questions too. You’re at the conference to learn, so don’t worry if your inquiry seems “basic” — there are no stupid questions!

6. Make a business card plan.

Decide ahead of time your strategy for exchanging contact info with other attendees. Whether you’re into old-fashioned business cards, or want to use a virtual business card service like Bump or Hashable, make sure that your system is reliable and easy to implement. After all, networking is one of the largest benefits of the conference — you don’t want to be stuck scribbling your email address on a sheet of paper your new acquaintance will almost undoubtedly throw out (whether by accident or on purpose!).

7. Don’t try to do everything.

Pick a reasonable number of activities, and be sure to allow time for wandering around, grabbing a bite to eat or a drink with new contacts, and relaxing. Be strategic with your time, and don’t overbook. Focus on a few key topics. If you try to stretch yourself in all directions, you’ll just end up frustrated and tired.

8. Enjoy Philadelphia!

Hey, EDUCAUSE is a “vacation” too! Check out our list of the Top 10 Walkable Destinations from Educause 2011 for cultural excursions, bars, and restaurants. Just a few trips outside the Convention Center will help you come back to the conference with fresh eyes and renewed vigor.

9. Join an EDUCAUSE Constituency Group.

Joining a Constituency Group, or CG, will allow you to interface with colleagues dealing with similar challenges, learn from their mistakes, and share your own experience. Most CGs interact online on listservs during the year and meet up at EDUCAUSE to discuss pressing issues. Click here for a list of EDUCAUSE CGs.

10. Set aside time to reflect and share knowledge after the conference.

Create an action plan and list out any projects that you’ve committed to or envisioned during the conference. Share notes with colleagues, offer to give a presentation to your department, and set aside time to go through your notes and brainstorm possible uses for the new knowledge and information you’ve received.

EDUCAUSE 2011 Speaker Spotlight: Dr. Jim Linksz, President of Bucks County Community College

EDUCAUSE 2011 is fast approaching. As a lead-up to the conference, we’re interviewing some of the speakers who will be sharing their knowledge and experience in Philly next week. It’s our hope that these interviews will spark conversation and give conference attendees a better sense of this year’s speakers.

Dr. Jim Linksz is the President of Bucks County Community College. He’s speaking at a session entitled Online Learning: What College Presidents and the Public Think About Its Future. Dr Linksz was kind enough to answer a few questions about his own perceptions of online learning, and the ways in which Bucks is embracing technological change.

For more EDUCAUSE-related posts, click here.

1. You’re leading a session at EDUCAUSE about perceptions of the future of online learning. Can you talk a bit about how your own perception of online education has changed over the course of your career?

In the 1980s I was chief academic officer at Catonsville Community College in Baltimore, which already had a commitment to distance learning. It was expressed through on-line cable courses delivered on our own cable station as well as in collaboration with Maryland College of the Air managed by our local PBS channel. Now at Bucks, we have made a substantial commitment to delivering courses through 21st century methodologies we did not even envision in the 1980s, including learning spaces, chat rooms, Internet 2, etc.  Equally important, our support services have grown to match academic skills – on-line library and tutoring and orientation for example. We have evolved new techniques for teaching lab courses on-line and participative courses like Speech. Our faculty development work has also grown to support these efforts, including specialists to help develop materials and strategies that support interactive courses. And, many of these mechanisms are now working their way back into traditional classes.

2. How has Bucks’ approach to technology and online learning changed in the time since you became president? What do you consider Bucks’ most important goals for the future with regard to online learning?

When I came to Bucks in 1992, distance learning was really just a conversation a few key leaders were having.  Today 2000 student registrations a semester are in distance learning and it has become a fully integrated part of our offerings strategy, with several curricula available on-line. Our winter mini-semester is totally on-line. This represents about 20% of Bucks credit production. More important, we have moved from the canned course in a box to much more integrated and interactive course dynamics.

For the future we want to see even more integration of distance techniques into our non-credit offerings. In certain areas like emergency services training, we already have a world presence and we see that growing through the use of distance coursework. I see credit based distance education growing another 10% before the turn of the decade.

A number of years ago Bucks was a leader in beginning the Pennsylvania Virtual Community College – an amalgamation of all of the courses then available from all 14 community colleges. As competitive pressures emerged and all colleges grew their own distance portfolios, inevitably the idea was sidelined.  But I think with recent national efforts to create great course catalogs shared interstate, perhaps even PA will come around.

3. Part of the description of your EDUCAUSE session reads: “The public, in particular, questions whether students engage as effectively online as in a brick-and-mortar classroom.” How do you feel about this skepticism? What do you think it would take to convince the public of the merits of online learning?

The ‘public’ really is three separate publics.  The first is the faculty inside colleges – they need to be convinced first. Part of that convincing is done through effective development of key faculty opinion leaders who embrace the technical aspects and who can see that on-line learning is an effective way to reach a student set that otherwise might not enter their traditional classrooms. The second is the employer community. They need to be convinced that colleges are serious about protecting their traditional classroom quality metrics and that the results are measurable in terms of skills learned and able to be applied. I include in this set of folks, those in further education institutions who accept college courses in transfer – for example Colleges of Pharmacy accepting science courses from other colleges that have on-line labs rather than traditional wet labs. (At another time we should digress and speak about the separation between credentialing and education.) The third is the general public wanting the best for children and wondering whether the on-line experience can do the job that a traditional college education has done in educating the whole person, which includes face to face interactions in social as well as educational settings.  I suppose that the last set of folks is the students themselves, perhaps included in this general public, now increasingly digital natives, but still wondering if frat parties, football, and on-line learning go together really. No amount of adherence to Quality Matters rubrics or similar external validation really addresses this issue.

The for-profit national universities have created models for on-line learning that traditional colleges have yet to adopt. We are in a temporary greed/growth induced hiatus; but I really believe something major can happen if some key players take the obvious next step.


The Twitter Guide to EDUCAUSE 2011

At a conference as tech-oriented as EDUCAUSE, tweeting is an integral part of the agenda. Heading to Philly for the 2011 Annual Meeting and want to make sure you stay connected? Here are a few Twitter feeds to keep an eye on.

Tweet us (@Knewton) with any other suggestions! For more EDUCAUSE-related posts, click here.

Official EDUCAUSE Twitter Feeds


This one’s a no-brainer. Follow @educause for up-to-the-minute announcements and tips preceding and following the conference. After you’ve left Philly, check out EDUCAUSE’s tweets for links to relevant podcasts, articles, and webinars; information on other EDUCAUSE events; proposal deadlines; and more.


If you’re leading a session at EDUCAUSE 2011, want to lead one in the future, or are just interested in improving your public speaking skills, this feed from the EDUCAUSE Speaker Concierge is a great one to follow. In addition to EDUCAUSE-specific presentation tips, @EDUCAUSESpeaker posts helpful links to articles about general presentation do’s and don’ts.

Want more info about the Speaker Concierge? Sign up for Weekly Concierge Updates, check out the Scoop.it Speaker Concierge Collection, and read the EDUCAUSE Speaker Concierge blog.


Follow @EDUCAUSEPodcast for news and discussion about the latest EDUCAUSE podcasts, which “provide information and conversation about a wide range of topics in higher ed.” One of the latest podcasts features an interview with General Session speaker danah boyd.

Superhero-Themed EDUCAUSE Twitter Feeds


Okay, this one’s just to keep you on your feet. @EDUCAUSE_HULK is a legend from the 2010 Annual Meeting in Anaheim, CA. During last year’s conference, attendees noticed a curious participant in their Twitter chats. That’s right: @EDUCAUSE_HULK. Hulk shared his 140-character EDUCAUSE insights in limited superhero speak — OH, AND DID WE MENTION HE ONLY WRITES IN CAPITAL LETTERS?

If you want to get a sense of The Hulk’s style, here’s his Twitter bio:


The feed was the brainchild of Michael Richichi, Director of Computing and Network Services at Drew University. If @EDUCAUSE_HULK’s recent tweets are any indication, it looks like he might be making an appearance at #edu11 as well!

General Session Speakers’ Twitter Feeds

danah boyd

A Senior Researcher at Microsoft Research and a prolific tweeter and blogger, danah boyd will be leading an EDUCAUSE General Session talk on Thursday at 10:30 – 11:30 AM, entitled “Privacy in an Era of Social Media.”

Seth Godin

Though author and entrepreneur Seth Godin doesn’t tweet, you can follow this Twitter handle, which retweets his blog posts. Seth will be leading a general session talk on Wednesday from 8 – 9:45 AM, entitled Invisible or Remarkable?.

Aneesh Chopra

If you’re interested in the U.S.’s IT-related initiatives, be sure to follow Aneesh Chopra, U.S. CTO, who will be leading a general session talk on Thursday from 9 – 9:50 AM, entitled “There’s Never Been a Better Time to Be an Innovator.”

Other Speakers’ Twitter Feeds

This isn’t by any means an exhaustive list, but if you’re planning on attending any of these speakers’ sessions, be sure to check them out on Twitter ahead of time. Consider it your homework.

William Allison, Director, Campus Technology Services University of California, Berkeley
Session: You Need to Go Mobile Now, but How? The UC/UCLA Mobile Web Framework

Lucy Appert, Director of Educational Tech, Liberal Studies Program, New York University
Session: The Sakai Open Academic Environment: Envisioning Learning, Curriculum, and Networking in a Global Context

Mark Askren, Chief Information Officer, University of Nebraska – Lincoln
Sessions: Updating the Value Proposition: Using Services to Define Your IT Organization, Seminar 01A – Discussing the Big Questions for CIOs and Enterprise IT Leaders

Steve Brukbacher, UWM Security Officer, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Session: Mitigating Cloud Security Risks Through the Right Partnerships

Jeffrey Young
Senior Writer, The Chronicle of Higher Education
Session: Chronicle Tech Trends: Challenges for the Future “Unbundled” University

John Foliot, Manager, Stanford Online Accessibility Program, Stanford University
Session: Developers’ View of Web Accessibility: Pitfalls, Gotchas, and Solutions

Joan Falkenberg Getman, Director, Educational Technologies, University of Southern California
Session: Going the Distance: Outsourcing Online Learning

Jude Higdon, Director of Innovative Learning and Academic Technology, College of Pharmacy, University of Minnesota
Session: Opportunities and Challenges in Leveraging and Supporting Cloud Computing and Personal Devices

Scott Jaschik, Editor, Inside Higher Ed
Session: Collaboration by Design, Innovation with Purpose

Bruce Maas, CIO and Vice Provost for Information Technology, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Session: The Right Stuff: Insights for Next-Generation Technology Leaders and the CIOs Who Mentor Them

Susan Metros, Associate Vice Provost/Associate CIO/Professor, University of Southern California
Session: Going the Distance: Outsourcing Online Learning

Glenda Morgan, e-Learning Strategist, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Session: Seeking Evidence of Impact: Impact Assessment 101

Mark Milliron, Deputy Director, Higher Education, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
Session: Analytics Today: Getting Smarter About Emerging Technology, Diverse Students, and the Completion Challenge

John Suess, Vice President for Information Technology/CIO, University of Maryland
Session: Higher Education’s Role in the Identity Ecosystem

Jim Twetten, Director, Academic Technologies, Iowa State University
Session: Desperately Seeking Community: How to Create and Sustain Successful Ed Tech Collaboration

Don’t worry, we’ve put all these accounts and more onto this handy Twitter list for you: http://twitter.com/#!/knewton/educause2011


Top 10 Walkable Destinations from EDUCAUSE 2011

EDUCAUSE 2011 is going to be busy. If you wanted to, you could certainly stay within the Philadelphia Convention Center for the duration of the conference without getting bored. However, chances are you’re going to want to pop out into the “real world” at least once or twice. Whether you want to do some sightseeing, chug a quick beer, or grab a bite to eat, we’ve got suggestions for you on the best walkable destinations from EDUCAUSE 2011.

For more EDUCAUSE 2011 blog posts, click here.

1. Relax with a drink

Being around all those edtechers getting you wound up? There are plenty of good watering holes within walking distance of the Convention Center. Your best bet might be to walk around and find one that suits your fancy, but if you’re a planner by nature, try Tria (1137 Spruce Street), which bills itself as “Philadelphia’s destination for wine, cheese, and beer lovers” or Oscar’s Tavern (1524 Sansom Street) for a classic dive bar experience.

2. Ogle at William Penn

Philadelphia City Hall — the largest municipal building in the U.S. — is only a 5 minute walk from the Convention Center. Check out lavish public rooms like the Supreme Court Room and Conversation Hall; crane your neck up at the station of city founder William Penn on top of the building (it’s one of 250 sculptures that Alexander Milne Calder created for the building); and travel up to the building’s observation deck to get a view of the whole city.

3. To Market!

Reading Terminal Market, that is. A 5 minute walk from the Convention Center, this historic indoor market is a food court on steroids. Vendors line every square inch of the space, but the food is worth the crowds. Try Delilah’s Mac and Cheese, voted best in the country by Oprah Winfrey and featured on Throwdown with Bobby Flay on the Food Network and don’t miss dessert from Bassetts Ice Cream, “America’s oldest ice cream company since 1861.”

4. Check out Chinatown

Philadelphia’s Chinatown is within a 10 minute walk of the Convention Center. Walk under the Chinatown Friendship Gate, a symbol of cultural exchange between Philadelphia and its Sister City of Tianjin, China on on 10th and Arch. Hungry? We recommend David’s Mai Lai Wah at 1001 Race Street (it’s open until 3 AM on weeknights and 4 AM on weekends!) or Sang Kee Peking Duck House  at 238 N 9th Street.

5. Visit America’s most historic square mile

About a mile’s walk from the Convention Center, Independence National Historical Park serves up a powerful history lesson along with green space and fresh air. Marvel at the Liberty Bell and don’t miss Independence Hall, where both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were written.

6. Be artsy

Just a stone’s throw away from the Convention Center is the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, which features not only a world-class school of fine arts but also an impressive collection of 19th and 20th-century American paintings and sculptures. The museum is open 10 AM – 5 PM on Tuesday through Saturday and 11 AM to 5 PM on Sundays. Adult admission to the permanent collection is $10 ($15 to see the special collections).

7. Get your caffeine fix in

Want to get in a short walk along with your cup of joe? Check out Old City Coffee in Reading Terminal Market or Ray’s Cafe & Tea House at 141 N 9th Street in Chinatown.

8. See the magic

Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens, a “folk art environment, gallery space, and nonprofit organization,” is just over a mile away from the Convention Center by foot. The Magic Gardens features the work of mosaicist Isaiah Zagar. If you need a quick recharge from making small talk and typing furious notes on your laptop, this colorful, unconventional art space might be just what the doctor ordered.

9. Get jazzed

Want to cap off a busy day of sessions with some relaxing jazz? Check out Chris’ Jazz Cafe at 1421 Sansom Street for food, drink, and great music.

10. Bring your own… tequila?

At Lolita, a Mexican restaurant at 106 S. 13th Street, you can do just that. But even if you’re not feeling quite so feisty (after all, you want to be awake for those early morning sessions, don’t you?), you can still enjoy the modern Mexican cuisine at this sophisticated Market East restaurant. Think chipotle mango guacamole, hazelnut-crusted duck, and more. Entrees generally run from $18 – $24.

EDUCAUSE 2011 Speaker Spotlight: Link Alander, Associate Vice Chancellor

As a lead-up to this year’s EDUCAUSE conference, we’re interviewing some of the speakers who will be sharing their knowledge and experience at the conference. It’s our hope that these interviews will spark conversation and give conference attendees a better sense of this year’s speakers.

Link Alander is the Associate Vice Chancellor of the Lone Star College System. He is giving a presentation at this year’s conference entitled “The Lean and Green by Design.” Link was kind enough to answer a few questions about the most rewarding aspects of his job, the importance of green design, and more.

For more EDUCAUSE-related posts, click here.

1. As Associate Vice Chancellor of such a broad school network, what are the most rewarding aspects of what you do?

The most rewarding events of course is the fall opening and graduation. From a technology standpoint the most rewarding aspects are when faculty use the technology foundation to teach in innovative ways. Using technology to engage students and challenge them is impressive. The faculty know how to reach students using technology we, Office of Technology Services, have to be able to support and sustain these initiatives.

2. Why have you chosen to make green design a priority at Lone Star College?

The best answer to this is on our green IT initiative’s charter:

As the trends of the Technology Industry move toward a more energy conscience, sustainable model; the LSCS Office of Technology Services has committed to being a leader in this arena by engaging in more Eco friendly practices.

There are two major factors that lead to this shift in focus.

As an institution of Higher Education, we have the social responsibility to address this issue and be a leader in the community.
As stewards of tax payers’ dollars, we have a fiscal responsibility to manage costs and improve efficiencies.

3. What are some of the biggest lessons you have learned from your use of virtualization? Are there any particular companies or consultants you would recommend to a colleague who is attempting to follow in the footsteps of Lone Star College?

We have learned a lot from our use of virtualization and the cloud. Our key objective to start was to replace aging hardware and improve service availability. The end results support our 5-nines up-time initiative and have significantly improve our ability to meet our institution’s needs – enterprise agility. It doesn’t take months to bring new services on-line anymore.

We focused on key strategic partnerships with industry leaders. When moving to a highly virtualized environment, currently 93% to include our ERP, you must have the best in class solutions. We partnered with HP, VMware, EMC and Cisco on the hardware/software solutions. We also partnered with SHI on the conversion of the campus servers from physical to virtual.

4. What do you feel are the most significant issues/challenges institutions face in developing sustainable, cost-efficient IT management models?

Once the direction is set it is not a problem. The biggest issue is that this is an on-going “best practice” not a onetime project. To be successful green needs to be part of every IT decision.

5. Where do you see the future of lean and green IT headed?

This is a hard question because there are so many directions to go in. From a pure IT standpoint for us it is to reduce the power cost even further on the endpoint (computing) devices. The other item that has to expand is the institutions involvement – expand to reach all areas of the campus, especially students. Another direction that we have also been perusing is a regional green consortium that consists of K12, CC and universities. This has been making headway as a sharing group for successes and failures.

6. Are there any other sessions or events you’re looking forward to attending at this year’s EDUCAUSE Conference?

I always enjoy the EDUCAUSE sections and typically go to many sessions that are not directly related to what I do. The reason for this is to see other perspectives. Since I mainly support infrastructure and operations I like to attend technology in the classroom sessions. Often I get the opportunity to bring back ideas to discuss with faculty members. So far I have not had a chance to plan my schedule but I’ll let you know if something jumps out.

EDUCAUSE 2011 Speaker Spotlight: Carlyn Chatfield, Manager of IT Technical Communications

As a lead-up to this year’s EDUCAUSE conference, we’re interviewing some of the speakers who will be sharing their knowledge and experience at the conference. It’s our hope that these interviews will spark conversation and give conference attendees a better sense of this year’s speakers.

Carlyn Chatfield is the Manager of IT Technical Communications at Rice University. She and four other IT leaders are conducing a session at EDUCAUSE 2011 entitled “Effective Project Deployment: Six Steps to Keep Them Coming Back.” Carlyn was kind enough to answer a few questions via email about her role at Rice, EDUCAUSE and more.

For more EDUCAUSE-related posts, click here.

1.What do your day-to-day responsibilities entail?

Managing IT communications for Rice is both interesting and rewarding. Today, I distributed a message about a service that was temporarily off-line, continued refining plans for an undergraduate study break to raise awareness about IT services and support for students, designed a student newspaper ad about the new mobile app for our course management tool, and helped create a web site for information about a security initiative.  I love being the connection between our technology gurus and our customers!

2. What was the inspiration for your presentation on Effective Project Deployment? Without giving too much away, why do you think IT leaders and project managers should concern themselves with the “business value” of their projects?

Many of us in the EDUCAUSE IT Communications constituency group work in positions that were created in the last 5-7 years.  Because our role is a relatively new one, we are always interested in helping administrators learn how they can leverage our experience.

As far as inspiration, Dana Hoover at Pepperdine said it is “everyone’s job in IT (not just the CIO or VP) to communicate the value of IT to University administration and to the end user community.”   We can easily communicate IT value through the projects we facilitate for the university, so this is a logical starting point to successfully influence our peers’ and leaders’ perceptions about IT. In today’s environment, IT projects must be both efficient and effective. I believe that good communication is at the root of both values.

3. What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve encountered in the process of implementing IT changes at Rice?

All of us are resistant to change to some degree. For example, I still struggle with our growing adoption of ITIL best practices; I thought “my way” was working and wondered why I have to learn something new and different.  More recently, I realized I am good at my job because of my attention to detail, but I don’t see the big picture.  Two of our directors looked at the big picture and saw how implementing ITIL could provide a cohesive platform for growth – something that was missing when each individual was singing “My Way.”  Communications play a strong role in ITIL, so as the communications manager I need to get with the program!

4. Since you’ve presented at Educause before, do you have any recommendations for first-timers (presenters and/or attendees)?

Join an Educause Constituency Group (CG) and find out when they meet! Connecting with colleagues who face similar challenges and opportunities is one of the most important aspects of the conference.  In addition to our CG meeting during the event, a lot of the IT Communicators try to meet casually at meals during the conference.

5. What’s your favorite part about EDUCAUSE?

In the past, it was our IT Communicators Supper Club, but I’ve heard EDUCAUSE has added a “lounge for CGs” this year. That sounds ideal for those of us who want a quiet place to chat about specific issues but can’t make meal meetings due to conflicts with other EDUCAUSE groups or teams.

EDUCAUSE 2011: New Session with U.S. CTO Added — Tweet Your Requests

EDUCAUSE just announced a new featured speaker for its 2011 Annual Meeting: Aneesh Chopra, U.S. Chief Technology Officer. Chopra will be leading a session on Thursday with James H. Shelton, III (Assistant Deputy Secretary for Innovation and Improvement) about the importance of innovation in education.

Attending EDUCAUSE? Chopra has requested that conference attendees tweet him (@aneeshchopra), telling him what you’d be interested in hearing him speak about during the session. Whether you want to hear about cybersecurity, digital literacy, or just what it’s like to go to meetings with President Obama, be sure to let your ideas be heard. Use the hashtag #EDU11 #EDUAneesh when you tweet.

For more EDUCAUSE-related posts, click here.