Oct 10 2014

EDUCAUSE 2014: 4 Things You May Have Missed

Live art meets infographics, the top 10 IT issues and more items worth reviewing from this year’s big show.

This year's EDUCAUSE conference was a true meeting of the minds for thought leaders in higher education. But no one can be everywhere at once.

EdTech has summarized some of the conference’s more notable happenings to highlight a few things some participants may have missed while busy attending sessions.

If you haven't done so already, check out our full conference coverage, including articles and video interviews with several higher education leaders.

Artist Visualizes Future for Higher Ed

While EDUCAUSE 2014 attendees were dashing around the Orange County Conference Center, artist Giselle Chow was busy creating a giant mural depicting concepts regarding information technology's role in the future of higher education.

The life-sized infographic incorporates visuals and answers from conference participants who were asked, "What should IT professionals do today to optimize the value of IT in higher education’s future?"

Top 10 IT Issues for 2015

At an EDUCAUSE-led panel discussion that was standing-room only, panelists debuted a top 10 list that prioritizes issues faced in higher education IT.

The panel, which met several times over the past year and included provosts, IT professionals, college presidents and other influential higher education leaders. At each session, panelists were asked, "What is the top strategic IT-related priority that is facing your institution?"

The issues the panel chose are:

  1. Hiring and retaining qualified staff as well as updating the knowledge and skills of existing technology staff
  2. Optimizing the use of technology in teaching and learning in collaboration with academic leadership, including understanding the appropriate level of technology to use
  3. Developing IT funding models that sustain core service, support innovation and facilitate growth
  4. Improving student outcomes through an institutional approach that strategically leverages technology
  5. Demonstrating the business value of IT and how IT can help the institution achieve its goals
  6. Increasing the IT organization's capacity for managing change, despite differing community needs, priorities and abilities
  7. Providing user support in the new normal — mobile, online education, cloud and BYOD environments
  8. Developing security policies for mobile, cloud and digital resources that work for most of the institutional community
  9. Developing an enterprise IT architecture that can respond to changing conditions and new opportunities
  10. Balancing agility, openness and security

EDUCAUSE Unveils 2014 Leadership Award Winners

During the first general session, EDUCAUSE CEO Diane Oblinger announced the recipients of this year's leadership awards, chosen by its Recognition Committee. The awards honor “exemplary leaders whose work has had significant positive impact on advancing the theory and practice of information technology in higher education,” according to the committee

  • Leadership Award: Gordon Wishon, CEO, Arizona State University
  • Community Leadership Award: Joanna Kossuth, vice president of operations and CIO, Olin College of Engineering; Theresa Rowe, CIO, Oakland University
  • Rising Star Award: Katie Vale, director of digital learning, Harvard School of Public Health

Instructure and Blackboard Make Bold Moves to the Cloud

Two leaders in the learning management system (LMS) industry made big announcements at EDUCAUSE this year, and all of the action is happening in the cloud.

Instructure is powering a new platform, Canvas Commons, with its cloud-based Canvas LMS. Commons is a learning object repository solution aimed at helping educators at different institutions — and even across the entire network of Canvas users — communicate with each other. The product will be rolled out over the next few months, a company spokesman told EdTech.

Meanwhile, Blackboard provided new details about its upcoming public cloud offering, first announced in July. A cloud version of the company’s flagship LMS, Blackboard Learn, will give schools a new way to host their materials, bringing a Software-as-a-Service model to its customers, reports Yahoo Finance. The upgrade offers more flexibility and ease of access, according to Blackboard.

D. Frank Smith

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