Saturday, June 30, 2012

Favorite Tweets from #ECAR12

I thoroughly enjoyed the 2012 EDUCAUSE Center for Applied Research Symposium last week. One of the things that I appreciate about these smaller EDUCAUSE events is that they provide a setting for more intimate conversations (or sometimes rigorous debates) about key issues in higher education. This year’s topic was analytics and both the speakers and panelists were excellent. Let me recap the symposium by sharing with you my favorite Tweets from the event.

We started off the event with a great talk by Henry Eyring (@majordecisions) from BYU Idaho about the need for change in higher education. One of the things I appreciated about his talk was that he presented a hierarchy of different needs that encompasses all of what higher education today offers, from the research university to continuing education programs.

Many conversations about change and reform were discussed in light of the recent governance controversies at the University of Virginia. Given that there were attendees from UVA this was not surprising. Conversations about the need for change were prefaced with an assumption that reforms should flow from and work within the established culture of higher education if they are to be successful.

There was also an implicit assumption that it is what people do with technology that matters; that successful outcomes tend to have less to do with the technology itself.

Another interesting conversation concerned the role of the CIO, who often have a strategic view on University issues because of nature of the services provided by their organizations. Several panelists suggested that CIOs should not be shy about sharing that strategic view; but there was recognition that doing so required credibility.

In fact, you only really get to be involved in more strategic conversations if you do your day job competently - running that utility business known as IT.

Finally, there was lots of talk about the IT / Institutional Research partnership, which was viewed as critical if campuses are to get serious about building better support for the use of analytics. Again the emphasis was on what we do with technology and less about the technology itself - a view that I try to always be mindful of.

Congratulations to Susan Grajek and her staff at EDUCAUSE for a great event!

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