ITS at Educause

The 2008 EDUCAUSE Midwest Regional Conference Experience

Author: Ralph Shank

Ralph Shank, Media Specialist for Information Technology Services at UIS, attended the 2008 EDUCAUSE Midwest Regional Conference in Chicago and shares some of his experience attending sessions with the campus community:

Title: Challenging IT Leaders to Mashup, Twitter, Tag, and Poke: New IT Strategies for a Digital Society

Presenter: Susan E. Metros – Deputy CIO and Associate Vice Provost, University of Southern California

Susan began her keynote much as the previous year’s was begun, speaking about the history of education and the changes that have come over time. She quickly came to our present situation though, addressing the question: Who are our students? In answering this question, she laid out some basic phrases that the students of today might use to express their feelings.

  • “Computers aren’t technology.” – Computers are becoming so ingrained in our everyday lives that they aren’t viewed as technology any longer.
  • “The Internet is better than TV.” – The Internet and the services we can now find on the Internet are so easily accessible that students are turning away from television. The Internet is where to find students and where to communicate with them.
  • “Doing trumps knowing.” – Students want hands-on experience. They would rather learn by doing than listen to a lecture and attempt to figure it out later.
  • “Trial and error trumps logic.”


Title: How to Use What We Know: 21st Century Faculty and Students

Presenters: Bradley Cohen – Assistant Director and Coordinator for Curriculum Development, University of Minnesota
J.D. Walker – Coordinator of Research and Evaluation Services, University of Minnesota

Bradley and J.D. presented information gained from a number of focus groups and large class evaluations held at the University of Minnesota. This was a large – scale research project that searched for answers from faculty and students concerning the use of technology in their courses and on campus.

Faculty expressed positive reactions in their preferences and concerns, stating that the majority of the technology presented to them has much potential in the learning environment. The biggest concern for faculty is TIME: time to use, time to learn to use, and a lack of standardization.

Some things that Bradley and J.D. have tried that have worked are:

  • Recognition of faculty efforts
  • Committing faculty members to large amounts of time to develop skill and understanding (learn and implement tool in 3 years, etc.)

They found that having a process like this in place helps to make the transition to new technology much smoother.

EDUCAUSE 2008 Presentation

Title: Apple and University of Illinois – iTunes U: Tips for Getting Started
Presenter: Munindra Khaund

Abstract: Apple’s free iTunes U service offers a powerful way to distribute audio and video content to users on campus and beyond. The three University of Illinois campuses have deployed iTunes U and are using it today. We’ll share the strategies they used for technical set-up, site organization, content production, and workflow.

About the Presentation: Munindra Khaund, multimedia education coordinator in Information Technology Services — with colleagues from UIC and UIUC and in collaboration with Apple — presented a session focused on workflow, production and support, and dissemination of information via iTunes U.

Khaund has led the podcasting effort at UIS and two years ago was instrumental in UIS’ entrance into the league of elite institutions across the nation that are iTunes U campuses. He is the author of one of the first podcasting “Guidelines and Policies” manuals, a document that has become the foundation for podcasting guidelines and policies at several educational institutions across the country. [excerpt taken from “UIS Faculty and Staff Notables”, March 28, 2008, written by Donna McCracken]


EDUCAUSE 2007 Presentation

Title: Working Around Limitations
Presenters: Ralph Shank and Uttra Singh

Abstract: Providing quality instructional support to faculty at small and medium-sized public universities with limited personnel and funding can be challenging. The Instructional Support and Training team from the University of Illinois at Springfield will demonstrate how they make new technologies available to faculty and staff as overall university solutions despite the challenges.