No, don’t get me wrong. Educause is a great conference and definitely worth while to fly across the country to sit in on some amazing conference sessions. But when I start thinking about going back to my campus and never having the possibility to experience any of the great tech tools I learned about, I get depressed. We don’t even have any IT leaders from our campus that even come to Educause, so I ended up hanging out with all the other IT, VP’s, faculty and instructional designers from our sister colleges. What a treat that was as well. I get so jazzed hearing about all the cool things they are doing on their campuses.
I saw an amazing presentation this morning from some guys at Drexel University talking about a lecture capture solution they implemented on their campus:
Increasingly, colleges and universities are adopting lecture capture solutions to increase student satisfaction and learning. Join Drexel University’s innovative team and other universities for an in-depth panel discussion focusing on how these institutions have implemented TechSmith’s Camtasia Relay to integrate lecture capture into their existing infrastructures simply, quickly, and affordably.
It was amazing to see what they were able to do with Camtasia Relay in such a short period of time and even before the product was released out of beta. It was that easy. What was most amazing to me is that it was the IT guys and the instructional designer who came up with this solution and made it happen for the college. Sigh. Why can’t we do things like that?
Our IT department and instructional designer are all caught up in doing other stuff to be able to come up with technology solutions for teaching & learning issues on our campus. I’ve been there 10 years and I don’t think I’ve ever been asked what I need to help me teach my students better. Why is that? Is it not important because too few of our faculty will utilize it? or is it because only a small number of students will be impacted by the technology initially? Who knows, but it doesn’t sound much like forward thinking to me.
Another session I sat in on this morning was Thinking Outside the Virtual Classroom presented by Shannon Ritter, Social Networks Adviser, Penn State World Campus, The Pennsylvania State University.
Educating our students is certainly our priority, but how can we connect learners to each other in a way that provides more opportunities for personal growth, networking, and connections? By taking advantage of virtual spaces like Facebook, Twitter, and Second Life, we give our students space to learn outside the classroom.
This was a great presentation. Ritter talked about how students in online distance programs are missing out on the college experience and have no real connection to the college because those students don’t get the same interactions with their peers like the on campus students do. Many aren’t learning together, and they don’t have a sense of belonging. So the Penn State World Campus created orientation videos to help give students a sense of belonging. They also use Second Life, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, and Twitter to help building a sense of community.
This is the same idea behind my decision to use a social network to teach my freshman composition courses in. The network has some of the same features Ritter talks about embedded in the site, like videos, photos, walls, and updates. And the whole idea is to help students feel more connected to their peers, the instructor and the class.
Those were just two of the many ideas I experienced this week at Educause. Surprisingly some of the most valuable information was obtained just from hanging out with peers from the Maricopa district and my Twitter friends from across the country. That community we build is very valuable for sharing experiences and expertise in a wide variety of areas, and their willingness to help each other is refreshing. It would be really nice to have that kind of community on my own campus, a group of like minded faculty who like to come together and share ideas about education and technology. Some day, right?
Check out the live simulcasts from the conference: