Dear Commons Community,
I am here in New Orleans at the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI) Annual Meeting. Yesterday was the first day of the meeting and I attended several sessions. The main speaker of the day was Bernard Bull who delivered the Bob Heterick Memorial Lecture. The focus of his presentation was his research on entrepreneurship and education. He sees higher education as having a good deal to benefit from building a closer relationship with small entrepreneurial companies that develop instructional technology. He gave a number of examples during his talk but also admitted there was caution/resistance in our colleges and universities.
I also attended an excellent session featuring Lou Pugliese (Arizona State University) and Timothy Renick (Georgia State). They reported on a study of six institutions examining the impact of digital learning on institutional priorities (e.g., enrollment growth, student outcomes, and financial returns). They had excellent insights and commented that in mounting new digital learning initiatives do not expect major leaps in outcomes initially and accept small percentage improvements and hope that they will increase over time.
Another fine session was Developments in Learning Analytics that focused on lessons learned on topics such as data requirements, advances in predictive modeling techniques, intervention strategies, student rights, and legal/ethical issues. The panelists ( Deborah West, Patsy Moskal, John Whitmer, Russ Little, and Phillip Long) shared their experiences using learning analytics to aid in improving student retention at their respective institutions. They commented on issues related to faculty buy-in, collecting non-academic data, and ethical concerns.
I had dinner at night with colleagues Patsy Moskal, Peter Shea, and Chuck Dziuban.
A good first day at this meeting.