Wednesday, April 06, 2011

CCA-EDUCAUSE Australasia 2011

Richard Katz is giving the last talk of CCA-EDUCAUSE Australasia 2011 on "Monsters, eduPunks ...". He just got my attention by mentioning an Oxford debate over having compulsory lectures. Richard also mentioned Alex Reid, former director of the Oxford Computer Centre, who clarified this arose over a legal case. I found "Oxford lecture attendance could become legal requirement" (by Liz Ford,, Tuesday 31 January 2006 11.29 GMT). Oxford decided not to adopt this.

As this is the end of the conference it is time to consider the event overall. It is an exciting time for those working on the use of IT in education. The web, cloud computing, tablet computers, e-books and many other technologies are changing the way education is done. In a way this conference represents a milestone in my work. At the conferecne I presneted a poster about how I designed and delivered an internationally accredited university course which uses e-learning, no lectures, no examinations, is vocationally certified, works via a smart phone and uses an e-book. In a way much of what was discussed at EDUCAUSE were things I had already proved worked at the ANU. The task now is to make these routine practice for university education across Australia.

I attended this conference because I thought this was an EDUCAUSE event. I have subscribed to EDUCAUSE online discussion forums for years and looked forward to attending one of their events and meeting the people I have been having online discussions with. It was a little disappointing to find this was not really and EDUCAUSE one. The conference was organised by the Council of Australian University Directors of Information Technology (CAUDIT), Council of Australian University Librarians (CAUL) and Australasian Council on Open, Distance and E-Learning (ACODE). EDUCAUSE involvement appears to be limited to some EDUCAUSE speakers imported from the USA.

No doubt CAUDIT is a worthwhile organisation (I don't know about CAUL or ACODE, as I have never heard of the before, but assume they are okay as well). But I thought I was attending an EDUCAUSE event and it was not.

In my view the conference had an uncomfortable, and slightly incoherent, collection of topics. It was not clear what it was we were assembled to talk about (unlike last week when I met with librarians and architects to design learning commons). Essentially the conference has been about IT and technology for libraries, at universities in Australia, and a little on the USA. For an "Australasian" event, there has been minimal input or discussion of Asia.

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