After dropping off my sons at school this morning, I braved LA traffic – only a 1.5 hour delay! – to make it to LAX just as my flight was boarding. One uneventful flight later, I’d listened to several chapters in my latest audio book (Dan Lyons’ “Lab Rats”) and safely touched down in Denver for another EDUCAUSE national conference, aka #EDU18. As I made my way down to ground transportation, a nice couple with a happy Labrador retriever said “hello!” and offered me a free train ticket to Union Station. NICE! Talk about a great first impression…I think I’m going to like Denver 🙂
Even though I don’t always see my colleagues in the lobby or around town before the event, I can sense them nearby. Maybe it’s social media buzz, maybe it’s because I drank too much coffee. Anyway, I arrive a day earlier than most attendees because I sign up for pre-conference sessions. If you’ve never done a pre-conference session, I can tell you that they’re totally worth it. The ones I’ve been to have ALWAYS been worth the additional price. If you didn’t do one this year, consider making the investment next year.
This year, in addition to chairing the Student Affairs IT Community Group and catching up with old friends, I’m interested in attending sessions on IT Service Management, innovation, and visiting several of the poster sessions. Why IT Service Management? Because it seems to be the hot topic in 2018, and I’d like to go beyond the hype to see what the practice has to offer in the real world. With respect to innovation, I’m hoping to get a sense of the practical on-the-ground work people are doing across higher ed, i.e. how folk are turning pilot projects into sustainable long-term efforts. I also expect to hear some empty-headed cheerleading (“IT’S THE FUTURE!”), but I suppose that’s probably unavoidable. Poster sessions are now a mandatory part of my personal conference agenda. They’re a hidden gem of the conference experience. They’re great because you get to talk to enthusiastic people who are actually doing interesting work. To me that’s an awesome place to be, because you’re in a position to ask presenters difficult questions without feeling like you’re putting them on the spot in a large lecture hall. Signal-to-noise ratio is high, and you tend to get very honest responses here.
Well, it’s getting late so I’m off to get a good night’s rest. I’m excited to be here and looking forward to seeing y’all this week. Have an awesome #EDU18!