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The EDUCAUSE Board meets in person 4 times a year, and as you might expect, because the annual conference is such a key activity of the organization -- for both community-building and financial stability -- we discuss at least some aspect of the conference at most of our meetings. There was a sense among a number of CIOs a few years back that the conference was no longer a must-attend event. There were concerns about relevance of the content, unmanageable size, and increasing pressure on travel budgets. To their credit, Diana and the EDUCAUSE management and staff have listened carefully to the membership and Board and have been acting on what they heard. So since it may not be obvious to everyone, I thought I'd take this chance to share a bit of what the Board and I get to hear more regularly about the evolution of our conference over the past few years. One change has been a focus on CIOs and senior IT leaders, whose interest in attending had been waning. Rather than presume it could come up with the perfect program for CIOs, EDUCAUSE has focused on the convening and community-building roles. Last year you may have noticed the CIO Lounge -- a place we could drop in, have coffee, have a quiet conversation, make a phone call, or check email. Besides supporting informal networking, this is a way to deal with those little "surprises" back home without having to hole up in your room. This year they have added “open space” sessions so we can organize impromptu and private meetings without having to submit an abstract nearly a year in advance. The session organized out of our CIO listserv discussion over the past few weeks is a perfect example. There's more info about the CIO and Senior IT Leader experience at http://www.educause.edu/E2011/Program/CIO and new ideas are always welcome. 2011 will be the 3rd year for the online conference, and each year we learn from the previous experience. This approach was developed to help us enable more of our staff to participate in the conference than our budgets would allow us to send in person. EDUCAUSE has taken this beyond putting more sessions online (some only for online participants) and improving the interface, but also provides toolkits for group participation on our campuses to help us engage more people together and with less effort. This year they’re also adding a virtual exhibit hall. More on that at http://www.educause.edu/E2011/Program/Online/Glance . More broadly, it's clear that a lot of careful planning goes into the speakers, the structure of the sessions, how they are communicated (Domains and Themes), use of technology, and details as minute as how to minimize the walking distance from one place to another. This is all part of the intense focus on the quality of the program and our member experience. So if you haven’t been to the EDUCAUSE annual conference recently, you should. The conference isn’t about sitting in an uncomfortable chair watching someone at the front of a long, dark room flipping through PowerPoint slides. It is about our community getting together, talking, strategizing, sympathizing and getting re-energized. We all face some tough challenges. EDUCAUSE is our place to address them together. Hope to see you in Philly! david ------------------------------------------------------------------------ David Lassner david@hawaii.edu Vice President for Information Technology & Chief Information Officer Voice: +1 808-956-3501 University of Hawaii Fax: +1 808-956-5025 ********** Participation and subscription information for this EDUCAUSE Constituent Group discussion list can be found at http://www.educause.edu/groups/.
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