Sakai Conference ATL – Day 1

It’s like I said earlier in my Facebook post, today is just a crazy day – one that makes me feel like I’m surrounded by lots of really smart people – a whole lot smarter than me.  I have to keep reminding myself that it’s not if I’m smart it’s that people are smart in different ways.  It’s not that if they know, is that they know different things, just as I know (and am an expert) in the area(s) I find myself in.

The sessions I’ve attended to today range from discussion about cultivating an environment and mechanisms for developer development, to understanding the importance of how academic level systems (and those that support academic goals) all fit together.  Other sessions included research done to inform better distance learning course objectives to implementing media management, creation and editing functionality within an LMS.

I found the presentation by Philip Uys of Charles Sturt University particularly interesting.  I’m not sure how often you get to peek into what other institutions – regardless of the size, are doing to handle all the various academic questions or problems they’re attempting to address with technology.  The presentation gave just enough of a birds-eye view of their systems to make me dizzy the same way staying in the Westin did. CSU – a school of 40,000 students, 70% of whom are distance education or online exclusively are using Sakai – version 2.4, (Johnson University is using 2.8, and just roughly a month until we go to 2.9)!  Their overall underlying goal is to take technology and make technology improve the student experience, all within the framework of acceptable, well tuned pedagogy.  I have to say that it boggled my mind to think that they have the infrastructure to keep all of that in place, up to date and interoperable, amongst all of 13 separated campuses for all their students, faculty and staff. The additional amazing thing, is that CSU will be moving to OAE (think of it as the version after Sakai 2.9) this October. 

So lots to learn, absorb and synthesize!

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