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Dear EDUCAUSE 2018 Annual Conference Attendees,

How are things going in Denver?

If I were hanging out with you and our other 4,000 close edtech friends at EDUCAUSE Annual Conference, these are the questions that I’d be asking:

Q1:  Are people talking about the coming wave of CIO retirements, and the need to broaden and diversify the senior IT leadership talent funnel?

Q2: Is there a sense that fight to have IT leadership sit at strategic institutional tables finally been won? If so, has that shift broadened the EDUCAUSE conversation away from mostly IT related issues and towards larger strategic challenges of institutional resiliency, access, and costs?

Q3: For mid-career professionals attending EDUCAUSE, has the conference helped you think about your career pathways and goals?  What will be your next steps after returning from Denver to advance your career?

Q4: For early-career professionals attending EDUCAUSE, do you see yourself (and your professional goals) reflected in the other attendees and the programming?  What is surprising you about the conference?

Q5: Which company has the best booth on the Vendor (Exhibit) Floor? Who has the biggest and fanciest booth? Were there any companies that are doing presentations that are particularly useful and engaging?  Which companies seem to have lots of buzz?

Q6:  How much discussion at EDUCAUSE is there about Online Program Management (OPM) companies?  How well represented are the OPMs?  If you are looking for information about working with a company to develop a new online program, is EDUCAUSE the right place to find it?

Q7:  What is your sense about where higher ed is with the transition of administrative systems, such as the SIS, to the cloud?  It seems as if administrative systems have been lagging learning systems like the LMS in their transition to the cloud.  The thought was that this was always inevitable, but security and privacy and other data concerns - not to mention migration costs - have been holding this back.  Are we at a tipping point, or have we tipped?

Q8:  Higher Ed IT has historically had two cultures.  The learning culture and the administrative culture.  Is your sense that this is changing?  Are we seeing an integration of values, concerns, and priories across these two groups?  If that evolution is occurring, how do you see this change playing out on our campuses?

Q9:  When I used to attend EDUCAUSE I’d always ask people “what are you worried about?”.  So what are you worried about?  What worries are you hearing?  Is everyone still answering “security” and “hiring/retention”?  Or have worries grown to more existential concerns about institutional viability, challenges demographics, and the role of IT in the cost disease?

Q10:  How much are folks talking about the growth of low-cost online master’s at scale?  From where I sit, the mashup of traditional online degree programs and MOOCs to provide a lower-cost master’s seems like a really big story.  I’m not really sure that I understand how quality can be maintained at scale, as it seems as if without a model built on personal interaction that learning becomes commoditized.  But maybe I’m wrong.  Is EDUCAUSE the place where that discussion is happening?

Q11:  What are you hearing about open educational resources (OER)?  Are we at a place where OER has emerged as a strategic priority for institutions?  Might a push to OER be accelerating the transition of publishing companies away from content (textbooks) and towards adaptive learning platforms?

Q12:  Has your EDUCAUSE conference going strategy changed over the years?  If you have been attending EDUCAUSE forever, how has your conference experience evolved with your career?  What role does social media play in the event?  If you could change EDUCAUSE in one way, what would that be?

Q13:  What are your big takeaways from EDUCAUSE 2018 that you will be bringing back to your campus?  If you had to explain what the EDUCAUSE conference is about to someone not in the profession while riding an elevator, what would you say?

What would you want to ask the people at EDUCAUSE 2018?

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