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EDUCAUSE is the professional association for higher ed IT professionals. It was formed in 1998 with the merger of CAUSE and Educom. To commemorate it’s 20th anniversary, EDUCAUSE solicited feedback from the Association’s membership on "the most significant moments (e.g., developments, activities) in higher ed IT over the last twenty years”.

EDUCAUSE then took this feedback and divided the IT moments into 5 categories.  These are:

Level 1: The Internet

Level 2: Analytics, the Cloud, Cyber Risks / Security / Privacy, Mobile, Online Learning / Education / Strategic IT, and the founding of EDUCAUSE

Level 3: Collaboration, Defunding of Higher Education, Email, Learning Management Systems, Open Technology / Open Educational Resources, Social Media / Networking, and Wireless

Runners-Up: * Accessibility, Enterprise Systems & Y2K, Google, Internet2 / Net+ (founding), Professionalization of the Higher Ed IT Field, Student-Centered Approaches (Design, Support), Teaching & Learning Technologies

Honorable Mentions: Adaptive Learning, Ad Revenue Subsidized Search, Commoditization of Technology, ELI (founding), Integrated Classroom AV Equipment, Movable Furniture, Server Virtualization, Students as Citizen Scholars, User Control, Videoconferencing, VR/AR

Some non-moment mentions included MOOCs, iPads, gamification, and badging.

What do you think?

I’m happy that defuding of higher education made it to at least level 2.  I think I would have made that co-equal with the internet.

To my surprise, demographics never get a mention. Higher ed leaders in the Northeast and the Midwest must now think about nothing much else besides the leveling off of college age cohorts in the decades to come. Along with demographics, it is interesting to me that the EDUCAUSE list ignores the growing diversity of our student population - and the failure of the higher ed IT industry to recruit people into the profession who look like our students.

In the same way, I’m surprised that the Cost Disease - and the general fragility of the higher education business model - did not make it Level 1.  We have real doubts nowadays about the basic tuition driven model of almost all private postsecondary education.  A model that is under incredible stress, and very relevant to public higher education as states continue to disinvest.

It is good that online education made the list, but again I’d put online learning in Level 1. Not only is online education poised to take over graduate education at the masters level, online learning has pushed major changes in residential teaching. We would not have the blended learning (also missing from the list) that is changing how all teaching happens on campuses without online learning.

Why the rise of instructional designers as the new rock stars of higher education is missing from this list baffles me.

I would also think that the growth in the online program management (OPM) model deserves some mention. We are early days in OPM, and we don’t know where the future of non-profit / for-profit collaborations will go.  But the foundations are being put down, and one way or another this will be a big story.

Come to think of it, where is the rise and the fall of for-profit education on this EDUCAUSE list?

On the non-moments side, I’m not sure I agree that MOOCs should make this list. In fact, I’m sure that they shouldn’t. MOOCs catalyzed a whole new conversation about teaching, learning, and scale on many campuses.  Going forward, open online education is set to fundamentally change the admissions funnel into graduate education.

Non-moments definitely deserved an expanded category.  What didn’t happen in edtech is often more telling than what did.  Remember when learning objects were going to change everything?  Or when everyone was going to own a netbook?  (Admit it, you bought one of those things). How can we forget Second Life? Why isn’t Napster on any of these lists?

Finally, this EDUCAUSE list is illustrative as to why I love EDUCAUSE, and as to why the Association sometimes drives me crazy. This is a great piece of content.  But as I write these words, there is very little action in the comments. No arguments, no debates, no discussion.

It is wonderful that this list was crowd-sourced. Developed from the feedback of EDUCAUSE members. A piece this interesting deserves to be discussed and debated outside of academic IT circles.

How can EDUCAUSE then turn this content into a dialogue?

What can EDUCAUSE do so that those outside of our edtech profession read this article, and engage in a conversation about the content with our profession?

What would you add to the EDUCAUSE lists?

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