Thursday, January 18, 2007

A little bored

Although I've seen a couple of interesting presentations, I have to admit I'm kind of bored with this conference. Unlike academic conferences where the same people tend to show up year after year, the nature of these conferences is that there's not that camaraderie. There are a couple of familiar faces, but for the most part, the people change from year to year. People leave these positions after a few years and often go on to something completely different or to somewhere far away. Also, though we're all from the same area, our institutions are so different, it's hard to relate to people. For example, I went to a presentation by Temple on building a new collaborative lab environment. It was a $16 million project and there were 640 computers and 150 software packages. That's a scale I can't even imagine. I haven't been particularly impressed with the sessions on teaching and learning. No one's saying anything new or they're geared toward distance education. And they're all (with one or two exceptions) too focused on the technology and they're not even thinking about pedagogy. The question that comes up at every session, though: how do we get faculty on board/involved? And of course, there are no faculty here to answer that question. We're talking in a vacuum.

Maybe I need to move on to a different conference. I'm skipping a session right now because there was nothing of interest to me and I'll probably skip the next one. The teaching and learning track is offering something on using an intelligent agent to provide Blackboard help. I don't really want to know about that.