ELI Annual Meeting Recap

A street scene in San Diego, CA during the ELI Annual Meeting.

San Diego street scene near the conference.

DELTA was represented well at the ELI Annual Meeting in June. Director of Instructional Design and Development, Digital Learning Daniel Davis and Lead Instructional Designer Jakia Salam traveled to San Diego, California to participate in this annual event.

Daniel Davis and Jakia Salam at the ELI Annual Meeting.

This conference is sponsored annually by EDUCAUSE, a nonprofit association “whose mission is to advance higher education through the use of information technology,” according to their website.

This year’s meeting theme was “A Moment to Breathe: Reflect and Gear Up for What’s Next.” This timely theme acknowledged the shift in the higher education field due to world events over the past few years. The focus was on intentional reflective practice to take a look at what strategies worked well, to celebrate success stories and prepare for future challenges. 

The agenda was packed with innovative sessions. ”The conference had several main themes: working through the struggles of the pandemic together, equity and data, Immersive technology in learning and student engagement,” said Davis. “There were several social functions and breakout sessions which focused not just on presenting findings, but gave conference attendees the chance to exchange ideas through carefully crafted discussion prompts.”

Salam agrees stating, “This year, the conference theme reflected the pandemic and the necessity of online learning. Teaching and learning with empathy was a key to success for many students. It is focused a lot on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI). Also there were very cool presentations on cutting edge technologies like XR.”

Standout Presentations

Some notable presentations included “Cal State XR: Collaboration, Innovation, and Creativity — Amazing Things Are Possible!” presented by Interim Director of Digital Transformation Max Tasi and Director for Innovation Kate Miffit from California State University. “This was a very inspiring presentation on XR technology used in education. They demonstrated how they leveraged an open-source, device-agnostic XR platform (Mozilla Hubs and AWS cloud) and made it available at scale across universities in the California University system to make immersive environments available for teaching, virtual events and other engagement activities,” Salam said.

Another informative presentation focused on student success was “Developing a Student Success Analytics Framework: Establishing Common Ground across Institutions” presented by Principal Software Architect at Unicon, Inc. Linda Feng, Research, Analytics, and Communications Specialist at San Diego State University Maureen Guarcello and Learning Analytics, Data Ethics and Policy at The Ohio State University Marcia Ham

Salam added, “The area of student success analytics (SSA) is expanding, with different innovative approaches to SSA being employed across multiple different institutions. But there is a lack of  common resources to assist with definitions and communication around these SSA efforts. To address this need, the EDUCAUSE SSA Community Group initiated a subgroup to develop a common SSA framework. This session explored the development of the framework and how it can provide a common language and reference point for all stakeholders.” 

David Woodbury presenting at the ELI Meeting.

Department Head David Woodbury from NC State Library also was one of the presenters of projects which were a cross collaboration between DELTA and NC State Library. They discussed recent technological advances, challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the process of fast-tracked XR adoption in education. This session offered foundational recommendations for embracing OER and XR together within the higher education community and ensuring equitable access.

In addition, this year’s ELI conference introduced some novel activities. A fitness walk/run early in the morning with fellow conference attendees was a great way to begin the day. “It was relaxing to walk along the beautiful harbor side of San Diego,” noted Salam. Another new knowledge sharing activity was “Brain date”. The purpose of this activity was to spend some of your time, having lunch or dinner together and speaking with people who share your interests, ambitions and concerns. Salam believes this was a great opportunity to tap into the collective knowledge of the higher education teaching and learning community.

To learn more about the Annual ELI Meeting, visit their page on the EDUCAUSE website.