Teaching and Technology Learning Conference

Today I’ll be in Rolla at a tech conference. Perks to this:

  1. It’s close enough to drive there and back in one day comfortably
  2. The conference is free
  3. I don’t have to monitor the student workers again all day (we’re paying extra close attention due to recent changes in our phone systems)
  4. I get to hang out with Brenda

There are downsides, though:

  1. I will certainly have more work to do on Friday, leaving me stressed

So… yeah. Should be a good time 🙂

For occasional updates about the goings-on, be sure to check out our work Twitter @msuhelp.

Cheap as Free

If you saw my Twitter last night, you saw that Bahama Breeze doesn’t know how to measure tequila shots. After ordering a shot, they brought me a tumbler with probably 2.5 shots of Patron SIlver in it. This was after an amazing meal coupled with a Bahama Mama (fresh fruit and lots of rum), onion rings, and firecracker shrimp.

Then we went back to the hotel, where there are free drinks until 7:30 p.m. A couple of glasses of wine and a cigar later, I went back to my room and watched Family Guy until bedtime.

As Jeremy put it, there’s free booze, and that makes this a vacation 😀 At the same time, I’m now in an 8-hour session today about virtual computing labs, and I’m really enjoying it. For more information, check out my notes on VCL, which will be undergoing development throughout the day (and probably further formatting throughout the rest of the week).

I really want to do this VCL thing (which has now been released open source), but it would require completely restructuring the way a lot of things work at the university regarding computing. I’ll talk with Kevin about it tonight.

Educause 2008

I am currently in the Springfield airport, preparing for a flight to Orlando by way of Dallas. I am honoured to be attending Educause 2008, and even more glad that I don’t have to speak at it. I like speaking and all, but it’s nice to just relax and listen to other people for once.

I’ll be updating here, but not as much as I’ll be updating over there. This year, I’ll be keeping a blog on the Experts Wiki throughout the event. Not to the extent of live blogging, but as often as I’m able. I may or may not have pictures, though; I just tried to plug my camera into this laptop and it wasn’t picked up at all.

Heading down to the gate now, so I’ll update on the wiki again in Dallas.

MITC Reviewed

MITC, as I mentioned last time, is actually a conference for primary and secondary education, and it was subsequently fairly simplistic. Things like doodling programs and clickers were the pinnacle of technological genius, and my presentation was out of place and undesirable.

While I didn’t attend any presentation that was really helpful (and I attended one that was downright horrible, wrong, and anyone who listened to what they were saying should probably lose their jobs), the conference wasn’t a total loss. I only had 3 people show up to my presentation, but one of those was a man from University of Central Missouri.

UCMO is currently implementing both the Luminis platform (a project I’m on the core team for here at Missouri State University), as well as Banner Student, and my attendee was enthralled by Confluence. He wants to talk more with me about it, maybe setting up a web conference in a few weeks/months, and when I told him I was considering speaking at Sungard Summit (the topic would be Building a Unified Knowledge Repository with Confluence and the Luminis Platform), he promptly wrote it down. I mentioned that I was considering speaking at HELIX as well and he said that he would be happy to recruit and get more people there if I did, because he knew a lot would want to hear about Confluence.

So, highs and lows. I’m just glad to be home, especially since Confluence was kind of broken when I got back. I spent three and a half hours fixing it yesterday, and subsequently extended its backup scheme out further so we have more backups and hopefully won’t have this problem again.

My next conference, Educause, is at the end of this month in Orlando, Florida. I won’t be speaking at that one this year, but I’m hoping to do so next year. It’s going to be unbelievably awesome, and I’m really excited.

My hope is to live blogging during Educause, if wifi access is widespread enough. If not, I may end up just blogging through my Twitter.

Also, Kevin mentioned yesterday maybe getting a presentation laptop, which would be awesome. My work tablet is so weak that running PowerPoint taxes it :-

MITC

I’m currently at the MoreNET Information Technology Conference… at least, I think that’s what the acronym stands for. I first heard about this conference about 4 months ago when I received an email from MoreNET inviting me to speak and, since I had spoken at their spring conference (HELIX), I agreed to do so and submitted a presentation about the Confluence wiki I’ve been working on.

Then I found out, some time later, that where HELIX is for higher education, MITC is for primary/secondary education. Suffice it to say that I wasn’t too excited about coming, and I’m still a little nervous that my presentation will be horribly out of place. But after attending my first session this morning, I’m optimistic.

One of the telling statements by the presenters was, “They don’t seem to realize how much we’re doing on the primary/secondary education level with technology!” Admittedly, they were using Blackboard as their full LMS and CMS, where I might have used a wiki system or something akin to SharePoint rather than Blackboard, but they had some really neat integration with the software, more advanced than how we’re using it at Missouri State University in fact. It is clear that they are very dedicated to online learning and have really poured their time and effort into their system, where ours seems a bit more… grudging. It is used, but not much, and not well.

At any rate, I’m going to wander around the exhibitor hall a bit, then go work on my Buddhism homework (due tonight for a class I’m missing). I’m also using one of the conference’s computers to blog, and there’s a line, so I’m off. Lates.

Exclusivity

A conference I’m speaking at in October has, as part of their Web 2.0 theme, decided to start a blog. After submitting my first entry last Friday, I emailed the coordinator and asked her what their licensing was on the content. If they are retaining full copyright on all materials, then I can’t post the articles here as well. However, if they are licensing the blog entries non-exclusively, then I can.

Issues of exclusivity are what have led me to commit to self publishing my work. I want to be published, even to make money off my work, but I also want to leave it open and available for people to read. I want to give it away for free. And most publishers, when you sell your book to them for publishing, require exclusive publishing rights, which means I would no longer be able to have that work on my website. Unless a site is going to leave my work open and available for public consumption, I’m not interested.

In this case, the MITC blog is available, though they’re waiting to post my first entry until they can check with their legal counsel regarding copyright. I intend to write an article on there every Thursday (linked from here if I can’t post the full text) on the subject of wikis for the next 10 weeks or so. I’m willing to deal with an exclusive contract so long as the work stays open, but otherwise it will be here, always free, and always copyleft.

HELIX

I apologize for the break in updates, and there’s another one forthcoming. My progress on Confluence has been stymied, though I don’t know yet whether this is because there’s something wrong with the product of which I am unaware or if it is due to my own incompetence. I’ve spent quite a few hours tinkering with it, making configuration changes, and restarting services, but all to no avail. I can’t get Confluence to secure logins through SSL, and I can’t get the web address to change from having server:portnumber to server/subdirectory. It always ends up being server:portnumber/subdirectory. At any rate, I’m going to zip up what I’ve got and send it to Atlassian for them to figure out.

In the meantime, I’ve been preparing for a conference I’m attending this week. I’ll also be speaking on Thursday, presenting the topic “Publications for Public Relations,” which is a fancy (and alliterative way!) of discussing web design, press releases, newsletters, and getting people to pay attention to them. I have no idea how it’ll go, and I’m a bit worried since our VP and Director will be there, but I’ve got years of public speaking experience and I know the topic pretty well, so I’m hopeful.

Back on Friday. I might give an update on HELIX then, and hopefully return to regular updates on Monday.