For the first time, this year’s EDUCAUSE Annual Conference will be held fully online. Kicking off on Oct. 27, the event follows a year of challenges and transition brought on by COVID-19 and the subsequent transition to large-scale remote, online and hybrid learning.
Billed by EDUCAUSE as the “premier convening of IT professionals and technology providers across the diverse higher education landscape,” the conference features more than 400 online and on-demand sessions along with 125 virtual exhibits. The event will kick off at 11 a.m. E.T. Tue., Oct. 27, with a keynote address by actor, social justice activist and social media influencer George Takei.
Other keynote speakers include EDUCAUSE Vice President of Partnerships, Communities and Research Susan Grajek and Freeman Hrabowski, president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.
“The virtual 2020 EDUCAUSE Annual Conference will be, as always, a great celebration of our community,” EDUCAUSE CEO John O’Brien writes in an August blog post. “Even though we know you all love the energy that is generated by thousands of colleagues gathered together in one place, we want your conference experience to be both engaging and safe. So, we’ve gone to great lengths to create a virtual conference that continues to offer ‘the best thinking in higher ed IT.’”
Given current events and the evolving technology and instructional climate in higher education, it’s no surprise that much of this year’s conference will focus on technologies and strategies for digital transformation and on managing the effects of the transition on postsecondary programs. Other key themes of the show include the cloud, security and privacy, and student success.
“We plan to set a new standard for virtual higher education conferences,” O’Brien writes. “Instead of trying to replicate a face-to-face experience online, we’re bringing you the best of ‘being there’ in person and the best of joining from a distance. I’m confident that you’ll have more opportunities than ever to learn from and connect with colleagues and that you’ll enjoy the experience at both a lower cost and a lower stress level (without the travel challenges).”