Five things you should do at Educause Annual Conference 2019

Book a braindate or brush up on your innovation skills. There are more than 300 sessions scheduled for this year's premier edtech event.
conference audience
(Headway / Unsplash)

Next Monday marks the first day of Educause’s Annual Conference 2019, a veritable four-day smorgasbord of knowledge for educators and industry professionals looking to catch up on the latest innovations and new ideas at the intersection of higher education and technology.

The event — in Chicago this year — is massive and features more than 300 sessions and 800 presenters who will be sharing their expertise and also networking with attendees, some of Educause’s more than 16,000 active members. With so much happening at once, it’s impossible to see everything — even with Educause’s handy online agenda, conference guide and personalizable mobile app. But never fear; EdScoop has you covered. Here are five ideas of things to check out to get you started.

1. Book a braindate

Event programming can only take one so far. Many say the true value of a conference like Educause lies in the aggregated brain power of so many people with similar interests having gathered in the same place. But how can you find someone who wants to talk about your specific interest? Make a braindate.


Simply create a braindate profile and then browse the “topic market” or create your own topic that you want to talk or learn about. Book a braindate with someone who holds a similar interest and meet that individual (or group of people) at Educause’s Braindate Lounge.

2. Limit your cyber risk

Between ransomware, phishing attacks and outdated security practices prevalent at many institutions, cybersecurity is a growing threat for the education sector. Drop in on “The Fog of Cyberwar” session on Tuesday to hear from Tom Andriola, the former chief information officer for the University of California system, and David Rusting, the UC system’s chief information security officer.

Both having operated out of the UC Office of the President, Andriola and Rusting are slated to provide an overview of how they manage risk in a large organization, the UC system overseeing some 33,000 students spread over 10 campuses. The schedule says they’ll help audience members identify two “key near-term action items” they can take back to their organizations.

3. Ponder and philosophize


With each step digital technology has taken, new ethical wrinkles have surfaced. Issues of data privacy surround every new sensor, application or fingerprint scanner installed at educational institutions. Educause president John O’Brien will host a session on Thursday called “The State of Digital Ethics in 2019,” in which he’ll attempt to disentangle the relationship between ethics and technology. According to the schedule, he will make the case for “excitement, caution, and hope in this exceedingly challenging landscape.”

4. Brush up on your innovation skills

Innovation is more about context and environment than the people involved. On Tuesday, author and PBS host Steven Johnson will host a general session in which he’ll outline his research on the history of innovation and the circumstances that he believes allow innovation to thrive. The schedule says he’ll also “provide a glimpse of the coming tech revolutions that will transform tomorrow’s educational landscape.”

5. Take a peek at next year’s top 10 IT issues

Educause releases its Top 10 IT Issues list each year. Presenters will use the annual conference in Chicago as an opportunity to tease the 2020 list. Don’t miss the featured session on Tuesday in which Educause’s Susan Grajek is joined on stage by CIOs from around the country to talk about the latest priorities of today’s edtech professionals. 


The full list will be published in January, but until then, Educause says on its schedule, you can get a head start by listening to “critical perspectives from your peers.”

Don’t like any of our suggestions? Learn more about the sessions to be held and build your own agenda using Educause’s Annual Conference 2019 website. See you there!

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