Leaders from 25 Canadian universities, industry and the federal government, the Leadership Council for Digital Infrastructure, Canadian University Council of Chief Information Officers, Compute Canada, and CANARIE participated in a Universities Canada workshop in Vancouver on November 30 and December 1, 2015 to discuss the trends, opportunities and challenges in leveraging digital technologies for research, university operations, and teaching and learning.

A report titled Canadian Universities and our Digital Future A workshop by Universities Canada which summarized the results of the the workshop was release in May of 2016.

An excerpt from the report suggests that:

“Given these trends and the creative ways in which digital technologies can be used to support universities’ teaching and learning, research enterprise and administration, Canadian universities are presented with a range of opportunities and ways to innovate.

Universities will continue to incorporate digital technologies to attract more students, support their success, engage students in new ways, cater to their learning styles and needs, and better prepare them for their future careers. They will also use digital technologies to support a robust research environment involving online collaboration and access to increasingly large data sets and high-performance computing networks. And they will use technologies to offer a more secure, effective and efficient administrative environment, including improved student services.”

The 12-page report can be downloaded at http://www.univcan.ca/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/canadian-universities-and-our-digital-future-2015-workshop-report.pdf



Clayton R. Wright has released the 35rd edition of the conference list. The list below covers selected events focused primarily on the use of technology in educational settings and on teaching, learning, and educational administration. Educational Technology & Education Conferences #35, June to December 2016, Clayton R. Wright

The consider the following from Clayton:

Attached is the 35th version of the educational technology and education conference list. Since the previous list was published, 89 events were added to June 2016. This version of the list contains basic information regarding 1, 511 confirmed professional development opportunities. Additional events are noted, but dates and/or locations could not be confirmed.

If you re-distribute all or part of this list, please ensure that the contact information (Clayton R. Wright, crwr77[@]gmail.com) is provided as that is how I receive updates. If you do not want to receive future lists, please send me an e-mail. If you can supply the missing information for some of the events on the list, let me know.

Do exercise your own due diligence regarding unfamiliar conferences that you may want to attend or submit a paper to. Thus, CHECK the specific conference website not only for basic information (dates and locations may change as well as the URL), but to assure yourself that the conference is legitimate.

You may recall that I wrote a rationale for the list and provided some conference tips to conference organizers in an article I wrote for the Association for Learning Technology, UK. Since I wrote that article, I have visited thousands of conference websites and can assure you that these three simple suggestions from the article are still valid:

Help viewers of your conference website by placing the title, date, and location of the event in a prominent place on the first web page of your conference site. Throughout the world, different standards are used to represent dates. For example, does 06/07/16 represent June 7, 2016 or July 6, 2016, or does 06/07/11 represent November 7, 2006 or perhaps June 7, 2011? Avoid confusion by spelling out the month and indicating the year in four digits. Remember, if this information is provided in a graphical form or is an overlay to a photograph, this essential information also needs to be placed in the text below the graphic or photo so that text-to-voice readers and on-line translators can interpret the data. Perhaps for stylistic reasons, numbers are used to represent dates, months, and years, but it can be confusing to the viewer. Listing only the month and day without listing the year is also confusing as a viewer never knows whether he or she is looking at the most recent web page – once an event has passed, not all web-pages disappear into the virtual ether.

Provide an explanation of all abbreviations used, including the name of your organization or association. People want to know who is organizing or sponsoring the conference so that they can decide whether the conference is aimed at them. Conference organizers often make the assumption that everyone knows the meaning of the acronym for their organization or conference. But if you are not a member of the organization or didn’t attend the previous event, what does the acronym mean? Not all organizations provide an explanation of their acronym – not even on their home page in tiny print at the bottom of the page! And, these organizations or conference organizers are less likely to make it easy for you to contact them by e-mail. I wonder how many potential conference attendees don’t make an effort to learn more about a conference because the organizers don’t provide enough information upfront and/or a way to contact them for additional information.

Link last year’s conference site to the new one. When an event is hosted by a different institution or organization each year, it is understandable that the new hosts would want to place the conference website on their institutional servers. But, there needs to be a link from the old site (URL) to the new site – how else will people who attended the previous year’s event find information about the future event?

Do share the list with your colleagues as they may find an event that aligns with their interests and professional growth. Please include 2017 events as your colleagues may be looking for a professional development event that is not held in 2016 as it is a biennial event. You could send them the attachment or direct them to Stephen Downes’ website, http://www.downes.ca/post/65309

May your day be a productive and rewarding one!


P.S. You may want to change the font for the entire document. If so, press the “control key” (Ctrl) and the letter “A”. The entire document will be highlighted. Then, select the font and point size you prefer from the drop-down menu in Word. You may also need to change the footers separately by selecting “Insert” from the ribbon at the top of Word, then “Footer”, then “Edit footer” at the bottom of the drop-down menu. Next, press the “control key” (Ctrl) and the letter “A” so that all the items in the footer are highlighted. Finally, select the font and point size you prefer. crw


In his post It’s never been as easy to be an intellectual Seth Godin asks the following questions and then suggests that we badly need these kinds of people who are willing to do this work:

  • Do you click through to see the underlying data?
  • Are you aware of both the status quo and the argument against it?
  • Have you done the reading?
  • Are you comfortable asking, “why?”
  • Do you know how it works?
  • When someone knows more about something than you do, are you willing to catch up?
  • If the data makes it clear that you’ve taken the wrong position, are you eager to change your mind?
  • Are you interested in having a spirited conversation about the way things are, the way they were, they way they might become?
  • Can you set aside your worldview, at least for a few minutes, to consider an alternative way to look at the situation?

When I first read this post my ego was stroked because I have a tendency to see myself as an intellectual. There is a part of me that likes to engage things on a purely intellectual or rational level and, until recently, I had tried to limit the emotional side of perspectives because I foolishly believed that emotions or the heart just got in the way. Personal experience and too many life lessons have taught me that the head won’t go where the heart hasn’t been regardless of how rational the argument. Life has also taught me that we are complex beings and rather then try and ignore our hearts we really need to engage them along with our intellects if we really want to learn.

I think Godin is on the right track with his post, but I think he is missing the bigger picture. I suggest that we factor in the heart, or the affective domain, as Bloom recommends, then we can argue that it’s never been as easy to be a learner. The heart must also be engaged if we are to truly make meaningful connections and learn.


Bloom, B. S. (1974). Taxonomy of educational objectives: The classification of educational goals. Handbook 1-2. Longmans: McKay.

Godin, S. (2015, November 22). Did you do the reading? Retrieved from http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2015/11/did-you-do-the-reading.html

Godin, S. (2016, July 8). It’s never been as easy to be an intellectual. Retrieved from http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2016/07/its-never-been-as-easy-to-be-an-intellectual.html

Harapnuik, D. K. (2015, January 9). The head won’t go where the heart hasn’t been. Retrieved from http://www.harapnuik.org/?p=5461