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I’m Goldie Blumenstyk, a senior writer at The Chronicle of Higher Education, covering innovation in and around academe. Here’s what I’m thinking about this week.

Greetings from Educause. What I’m hearing so far.

The annual Educause meeting is loud, bustling, and flashy. Did I mention loud? It’s also a great place to take the temperature of a range of college officials and vendors concerned with technology and change in higher ed.

I’m here in Chicago, along with 8,300 of my closest friends. I’ve been spending a lot of time in The Chronicle’s booth (No. 1131, for folks who are here) in the exhibition hall, where I’ve been talking to folks about matters that most concern them — and handing out some fun swag for current and soon-to-be readers of The Edge.

Following is a little of what I’ve heard from the eclectic mix of folks in attendance. Interestingly, a lot of what people have told me has little to do with “tech” per se.

From Jeremy Van Hof, director of learning technology and development at Michigan State University’s business school: He’s trying to bring more awareness to faculty members about the need to make their teaching more accessible to people with disabilities. It’s not so much about gizmos or even software. “It’s a cultural change, not a technical one,” he told me. “Really it needs to be about mind-set.” Van Hof said the pedagogical changes also need to reflect students with not just hearing or visual disabilities but also psychological impairments.

From Vernon Smith, provost of the American Public University System: He’s focused on ensuring that faculty members understand the changing technologies coming their way. “It can be overwhelming,” he noted. Also, as more and more students come to rely on cellphones, he’s interested in making sure the systems that universities deploy are mobile friendly.

From Dee Childs, vice president for information technology at Texas A&M University at College Station: how to balance security with privacy. Childs noted that the more secure colleges make their networks and systems, the more complicated they can become for researchers and others trying to collaborate across institutions. Mindful of how new internet-enabled devices are increasingly a part of day-to-day life, Childs told me that she also wonders “how we’re going to protect student privacy in the future.”

From Peg Cheechi, an instructional designer at Rush University: informing faculty members about the advantages of working with experts in course design. “We’re not trying to change their content,” she told me. “We’re trying to change their delivery so they can engage their students.”

And from Kirk Kelly, chief information officer at Portland State University: the dangers of “churn” in top leadership posts at colleges and universities. Such turnover, Kelly said, undermines colleges’ ability to set goals and see them through. He also noted that many colleges are dealing with aging technology infrastructure, which may not be as obvious a problem as aging physical infrastructure but can ultimately be just as debilitating. Fixing that piecemeal is one strategy, but at some point the Scotch-tape method stops working. Major upgrades can cost millions of dollars, but unless colleges maintain robust enrollments, they may have difficulty affording that. Which comes back to the question of leadership.

That’s a good sampling from Day 1. Now, back to the din.

Got a tip you’d like to share or a question you’d like me to answer? Let me know, at