GusDay, first created by Gustavus Adolphus College, is a conference for Minnesota higher ed institutions. It is dedicated to reflecting on, analyzing and improving techniques in Information Technology for higher education.
GusDay 2021 happened January 21 – right on time but very differently than usual. Back in January 2020, no one at Carleton was imagining that the 2021 version would be radically different, with the now oh-so-familiar Zoom meetings. On the plus side, we created a online social space in Gather.town for informal conversations, easy ways to set up and hold flexible Birds-of-a-Feather sessions, and the creativity to look just a little different for the day, as our avatars ran, ghosted, and danced through the virtual green space.
This year’s sessions, to no one’s surprise, were heavily colored by COVID-19 and how it has impacted our daily work, how faculty teach, and how students learn. This focus, though, was not marked by frustration and fatigue. Instead, starting out with John O’Brien’s keynote, the focus was very much on the future of IT and our work within it:
- How did this international crisis and pandemic shift the use of instructional and information technology over the last 10 months to create more opportunities for all students, to provide greater equitable access to resources, to shift our thinking around how learning happens?
- How will this kind of change through crisis move forward around changes in the workplace and in our work culture?
The sessions themselves consisted of a mix of discussions around supporting faculty and students directly through hardware and software solutions and around improving processes and IT services in general. If you are curious, follow the link to see the sessions, fully captioned.