Wednesday, October 20, 2004

A Lost Edu-Cause?


Sometime last spring Mark McCahill and I submitted a proposal to debut Croquet at this October's EDUCAUSE conference in Denver Colorodo. We were turned down. That was a bit of a surprise since Mark and I were invited to present on Croquet as featured speakers in higher-education technology innovation at The EDUCAUSE Center for Applied Research's (ECAR) Summer Symposium for Higher Education IT Executives sponsored by Hewlett-Packard on July 7-9, 2004 in Sedona, AZ. There we discussed the future of the Internet, planetary-scale network applications, and the application of Croquet as a social computing platform and tool set for use in higher education. The presentation was very warmly received by an audience that included EDUCAUSE executives who afterwards expressed their interest in the project. One of them even encouraged us to be sure to submit a presentation proposal for EDUCAUSE's next annual meeting and said that "the membership would really be interested in seeing this". So, we are left to ponder why the EDUCAUSE presentation review panel felt that a multi-institutional initiative with the scope and scale of Croquet would be of limited value to the larger membership of this leading academic IT organization. Mark is quick to point out that he has submitted five papers at EDUCAUSE over the past years and has never been rejected. Ironically, this year's EDUCAUSE did accept another proposal from Mark for a show and tell about a Squeak application that makes it easy to compose and update web forms with database backends. Check out Mark's abstract:
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"The University of Minnesota's Squeak FormBuilder application allows nontechnical users to create and modify database-driven multipage Web forms via a drag-and-drop user interface on a PC. The FormBuilder application automatically versions the form and updates the Web server, insulating the designer from the XML, XSLT, SQL, and HTML implementation details."
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So, the bottom line is that Mark and I are in Denver this week to do a number of informal and "under-the-radar" Croquet presentations at EDUCAUSE.