Instructional Technology Conference

2009 Featured Speakers

Michael Wesch Michael Wesch
Assistant Professor of Cultural Anthropology
Kansas State University


" From Knowledgable to Knowledge-able:
Harnessing New Media for New Media Literacy"

It took tens of thousands of years for writing to emerge after humans spoke their first words. It took thousands more before the printing press and a few hundred again before the telegraph. Today a new medium of communication emerges every time somebody creates a new web application. A Flickr here, a Twitter there, and a new way of relating to others emerges. New types of conversation, argumentation, and collaboration are realized. What does this mean for new technologies that can foster the kinds of communication and community we hope to create in education? In this presentation, Wesch will showcase and discuss his own attempts to integrate Facebook, Netvibes, Diigo, Google Apps, Jott, Twitter, 2D barcodes, and other emerging technologies to create a rich virtual learning environment.

Dubbed "the Explainer" by Wired magazine, Michael Wesch is a culturalanthropologist at Kansas State University exploring the impact of newmedia on human interaction. After two years studying the effects of writing on a remote indigenous culture in the rain forest of Papua New Guinea, he has turned his attention to the impact of social media and digital technology on global society.
His videos on technology, education, and information have been viewed over ten million times and are frequently featured at international film festivals and major academic conferences worldwide.
Wesch has won several major awards for his work, including a Wired Magazine Rave Award and the John Culkin Award for Outstanding Praxis in Media Ecology. He is also a multiple award-winning teacher whose teaching projects are frequently featured in the Chronicle of Higher Education and other major media outlets worldwide.
Wesch is currently serving on the Editorial Board of Advisors for Encyclopedia Britannica.

Sarah "Intellagirl" Robbins
PhD Candidate, Ball State University
Director of Emerging Technologies
Kelley Executive Partners, Indiana University

" Navigating the Throng: Using Social Media for Non-Institutional Learning Ecologies"

Today's technology enables users to form and join communities of common interest to learn and share information. In opposition to the privileged learning spaces of higher education, social media encourage learners to seek out their own answers and construct knowledge as a community rather than as individuals. Twitter, Flickr, Facebook, and Second Life offer new learning spaces, but how do they fit into the learning expectations of institutions? How do universities compete for the attention and engagement of students in such a deluge of information? In a teeming information ecology, educational institutions are in a prime position to lead the way, to be the revolutionaries and guides, and to empower students with the ability to develop their own personal learning networks. Today's educator is a critical part of this social learning phenomenon. In this session, you'll learn how to take on this pivotal role.

Sarah "Intellagirl" Robbins-Bell is a Ph.D. candidate at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. She is also the director of Emerging Technologies for Kelley Executive Partners at Indiana University and a higher education consultant, helping colleges and universities integrate Web 2.0 technologies meaningfully into pedagogy. Sarah's current research is an effort to develop a classification taxonomy of over 100 virtual worlds. She is the coauthor of Second Life for Dummies. Her research has been featured in the New York Times, USA Today, and the Chronicle of Higher Education.


Belle S. Wheelan
President, Commission on Colleges
The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools

"Accountability In Higher Education"

This session will focus on activities that began with the Spellings' Commission, continued with the Reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, and the responses by various publics along the way. Additionally, the expectations of one regional accrediting agency in the area of accountability will be discussed.


Dr. Belle S. Wheelan currently serves as president of the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and is the first African American and the first woman to serve in this capacity. Her career spans 33 years and includes the roles of faculty member, chief student services officer, campus provost, college president, and Secretary of Education. She was the first African American to serve in several of those roles.
Wheelan received her bachelor's degree from Trinity University in Texas in 1972 with a double major in psychology and sociology. In 1974, she earned a master's degree from Louisiana State University in developmental educational psychology and received her doctorate from the University of Texas at Austin in 1984 in educational administration, with a special concentration in community college leadership.
Wheelan has received numerous awards and recognition including four honorary degrees; the Distinguished Graduate Award from Trinity University (2002), and from the College of Education at the University of Texas at Austin (1992); she was recognized as one of Washingtonian Magazine's 100 Most Powerful Women in Washington, DC (2001); and she received the AAUW Woman of Distinction Award (2002).
She holds and has held membership in numerous local, state, and national organizations including Rotary International; Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.; the American College Testing, Inc., board of directors; American Association of Community Colleges' board of directors; and the President's Round Table of the National Council on Black American Affairs.