Keynote Speaker

Dr. John O’Brien

Dr. John O’Brien is President and CEO of EDUCAUSE, a nonprofit association whose mission is to advance higher education through the use of information technology. Throughout his 25-year career in higher education, John has served as a leader in technology, academics, and institutional leadership. He was a faculty leader in instructional technology, a statewide IT project leader, and associate vice chancellor/deputy CIO at the system level. He has been a provost and college president in the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) system, the fifth largest higher education system in the country. Prior to his appointment at EDUCAUSE, he served as senior vice chancellor of academic and student affairs. John holds a bachelor's degree in English and English education from Augustana College, a master's degree in Anglo-Irish Literature from the University of Dublin (Trinity College), and a doctorate in English from the University of Minnesota.


Title: A Meditation on the History of the Future of Educational Technology
Abstract: EDUCAUSE president and CEO John O’Brien reflects on history and our tendency to ignore the past in our race to the future. He invites us to consider the “history of the future” of higher education technology. He explores engaging “paleofuture” artifacts—for example 19th century predictions of what technology would be like in the year 2000—and argues that there is much to learn today from these glimpses into the history of the future.