My love story with the High Ed Web conference
I attended my first High Ed Web conference 6 years ago in Rochester, NY. It was called HighEdWebDev at that time.
It was the first time I presented and blogged this conference. I asked volunteers to help me live blog the conference (want to know what was hot in 2007? Check out the posts!) – something that the High Ed Web Association is now doing with its guest blogging program through LINK.
Over the years I’ve always tried to do what I could to support one way or the other the event and its attendees.
I love this conference: it’s a super charged professional development opportunity, the homecoming of the community I’m passionate about but also a sort of Spring Break in October!
This year is a good year, because I get to go, present a session (my Social Media TOS Crash Course) and even moderate a fantastic panel of 8 strong and inspiring women all working in higher education.
In 2010 I started a little tradition by posting my selection of sessions.
Over the years people have mentioned this selection as being very useful to help them make their picks. And, it’s easy to understand why: with 72 concurrent sessions (without counting the vendor track), 11 workshops, 2 keynotes and 31 poster sessions, the High Ed Web conference can feel a bit overwhelming.
Must-attend #heweb13 sessions: 12 Classics + 12 New Twists + 1 Narcissistic
I spent more than 3 hours reading and reviewing ALL the #heweb13 session descriptions, selecting the most interesting ones and putting together an even shorter list for this post.
This year it was impossible to select only one session by time slot, so I came up with 2 virtual tracks of my composition by selecting my favorite sessions for 2 different contexts:
- “Classics”: I recommend this selection if this is your first time at this big conference and you just don’t want to stick with 1 track (if you’re a generalist and not a specialist). You will find great seasoned speakers and important topics that everybody working in higher education should know about.
- “New Twists”: I recommend this selection if you’ve already attended a few conferences this year (or in the past) and are looking for something different, new topics or interesting angles. I think it’s good to get out of the yellow brick road from time to time, and this is what you’ll do if you follow this track ;-)
Are you a pure techie? The Propeller Hats Required track is all you need. I’ve reviewed all the sessions – and while I didn’t select any in my 2 virtual tracks – all the presentations in this track look better than cake.
Anyway, I hope you’ll find this list helpful to get ready for the big conference. Oh, and if you want to print the list easily, feel free to download this 4-page PDF document.
BIG Bold Disclaimer
It is ALWAYS tough to choose. There are MANY really great sessions that are not on this list. So if yours is not on my list, please, just go ahead and add it to this post by posting a comment. And, please, no punching-in-the-face if you see me in Buffalo ;-)
The Great Unbundling [Classics]
by Mark Greenfield, Director of Web Services, University at Buffalo
Mark, the conference chair, is a fantastic speaker and a visionary. He’s been forcasting what is happening to higher education for a few years now. If you want to make sense of what is happening with MOOCs and the future of higher education, this is the session to attend as Mark will touch many of the themes presented in many recent books – including “College Unbound” by Jeff Selingo.
Make It Work? A Primer on the Client Services Approach in Higher Ed [New Twists]
by Tonya Oaks Smith, Director of Communications, UALR William H. Bowen School of Law
Tonya, Management and Professional Development Track Chair, is also a great speaker. In this session, she will look at the charge-back model or how you can make your stakeholders realize the value of what you do and the costs of some of their decisions.
Blog Me Baby One More Time [Classics]
by Robin Smail, Renegade Element, UX Lead, Firebrand Tribe and Audrey Romano, Web Coordinator, Penn State University
Any presentation given by Robin Smail is worth your time. This is a classic, because Robin is a classy class-act ;-) While the topic of the session focuses on the academic use of blogs, it will give you useful intelligence on how you can help your faculty get more involved with this “social media thing” in the classroom!
Living Dead Week [New Twists]
by Jason Fish, Manager of Application Programming, Purdue University
Have you heard about the 20% projects at Google where employees can work 20% of their time on a project of their own. One lucky group at Purdue University has been able to spend one week working on this kind of projects during Living Dead Week for the past 3 years. They didn’t turn into zombies, on the contrary, and Jason Fish will share lessons learned about this experiment.
E-Expectations 2013: The Implications of Increased Mobile Browsing for College Web Development [Classics]
by Stephanie Geyer, AVP, Noel-Levitz and Lance Merker, President and CEO, OmniUpdate
Stephanie and Lance have presented at hundreds of conferences. The E-Expectations Survey Report is a classic that always brings great insights and surprises. If you can’t wait for this session, you can read my analysis of the 2013 report published this summer now.
Facing your fears: Is a mobile app challenge right for you? [New Twists]
by Cornelia Bailey, Strategic Innovation Consultant, University of Chicago
In higher ed, we love contests. They are great to engage our communities on social media. The University of Chicago organized a mobile app challenge to boost innovation but also to engage the campus community. This original project has helped IT services on different fronts.
Can You Pass the Social Media License Test? Social Media TOS Crash Course [Narcissistic]
by Karine Joly, Executive Director and Social Media Marketing Instructor, Higher Ed Experts
My session is not a classic although it will definitely be a back-to-basics for anybody in charge of social media at an institution. It’s not really a new twist either unless you count reading what nobody reads (the terms of service of the top social media platforms) as a different practice. This session’s goal is to help social media professionals working in higher education avoid headaches, embarrassment or worse by knowing the most important rules on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, etc. Want a sample of what will be discussed? Check out my Social Media TOS Tuesday series!
Measuring Web Performance [Classics]
by Dave Olsen, Professional Technologist, West Virginia University
Dave is a great speaker and an accomplished expert on anything related to the mobile experience. I met Dave 3 years ago and worked on several webinars with him. Not only does he knows his stuff – in this case, optimization for mobile – but he always offers a great experience to the attendees of his presentation.
Instagram: Make crowdsourced photos work for you! [New Twists]
by John S. Murphy, Social Media Specialist, Brown University
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that Instagram is THE platform of the future – well, at least, it’s the platform the kids aged 13 to 17 use more and more. Brown University managed to create a very popular crowdsourcing project: the “Scene by you at Brown” Instagram campaign. I don’t know about you, but I want to know how they did it.
Got Students? Get Social! [Classics]
by Ma’ayan Plaut, Social Media Coordinator, Oberlin College
Ma’ayan is a rising star on the higher ed conference circuit. While she has been working full-time in higher ed for only 3 years, she has already demonstrated through her speaking, writing and leadership that she can bring a lot to our industry. While the topic of her session – student ambassadors – is a classic, I’m pretty sure she will share a lot of fresh ideas.
Challenge Shmallenge – We’ve Got This: Women Paving Their Own Way [New Twists]
by Alana Riley (Providence College), Robin Smail (Firebrand Tribe), Colleen Brennan-Barry (Monroe Community College), Tonya Oaks Smith (UALR), Mallory Wood (mStoner), Lori Packer (University of Rochester), Magen Tracy (Berklee College of Music) and Georgy Cohen (Suffolk University)
While I didn’t come up with the idea for this panel, I was asked to moderate it. I’ve been working on it since the beginning of the summer, interviewing each of the 8 panelists to make sure we tackle the most interesting points about women in higher education, work/life balance and career advancement issues. Whether you are a woman or a man, you will leave the session with some useful tips, ideas and inspiring stories.
Monday, 4:15-5:00 PM
Lessons Learned from a Lockdown: Using the Web and Social Media in a Crisis [Classics]
by Cindy Sabato, APR Coordinator, and Kerri Hicks, Web Communications Manager, University of Rhode Island
Crisis communication has always been a hot topic in higher education. Even before the tragedy at Virginia Tech in April 2007, conferences always included at least a session on it (One of my first conference presentations back in 2006 was actually about crisis communication 2.0, a session I co-presented with Joe Hice). This is a classic topic addressed by 2 great seasoned presenters.
The On-Ramp to a Successful Responsive Workflow [New Twists]
by Peter Anglea, Web Developer, Bob Jones University
In this session, the focus will be more on the workflow (or the project managment process) for responsive websites. While Anglea is a developer, he prides himself in speaking in plain English too. He will share with us several examples of responsive workflows so you can come up with something that works for your team.
Making Movies [Classics]
by Kerri Hicks (University of Rhode Island), Paul Fairbanks (Gettysburg College), Larry Falck (Francis Marion University) and Chris Judge (Providence College)
We all have a soft spot for online videos – our target audiences too. The topic of this panel is not new, but very important as it will touch on live streaming, accessible ADA-compliant videos and time lapses. That’s the making of great classic in my book.
The Power of Intimacy [New Twists]
by Kel Hahn, Associate Director of Communications, University of Kentucky College of Engineering
What makes people notice, share and love? In his presentation, Kel Hahn promises to tell us how intimacy can help you fall in love with your job and positively impact others. Sounds like something interesting for social media professionals or anybody working in higher education.
In Users We Trust: Using Social Media APIs to Build Community [Classics]
by Sheri Lehman, Interactive Marketing Specialist, and Ben Cole, Web Technology Specialist, Chapman University
This is another great classic showcasing how an institution created a social media hub with the help of social APIs and a great campus community. I had the pleasure to listen to Sheri at the High Ed Web WEST conference last June and she is a young yet very polished speaker.
Academic Startups (Can we do this at home?) [New Twists]
by Chad Galts, Director of Communications, School of Engineering, MIT
Can you run a web group as a start-up in higher education? Does your (new) boss want you to? I’m not sure this is NOT the case in most schools, but the description of this session definitely piqued my interest.
YES YOU CAN! How to Train 650 CMS Users in 18 Months (with Only 3 Employees) [Classics]
by Corie Martin, Creative Web Services Director and Diana Keeling, Web Application Developer, Western Kentucky University
Who doesn’t have “fond” memories of new CMS training projects? I do, even though the last one I did was almost 10 years ago with only 40 or so content contributors. This topic is a classic, but it’s a very useful one if you have a new CMS implementation in your future.
Apps, APIs, and the End of the Internet [New Twists]
by Don Faulkner, Chief Information Security Officer, University of Arkansas
In higher ed, we love APIs. Yet, Don Faulkner knows a few things about their shortcomings and will tell us everything on what could be a better way. Attention, tech alert! I’m pretty sure most of us will learn something useful in this session.
Tuesday, 11:45-12:30 PM
Turn That Job Into a Profession [Classics]
by John Wagner, Systems Programmer, Princeton University and George Sackett, District Coordinator Web Communications, St. Louis Community College
This session is a classic because it will feature some great advice and lessons learned from 2 great professionals that have been around for many years. I wouldn’t call them “Wise Men” but I could. Even though it sometimes feels as everything is new and nothing can be learned from experience in our industry, it’s not the case.
Practical Tips for IA with RWD [New Twists]
by Julie Grundy, Information Architect, Duke University
This session should offer great tips on how to help your on-campus clients get their content ready for a responsive web redesign. Julie Grundy will show the tools and practices behind her project management process for this kind of projects.
Tuesday, 2:00-2:45 PM
Faux Pas, Phonies and Flub-ups: How to Handle Social Media Spoofs, Goofs and Snafus [Classics]
by Donna Talarico, Integrated Marketing Manager, Elizabethtown College
We all have posted something we shouldn’t have. Donna Talarico, a seasoned presenter, will share her own mistakes and some. She will also address parody accounts and snarky remarks on social media. It’s a classic, because no matter the channel, there is always room for faux pas (reply-to-all emails, anybody?).
Interactive wireframes: kick-start your site strategy [New Twists]
by Tom Pixton, Communications Specialist, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
The topic isn’t new, but it’s not really a classic either. It is a very good practice to add to your toolbox if you don’t do it yet.
Tuesday, 3:00- 3:45PM
Stand Back….I’m Going To Try Science! [Classics]
by Karlyn Borysenko, Marketing Manager, Eduventures
This topic, academic research methods, isn’t a classic. It is definitely something super important in a world where more and more data-driven decisions are made in higher ed. Karlyn is a seasoned and very entertaining presenter. Currently working on her thesis, she has almost crossed over to the dark (academic) side ;-)
Transform the Trivial: Reasons to cut basic tech support from your “to do” list [New Twists]
by Jennifer Chance, Web Team Manager, and Mark Foster, Technology Coordinator, University of Texas at Austin
It’s impossible to tackle the real big important projects if you spend your time dealing with requests from your stakeholders. Breaking free from the help desk model, you need to shift practices. And, it looks like this session should help you get there.
The poster sessions look amazing. What’s great about this “science-fair-like” event is the fact that you can walk from one poster to the other, talk to the presenters, ask questions and learn a ton – and you don’t have to choose!
So, here are my picks.
What is the session YOU absolutely don’t want to miss?
You’re presenting? Why should folks attend YOUR session?
Tell us by posting a comment!