16 #highered must-attend sessions at #pseweb 2014 in Toronto (July 29-30, 2014)

July 23rd, 2014 Karine Joly 14 Comments

psewebCan you believe it?

I can’t make it to the #PSEWeb conference this year even though it’s only 1-hour away (by plane) this year. My parents are in town next week — and since they come from Europe, they have priority.

@tsand, @karinejoly and @robin2go - Photo by @joeldixonI spent several hours in a plane last year just to attend this conference in Vancouver and it was really worth it. Targeted to Canadian digital professionals working in higher education (or post secondary education as it’s called in Canada), it’s a well-organized event.

I know many of you will attend this 2-day conference next week.

So, here’s my little gift for you, my selection of the break-out sessions you don’t want to miss. The 4 keynotes look great too. They aren’t on this list, because no need for tough choice in these cases.

I spent a total of 5 hours reviewing all the session descriptions in the schedule (33 in total) and writing this post, so I hope you’ll find it useful.

16 Must-attend #pseweb sessions

BIG Bold Disclaimer

It is ALWAYS tough to choose. There are SEVERAL really great sessions that are not on this list. So if yours (or your favorite one) is not on my list, please, just go ahead and add it to this post by posting a comment and telling us why people should attend.

Monday, 10:20am – 11:40am

“Paying your way to the top – Advertising on Facebook + Twitter” – Jean-Paul Rains
While Jean-Paul Rains doesn’t work for an institution of higher education anymore, he used to until very recently. In this session, he will share his experience running Twitter and Facebook ad campaigns for his school for 4 years with a total 6-figure (wow!) budget. Expect great tips and lessons learned from this presentation.

“Measuring In-Person Recruitment Effectiveness with Social Media” – Kareem Rahaman & Samantha Read
Ryerson University has done a great job engaging and following via social media prospective students through the strategic use of event- and cycle-specific hashtags. In this session, you’ll also find out how they integrated these social campaigns with their CRM to get some VERY useful measurement data.

“Using Social Media to Connect with the Right Students” – Andrew Smyk
Andrew presented a 10-min version of this presentation at the 1st Higher Ed Social Media Conference I organized last year (the next one will take place on December 3, 2014). In this session, he’ll show you how academics can use social to engage the right prospective students for their programs.

Monday, 1:15pm – 2:35pm

“Are UXperienced?” – Robin Smail
Robin is one of the most popular speakers in our industry by looking at the number of conferences she was/is scheduled to present in 2014. She is not only a very engaging presenter, but also a great teacher. In her session, she will help you understand why User Experience Design has become so central. She promises to share examples of the good, the bad and the ugly in User Experience as well as some great UX tools you can use.

“How (and why) to make your colleagues better communicators” – Danielle Wintrip
Communication is not easy – especially in a decentralized environment. Danielle Wintrip will tell you in this session how you can create a collaborative, decentralized communications framework to improve your communications with your target audiences. She will explain how this approach worked at the Department of Family & Community Medicine at the University of Toronto.

“Small Fish, Big Pond: A discussion about web governance and digital opportunities in a multi-campus university setting” – Courtney Mallam & Tom Cochrane
How to do you manage communication with your peers when you work at the satellite site of a multi-campus university? Courtney Mallam from York University and Tom Cochrane from Memorial University will share their respective experience and strategies to handle the situation.

Monday, 2:55pm – 4:15pm

“Successful Social Media Marketing: 2,300 Likes in < 12 hours: How we overcame The We Don’t Do Stupid Generation” – Angi Roberts
I’ve followed Angi’s progress working on this successful social media campaign as it was unfolding earlier this year, since she was taking at that time the 8-week online course I teach about social media marketing for higher ed. I was so excited by what she was reporting in her weekly assignments that I published an interview about the campaign on this blog in February.

“Building a Responsive College Site“ – Casandra Vallee
Social media is nothing without a great website for your calls-to-action, right? When an increasing majority of prospective and current students browse the web with their mobile devices, a responsive website is not optional anymore. Casandra Vallee will explain in this session how Olds College went through a responsive redesign while rolling out a new CMS (because it’s so much more fun :-).


Tuesday, 10:20am – 11:40am

“That Buzzfeed Though“- Melissa Cheater
Melissa is the soul of this conference who gathered a group of passionate colleagues to make it a reality. She also happens to be a great speaker. In this session, she will share a case study on how her school has been successful in an experiment with BuzzFeed by creating a brand publisher account on the popular website.

“Creating engagement online; It takes a village” – Predrag Rajnis
In this session, Predrag will share some lessons learned at Saint Mary’s University while performing an overhaul of the online footprint of the school. From redesign to content strategy, you’ll get to hear about some interesting stories and strategies you can use at your school.

Tuesday, 1:30pm – 2:50pm

“In-House Web Teams that Work” – Steven Green
If it takes a village to raise a child, it definitely takes a team to manage the web operations of a school. Steven Green, Director of Online Communications at the University of Toronto, will discuss, in this presentation, strategies to staff your A-Team.

“Web Writing Workshop” – Andrea Kelly
Writing is such a big part of anything we do online for so many reasons (communications, social media engagement, SEO, etc.) that it’s always a good idea to learn as much as you can about the craft. That’s why we have a 4-week online course on Social Media & Web Writing at Higher Ed Experts. Andrea Kelly, Web Editor, has been leading workshops and teaching classes at Memorial University about the topic. So, I’m sure you’ll be in great hands :-)

“Redesigning the Redesign” – Mathew Hoy
After the big web redesign (and hopefully the launch party), it’s time to redesign! As a living (and almost breathing) entity, a school website is never done. That’s what the iterative redesign approach is for, right? In this session, Matthew Hoy from Western University will share his experience and some good lessons learned.

Tuesday, 3:10pm – 4:30pm

If you’ve come across this blog in the past or ever met me at a conferece, you know that ANYTHING related to data and how we put it to good use in higher education has a special place in my heart. Yep, I even believe that something that can’t be measured should actually not be done. So, it’s no surprise that the 3 sessions of the conference focusing on data & analytics made this list.

“Data Driven Design: How Website Usability Testing Can Impact Your Design Decisions” – Andy Smith
In this session, you’ll find out why data collected via usability testing can help you make your website better for your users. It’s not a novel concept, but definitely something that should NOT be skipped by respectable teams ;-).

“How to Measure Absolutely Everything“- Nick Valentino
This is a big promise that Nick Valentino from York University is making in the title of his presentation. In this session, he’ll explain why you need a measurement strategy to capture the data that matters.

“Social media monitoring & measurement for marketing intelligence” – Mark Farmer
In this session, the focus will be on tools that can help you monitor and measure your social media activities. Mike Framer from York University will give an overview of ALL the tools, so don’t miss his presentation if you’re currently looking for the right solution for your needs.

So, these 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!