I can’t believe it’s been 2 years since I launched Higher Ed Experts, my professional development venture.
It’s been a great ride with a good number of highs (including Mike Dame’s presentation about the Virginia Tech Tragedy and the $4300 we were able to raise for the Hokie Fund – I released Mike’s webinar for free last week) and a couple of lows (The free inaugural webinar in June 2007 with Dr. Michael Wesch and James Todd from Duke University that ended up being a big technical disaster and led me to change web conferencing provider – for the best since we had no issues since on about 50 live events – in an unplanned crisis communication exercise for yours truly).
The whole idea behind Higher Ed Experts was to offer a win-win situation to everybody by providing affordable professional development webinars while compensating the speakers who give them (believe it or not, but when I launched HEE this wasn’t a current practice).
I know that I still have a lot to do to improve the service and the website, but we’ve made good progress as the following numbers can attest:
- More than 1,800 registered members from more than 300 institutions in the US, Canada, the UK, Australia and other countries
- 40 speakers from the US, Canada and the UK
- A total of 50 different webinars hosted by yours truly
- 1,505 webinars sold in the US, Canada, Australia, Spain, New Zealand and Sweden (as of today – feel free to make this post inaccurate by registering for Writing Right for the Web ;-)
- A free job board for higher ed jobs in web, marketing, admissions and communication
- A weekly newsletter (here’s last Tuesday issue – feel free to subscribe) including all the higher ed content that matters from different sources such as the higher ed blogosphere, eduStyle, EDU Checkup, the calendar of higher ed events, the job board and the uwebd Ning website.
You’re not a number person? Here are just a few of the testimonials submitted by previous attendees of different series:
- Rachel Reuben, Dir. of Web Comm. & Strategic Projects – State University of NY at New Paltz, NY:
“This is a great way to get helpful, useful information for our jobs without having the stress of leaving the office and traveling. Conferences are great on occasion for the networking aspect, but this is a much more affordable and immediately useful format.”
- Karen Pederson, Web Strategist – Marylhurst University, OR
“Excellent. Very thought provoking. Appreciate the ability to invite others at no additional cost. The content allowed us to evaluate our situation and implement recommendations as needed and as resources allow.”
- Martine Lafleur, Electronic Communications Director – HEC, Montreal (Canada)
“The series was right to the point. Colleagues of mine who went to conferences about crisis communications told me that it was the best conferences they ever attended.”
- Jodi Bailey, Director of Marketing – Alfred University, NY:
“Great information in the comfort of my office. Helpful tips on how to make this a reality at my university.”
- Sara Kisseberth, Web Communications Manager – Bluffton University, OH:
“What a great way to gain professional ideas and learn in a convenient and cost-effective manner.”
- Peggy VanKirk, Coordinator of Online Services – Monroe Community College, NY:
“We had a group of about 12 people here at MCC participating in the series of workshops and they all thought they were very worthwhile.”
- Hilary Knox, New Media Specialist – University at Albany, NY:
“The takeaways points from these presentations will be helpful as we develop our Facebook strategy. The webinar helped start the conversation about Facebook and sparked several new ideas of how the University can leverage applications.”
- Judy Linza, Webmaster – Alfred University, NY:
“These webinars are a cost effective way to train your team on new technology. Topics are always on tract and interesting.”
- Lynn Caputo, Web Writer – College of the Holy Cross, Worcester, MA:
“I thought this session was really informative. We are looking to move our online alumni community to Facebook as well as create a presence for the College as a whole. Attending these sessions helped me to brainstorm ideas for our own purposes.”
- Megan McDermott, Manager of Web Communications – University of Waterloo, ON (Canada):
“This was a good session and you couldn’t have found anyone more knowledgeable about the topic.”
- Cynde Mercer, Webmaster – Pasco-Hernando Community College, FL:
“Another great webinar from Higher Ed Experts. “911 Website” provided a lot of information from an experienced communications professional that will aid us as we make our own crisis reaction plans.”
- Blair Williamson, Website Designer – Texas A&M University, TX:
“I heard Michael Dame speak at HighEdWebDev 2007 and still learned a lot from this session! I think the tested templates will be a great asset.”
- Anthony Bosio, Web Multimedia Developer – Lynn University, FL:
“HEE webinars continue to have a high signal-to-noise ratio which makes them worth our time.”
- Jaclyn Whitehorn, The University of Alabama:
“Very valuable, and a good use of time. Being able to participate from my office, plus review after the fact, makes this a much better value than most training.”
- Bruce Floyd, University of Florida Web Administration:
“Webinars from HigherEdExperts have been a terrific, low-cost way of learning about different web technologies with a specific focus on Higher Ed. Very useful!”
So, today I’d like to thank you all. Without great members, speakers and webinar attendees, this dream – my dream – could have never come true.
I also want to take the time to thank my advisory board members (David J., Joe, Andy, Charlie and David B.) who trusted me enough to associate their names with Higher Ed Experts right from the beginning and have offered support and advice for the past 2 years.
Obviously this is only the beginning and I have big plans for this summer including a redesign contest (with a cash prize and some free webinar passes to win) to create the new face and add more functionality to the Higher Ed Experts website. Details will be announced soon.
I know you’re all very busy, but if you can take 2 minutes to share something about your experience with Higher Ed Experts as a member, a speaker or a webinar attendee by posting a comment, I would really appreciate it.
Thank you, again.