11 sessions you should attend at #heweb11 from Oct 23-26 in Austin, TX

October 13th, 2011 Karine Joly 7 Comments

One of the biggest events of the year for higher ed web professionals, the High Ed Web Conference, is just 10 days away. And, I’m so sad I won’t be able to make it this year.

At least I’ll be with the lucky heweb11 attendees in spirit. You should be able to spot the logo of my professional development business, Higher Ed Experts, in Austin as we are supporting, this year again, this great conference.

Since Higher Ed Experts is all about YOUR professional development, we chose to be the sponsor of the opening keynote at the conference, a keynote presented by Shawn Henry, Web Accessibility Initiative Outreach Coordinator at W3C. As I explained in my last University Business column, “Web Accessibility: Required, Not Optional,” Web Accessibility is going to be one of the big topics at the conference (and a central issue for higher ed institutions this year).

Don’t know why? Do yourself a favor and make sure you read my column.


And, just to demonstrate that you can go far with Higher Ed Experts, we will also be the shuttle sponsor for the excursion. If you spot, shoot and tweet (using the hashtag #higheredexperts) the Higher Ed Experts bus magnets, you’ll get a chance to win a free pass for our upcoming Web Writing Boot Camp in December)

Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten that my post title promised you a selection of must-attend #heweb11 sessions. I’ve combed and reviewed the schedule and compiled this list.

It was tough to choose, so I looked for either interesting topics, new angles on hot trends or entertaining seasoned presenters. There are some really great sessions that are not on this list. So if yours is not on my list, just go ahead and add it to this post by posting a comment.

11 must-attend #heweb11 sessions

Monday, 9:30-10:15AM
Rethinking the Login
by Mark Heiman, Senior Web Application Developer at Carleton College

Don’t you love to log in using Facebook Connect, Twitter or Gmail? Mark, who is known at the conference for his great presentations, will explain how his institution implemented OpenID login for alums, parents and prospects.

Monday, 10:45AM – 11:30AM
Carrying the Banner: Reinventing News on Your University Web Site
by Georgiana Cohen, Web Content and Strategy Manager at Tufts University

Georgy knows news inside out as she worked at the Boston Globe. With the real-time web and the end of the news business as we knew it, the way you handle news on your website will make a big difference. Georgy can help you do it right.

Monday 11:45AM-12:30PM
The Ultimate Open Source CMS – A Cage Match
by John Vieth, Web Design, University of Wisconsin-Platteville (Drupal),
Nathan White, Web Application Developer, Carleton College (Reason) and
Stephanie Leary, Website Administrator, Texas A&M (WordPress)

What is the best option for your institution when it comes to open source content management systems? That’s the question this session will try to answer. I know that this session format will work as its concept is very similar to the Open Source CMS Fair series I designed last year for Higher Ed Experts.

Monday 3:30-4:15PM
What Content Strategy Really Means for Higher Ed
by Kate Johnson, Senior Web Content Strategist at the University of Denver

Content strategy is a very hot topic in higher ed (and elsewhere, actually). What I find interesting about this session is the fact that it’s going to adapt all the great principles and tools of content strategy to the higher ed reality. Moreover, Web Content Strategists (with the title) are still rare in institutions, so you might want to meet one ;-)

Monday 3:30-4:15PM
EZ QR 4 U2 Do!
by Cliff Jenkins, Video Manager at Xavier University

I’m not a big fan of the smart session title, but it looks like a great way to get a basic introduction on QR codes, how to customize them and track their results (and then, see if they are indeed the latest big things everybody thinks they are ;-) I don’t think I’ve ever heard Cliff present but he is a great guy and a member of the conference committee – as a good number of other speakers this year.

Monday 4:45-5:30PM
Twin Red-Headed Stepchildren Of A Different Mother: The Usability of Accessibility
by Dylan Wilbanks, Web Developer and Designer and
Michael Fienen, Wizard of OZ

Dylan won the best conference presentation last year with a very inspiring session he presented again for Higher Ed Experts. Michael Fienen is a real showman. This session, while very close to the topic of the opening keynote and despite its too clever title, should be something. As you will see at the conference, I’m a big proponent of seeing accessibility as usability, so it made sense for all these reasons to include this session in this list.

Tuesday, 8:30-9:15AM
Herding Cats: Web Governance in Higher Education
by Mark Greenfield, Director of Web Services, University at Buffalo

If you have never heard Mark Greenfield speak, I guess it means you haven’t been to a higher ed conference for a very long time. Mark is a great speaker who presents everywhere. He has a unique point of view as he also consults for many higher ed institutions for Noel Levitz. Mark has been researching and working on Web Governance a lot this year, so you’ll get a chance to hear some really great insights if you attend his session.

Tuesday 10:45-11:30PM
Plug It In: Writing Better WordPress Plugins
by Curtiss Grymala, University Webmaster at the University of Mary Washington

I had to have a WordPress session in this list and something more technical as well. It looks like this session will help you get started with WP plugin development in no time.

Tuesday, 1:30-2:15PM
A Data-Driven Content Strategy Idea for Redesigning the Institution’s Website (work in progress)
by Justin Gatewood, Webmaster at Victor Valley College

You probably know my feelings about analytics and data-driven marketing. If you don’t, I’m a big proponent – even more after attending the 4-week online course on Web Analytics for Higher Ed this past month. What I find interesting about this session is the fact that Justin will explain how easy it can be to use data to put together a sound content strategy that gets administrative buy – the Holy Grail, right? ;-)

Tuesday, 1:30-2:15PM
Measuring the Result of the Bright and Shiny
By Seth Meranda, User Experience Architect, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Another session about analytics, but this time to find out how to measure what has been taking so much of your time lately: social media. Seth is the real deal when it comes to analytics in higher education, so you will definitely get a lot from this presentation.

Tuesday, 2:45-3:30PM
What Colleges Can Learn From The Insane Clown Posse
by Karlyn Morissette, Director of Social Media at Southern New Hampshire University

If you haven’t seen this presentation yet, make sure you do in Austin. Karlyn is a great professional and speaker. I don’t know if she will present in a special clown outfit, but what she will share in this session are real marketing and branding lessons adapted to higher ed institutions.

There will be many sessions about mobile web at the conference as well. I’m pretty sure you already had your eyes on these – which is why I didn’t include any in this list.

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!

7 Responses

  1. If you’re heading to HighEdWeb (and an early-riser) check out my session: “Customer Service & Social Media: You Can Do Better”. It’s focused on how to create and maintain a 24/7 customer service shop for your school using social media and other web tools.

    Session info: http://2011.highedweb.org/EventDetail.aspx?guid=ffc29479-7d46-40ce-9cc4-90a9b5764658

    Can’t wait to see you all there!

  2. Jeff Stevens says:

    Tuesday morning, at the crack of dawn, you should come to my session, “I’d Buy That For a Dollar: What Robocop Can Teach us about Alumni Engagement”. I’ll be looking at the current ways foundations and alumni associations target their audiences as compared to how non-academic organizations do it, and how to create involved and eager members of a larger campus community. Those without caffeine will be energized and be conference dynamo. Stay out of the way of those that caffeinate first and then attend. That’s just plain dangerous.

    Session information: http://2011.highedweb.org/EventDetail.aspx?guid=ddbae6e6-22a3-4397-87cb-7df7414824f5

  3. Fran Zablocki says:

    Tuesday afternoon, instead of thinking of what karaoke songs to pick at the Highball excursion, you should come to my session, “In the Shadow of the Colossi: Alumni online communities in the age of Facebook and LinkedIn”. I’ll be discussing private alumni online communities and the challenges inherent to implementing and maintaining their relevancy against the ubiquity of Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social tools.

    Session Information: http://2011.highedweb.org/EventDetail.aspx?guid=a38c0b3e-cf0d-42b7-8716-9a9d6977c0e2

  4. Content Strategy is a pain. It takes FOREVER. It’s not fun. But it’s a necessary evil in our world (high ed web stuff).

    So how can you do ‘content strategy’ anyway? I’m not sure that I have the best answer available, but I have one that seems to be working for me, and I’m able to gather the info. to put it together using mostly free tools, and by tweaking the tools I was using already.

    My session contains “(work in progress)” in the title, because that’s exactly what it is. I’m hoping during the course of my 45 minute conversation with any of you who attend, to collectively arrive at a method/process that could work for anyone, even web teams like me comprised of only 1 person with no budget!

    I’m already at a point where my data makes sense, and it communicates to administrators what we’re all trying to achieve – a basic strategy for content on our site that comes directly from the site visitors, and not from a committee’s decision.

    If joining that discussion sounds like it would benefit you in your efforts at work after the conference, then come by my session and let’s talk about it.

    Session link : http://2011.highedweb.org/EventDetail.aspx?guid=04042a43-b513-4445-98d0-05d492f77d29

    Twitter – @lightjump

  5. Lacy Tite says:

    Want to completely revolutionize the way your institution handles their news? At Vanderbilt, we merged several of our news sources into one and manage all official internal and external communication through one centrally managed source now — all powered by the awesomeness that is WordPress.

    Need a shiny new website to highlight awesome research going on at your institution? Just create a new front end page in WordPress that pulls only research stories. Make faculty members love you by providing them all with their very own news page and rss feed — all about them. Easily organize tipsheets and media experts — making it simple for your media relations folks to promote your faculty and research to tv networks and other mass media outlets. Need email newsletters for your staff? WordPress can generate those from your news content (we send a weekly email out that includes only research stories, twice weekly emails to faculty and staff with news pertaining only to them, monthly emails containing only the content in our monthly employee magazine. All auto-generated by WP.) Want to hook up your own personalized shortening service and tweet your news stories? No problem.

    See you bright and early Monday morning — 8:30 AM in the Hill Country :)

    Session link: http://2011.highedweb.org/EventDetail.aspx?guid=1e679bba-63eb-4961-a913-8db5738c4c38

    Twitter – @lacytite

  6. Casey Mahoney Brad P says:

    Thanks for the fun time—I enjoyed sitting through some of the sessions.

    Casey Mahoney Brad P

  7. […] all that time to prepare this post to keep up with a little tradition 3 years in the making. My 2011 selection had 2 red stapler sessions including the best-of-conference presentation (ok, I’m bragging a […]

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