Reflections on eduWEB 2009

July 22, 2009

Posted in Higher Ed and Web Industry.

From July 20-22, 2009 I attended (and presented at) eduWEB Conference 2009. Go check out my presentation slides on Budget Usability Testing.

Things I Noticed

There’s a wide spectrum of experience, beginner to expert. Some sessions are designed more for one or the other, and it’s not always clear until you’re in the session.

There’s a healthy mix of tech, design, marketing specialists and others. It makes for diverse discussions and perspectives, which I loved.

There are 487 different organizational structures: central vs. silo, IT vs. marketing, one-man-shop vs. large teams, and everything in between.

There are different challenges for each organization. Some are purely concerned with increasing applicants, while others are focused on changing the nature of the applicants, engaging alumni, or even retaining students. You have to think hard about how each lesson can be applied to your individual situation.

There’s a backchannel of activity on Twitter during the entire conference, often adding commentary. This was scary as hell while I was presenting, but immensely valuable to the participants.

A central theme of many conversations was to ask forgiveness later. This is a fast-moving industry and you can’t afford for a committee to kill your ideas just because they can’t keep up.

Things I’m Excited About

Facebook Connect for single sign-on. I want to look into using this to help our Alumni Association overcome authentication issues. We have our own internal website, and I can never remember my login. So I don’t use it.

Integrating social media with sites, promoting it to people, connecting social media participants across networks. You can’t just be on social networks, you have to drive people to them.

Mobile is going to blow up. There were lots of mentions in the sessions, but not a lot of dedicated time on mobile use. As far as I can tell, there’s not a ton of real investment in this area, but from watching other participants almost everyone had their phones out for mobile web or Twitter texting at some point.

My Favorite Part of eduWEB 2009

Meeting online friends in real life… instant connections, credibility, and relationships. I also met a ton of people in person and then immediately started following them online – adding a new dimension to the usual networking atmosphere. This is the social part of social media, and it’s fantastic.