A post from our senior web programmer, Sarah Ryder, who attended the HighEdWeb conference in Buffalo in October 2013.
I’ve been fortunate to attend the annual HighEdWeb conference since 2008. Despite HighEdWeb 2013 being my sixth year, I still came away from the conference with a ton of new information and inspiration. There is always top-notch, relevant content from the speakers, sessions, and posters. Everyone in the community grows throughout the year and shares what they’ve learned. We all know it, we all say it: the main reason we love HighEdWeb so much is because the people are awesome. The knowledge we gain just from conversing with each other is priceless. HighEdWeb really brings networking to a whole new level by providing that space and environment for everyone to connect in a professional, yet fun and social way.
The sessions I attended
Stay Ahead of the Curve: Conducting a Competitive Web Content Analysis – Hampshire even got a shout out during this Best of Track presentation for having an awesome 404 page.
The Keynotes: Woz and Scott Stratten
I’m not generally the type of person who is wowed by keynote speakers, but last year I thoroughly enjoyed Adam Savage’s keynote at HighEdWeb in Milwaukee, and I didn’t think it’d be possible to do even better. Now I’m not saying this was necessarily better, but I’ve gotta admit, having the opportunity to do Q&A with Steve Wozniak was pretty darn awesome. Not only that, but Scott Stratten really hit it out of the ballpark with his keynote. He’s like the poster boy for us geeks. He was relevant, hilarious, and got a great response from our entire audience. I highly recommend checking out his book, which we got as a gift in our swag bag, QR Codes Kill Kittens. I’ve also been listening to his podcast and really enjoying it. For anyone who is interested in checking out his keynote, the video is available online to HighEdWeb members and the cost to become a member is not high. I am hoping to schedule some time on the Hampshire campus to view the video together. If anyone is interested in joining, send me an email to let me know.
The Location: Buffalo
The conference was held at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center and the primary hotel, attached to the center, was the Hyatt Regency. The convention center was equipped with all the wifi and power necessary for a smooth (constantly connected and charged) conference for all attendees, which I don’t think has ever happened before! Not only that, but the center, the hotel, and the city really outdid themselves interacting with all of us via social media. They welcomed us, answered questions, provided suggestions, put together the #BuffaloForReal contest, and really went above and beyond any customer service we could have expected. Buffalo rocks. Thankfully many of us were able to visit some of the attractions, like beautiful Niagara Falls, and some amazing restaurants, despite having a densely packed conference schedule of learning and networking.
They put together a great storify based on our #heweb13 hashtag, the #BuffaloForReal hashtag, and our interactions. There’s also a fantastic album of the #BuffaloForReal pictures that we all took during our visit.
HighEdWeb started offering smaller, regional versions of the conference some years back and those regionals are becoming more widespread. In 2013 I was honored to participate in the first ever HighEdWeb New England regional conference planning committee. The conference was held at Mount Holyoke College in March 2013 and it went really well! I am happy to say that the proposal to host HighEdWeb New England in Providence this year was approved and announced at the annual conference, and I will be participating in the planning again. I hope many of my colleagues in the area will be able to join us.
HighEdWeb 2014 will be in Portland, OR and I am hopeful that I will be so lucky to attend once again.
Resources and Recaps
I’ve got lots of notes from the sessions I went to, but I really wanted to use this post as a place where I could collect and share some thoughts and resources that I came away from the conference with. Below is a list of blog posts, photos, and awesome things that others have shared since the conference.
Many of the presenters have shared their slides or presentations on their respective conference session pages.
Not specific to this conference, but a helpful resource nonetheless, is a list of higher ed book reviews on collegewebeditor.com.
A storify from #heweb13 made by Catherine Donnelly from UB.
This is just a simple thank you from me to the entire HighEdWeb community, and to Hampshire for encouraging professional development. This conference is always a fun learning opportunity for me and it reminds me how much I love working in higher ed, specifically at Hampshire. Every year I leave HighEdWeb rejuvenated and inspired, and with connections to folks who inspire and motivate each other throughout the rest of the year.