HighEdWeb 2011 Wrap Up

Every year I go to HighEdWeb I write a pre- and post-conference blog detailing what I want to see, and what I actually saw. I wrote a pre-conference blog back on October 2, 2011 – Looking Forward to HighEdWeb 2011. Let’s start with a review of last year.

Review from HighEdWeb 2010

Last year I summerized my predictions with the following:

What are the lessons for next year? High Ed Web 2011 will be in Austin, Texas. We should be able to send two people next year. I’ll go out on a limb and predict the hot topics next year. Semantic content (Web 3.0) for mobile, desktop, vehicles, televisions, toasters, etc. (We can make content inter-operable; maybe using a CMS.) Location-based (geo-loco) applications with a side of augmented reality or geo-fencing. (Facebook Places exploded this year. Foursquare has the most users, for now. Gowalla is based in Austin.) HTML5 and CSS3 are growing, even if at a slow pace. (The W3C made an announcement about holding off deploying HTML5.)

Hits and Misses

Semantic web was a topic at the conference, but it was more of an underlying theme of the HTML5, mobile and accessibility topics. Mobile and accessibility were hot topics. Of the 70 talks, 13 (18%) had mobile in their title. There were 5 talks (7%) with accessibility in the title including Shawn Henry’s keynote, Embracing Accessibility – Go for the Carrots.

The CMS vendors where there en masse: Hannon Hill, OmniUpdate, Campusuite, Jadu, Ingeniux, TERMINALFOUR, Zivtech.

The big 3 geo-loco company’s weren’t a hot topic, but SCVNGR, Google Venture’s geo-loco, made a surprise appearance. Jadu, sponsored a SCVNGR hunt – where we had to collect check-ins with the other vendors at the hotel. SCVNGR sponsored Tuesday’s keynote – Better Education through the Web with Chris Wilson from Google.

Your Own Backyard

Having the conference in Austin this year, I didn’t have far to travel. When I introduced myself it was followed by, “it’s 90 miles that way” and I’d point towards the northeast. Austin felt like Austin, comfortable, relaxed, fun. The two evening events weren’t spectacular – no “Karaoke Plane” moments happened – but I had fun watching the World Series (Go Cards!) with other high-ed folks. I played some pool, ate some food, drank some drinks, and talked a lot of shop with a lot of people. Two dinner spots worth mentioning are P. F. Chang’s and Fogo de Chao.

The launch party for LINK magazine was at Buffalo Billards. The Tuesday night excursion was at The Highball.

Remember the three rules of the office (or life):

  1. Don’t put your tongue on it.
  2. Size does matter.
  3. There are stupid questions.

My interest in Special Interest Groups @HighEdWeb 2009

My interest in Special Interest Groups @HighEdWeb 2009 and why:

  • Marketing and Communications: I work for a group called Communications and Marketing; we need to market the dry topic of information technology. But seriously, I think it is a delicate subject in higher education. We don’t have the budget that Sapient has, and we have to be more tactful than corporate America.
  • Leveraging Social Media/Networking tools: using social media is the norm today. Students coming to college use (some forms) of social media without batting an eye. We need to be comfortable with it. We need to use it as a marketing tool just like we used older forms of communication.
  • Accessibility: I’ve heard it summarized best this way, “Making anything accessible to the disabled makes it more accessible to the abled.” We need to make our communications accessible to the challenged not just because it’s the law, but because it makes it more accessible to the masses.
  • Usability and Usability testing: Like accessibility, usable design is universal. If it is good for a few chances are it’s good for the many. We need to make the web usable the first time or it wont get used and other aspects of our business will suffer – marketing, accessibility, management, etc.
  • Content Management: When we manage content well it makes life a whole lot easier. A Content Management System (CMS) can take care of a lot of above e.g. accessible, usable blogs with links to twitter/facebook/myspace.

Reposted from http://highedweb2009.ning.com/profiles/blogs/my-interest-in-special

When no one was looking…ADA Amendments Act of 2008

When no one was looking… President George W. Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act of 2008 into law.

On Thursday, September 25, in the shadow of America’s brooding financial crisis, Bill S.3406 was signed. Quietly and without fanfare, it became Public Law No: 110-325. Given all the other issues occupying the nation’s attention, it is understandable how this event did not get much public attention. It is, however, sad that this monumental bolstering of civil rights legislation for people with disabilities was not afforded the open celebration that it deserved.

(E-mail from Stephanie Leary via Susan Cozad via Sharron Rush via Rob McInnes)

Painting A Braille Bull’s Eye On Your Back

The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) sued Target – specifically target.com – over their inaccessible site and won $6 million. Target is seeing red, and the blind are “seeing” target.com.