HighEdWeb 2009 Wrap Up

Links from the conference

After conference links

The first-timers raise their hands at orientation.
The first-timers raise their hands at orientation.

If you read the posts in this blog tagged with heweb09 you’ll see my notes from sessions I attended. Several were good, a few were not-so-good. Going from memory of my evaluations, I would say my average score of sessions was 5.5 out of 7 (78%).

Was it worth approximately $2000 to attend? When I was in school 78% was a “C”. It was passing, but you couldn’t get into graduate school with a C average, and you couldn’t get a good paying job with a C average. Now, you should know that I grade rather conservatively. No one got a 7 on my evaluations; no one got a 1. If I like it and I thought I learned something they got 6. The first keynote, with Jared Spool, would have received a 7, the best of track winners I attended would have received a 7, but these were not graded. So overall, I will come back if it is in the budget, but I wont fight for it if it is not. (It cost me a lot of money that cannot/wont be reported on the expense report.)

I met a lot of people, and followed several tweeple. I learned a few things and was entertained. Those were part of my goals so I can say that part was met. I don’t have H1N1 and I don’t think I gained 10 lbs and I got some swag, so check on those goals too. However, I was a little surprised at the skim-the-surface approach of the sessions. I know there is a lot of material for the board to choose from and they did a good job of touching on major aspects of higher education web. I felt like I was back in college: class for 90 minutes then 15 minutes to get across campus, and a lack of detailed information about lecturers’ materials before getting to the session. (Kudos to Daniel Frommelt for putting his session, “Augmented Reality“, online before coming to the conference.)

The back channel t-shirt.

Unfortunately for the conference I learned something else – what happens in the backchannel doesn’t always stay in the backchannel. This shirt (“I Survived The #heweb09 Keynote“) is an example of what came out of the backchannel after Tuesday’s (October 6) keynote with David Galper. My netbook battery was low so I did not get to read it while it happened. You can read the transcript of the backchannel during keynote #2.

After the conference a few us wrote analyses that reflected the words of Michael Fienen:
“I think that it’s important to admit that several of us might have overstepped a professional line, but I think the event itself was not uncalled for and is an important example that audiences are no longer passive.” Source: The Great Keynote Meltdown of 2009 | .eduGuru.

After I read the article my tweet comment was “@fienen Good observations 1) material not relevent to an educated crowd 2) reflects poorly on “us” 3) pressure for next year.”

We have something to think about for next year. In this age of transparency you must “know thyself” and be an expert in your area – experience and ignorance shine equally through the window of our minds. We are people in higher education with limited budgets that come together to live, laugh, learn, and we express ourselves using the technology we help to create – the web.

Post Script

Conference committee for HighEdWeb 2010 remember three little words, “hella drop shadow