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.

Grilled Eggplant Moussaka

Here is a recipe I took from allrecipes.com and modified a little. It makes 8 servings, so you’ll need two 9×13 glass baking dishes.


  • 1/4 cup and 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup and 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup and 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 5 ounces feta cheese
  • 5 cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 4 eggplant
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley
  • 1 onions
  • 2-1/2 pounds potatoes
  • 5 tomatoes
  • 2-1/4 pounds zucchini

My Notes:

I only have one kind of olive oil on any given day. Extra-virgin or not, it makes no difference to me.


Slice eggplant into 1/4 inch rounds, slice potatoes into thin (1/8 inch) rounds, slice zucchini length-wise about 1/4 inch slices. Brush with olive oil.

Grill the eggplant, potato, zucchini until tender. Heat the grill to high heat before laying on the vegetables. As grill comes up to temperature, rub the grate with half an onion that has some olive oil on the cut surface. The vegetables won’t stick to the grill grate, and they’ll have great grill marks. In the baking dishes, layer potato, then eggplant, then zucchini. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

Melt butter in pan, mix in flour, and toast mixture for 5 minutes. Mix in milk, nutmeg and salt. Simmer for 10 minutes. Slowly whisk together the egg yolk and 1/4 cup of the milk mixture in a bowl. Quickly combine this mixture with the remaining milk mixture. Set aside.

Brown the ground meat and drain the grease. Add onion, oregano, parsley, tomatoes, salt and pepper. Cover and heat on medium-low for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Spread the meat mixture over the vegetables, sprinkle feta cheese on top, then spread milk mixture on top of that. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes. It should be golden brown on top when it’s done.

Looking Forward to HighEdWeb 2011

Let’s review for a minute. From my HighEdWeb 2010 Wrap Up:

High Ed Web 2011 will be in Austin, Texas. Our department might 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.)

Semantic content is a generic way of saying well-formed, valid, well-structured coded-content. HTML5 is another attempt at semantic markup language with some juicy improvements thrown in. In 2011 more work was done on HTML5 and CSS3 so that we can start to see the benefits of using them on sites. This blog’s theme is written in HTML5, and I’ve used CSS3 – sparingly – on a few sites.

In early 2011 Chevy came out with the Cruze, a car that can read your Facebook wall – the Chevy Cruze commercial debuted at the Super Bowl in February. The Cruze also has an app: you can remote start your car from your smartphone. Of course all of the game consoles and “smart” TV’s can connect to Twitter, Facebook, Netflix, etc.

The geo-loco thing is like Twitter – it’s there but not everyone is using it. The big thing for Twitter this year (and years past) was real-time news updates and celebrity tweets. Some of the top trends were #winning, #tsunami, #Libya, and of course #MBteamS.

Mobile devices and the content we serve them is another hot topic. Tablets like the Apple iPad or Android Tab or Blackberry Playbook are all the rage and they present yet another challenge when it comes to serving content to a small-er screen. A few years ago, smartphones were the big kid on the block and we rushed to make code semantic and adjust to their small size. Now tablets introduce another size and the ability to behave like a desktop or a mobile phone; coders bang your heads here.

Along with mobile devices of various sizes running apps and visiting websites came along the idea of progressive enhancement. PE has probably been around a long time – lurking in a dark corner next to “best-practices” – but it’s new to me. I’d like to see a presentation or workshop on PE and how it relates to semantic HTML5 and CSS3.

As it turns out two of us are going to High Ed Web 2011 this year. In a strange twist of events we hired a new programmer, and he’ll be tagging along with me. We also implemented a CMS in 2011 – Hannon Hill Cascade – so we’d like to meet other Cascade users. We will be going to Atlanta for the Cascade User Conference, but that’s another post.

Texas Reds Steak and Grape Festival 2011

This year they changed the date to the fall in the hopes of cooler weather. October in Texas is still warm, but it’s closer to harvest. So, it should be interesting to see if the vintners present new wines or yearlings.

The Texas Reds Steak and Grape Festival is October 7-8, 2011, in Downtown Bryan, Texas.

A new twist this year: general admission is $4 or $5. They’ll have the event gated so they know who paid and who didn’t. The rational? To make up for the revenue they’ll loose for the two days. Seriously? I find it hard to believe that the City of Bryan makes $50,000+ in two days from the 5 square blocks of downtown where the event is being held. I may not go just on principle.