HighEdWeb 2017: The Web Needs All of Us

If you’re like me, then you probably spent part of your day today creating a new menu element for the provost website template, and part of your day managing your university’s Twitter account.

Or maybe you’re nothing like me. Instead, you’ve spent your day planning an upcoming disaster recovery test for your central web environment. Or debugging a new classroom app designed to pull from your school’s LMS. Maybe you have no idea what those words even mean when strung together in that order, because you have spent your day working on a new strategy for your Facebook “Class of” groups. Or managing a migration of all your academic department websites into a new CMS. Or meeting with students to discuss a new social media campaign to welcome incoming freshmen.

When you “work on the web” in higher education, every day is different. Some of us may be highly specialized. Some of us may be jacks and jills of all trades. But all of us who do this work use the tools and technologies of the web, along with our own particular skills and talents, to advance the work of our institutions and support the goals of our students, faculty and administrators.

The web needs all of us. Higher ed needs all of us.

Take a quick look at the HighEdWeb annual conference program this year, and you’ll see what I mean. HighEdWeb is a conference by and for higher education web professionals. Designers and developers, managers and marketers, strategists and students: once a year we meet to teach and learn from each other, to keep our skills sharp and our community connected.

The conference sessions are organized around six thematic tracks: Applications, Integration and Mobile (AIM); Development, Programming and Architecture (DPA); Marketing, Content and Social Strategy (MCS); Management and Professional Development (MPD); Technology in Education (TIE); and Usability, Accessibility and Design (UAD). Our sponsor partners also present conference sessions on how to integrate their solutions into our work. Attendees are welcome — encouraged, even! — to jump around between tracks. You can focus on sessions that are immediately useful to your own role, while experimenting with a session or two that show you another side of the higher ed world that we’re all a part of.

The conference’s poster session — literal posters showcasing specific projects; think high school science fair for grown-ups — is a wonderful way to meet new colleagues in the profession while also snacking on an amazing knowledge buffet. And — new for 2017 — the lightning talks session will offer a fun and fast-paced blast of information from all corners of the web world. And while you’re at it, you also might want to add a pre- or post-conference workshop. These half-day sessions offer a hands-on deep dive into topics such as web accessibility, content strategy and governance, WordPress development, and analytics and metrics.

HighEdWeb is one of the few professional conferences out there where front-end developers and system administrators, enrollment managers and content strategists, instructional technologists and graphic designers will all find something they can take home immediately to make their own work better, while also learning something about the web that they never expected.

So check us out at https://2017.highedweb.org/schedule/. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to get back to it. This provost website ain’t gonna update itself.