The session should be mandatory not only for first time attendees but also for old timers like myself. We all come to this conference with the hope to take away something we can actually implement back at our workplaces. We hear about the “Golden Nugget” and take notes and listen to each session until our brains overflow. Was that it? No, wait, that was it. There are too many great ideas!
Maren Walz and Jake Speer of University of Wisconsin – La Crosse spoke about how they maximize this conference before, during, and afterwards. They also provided actual examples of “nuggets” they took back from past HighEdWeb conferences.
Their strategy for maximizing this conference is practical and necessary, especially, if you are coming with more than one colleague. Before the conference they get together and go over the schedule along side their own personal professional development goals and the team’s needs and goals. Then they coordinate who will attend which session. Divide and conquer!
During the conference they frequently report back to each other about the sessions, and if any sessions wins the red stapler, they recommend the other person attend that session on Wednesday. This allows them to attend more sessions collectively.
The Friday after the conference, they schedule a meeting with the rest of team to recap what they learned and make a plan with the “nuggets” they gleaned. This is one thing I will be doing when I get back.
In 2012 they learned that they should be awesome to people and create a cohort of champions. The action they took was to be active listeners and adopt a “here’s what we can do” mentality.
In 2014, they realized their homepage sucked. The website audience was receiving messages the marketing group didn’t intend to send. They reworked the home page, enlarged same components, reduced others, used the web advisory group to help with ideas, changed the news shot with a seasonal campus shot, and made small but important changes.
In 2015, they learned that some things are way too hard and picked one thing to fix. This one thing was the events submission form. They redesigned the form completely, added functionality and features to cross-promote, and allowed the users to facilitate the spread the user generated content across the site.
Last year, in 2016, they found that scary stuff isn’t that scary. They implemented Google Tag Manager on the website and helped the Continuing Education department track and validate their use of email and postcards.
These actionable nuggets they found were practical, actionable, and achievable. So, if this is your first time or your tenth time, make the effort to plan, coordinate, and share your “Golden Nuggets” with your colleagues and take action on one of them. Let us know what you found and how you implemented it!